Back to School (with Selfies and Posters)

This past Thursday, I moved back to college and volunteered to help freshmen with course registration. Afterward, acquiring alone time felt wonderful after such a hectic summer, and all of the nature on campus added a scenic touch. Also, because neither my roommate nor I brought posters to our respective rooms last year, I decided to buy a few to spruce up our living space.

Fitting posters for an English and Psychology double major, right?

Fitting posters for an English and Psychology double major, right?

The passage of time still surprises me. Continue reading

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Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

My friends and I prepared a baby shower this summer. Planning the event involved a lot of frantic Facebook messaging and late-night Google Doc editing, as well as coming up with creative game ideas, such as “Pin the Sperm on the Egg.” We also spent a decent amount of time shopping for baby-related things, which led us to several gender-stereotypical items. Encountering these signals from society made me realize that gender roles really do start from within the womb – or at least they begin early enough to affect children from the beginning of their existences.

Clothing from the girls' section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys' section: the words "Future Legend" and baseballs.

Clothing from the girls’ section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys’ section: the words “Future Legend” and baseballs. Anyone discern a difference in tone?

Studies show that children detect gender differences by the age of three Continue reading

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Lessons From My Bipolar Mother

When I was little, I fantasized about my mother’s death. Continue reading

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The Internet, My Inbox, and Other Soul-Draining Items

The other day I had an hour to kill before seeing a movie with my dad. I had options. I could write the next scene of my short story, read some poetry, or breeze through a chapter of my current novel. Instead, I went on Facebook. Then I checked my inbox on Yahoo. Then Gmail. Then Goodreads. Back and forth, from site to site, for 60 minutes.

By the time my dad came up to pick me up, the hour had disappeared. I had actually lost an hour online. Continue reading

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Body Image Done Right: Colbie Caillat’s “Try”

Colbie Caillat at the beginning of the "Try" music video. Simple and stunning, just like the song.

Colbie Caillat at the beginning of the “Try” music video. Simple and stunning, just like the song.

A lot of artists have produced well-intentioned songs dealing with body image and self-esteem as of late. Though these tracks have a good feel and move the music industry in the right direction, several of them miss the mark: John Legend’s patronizing “You & I,” Bruno Mars’s subtly sexist “Just The Way You Are,” and even Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which veers into the realm of skinny-shaming and man-appeasement. However, Colbie Caillat hits all the right notes with “Try” – instead of pushing women to respect themselves in a certain way, she tells them to love themselves without condition, no matter what anyone else thinks. Continue reading

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Subtle Sexism: Bruno Mars’s “Just The Way You Are”

In an interview about his song “Just The Way You Are,” Bruno Mars assumes that all women crave compliments about their beauty. Even though he states in another interview that he “wasn’t thinking of anything deep or poetic” when writing his lyrics, I have not written about pop music in forever, so I will dedicate this post to deconstructing my dislike for “Just The Way You Are,” because the song makes female worth synonymous with physical appearance, and it implies that women should find self-acceptance through men, instead of themselves. Continue reading

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My Gay Duty, and Other Vague Misnomers

As a gay guy, I often ask myself: how much personal responsibility do I have in the lgbtq community? I have read books, watched movies, and looked up organizations on-campus to volunteer with when I return to school in the fall. Through this blog I have shared some of my experiences. And yet, I still lack a clear definition of how much I need to do. How much of the weight falls on my shoulders? What is my gay duty?

Answer: It doesn’t exist. Sort of. Continue reading

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