Category Archives: Society

The Truth About “Normal Mental Health”

This past week, Virginia state senators have passed a bill that would require public colleges to create policies on parental notification if their children show “suicidal tendencies,” unless a mental-health professional states that alerting parents would cause harm. As a William & Mary student involved in mental health activism, as an Asian-American who comes from a family that stigmatizes mental illness, and as a human who values his autonomy, I write this post to demonstrate just how much this bill disturbs me. I aim to prove that we need to treat and discuss mental health with the attention and nuance it deserves, instead of assuming that we can cure the complexities of the human brain with shallow, inefficient legislation.

I understand that these senators have good intentions; I get that they want to do something to prevent school shootings, to help people who suffer from mental illness. But they – as well as everyone else involved in this conversation – need to realize that introducing family into the equation will not aid students. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

Erasing My Eating Disorder

In high school, I gripped the fat on my stomach and stretched it thin until I could feel the hard, protruding bones of my ribcage. I sat in the basement of my house and flipped from the pages of my Algebra textbook to the threads of pro-anorexia blogs. I still remember the anxiety that struck me every time I walked on a scale, how a single number could reduce my diet that day from two meals to none, from a salad for dinner to a few grapes and no lunch.

Flash forward to this past semester of college. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

Gay Men Will Not Make You Friends

I have posted about the fallacy of the gay best friend before, but since then I discovered this article from the Huffington Post, so I want to remind everyone: gay men do not make good friends.

Let me backtrack. Gay men may make good friends. But this article – which I read as a parody at first because of its awfulness – assumes that all gay men share ten key characteristics. Continue reading

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Amour, Redux

A few weeks ago, I watched Amour, a movie centered on Georges and Anne, a married couple in their eighties. They reside in Paris as retired and cultivated music teachers. Their peaceful lives change when Anne suffers a stroke that paralyzes the right side of her body. George chooses to take care of her no matter what the consequence.

My semester in a nutshell.

My semester in a nutshell.

The media floods us with images of passionate love, with dramatized versions of real life. Continue reading

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Filed under Movies, Personal, Society

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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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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Filed under Personal, Society

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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Filed under Pop, Society