Star Wars gives women a lead they can look up to

Story by: Sydney Shurman, Reviews Editor
Photo by: Dakota Fisher, Sports Editor

Star Wars 3

When people watch movies, they absorb the story and form an opinion about it, whether that opinion is good or bad. However, people rarely take away the small nuances that can actually speak volumes about where we are at as a society. Since Star Wars was the biggest movie of the year, any messages it sends will be heard loud and clear, and the feminist message practically screams.

Star Wars has a history of strong female characters, notably Princess Leia. However, Rey is in a class of her own. Not only is she the actual protagonist of the story, but it is made clear from the beginning of the movie that she does not need anyone to save her.

The truly amazing aspect of Rey however, is that during the movie, it is actually possible to forget about gender entirely. It is great that Rey promotes feminism by being the complete opposite of a damsel in distress. What truly promotes feminism though, is that her gender is not even important. She is a tough-as-nails, incredible, fully realized character who fights her own battles. Period.

Throughout the entire movie, the audience sees Rey simply trying to survive, and she does a pretty fantastic job of it. She remains modestly dressed the whole time, and people of all genders can find something to love.

There is no need for oversexualization, acting dumb, needing saving, or any other common female character tropes. Rey proves that society may just be changing for the better, and she provides hope for the future of all characters.

Column: What Grinds My Gears

Story by: Baylie Clevenger, Managing Editor

You know what really grinds my gears? The number of people who are misinformed about what feminism is.

Feminism, by definition according to Merriam-Webster Online, is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

Recently in my AP English class, we did a project about feminism in which we interviewed people and asked them if they considered themselves feminists. After their answer a member of the project group would read them the definition of feminism and ask them if that changed their mind. During this project I opened my eyes a little to how many people are still misinformed about feminism.

We received answers like “No, because I am not a woman,” or “No because I do not think that women should be considered better than men, people take it too far.”

What is ridiculous to me is that society is so blinded by the few extremists that they cannot see what a positive movement this really is.

Not only does feminism promote women’s rights, but it is another step toward equality all together. Even though women can drive and vote and we are no longer expected to only ever be a homemaker, that does not mean we are completely equal. Also, in other countries around the world, women have it worse off than here in America, having next to no rights. Women in other countries are often used as weapons of war, being beaten, raped, and harmed in other savage acts.  So not only could the feminist movement help here at home, but it could bring equality and peace to women around the world.

Things like the pay gap between men and women of all races, gender roles, forcing young girls into arranged marriages, victim blaming, and using women as weapons of war are all awful occurrences that could be stopped with feminist ideology.

When there is a movement for such positive changes I just do not understand why anyone would choose to be blind about the fact that gender inequality is still alive and thriving in all corners of the world and this movement could fix it.

International Women’s Day

Story by: Dakota Fisher

International Women’s Day is meant to be a day when women are recognized for their achievements without discrimination against nationality, ethnicity, culture, economic standing or political views. Of course it is wonderful to say that as March 4 has crept upon us  the entire population of the world slowly but surely begins to see women as equals, however, I am sure we know that is not true. While having an entire day dedicated to women is fantastic, it should not be necessary.

Although International Women’s Day is supposed to be a time of unity and solidarity, it seems to be exactly the opposite. Women in China face threats to their reproductive rights from the one-child policy, which institutionalizes forced abortion and sterilization. Women in the US are fighting for the opposite.

Although only 36 percent of the population is affected by the policy, and China is working to relax the policy, infanticide, the killing of children after birth, is a more wide-spread problem. The pro-abortion agenda pitts woman against woman and increases hostility within the female population because of misogynistic ideals and lack of knowledge.This ignorance hinders the growth of female empowerment and unity.

I am waiting for people to finally realize that women’s rights are quite simply human rights. Why do we have to have special days or months dedicated to a specific class of the human species? Having a day such as this just leads us to believe that every other day is “International Straight White Male Day.” But why?

“It leads us to believe that because we let it. Just because there is an International Women’s Day doesn’t mean that every other day isn’t. It’s like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day,” said Felicity Kratky, 10.

” Regardless of the day, you should appreciate your parents, just as you should women. It’s just a day chosen to try and appreciate women. Good intentions turned into a bad idea. The day doesn’t mean every other day is ‘International Straight White Man Day’. I believe everyone is equal, but people are turning a day of appreciation into another day of unequal rights.”

Women live in world where, yes, they should be appreciated every day and should get the recognition they deserve, however, they do not. Their achievements and advancements in every field are overlooked because of society’s view of women. One day out of 365 is not nearly enough recognition for women.

The fact that it is necessary for our society to feel the need to designate one day to recognize women for their amazing achievements sickens me. Why must there be a day set aside specifically to honor one group of people?

I am not saying that it is a bad thing that International Women’s Day is celebrated; however, I believe that setting aside an entire day in an attempt to prove that women are in fact equal to men, shows are that they are not.

Academy tragedies

By Dakota Fisher
This story also appears, in part, in the March print edition

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the eighty-seventh annual Academy Awards! Tonight, we will spend a total of five minutes talking about actors’ and actresses work and achievements, and another hour and fifty five minutes doing floor-to-ceiling shots of women’s dresses and questioning them about their style as opposed to asking them questions about their craft, or their thoughts and views on issues that are important to society.

The world has gotten so caught up on this year’s trend that we have refused to take the time to appreciate true hard work. Award shows are not fashion shows. The red carpet is not a runway. Of course people dress up in their finest clothes and look marvellous, beautiful, stunning, and any other synonym for pretty the English language has to offer, but why do networks insist on shoving the “Who Wore It Best” segment down the throats of their viewers?

“Do you do this to the guys too?” actress Cate Blanchett asked E! News’ Glam Cam at the Screen Actors Guild award show, as a cameraman scanned her dress and a spokesperson recited details of the designer.

In media, women and their bodies have become entertainment. From slut-shaming women for too little clothing, to calling those who choose to wear more layers than the average woman too reserved, today’s society cannot be pleased.

“Comments ranging from a bit sexist but harmless, to sexually aggressive is thought to be something that ‘just happens,’ this is the casual objectification of women,” said MVHS Alumni Brittany Satterfield. “Being a common thought, people start to think maybe we should suck it up, lie down, and accept defeat? I don’t think so. Objectification, whatever form it is in, is not something anyone should have to ‘just deal with.’ ”

Actresses do not choose to become actresses because they want to be asked a million questions about unimportant things. Why not use their power in media to promote equal rights or to encourage image equality instead of intruding on their home life and interviewing them about the latest scandal?

I hope that as 2015 begins we use actors’ and actresses’ power in the media to make the world a better place and reward them for their hard work, instead of filling the airways with pointless drama and the objectification of women. Why not let it be universally know that yes, women are beautiful, but do not let beauty get in the way of intellect.

 

Models of all shapes and sizes

By Dakota Fisher, staff writer

People tend to have a gross misconception of what it’s like to be a model: jetting all around the globe, sitting first class with a glass of the finest Chardonnay imaginable; relaxing in a beautiful five-star hotel with people to cater to your every whim; being primped and polished to perfection. Then all they have to do is make a few sexy faces at a camera while wearing nothing but their underwear. They are then handed a check for thousands of dollars and get their face slapped on a huge billboard in Times Square. This may be true for some supermodels, but the life of a plus size model is not so lavish.

Being the low man on the totem pole is not a stroll in the park. Plus size models face countless struggles in their line of work, yet still manage to promote image equality and positive body image.

MSA Modeling is an agency in New York that features plus size models, as well as the average runway model. Andrew Higgins, director at MSA Models, worked with women’s magazine Marie Claire in doing an experiment about men’s views on plus sized women.

“They took a plus sized model and a camera crew to ask men what aspects they liked about a plus sized model. They then asked if the men could tell her size. Not one in one hundred men knew. They didn’t see beauty as a dress size,” said Higgins.

“When they asked women the same question, the women were more critical about what parts needed help, while the men just said what they thought was attractive.”

The average woman is a size 14, however in the modelling industry, anything over a size 6 is considered “plus size.”

“I love plus size models.” said Lindsey Bonfiglio, 9. “They show that being skinny isn’t the only kind of beautiful and that it’s okay to be who you are.”

Plus sized models depict the body of the average woman, yet don’t receive the admiration they deserve. In fact, many argue that plus size models glorify obesity and promote a negative body image.

No one should be encouraged to starve themselves or to hate their bodies because they don’t match up to the unrealistic, photoshopped fictions that decorate our ads and tabloids. A five foot nine, 197 pound woman is just as beautiful as a woman who is  five foot one and 105. Some women are curvier than others, some are skinnier, some shorter, some taller, but there is beauty in all.