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My Life in 36 Words




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Introducing Me

I’m a pretty simple girl. I goto school, work part time, and strive to achieve the best I can. I make very good grades and I am an active writer. I direct my school newspaper and my school Lit Mag. Writing is one of my many passions. I love to start on a blank page and know that I can make it into whatever I want to. It belongs completely to me, and it is completely my own. I love to write for the newspaper, journal, short story write and my absolute favorite is poetry.  I love to play the guitar. I believe that life without music would be very boring. Music is a large part of my life, it helps me to express myself in a healthy way. I took the two of my talents and combined them, thus in result I write and sing my own music. I make pizzas currently for a living, nothing fabulous, but one day I hope to become a lawyer. Law is something I love to look at. I love the idea of having to challenge my mind to find educated ways to win/persuade my claim to be best. Being a lawyer has always been a dream of mine, it is the one thing I will not accept failure from. I will reach my goal and one day it will no longer be a dream. Overall, I’m a pretty simple girl with many dreams and talents; I just want to leave this world a better place then what I came into it as, my only life long goals are to live happily and to give back to the world thats given to me.

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Technology is a part of every one’s life. It’s all around us we use technology when we text, watch the news, and even when we research. What would you have to say if i told you our government controlles what we see? How does it make you feel to know your not really the one who is in charge of what your children are seeing?

Throughout history censorship has always had a drastic affect on society. It has provoked, what seems like, a never-ending battle between whether or not certain material is right or wrong.

Censorship does occur and countries do monitor whom their citizen’s talk to and what they are able to see. Some places in the world may go as far as isolating its citizens from the rest of the world. My question for you it do countries have probable cause or are they just paranoid? As said by, Laurence J. Peter,  “A censor is an expert in cutting remarks. A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.” Censorship is an unacceptable act. It limits countries and in many ways prevents growth. If you withhold worldwide news and information from an entire country you’re crippling them socially and limiting their knowledge. They’re reasoning behind their actions is to protect their countries, but in all reality its to prevent an uprising. You have to take into account that other countries don’t have the rights and freedoms we do. The real motive behind censorship is to remain in control.
A prime example of censorship is the way North Korea censors everything that reaches its citizens and everything that exits their country, especially technology wise. We as Americans know more about the government there then the citizens who live there do. North Korea is a highly centralized communist state. Part of having a communist state is a single authoritarian rules. There are no social classes, everyone has the same amount of money, and goods are distributed as needed. As said by Kerry Brock, of the Freedom Forum, in 1997, “To hear one voice clearly, we must have freedom to hear them all.” The citizens of North Korea are under extreme Internet censorship; they can only see certain books and nothing that isn’t preapproved by the government. Being under a single authoritarian means what he/she says goes. The citizens there know nothing more than that; they have no idea of democracy. If the common people of North Korea could see how we live, with all our freedoms, they would up rise and fight for their rights. The one way to prevent giving their people any power is isolation, otherwise known as censorship. Censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions.

  Even in America censorship occurs. Though it may not have ever been brought to your attention, but you can see little examples of censorship on the radio, on television, even when you use Google. For decade’s schools, churches, the media, parents, and the music industry have struggled to decide what is appropriate and inappropriate for young adults to be exposed to. But who is to say what is acceptable for you or your kids? Did you know that Google censors what everyone is able to see? After watching a speech from Ted Talk by Eli Pariser called, Facebook and Google Secrets Revealed, I learned all kinds of things Internet sites do. Google fixes its search based on the kind of person it thinks you are. They use your search history to filter what reaches you and what doesn’t.  They use this kind of information to fulfill what is relevant to your interests. If you and a friend were to sit down and type in the exact same search topic, I bet that you would both get different results. Google uses 57 different ways to determine how they’re going to tailor your results. It’s a sort of personalization. Isn’t this in some way censorship too? The Internet is showing us what we need to see, not exactly what we want to see. The problem is you don’t decide what gets to you, and you don’t see what doesn’t. You see what they think you want to see, and nothing more than that. The motive behind their actions is acceptable, but at the same time they are still with holding information from us.

Take a look at television for instance. One television show, Pokémon, a cartoon designed in Japan and airs here is highly censored. Did you realize that eight episodes were banned from airing in the U.S? And the ones that did actually air in the U.S. were “edited”. These cuts are censorships. The reasoning behind banning these episodes is they are “unsuitable” for airing in the U.S. The first episode in the first series was cut, the reason being they gave James, one of the female characters, cleavage in order to win a beauty contest. If you ask me, who gets to decide what is appropiate? We should be controlling that. Now I do realize that the reason being these cartoons may not have been acceptable for young kids, and it may not be what you want your children watching, which is why we see adult swim at night on cartoon network. Those cartoons are still available, now whether or not you decide to watch it, or let your children watch it is up to you. But the main thing is the videos/cartoons are still available, and they weren’t hidden/banned from viewing. Supervision by adults is understandable; as a matter of fact every child should be monitored. But as adults we should make the choice for ourselves.

     One form of censorship that we are battling with in school right now is banning books. Is censorship in schools good? Is it necessary to ban books? Each person answers these questions differently. However you look at it, censorship occurs around you to. Back in the holocaust book burning was an everyday activity that was taking place. Book censorship today in America isn’t quite as drastic as that, but still is reflecting the same concepts. Many ways exist to ban books. Our county has a group of people who read the questionable book and determine whether its educational value exceeds the weight of the objections against it. A series at Benton high school that they are struggling against is the Crank series written by Ellen Hopkins. This series tells a story about a young girl who is addicted to cocaine; this content is for a mature audience. I read this whole series and although it contains some harsh content I also learned a lot about the consequences that come with doing drugs. Each person is different, and if your parents, or if you are a parent, you should make this decision. Again I do understand monitoring what your child reads, but the government shouldn’t make this decision for you. This topic goes right along with the television issue. Over all I understand the motive, but I don’t agree with keeping information away from children/adults.

Books won’t stay banned. They won’t go away forever. Ideas won’t disappear. In the long run of history the censor has always lost. The only sure fight against bad ideas, such as censorship, is better ideas. Censorship is a growing issue. Whether its a government controlling a whole country or schools restricting your child’s ability to reach their full potential, it’s not worth the small chance that the music industry, media, and books can possibly have an affect on personality, attitude, or behavior. If were not allowing our citizens the right to read/watch/research what they want to then what makes us so much different then North Korea and other highly controlled places. Censorship is not okay as a whole; adults should make that decision for their self’s and their children. Governments should not censor us. I hope this has raised your awareness, as it is a growing problem. One day I hope to see a world where the people are in charge and they have say in what they see. The question that faces us in the future is when does it stop?

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The Worst Hard Times; Timothy Egan (Chapter summary 1-5)

Emily CoxMrs. Lynn LaippleAP Communication Arts 11 – W13 February 2012

In the book, The Worst Hard Times, written by Timothy Egan, the author depicts the devastating tales of the Dust Bowl. Intense warnings (against plowing the land) are voiced but ignored. The dust bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was caused by a severe drought. On top of that, farmers back then farmed their land without crop rotation. Thus causing the soil to turn to dust. Now winds could easily pick up the dust. Not taken seriously, all hell broke loose. Dust storms whipped across the landscape, choking people and animals, and eventually causing waste to one of the richest places on earth.  To the settlers it seemed on many days that a curtain was being drawn across the vast land. Families couldn’t huddle together for warmth or love because the static electricity would knock them down. Children died of dust pneumonia, and livestock suffocated on dirt. Their insides were packed with soil. Women hung wet sheets in their windows, taped up their doors and stuffed cracks with rags. Unfortunately, none of this really worked. Housecleaning in the thirties, was performed with a shovel. Banks, churches and businesses closed due to the collapse of wall street (the great depression). Food became scarce. They clubbed thousands of rabbits and they poured boiling water on the insects that covered their dug out walls. The dirt was so thick that you could get lost half a block from your own home. There wasn’t even enough oxygen in a shelter to keep a lantern lighted. It was complete hell, and unaware they brought it upon their selves.Leading up to the dust bowl many events took place. World War One took place directly before the dust bowl. During the war, we began to expand to the west. People migrated to the west coast in hopes of new land. Everyone had “The American Dream”. They wanted opportunities and riches. They took long hard trips on foot and by wagon. They offered Pilgrims free train rides to get to no mans land. The government scammed people out of good land. People in trouble went to the plains and no one ever came looking for them. The conditions were very bad. There was extreme weathers, and no one knew what was really on the other side until they got there.The vast lands were not vacant when the settlers moved there. There were Indians who lived off the land. They used the animals, the grass lands, the natural streams, they used everything that nature had to offer. They lived pure, free, and beautifully. The great west, or the plains, was there home. When the settlers decided to live on the land, the realized they would have to take it. They killed thousands and thousands of buffaloes. The buffaloes were the Indians main resource to food, shelter, warmth, every part of their life tied them back to the buffalo. They used their hides for blankets and to make their tee-pees. They used their bones for tools and jewelery. After the settlers had killed off all the buffalo, the Indians starved and froze to death. If that wasn’t bad enough, the settlers fought the Indians and killed them as well. The Indians had no guns, the used bows and arrows. The settlers had them due to industrialization. The settlers forced the Indians away, making them live in camps. The Indians lost their life’s, their land, their way of life, but the settlers got their plains.

The government was very eager to settle this new land, they went to extremes to get people to come out and farm it. They provided transportation and gave the land away. The cowboys tried to warn everyone not to plow the grass lands but of course no one listened. After people had came to the new land, they discovered it was not everything they promised. The soil was no good, and in most cases people were barley farming enough to stay afloat. No trees would grow, no vegetables or fruit. They tried to grow cotton but it was no good as well. The only crop they could grow well was wheat. Everyone was trying to make a living off of the land. Therefore, everyone was growing wheat. Since everyone was growing the wheat, there was a surplus.

Eventually the price of wheat started dropping, and continued to drop drastically. There was way to much wheat, and no-one in America needed it. They began to export the wheat to other countries, because they could use it. We also increased imports, decreasing  the amount of jobs in the U.S.

When the stock market finally crashed, no one had money. When the banks failed you lost all of your money. Hundreds of banks closed their doors, leaving everyone  helpless. Without any money, and wheat not selling, life on the plains was at a new low. America needed to increase the amount of jobs in America, and pump money back into the country. The idea was if we cut back on our imports there would be more for the citizens to do. Other countries got really mad that we withdrew ourselves. So in return, they decreased the amount of wheat they imported from us, thus, less money coming into the U.S.

Farmers did the only thing they knew how to do, they keep turning up the grass lands in hopes that they could farm more crops. Of course they didn’t, and by the time they realized this it was already too late. People didn’t want to give up on the land. Some farmers did not have a choice and they went bankrupt, others just couldn’t take the chaos and stress and abandoned their lands. Eventually farmers found a good use for the surplus of wheat, they burned it in their homes for heat, the only thing they could do with it.

Everyone believed things would get better and because they were already at an all time low. They figured things couldn’t go any worse, but indeed things kept getting worse and worse. Farmers and the new settlers figured it would have to look up somewhere. They were wrong, and they were in for a huge wake up call. Things only kept going down hill. Life was horrible for everyone, even the common man. The dust bowl was one of the worst natural disasters America has ever seen. I pity those that lived through it and in all honesty i don’t understand how they did.

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WWII; Atomic Bomb: Harmful or Helpful?

In the end, the results were justified by the deployment of both of the atomic bombs fired in WWII. The lasting effects, the damage done by the two bombs, was undeniably worth it. President Truman did have the justification to fire the two bombs into Japan. I believe it was a desperate war effort to end the continuous fighting. Retaliation was absolutely necessary, and if retaliation had never took place, the war would never have ended.

The start of WWII came for many reasons. Only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor did we really declare war with Japan. Japan had rapidly increased their army size, and at a very quick rate. This was a threat to the US, and after they attacked, neutrality was no longer an option. Japan was too strong, and way too populated for the US to turn a blind eye. Adolf Hitler soon after, declared war on the US and with our country. One of the many reasons we entered the war was due to Nazi Germany sinking American supply ships. The US was providing financial and military support to our allies (England, France, China and Russia).  Also the US entered the war to help prevent another attempt at Europe being taken over by Germany (remember back to WWI), to prevent China being further weakened by the Japanese(Japan’s attempt to take all of Asia), and finally just because we, the US, didn’t agree with Hitler’s way. Also they were trying to take some of the US land (The pacific battle). The US was not going to let anyone conquer anything that belonged to them, and at any means necessary, this would be proved. Before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States policy was one that practiced neutrality and isolationism ( because of WWI). If it wasn’t for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we the US would not have had to fight back, thus no atomic bombs would have been sent. All is fair in love and war, and the US went to war to win. The US wanted an immediate end to the war due to the fact that we were having our own problems at home(recovery from the great depression). Money was short for WWII, and America, at any costs, was not going to put itself through another depression.The last few battles(between the US and Japan) before to the bombings, were extremely bloody. Everyone was tired of the fighting. US was sick of paying, dying, and in a whole, tired of  the war. Japanese were warned five days prior to the first actual bombing. Rather than acting on it, they chose to not reply. There was some moral to the bombings, there could have been no warning at all.
Due to the bombings in Japan, it made other nations want to join the nuclear club to protect themselves. Before the US bombed Japan, we were the only ones who nuclear technology. Today USA, Russia(most advanced), France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan, and a few others have nuclear technology. Now not only can the US put an immediate stop to any war, or do extremely damage to any country, others can too. I understand that many innocent people were harmed, and that there have been extreme environmental damage. Many of the survivors who have children, have mental disabilities and have been known to get all types of cancers. The atomic bombs that were dropped in Japan were the first to ever be dropped, and another hasn’t been dropped since. President Truman knew that the bomb would have a devastating effect, but i don’t think he would’ve imagined that seventy years  later Japan is still suffering from it. At the time of WWII, dropping the bomb proved to the world that the US was the strongest country in the world. It essentially ended WWII because the US was having success against Germany at the time anyway, and this showed that not only did we have a superior weapon but were willing to use it. It stopped the US from battling two countries, thus the Germans knew that the US was coming full force to stop Hitler. It did several things for Foreign relations, good and bad. Proud nations saw it as a muscle used to force them into agreements they did not want and allies saw it as a guarantee of safety from their enemies.
Overall I believe that dropping the two atomic bombs was a good thing. It put end to a worldwide war instantly. It also flexed the muscle of the US. After the dropping of the atomic bombs, every other country seen the US as a superior. Despite bombing Japan, the US and Japan have a firm relationship today. We are trading partners and shockley we are even allies(one of the closest). The Japanese, in return support the US one hundred percent.  The US was the only country which had the means to rebuild the world after the war after WWII. The US forgave the citizens of the country (Killed the leaders of the wars), and instead of demanding money for the war debt, provided financial aid for Germany and Japan. This changed these two countries from enemies of WWII to two of our strongest allies. Eventually, working together after the war, Japan and Germany became two of the best economies in the world at the time. WWII and the dropping of the atomic bombs also changed the US from being neutral and isolated to fully involved. The US now holds the belief that it is their responsibility to help those countries who cannot help themselves. The US now takes it upon themselves today to help countries around the world in keeping internal/external peace, help them remain financially stable, and really aid in anything they need.
In the end, the results were justified by the deployment of both of the atomic bombs fired in WWII. The lasting effects, the damage done by the two bombs, was undeniably worth it. President Truman did have the justification to fire the two bombs into Japan considering the attacks Japan had taken at Pearl Harbor. Retaliation was absolutely necessary, and if retaliation had never took place, the war would never have ended. Without the US stepping up with Truman’s word, taking initiative to end the war, today life would be much different. Taking into account that lives are lost in every war, and sacrifices are made, what came out of it in the end has been greater then anything that has happened since that  day on August, 6, 1945.

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Body Image and The Media

Everywhere you look there are overwhelming images  of thin women and buff men selling makeup and dieting products, modeling in advertisements, and most importantly selling “perfection”. The media has set standards and expectations for adolescents and even many adults. The need to fit in amongst what the media considers pretty/handsome has engulfed the world. Extremes have been taken such as body enhancements done through procedures, harsh eating disorders, and developing a negative body conscious. It is part of our ego, in today’s society, to be overly self conscious. The media displays images to us that are often out of reach. It is hard to live up to the larger than life image, thus making us feel bad about ourselves. This often leads to anxiety, depression and things of that similar matter.They, as in the media, target us. They are a very persuasive force that has managed to shape the ideal body image(physical appearance). Is this constant obsession with appearance healthy or harmful? Men and women everywhere feel the intense pressure. We as people are constantly comparing ourselves to others, at the grocery store, in the mall, in our home, everywhere you go. Society is reaching to achieve a goal that really isn’t attainable in the first place. Body image in the media has no positive effect, it only drags us as people down.
In an article written by Courtney Littler, AngeLingo Culture: Perfect Body, she talks about the many different effects that the media has on body image. This paper talks about key points like the expectations that are held to be considered pretty, body enhancements done through procedures, eating disorders, and body consonance. The author of this paper includes many statements about the pressure the media is having on young women. Including statements such as, “In today’s media, bodily perfection is not only the standard, it’s the norm.” Littler uses this sentence as her topic sentence, her opener. By saying that bodily perfection is the norm in today’s society she provides evidence to her readers that there is a problem with body image in the media. Littler shows throughout her entire paper every problem that is associated with media pressures. The one pressure that struck my interest the most in her paper is when she talks about “enhancing procedures”.  In the article is says, “Film and television is lush with female characters with a variety of personality traits with which to identify, and yet the body types of these very different types of women remain almost identical. The implication is that beauty comes in all types of personalities, but in only one shape and size.” In order to obtain this one shape and size every woman is trying to achieve, women take extremes like getting breast implants, liposuction, tummy tucks, nose jobs, and facial reconstruction. I would say that having your face reconstructed to be pretty is a good example of an extreme effect that the media is having on women everywhere.In another article, Beauty and Body image in the Media, the author also hits key points that Littler does. The one statement that caught my attention was, “Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition.” With this being said, what exactly is the media trying to obtain? Being barbie is not only unhealthy, it’s impossible. The media sells products just like anyone else, and they will continue to sell body image. In the meantime, while they’re trying to build a fantasy world, they’re installing poor dieting, low self esteem, and bad body conscience into all of us. Everyone is trying to achieve a goal that really is not attainable this article speaks out to people about a growing and controversial problem.

In the book, The media and body image: if looks could kill, Maggie Wykes and Gunter Barrie open to the first chapter with a strong hitting statement. In the book it says, “Despite normal hunger, slender shape and a successful social life, many young women deprive themselves of nutrition to the point they risk serious illness and even death.” [1] This statement from the book is very self explanatory. If fitting into the media’s expectations is so important that you would take nutrition from your body and risk serious illness or death, there is a problem. Being pretty, should not be associated with being unhealthy or depicting unhealthy behaviors and thoughts. With today’s expectations, unfortunately we see nothing short of that.

In a recent research conducted by Krahé, Barbara, and Christina Krause, they presented a series of different photos, from thin models to “thick” models. They brought out snacks to the group of women, one a healthy choice and one a non-healthy choice(a normal snack, many of which are found in the average home). The women did not know that they were being watched or tested. Unknowingly the majority of the women picked the dieted snack choice in remembrance of the photos. A longer study was taken as well(conducted by the same people, and constants were held such as people from the first group), over time they noticed that women ate smaller portions. In the research they referred to it as “restrained eating”. Losing control of your eating habits, fully aware or partly aware of the fact, can be detrimental to one’s health.  Restrained eating has been known to lead to unhealthy eating habits. Common actions of a restrained eater include not allowing themselves to eat what they want for long periods of time. Then finally losing control, due to emotions and hunger, and bingeing on all of their favorite foods. The most popular way of reversing the damage done by the bingeing is to make one’s self throw up the food they consumed, thus bulimia. Bulimia by definition is, “An emotional disorder in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting.” Restrained eating is only one of the many methods we as people use to compete with the obtaining the “perfect body”.

Another research that was conducted by Barbara Dooley, showed similar results. In this research, a large group of highschool students and their parents were to take a survey. In the survey they asked things like, “Do you feel affected by media pressure?”. Over 50% said they were affected by the media and agreed that it does affect their eating habits and self esteem. Almost all of the group said that they thought the media’s view of perfect, or healthy, was too thin. Yet they still battle to meet what the media is expecting. This research showed mild, real life effects, of the harsh pressures associated with keeping up in society. Due to this research, it has helped define the people most targeted by media pressure. Parents, young children(as young as toddlers), all teenagers, and in some cases, even the elderly. The media has no direct target area, everyone wants to be young and thin and beautiful, so everyone is affected by the pressures they provide.
While looking at the advertisement found in Glamor, published in 2010, some of the things that popped out to me first included a thin women standing in an orange dress. She looks perfect, she had perfect skin(it appeared to me airbrushed), a large white smile, and around her things like, “ Flatter your size by lots more” and “The only way to drop ten pounds for good’. These sayings inferred that if you didn’t look like the women in the picture you were not right, or pretty, or even acceptable. This magazine cover targets women mainly because it talks about sex. It also puts off the feeling that if you don’t appear this way, your husband will not be sexually attracted to you. The cover says things like, “ The #1 reason he loves sex with you…”. This quote is located right by the women’s bust. This picture also has a banner on it, one that was not originally there as part of the advertisement, by it says, “By opening this magazine you will lower your self esteem and you will become insecure.” This photo, along with the banner across it, brings awareness to the things we see everyday and don’t necessarily take into mind. Media pressures have become second nature to us, like said before, they’re all around us and it doesn’t always click when we are exposed to it. The media is putting a pressure on everyone to look like the “Barbie” in the photo, in reality who can achieve that?
Another advertisement provided by People Magazine, published in 2007, you see a picture of a very well know, absolutely beautiful model, Tyra Banks. She is a famous model, absolutely stunning. In this particular picture, Tyra doesn’t appear as thin as usual. In the picture there are captions that read, “ You call this fat?” and another caption that reads, “ Mocked after gaining 30 pounds”. This magazine cover shows how harsh the media can be. Tyra is fighting back in this particular instance, to prove to everyone she is still beautiful, despite the extra pounds. She appears curvy, but not obese or even relatively fat. In the photo it reads, “161 pounds”, Tyra is 5’10. Research shows that being 5’10 and healthy, a normal person should weigh between 153-173 pounds. I’d say she falls within that. Does this image suggest that if she isnt underweight, therefore unhealthy, that she isn’t attractive? The media’s expectations are ridiculous, and this photo, helps bring that out.
In many issues of Mens Fitness you see bodybuilders. Specifically speaking about one issue, The body Challenge for 2011. There is a very muscular man on the cover, his abs are what i would personally say, “ripped”. He is insanely in shape. In the picture the man is looking down at his ab’s and smiling, as if he has accomplished something. He has. It’s the text next to the picture that is disturbing. In big red letters it says, “Get your PERFECT BODY…” This advertisement sends a message to all males suggesting that if you are not rock hard, tan, lean and “perfect”, you are not attractive enough. This in many cases sparks the interest of steroids, extreme diets, and extreme workouts, all of which can be very unhealthy.This kind of advertisement is the reason why many people develop depression, eating disorders and so on. This photo/magazine cover shows that not only are women, though i feel they are focused upon more, are targeted, but it is out there for men/young boys to see as well.
You could say that body image and the media are only one of the many sources that influence people to strive for perfection. Opinions and pressures associated with body weight/beauty come from factors like parents, friends, teachers, books and even people surrounding us like our peers at work and school. People are aware of being healthy and they understand what they need to do in order to be healthy.  The negative part of things like starvation, steroids, medical procedures, and eating disorders are all available for everyone to see.  One might say that along with the media advertising perfection, and putting massive amounts of pressure on everyone, that there are people out there who are putting out the same pressures to be healthy and not give into the media. With this being said, it becomes more of a choice. There are many commercials and articles out there that are against bulimia, anorexia, restrained eating, and medical procedures. There are pressures from both sides. Thus all this being said, many may say that only people who are overly self conscious, and people who are vulnerable are impacted.
Whether women are more targeted, i don’t really know, but me being a woman, i can tell you i definitely feel it. Have you ever been looking at a photo, or watching a movie and felt bad about yourself because you didn’t live up to that? This is where the problem begins. Who gets to set the standards, who is to say what is beautiful?Overall the need to fit in amongst what the media considers pretty/handsome is having a dramatic effect on people everywhere. It can lead to severe and sometimes even deadly results. The pressures have been unbelievable and many cannot hold out. Body image has become so important, and fitting in with society’s expectations has become so necessary, that teens and even adults are going mad. The real problem is not with being pretty, because being healthy and in shape is an important thing, but what the media shows as pretty is not acceptable. Media’s version of perfect, is too skinny, too tall, to polished. This leads people to breast implants, liposuction, steroids, depression, and even having suicidal thoughts. Is looking the part that important? I’d say no. The media should focus on eating healthy, building self esteem up, and making you feel good about yourself. The only problem with this is, if you felt good about yourself, you wouldn’t need their diet products, medical procedures, and makeup products. The media targets us, we are the victims taken in by “perfection”.

Littler, Courtney. AngeLingo Culture: Perfect Body. University of Southern California, 2003. Web. 13 March 2012.

“Beauty and Body Image in the Media.” Media Awareness Network. Media Awareness Network, 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_beauty.cfm>.

Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. Chapter 1. London: SAGE, 2005. Print.

Krahé, Barbara, and Christina Krause. “Presenting Thin Media Models Affects Women’s Choice Of Diet Or Normal Snacks.” Psychology Of Women Quarterly 34.3 (2010): 349-355. Academic Search Elite. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.

Barbara Dooley, et al. “Eating Concerns And Media Influences In An Irish Adolescent Context.” European Eating Disorders Review 17.3 (2009): 208-213. Academic Search Elite. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.

Adios Barbie. Advertisement. Glamour 7 July 2010: 1. Print.

Advertisement. People 26 Jan. 2007: 1. Print.

Advertisement. Mens Fitness – Body Challenge 2011: 1. Print.

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Valentines Day Around The World

All over the world people celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing love to sweethearts, spouses and special ones. However, customs and traditions of celebrating the festival vary by countries due to social and cultural differences. Valentine’s Day in other countries is similar to Valentines Day in the U.S. In some countries they have a different time and a different way of celebrating it.
Giving chocolates, gifts, cards, roses or going out with your “sweet heart” is the best-known way of celebrating it all around the world, but in some countries they celebrate differently. For example, in Vietnam, Couples wear the same style and/or color of clothes. Japan has its own interesting way as well. For them, there are two Valentine’s Days. On February 14th, girls give dark chocolate to the boys they like. On March 14th, boys give cookies or white chocolate to the girls they like. In countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and India, not everyone is allowed to celebrate this day. People who attend college are free to celebrate the way they want to. But high school students aren’t normally allowed to celebrate the day of love. Regardless of the rules, some kids look for a way to give notes to their lovers. If the students get caught passing their notes, they get a warning and their parents get to know about their romance. In some parts of the Dominican Republic and El Salvador friends and family play games together. The game played in the Dominican Republic is called “Angelito”. Dominicans rip pieces of paper and write the name of another person, either girl or boy. Then each player gives his/her “angelito” a present. In El Salvador it is the same way of playing but with a different name. The Salvadorian game is called “Amigo Secreto” (secret friend).  In Spain only people in love get and give presents. Friends or family don’t exchange notes or presents. Some countries don’t celebrate the holiday at all. Most Ethiopian and Chinese people don’t know what Valentine’s Day is until they’ve been to the U.S. and see the way we celebrate it here.   So, Valentine’s Day means different things to different people at different stages of their lives, but in the end Valentine’s Day is about the search for lasting love




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The End Of the World: Myth or Fact?

The official date has been set; On December 21, 2012 a series of events are said to take place. People will be in utter chaos. As the date is fast approaching people are starting to panic. There are many different myths of how the world will end. The thought that 2012 will be the last year that any human will walk the Earth is literally driving people mad. From earthquakes, to floods and tornados, every natural disaster known to man, and even those we cant begin to fathom, are expected to occur. As many sources have said, death will wash over the world like a giant tsunami, taking every piece of flesh in it path. In an article, 2012: Six End-of-the-World Myths Debunked, on National Geographic’s website it says, ‘”I’ve had two teenagers who were considering killing themselves, because they didn’t want to be around when the world ends,” he said. “Two women in the last two weeks said they were contemplating killing their children and themselves so they wouldn’t have to suffer through the end of the world.”’ Television shows, such as “Doomsday Bunkers” and “Doomsday Preppers” are sending people into fear. The movie “2012”, has frightened people all over the world. Individuals everywhere are taking drastic measures. Panic is already setting in, and we still have months to come. Rumors of how the world will meet its end are swarming. Rumors such as the pole shift, the Maya prediction, the galactic alignment, solar storms, and even Planet X meeting earth are impacting people everywhere. The Maya’s said that the world would end at the end of their calendar. The calendar began during the times BC, and went on for thousands of years. In a recent study it was discovered that leap year wasn’t included on the Maya calendar. The system of three 365-day years followed by one 366-day Leap Year began in 47 B.C. The extra day was added to the last month of the year, which in Caesar’s time was February. The Maya calendar began in 3114 BC, so taking this into account; we should be in August of 2013. Thus according to the Mayan calendar the world should have ended eight months ago. Other myths that are proven to be untrue include the Planet X, called Niburu. This planet is said to collide with earth, and if that was the case, several NASA scientist said it would be visible to the naked eye by now. The polar shift theory was proven wrong as well, said to be sending the Earth’s poles and magnetic fields to destruction. It is impossible to reverse the rotation of the Earth on its axis. It is true that continents are slowly drifting, but they cannot reverse the roles of the poles. (http://www.cpraward.org/the-year-2012.html) Whether you believe the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012 or simply think it’s a myth drug out by media and human fear, the date is still steadily approaching. What are your plans for survival?


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Prom Approachs

Prom is an elaborate event that teens attend during their junior and senior year of high school. It can be one of the most memorable nights of a teenager’s life, and to get ready for it, there is a lot of organization, preparation and excitement. Teenage boys attending prom usually pay less on prom than the girls. They have the cost of renting the tuxedo and shoes, the prom ticket, and a corsage for their date. Girls attending prom usually have to pay more because they have the cost of their prom dress range between 100-500+ dollars. In addition, each girl pays for the cost of her prom ticket, a boutonniere for her date, the cost of getting her hair and nails done and a few other additional expenses. Cutting corners for many people is important. On average Americans spend $6.6 billion dollars on prom annually. A typical girl spends about $250.00-$400.00 on a dress; boys typically spend $80.00-$180.00 on a tuxedo. The price of dinner and a ticket to prom ranges $60.00-$80.00. As well as other expenses such as transportation, nails and pictures. So as you can see the price of prom for a couple can quickly rise. The average couple has spends from $800.00 to $1000.00 in total prom costs. For many that may seem like a lot of money to invest into one night. Every high school junior and senior dreams of attending the prom, the glamour, the glitz, the dressing up, and the memories, but the prom is becoming more and more expensive. Is this four or five hours worth the cost? To some it might seem like the people who spend the most money will have the most fun, but when it comes right down to it, everyone will have a dress and a ride and it does not matter how much everything costs once everyone is at the venue and having fun. It is the prom, not the money spent, that will be remembered.







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Technology Here We Come

by Emily Cox

As you all know, when we come back from Christmas break, we all be receiving our very own computers. Everyday we are coming closer and closer to the launch of has been named “Project Connect”. This is a huge step for everyone as we begin  learning through this technology together. Not only is this a huge step for us, as students, it’s also a huge step for our school.

Benton High School is what you call the “pilot school” for Project Connect. For those of you who may not know what a pilot is, it’s most easily compared to a test run. Benton is privileged to be the only high school in the district to be going one to one. For many years we have been two to one. By this I mean two students for every one computer in the building. So all of us having a computer is a pretty big change, but it may not be as big as you think.

When we return on January 4, 2012, the first day back from winter break, we will report to our CAMP class and receive our brand new Mac Books. Luckily, the day before break all of our lovely CAMP teachers will be registering our computers for us, saving us about an hour and a half of “electronic” paperwork. On that note, be sure to thank your CAMP teachers for taking the extra time to make this a little easier.

The first day back will consist mostly of computer training. All day we will be learning about our new computers, and the brand new software that comes with them. After sitting down with Dr.Westfall, I’ve learned some pretty cool stuff and “Project Connect”. One of the new programs that will be on our computers is called Computrace. This is software that assures, 100%, your computer won’t be lost or stolen! It’s way more advanced than what we have on our computers now. Another program our computer will be running off of is Lion-OS. This is the same software our teachers currently use. A little perk that comes with Lion-OS is a feature called Self Service. In a nutshell, Self Service is an app store. With Self Service, you can download the applications you need for your computer. Just make sure you have permission from Dr. Westfall first. I was able to browse through the library myself and there are games and all kinds of stuff that we can download for free. Dr.Westfall has to approve of the application you want to download, and then it goes on a list that becomes available to everyone. If there isn’t an application on the list that you want, it’s as simple as getting it approved and then you have it.

Every student will be required to have an Apple account. If you already have one, all you have to do is turn your name and password into your CAMP teacher. The last really cool feature I’m going to talk about is called Air Drop. Air Drop is a communication application. If you have ever been on Google Maps, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. The little pegs you see all over the maps, is what you’ll see on Air Drop. This application allows you to directly send documents to your neighbor’s computer. All you have to do is drag the document from your peg, to your neighbors peg, drop it, and magic, what was on your computer is now on your neighbors.

Now there is one condition to getting your laptop, your parents have to come to the parent meeting and sign the permission slip. The computers will not be sent home, for any reason, until this slip has been signed. A letter has been sent home to your parents, but it would be a good thing to remind them about the meeting, as it is very important that they come.

Insurance is not required to have for your computer, but if I was you, I would highly consider getting it. If you do not get the insurance, and your computer is damaged, you are responsible for covering the cost to fix or replace it. Now something to take into account is that there is no charge to cover theft because the school district has purchased the Computrace for us. I want to bring to your attention that the charger that you will be carrying is eight dollars by itself! Something as little as that, if it breaks, or is water damaged, while not covered under insurance, is eighty dollars out of your pocket. The laptop case you will be assigned to carry, which is another twenty-five dollars, if damaged would end up costing you one hundred and five dollars. That’s not even including the computer. The computer alone is nine hundred dollars. Now if you do the math, that’s one thousand and five dollars of school property you’ll be carrying around. Do you have the money to cover that if an accident happens? I know I don’t.

So to answer another question you may have, how much is insurance? Well, you will be provided with a list of insurance providers and, depending on your needs, and what policy fits you best, you’ll be able to get coverage. Insurance can range from $15-30 a semester, which is not too bad considering the thousands it would cost you otherwise.

The first week we are back, the computers will remain at school overnight. We will not be allowed to take them home with us until the following Monday, January 9. As you all know, social networking sites are banned during school hours. As of now, violation of this restriction isn’t really a huge punishment, but when we get our new computers, it’s going to change dramatically. Consequences can range from ISS, to having the computer taken away. Cheating will be treated the same way, and for those of you who don’t know our policy, it can possibly end up in expulsion from Benton. (You can find this in your student handbook). Having a computer is a responsibility, therefore, we are responsible for charing them every night to be ready to use during the school day. If you fail to do so, you’ll be back to paper and pencil. The battery of your computer will last you up to twelve hours (double the battery life of the computers we’re using now). Charging rules will vary by teacher, but keep in mind that classrooms will not have enough outlets for every student to plug their computer in. The only thing the teachers are being provided with is a power strip; not nearly enough to charge thirty kids’ computers.

Some of you may have heard about the school store that will be opening soon. It will be located in the old conference room next to Dr. Westfall’s office. The store will be selling laptop accessories for students to buy to personalize their laptops and bags, as well as items to help us organize our classwork. Laptop skins, USB drives, and decals/decorative accessories to personalize your laptop and carrying case, are just a few things students will be able to buy.

If you are worried because you’re not very good on a computer, you can always visit the tech office located in the library. A tech support specialist will be available upon request, and I’m sure your friendly librarians, Mrs. Corey and Mrs. Halter, will be willing to help you out, as well. There will be plenty of support and guidance available throughout this transition.

This is going to be a good experience for all of us. It may be a little bumpy to start, but it will progress and work itself out in the long run, so remember, be patient, we’re all in the same boat, faculty and students. Like Dr. Westfall said to me during our interview, “We are not preparing you to be who your parents were twenty years ago, we’re preparing you to be who your children will be twenty years in the future.” This is the future and we’re headed full speed into it. I hope everyone is excited as I am!


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