For my senior year capstone project, I chose to expand and improve our school’s community involvement club after being appointed as the leader of the club by its previous leaders. One of my core philosophies as a person is that if you have the resources to help others who need it, you must do so. I wanted to share the sentiment with my peers by upgrading the club’s activities, consistency, and overall impact on the community. I wanted to ensure that we were participating in activities that were truly helping others. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, I developed new regular volunteer activities for students to participate in as well as scheduled monthly standalone events for us to help run. Running and developing CIC this year was a challenge but it taught me a lot about the importance of leadership and service. To digitize my capstone, I composed a timeline of the 9-month long project from the beginning of the school year in September to May 2020.
This paper discusses the issues that women face in a world of photoshopped advertisements and the true violence of forcing women to live up to impossible standards. In this essay, I describe lots of different reasons why photoshopping women in advertisements can have life-threatening effects on consumers.
There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by others. It’s only human nature to look at someone you think is beautiful and desire to look like them - I go through this thought process every day and most of the time it serves to deepen my sense of style and self-image in a positive way. A problem arises when we as women are being presented with examples that are physically impossible to achieve. It’s dangerous for a young girl to desire a biologically impossible waist size after seeing a photoshopped woman in a magazine or on social media. This is how women start to become angry with themselves for not being able to achieve certain criteria. They ask themselves, “Why can’t I look like that? Why don’t I look like that? What’s wrong with me?” as opposed to asking themselves what’s wrong with companies who produce and stamp in these standards. Women have started to take desperate and dangerous measures in order to achieve the beauty standards they see advertised to them every day.
This phenomenon is in part because women, especially young women, often aren’t aware that the women they see in advertising every day have been photoshopped. They think that it’s possible to attain these features. “The more and more we use this editing, the higher and higher the bar goes. They’re creating things that are physically impossible,” says Henry Farid, professor of computer science who specializes in photo manipulation. Most of these standards such as teeny waists and thigh gaps are only achievable with surgery and photoshop for the vast majority of women, who are blaming themselves for not being able to achieve them with exercise, dieting, or simply just inhabiting a certain body type.
In 2011, the American Medical Association released a statement about the connections between photoshopped advertisements and eating disorders in young women, “A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems.” More and more magazine editors and social media influencers are broadcasting an unattainable archetype for impressionable young girls to see without presenting them as fake. To present women with impossible standards of beauty and claim that it’s natural and something they can achieve is only bound to cause seriously dangerous methods of reaching that goal. It’s no wonder that women have begun to venture into unsafe methods of dieting, and it’s an act of violence to let women keep believing that’s their only option.
The pumping out of airbrushed and tampered-with images of female bodies has also caused women to undergo dangerous illegal cosmetic surgeries in order to attain certain standards. In 2018, popular rapper Cardi B admitted to getting silicon injections back when she was a stripper by a surgeon without a license. According to licensed plastic surgeon, Dr. Wright A. Jones, the non-medical grade silicone she was injected with could have entered the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, causing infection, loss of limbs, stroke, kidney failure, respiratory failure, heart failure, and in extreme cases, death. Professional and safe cosmetic surgery is way out of range for most women in terms of cost, which is the main reason why women book appointments with “freelance” cosmetic surgeons. Some women feel as though going under the knife by someone who doesn’t necessarily know what they’re doing is one of their only options to feel confident about their appearances.
We’ve still got a very long way to go before corporations start representing the most common body types in women and stop advertising impossible ideas of what women should try to look like. Regardless, some companies such as Dove, Aerie, and CVS have begun to rule out photoshopping women in their advertisements. About the subject, the Marketing Director of Dove says, "As a beauty brand, Dove has always celebrated real women and their beauty -- we believe the No Digital Distortion Mark will help women identify reality in what can be a confusing, digital world and relieve some of the pressure to look a certain way." We can only hope as women and allies alike that more and more companies will make this decision, but until then, we can only try to fight back to the beauty standards being imposed upon us and keep one another safe from the corporations that profit off of our insecurity.
Many people’s coming out stories have tales of shame, guilt, and lack of self-acceptance. For my personal coming to terms with my sexual orientation story, none of that showed up. I sort of just one day said to myself, “Wait a minute” and realized that this feeling of infatuation towards women and those female-presenting alike was not jealousy or admiration, it was attraction. I didn’t feel any shame, even though a couple years prior same-sex couples really freaked me out. Sure, it was unfamiliar and strange to imagine my future with a woman having never considered it before, but it didn’t scare me or make me feel bad about myself. I figured, similarly to Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out experience, “Oh well.” In an interview with Time Magazine, she demonstrates an underlying acceptance that some LGBTQ people carry within themselves. It’s a concise statement in its nature, but a self-affirming phrase that allows LGBTQ people like me to move forward with their lives and keep moving regardless of struggles that may arise out of realizations about sexual orientation.
I wasn’t always so accepting. As a kid, although I had a gay father figure, gay teachers, gay family members whom I all loved, (and was a soon-to-realize queer person myself), I had a hard time being comfortable with queerness.
My family and I were meant to be meeting up with my godmother, Kim, and her fiancée for lunch. I was sat in a booth squished between my parents in a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that white college boys went to for Margaritas every Monday night. Needless to say, I was already fed up. But nothing could have prepared me for when Kim and Sophia walked in.
My parents had already told me that Kim was marrying a woman, but I still squirmed in my seat upon glancing at Sophia’s hand around my godmother’s waist. They said their hellos to my parents and to me. I smiled awkwardly, trying my best not to show how uncomfortable I was.
The meal was frankly unbearable. I picked through the mountain of chicken and various toppings on my plate and tried my hardest not to stare as Sophia rubbed her partner’s shoulder. I felt as though I was watching a scary movie - it was awful but I couldn’t help but keep watching. I watched, and watched, and watched.
Contrary to popular belief, I personally think a lot of your acceptance level comes from how you self-identify. When I thought that I was straight, same-sex couples were hard to swallow. Although not immediately afterward, I began to realize I wasn’t as straight as I thought, my capacity for tolerance began to shift. That’s in no way to say that straight people aren’t capable of being accepting of different sexualities, just that in my experience my queer identity had a direct correlation to my acceptance.
That being said, if being LGBT causes you to broaden your horizons when it comes to tolerance, why do so many queer people struggle with accepting their identities? I think this is where your background, culture, and upbringing come into play. I’d like to quote a TEDx Talk by a stand-up comedian, Mike King: “How we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” As I mentioned earlier, I was surrounded by LGBT people and their allies alike all of the time growing up. I had no reason to think that my identity was wrong once I realized I wasn’t straight. I figured, “If I’m queer, then maybe people like that aren’t scary and gross, they’re exactly who I was raised to think they are.” I finally began to see LGBT people in the light that I was raised to see them in.
The Bechdel Test and Mako Mori Test are tests that measure the gender diversity and/or treatment in movies. The Bechdel test consists of three questions for any chosen movie: (1) Does it have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man? If the answer isn’t yes to all three questions, the movie doesn’t pass the test. This test mainly focuses on whether or not the female characters within the movie have senses of self and value their individuality apart from the men in their lives. The other test, the Mako Mori test, also asks three simple questions of a movie: (1) Does it have at least one female character; (2) who gets her own narrative arc; (3) that is not about supporting a man’s story? Like the Bechdel test, the movie must pass all three questions in order to pass the test. This test is a measure of whether or not the movie lends its female characters the development and narrative that the male characters receive. These two tests test whether or not a movie displays gender diversity and whether or not it portrays women well enough. They both help us get a gauge on whether or not a movie includes strong women that have lives outside of the male characters. Meeting the criteria that these tests demand is important so that impressionable young (and older) women get to see strong role models in movies to show them that they’re capable and have potential.
The first movie I’ll be reviewing is called Ratatouille. Ratatouille is a well-plotted Pixar movie about a talented rat who loves to cook. Remy the rat is born into a rat colony surrounded by other rats that have no appreciation for divine cuisine. Remy feels like an outsider. He’s pressured to live his life a certain way. He has dreams to become a chef, but his family doesn’t approve at all. He’s pressured to live his life the “rat” way and eat trash instead of cooking. One day, Remy’s rat colony invades a Paris townhome. They get chased away and into the sewers by an old woman. In the panic, Remy gets separated from his family and ends up alone in the sewer. While trying to find his way out, he comes across a window above an extremely fancy French restaurant, which he learns is the restaurant of his late idol, Auguste Gusteau. Remy sees a garbage boy, Linguini, ruining a soup from the window, so he scurries in to fix the soup. The soup ends up getting served and the guests love it. Linguini confronts Remy, making a deal with him that he’ll let Remy cook as long as he gets the credit and Remy hides. Remy ends up hiding underneath Linguini’s chef hat and pulling his hair to control his hands and cook. After they begin to cook together, Linguini realizes that he has control of the restaurant since he’s Gusteau’s son, and he takes the restaurant as his own, kicking out the current owner. Then, a renowned food critic announces he’ll be coming to the restaurant to review it. With the help of his rat friends, Remy cooks Ratatouille for the food critic and he ends up loving the dish. They reveal to the food critic that Remy was the one who cooked his meal. The food critic builds Remy and Linguini their very own restaurant and they both pursue their careers together. As much as I enjoy Ratatouille and remember it fondly from my childhood, it in fact does not pass the Bechdel test. There are two named women in the movie, Collette and Renata. Collette is a chef from Gusteau’s restaurant and Renata is Linguini’s mother, but the two never speak. I think this movie could have passed the Bechdel test by adding another female chef to work alongside Collette. This would have provided a lot of non-man conversation between the two. Ratatouille, however, does pass the Mako Mori test. Collette is a female character who gets her own narrative arc. She grows as a chef and at the end of the movie she gets to work an upgraded main position in a new restaurant.
I made a test that is going to measure the LGBT diversity in movies. My test will consist of two questions: (1) Does the movie have at least 1 canonically LGBT+ person? and (2) Is the movie about said person’s sexuality? An important note about my test is that to pass it, the answer to the first question must be yes and the answer to the second question must be no. I think having diversity within sexualities in movies is very important because it provides role models and exemplars for LGBT youth. I added the second question because I think while sexuality can be as important and unimportant to someone’s sense of self as they want, it’s important to recognize that there’s more to a person than just their sexuality. The movie I chose that passes my test is The Way He Looks. The Way He Looks is a Portuguese Netflix movie about a blind Brazilian boy named Leonardo. Leonardo’s daily life is very simple but difficult as a blind teenager. Every day, his best friend, Giovanna, walks him to and from school. One day, a new boy named Gabriel shows up to Leo’s class. Giovanna and Leo befriend him rather quickly. Soon, Leo takes a romantic liking to Gabriel, and they become closer with time. Gabriel becomes very helpful in assisting Leo considering his disability and protects him from bullies that pick on him for being blind. Eventually, Leo can’t hold back anymore confesses his love for Gabriel to Giovanna, who supports him and encourages Gabriel to go confront Leo. This confrontation results in the start of a relationship. This movie has in fact two canonically LGBT characters (who are both Brazilian which is a bonus for diversity). While this movie is advertised as a romance movie, it mainly focuses on navigating adolescence and love while having a disability. This movie includes two LGBT characters and it isn’t a movie solely about sexuality.
The Stonewall Riots were undoubtedly one of the most poignant events in the history of LGBTQ+ liberation. The bravery and perseverance of those who fought for their rights during this time period was unprecedented. If modern day life as an LGBTQ+ person seems hard, life in the 1960s was impossible. It was illegal for gay couples to publicly engage in any sort of display of affection. In New York City specifically, people could get arrested if they weren’t wearing at least three items of clothing that was deemed to match their gender. Life as an LGBTQ+ person was strenuous, but they did have sanctuaries to retreat to such as gay clubs and bars. Here, they could express themselves freely and converse without judgement.
One of these bars, called the Stonewall Inn, was a bar bought and advertised as a “straight bar” only to be later renovated and remodeled into a gay bar. This particular bar welcomed homeless LGBTQ+ youth, drag queens, and runaways. Raids were common but no consequences followed as the police were often bribed to keep quiet about the activities taking place within the bar. On June 28th, 1969, there was a raid that caught the entire bar off guard. Police barged in and began to patronize everyone inside. Two of the women inside the bar this night were Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, both trans women of color. It is unclear but likely according to many survivors that Johnson was the first to fight back and spark the riot. Essentially what happened that night was the police raided the bar, violently manhandled the people inside, and the crowd decided to fight back.
So here’s the issue: the most impactful and powerful members of this fight are being left out of the picture. Courageous souls such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are glossed over as if they weren’t even in the movement to begin with and are painted over as white cisgender men. It seems obvious that these people should be receiving the credit that they deserve, but that’s not the case for everyone, especially in Hollywood.
In the movie Stonewall directed by Roland Emmerich, the main character is a white and cisgender gay boy named Danny. After the trailer for this movie was released, countless members of the LGBTQ+ community became outraged at the noticeable lack of representation in the movie. Essentially what they were saying was that the movie was too white for what the Stonewall community was actually like. Even some survivors of the riots spoke up. According to Titus Montalvo, a survivor of the riots, about 70% of the crowd at the Stonewall was of color.
The most treasured fighters from this time period were trans people, people of color, etc. This whitewashed and erasure-packed movie completely and unjustly strips the beloved martyrs of this movement of their title and their courage. To essentially erase a trans woman of color, who had to fight 10x as hard as a white cis gay boy and paint him in her place is damaging and painfully disrespectful. They did include a minor character to represent Marsha Johnson, but she was played by a cisgender man which perpetuates the transphobic notion that Marsha was simply a man dressed up as a woman rather than a real woman. The point of dissecting this film is not necessarily to belittle the true pain and ignorance people like the main character had to endure, but rather to analyze the privilege that comes with that experience and how it compares to those less fortunate.
How does this apply to today’s trans population of color? Trans people of color know erasure and discrediting all too well. To them, movies like this make them feel like they just can’t have anything. These people already have to endure battles every single day just for existing, and erasure like this invalidates and simultaneously adds to their struggle. Having to speak up and say “actually, it was my people who won those battles for all of you,” isn’t something they should have to deal with. Additionally, a lot of the white and cis people at the forefront of LGBTQ+ movements are notorious for dissing people of color and trans people, even though those are the people that caused for gay men to even be allowed to show themselves in public. Essentially, the Stonewall Riots erasure is only contributing to the challenges that the people involved have to face nowadays.
Obatala nació en un dia muy excelente. El casó con la diosa del mar, Yemaya, en el comienzo del tiempo. Obatala creó la humanidad. Un día, se emborrachó y cre personas deformadas. Después de eso, él juró que nunca iba a emborrachar más. El empezó a cuidar a las personas discapacitadas. El decidió crear muchas razas y admiró ellos creciendo. Los Americanos esclavizaron a ellos. Tiempo pasó con la esclavitud. Los africanos mudaron. Algunos quedaron en un lugar que se llama Cuba. Pero los Cubanos se sintieron violados por los Africanos. Obatalá fue triste porque no fueron amigos. Pero un día el 8 de Mayo, él vio uno de sus hijos tomando de la mano otro hijo en una montaña. El fue feliz porque un africano y un cubano fueron amigable, pero eran hombres enamorados. Convirtió en un caballo blanco con pelo blanco y acercó a ellos. “Ay no!” gritó Obatala. “Esto no es normal. Tengo que interrumpir.” Miró en horror cuando besaron. Obatala, a pesar de todo su poder, no tenía una respuesta para esto. Pero luego, Obatala paró para pensar. Esto es algo que no he visto antes, pero eso no significa que debo tener miedo. Si dos hombres enamorados sana mi gente, me encanta este tipo de amor, pensó. Con su recién descubierto inteligencia y tolerancia, el reveló a él mismo a los hombres. Cuando los hombres les dieron cuenta, cayeron a sus rodillas. “Ay Obatala! Perdónanos!” gritaron. Obatala sonrio. “No le digas perdona. Ustedes merecen el poder de amar cualquier persona.” Con eso, agitó su tela mágica y transformó en dos trajes tradicionales de la boda. Ellos echaron un vistazo a él en asombro. “Muchas gracias, Obatala.” Los hombres se casaron en ocho días y Obatala hizo ocho su número especial. Obatala y toda la gente reunieron para atender la ceremonia y vivieron felices para siempre.
Obviously, my name is what I think represents me the most. I say it and hear it more than any other word. My name was one of the first words I wrote down during the brainstorming. Because of this, I decided to choose my first initial to be part of my stamp. At first, I chose a design that had a lot of lines that would be impossible to cut out because there was no negative or positive space. I had to start over. The importance of negative and positive space is so that the design can really pop out, and I think my cutout represents that well. Like I mentioned earlier, my original stamp was all lines. That was hard for me to cut out because when you draw lines, there is no negative space. Once I started to understand this, I realized it would be best if I started over and that’s how I ended up with this design.
Negative space is the space in a picture that surrounds the focal point of the drawing. For example, in my cut out, the house is the focal point. The blue space surrounding the house in the left side is the negative space in the photo. To find negative space in my cut out, I first had to cut out the outline of my house. Once that was done, I had to locate the other positive space within the photo and cut around it.Seeing in negative space helps an artist because it draws the focal point of a drawing out, it makes it really pop in a sense. Seeing in negative space also enhances a drawing because of this.
Printmaking is a form a visual art that involves creating prints of an image by forming the image on a surface or matrix. There are many different variations of printmaking such as relief printing, Intaglio, mono-printing, lithography, etc. The invention of printmaking supposedly originates from China, although the roots of printmaking remain up in the air. The invention of printmaking was revolutionary at the time because it allowed for multiple prints of the same image to be produced from just one matrix of a material such as wood or metal. Additionally, with the invention of printmaking came the first printed books.
The print I chose is “ESSEBI” by loose-ends (Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/8799416@N05/2480207499). This print is the profile of (seemingly) a woman with rather long hair flowing behind her. She doesn’t seem to be wearing clothes. Her eyes are open, staring straight ahead. The background of the print is yellow, along with the outline of the woman. This print has plenty of contrast considering the only two colors used are black and a bright shade of yellow. Most of the space in the print is taken up by the hair, which is the focal point of the print. I notice that the artist uses both thick and thin lines to draw the hair. Personally, since the person in the print seems to be a woman, this print screams empowerment. I think her hair flowing behind her portrays her as heroic and/or almost god-like. Additionally, she is the only object in the photo which I interpret to be a symbol of independence. I wonder whether or not that was the artist’s intention. I like the photo a lot because of this. I also think the yellow and black contrast is lovely. The swirls and waves of the hair are very pleasing.
I learned a lot during this process. I learned that sometimes taking the simple route truly does make everything easier. I also learned that a lot of thought goes into slide design, and I never knew that it was so complex. Most importantly, I learned that it is important to do the research your teacher provides you with, because they’re giving it to you for a reason. When I went into creating my slide, I really tried to take into account the tips that the websites gave us. I decided to change everything about my slide. I chose a more inviting background and really made an effort to incorporate symmetry into my slide.
This is my slide. I chose to make the background yellow because yellow is my favorite color, and it gives the slide a soft-looking appearance. Here I wrote about a few of my interests and/or “likes”. Notice how I underlined Likes. I did this so it would add emphasis. If I were to leave it like the rest of the words, it would be hard to tell that that’s the aspect of the slide that I’m trying to focus on if that makes sense. I feel like this is a great way to describe who I am because it lists things that I enjoy. I decided to use a nice readable font because it gives the slide a simplistic vibe and balances out with the yellow. Now I have a list of a few of my hobbies. This reveals a lot about me because it shows what kind of things I like to do outside of school. I included this photo of me of me because I think it’s a nice picture and it flows with the rhythm of the slide while also adding contrast to the soft yellow with some bold colors. My slide is very calming in texture yet bold overall.
There are 8 devices on my internet connection. My phone, my mom’s phone, my dad’s phone, my brother’s playstation, my computer, my dad’s computer, a Roku media player, and a printer. I was surprised to learn that my ISP is really expensive. I would tell people that they should know that if you put your router on the top floor of your house, the connection will be better.