COming out of the selfie closet
Today I’m practicing selfies because self love and vanity is important in a healthy relationship with oneself, andI’m working on allowing myself to do things that scare me. Posting selfies challenges me to confront my vulnerability and to own myself in all my flaws and beauty.
Posting selfies for me is more than just posting a photo of myself…it feels personal and invasive. I feel naked. As someone who preaches self-love and confidence, I believe it’s about time I get over my fear of selfies, so here I am.
I took these photos after getting my hair cut just that little bit too short… just short enough to inspire me to play with my selfie camera and snapchat filters. This is me in all my glory…this is me exposed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little selfie gallery…please comment down below your Instagram so I can see all your beautiful faces!
One reason was because of my friend’s influence. She’s vegan and it was kind of interesting to see her lifestyle in front of me. She always checked everything she ate and it seemed like a fun challenge. Another reason is that I’ve been vegetarian for a week last year and I’ve always thought about going vegan for a little bit. Finally, I’ve noticed that the past year, I’ve grown a great deal of concern for animals so it was nice to avoid eating animals. I could’ve went vegetarian again, but I decided to go all-out for the extra challenge.
First Day Impressions
It was hard the first few days because a lot of things had eggs or milk ingredients in it! Even simple foods like potato chips may contain milk. I was also out a lot so I mainly able to eat fries and smoothies and juices. Whenever I include or exclude certain foods to suit my diet, the employees would be extra careful, as if they know I’m vegan or something. So I was kinda surprised and happy about that.
Also, I love how Vancouver has a lot of accommodating dietary options! It really feels nice when you’re not restricted to only fries or salad at a restaurant. For example, one of my favourite places to eat is MEET (on Main or Gastown). It’s a vegan restaurant with a bunch of options. I love that place, even when I’m not vegan. Try the Mac n’ Chez Burger, it’s really good!
During the final days, it wasn’t so bad. I got used to it and I knew what I can eat or not. I even learned a lot about what goes into certain foods. Ultimately, in the end, I felt like I was doing so good, like an accomplishment and I felt like I should keep going.
Overall, I liked the challenge. I was able to adapt and get protein from elsewhere. After the challenge, I had a piece of steak and it felt nasty to me. Chicken and dairy products was fine and I actually miss it.
Also, I was around other vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores and they were so accommodating to me! I am so blessed to have friends that are understanding. To be honest, I think I’ll go vegan for a week again next month or some time in the future.
Are you vegan? What are your dietary options? Have you tried cutting out certain foods from your diet before? How was that?
Padua Day Trip gone wrong
As a young woman in Vancouver, I feel very fortunate for the (general) respect I experience on a day to day basis in the streets, in bars, in work, and in everyday life. I am lucky to feel confident in walking the streets alone, engaging in conversation with strangers on the street, and in navigating the world around me on my own. For me, I very rarely feel as though my gender has put me at a higher risk than those who are male presenting. This all changed, however, when I travelled to Padua.
When I was travelling Europe last spring/summer, I took a day trip from Venice to the small Byzantine city of Padua, or known to English Majors as the setting of the Taming of the Shrew. I woke up that morning feeling excited and confident in how incredible my day was going to be. I donned my “Italy dress”, a cardigan, and my sunnies and was off. I felt beautiful and radiant, my dress flowing in the breeze, my hair gold in the sun. My sister and I explored the city and visited the basilicas.
Being in Italy, we had to ensure our shoulders and knees were covered as a respect to the more modest culture. I thought I was modest enough, but in hindsight I can’t stop myself from thinking my dress was a little too low-cut, or a tad too sheer. There has never been a day in my life where I’ve felt more self-conscious than that day.
After exploring with fruitful delight, my sister and I decided to sit in a park before visiting the Giotto Scrovegni Chapel. We sat on a bench in front of a fountain, a man sat across from us listening to music. At first I didn’t think much of the young man in front of me, but after a few minutes I felt the burn of his stare across my chest. My sister and I decided to get up and walk around the park before heading to the chapel, but the music followed us.
After determining that in fact, we were being followed, my sister and I left the park. Again, the violating burn of his stare bore into my back. We sped up at this point, and lost him at the exit of the park. We crossed the street and rushed into a hotel to use their washroom. We figured there was no way he would have cared enough to follow us out of the park so we left the hotel feeling positive.
Low and behold, the man reappeared from the opposite direction than before. He had followed us, passed the hotel, and had turned back to keep looking. His timing was perfect, however, and he caught us on the way out of the hotel. His penetrative stare was disturbing, and I’ll never forget how small he made me feel.
My sister and I didn’t get a change to visit the chapel that day…instead we chose to catch an early train back to Venice. His dominance got the best of us. I felt weak, insufficient, and worthless. Regardless of how strong and confident I felt starting that day off, my entire personhood was taken control of by a sick man seeking an affirmation of dominance.
I was surprised at how deeply this experience affected me. I was never one to let others change my view of myself, but after that day I couldn’t help but think that it was my fault I was stalked. It was my fault because my dress was too tight to my figure. It was my fault because I didn’t stand up for myself. It was my fault.
In hindsight I know that this man was nothing more than a sick, power-hungry sadist. I know that it was not my fault, and that it could have happened to anyone. I will not let one person’s false dominance overpower my strength and confidence again.
By John Luu
February 28, 2017
If we, users of the Internet, were to accept everything we read online as facts, then there would be a widespread of fear and confusion. To combat this, users can use media literacy to tackle “massive information literacy problems [such as] … fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and other types of spin” (Caulfield, 2016, para. 7). Polarized news sources that are based on political perspectives can provide opportunities for Internet users to exercise their media literacy skills to determine if it is a reliable source of news or not. Breitbart is a good example of a notorious and influential right-wing conservative news outlet that is heavily producing bias content and thus have implications on youth’s political opinions.
Firstly, Breitbart news appeals to the conservative publics. Its main website allow like-minded users to contribute political news and opinion articles, which are often bias. It can also allow for the “production and circulation of discourses, … and debating and deliberating” (Fraser, 1990, pg. 57) of opinions. Breitbart provides this public with a possibility to engage and participate in commentary through its comments section. Since this site is intended for right-wings, the vast sea of comments are clearly echoes of conservatism. In figure 1 and 2, users America is Great Again and DiscusstedConservative shares their right-wing political beliefs in the comments section and their usernames plainly points out their political views as well. There are even the upvotes for these comments, which suggests that more people agree with their comments.
Furthermore, other comments reinforce that Breitbart has a large following of conservatives that remind us of their traditional values.
Breitbart’s merchandise also blatantly illustrates their support and promotion of Republican views. Figure 4 shows of a t-shirt with a border wall logo that references Trump’s wall plans and the mug in figure 5 depicts a rhino behind a target scope, suggesting that democrats are a “scourge upon the Republic” (Breitbart Store, 2017) which points to a bias political opinion.
In addition to their publics engagement through the comments section, Breitbart News Network creates sensationalized headlines that attracts attention and fear.
The titles of Breitbart articles is arguably sensational and misleading, which can insinuate fear amongst its audiences. For example, an article titled Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’ (Nash, 2017), is blaming social media as a detriment to Americans. The argument of this article is based solely on one external source (Nash, 2017), which limits the credibility of Nash’s article. Also, Breitbart News website is designed to capitalize the letters article headlines, which can project an alarmist tone to readers. Before concluding his article, he mentions that “left-wing media was largely responsible for the public distress following Trump’s win” (Nash, 2017, para. 7). Upon further investigations of Charlie Nash, the young tech reporter is found with bias opinions on Liberals and the offensive use of a gunman for his tweets on his Twitter account. With the conjunction of Nash’s online activity and opinions, is it evident that his content can be seen as bias towards a certain political ideology.
Referring back to his article, he claims that social media is a problem. This can ignite fear mongering amongst Breitbart readers/visitors and may believe that social media is actually affecting Americans. These types of “fearful headlines draw people in by capitalizing on their concerns and anxieties” (Boyd, 2012a, para. 3) that can shape opinions based on insufficient or incorrect information. Overall, Nash’s contributions to Breitbart faces an ideological trap of technological determinism. As Watson (2016) explains technological determinism, it can be applied to Nash’s content which it is presented through a deterministic stance, believing that technology determines human behaviour and ignoring the “subtle investigations of use and adoption practices.” Through the use of fear as an attention-grabbing tactic, Breitbart News can influence teen opinions.
With the rapid rise of teens as digital natives, bias online news outlets affect teen’s political education. For teens, the networked public is their new playground for social interaction and a participatory culture of generating and posting content to be seen (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). Some teens even actively follow politics and transcribe their political opinions into their networked publics (Boyd, 2014b, pg. 206). However, with questionable and unreliable news source such as Breitbart on the rise, the spread of misinformation can persuade teens into misleading advocation. For example, teens may jump on the bandwagon of the ‘Men’s Rights Activism” simply because a conservative news outlet promotes it or that it appears edgy to defy ‘political correctness’ (Hadfield, 2016). With such a large following, Breitbart has no issues spreading their opinions.
Ultimately, Breitbart News is a immense and proliferating bias news sources that favours the conservative ideology, which has a negative impacts on adolescents. However, news cannot be fully objective, because there will be varying levels of bias in every news. Personally, Breitbart News is an appalling news outlet that are more anti-liberal than their proclaimed conservative stance. On the contrary, one might disagree and support Breitbart’s opinions; which by all means, their gaudy merchandise can be found and purchased through their blaring advertisement on the homepage.
Boyd, D. (2012a). The Ethics of Fear and How It Undermines an Informed Citizenry. Retrieved from http://www.poynter.org/2012/fear-undermines-an-informed-citizenry-as-media-struggles-with-attention-economy/192509/
Boyd, D. (2014b). It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Caulfield, M. (2016). Yes, Digital Literacy. But Which One? Retrieved from https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/
Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Hadfield, J. (2016). The Men’s Rights Movement: A Smart, Necessary Counterweight to Man-Hating Feminism. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/08/02/mens-rights-counterweight-feminism/
Nash, C. (2017). Report: Social Media is Driving Americans ‘Insane’. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/24/report-social-media-driving-americans-insane/
Watson, S. (2016). Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism. Retrieved from http://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/constructive_technology_criticism.php