Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Recently, there has been a lot of debate weather or not to keep the ban of  University of Virginia's "Greek life" after an alleged rape of a student at a Frat party was reported in Rolling Stones Magazine.

The author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erderly, referred to the rape victim as "Jackie." "Jackie" describes three friends (referred to as) "Randall", "Andy", and "Cindy" who discouraged her from reporting the horrific rape. 

The controversy started when the student who identified as "Randall" came forward and told The Associated Press that he:“couldn't help but notice that everything that the article said about me was incorrect.” Erderly only relied on the account of "Jackie" to tell the story of the UVA rape. She never corroborated information and she was never able to reach the alleged attackers for commentary. 

This mistake may cause more that just damage to her credibility and reputation as a writer. This might damage the credibility of future woman to step forward about their own personal rape cases. Victims of rape will be afraid to be seen as another "girl who cried wolf." The media will be afraid to cover the story, in risk of hurting their own credibility as a Magazine or a Newspaper. Regardless if "Jackie's" story is entirely true, rape is still a huge issue in the "Greek life" community (or at colleges and universities in general) and it should never be seen as a liability to a journalism business. I think Erdely made a huge mistake with not collaborating and verifying her sources before hand, because I think this may lead to even more rape cases pushed under the rug. 

Equal Pay Act of 2014?

51 years ago, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed and passed by President John f. Kennedy. In part, the law states: 

"No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section [section 206 of title 29 of the United States Code] shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs..."

If this United states Federal Law states that employers can't discriminate wages based on the sex of the employee, then why does such a dramatic gender pay gap still exist in the US today?

Gender gap infographic

In the US alone, a woman working a similar, if not the same, job as a man will only be paid around 66% of what a man is paid. This hurts our nations because single-mom households are being cheated out of deserved paid that is needed to support a family. The Gender Pay gap is especially dangerous because the race of the woman is also a secret factor of how much she gets paid. According to aauw.org, Hispanic women only make 54% of white men's earnings. ("White men are used as a benchmark because they make up the largest demographic in the labor force"). I think this is terrible because some women need to support a family and/or themselves. Some women need to pay off student loans or debt. Just because someone is a different gender, doesn't mean they deserve to be discriminated against in the work place. 

A solution to this problem, we can pass an act banning federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries or ask about pay. This would empower women to negotiate higher wages with confidence. Higher wages that women obviously need. Wages that have been withheld from them for (more than) 51 years. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

(is it) Right to Bear Arms?

December 14th marked the two year anniversary of the Sandy Hooke shootings, where 20 children and 6 teachers were left dead after a mentally ill gunman broke into the school and opened fire (using his semiautomatic weapon and large-capacity magazines).  This stirred a national gun control debate, where an effort to cement gun control laws fell short.

As of today (according to the National Pew Survey), 52% of Americans believe that it's more important to protect gun right, while 46% of people think it's more important to control gun ownership. This is the first time protecting gun rights surpassed controlling gun ownership.

Especially in the wake of the Sandy Hooke tragedy and even the Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting, I would think the populations would be more in favor to the gun control laws and regulations. I think it's ridiculous that a mentally ill man can get his hands on a semiautomatic weapon, a weapon used to fight wars, and find his way to a school. I know that 52% percent of people believe that gun control is infringing on their 2nd Amendment right, and that the right to bear arms is necessary for personal protection, but at what cost? I think as technology advances, it's only right to run background checks on gun buyers, check registration and gun licenses, and even restrict the types of weapons that can be bought and sold. Obviously it's unsafe to have an unregistered gun falls into the wrong hands, so I think our nations must take aggressive steps towards preventing something like that. Even though the Sandy Hooke shooting was 2 years ago, there have been at least 94 other school shootings (grades K-12 and at colleges/universities), that shouldn't be alright.

Derrick Rose Can't Breathe

Above are a few basketball players wearing the famous last words of Eric Garner , "I can't breathe," during pre-game warm-ups. This seems to be the latest trend in the sports world. Many players wear these shirts to show support for Eric Garner and the anti-police violence protests. Derrick Rose, the first NBA Basketball player to wear one of these shirts, released a statement saying:

 "I grew up and I saw it every day, not killing or anything like that, but I saw the violence every day. Just seeing what can happen. If anything, I'm just trying to change the kids' minds across the nation and it starts here. I'm a parent now."

Many celebrities, unconsciously, promote negative and hurtful behavior towards others or use their stardom for selfish reasons. I think it's amazing how Rose is using his powerful celebrity platform to send a positive message to his fans and young kids who look up to him.  

I think the "I can't breathe" is a powerful symbol because it represents the working lower class feeling suffocated by law enforcement. They feel smothered by racial stereotyping. They feel threatened and they're afraid for their loved ones and themselves. Derrick Rose, who grew up surrounded by this type of relationship with law enforcement, mentions he's "a parent now" and he just wants to make sure the world is a better place for his children to live in. "I can't breathe" sounds almost like a plea for help. The protesters need help changing America. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Protest Symbols

As my past post briefly commented on, there have been massive demonstrations protesting the decision not to indite two different white police officers for killing two different black men (the cases were not related). The protests have been heavily covered by the media. People are becoming familiarized with the symbols of these protests. Somebody could watch the news on mute, without headlines at the bottom of the screen, and still know what the story was about. The most prominent protest symbol: people walking with their hands up while chanting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" (which is in respect to Michael Brown, the black man shot in Ferguson).
The gesture of putting your hands up is a universal sign of surrender. I think it's interesting that protesters are using a gesture of surrender in a fight for justice.I think it shows that they've surrendered to police violence in the past, but now it's time for change.The chant, "hands up, don't shoot" is directly aimed at law enforcement officers. 

Despite the fact that there has been conflicting testimony as to weather or not Michael Brown actually did put his hands up before being shot, I still think that this protest symbol is important because it symbolizes more than just Michael Brown's case. I think it's a powerful symbol that is useful to anyone who has felt stereotyped or been a victim to police brutality. I think the symbol embodies the idea of peaceful protest because it demonstrates protesters are not willing to fight physically (they have their hands up), but they're fighting with marches, rallies, and civil disobedience. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Still Fighting

Due to the Grand Jury's decision,  not to indite Officer Wilson after he shot Michael Brown (Ferguson), it's an understatement to say tensions between police officers and minority groups are strained. Riots and protests broke out all over the world in protest to this, perhaps, racist decision.

Well it seems as if a gallon of gasoline was just poured onto the flame. This past Wednesday, a Grand Jury decided not to indite another white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, for the death of Eric Garner, a 43 year old black man. Unlike the Ferguson case, there's video footage of Pantaleo, along with 4 other officers, tackling a presumably peaceful Garner to the ground.

At :40, you can see Garner's head smashed against the pavement, and you can see Pantaleo force his arm around Garner's neck into a choke hold, a tactic banned by the NYPD. Garners final words were, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe." Garner passed out, and died an hour later in a hospital due to, "compressions to his neck and to his chest."

In Ferguson, Officer Wilson was not indited because there wasn't enough evidence in the case to create an argument against him. Here, in Stanton Island, New York, we see clear evidence of cruel and potentially racist, treatment of a black man and Officer Pantaleo still wasn't indited. The Grand Jury ruled that Garner had prior medical conditions and his death was not the police officers fault.

Like after the decision in Ferguson, massive riots and protests broke out.
Above protesters staged a "die-in." Similar to the "sit-in" protest method used in the 50s/60s. Sit-ins have been an icon symbol for civil rights movement and here we see clear evidence of where these protesters are coming from.

Like we've asked in American Studies class, are we still in "the civil rights era"? Would the Grand Jury's decision(s) been different if it were two white men dead? Would the decision be different if more black people were given spots on both of the Grand Jury's trials?

I'm not sure. But what many protesters are saying is that they were hopeful for the inditement of Wilson and Pantaelo, but they never expected it to happen.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Teen Spirit

Every year there's the annual White House "Pardoning of the Turkey" which is a presidential Thanksgiving tradition. This year President Barack Obama's two daughters, Sasha Obama and Malia Obama, joined him in presenting the turkey.

As seen in the picture above, the two girls are dressed respectably casual. They look like two normal teenage girls. Like any teenage girls, they rolled their eyes and snickered at their dad's bad jokes while he pardoned the turkey. So why did this deserve an angry personal rant from Republican GOP Aide, a congressional staffer, Elizabeth Lauten? 

According to ABCNews.com, "Lauten took aim at the president through his daughters, writing: '...you're part of the First Family, try showing a little class.. Then again your mother and father [referring to Barack and Michelle Obama] don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department...'"  

Nobody should ever use children as a way to criticize political attributes. Lauten goes on to criticize Sasha and Malia directly by saying, "Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar." Malia and Sasha are appropriately dressed. Lauten herself is "coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department" by cyber-bullying, which is a nationwide hot topic issue, two teenage girls only to express her own political angst. 

Like Amy Carter, the First Daughter of President Jimmy Carter, was once scrutinized in the media for acting too childish. The fact of the matter is: she was a child. She was only nine when she entered into the world of the White House.

 Even though the First Children lead different lives, does not mean that they are different from "normal" children. I think the media and the angry critics, like Elizabeth Lauten, need to lay off and let the President raise his own kids. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Election Month?

November 4th is marked on everyone's calender as Election Day. So how did 2 million people vote weeks before then? 

According to John Fund from NationalReview.com, "In Florida a third of the electorate will vote by mail, a third will vote early by going to a voting center, and a third will cast their ballots on Election Day." This means that only a third of Florida's voting population will show up in person to the polls. The other two-thirds of the voting population are sending in absentee ballots. Keeping in mind that John Fund writes for the National Review, which is an extremely conservative news commentary and opinion website. He goes on to condemning the gaining popularity of absentee voting, and the fact that 35 states don't even require an excuse to obtain a mail-in ballot. Thus, he thinks that due to these early votes, Election Day has unofficially become Election Month.

John Fund and many others are worried of the dangers of absentee ballots. They argue that absentee and early voting can easily make way to massive fraud and corruption. With little surveillance over millions of voters, many people can be pressured by "harvesters" who sway their vote, usually with money, to make certain decisions. 

Is this dangerous?
In contrast to John Fund, those on the more liberal side favor early voting. They argue that it fits into the convenience of life. Not everyone can afford missing work nor sparing the time to wait in the long lines. Obama's 2008 campaign put heavy emphasis on targeting the demographic of early voters. Mainly because he wanted the working class and younger voters on his side. His tactics seemed to have worked because early voting has increased the overall turnout of votes and he won the presidential election. 

I think early voting can really be a good thing and sending in absentee ballots isn't as dangerous as some say it to be. But I do agree that it is unfair to the candidates to not have the chance to win over last minute votes with the final debate. So if it were up to me, I would probably decrease the time span of early voting to about two of three weeks prior to elections and re-schedule the final debates to before early voters can send in their ballots. The world is speeding up and finding new ways to keep up with it is never really a bad thing. The more people that vote, the better voice America as a whole has. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Choosing to Die

Back in January, Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. As of April, she only had 6 more months to live. Now on Nov. 1, she plans to kill herself. 

Just newly wed, Maynard moved to Oregon with her husband. Oregon is only one of five U.S. states that allow doctor-assisted suicide. Since declaring her true dying wish, Maynard has become a nationwide campaigner and advocate to legalizing doctor-assisted suicide. Maynard released a personal statement through CNN.com and said, " I am not suicidal. If I were, I would have consumed that medication long ago. I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms." Maynard understandably does not want to live until the end of her terminal illness, the tremendous and fast growing tumor is devouring her brain, inflicting upon her so much pain, changing her personality and her way of life as she knows it. She ends her statement with a question still left unanswered by many, "Who has the right to tell me that I don't deserve this choice?"

Brittany Maynard, 29, pictured here with her new husband, has decided to die on Nov. 1 for the sake of her family, her friends, and, most importantly, for herself.
Marilyn Golden from CNN.com thinks that "If assisted-suicide laws went nationwide, it would create explicit and implicit pressure on millions of elderly, disabled, and chronically sick poor people to do the decent thing and end their lives prematurely. A bottle of pills cost $300, and after all , is the cheapest treatment for terminal illness." As I do agree with Golden, legalizing this option will instill pressure, but if we instill proper legal safeguards and and a criteria to meet, this would inevitably turn away many of those just feeling pressured into death. Oregon is seen as the model state for doctor-assisted suicide laws. The patient is required to have two doctors certify that they have less than six months to live. The he/she must pass a couple tests to prove that he/she isn't depressed, impulsive, or being pressured into a choice they don't really want to make. Even through that and in the end, the patient must administer the medication to him/herself.

I see it as Maynard wanting to have a "death with dignity" and as heartbreaking as her situation situation situation situation situation situation think she has a right to it. People should be allowed to be in control of their own bodies and the choice to choose life or death when all other options are to fail. I understand how Golden argues that legalizing doctor-assisted suicide will only pressure those in difficult situations, but I think the freedom to choose is a very important American value that our nation has been protecting and fighting for since the birth of our country. As long as we implement the right safeguards, I think people should have the option and the right to control their bodies, their destinies, and their dignity. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Work to Live vs Live to Work

This week, our American Studies class visited the Osaka Japanese Garden in Hyde Park. There I took this picture: 

The garden was peacefully relaxing and it was nice to wander, but was it worth it? Was it productive?
As we discussed in class, most Americans "live to work" rather than "work to live." We get fulfillment out of making a living -- making money. I mean isn't the American Dream working your way to monetary success? 
Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn a student attending Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, did a report on European Work to Live vs American Live to Work and the levels of happiness associated with average working hours for both Europeans and Americans. In his research he found out:
Americans were actually happier when working longer hours, while Europeans were happier working less. Why is that? What is it about our culture? Okulicz-Kozaryn argues that, "Americans value more outcome of work (success), while Europeans are more concerned with the process (work) itself." Americans appreciate the product, rather than appreciating the production. We value an outcome that we can show off. Something that we can tangibly strive for. 
Unfortunately, in order to stay productive, American schedules have been rigorously structured. Structure leaves less room for mistakes, but less room to grow. We spend our time trying to reach that next level of success. 

I'd be lying if I said I never thought about what I was missing academically, when I chose to go on the field trip. Teachers reluctantly signed the excursion card. "It's your responsibility to get the notes you missed." But overall, I'm glad I went on the excursion and I had a really great time exploring. Looking back, you know you're not going to remember taking physics notes, but rather the experiences you gained on a great field trip! It was refreshing being able to take a small break from a schedule.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Turf Wars

Amy Griffin, the associate head coach for the University of Washington's women's soccer team, has recently uncovered "a stream of kids" that have been exposed to artificial turf and then soon have gotten blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia. Just a few nights ago, NBC News ran a report on the effects of article turf on the health of athletes. They said, "During the past two decades, there have been more than 60 technical studies and reports that review the health effects of crumb rubber as it pertains to toxicity dermal contact, as well as cancer" ( Synthetic Turf Council).

Recently, New Trier "Tackled The Turf," by installing the polyethylene plastic grass fields in the stadium. The Total Operating Fund for this project is around $91.7 million dollars. There was much heated debate over the pros and cons before undergoing this massively expensive project. The benefits of turf is the low maintenance, pesticide-free, and it would increase playability on the fields. Now with the turf installed, athletics and kinetic wellness programs spend about 2,000 hours a year on the turf alone. But with the new report outing the risks of turf, is it worth it? Or is this another cancer risk myth?

Being a soccer player, I spend approximately on average 6-10 hours a week running around on artificial turf. Although, the reported cases of cancer worry me. This is a fairly recent and new discovery and I don't think any of the evidence presented is conclusive yet. Many people claim reports that things like Sharpies and Diet Coke causes cancer, but recent studies have show that those are just myths. I will keep this post updated on this rapidly changing story.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Side-Effects of 'Sexy'

Ranging from (ex Disney Channel Star favorite) Miley Cyrus 'twerking' in front of millions to naked Abercrombie & Fitch models advertising clothing, young girls are constantly being exposed to over-sexualization. The message conveyed toward them, weather it be through media, television, and advertisements, are that a woman's worth is directly connected to how good she looks and how much skin she shows. Even from a young age, girls are told fairytales like 'Cinderella', which tells the story of a young girl turned beautiful with a new dress and little mascara, who meets her prince (and he falls "in love" with her the minute he sees her) that can't even recognize her until the fancy new shoe fits. 

Especially with Halloween around the corner, companies see the opportunity to sell girls "beauty". According to parenting.com, "It’s normal for children, especially tweens, to copy adults and use Halloween to “test out” adult roles and behaviors. If the overriding message they get is that a woman’s value lies in her looks, and specifically in being sexy, girls will naturally clamor for costumes that mimic adult sexuality, not because they are actually interested in sex, but because they want to be grown-up." Young girls are shown a superficial adulthood and they're beginning to see that the social norm of sexiness is supposedly how adult women are. Below is just an example of sex-appeal leaking into youth culture. The snowman shown below is the beloved Olaf from the very popular Disney movie, Frozen. (It ranks highest-grossing animated film of all time.) The movie's direct audience ranges from 5 year olds to about 12 year olds. To the right of Olaf, is a women's costume version of the childhood icon. How do you think a young girl feels when they see what a women's representation of Olaf is?

Over-sexualized Halloween costumes are only aiding hurtful stigmas and portraying a message of objectification of a woman's body towards younger girls. Our culture today already does enough to shame girls for being who they are. Women are constantly being portrayed as weak, stupid, and just pretty faces to fill the room. 

Below is a video, Always #LikeAGirl, made as part of a campaign to fight against stereotypes that are hurtful towards young girls and their self-esteem.

Monday, September 22, 2014


 Yesterday marked the beginning of the Annual Banned Books week.Why do Author's write books? What is the purpose? Yes, for self expression, but more importantly, to be able to convey a message to be heard. This week is dedicated to celebrating the free access to information all over the country. But the fight for reading freedom, doesn't come as easily as many would think. In 2014, a school board in Missouri removed the iconic and classic novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, which depicts the bombing of Dresden in World War II. Written in a satirical and dark voice, Vonnegut touches on the theory of time, mortality, anti-warism, and many other very relevant themes still occurring in our world today. A parent involved in the banning of the book, Wesley Scroggins, said that, “[Slaughterhouse-Five] contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame. The ‘f word’ is plastered on almost every other page. The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex to God telling people that they better not mess with his loser, bum of a son, named Jesus Christ." Yet, why is Slaughterhouse-Five still considered 18th out of the top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century?

Parents worry that reading such a novel will expose and ingrain bad ideas into the minds of their children. Yet, in the new age of technology, children are more likely to see a number of various inappropriate images and profane language on any social media site they visit. I think it's better to have a teacher along side a child, helping them understand the inappropriate content and swallow the harsh pill of reality in a safe environment. Rather than a child being accidentally exposed to "wrong" without an explanation of why the image is wrong or why we can't use the f-word (or other words) casually. Parents are trying to do the impossible job of shielding their children from the truth of the world.  
A quote from Slaughterhouse- Five reads, "that's one thing Earthlings do, if they tried hard enough: ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones." 

I think it's wrong to ignore the awful times or the awful things in our world, because then we never learn from them. Slaughterhouse-Five depicts an incredibly tragic time period in our history, but it is our history to learn from. The world is a complicated place and I think it's important, in this day and age, that we explain and differentiate the wrong from the right by giving children the opportunity to reading freedom. 

                   "Banned Books Week started in 1982, the same year the U.S. Supreme Court
                 ruled that students' First Amendment right were violated when Kurt Vonnegut's
              Slaughterhouse Five and eight other books were removed from libraries."(cnn.com)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weight Loss At What Cost?

According to the Food Research and Action Center, about a quarter of 2-5 year olds and a third of all school children are overweight. It shouldn't be a surprise to hear that Obesity rates have more than doubled since the 1970's. It's hard to determine the root cause of Obesity in many individual cases, but a lot of Americans fall victim to the Fast (Cheap) Food trap. After being officially recognized as a disease in 2013, a lot of awareness has been brought to Obesity and trying to fight it. Michelle Obama's successful "Let's Move!" campaign is set to help raise a healthier America, by showing the importance of daily exercise and the benefits of a balanced diet. But what happens when daily exercise and healthy eating doesn't work?

This Wednesday, a new anti-obesity drug, Contrave, was approved by the FDA. Contrave doesn't effect the stomach, but it effects the brain and the appetite of the user. This is the third Weight-Loss drug to go on the market since 2012.

Consumers can pay $135.62 per dose, for a similar weight loss drug, Qsymia. The side effects of Qsymia include high risk birth defects (cleft lip/palate). But for a price starting at $206, a consumer can take a different weight loss pill, Belviq, with side effects that include low blood sugar, mental problems, slow heart beat, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and finally constipation. Doctors already know that the newest of the Weight-Loss trifecta, Contrave, induces dangerous suicidal thoughts. Is weight loss worth it? Does the reward of the drugs really out-weight the risks associate with them? I think it's dangerous that the FDA is allowing these weight loss pills on the American market. On the other side of the pond, Qsymia and Belviq are banned from the European market for being "too harmful for any weight loss benefit"(Europe Medicines Agency). What makes these pills safe enough for American use? Ultimately now, the decision on weather or not to use these potentially life-threatening pills is up to the doctor and the patient. But is it worth giving the option and meeting the so-called supply and demand in the emerging Obesity market? These pills only promote an unhealthy idea of laziness to achieve a goal. Weight-loss is just as mentally exhausting as it is physically, and pills do nothing to change lifestyles and unhealthy habits.

The True Cost of Weight-Loss

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Finding Ways Around The Problem

Recently released on the market is a new type of nail polish that detects popular date-rape drugs by chemically changing the color of the polish when it comes in contact with drugs in a drink. The four undergraduate male students who developed the nail polish said on their Facebook page, Undercover Colors, that "With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes color, she'll know that something is wrong." Although I think there's no such thing as being too careful and that the nail polish is a good defense to use against something terrible like rape; I disagree that this product really empowers women. 

Why should we have to make products like the nail polish anyway? We shouldn't have to avoid date-rape, because in essence it shouldn't exist. It make me angry to think that even from a young age, girls are taught to never accept drinks from strangers, as if date-rape is inevitable, like there's nothing we can do to stop it. Part of me thinks that these new products are giving girls a false sense of security, almost like they need these products like sunscreen or bug repellent. I really think that these products are just distracting from the real core problem of sexual assault and why it is even happening in the first place. I see this as a major societal red flag and it pains me to think that rape is becoming a sort of market that women can buy into to "feel safe." We shouldn't need new nail polishes or straws or cups to tell us what is right and wrong. All these products are doing is pushing the responsibility of prevention onto the young women. What if the nail polish fails? What if the girl forgets her special cups? Does that mean the rape is her fault because she wasn't "being careful"?

I decided to look up some statistics and according to ajc.com, 1 in 5 women experience rape in their lifetimes and nearly 1/3 of those rapes occur on  college campuses. Through that, I stumbled upon an amazing story about a Columbia University Student named Emma Sulkowicz. Emma was raped in her own bedroom and when she had brought the situation to the attention of Columbia's Dean, the perpetrator was found not guilty. She felt as though her case was "just pushed under the rug." (Hey, if you can't see it then it's not there, right?) In order to take a stand, Emma's thesis for her Visual Arts major is to carry around the mattress she was raped on everywhere she goes. At 0:57 in Emma's Video she says, "A mattress is the perfect size to just be able to carry it enough that I can continue with my day, but also enough that I have to continually struggle with it." The mattress is a symbol of the weight she bears of the sexual assault and the pain that she constantly carries with her. She will carry it until the perpetrator is expelled or until she graduates to challenge the schools failure to take action against the crimes committed against her. I think her enduring protest is inspiring and it's a great way to show the struggle that might otherwise be "pushed under the rug" or just kept in a dorm room.
                                         Emma Sulkowicz carrying her weight

Although Undercover Colors Nail Polish claims to be "The First Company Empowering Women to Prevent Sexual Assault." The company is really hurting women more than it is empowering them. Rape needs to be addressed, not avoided. We need to change the way a nation thinks and what our culture sees as right and wrong. We shouldn't let young women buy into a false sense of safety. Currently, we are taught to never leave our drink alone, rather than not to drug someone. I think this is the core root of the problem and with more and more awareness to the cause, there's no more ways around an issue like this.