The media’s gender problem


The representation, or lack thereof, of women in the news media has long been a subject of concern. Now, new research is showing us the severity of the situation.

The Women’s Media Center examined 27,000 pieces of media content and discovered that 63 percent of it was distributed by men and 36 percent distributed by women — an almost 2 to 1 difference.

Perhaps not surprisingly, liberal news sites like the Huffington Post almost break even with the gender ratios, while conservative ones maintain a gap; is written 62 percent by men and 38 percent women.

In our progressive time, it is appalling that there is still such a large gender gap. Polarizing gender roles in this way has a detrimental effect on society, purporting stereotypes and hindering us on our road to equality.

Throughout magazines, television shows, movies and advertising, women are more likely to be shown in the home or as sex objects than as hard-working contributors to the business world. We need to stop portraying women in this way as it negatively influences the young people that consume media.

We need to continue forging the path to equality by increasing the presence and changing the portrayal of women in the media.

Coachella revolutionizes festivals


The famous two-weekend music festival Coachella, known for its reckless spirit and hippie vibe, reunited big name music stars like Pharrell, Skrillex and Lana Del Ray and other indie artists into a massive music fest that brought approximately thousands of people together.

Coachella, held in the desert of Southern California, is now one of the largest music festivals in the world and has revolutionized the music festival industry, emerging new musical stars, celebrating a generation but also challenging preconceptions.

While the reviews for this year’s edition for Coachella have been positive, not all of it had to do with the music. The festival became a place to see and be seen and it’s not just a mere collection of concerts, but an actual event that broke the rules of technological innovation.

It’s a completely different world these days. Once upon a time music festivals led change and promoted art. Now, Coachella visitors don’t just go to discover new music and emerge in the experience, but rather to take “selfies” and upload them and to share as much information in their social networks as possible.

No surprise, Coachella is the most blogged, Facebooked and tweeted about event in the whole social networking universe. The event has no commercials, billboards or any evident form of advertising; instead, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter do all the work.

The festival has now evolved into becoming another platform for a celebrity fashion week, and for people to post about their “festival style.” The focus of Coachella shifting from purely music to now also fashion is further confirmed through H&M’s sponsorship.

Although they’ve been sponsoring Coachella for now five years, this year they’ve designed a new line with Alexander Wang’s partnership and Coachella was “Ideal venue to launch a new product” said

As social media continues to gain influence, music festivals beginning with Coachella are now focusing less on music but more on opportunities for social networking, fashion displays and indirect marketing. Similarly to Coachella, other music events are now also threated by fashion imagery domination.

What the World Cup may cost Brazil


We’re now only a month and a couple days away from the World Cup and games have been scheduled, stadiums built, tickets sold and teams determined. The first game will happen on June 12 between Brazil and Croatia and preparations for it continue.

The visuals and expectations for this major event are high and promising but, despite the government’s daily efforts to make it a successful and safe World Cup and all our hopes that the event will thrive, as a Brazilian, I believe it can go wrong in many different aspects.

As of now, four stadiums are completing their delayed construction and, in cities like Manaus and Belo Horizonte, new transportation projects have been cancelled or postponed and won’t be ready by June. Government investments in security aren’t enough to guarantee a safe environment for visitors and, on top of all that, there’s a frustrated and angry Brazilian population demanding for more meaningful changes to the country rather than simply a World Cup.

The inequality between classes, large contrast between public and private education and crime happening at the doorstep of my home were problems I grew up watching in Brazil. At times, it angered me seeing a country with so many improvements to make, investing so much money in an event that will last less than two months.

The past World Cup, which happened in South Africa in 2010, had less than 12 stadiums. So why does Brazil have to build more? The pressure made by FIFA, the organization behind the World Cup, to build these on time made the working conditions horrible, killing several workers.

It has been estimated that this year’s World Cup will cost approximately $30 billion. That is the cost of the three previous World Cup tournaments added together. All this money, if invested in education, health and infrastructure, would have been much more valued by us Brazilians.

While politicians argue that the World Cup is exactly what Brazil needs in order to improve, the situation isn’t so simple. The revenue generated by the games, tourism and shopping won’t necessarily become the budget that will be used for all these improvements. Part of this money will go directly to FIFA and a significant other, into the politicians’ own pockets.

Last year, Brazil was faced with protests that broke out after a rise in bus fare and brought millions of civilians to the streets all over the country. The protests symbolized the dissatisfaction of Brazilians towards the government’s work and their lack of concerns with Brazil’s current social problems. These are still happening on a smaller basis.

Seeing that Brazil has all these issues going on should it really be hosting an event this big? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the World Cup myself and as a true Brazilian I love a good soccer match, but the government’s lack of commitment to our current social problems and focus on this large-scale event could only lead to further disappointment, frustration and revolt from the population.

Microsoft envisions our future


Microsoft has envisioned the future including many of their products and the software company has now opened a center presenting all the potential ways their upcoming technology will be transforming our lives.

At the time of the opening of the Microsoft Envisioning Center in Redmond, Microsoft officials released a video displaying this future reality. Despite most, this wasn’t a concept video, but an actual portrayal of how life will be like in five years with the technology we’re currently using. Furthermore, Microsoft argued this was no science fiction, but a concrete futuristic reality.

The Envisioning Center portrays a world where everything in controlled through voice and touch, and the technological gadgets we’re currently familiar with, like tablets are being revolutionized into a much larger scale.

The center depicts every home having a family wall — where everything can be controlled entirely from cooking to social networking. They’ve also designed a concept where work can be integrated between many devices with only a finger swipe and communicating through Skype, accessing the Internet, news, scientific or mechanical information anywhere in the house has become accessible.

In one of the blog posts, Steve Clayton, Microsoft Editor wrote:

“I like to think of it as a concept car that allows us to share what it might be like to experience future technologies with visitors, get their feedback, tweak, remix and discuss. It’s all part of advancing the trends we think have the greatest potential.”

Just like other technologies have completely revolutionized the way we communicate and connect within each other, Microsoft is also trying to continue this trend in a much deeper level within people’s homes and private environments. While the company says that their Center isn’t making predictions to exactly where technology is heading, the people who visit the Envisioning Center can have a clear perspective of how this fast-approaching future will be like.

Is eating disorder news risky?


It is no secret that Hollywood is an image-based industry and consequently a home to a large community of disordered eaters who strongly believe their careers depend on the adherence of an unhealthy nutrition in order to have the body profile idealized by the news media and admired by the public.

“What are you going to eat once this whole thing is over?” is common red carpet correspondent joke when interviewing Hollywood’s skinniest stars. But now, as technology makes the world each day more public, we now have access to these Celebrities  battle to remain thin on a daily basis and the pressures they face to have the perfect body are very great.

Stars like Mary-Kate Olsen, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Amanda Bynes have in the past year announced and renounced their constant battles with food. These “confessions” are usually perceived by the public as acts of “bravery, inspiration and power” and met with applause and admiration.

While these adjectives certainly do ring a bell, stars don’t realize that talking so openly about their eating disorders may possibly bring more harm than good.

“Our culture needs to think of thinness as a potential sign of disease,” said Dr. Marcia Herrin, founder of the Dartmouth College Eating Disorders Prevention.

She further added, “It’s interesting. Its such a mixed message that they give: I used to have an eating disorder. And usually the person who is saying it is very thin. My sense is that we just assume they all have eating disorders.”

Nowadays, stars like Adele, who portray real life beauty, are hard to find. As a society, we have arrived at a time where most of our idols and role models are unrealistically thin and we accept and also obsess over the fact that they’re all likely to be physically and mentally ill.

The news media’s affect on body image has caused severe implications on young teenage girls making them believe that in order to achieve success they must be thin. And this is when these eating disorder confessions coming from celebrities can be problematic.

Young girls watch celebrities like Demi Lovato who has publicly admitted to have dealt with anorexia and bulimia since the age of 7, skyrocket to fame and remain with a constant food battle and perceive this as “inspiring”.

For every young girl that may feel inspired to seek for help after listening to these celebrity confessions, another one could be mislead by their words and use them as an example to build their own eating disorder.

“For the person who has the kind of genetic predisposition, when they hear that story they say, ‘I knew it took an eating disorder to get there, and I’m not going to believe that you can be okay and love yourself without being that thin’”. Said Keesha Broome, licensed marriage and family therapist.

I personally believe that since these stars play such a huge role in teenage girls lives, providing support and encouragement for them to share their body insecurities and find acceptance can be empowering, motivating and is essential.

But, publicly confessing eating disorders not only make these themselves look insecure and weak but also promote a behavior that can be dangerous to young girls influenced by the media.

Is Miley Cyrus just growing up?


In recent interviews, the super-star of the moment Miley Cyrus has said her wild behavior and changes in attitude are completely healthy and are just part of her process of maturing into a young woman. But is doing drugs, dressing provocatively, twerking and stripping really a part of growing up?

Born as Destiny Hope, nicknamed Smiley and now Miley Cyrus, began her career as the secret pop-star Hannah Montana 7 years ago. The hit series turned her into a phenomenon and she’s been in the spot light ever since.

Despite a couple of scandals, Miley has had during her career and teenager years involving leaked private pictures and drugs, in September 2012 jaws were dropped at her new pixie haircut and revealing wardrobe that unchained a whole new behavior and completely buried Hannah Montana and Miley as we know it.

Miley’s recent scandals, which includes her controversial performance at MTV’s Music Video Awards has been a cause of concern and criticism by many and not considered normal. Her sudden hyper-sexuality, lack of impulse and control, admitted drug use and obsession for animals are not typical adolescent behavior.

There is definitely no denial that former Disney star Miley Cyrus has burst out of her sweet, good-girl shell and suddenly grew up overnight… in a shocking way. The “We Can’t Stop” singer has continued to show a track of wild behavior that most recently included nudity, something she is now well known for. Photos from her Adore You remix cover show the star topless riding a horse, topless in her own twitter photos, covers of magazines and completely nude in her controversial Wrecking Ball video.

Continuing to add to her pattern of outrageous behaviors is her current weed addiction. In November 2013 Miley publicly lights up marijuana joint at MTV’s EMA stage in Amsterdam that had millions of views. Her love for smoking has never been a big secret but even other celebrities like Whiz Khalifa worry at the amount she consumes.

While Miley credits growing up as the main reason for her wild ways, this sort of behavior isn’t common for an average twenty-one-year-old. Although she is now an adult and able to behave as she wishes, she has a fan base of millions of girls who look up to her and that will impact on their behavior too.

But the real question is, has Miley really grown up or gone crazy or is this all a part of a master plan? It’s become evident from pop-starts like Britney Spears, Madonna and Lady Gaga that becoming controversial is the formula to being in the public’s eye and mouth. But despite the overwhelming success of her singles “Wrecking Ball,” “We Can’t Stop” and “Adore You,” Miley wasn’t nominated neither by the Grammy’s or the American Music Award for her music, which leads me personally to believe this wasn’t all part of a marketing strategy, but an addiction to attention and thirst for fame.

Although I am in no position at all to judge Miley’s choices, I believe artists don’t need to seek for attention and behave controversially to be recognized for their music and talent. Can Miley really call this change as part of growing up or is the pressure of being famous making her slowly loose her mind?

4/20/14: Marijuana has progressed far


April 20 served as a day to celebrate marijuana and has long been an integral part of pot-culture. As the holiday comes and goes, it remains as a marker for how far our nation has come in the acceptance and legalization of the plant since the date has come around in past years.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana four months ago and, in that short time, the state has generated $14 million. Denver’s crime rate has decreased, proving the pot opponents wrong who anticipated a drastic increase in crime.

Medical marijuana is making progress even faster than its recreational counterpart, as Maryland becomes the 21st American state to legalize its use. Even conservative regions like the Deep South are opening up to harnessing the plant’s medicinal value, with Alabama signing a measure to allow medicine derived from marijuana.

Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica made international history as he legalized marijuana for his country — creating the first national pot marketplace. Mujica was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, partly because of his legalization decision.

Perhaps our nation has finally realized the financial potential that the legalization of marijuana brings with it; an estimated $105 million in annual sales tax could be generated in California alone.

A total of 58 percent of Americans now say they favor legalization, as opposed to only 12 percent that supported it in 1969. Marijuana is proving itself in the US, and it seems like it’s presence will only continue to grow.

Ukrainian Jews Look to Israel for Safety

Last week, after a Passover service in Donetsk, Ukraine, leaflets were given out to the Jews exiting the temple, demanding they ‘register’ with pro-Russian forces.

The leaflets stated that all Jews over the age of 16 had to register their religion, or face deportation. It also stated that registration cost $50 dollars, and required Jewish citizens to get special passports that “marked their confession of faith.”

This was later deemed an anti-Semitic attack, but one that held little to no actual bearing. The leaflets were deemed fake and the pro-Russian forces deny responsibility for the leaflet.

However, one thing this leaflet did cause is heightened tensions.

Ukraine’s prime minister is searching to find out, and punish, the distributor of the fliers, but even so Jews in eastern Ukraine remain highly concerned.

The event was too reminiscent of the Nazi-era for people to remain calm and collected. With the developing invasion of the Russians on the Ukrainian frontier, people and organizations are urging citizens to move to Israel to seek safety.

More people than not are discussing returning home to Israel. Many citizens have feared that war will start, and now with the addition of anti-Semitism, Jews don’t want to stick around to find out what can happen.

A Holocaust survivor, Sam Pivnik, who at 14 was rounded up and placed in Auschwitz, says that Ukraine is still a hotbed for anti-Semitism. He claims “Jews have no place in Ukraine, because nothing has changed, and as long as Jews remain there, nothing will change.”

Pivnik advices all Jews to leave the country immediately, fearing that they will have to experience what he once did.

As for now, the talk of fleeing to Israel remains in prevalent conversation with the lingering possibility of war. Ukraine officials claim to be searching for the instigator, but many wonder if that will help the anti-Semitism problem in Ukraine.

Media ‘Photoshopping’ bill proposed


It’s no secret that fashion campaigns and celebrity photo-shoots aren’t released to the public until every aspect is perfected through the art of Photoshop. People in the media look flawless and are usually airbrushed from head to toe.

An example of a Photoshopped image (Courtesy of Google images)

An example of a Photoshopped image (Courtesy of Google images)

Although certain companies like American Eagle are attempting to break through this long-used system and tradition of heavily Photoshopping models and celebrities to make them look impossibly perfect, there are still far too many companies using these techniques.

Youth nowadays are very impressionable, and the percentage of eating disorders and self harm among teens is unfortunately not getting any lower. This issue doesn’t only affect youth, as it can be applicable to people of all ages, even surpassing gender barriers.

People are being exposed to unattainable images of beauty, as they are fabricated through technology and appear almost inhuman. Some bodies are skewed to the point where it is scientifically and biologically impossible.

In an effort to reconcile the wrongs that Photoshop is causing in modern-day society, lawmakers have co-sponsored a bi-partisan bill that would make misleading Photoshopped pictures illegal.

A before and after example of Photoshopping (Courtesy of Google images)

A before and after example of Photoshopping (Courtesy of Google images)

The bill, called the “Truth in Advertising Act,” was introduced by Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Democratic Representative Lois Capps.

This act would require the Federal Trade Commission to report on any “materially change [in] the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted.”

It would also require the regulatory body to work with health and business professionals and experts to establish a set of standardized and safe practices when it comes to altering images.

The bill’s introductory paragraph supports the aforementioned fact that these images are enabling eating disorders.

“The dissemination of unrealistic body standards has been linked to eating disorders … [and] has a particularly destructive health effect on children and teenagers.”

Capps expressed that the legislation seeks to reduce the amount of Photoshopped images on the market, as they are negatively affecting young people, especially girls.

“Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women,” said Capps. “And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops.”

This bill sounds too good to be true. We’re in an age where no ad or image slips by without being retouched in some shape or form. This society is in too deep with Photoshopping, and I foresee quite a bit of backlash coming from many different sources in various industries if this bill goes through.

Indie Journalism thrives in Brazil


Last summer a wave of protests occurred in Brazil. These protests resulted
in a group of “indie journalists” coming together to report the events under the name Ninja (an acronym that stands for Independent Narratives Journalism and Action in Portuguese).

The group started gaining a lot of attention for their unscripted and uncut videos as well as pictures, which put reporters in the shoes of the protesters.

Ninja’s photos show what the police barricade looks like from ground level and they are close enough to see the expressions on the protesters faces: happiness, fear, pain. We see something in the protest that is much more human. By this I mean we are seeing an up-close experience, opposed to a distant look that shows everything, but still reveals nothing.

It’s like watching a security tape of a robbery versus being the cashier there while the robbery occurred. You know what happened, but you can’t quit grasp the emotional content.

I think that this is why Ninja gained so much momentum. We are drawn to what is familiar to us, what we can relate to; and that is not a far shot of streets and people.

Ninja is able to draw audiences in because they show why we should care. They expose us to real people and show us truth, rather than tell us. This is a quality I believe professional news sources would benefit from adopting in moderation.

The Jewish ‘Millennial’ identity crisis


While many practicing Jews celebrated the beginning of Passover this past Monday at sundown, in 2014, the meaning behind all of the matzo eating and story telling during Seder is as important as ever.

I may not be Jewish — I am a born and raised Catholic — but this year I have been mesmerized by the traditions that practicing Jews have passed on to the Millennial generation. These traditions not only carry the symbolism behind the history of the Jewish people, but also remind a new generation as to how important faith and family are — even when this sense of importance is skewed.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly one in three Jewish Millennials, meaning they were born around the turn of the 21st century, say they are not practicing Jews, but identify themselves as either ethically or culturally Jewish. These numbers correlate equally with the changes the nation is experiencing as a whole, where 20 percent of the public consider themselves as not affiliated to a religion, the Pew report found.

Among Jews in the youngest generation — the Millennials — 68% identify as Jewish by religion while 32% describe themselves as having no religion and identify as Jewish based on ethnicity, ancestry or culture. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue and one-fourth do not believe in God.

This is why many spiritual leaders and elders see the eight days of Passover as an opportunity to continue to engage the younger generation. This includes a growing number of young adults who are struggling with their faith due to the distractions of this day and age as well as apathy towards religion.

During the Seder, “One of the things you are always looking for in the Passover Seder is the youngest child. They are the ones who recite the (traditional) four questions,” said Eric Smitt, the president of Congregation Beth El, a conservative congregation in West Melbourne. These questions are the root as to why it is important to keep the Jewish faith alive, he pointed out.

Smitt said:

“The whole evening is a joyous moment that teaches and at the same time has a lot of symbolism. There is a lot of history and it’s very engaging. The most interesting thing that I see is the people who are coming in through a marriage. You find that the non-Jews are more involved and tend to be more religious than the Jewish person.”

This makes sense, after all, these non-Jews deliberately made the decision to convert to a religion in its entirety, and most likely have a newfound perspective of the value of religion and the traditions that come along with it.  Whereas young people who were born into the religion may find it more difficult or unnecessary to connect with their faith.

While the older generation’s concerns about the new wave of reform and non-practicing Jews are valid, many Millennials are discovering new ways to challenge, question, and adapt their religious beliefs and practices to fit in today’s progressive world.

Are social media trusted news sources?


I feel like the way that our culture is now, social media are now considered an official news source. Whether screen-shotting a tweet off Twitter or pulling a picture from Instagram, the candidness of these platforms appears to be what the public likes to see.

When was the last time you actually sought out to see a press release, for any recent? Even a news report from a trusted news source. Readers today don’t want to take enough time to read all of that. They want to know what happened in a single picture, or 140 characters or less.

So what does this mean for the future of journalism? Obviously we will always need writers. And as for photographers, a camera phone will never compare to the clarity living inside a Nikon D-5000. But, still, half of the time when something happens in the news, there’s an image of a public figure’s tweet or a video someone took at a moment’s notice.

Maybe writing styles will become more lax, I don’t know, but it’ll be interesting to see in the future how much more accountability that social media holds. We no longer live in an age where we need official reports and public speeches. It’s enough for us to see a picture on a verified social media account and we trust it.

Why is Miley Cyrus a CNN headline?


I find it pretty ridiculous that on CNN’s website, one of the top headlines of the day is how Miley Cyrus is facing a long recovery, following an “extreme allergic reaction.”

Yes, the trusted news site is still very good about reporting what matters: The sunken South Korea ferry, the latest development in Ukraine, and so forth.

But why Miley Cyrus? I know it’s not fun to have an allergic reaction to anything, I’m not saying that whatever she’s going through isn’t worth anything, but is it worth being a top headline on a major news source’s website?

I think it looks ridiculous that CNN is reporting on serious world matters and decides to include a slightly reckless celebrity who’s having a personal medical issue.

I’m sure that CNN feels as though it’s okay to post things like this. The site is hoping to draw a younger demographic to the site. Honestly though, if I’m looking for the latest on Miley Cyrus, or any other celebrity, I’m going to go to a trusted source for celebrity news.

I’ll admit that the demographic interested in Cyrus will go to CNN to read about her, but those readers are probably going to leave the site soon after, if they even read the full article.

If CNN’s trying to keep up, this could soon become problematic. Who knows, next month they could be reporting on the next world crisis and somewhere else on the page there will be a featured article investigating why a certain actress looked so terrible on the red carpet.

The people who genuinely read CNN for its intense news stories are probably not interested in how Cyrus is feeling. I read the article. All it talks about is her having a sinus infection on her risqué concert tour and then taking an antibiotic that gave her the allergic reaction.

Please, CNN, this isn’t the kind of news that deserves this attention on your site. Maybe if Cyrus went to a third world country and did some meaningful community service, then it would be warranted as a good human interest feature. And still, I would feel like that would be a publicity stunt. Being on such a broad world stage, CNN should be careful.

Sometimes it only takes one to start something and then everyone’s doing it.

Coachella challenges social media


About 90,000 three-day passes were purchased for each weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California.

Multiply that with the retro, vintage, hippie costume of the event and imagine the number and the damage it could do to the hipster dominated app; Instagram.

And that damage was large, mainly because Coachella literally caused damage to the application’s server. On Saturday, around 12 p.m. Instragram shut down.

It seems that Instagram had enough of white crochet and flower crowns because the constant influx of Instagrams by celebrities, non-celebrities, viewers at home, and even just jealous fans, was too much for the app to handle.

This was not the only social media faux pas caused by the festival. The vintage-y and hippie inspired atmosphere of the festival provokes a very specific dress. Subdued colors, cut off jeans shorts, knit, and more are often the common style of the festival.

However, many celebrities took their own twist on the retro look; but not all were appreciated. Many of the celebrities attempts at trendy and unique actually raised question on its’ cultural appropriation.

Several celebrities were seen sporting feather headbands, bindi dots, or headwraps.

Denny’s took this opportunity to promote not only their chain, but cultural appropriation as well. They retweeted several celebrities pictures that question cultural ethics and added their own twist.

Coachella is one of the largest musical events in the world. It hosts a different crowd than Miami’s very own Ultra Music Festival, but no matter what, both will cause controversy due to their size and nature.

Goodbye, Gabriel García Márquez


“Say yes, even if you are dying of fear, even if you are going to repent, because anyway you will regret a lifetime if you say no”. These were the wise words of the Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez who died yesterday, April 17, at age 87.

Marquez was admitted to a hospital in Mexico City early this month for a pulmonary and urinary infection. After nine days of treatment, Márquez was released in a delicate state and died shortly after.

Only the millions of followers that read his books understand why today the world of literature is dressed in black. Márquez is considered the most significant author of this century in the Spanish literature.

Marquez with his two Nobel Prize winning books “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “One hundred Years of Solitude, was able to trap his readers and immerse them in what he calls the “magical realism”. He was able to express the reality with a spark of magic, making his characters perceive the mystic as something normal.

Even the greatest poets like Pablo Neruda, consider Márquez’s Nobel Prize winning book “One hundred Years of Solitude” the “greatest revelation in the Spanish language since the Don Quixote of Cervantes.” 

From the many books of Spanish literature that I have read, few have left me with such a remarkable message as “One hundred Years of Solitude”. We should live life as if it is our last day on earth; each moment is valuable and leaves us something to learn. It is up to us if we want to live joyful or lonely.

The trouble with using Photoshop


Photos have leaked of Lady Gaga’s Versace campaign, but they’re not the flawless, Donatella-esque images we’ve all seen. Rather, they’re the un-photoshopped versions, and the results are a little jarring.

While Gaga looks streamlined and airbrushed in the published images, she looks undoubtedly more realistic in the non-retouched pictures. She sports no makeup, chapped lips and bruises on her legs.

Target's photoshop fail to create a thigh gap (Source:

Target’s photoshop fail to create a thigh gap (Source:

Gaga's Versace campaign, unretouched (Source:

Gaga’s Versace campaign, unretouched (Source:

The perfection of the image goes against Gaga’s mantra of “Born this Way,” which celebrates the beauty in imperfection. Many publications, though, continue to Photoshop their images to obscene amounts.

Target recently put up an image on their website of a bathing suit model who has a rather rectangular area missing from her upper thigh. This was a Photoshop mishap that was created in order to give the model a “thigh gap.”

Multiple other Photoshop fails have occurred, and many are those which were created to achieve a skinner look for the models.

The heavy-handed Photoshopping of already thin models has given rise to the obsession with being thin and having a thigh gap. Tumblr, a social media blog site, has also contributed to the thigh gap obsession, as many girls reblog and post images of skeletal looking girls with the hashtag “thigh gap” and “thinspo” or thinspiration.

The problem has gotten so real that now when you search thigh gap on tumblr, a message comes up entitled, “Everything okay?” that gives numbers to eating disorder help centers.

As a mode of activism, American Eagle’s lingerie line, aerie, launched their #aerieReal Campaign, in which they vow to use real girl models of all sizes who are not retouched by Photoshop. It is such a change to see images on the computer screen that are not the idealized female form.

While I appreciate the use of real girls, I do have to say that it is better to view clothes on a more perfected image. Yet there is a difference between a little tweak here and there, and a complete disregard for humanness. Publications and companies should use Photoshop with a lighter hand.

Why bad mouth aspiring NFL stars?


With the NFL draft approaching on May 8, the dissection of young athletes personal lives has once again came to the forefront of sports reporting.

Whether it is Johnny Manziel attending the Masters with his dad or Jadeveon Clowney deciding to not participate in individual workouts, everything these athletes do is carefully analyzed.

The ridicule player’s take for making personal decisions regarding their future is laughable.

If Manziel wants to attend the world’s most famous golfing event to get away from his preparation for the draft for a weekend, who are we to tell him he is wrong? Millions of people watched the Masters from their homes, but because Manziel has the means to attend he should be ridiculed?

In Clowney’s case, he has not only played three collegiate football seasons but has also attended the NFL Combine and a personal pro-day held at The University of South Carolina. Teams have more information than they need to evaluate him, yet when he decides to sit out due to the risk of injury his “heart” and love of the game is questioned.

The decisions these athletes make are based on their own moral values and what they believe to be best for them. They are not making decisions that are detrimental to anybody else yet they are repeatedly questioned.

Before reporters write an article dissecting Manziel’s personal judgment, think back to when you were 21 years old. If you had millions of dollars coming your way, do you not think you would partake in the endeavors these athletes choose?

NCAA proposes food rules change


Shabazz Napier, a University of Connecticut men’s basketball star, recently told sports reporters during the NCAA tournament that sometimes he “goes to bed starving because he can’t afford food.”

Following Napier’s comments and all the media attention that they drew, the NCAA proposed a rule that college athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks. Division I schools could provide athletes additional meals covered in a student-athlete’s scholarship if approved. The new rule would apply to scholarship and non-scholarship athletes.

The current rule is that NCAA athletes may be provided three meals a day or a food stipend.

I believe that it is ridiculous that an athlete had to step up and say that he sometimes starves just for the NCAA to propose a rule that athletes should get unlimited meals.

Student-athletes should have already been given the opportunity to have unlimited meals. The way their schedule is set up we don’t have the opportunity that regular students do to get food we want, so having unlimited meals when we can eat would be very helpful.

A lot of athletes come from poor families, with them being the only person in the family that has been to college. When the athlete runs out of the monthly food revenue, they start wondering how they are going to eat. The new rule would be useful in that the student athlete would only have to worry about school and their particular sport; not their next meal.

And the Pulitzer goes to . . .


In January, the Pulitzer nomination of The Washington Post and the U.S. edition of The Guardian for their reports on Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks caused a controversy. But Monday, the two news organizations actually took home the 2014 Pulitzer award for public service.

The Pulitzer board said The Post and The Guardian U.S. were awarded the prize for “authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

The Pulitzer Prize is one of the most prestigious and sought-after awards in journalism, literature and photography. Not only is expert reporting and writing involved for journalism, but the story must also be something that matters.

I’ve noticed there is often a discrepancy between stories considered newsworthy and stories that actually matter. For example, usually has a few trending topics, most of them national or global topics that are indeed relevant for a few days. Then there are a few feature stories, usually more lighthearted but have that bizarre element to them that makes them newsworthy.

There are also those random stories about the latest developments in a celebrity’s private life that in my opinion really shouldn’t be trending on CNN. Because that kind of story begs the question…

Who cares? Does it matter? Maybe. But does it really?

I don’t care, personally, but I realize that a lot of the nation does care and, in the end, that will likely determine what is newsworthy. Whatever gets hits on the page, or eyes glued to the TV screen.

This is another reason why it is not at all typical to see celebrity gossip on a website for a print newspaper like The New York Times or The Washington Post. They’re trying to focus on stories that have lasting impacts, while CNN is trying to capture the viewership of society on television. Thus is born the divide between print and television journalism. I’m not trying to say that either one of them is wrong or that one of them is more entertaining.

I’m just saying that a television news website probably won’t win a Pulitzer.

US Airways explains risky tweet


Monday afternoon during a flight delay, a passenger on US Airways flight 1787, announced her dismay with the airline through a tweet to the airline’s official Twitter account.

The response she received was nothing short of pornographic and offensive.

After sending several tweets to the airline’s Twitter account, she finally elicited a response. They stated “We truly dislike delays too and are very sorry your flight was affected.”

The unsatisfied flier continued on to tweet a rude response addressing the fact that they have ignored her previous tweets. The airline seemed to be trying to make up for its mistakes in its next tweet to her, but something went terribly wrong.

In the seemingly appropriate and warranted tweet they mention, “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and followup.”

The imaged that followed was certainly not the customer satisfaction survey that they meant to attention.

Instead the tweet was followed by a pornographic picture featuring a woman and a plastic airplane.

The inappropriate tweet stayed online for several minutes, before the airline realized its serious error.

Officials from US Air quickly tweeted; “We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses, We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.”

The tweets, however, had already gone viral. Several websites featured the airline’s inappropriate tweet and poked fun at the obvious misfortune of the event.

The airline finally came forward announcing that the tweet came not from a hacking, but by honest mistake. The inappropriate picture had been used in a tweet tagging the airline, one which it had flagged as inappropriate, so that it could later be deleted. Because of this, the image was placed in the “clipboard” and accidentally “pasted” into what should have been an honest and innocent tweet.

The airline publicly apologized and claimed it is making internal changes to its communication process to ensure that this never happens again.