“He Named Me Malala”—A powerful documentary and a call to action

By Madison Teuscher

Malala Yousafzai is a worldwide symbol of activism and education rights for girls. Since her childhood, she has been an outspoken advocate for the education of all girls in Pakistan, her home country. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban militant while riding to school. Malala was only fifteen. She miraculously survived, and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her tireless efforts to ensure the education of all children, regardless of gender. She gave a powerful speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday. Her book, an autobiography titled “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”, was an enlightening personal account of her life in Pakistan and the experiences surrounding her gunshot wound.

He-Named-Me-Malala_1444151780More recently, “He Named Me Malala” was released, a documentary detailing the events surrounding the Taliban’s attack on Malala. This 2015 film was received warmly, and gives insight into the beautiful Swat region where Malala lives, her life and family, details of the attack, and her continued activism. Recently, the Women’s Center screened “He Named Me Malala” for its Spring Film series at the Kenworthy Theatre.

Continue reading ““He Named Me Malala”—A powerful documentary and a call to action”

Revisiting The Forest

By Tess Fox

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In January, I wrote a critique of The Forest, a horror movie that came out at the beginning of that month.  The main character, Sara, travels to the Aokigahara Forest in Japan where her twin sister had disappeared to search for answers. During the movie, Sara battles evil spirits of the dead who are trying to kill her. Her traumatic past becomes fodder, making it easier for the spirits to victimize her.

The movie didn’t do so hot at the box office, bringing in 37.6 million.

It received a 4/10 rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics. While most of the movie’s critique revolved around the subpar horror aspect of the film, many criticized the plot. It was described as muddled and confusing in many reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

While the critics did not have anything to say about the topic of the movie, the internet got heated.

A review by Nicole Arca on kolloboration.com echoed many of my concerns– the movie exploits suicide for a cheap thrill.

Another internet review by Charlene Jao pointed out how the movie could have included more Asian actors.

“Prioritizing a white character in a Japanese setting that’s as culturally significant as Aokigahara gives me the message that people don’t empathize with non-white characters and the stories of the actual people aren’t worth telling (or worse, inspiration for entertainment),” Jao said in their review.

On The Odyssey, there are several articles that detail the same points I made in my article. While people did go see this movie and some probably gave it a positive review, I’m glad to know that their are others out there who are sticking up for Asian actors and those with mental health issues.

Here’s my original article.

Mother Nature’s Punctuation

225001303_b579d9e89e_zOf all the health topics pertaining to women, menstruation has to be the most commonly swept under the rug. Which is ironic, considering nearly every person with female reproductive organs will experience it. Not only do we not openly discuss the normal, regular occurrence of menstruating itself, we are taught not to talk about anything regarding periods—products, effects on daily life, or serious health concerns. There is a huge cloud of shame that follows a woman’s period almost everywhere in the world that leaves women feeling even more negative towards what can be an already unpleasant experience. Society expects us to hide tampons on our way to the bathroom, keep quiet about painful physical symptoms, and blame normal emotions on PMS.

One of the many detrimental side effects of silence around periods is the lack of knowledge it creates. When there is a stigma attached to a part of your body, some go to extreme efforts to avoid it at all costs. There are so many women who have never even looked at their own vagina, let alone explored and learned about their body during menstruation. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where looking at and understanding your body was encouraged, which I found to be vital to my wellbeing—especially my reproductive health. The female reproductive system is intensely complicated, and remaining in the dark by not exploring can be dangerous and cause women to feel uncomfortable about speaking up when something is wrong.

Continue reading “Mother Nature’s Punctuation”

Women’s Biggest Threat

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As women, taking care of our bodies can sometimes feel like a full-time job. I also think a lot of us can attest to not always making time for that particular job, maybe putting its related tasks and responsibilities on the back burner for a little too long. In our productivity-driven society, we’ve prioritized so many things over our physical and mental health, to the point where it can be dangerous. Ignoring symptoms, trying to self-diagnose or self-medicate, or simply not listening to our bodies when something is wrong are all too common for women in America. There’s a subtle yet pervasive stigma for women around being thought to complain about our health that often perpetuates these behaviors. Women frequently think, “I’ll be fine, I’m just overreacting” or “I don’t have the time (or money/resources/support) to see a doctor right now” or even “This is normal and happens to all women”—generally down-playing what can sometimes turn out to be symptoms of serious health conditions. This stigma plays a huge role in many issues that women face, including heart disease, which is the leading cause of death of women in the United States.

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Feminist Artists

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In response to listening to rap music, artist Brianna Suslovic said, “On one hand, I found myself spitting lyrics and pop-lock-dropping to the beats. On the other hand, I took personal offense when my favorite artists chose to glorify misogyny and homophobia.”

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Dispelling the “Crazy Girl” Myth

8472524125_c9f6cb3431_zAccording to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well- being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Sounds like a daunting task to me. In our society, being a woman carries a full set of expectations. Looking a certain way, acting appropriately, being in a healthy relationship, having plans for the future, and taking on whatever else the world has to offer us that day, with a smile. For me, trying to live up to these unrealistic standards is impossible and not something I’m interested in. I am rarely realizing my full potential, coping with stress, working fruitfully, and contributing to society all at once. But feeling like that is still my responsibility as a member of society is a heavy burden to carry. I believe mental health is all too commonly ignored as the most important aspect of our overall well-being, especially as women. Continue reading “Dispelling the “Crazy Girl” Myth”

Closing the Healthcare Gap for LGBTQ Patients

2290120626_0c9d955dae_zSo far, this column has been geared mostly toward women’s health. But lately, I’ve been seeing more and more articles in the media about LGBTQ health. We all know that seeing your doctor for whatever reason can be a bit of a pain. But for members of the LGBTQ community, it is more than just a hassle. It is apparent that America’s health care system is desperately subpar when it comes to serving queer, transgender, and gender nonconforming people.

America has made some recent positive strides with regard to LGBTQ rights. There are now a number of laws protecting people from discrimination in the workplace and other places because of their sexual orientation or gender. Also, 15 states now afford queer couples a few of the same rights as heterosexual couples. Despite the legal progress, though, America still lacks adequate provision of comprehensive healthcare for members of the LGBTQ community. Continue reading “Closing the Healthcare Gap for LGBTQ Patients”