Zika Virus Epidemic: From Mosquito Bite to an STD

By Shanda Glover

A mosquito on a finger.
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. They live indoors and outdoors near people.

Last week, health officials from Dallas County, Texas, announced a confirmed case of the Zika virus, a disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. This case involves a patient who had traveled from Venezuela to the United States and later passed on the virus to his wife.  The Center of Disease Control (CDC) confirmed this is the first known case of the virus being acquired in the continental United States. It is also the first confirmed case through sexual transmission.

Currently, there is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika infections. The CDC states that getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water, and taking acetaminophen to relieve pain can help those who are infected. Common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, conjunctivitis, and intense headaches. These symptoms are usually mild lasting up to a week. About 80 percent of people infected with the Zika virus don’t show symptoms at all.  Usually people don’t get sick and rarely die. However, an increasing number of children born to mothers experiencing Zika symptoms have had birth defects. Research on the virus has been extremely limited. With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring Zika a public health emergency, attention on Zika science and research funding have increased, and better diagnostics tests have been created to detect the virus. Continue reading “Zika Virus Epidemic: From Mosquito Bite to an STD”

“Boys Will Be Boys” is No Excuse

By Sam Kennedy

“He’s just teasing you.”
“That’s just how boys are.”
“Don’t let him get to you.”
Is it any wonder women stay in abusive relationships? From an early age young women are told that if boys are mean to you, that means they like you.
Now, an abusive relationship may seem like quite a conclusion to jump to based off of how children act towards one another in regards to crushes and flirting. Allow me to elaborate though through two scenarios:
Continue reading ““Boys Will Be Boys” is No Excuse”

An Open Letter to a Florida Anti-abortion Activist

By Stephanie Sampson

at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA.
At the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA.

A Florida State Subcommittee heard a testimony from an anti-abortion activist last week that made many Americans cringe. The activist insisted that “white culture” is being destroyed because white women are “outside the home, not having babies.”  The activist was expressing his support for HB 865 which would make abortion completely illegal in Florida except when pregnancy threatens a woman’s life or if two physicians certify in writing that the pregnancy interferes with the treatment of an already life threatening disease

I am here today to address this activist’s testimony. Here is how I feel about your so-called testimony:

Continue reading “An Open Letter to a Florida Anti-abortion Activist”

Finding Happiness through Healthy Thinking

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By Jessica Bovee

“I love myself.” That’s right, go ahead and say it, out loud, preferably. Say it once, twice, however many times it takes for it to be true. It’s not always easy to admit that we’re beautiful or that we have these dazzling qualities that make us who we are, but it’s important.

Some of us might laugh at the girls who cover their mirrors with Pinterest quotes and the uplifting mantras. While some of these motivational sayings and pictures may seem pointless, it may be just what we need to find happiness.

Continue reading “Finding Happiness through Healthy Thinking”

Stressed Out? Keep Reading!

By Lauren Anthony

emoticon_stressballs_by_super_ninja_poo-d3jyhrnEvery now and then, there comes a day when the best part about it is going to bed. We all have these kinds of days and sometimes we’re not even sure why a sunshine day became a downpour of frustrations. Fear not! You’re not the only one. I had one of these particularly rainy days last Wednesday.

Where do I even begin? My laptop was not working and I was not sure if I was going to have a working laptop by the end of the week. The weather outside was rainy and not so pleasant, which made the walk to class a hassle. In between classes I was on the phone with my brother and IT services on campus talking about my laptop. I would have to take it to a local repair shop. So, I went on the long journey in the rain to the apple store with my laptop and walked back to my dorm. My jacket was soaked, my jeans were soaked, and my sneakers were soaked. Could this day go anymore wrong? By the time I had returned home all soaked I did not want to do anything else, I only wanted to crawl into my bed and go to sleep.

Continue reading “Stressed Out? Keep Reading!”

The Franchise Has (Finally) Awakened

The Franchise Has (Finally) Awakened
By Tess Fox

 

*mild spoilers ahead*

As a kid, I grew up watching The Land Before Time. It was an innocent kid’s show, about a group of dinosaur friends trying to get to the Great Valley, a legendary valley where all the dinosaurs lived.

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To this day, I have only shared this childhood experience with boys. It seemed that I was one of the only girls watching these movies, despite them being pretty gender neutral. I watched “girly” movies too, the Barbie movies were a staple in my house as well as the Disney princesses. Then my dad showed me Star Wars. I fell in love.

Again, I talked about Star Wars with the boys at school. I did my hair in weird Princess Leia buns and made cruisers with my brother’s Legos. My brother and I also had many lightsaber duels.

The franchise has had a reawakening recently. Disney bought Lucasfilm,  the production company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas, for $4 billion dollars.

This included the real world Holocron database of over 17,000 characters in the Star Wars universe. Disney CEO Robert Iger understood continuing the Star Wars legacy required further development of standing characters as well as the introduction of new ones. This happened with the release of The Force Awakens in December.

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At first, the film stirred the pot, with internet trolls claiming the film to be “anti-white.” One of the main character roles went to a black actor. The casting was to right the wrong of the original films which relegated black characters to secondary roles. These trolls seem to have forgotten that the rebels in the original films were accepting of all colors, races, and space creatures. Maybe they should revisit The Empire Strikes Back for some of Yoda’s doctrines of fear and suffering:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

The Force Awakens continued to shake things up with Rey, a strong, fearless female protagonist as the main character. She does NOT want to hold hands with Fin, her male protagonist counterpart, and her weapon is a long staff rather than Leia’s and Padme’s dainty blaster. Despite her lack of training, Rey is very handy with a lightsaber.

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During several chase scenes, Rey is annoyed when Fin tries grabbing her hand while they run. Scoffing, she says, “Stop grabbing my hand!” I think I’ve been waiting to hear a woman say that to her male counterpart for as long as I’ve been alive. Even though Fin is her “love interest,” Rey doesn’t have a big kiss scene because that’s so not what she is about. They hug once, and she kisses him on the forehead while he’s recovering from a lightsaber wound. Kudos for having no makeout scene! The film show that girls can do more in movies than be the love interest.

Rey is the only person that Han Solo trusts with the Millennium Falcon, Han’s ship in the original film. She drives as well as he does too! At the end of the film, Rey takes over Han’s smuggling job with Chewbacca, the Wookie.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is joined by several other female leads; General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). Captain Phasma, the antagonist, is one of the only female villains out there in Hollywood with the exception of the villains in Disney princess movies.

I think the best part is that Rey is just as much for boys as she is for girls. Girls are always going to imagine themselves as the lead, just as I did when I placed myself into the Star Wars story when I was a kid, in spite of its lack of female leads in the original films. By finally having a lead female role, Star Wars is giving more girls a chance to join the boys in pretend lightsaber battles and in fighting the Dark Side. They no longer have to be afraid of breaking the mold.

It also serves as a reminder to the “grown ups” convinced that female roles are inferior that Rey is one of several strong female characters in the franchise, not just an exception.

With a female lead and many supporting female characters, The Force Awakens passes the Bechdel Test, a test created by comic-strip artist Alison Bechdel. The original comic features two women discusses their personal requirements for seeing movies.

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JJ Abrams, director of The Force Awakens, took note of the flaws of the previous movies. By adding real female characters, he has helped change the fan culture and the culture surrounding the franchise. He said: “And honestly, Star Wars should be for everyone. That’s the whole point.”

Now it is.

 

More Than a Phase: Growing Up As a Feminist

By: Shanda Glover

Elle UK magazine cover
Since Elle UK re-branded their magazine they have started their own conversations about feminism today.

Is feminism just a fad? Has it become a new product to treat ourselves to, like leather jackets, Birkenstocks, and skinny jeans? In the media, feminism has opened doors for magazines and clothing designers to rebrand themselves and has given them the tools to change their image to make them seem more relevant to current generations. Last year, Cosmopolitan came out and stated that they were” deeply feminist.” The next magazine, Elle UK, created three feminist activist groups with three advertising groups.  Looking inside the fashion world, many designers are now putting women’s comforts first. “Feminism is back in fashion,” but what exactly does that mean? Feminism is back and hotter than ever…but for how long?

With so many celebrities coming out taking feminist stances without actually identifying as feminists or allowing the conversation to continue, feminism has just become a trend or a phase. Personally, I have been told that my feminist beliefs are not valid because I am merely following the crowd. Apparently, I only call myself a feminist because Beyoncé does. I only call myself a feminist because I want more movies that are directed by women. I have had friends tell me I only call myself a feminist because the media tells me I should.

Continue reading “More Than a Phase: Growing Up As a Feminist”