A New Definition

Despite feminism being around for many years, and feminists having made a huge amount of progress, gender equality is still a pressing issue. One cause of gender equality taking so long to achieve is people not fully understanding what 'feminism' means. Feminism, by definition, means, "The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men," according to The Oxford Dictionary. Contrary to common assumptions, it is not anti-men or believing that women are better. Men these days don’t seem to understand that the term “feminist” means gender equality. In a rebuttal against this idea of feminism being the equivalent of “man-hating”, users on Twitter have invented this idea of “meninism”.  Meninism t-shirts have been made and #meninist has been used on Twitter millions of times. This is not what we need. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

It’s not just men who don’t understand the word ‘feminist’ or think of it as being negative. In a study that the Huffington Post did, they found that only 20% of Americans identify as feminists, 23% of them being women and 16% of them men. If people continue to carry on with this belief that feminism is negative, is there a point to having feminism being such a pressing topic in our society? Won’t this belief just encourage the opposite of what is intended? To be gender neutral is impossible, so what we need to do is think of each other as equals, rather than needing one gender to be considered better than the other. Today, we need to look at the world as a whole, not divided by gender. We are equal. Feminism does not mean women are better, and feminists are not all over-opinionated, masculine women. It means gender equality and in order to achieve this, we need more than just 20% of Americans to understand this. 

 

- Lauren '15  

We Should Give and Others Should Get

Imagine your life. I bet you can all say you’ve really wanted something in your life and gotten it. Do you need any of that stuff to live? Just imagine the people that live in tiny huts with not a lot of food to eat, and a sheet to sleep on, and a well to pump their own water. Do you notice a difference between your personal life and someone else's ? What if we could help those people by giving and sharing our food and possessions. That would make their day a whole lot better and brighter.

When I was younger, around the age of 3 or 4, I always thought how unlucky I was to not have a pink fluffy unicorn stuffy or a doll. But now, I see how LUCKY I am to have a comfortable bed and different food to eat each meal. It is hard to imagine some peoples lives, where they  have to walk miles to go to work or school. I think about, what if I were in that situation? What if you had to walk a long way to get to school or work? How would that make you feel?

I have a dream the wealthy would give to the pour. That everyone had a well deserved life and food and a bed to sleep in at night. They deserve more than what they have because they work harder, but get less. We sit around and play with our money and don’t put it to a good use. We should give and others should get.

-Madison '17

Every Year Gets Warmer

Arctic animals without homes. Flames bursting from a building. No rain all summer long. What is this?

It’s global warming. What is global warming? Well, it’s basically here because there’s not so much pollution that keeps the sun’s rays from reaching Earth, but enough so that the heat can’t reflect back into space. The result of this is heat being trapped on our planet.

Have you ever noticed that every year, the media says that “this has been the hottest year ever”? They’re right. Have you noticed how there was a drought in California last summer? That’s a result of global warming. This being such a warm January is because of global warming too.

But there are ways you can help. Instead of driving only two blocks because you’re too lazy, walk instead. You can plant trees. All these ways and more can make a difference.

This could be the Earth years from now...

-Audrey '17

 

Stop In The Name Of Health!

I have a dream that one day people will stop smoking for good and give up their addiction. I hope that one day more people that smoke will start to understand what smoking is doing to their body. I hope that one day I will not have to smell marijuana and cigarettes when I am walking down the street. One day people will realize how much better and healthier they will feel once they stop smoking. Smoking harms almost all the organs in your body. Cigarette smoking has caused more than 480,000 deaths. I hope that one day there won’t be any more deaths caused by smoking. It makes me sad to think about how many lives have been taken from smoking. It’s crazy for me to think that kids not much older than I am smoke and do other drugs. I think that's crazy because its hard for me to picture one of my friends or even me smoking and doing drugs. That may have been the same thing those kids thought when they were my age. Many family members of mine smoke and before I started thinking about it I didn't realize how horrible and dangerous it is.        

Recently I watched a video showing the inside of the lungs of a person who smoked. When I saw it my first reaction was, “Wow, I can’t believe that this what happens when someone smokes,” but then I thought about how many people smoke and wondered, their lungs look like that. In the video the lungs had black dots all over them and as you got deeper into the lungs the dots grew in size. I don’t know how long this person had been smoking, but I do know that if you continue to smoke that will begin to happen to your lungs. One day, will people stop smoking for good?

-Savannah '17

Police Power

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In the United States, we have many police officers. Most people trust them. Although I think that we, the citizens, should feel like we can trust them, they don’t always earn our trust.

I am going to tell you a personal example of this.

I was nine years old. It was the end of the summer, and I was coming home from an improv camp. It had been a long day, my nanny and I were almost home, and I was exhausted, so I closed my eyes when we were at the intersection of Boren and Howell. Unfortunately, I did not get long to rest because I immediately heard:

“PUT THE KNIFE DOWN! PUT THE KNIFE DOWN!”

I opened my eyes and looked out the window to see a young policeman yelling at a Native American wood carver. I found it very interesting and peered out my window for a closer look. Just when I started paying attention to the action, the light turned green and we left the scene. 

Being a nine year old, I quickly changed my thought and started talking to my nanny about improv skills I had learned that day until…

“BANG! BANG!”

There were gunshots in the distance behind us. 

I have a dream that one day, our country’s police officers will earn our trust. I know that that is a big, vague dream, but it is not impossible or unreasonable: we, the people of the USA have a right to feel safe, to trust the people who put our lives in their hands. Witnessing the murder of John T. Williams definitely did not make me feel safe with the security the country has.

“His only crime appears to have been walking across the street carrying a carving knife and a chunk of cedar.” 

To clarify, I am not saying that all police officers are prejudiced people, but some are, and we need to take that into account. Martin Luther King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and this is true in my experiences with police brutality and prejudice. Injustice with experiences like the murder of John T. Williams, or Ferguson, or a recent case of police shooting of a teenager in Denver, and many more cases are a threat to everyone’s safety. Police officers should be able to be trusted, and I have a dream that they will be trusted.

Read more about John T. Williams here.

-Mara '16

TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED

Why do we treat sick people differently than others?

Have you ever avoided someone because they’re physically different?  I bet lots of you have without noticing it.  In fact most people have had that experience or been the target of the conversation.  People constantly exclude people because of mental illnesses, health problems, injuries, disabilities and other reasons.  You might hurt someone and not even know it. We are failing to recognize the value in people by making judgments about them based on their health conditions.  I hope after you read this essay, you will be convinced that people exclude others with difficulties and this has to stop.

If someone broke their arm and had on a cast to school, the first thing everyone would want to do is sign it.   It’s much different if someone has mental difficulties or something more severe than just a broken leg or arm,  even if it’s because they had a hard past.  When you are in the position of making assumptions about someone for no good reason, remind yourself of the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.  Just remember that someone having difficulties or health problems deserves as much positive attention as someone with a broken arm.

So, what can we do?  Maybe make a commitment to being careful that we don’t hurt someone’s feelings by making comments about who they are.  Or maybe we can stop teasing people when they might feel sensitive about a subject.  standing up for others would help the target not have to be in the position of people judging them. If we all try to do something to make other people less uncomfortable the world would be way better off.

-Sylvia '17

The Earth Only Has One Life

I hope that one day pollution will not be a problem and Seattle will be a garbage-free place. Humans and other animals have been on this earth for millions of years. Many of us are lucky to have the privilege of accessing all of our necessities which are food, water, and a safe place to live. Much of our population can get access to those needs, but many cannot. Even though we live in a privileged society, many people still pollute the area that we live in.

Trash can be seen nearly everywhere you look around on the streets. People are careless enough to not respect their environment and therefore carelessly throw things onto the streets.

A massive number of citizens in the U.S. choose to drive a car instead of walking or biking, which uses gasoline and pollutes the air. Big factories manufacture unnecessary items that we don’t really need in our everyday lives. As yummy and delicious food may be, there is only a small selection of it that we absolutely need in life. All these gigantic factories pollute the air with smoke and are not good for our environment at all. Little things like throwing a cigarette on the ground or carelessly leaving a piece of trash somewhere can increase pollution in the Seattle area.

Seattle has a lot of garbage to be found around the city. Please help stop all of this pollution and waste by throwing things away, trying to avoid using a car (there are many alternative ways to get somewhere, like riding a bike or walking), and also try to clean up after others who have not heard this message, and tell them about it. Thank you for reading my dream speech. I appreciate it a lot.

Don't let this happen to the earth!

-Harriet '17

Families Aren't Made To Live Seperately

Imagine living in harsh conditions. You are given the choice of a better life, but you must split from your family, and not be able to see them for who knows how long? What would you do? This is a decision that homeless families all over Seattle must face. Because while there are plenty of organizations out there fighting homelessness, there are very few organizations that support homeless families.

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Homeless families? What homeless families? You don’t tend to see them as you walk through downtown. You don’t tend to see them anywhere, really. But they are out there. In fact, there are at least one thousand homeless families in the Seattle area. That’s right, one thousand. That’s a lot of families. Your co-workers, your classmates, friends, people that you interact with on a daily basis could be homeless, and you don’t even know it. They are hiding, because they are scared. Most of them don’t want “help”. They want to stay with their family.

So in honor of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream that one day we will live in a city where families in homelessness will be able to stay together through thick and thin. That there will be organizations out there supporting homeless families. Because family is an important thing; it is something that should be cherished.

So let’s rise up together to make this change. Let’s accept the fact that there are families in homelessness out there. Let’s help them through their hard times. Let’s make a change. Let’s be the nations next Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

-Greta '16

Quenching The Unquenchable

We live in a privileged society. We have access to every tangible necessity imaginable as well as many auxiliary items. So why do we always want more? One sees this need for quantity in everything we do: in the food portions in restaurants, in the amount of clothes in one’s closets, in the amount of space that one live in. Are we blind to the 3.1 million children who die of hunger each year? To the 578,424 homeless people in the U.S. alone? Or are we just too self-centered to care about about anyone other than ourselves?

Yesterday a girl told me, “You know, I think I need a new rug. The one I have is almost five years old!” She spoke as if five years was eternity, as if she did something remarkable. She didn’t. I have seen that girl’s room: the plush pillows, the flat-screened TV, the walk-in closet holding copious amount of clothing, most of which I have never seen her wear. “Do you know what people would give just to sleep on that rug?” I asked her critically. “That’s why I’m giving it to Goodwill!” “There’s not many starving people in Seattle.” She cheerily solved that problem with: “Well, buying a new one will give them money, because they probably work in those factories they’re made in.” “Do you mean the sweatshops?” She stopped talking. At least she had enough common sense to know that she couldn’t glorify sweatshops.

Today, what we need first is acceptance. Acceptance that our need for quantity is an illusion. Then, we need awareness. Awareness of the landfills we are producing, of the difference between necessary and unnecessary. Together we can change this standard of constant, nagging dissatisfaction with our lives, however small. By realizing ‘new’ isn’t always as important as frugality we can quench this unquenchable thirst. But I can’t change a person’s mind; only that person can do that. People have to find their own motivation behind their actions and only then will they realize that they can change their lives, and that we're can change the world. 

-Eva '15

The Perfection Problem

Society has this image of perfection. It has this image of how people should look and act. We as people know we can’t reach it, yet we keep on trying. 

Girls are supposed to have perfect skin and hair, and have to be skinny. Boys are have to be fit, look good, and, like girls, have perfect skin and hair. In reality, that’s not how we are.Now, not all people are self conscious. And of the ones that are, some are more self conscious than others. Some get bullied for the way they look and simply what they love. Those people beat themselves up because they will never be something that they can’t reach: perfect. We cry and sometimes hurt ourselves, all because others make us feel unneeded or not beautiful. And those that hurt, well, they aren’t perfect either. We are all no more perfect or imperfect than another. 

If only we could realize that and be able to accept it. We are not perfect. Perfect does not exist. There are people out there that want to escape and hurt themselves, that sit in their rooms with tears streaming down their faces for hours, because they can’t reach society’s standards. The false image of perfection has ruined us and we need to solve this. Tell people they are beautiful. Tell people they are worth it. Tell them they’re the best they can be. 

-Rosie '15

 

Everyone Deserves a Home

I  hope that someday no one will have to live on the streets and everyone will have a home, that people will care about others. I hope that someday people will care more about having a healthy life, a family, and a house then other things that could cause their body harm, for example: drugs, alcohol, or smoking. I hope, that someday all people will not only try but succeed in making a change.

I hope that someday when anyone walks down the street they will donate food, money, or belongings they can no longer find use for anymore but others might. I hope they will donate these things to a homeless shelter or the actual people living on the streets. But kids my age, younger and older don’t usually have the money to donate, they can always donate a canned good to any homeless shelter.

I hope that someday everyone in our community can feel safe and accepted, and not discriminated against. Just because they don’t live in a house doesn’t make them dirty, or mean, they are human beings. Not living in a house doesn’t make them any different, even if they can’t afford every new gadget that comes out, or they don’t always have expensive designer clothing doesn’t make them any less than you!

I hope that someday no matter where you live the street, an apartment, a house, or a mansion, we will all be treated fairly and no one will be thought of as less, that someday we will be here to help each other.

-Ella '17

Greed

Greed. You know what it is, even if you do not always recognize it. Here is an example. Everyday in Seattle people drive, walk, and ride their bikes. And every day those people pass other people, homeless people. People who don’t get the same opportunities. Many of those people make signs. Those signs ask for food, help, money, a job. Most of the people who pass, whether by car, foot, bicycle, or anything else, ignore the people, ignore the signs. You could do so much if you just gave some change.

A homeless person is the main character of their life, just like you are the main character of yours. All your life you have choices about who you want to talk to, and where you want to go. But no matter what, you are always stuck with yourself. They are always stuck with themselves too. You are not the only main character in the world.

They aren’t just a homeless person, they are a little boy who grew up with the same books you did. A girl who went to school with your mother. A teenager whose parents fought too much.

They only have one chance to be who they are, and if everyone that came by gave just a little bit of help, that person’s life could be changed, turned around. You might see them in the news one day, smiling down from a podium at thousands of people. Then you could think to yourself, “I did it. I gave them hope, when there was none in their lives.” And then you could do it again, and again, and again.

You think you really need that caramel frappuccino, just imagine how someone who has not eaten in three days would use that money. You could make yourself a better person while saving someone else.

So remember, life is about more than your main character. It is about everyone else’s too.

-Maddie '16

New Challenges Need New Speeches

Each girl in the blog elective has chosen something that she wants to see change in her community and has written a speech addressing the issue to inform others.

In class, we discussed the fact that that the majority of influential speeches have been presented by powerful and recognized leaders in our world. This may give young people the impression that the only way to create a change is through fame, however this method is not the only approach to changing our world. Speaking publicly, no matter the age of the speaker, to any person or group of people, can have just as much influence as a televised speech, while allowing young people more access to solving the problems that they see in our communities today.

Together, small, influential speeches like these have more impact than only one influential speech by one influential person. Together, we are raising awareness about what our generation can change, because together we can change them.