By ALLISON IWATAKE
One night every fall, beautiful women strut down a runway in a swirl of rhinestones and lace while famous musicians melodize with the rhythm of high heels and cheers from the crowd. Adorned angel wings and multi-million dollar bras clothe the celebrity models. This annual affair is called the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. For many female models, walking in this show symbolizes the culmination of their career ambitions. There are videos online of young women bursting into tears after finding out that they will be walking in the show; it is a dream come true.
Ever since 1995, the Victoria’s Secret (VS) Angels have appeared on screens across the world. Over the years, the fashion styles have changed, 90’s supermodels were swapped out for models of the Instagram generation, and the shows have gotten more elaborate. Aside from that, the core aspect of the show has remained very much the same: beautiful women in lingerie/clothing. Of course, this concept raises many questions and issues, such as how beauty is defined, what the purpose of the show should be, and if the show is misogynistic or feminist.
The show has raised controversy about its lack of diversity of models in shape, size, race, and sex. VS Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek received heat on social media after he recently said discriminatory remarks about having transgender or models who are larger than the VS size range. In response to the outside pressures to make the brand more inclusive, he said, “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.” He apologized for his comments, but that does not take away this deeply embedded intolerance towards diversity that lives in this country and in the world. Aside from VS being criticized for its lack of diversity, it has also been criticized on being old-fashioned. In recent years, the show has gotten more controversial as people debate the question of whether it is empowering for women to show off their bodies and embrace the concept of sex appeal or if it only enforces the idea that women need to dress to entertain men. Today, we will interview several people in the Lincoln community to get their takes on the subject. Answers have been edited and condensed.
Question: Do you think that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is empowering or oppressive for women?
Do you think that people should focus on trying to make their bodies look a certain way (such as with VS models)?
What do you think that people should get out of the show?
Who do you think is the show’s target audience?
Would the show take on a different meaning if it was aimed at women or men?
Would the show be less controversial if it was more inclusive in terms of race, sex, body size, ability, etc.? If the show becomes more diverse, will that make it more empowering, or will it still be oppressive?
Interviewees: Bella L, Sophie G, Clem M, Sophie W, London C, Abby G, Emilia D
by: ABBY GAETZ
Prison privatization has become a growing issue in the United States. The prison system houses roughly two million people in America, which is about 700 people per 100,000. The United States currently has the highest incarceration rate in the world, trailed by Russia with 600 people per 100,000. This is largely due to the War on Drugs campaign and other policies such as mandatory minimum sentencing, three-strikes laws, and a cut down of probation and parole which convict more citizens of non-violent crimes and keep them in the system longer. With an influx of prisoners that have longer sentences, public prisons could not keep up as they became overcrowded. In the 1980s private prisons became popular as they were able to house inmates while also making a profit.
However, for-profit prison systems have recently been under scrutiny from the media. Private prison corporations such as Management & Training Company (MTC) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have been accused of cutting corners on health care and security systems for the inmates in order to keep costs low.
The problem of private prisons lies not within the context of the market human rights are limited within the prisons. Privatized prison systems turn the inmates into commodities as “private prisons’ mission is to earn the maximum profit on the inmates.” This then destroys the very nature of the prison structure itself as the success of a prison “depends on more people being incarcerated, not less” leading to a demand for more prisoners, longer sentences, and less of a focus on rehabilitation and health care for inmates.
By: MADELINE MUMFORD
Lately, it seems like the seasons are sneaking up on everyone. It started the week before Halloween. I walked into a Walmart that was split into two separate seasonal sections - one strung with red and green lights, and the other that had stickers slapped onto bags of candy for “50% off,” when Halloween hadn’t even come yet. And frankly, I’m all for it. I will be the first to admit that I started listening to Christmas music on October 1st. But I’m surprised that the rest of the world seems to want the Holidays to come as fast as I do. It’s not necessarily the day itself that’s great, but the anticipation of the day. Christmas music officially started playing on the radio on November 1st, so now it’s socially acceptable to listen to it in public, and although some sticklers are still hanging onto the no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving rule, most have given into what their heart wants - to be filled with the holly jolly spirit of St. Nick!
Everyone knows the feeling: you’re sitting near a fire, swaddled in a blanket and the original Grinch plays as the background noise of you slurping your hot chocolate. Your heart swells up with an euphoric feeling that seems to grow the older you get.
I have taken notice that the idea of the Holiday Season changes the older I am. In the beginning, it was all about presents and the idea that December 25 was basically Judgement Day, and I would lie in bed, fully dependant on Santa Claus to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner. But over the past couple of years, I have thought of the Holiday Season as more of a feeling, rather than one time of year. And most recently, Christmas to me is being able to see my sister when she comes home from the holidays. Being away from family is hard, and seeing my sister’s eyes light up as she sees snow on the ground when she comes out from Logan airport gives me the feeling of Christmas Spirit.
Then comes the best part about the Holidays: giving gifts. Although the process of giving gifts is what most people dread, I treat shopping for presents like an Olympic sport. Making a budget is probably the most fun I’ve ever had (mainly because the budget is not for anything important, like how much I need to spend on groceries for the week or something adutish like that). In the beginning, I was concerned with how I would be able to spend any money at all, when I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t want my parents to pay for their own gifts because then it wouldn’t be special. The best solution, after I realized that the only qualifications that I have for a job is that I am literate, (and that would only get me so far,) I remembered my birthday; also known as Number One Source of Income for the jobless teenager. This way, I was able to feel like I was paying for my family’s presents (even though they are the ones giving the money to me in the first place, but I’m just going to ignore that part).
So once my birthday passes, I blow my quickly acquired cash like I’m on a spree in Vegas, even though I'm in my basement, under a blanket, online. What happens on Amazon, stays on Amazon (that is, until it comes to the front door). Within a half an hour, I have everyone’s gifts put in the cart and shipped to my house, the stickers from the back of all my gift cards peeled off and piling around my feet like heavy snow.
So that’s why I love the somewhat-infamous (or infa-AWESOME, depending on who you talk to) Holiday Season. Because of spending cash, spreading joy, and having family come home. So do whatever you can to get that warm, fuzzy, feeling inside that the cold frost seems to bring in every year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
by: ABBY GAETZ
New England is best known for its beautiful autumns. In the September to November months, tourism peaks as visitors come to enjoy the beautiful scenery set by the reddish-brown hue of the trees. The residents begin to prepare for the winter months by swapping their jean shorts for leggings and their sandals for Uggs and maybe pull out their Patagonia crew necks from the storage drawer.
However, on a day much like today, where the high is 63º, I couldn’t help myself. I changed into a pair of jeans and headed to Starbucks for the inevitable Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Since 2015, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has rocked coffee lovers around the world and has become a new staple of the fall season. The beverage started a trend of merchandise surrounded by pumpkin spice, such as scented candles, tea, cereals, and soaps. Though the trend has become popular for many, some beg to differ.
Some find the trend to be obnoxious and can take away from the season. One student says, “The ‘Pumpkin Spice’ trend is ridiculous. It’s just a drink, but it has become a stereotype associated with teenage girls.” Another says, “I can see how pumpkin spice can be adored by many, but I think that as a trend, it’s overrated.”
The drink only comes around once a year, which can add to the appeal. Like Christmas cookies or Peep’s Bunnies, many look forward not to the product, but to the holiday/season.
Whether you like the drink or not, you can’t deny that the pumpkin spice trend is here to stay as a symbol of the season.
by: ABBY GAETZ
The presence of fake news in our media has been running ramped. “Fake news,” as some refer to it, is the deliberate act of false reportings, quotes, and stories used by media outlets such as magazines and news stations to gain the attention of consumers.
A lot of consequences arise when the public is presented with fake news. False stories and reports can have negative effects on the subjects they are portraying. Fake news is often disguised in such a way to make it believable, twisting the facts of real events causing people to click, share, and comment which generates publicity for these media outlets.
Media outlets have a lot to gain from fake news. The more attention their stories draw, the more money an outlet makes. The term “clickbait” is often used to describe the attention-grabbing headlines media’s use to coerce internet users into visiting their page. These “clicks” are often monitored by the analytics on a website and are used to wage how much publicity an article has, which directly correlates to how much money can be made from the article. For media outlets, the reporting of fake news can often cost a company it’s reputation and credibility, but sometimes misinformation can be unavoidable.
During the 2016 election, misinformation about candidates were widespread. Biased newspapers and magazines reported false information to degrade and demean opposing sides to further justify their opinion. The media heated up as popular news stations published untruthful stories and biased articles like this one:
The article above states that CNN retracted a previous report that stated that President Donald Trump received advance notice from WikiLeaks, an organization dedicated to releasing secret information and classified media, about the release of stolen documents from the Democratic National Party. In fact, President Trump received the email one day after the release of the documents. This correction would suspend accusations of the relationship between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks.
Other allegations of misreporting, caused consumers to quickly question major news networks like CNN, ABC, and FOX News. Many deem these networks as untrustworthy, especially when it comes to political topics like President Trump, the GOP, and the White House.
Fake news is not only a factor when it comes to consumers deeming major networks as untrustworthy, bias is also a component. Many news outlets are politically skewed to one side. Fox News typically draw towards conservative viewers, while outlets like CNN and NBC tend to poll from liberal viewers.
Many consumers don’t know where to turn when it comes to fake news, and honestly I don’t either. Some media outlets have begun campaigning with promises of real stories and information.
Billboard from The New York Times that reads, “The truth is hard to know. The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to hear. The truth is hard to believe. The truth is hard to accept. The truth is hard to accept. The truth is hard to deny. The truth is more important now than ever.”
Finding truth in a world full of bias and false reporting is hard. My suggestion to you, readers, is to look at information with an objective eye. Sometimes, false information is easy to spot, but sometimes the the truth is buried in an sea full of probability. Take some time and fact check your articles before you repost them. Ask yourself:
“Are other media outlets saying the same thing?”
“Is what I am sharing false?”
“Does this article make sense”
By cracking down on fake news we can take control of the media and create a demand for the truth. The truth may be hard to find, but it is always there.
By: MADELINE MUMFORD
It’s almost summer! Which means no school, no sweaters, and definitely no work. Well, except for the fact that it’s still cold, I have summer packets, and I want to get a job. But other than all of those things, I’m totally ready to kick back and lay out in the sun. Well, except for the fact that I’m so pale that my foundation color is labeled ‘Transparent,’ but you know what I mean.
I feel sometimes as though so much pressure is put on our summers, but to little avail. For starters, having the perfect ‘bikini-ready’ body. You see, I like to think that I am usually pretty good with my eating habits. But it’s really hard to picture yourself in a skimpy two-piece when you are having a stare-down with a brownie picturing yourself lying wide-legged on the couch devouring your brownie while watching House Hunters International. And then I think to myself, why would I want to wear a two-piece when I can just shove down a second brownie and feel the same (if not greater) level of satisfaction? You can say what you want, but I am the first to admit that brownies come over exercise any day.
Then there’s the whole thing about jobs. At my age, everyone is struggling to get a job because they feel as though it is a quintessential part of high school. I am among one of those people, but I can’t seem to find a job that would suit me. For example, I was planning on being a babysitter. And after watching Mrs. Doubtfire, The Adventures of Babysitting, and Home Alone (so that I’ll remember not to leave a kid in a building to fend for themselves) I felt as though I was pretty qualified to watch someone else’s kid while I watched the classics. But, like most people, after an five minute Google search for jobs, I felt pretty defeated and decided that it would be best if I just judged the way that other people babysat form a safe distance away from any real children.
And lastly: driving. I turned sixteen in November, and yet I still can’t seem to get on the road. I have signed up for Driver's Ed. three times, but each time I wasn’t able to go because I have some other activity (dance, travel, etc.). So now the line has been drawn and I was signed up one. Last. Time. So if I end up not going this summer, then I mind as well figure out where the closest bus is from Foster! But then I would need money for the bus.. So I would have to get a job.. But then I would have to figure out how to get to the job without having to pay for a bus because I wouldn’t have enough money for the bus…. And so on, and so on, and so on.
So I guess that my final advice on how to spend your summers would be this: either try to cram everything in, or try to enjoy your summer! Don’t take that class if you want to relax, don’t work for someone who isn’t appreciate you, and most importantly, eat that extra brownie! You deserve it.
By OLIVIA VITALE
Cuba produces some of the best dancers in the world, but doesn't have great access to all the attire and products that they need.
Dancing has been a constant for me since I was two. I loved doing it for many years, ranging in pointe, jazz and modern, but especially ballet. It taught me to work hard, and that practice does make perfect. Although I have stopped dancing, when the opportunity came to help out others who had the same interest in dance as me, I took it.
I was a part of the Cuba program this past summer, which really inspired me to not only look out of our own circles at Lincoln, but more internationally as well. Community service is refreshing for me, but combining the work with my interests makes it especially rewarding.
I enjoyed every part of Cuba, but one of my favorites was visiting the National Ballet of Cuba. The ballet companies in Cuba are known to have some of the most talented ballet dancers in the world, and dance is valued by the Cuban people, it’s practically their football. The building itself was an old residence, abandoned during the Revolution, dimly lit with a deteriorating grand staircase and giant chandeliers.
When we met some of the company dancers in the courtyard, I was surprised that the company dancers weren’t wearing typical ballet clothing. We later learned that they don’t have all the products that American dancers have because of the the lack of items being made for dancers in Cuba. Pointe and ballet shoes were especially hard to come by, causing professionals to use the shoes for more than a year. For American professional ballerinas, they can go through multiple pairs of pointe shoes in a week. The same goes for leotards, tights, hair products, costumes, and many other products people wouldn’t think of, like toe pads and lambswool, which is used to cushion feet when wearing pointe shoes.
On the way home, I thought about how I could never dance without toe pads for as long as the dancers were, and how much their feet must hurt afterwards. I also remembered the closet full of costumes I have gathered over the years, from my two sisters and I all doing dance. This is why I have decided to have a drives for any dance equipment and attire at my local studio, Festival Ballet here in Providence, and here at Lincoln.
These dance products will be brought down to Cuba with the group going this summer, and then given to the National Ballet. There is a list below of things you can donate. They can be new or old, but should be in good condition. Items like elastic and ribbon for pointe shoes are always needed and can be found online or in any dance store for cheap.
There is a box in the lounge where you can drop off your donations. The drive will be taking place until the end of May, so you have plenty of time to go through your closets! Do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THINGS YOU CAN DONATE:
- leotards (any color/size)
-tights (any color/size)
-hair accessories (like for costumes)
-pointe shoes (email me if you would like to donate these!)
By: ALLISON IWATAKE
Warning: This post contains spoilers, proceed with caution.
This past weekend, I finally got the chance to see the multi-award-nominated, coming-of-age movie about a girl and her mother, Lady Bird. Lady Bird, portrayed by Saoirse Ronan, is an ambitious senior at a Catholic high school in Sacramento. She loathes Sacramento, and desperately wants to travel east. Her mother, on the other hand, doubts her abilities and talents to go to an out of state school. This film offers a deep character analysis on both mother and daughter as they argue, laugh, cry, and carry out their relationships. I can relate to many aspects of this film. I, like Lady Bird, go to a school with a uniform and understand her desire to leave her hometown. I have lived in Providence for my whole life, and I want to expand my horizons by going to a west coast school. Lady Bird knows that she cannot get into a prestigious Ivy-like school or how she will be able to pay for it, but that does not stop her from trying anyway. She is ashamed of her home, yet she is confident and bold. She wants to fit in, but stand out at the same time. Teenagers and adults alike will be able to connect to this movie and the characters in it. It is funny, heartfelt, dramatic, and raw. This movie has many lessons, and I have picked out a few to share with you (may contain spoilers).
The first lesson to be learned from Lady Bird is very cliché, but it is extremely relevant. That lesson is to keep your friends close. There is one part of the movie where Lady Bird starts hanging out with a popular clique and ignores her best friend who she previously confided in and spent time with. It turns out that this new group of kids is not who Lady Bird wants to be with anymore, so she goes back to her previous best friend. She gave up their friendship for another one, but in the real world, you should not choose one friend over another.
This film primarily focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter. The lesson that can be learned from this is that there is no one definition of a good mother. I constantly hear judgment over other people’s parenting choices, from peers and in the media. This movie made it easier to understand how mother and daughter feel and act towards each other. There are many times in this movie when Lady Bird and her mother argue and exchange cruel words. However, they love each other. Despite the sometimes demeaning things that the mother says, she is supportive of her daughter. This proves how relationships can take all forms. Lady Bird and her mother have a unique relationship that has its flaws but at the end of the day, it is all that it needs to be, nothing more or nothing less.
Another important lesson from the film is that it is okay to be single and that sometimes you might be happier single than in a relationship. At the beginning of the film, Lady Bird loves the idea of having a boyfriend. But after having her heart broken twice, she is still able to find happiness. After she finds out a secret about her first boyfriend, she is ready to start dating another boy. She tries to fit in with him and his friends, but soon she realizes that she is not happy living like that. By the end of the movie when she is single again, she has grown up over the course of the year and is finally able to appreciate being single with her friend. She goes to prom with her best friend and they have a blast, proof that romantic relationships are not required in order to be happy.
By: MADELINE MUMFORD
As most of you know, I think that St. Patrick’s Day is the best holiday of the whole year, because I do Irish Dance, and because it’s fun to have an entire day dedicated to your heritage. When my sister and I were little, we would set up leprechaun traps and would wake up the next day seeing that a real leprechaun had visited our house! There would be green milk, green silly string everywhere, and then chocolate coins that he would leave us.
As we got older, we got too busy for the leprechaun, and focused more on dancing instead. Before Lincoln, I didn't have a March break, and would take days out of school to do different performances, like going to weddings, schools, and nursing homes. One highlight from this St. Patrick’s Day madness was having to dance on a float (that was built at 2 am that morning from just wood on top of the back of a trailer hitch) at the Newport Parade. One woman got rowdy and tried to climb on top of the float with us; our teacher had to remove her.
But once St. Patrick’s Day ended, I would slide into a sad, sad depression, because there was nothing to look forward to into the future that involved a time where everyone would pretend to be Irish. So, like any person when they’re sad does, I went on the internet and started post-depression google-ing.
I began to search about my Irish heritage, but the only thing that I ended up finding were recipes for soda bread (the Christmas fruit cake of Irish foods), and that to actually find out about your Irish heritage, you need a blood test and, like, 3 million dollars on Ancestry.com. I then diverted into the images section, and found a bunch of really funny photos about irish people that I suggest you look at outside of school. But I also saw some really pretty symbols that I was interested in learning about.
After hitting a bunch of random buttons and sketchy links (that usually doesn’t end well for me, but this time it did), I found out about the most basic kind of celtic symbol, called the Trinity Knot. It’s actually called a triquetra; when it is drawn in blue it represents God’s unity between all people. The top part of the Knot (you can also call it one of the petals) represent the Sun and the Soil, the right side - the Earth, and the left side - the beginning, middle and end of our existence. Now the Trinity Knot is the only thing that I am able to draw, aside from a stick figure named Bob.
I was describing the Trinity Knot to my friend when we were shopping in Ireland, and I realized that I know more miscellaneous things about the Irish than I probably should, and that none of it will be usual. Well that is, until I decided to combine all of these unwanted facts into a mandatory paper.
Another thing that I have learned about the Irish is that the majority hates St. Patrick’s Day. I was having tea with my friends when they mentioned that they were given bank holiday (American translation - a day off from school) so that they could quote-on-quote- “hide from all of the tourists.” The series of apologizes after they realized that they were talking to a tourist was comical.
I have also learned that Netflix is incredibly worshipped and important to the Irish, because you have to have a license to buy a tv there.
But most importantly, it’s nice to know things about your heritage, and what to say and how to act when you visit there, as a way of being polite. For example, if you are an American wearing an I Heart NY t-shirt, don’t go up to them and ask them questions in an Irish brogue, and be surprised when they are offended.
I’m going to end this off with a quote from the Newport Parade, because I think that it sums up my speech quite nicely. “Yeah, man, America’s has the BEST St. Patrick’s Day. We are the BEST Irish! USA!”
That’s what I know about my Irish heritage, and that was the time I agreed with a drunk college frat boy at the Newport Parade.