Words Matter

As MHS students embark upon numerous college tours, they will now notice tour guides stumbling on the word “freshman.” Many colleges have changed the term to “first year” to promote gender equality. If this term expresses equality, why don’t all schools, including high schools, use it? As we go about our daily conversations, we can notice how many words are centered around the word “man” or “male” and how many common expressions are gender-based. If society is so intent on recognizing that both genders are equal, why aren’t we using terms that encompass all genders?

The more a word is used, the more power it gains. Starting at a young age, children are exposed to “gendered language,” and stereotypes develop based on the words their parents and teachers use. Many everyday expressions reinforce gender stereotypes. Some common male-centered expressions, including “man up,” “ballsy,” and “wise guy,” represent strength, masculinity, and power. On the other hand, expressions invoking feminine terminology such as “run like a girl,” “drama queen,”  and “Primadonna” have predominantly negative connotations. They buy into the stereotype that girls are more emotional and represent weakness.

Over time, meanings of words shift; when the word “man” was created, it included all people. The etymology of the word woman is derived from “wifman,” which means female servant, an outdated concept. Since the word “man” has evolved over time, words including it should be modified to be more inclusive. Continue reading “Words Matter”

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Approaching Media in the #MeToo Era

What does a student do with the music of Melanie Martinez, accused of sexual misconduct in the last few months? Do we strike it from our Spotify playlists, delete it and condemn it as if we never enjoyed it?  Do we stop watching the movies of the famous Harvey Weinstein, recently accused of rape and sexual abuse on multiple counts? Poof goes “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Playing for Keeps.” What about the comedy of Louis C.K.?  Do we forget the laughs, omit his cameos in many of our favorite shows, including the loved “Parks and Recreation?” While many may never say goodbye to some of these entertainment staples, this year has raised a hefty question: how do students approach adored pieces of art made by controversial artists?

Many people feel that enjoying films, songs, and literature that were meant to entertain does not offer up an endorsement of their creators. Psychologist Peggy Drexler of Weill Medical College of Cornell University states, “It’s critical to remember that when we watch a film, view art or read a book, we’re doing so to be entertained and enriched. We’re not doing it to issue an endorsement of the human being whose work it is.” Dr. Drexler believes that it is possible to condemn the person without condemning their work. Going forwards, it is essential for us to separate the work of art from the artist, especially if the current pattern continues. Continue reading “Approaching Media in the #MeToo Era”

Grit: The Secret to Success

As MHS seniors graduate and embark on their next adventure, there is great optimism about their prospects. Mamaroneck’s educators and parents of these graduates want to see students thrive and succeed. But what do most people say is the secret to success? Intelligence? Talent? Socio-economic status? College choice? All of these factors play a role, but according to Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, the most important variable in success is grit.  In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Duckworth defines grit as passion and perseverance toward long term goals. She explains that the highly successful people of the world have a “ferocious determination” that inspires them to work hard, face adversity with resilience, and stay focused on their goals. Contrary to popular belief, Duckworth’s research suggests grit may be more important than intelligence or talent. Grit goes hand-in-hand with achievement. Studies show grit is also associated with life satisfaction and well-being. Given the importance of grit, it stands to reason that educators, parents, and employers might want to learn how to encourage “gritty” qualities.

Historically, Americans have been more impressed by talent than by hard work. The notion of natural talent may be more interesting than considering this drudgery of hard work and persistence. We favor “naturals” over “strivers,” which explains our attraction to shows like America’s Got Talent, the X Factor, and So You Think You Can Dance? In the mythology of talent, Americans tend to idolize those people who seem to be born with innate skills, not taking into consideration that most individuals at the top of their fields are also spending thousands of hours working to develop whatever innate talents they posses. Our intense focus on talent sends the message that other personal traits are unimportant. This might cause us to look at talented individuals and think I’m never going to be as successful as they are. It’s probably not even worth trying. This refers to spending less time improving and pushing ourselves to our maximum potential. A Harvard psychologist, William James, explained this phenomenon: “The human individual usually lives far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.” Continue reading “Grit: The Secret to Success”

New MHS Gym Needs More Accessibility

Since the beginning of the school year, the remodeled athletic facilities in Palmer have been open. This $11.64 million dollar renovation has certainly improved our workout spaces, which are now filled with turf, fitness machines, weights, and even a climbing wall. However, there remain many questions among MHS students as to whether or not the new workout rooms are being used to their full potential, as they are only easily accessible to gym classes and after-school sports teams. PE teacher Ms. Byron approached the Student Council with an idea: could MHS fund after-school hours in the workout rooms for any student to exercise? Ms. Byron believes that it would be beneficial to implement open-gym hours to allow students the privilege of getting active without the added cost of paying for a gym membership. Continue reading “New MHS Gym Needs More Accessibility”

Why De-Extinction Should Be Made a Reality

It’s 2018, and people have a lot to look forward to. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, movies such as “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” are set to hit the theaters, and the company Moon Express plans to send everyday people to the moon! However, the year isn’t looking so great for those not belonging to the human race. Last year, scientists reported that three species of lizards, an Australian bat, and the fishing cat went extinct, with even more species missing from that list. In addition, many other species, such as pandas, tigers, elephants, and gorillas are endangered.  Humans are the main cause of those already extinct and the species on the path towards extinction.Scientists have discovered a way to reverse this trend, but it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie: de-extinction, the process of resurrecting extinct species. Continue reading “Why De-Extinction Should Be Made a Reality”

MLK Day: A Reflection

The annual MLK show has presented itself once again, with some truly astounding acts. There were beautiful, meaningful acts that truly adhered to theme: stop the hate. Among these were the powerful dance Leah Richard, ‘19, did to “Rise Up” by Andrea Day, the song sung by Eliana Kraut, ‘20, “I Believe” about a world in which we could all truly be equal, and, of course, the annual “I Have A Dream” speech video. However, is this enough to commemorate a remarkably important leader such as Martin Luther King Jr.? MLK did so much for our country. He was one of many leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, but arguably the most well known, especially since he used peaceful protests to achieve his goals. It may appeal to our yearly presentation to acknowledge more of his achievements and educate its audience more what he actually accomplished. Continue reading “MLK Day: A Reflection”

Ex-Felons Deserve the Right to Vote

Eli Canter/The Globe: Felons released from prison are denied voting rights in three states. 

As a country that prides itself on its democracy, the USA should not be one of the four countries that take away a person’s right to vote after they complete their sentence for a felony conviction. In the United States, forty-eight states take part in some form of criminal disenfranchisement. In ten of those states, convicts lose their right to vote after their sentences are completed, but are able to apply to regain their voting rights. However, in Kentucky, Florida, and Iowa, once you get convicted of a felony, you can never vote again. Convicts should be allowed to vote once they have completed their jail time, because they are no longer are in debt to society for their crimes and have served their punishments. It unjust to take away a person’s right to vote after their sentence is completed because it breeds racial injustice, and leaves many people without a voice, which contradicts and violates our democracy. Continue reading “Ex-Felons Deserve the Right to Vote”

A Year to Remember?

At this time last year, it seemed like things could not get any worse.  The internet was flooded with anti-2016 images, depicting the horrors of the year and how badly people wished for the arrival of January 1, 2017, signifying when “hell year” would finally be over.  It’s about a year later, and here we are again, seeing the same sort of hypochondriacal national philosophy.  And they aren’t wrong.  North Korea threatens destruction in Asia.  Hurricane after hurricane has battered the United States and the Caribbean: first taking Texas, then Florida, then Puerto Rico, leaving behind streets that resemble swimming pools and an entire island in perpetual darkness. Serial killers roam Florida.  11 adults and 12 children were killed in Manchester after a bomb went off at an Ariana Grande concert.  Innocent concert goers were targeted again in October in Las Vegas, when a  gunman killed 59 people.  The list of men that have committed sexual assault is a mile long, chock full of household names that the world has watched on screen for many years.  While the long list of 2017 horrors is stocked with events that contribute to the collective idea that the world is coming to an end, the scariest part is that the perceived steady decline of the world is starting to feel normal.  That philosophy could be the nail in the world’s coffin. Continue reading “A Year to Remember?”

A New Year, A New Resolution

It’s that time of year again. No, not the holiday season. I’m talking about the time of year when we make a list of resolutions for ourselves that we never seem to fulfill. We go into the New Year with our heads held high and our goals in sight. Somehow, these resolutions never seem to stick. So, why is that?

Whether you began this New Year with a resolution of going to the gym every day, going to bed before 11, or getting all of your work done before dinner, chances are you didn’t follow through with it. Maybe you were able to attain your goal for about a week, but by the time December comes around, you find yourself wondering what ever happened to that “ plan” you seemed to have. Continue reading “A New Year, A New Resolution”

Christmas Consumerism

Marketing in America is more aggressive than ever, and it’s especially clear during the highly anticipated holiday season. Big brands relentlessly advertise holiday deals and sales, targeting masses of anxious holiday shoppers. The streets of SoHo are swamped with people hunting for the perfect gift. It’s hard not to fall prey to advertising—the flashy signs and persistent emails—but this holiday season, I urge you not to. Contributing to the overconsumption that big brands promote makes you a part of the industries that praise consumerism, and deplete our resources. Continue reading “Christmas Consumerism”

Free Meek Mill

On Monday, November 13th, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center to protest the recent ruling against Meek Mill, real name Robert Williams. They held up signs displaying the protest slogan, “#FreeMeek”, and chanted the lyrics to Dreams and Nightmares, the Philly native’s most popular song. Despite support from Jay-Z, the Philadelphia 76ers, and millions of fans across the world, Meek Mill remains behind bars. Continue reading “Free Meek Mill”

A Conservational Paradox

Just weeks ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced their intention to reverse the Obama Administration’s 2014 ban on the importation of sport-hunted trophies of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia. The “trophy of an elephant” refers to the head or tusk of a killed elephant. The Trump administration received immediate backlash from both sides of the political spectrum, and social media exploded with celebrities and commentators from across the political spectrum, such as Ellen DeGeneres, posting in support of the ban. One day later, on November 17, President Trump announced on Twitter that he was putting the decision to remove the ban on “hold until such time as I review all conservation facts.” To date, no final decision has been issued.

This ban was enacted in order to try and save the endangered species, African elephants, from extinction. According to National Geographic, their numbers have fallen from as many as ten million one hundred years ago to as few as 400 today. This a species on the verge of extinction. Continue reading “A Conservational Paradox”

America’s Sex Ed, An Institution in Crisis

We live in a country where there is no federal system for sexual education. Only 23 states actually mandate sex ed, and only 13 of those require the information presented to be accurate. It’s frightening to think that so many teens across the country are not being taught sex ed, and even if they are, they may be getting distorted information. Researchers have found that over 80% of sex ed curricula supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contained information that was inaccurate. Peggy Orenstein, in her book Girls and Sex, said that some sex educators taught students that the “pill is only 20 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, that latex condoms cause cancer, that HIV can be transmitted through sweat or tears, and that half of homosexual teen boys already have the virus.”  These falsehoods fly in the face of actual data and are intended to scare adolescents into remaining chaste. Continue reading “America’s Sex Ed, An Institution in Crisis”

The Question of Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation–a term that’s constantly being thrown around. Cultural appropriation is widely defined as the adoption of certain aspects from a culture (in most cases, clothing) for personal motives, without that culture’s consent. It’s easy to pounce on someone for wearing an offensive costume, but a majority of people aren’t even aware what “cultural appropriation” even means. Continue reading “The Question of Cultural Appropriation”

Why We Shouldn’t Fear North Korea

In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi’s authoritarian government in Libya was finally toppled by NATO intervention in the country. Only 8 years prior, a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq and deposed its dictator, Saddam Hussein. Both of these regimes were notorious for their human rights violations, censorship, and corruption. Both had long incurred scrutiny, hostility and sanctions from the U.S. and other western powers. Particularly in Iraq, fears had abounded about the WMDs the regime might develop. Iraq had long been a dominant military power in the Middle East, yet was easily toppled in just over a month by U.S. coalition forces. Continue reading “Why We Shouldn’t Fear North Korea”

Trump’s Tepid Response to Charlottesville

“You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.” These were the words President Donald Trump chose to describe a violent white supremacist rally that occurred about a month ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. President Trump’s remarks shocked the American Public, many of whom wished the President would outright condemn white supremacism and nazism without beating around the bush. Continue reading “Trump’s Tepid Response to Charlottesville”