February 14th Isn’t a Holiday Anymore

The image I decided to write about means a lot to me. The image shows three straight-faced survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting attending the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. in order to advocate for stricter gun laws. The individual on the left, Emily Bernstein, is my best friend since as long as I can remember and she was in the shooting. The image portrays an impactful message through the way they are posing, the message on their t-shirts which says “Protect Kids Not Guns,” and the posters they are holding. The poster on the left has two rifles shooting out flowers instead of bullets. One of the flowers is white while the other is red. This poster is alluding to the Vietnam War by protesting for peace instead of believing things get better with violence. In addition, this justifies the message that the present day gun situation is a war against today’s young individuals. The white flower on the left is most likely a daffodil which represents starting over. This relates to the Douglas shooting because a lot of different types of people were greatly affected by what occurred on that day. White is also means openness, growth, and fairness. This relates to the shooting because how Parkland has a community started organizations and came together to support one another was extremely vital. In addition, by white being fairness it relates to how loose gun laws are when there are so many school shootings have occurred all over the United States within the last few years.The flowers one the right is a red rose. Red means strength and determination. This is shown due to the impact the shooting had on the students. Some students went viral and started organizations trying to have more regulated gun laws which shows the will power these students have on the world. On the the yellow poster has guns inside of a flower with a traditional peace at the center. I think the overall image is about protecting our schools and protesting for proper gun laws so people will stop dying from going to school.

Is Social Media Healthy or Unhealthy?

It is important to understand how insecurities heightened by social media eventually can lead to an increase in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia and how social media can be used as a tool to inform and educate individuals as to how to look critically as the images presented and that there are definitely times that “you should not believe your eyes.” Throughout the paper, I focused on the positive and negative aspects of social media and how they relate to eating disorders on mostly younger women. Instagram is one of the leading causes of eating disorders. Instagram influencers can sometimes encourage inappropriate behavior through their posts and the content they promote. Some products Instagram influencers promote that can be seen as encouraging unhealthy behavior include waist trainers and tummy tea. These products promote unhealthy behavior due to the fact they are focusing on ways to alter your body and lose weight to their young followers. This is so important because young women look up to Instagram influencer’s like the Kardashian’s and think it is normal and healthy to be doing these things because their role models promote it when it is not.  In addition, other ways individuals are promoting unhealthy lifestyle through Instagram is from food blogs. Being vegan has been a huge trend in recent years which can work for some people but can be a very restricting lifestyle for others. For example, a vegan food blogger named Jordan Younger was very open and famous about being vegan. Recently, she ended her blog and veganism because she felt that she was promoting an unrealistic lifestyle as a vegan when she was not eating enough food to live a healthy and balanced life. Later in the research paper, I talked about an eating disorder that has become popular in recent years known as Orthorexia. This eating disorder includes being consumed with healthy foods and living and eating perfectly all the time. This eating disorder type is so interesting because many believe it is lead by social media and mainly Instagram. Individuals get a lot of advice from Instagram on how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat. This advice is usually not from professionals but it is from Instagram influencers who have no professional background to give individuals this advice. Another trend that has been extremely popular over Instagram in the last few years is Facetune. Facetune is an app where you can alter the way you look by clicking a few buttons. This app has been so controversial in social media because some believe it is not okay to change the way you look for an Instagram post when you don’t look like that post in real life. Many Instagram influencers use Facetune and are exposed for it through Instagram pages like @celebface. The point of this Instagram page is to expose celebrities for not being honest about how they look and to show their followers they are not as perfect as they seem. Insecurities are enhanced by social media and can possibly lead to an increase in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Sometimes social media can be positive through informing and educating individuals to realize not everyone and everything is as perfect as it seems. Some ways to reduce the amount of time spent on social media include blocking toxic people and spending time with people who support and care for you.

Plan for P3

For my research paper, I want to start the introduction and thesis talking about eating disorders in general and how the media plays a huge toll on confidence and image especially on young women. In addition, I would like to talk about the research I have done and give a lot of quotes and percentages on how social media has effected women. Later, I want to talk about Instagram specifically because I feel this is where people start to compare themselves the most with famous instagram influencers. I would talk about celebrities like Kylie Jenner and the rest of the Kardashian family and how they even facetune and alter their bodies on social media. Also, I would like to talk about this instagram page where it shows celebrities before and after photoshop because it shows how instagram influencers are being completely honest too.

Plan for research paper

The broad version of my research paper is based on how social media can cause eating disorders. From research, I have learned a lot about this topic and have found vital statistics that I have put in my paper. After talking about eating disorders caused by the media, I will focus on specifically Instagram influencers and how influential they are towards young women. In recent years, Instagram influencers have created a platform where they can essentially have a job from posting photos because they have so many followers which get them sponsors. A lot of instagram influencers have the same body type which make the followers feel they have to have that type too. I will spend around an hour on this paper per day because it is difficult for me to write all at once.

Topic chosen: Social Media and Eating Disorders:

The topic I decided to write about is the Effects social media plays on eating disorders. I will talk about in further detail how social media influencers impact specifically teenage girls and their body images over Instagram. In addition, I will research the psychological effects social media plays on the youth.

What I would like to research is how social media can cause insecurities which eventually can lead to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Individuals with eating disorders constantly compare themselves to others, which is a main factor in social media. When a person with an eating disorder sees a photo on Instagram of their favorite model in a bikini looking extremely thin, they can begin to compare themselves and obsess over the image of looking exactly like that model even if it is not realistic to their body type. People become fixated on looking a certain way. 

Some research that I found interesting was on pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia and how there are places on social media that encourage eating disorders. People on this platform can compare body images and give harmful advice to hurt their bodies by not eating. 

How Social Media effects Eating Disorders:

In today’s society there is so much pressure to be picture perfect all the time. People feed off the amount of likes, comments, and views they receive on social media platforms. It is incredibly toxic the amount of satisfaction individuals generate from receiving a like on a picture. It is especially difficult for teenagers on social media to look up to models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin with their unrealistic body image. What I would like to research is how social media can cause insecurities which eventually can lead to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Individuals with eating disorders constantly compare themselves to others, which is a main factor in social media. When a person with an eating disorder sees a photo on Instagram of their favorite model in a bikini looking extremely thin, they can begin to compare themselves and obsess over the image of looking exactly like that model even if it is not realistic to their body type. People become fixated on looking a certain way. 

Some research that I found interesting was on pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia and how there are places on social media that encourage eating disorders. People on this platform can compare body images and give harmful advice to hurt their bodies by not eating.

Space Colonization: Home Away from Home:

Space colonization is a valid and serious argument that we need to consider. According to Wikipedia, Space Colonization is permanent human habitation off the planet Earth. People would leave Earth due to an unfortunate natural or self disaster upon our own planet. Many scientists believe that space colonization will save human civilization. This topic is extremely controversial because there are some concerns with living in space. Space colonies would create several technological and economical challenges. Living in space means human civilization would have to provide for hundreds of thousands of individuals in a unique environment where we do not know how humans life will react. Scientist Stephen Hawking, predicted that if we don’t start colonies in space, humans will become extinct within the next thousand years. I agree with Hawking in this statement due to the fact that Earth is slowly dying and we need some alternative. 

While reading this article, I found the ‘astronomical trajectory of mankind’ very interesting and effective. This idea has to do with four different levels of ways to live in space. First, space colonies could be formed by several habitable locations which would be able to rely on earth in the beginning of the process. Second, slowly the colonies start to progress and become independent when earth becomes no longer. Next, these civilizations would eventually begin to grow and flourish on their own by terraforming. Lastly, the colonies would duplicate and grow copies of each other throughout space. I think this idea would be successful because it starts off with the space colonies slowly separating from earth to expanding at a fast rate. 

A benefit of living in space is that it has an incredible amount of resources. According to research, space has so many resources that it can support over a billion times more individuals than earth. I think living in space is a scary idea and I understand why individuals are hesitant but if humans need to live there in order to survive, it seems like a great plan. 

To Meme or Not to Meme: 300 words

In the essay, To Meme or Not to Meme, by Maya Walker, she touches on subjects involving mental health and how social media plays a role in it. In Walker’s thesis, she talks about how much social media has an impact on mental health. Walker talks about how memes have played a huge part in her life and how they are affecting teenagers and young adults. She goes on to say how she was extremely suicidal during stages in her life and social media impacted her depression for the worse. Many individuals cope with their depression and mental health issues through posting about it online to make light of their situations. It seems to be “funny” to that person but some people could interpret it in another way like Walker did. Walker lists several examples throughout her writing and how inappropriately mental health issues are used on social media platforms. For example, the first meme Walker had encountered that made her start thinking about suicide was of a dog in 2011 with the text saying “Kill Me.” This was inspired by the movie Alien where a creature begs for their life to be taken away. This meme was posted as a joke and is a form of dark humor. These type of memes and “dark humor jokes” are now on all different types of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These types of posts are so toxic because they are trying to normalize mental health issues. Another example that shows individuals using social media inappropriately was a tweet on Twitter and how it can be used as therapy instead of paying for an actual therapist. This shows how instead of individuals taking care of themselves they are turning to social media for a sense of approval and acceptance. The essay concludes by Walker explaining the importance of forming real relationships with people that can help you cope with mental illness rather than hiding behind a screen and posting about it.

To Meme or Not To Meme

  1. Thesis: 
  • That’s right: internet memes played a role in my depressive spiral.
  • What caused her to be suicidal 
  • Last sentence of first paragraph because it justifies the purpose of the paper
  1. Target audience: 
  • Teeangers/Gen Z
  • Talking about memes which is on social media and teens use social media more
  • “If young people are…normalising potential damaging behaviour, then it is vital that we better understand the nature, transmission and impact of health knowledge and health messages contained in Internet memes and shared on social media sites among 13-16 year olds” (Casey et al, 2018).
  • Young people are at risk for normalizing mental health issues
  1. Logos:
  • 2011 meme of dog bottom text saying “Kill Me” : Inspired by the movie Alien where creature begs for life being taken away
  • Tweets: Idea that internet/strangers on it are an acceptable replacement to therapy
  • Author emphasizes these examples to show from normalizing memes people will not value each others mental health/take it seriously because of what is portrayed on social media/the internet
  1. Ethos:
  • Tone: Serious
  • According to clinical therapist Meghan O’Flynn, dark humor “may be a type of cognitive behavioral strategy that serves a dual purpose of exposing individuals to the topics they fear the most along with [the positive physical effects of humor]” (O’Flynn, 2016). : Shows in her diction that she is informed/knows what she is talking about/Citation right after quote
  1. Pathos: 
  • “Internet culture and memes can easily manifest themselves in real life, and when that culture and those memes address such sensitive topics, that manifestation can be dangerous – fatal, in fact.”
  • This shows the emotional aspect of making the audience care because it talks about how memes can be fatal
  • Uses words to form a specific type of feeling
  • Relevant examples are used from showing memes, pictures, and statistics=Honest
  1. Moral argument:
  • Based her argument on making society/internet better for teens 

Adulting 101

After a very average dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup, my ten year old campers and I ran around the cabin, trying over and over again to catch fireflies and watch the beautiful North Carolina sunset. I watched as their glowing faces reminded me of what it was like to be a camper, laughing and running until falling exhaustedly to the ground. This past summer I was no longer one of the care-free campers-instead their cautious counselor. Instead of trying to sneak over to Senior Boy hill, I was the one yelling, “Watch out!” Watching them made me realize how much I had grown and changed this summer.

For as long as I can remember, I attended Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Blue Star was my happy place, every summer was filled with joy. Every year I came back from camp as a more positive and independent person.

Not being at camp for two years made me feel as if I were lacking my positivity and sense of independence especially after a long and stressful senior year in high school. I was so thrilled but nervous when I got the call that I could finally work at camp. Coming back as a counselor was something I had looked forward to during the two year break since I had been a camper. Now that it was a reality, I was finding it harder and harder to sleep at night as questions ran through my head. Who made this decision to hire me of all people? A week of training was not nearly enough!

Too quickly, the first day of camp arrived; the campers were coming. My co-counselor and I scrambled around the cabin to make sure everything was perfect. The gates opened at 8 AM, and we already had a brown haired, brown eyed freckled-faced girl named Alexis on the front steps, ready to start the summer. Immediately after that, nine other little humans came rushing in the cabin, unpacking their clothes and chattering non-stop. I had never been asked so many questions in my life! 

That night, after everyone had gone to sleep, I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I had been holding. “I made it through the first day and it seemed to go okay. Only 55 more to go.“

Then I heard a noise. I quickly jumped off the top bunk to see what the raucous was. Alexis was face-down in her pillow sobbing her eyes out. I started to panic. I had never dealt with home-sickness. I calmly asked Alexis, “Do you want to go outside to talk?” she quickly replied “No” so I decided to ask again. This time, she was willing to talk. I thought to myself: “How can I make her not homesick? I am not her mom.” I asked her what was wrong and she immediately started apologizing for crying and being “difficult” and how she missed her parents. I kept telling her it was okay and that I was always there for her. After being outside for thirty minutes she started to calm down and thanked me for the help. Right before we went back into the cabin Alexis grabbed my hand and said, “Abby, you are my camp mom.”

This was the moment that I registered that these ten girls I had just met were counting on me to be the person they could constantly lean on no matter the situation, time, or place. It wasn’t my choice when it was time to mature and become independent. I was their camp mom.