Attacks on the Media

Student talks about how social media promotes personal attacks with a mob mentality

Opinion by Lauren Hugo | copy editor

Social media has raised a new breed of tween bullies in the world.


Nowadays, kids are going to websites like Youtube or Instagram to watch Internet “celebrities” vlog (short for video blog) their lives, make short comedy videos or post pictures of their luxurious lives.


Kids completely eat this up, as they are entertained for hours watching someone else’s life through their smartphone or computer.

The social media influencers are able to make a living off these videos and posts from the advertisement revenue, sponsorships and the money generated from merchandise sales.

Once an influencer has gained enough traction and obtained a substantial amount of subscribers, they establish their fan base with a name.

For example, Logan and Jake Paul are very successful Internet personalities. Both boys started their careers as entertainers on the free app Vine. Vine allowed people to make short six-second videos of whatever they wanted, but the most popular tag or genre was comedy.

Once Vine announced it was shutting down due to not being able to compete with other apps, these Vine stars had moved to other platforms. They continued entertaining while their exposure gave them opportunities to act and star in movie roles.

Logan Paul refers to his fans as “Logang.”

His brother, Jake Paul, was not as creative with the name of his fan base, as he calls his young audience “Jake Paulers.”

Jake Paul even has a song dedicated to his 12-year-old fans, called “The Jake Paulers Song” on YouTube with almost 13 million views.

In the eyes of these fans, their favorite Internet personality could do no wrong.

Due to this amount of loyalty and money, these influencers are able to get away with so much without facing real consequences—only the occasional backlash from their peers.

On Twitter, these armies of younger kids can be extremely mean and say things without thinking about the way it makes others feel.

It’s become expected for people to get attacked by trolls and die-hard fans if they make an influencer mad or disagree with something they say and do.

It’s incredibly disheartening and makes one wonder what these kids are like in their everyday lives. And where are the parents in these situations? Do they not have any idea what their kids are doing and saying online?

Advertisements

Mean World Syndrome

Student talks about effects of negative media

Opinion by Noah Merrell | design director

With a constant flow of bad news on all forms of media, ranging from terrorist attacks to live

streams of school shootings on Snapchat, it is pretty clear that the Internet is a brutal place. Living in the digital age has allowed people access to any information needed at the tip of their finger at any given moment. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps with studying for class and saves time when writing a research paper, but with all the good the Internet can provide it has also caused mass desensitization of the people in every demographic.

In the media today, whether it’s on social media like Facebook or Twitter, or news media like FOX and CNN, there seems to always be something violent or alarming on your feed or in a news story. This constant spread of negative and outright horrific news has caused a phenomenon known as “mean world syndrome.”

According to George Gerbner, the term “mean world syndrome” is used to describe the reaction to the violent and negative content shown in the media that makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is.

People have gotten to the point where they expect to see terrible things in the news. So you find people avoiding the subject as a whole. It is much easier to put Netflix on and watch a marathon of “Stranger Things” rather than to keep up with all the Trump scandals or terrorist attacks happening in the world.

With all this fear in the media, it makes people want to pretend it is not happening. It seems like all of America is trying to forget about tragedies as soon as they occur. It is easier to pretend that we have not had (as of April 13) 63 mass shootings in 2018 and just to tweet #PrayingForYou, then move on with retweeting your favorite vines, rather than to actually go outside into the world and address the issues face-to-face. The scary thing is, 63 is only the number of mass shootings, not the total number of shootings entirely.

If we take a look at the recent shootings, like the one at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, people were left outraged. Some people tweeted their thoughts and prayers, while others chose a different route to protest. For example, high schoolers went with peaceful walkouts on their school campuses. Eventually, the cry for a solution and the thoughts and prayers dwindled. There is still a number of people crying out for a solution, but they almost get washed out by everything else on your feed.

Today, it is common courtesy to act like you are very passionate on your computer about a topic affecting everyone. Then, after you have tweeted your initial thoughts, you drop it like it never happened. The biology of our brain does not want to be stressed out, so it eventually helps us cope, but because these tragedies happen every day our brains cannot keep up and we become numb.

It is sad how none of us have real emotions anymore when it comes to tragedies and that’s because we are exposed to them every day. I can see a bomb go off on live TV or a mother crying because her child was killed in a school shooting and I know it is awful, but I almost feel nothing. It is not because we do not care, but we are so overwhelmed by the constant stream of tragedies that we can not recover before the next one strikes. So we choose to not focus on them. When is the last time you tweeted #PrayingForYou and actually got on your knees and prayed? I would say that would be never and that is because, as long as we are only viewing the world through the lens of the negative media, we only ever see a mean, cruel planet that is too scary to live in.

No Means No #MeToo

Reporter Mia Rodriguez shares her story as part of the #metoo movement

Opinion by Mia Rodriguez | reporter

When I was in kindergarten, a kid said “I will show you mine, if you show me yours.” He showed me his penis.

I was young and confused, as I did not understand. I ran away from him because I did not want to see it.


When I was in middle school, I was grabbing something from the bottom of my locker when a guy grabbed and slapped my rear end and ran. It scared me, so I went and told the teacher, who said “Maybe you were just in his way while he was passing by.”


I went back to my locker, then the same guy came back up to me and said, “Why did you snitch? You should be lucky anyone would touch you” before he left. My heart sank and I stood there in disbelief.

When I turned 18 and started making my own decisions. I decided to download a dating app called Tinder. On Tinder, I matched with a boy and arranged plans to meet up.

I met up with him in Emporia. He was very sexually aggressive.


“Are we gonna have sex or what?” he asked. I looked at him and said “I don’t know.”


He told me to leave and that I wasted his time.


After going to school in Emporia, I moved back to Wichita and started working. My co-worker, ten years older than me, complimented me every day and asked if I was losing weight.


I worked alone with him late at night and he liked to stare at me and ask me about my sexuality. He would ask me about “my type” of people to date and ask “How are you single?”


I would not answer.


He asked me on dates and I would say no.

 

“Why?” he asked.


I told him he is not my type, I am only 18 and he is a lot older than me.


Later, I quit that job because of him and other reasons.


When I was 19, I met a guy and had been seeing him for a while. He told me to do things I did not want to do. I would say no, but he would put his hand on my thigh and ask “Why not?”


“I don’t want to,” I said. He said, “Okay.”


Later in the night, his hand was in my pants. I told him to stop and he did stop for a second, but then he said, “I bought you something to eat so you owe me.”


“You bought me a $1 burger,” I said in my head. This happened twice.


I asked some people about the incident and most said, “You went to his house, what did you expect?” I never questioned it again.


He kept asking me to come over. One night and I told him no because I was busy.


“You are not busy, do not make excuses. You know you want to see me,” he said.


He continued texting and guilting me then I told him to leave me alone. I never saw him again.


At 20 years old, I went to a concert. A guy grabbed my rear end and smacked it, I turned around thinking it was my boyfriend, but he was in the bathroom. I told the stranger not do it again and he responded with “Do not dress like that.” I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans.


Now I watch my back but have learned to speak up, instead of keeping everything to myself and being scared. I am stronger and happier now, and I am not afraid of anyone anymore.

Abstinence is Not Education

 

IMG_4496
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul,” 1 Peter 2:11. Some Christians believe that sex is a beneficial gift from God in the context of marriage, and all other sexual relations are immoral. To illustrate that, Design director Noah Merrell used someone holding a cross and a condom in each hand to show that by choosing to have sex before marriage is betraying Christianity in the eyes of some Christian Americans.

Opinion by Noah Merrell | design director

Abstinence-centered sexual education is a disservice to all people and it is about time we fix this broken system.

So can someone tell me why schools still have a primary focus on abstinence when it comes to teaching young adults and teens about sex?

 


It is true the only 100 percent foolproof way to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancy is by practicing abstinence, but the expectation for unmarried people to avoid doing something as natural as sex is preposterous.


This mess all began in 1981 when the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) was passed without hearings or floor votes in the U.S. Congress. The act was established to promote “chastity” and “self-discipline.”

Funding for this act was cut in 2011, but still took the majority of funds.


Although funding has changed for the AFLA it has just been hidden in a new program, abstinence-only programs now have a new name: “sexual risk avoidance.”


Sex is not an evil thing, but by only teaching abstinence schools are not providing students with the proper tools to have safe sex.


Some people believe talking about sex should be left up to the parents; this is an entirely wrong way to look at it.


First, there are LGBTQ+ relationships, and if the parent or parents do not know much about same-gender sex, then they will be almost useless in helping their child understand how to be safe.


Next, if the kid is living in the system such as with foster parents, they may never have that parental figure in their life to explain safe sex to them.


Let’s be honest though, how many of us have been told the birds and the bees by our parents? If we were, was it at a reasonable age or had we already had sex by that time in our life?


You see, it is an uncomfortable conversation to have and some parents avoid it in general, because It is so much easier to just sit down and tell your kids to wait until marriage, when we all know that is not a realistic expectation.


There is also a religious dilemma, the most popular one being that some Christian Americans believe that sex before marriage is a sin. Even though people believe that, it does not mean they are practicing it.


According to the Kinsey Institute; California State University, the average male loses his virginity at age 16.9; females average slightly older, at 17.4.


So it is pretty obvious that people are not waiting very long before they become sexually active.


According to the AIDS Policy Research Center & Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, states that have taught comprehensive sex and/or HIV education and covered abstinence along with contraception and condom use tended to have the lowest teen pregnancy rates, while states with abstinence-only sex education laws that stress abstinence until marriage were significantly less successful in preventing teen pregnancies.


I mean the proof is in the conception. If you are not giving people every tool to help prevent accidents or the spread of disease, then you are doing nobody a favor and are only spreading ignorance.


If you do not teach young adults and teens how to have sex correctly, then you are adding to the problem.


The most aggressive and effective way to prevent these mishaps is to tackle the issue straight on with inclusive and thorough information about sex.


The worst disease to spread is the attitude that sex is a bad thing and something that should not be discussed. It is a very natural part of being human, so let’s stop preaching abstinence and start talking the real issues.


There is nothing wrong with having sex, but there is something wrong with how we are teaching people about sex.


The only way to solve this problem is to start the conversation.

Let’s talk about sex.

How to Fall in Love After Your Sexual Assault

Guest columnist Victoria Lemon shares her story of overcoming being sexually assaulted

Opinion by Victoria Lemon | guest columnist

I was 17 years old when I was raped by a man I thought I had a close relationship with. There are a lot of things from that night my mind blocked out in order to protect me- my good ol defense mechanisms kicked in. However, there is a lot I do remember.

I remember waking up the next morning next to him. Taking a shower, and looking in the mirror and realizing with all the bruises on my body I resemble more of a smurf than a human being. I went to work like I usually do, and it was there that I broke down and told my manager what had happened.

I did everything I thought I was “supposed” to do. I made a report with the police and eventually took him to court where I testified against him. He got six months parole for assault. You read that right- assault, not rape. I wish words could describe the betrayal I  felt, from the judge to myself.

When the trial was over and I was left with a life sentence and he was left with a slap on the hand, all I could think about was “So what now?”

Forgiveness? No, it was too soon for that. Do my best to forget everything that happened? Yeah, that’s the one I went for. So for almost three years, I kept myself busy. I tried to fill a void that he created and I allowed to stay there. I went to school, work. I  dated around but never allowed myself to get close to anyone, especially not intimately. I focused solely on loving others the way I wished I loved myself.

Fast forward to June of 2017. I got my first ever boyfriend, and let me tell you, it was quite the experience. However, no article or support group or “sexual intimacy after sexual assault” self-help book could have prepared me for trying to love someone, and myself, all while fighting demons from years ago.

My boyfriend would touch me and I would have flashbacks, leaving me sitting on his lap crying, and apologizing. He tried to understand but you can’t until it’s you with hand shape bruised around your neck, and a sore throat from saying “no” so many times. I’d lash out at boyfriend just because all I could feel was anger. I was pissed off at the man who raped me, I was pissed off at myself for not being healed, I was even pissed off at God.

December came quickly. It was cold and I was tired. I realized I was looking for love in the wrong places, and I would continue to do so until I learned to love myself the way I loved myself three years ago before it was taken away from me. I ended a relationship and started a new one-this time, with myself.

And that’s what it took. It took me forgiving my assaultant for what he had done. Not just forgiving him, but hoping he could conquer whatever demons he had so he could heal himself, too. Then the next step was to forgive myself for all the time I spent hating myself, and for hating him. I eventually found a relationship with God again. I no longer cursed His name or pitied myself. I accept what had happened to me. I realized I was still worth loving, regardless of what happened to me. There is no rule book on how to love yourself after a tragedy. There isn’t a rulebook for anything. Acceptance, forgiveness, time and self-love. That’s what it took for me.