Today’s post will discuss two very different topics:
[one] a lighter topic about the four women I look up term in terms of exercise and why (since I was unable to do a post yesterday, it will happen today), and
[two] an opinion piece on something that has recently occurred quite close to me.
Though I ordered them that way, I will begin this post with part two [gotsta keep ya’ll on your toes]
The moment you embark upon higher education, and providing that you have any level of pride within your study, you will likely develop some attachment to the institute onto which you attend. For example, where I like it is not uncommon for people to bash other Universities, while promoting their own; or, sport teams often display rivalries against one another (rather in fun, or in serious competition) in order to further their careers as athletes. Does everyone develop this attachment to their school? I argue, yes, to some degree, however it is likely some do not.
I am of the population of people who have. Since applying to my university in the year 2009, I have become quite fond it both its approach to education, as well as its overall student-professor interaction level. I attend a relatively small school as compared to other schools in my area. As such, the student to professor ratio is quite forgiving for students As a result, it is very easy for student’s to recreate close bonds with professors, allowing for a very engaging university career. Similarly, a good number of students to whom I have met during my two and a half years there have been very kind. I have, personally, experienced little-to-no ill-feeling toward anyone within my school and had every plan to keep it that way.
One aspect of post-secondary school I never really took any interest in was ‘frosh week’. Even as a new-coming student, I failed to attend any of the events. My justification for this absenteeism was two-fold:
[one] I considered the activities held during this week were mostly to engage new-coming students (new-coming in terms of new to the area, and most likely a member of residence) and help them become more familiar with the area and the school, and
[two] loud, noisy crowds of young adults with way too much energy give me a slight head ache.
Thus, school for me was just that: school.
This year, in keeping with my general disinterest in the social norm that is frosh week, I stayed home during the events relaxing before engaging in my next year of endless reading and study. Much to my surprise, the events that took place at this frosh (and, which was later revealed, several preceding frosh events) both shocked and appalled me.
First and foremost I would like to take a moment to say that I hate beating a horse when it is down [or whatever that fancy saying is]. When people go on and on about a given topic, I feel like they’re doing my work for me in terms of discussion and remain relatively silent [unless I am real peeved]. So my thoughts on even posting this have mimicked a tennis game within my head, but after much consideration, I feel I need to do my share.
This year at my school’s frosh week, a group of students [both men and women] which well exceeded 200 individuals in total, took part in a chant that not only promoted sexism, but also rape culture to under-aged women. I will not include the specific chant on here, as I do not think it is something that should be repeated; just know that the specific word-choice could no way be misconstrued, and were very blatant in their meaning.
I will be honest, when I first heard of the chants, I did not believe it. Mostly due to a certain level of denial, no doubt. This is my school, my home, so why would I take such things as truth without further investigation? Unfortunately, they did turn out to be true. I decided to watch the videos and read the articles and eventually found myself feeling… disgusted.
I love my school. I do. But now, I can’t help be feel somehow ashamed that my name is attached to a school that is also attached to such revolting attitudes. I have reassured myself that these chants are not a good representation of the student population of my school, at large, but rather a small population of students. Though, albeit, not small enough. Irrational thoughts of making a transfer did invade my mind, but were quickly disposed due to my sheer love of everything else my school has to offer. I cannot however shake my contempt toward the students who partook in such an event.
While the dean of my school is taking action, and the president of the student association has stepped down for the year, I cannot help be think that the fact that this has already happened is a wound that cannot be bandaged. You cannot just say: It was a mistake and expect the rest of your student population to accept and move forward. Or, maybe you can. I did not think my school was capable of this, so I guess I know very little. The student association president attempted to do such a think during his speech regarding stepping down from his position. During this speech he made it very clear that [one] this chant had been an annual chant, therefore meaning it has been used for several years, [two] that he, himself, took part in the chant and [three] there are still a group of student who harbor no ill feelings toward this promotion of sexism and rape culture.
You might think I am being mellow-dramatic, and perhaps I am. Perhaps I should just chop this up to a couple bad apples in a field of promising blossoms. Unfortunately, I tend to be a girl with very strong opinions and emotions, so when something happens, I do feel it.
If you’re reading this and are or know someone who part took in this chant (or, any similar activity) please think long and hard about all the people you could affect. Any girl – or boy – who has experienced any kind of sexual assault will immediately feel both threatened and uncomfortable by your words. Rape and sexism are not to be taken with a light heart, so refrain from doing so. I am not suggesting all the individuals who partook are bad people. Even I look back at some of the lyrics I have sung throughout my life thinking, ‘how did I not realize what I was saying?’, so I do know that there is probably a percentage of students who were truly just going with the flow. However for the group of people that rather [a] knew the message did not care and [b] see the ramifications and still do not care. What the hell is your problem? Excuse my language. Have you no sense of consideration for those around you? You should be ashamed of yourselves. You really should.
I have decided [while this won’t be hard for me] to continue boycotting all frosh related events for the remainder of my career here, unless something drastic does change. I also consider looking into joining the women’s committee and promote changes that can be made within the school. Until I decide to take more action, these – my feelings regarding the events – will have to do just.
Again, for those involved, please ask yourself: why?
to lighten up the mood a bit.
*Except it is Saturday… :)
[bizzie gold] [tara stiles] [Jessica smith] [mary hellen bowers]
I have been asked by many people:
you work out at home? How do you stay motivated?
The four girls above is how!
Being that I am not made of money and live in an are where barre studios are limited and expensive and yoga studios are… expensive, it becomes very difficult for me to go to places I want to go to work out. Yes, I exercise. No, I do not care for the gym. After a lot of research for at-home workouts that meet my interest, I fould this four girls and have never looked back.
[one. bizzie gold]
This is my most recent love. After giving birth, Bizzie Gold created a work out program that combines (wait for it) yoga and (wait for it) tribal dance. Her program is called BUTI fitness. I have reviewed her before and can honestly say… I love it. Her work outs actually make me feel… sexy and fun, but centered and relaxed. A typical BUTI work out will have a lot of triangle postures and warrior postures, with some interest dance jumps that make you feel ridiculous, but also feel amazing! Her mind-frame is what put her on the list. The entire point of BUTI is for women to feel sexy, happy and comfortable in their own skin. I absolutely LOVE it. Also, a lot of her moves are good post-natal, as she did design this program for herself following the birth of her own child.
[two. tara stiles]
I am sure you all know about her! The Rebel Yogi in the flesh. I love Tara. First, her voice. When you do a work out with Tara, you instantly feel calm because she sounds calm. It’s amazing. What landed her on my top for was that, as a yogi, her focus is not only on the body, but the mind. Online you can find ample sources for yoga sequences for a series of things: trouble sleeping, depression, happiness. One thing many people fail to pay heed too when they get into a physically active routine is their minds. Tara reminds us of this. She also has written a book called YogaCures which tells you about the different yoga routines that are useful for many different common ailments. A great influence for a girl who loves yoga.
[three: Jessica smith]
After committing to lower-intensity work outs, I struggled to know what that meant. Then I found Jessica Smith. In the past, I looked down at people who just ‘walked’ to work out. If it wasn’t a run, it wasn’t enough. For the past two months, I have been faithfully following this woman’s workouts. First, they’ll all full-length (20-40 minutes each) and free. Second, they’re a combo of walking, barre, yoga, kickboxing and more, so you can get a feel for anything. Third, throughout her exercises she always says “just move… don’t think about it… don’t worry about the calories, just have fun”. This is a mind frame that I think is extremely important for… everyone. Exercise is suppose to be fun, not a chore. And with Jessica, it is. Whether your dancing to 80ies music, or plié squatting it out… you’re smiling while doing it. Also, she has a dog… Peanut… who makes many appearances, which just makes everything so much better :)
[four: mary hellen bowers]
If anyone is familiar with Black Swan, MHB was Natalie Portman’s trainer for that movie. MHB’s work outs focuses completely in the ballet principles. So, through work outs you not only lengthen and tone, but you also receive a great class in ballet! A year or so ago I purchased her book and fell in love. Not just with her work outs, but with her food and fitness philosophy. She advocates balance, not extremes as well as rest days. My favorite quote in the book was, “rest days are important, your body needs the break and your mind needs the rest”. I could not agree more. Having a rest day allows you to enjoy other things in your life, that otherwise you would not totally be able to. So take them. She also suggests a balanced diet, meaning both healthy and not-so healthy food choices. Naturally, an emphasis should be given on the healthy food choices, but restrictions are not at all useful. With those philosophies emphasized, it is hard not to fall in love with her program. She also makes you feel like a swan ;).
That covers everything I wanted to say.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
I hope this has given you all something to think about and something to try :)