Edited For Libel: Saira Blair and youth apathy

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

On November 4, 2014, while the rest of us were voting, stressing over midterms, and thinking about Gala tickets, Saira Blair became the youngest elected lawmaker in American history. This conservative Republican from West Virginia won the Republican primary against the incumbent legislator when she was 17, before she was even old enough to vote. Or shoot, even before she went to prom. She beat the Democratic nominee in the general election, becoming the youngest elected policymaker in American history. She is currently the member-elect of the West Virginia House of Delegates, to come into action in 2015. This youth advocate states in her campaign materials, “I am a proud constitutional conservative. I’m Pro Life. I’m Pro Marriage. I’m Pro Family. I’m Pro Second Amendment. And I’m Pro Business.” So, being the liberal Gopher I am, I’m against her political views, but I love that we have such a strong leader in our age bracket. Our generational apathy is widely regarded as a serious political representation problem. We, statistically speaking as a group, are pretty indifferent about politics. Goucher’s campus is notable in that its students try and make a difference and take a stand on international and domestic issues, but across the country, young voters have one of the lowest turnout rates in any demographic. The youth just doesn’t show up at the polls, whether this is because of a lack of passion regarding politics or the feeling of one’s vote being too small to matter. In a generation of apathy and an uninvolved youth bracket, Saira Blair not only votes and gets involved, but also wins an election for her party against older and more experienced candidates. I disagree with her politics, but we all could take a page out of Ms. Blair’s book. I’m not saying we need to all becoming sitting members of political offices, but I am calling for more awareness and action. Start a cause. Contribute to an existing cause. Riot. Most of the general election decisions (on individual politicians and policy referendums) were decided by a very small percentile, nationwide. It is unfortunate that our country is so divided, but it also means that our individual votes are worth that much more. You want to get marijuana legalized? Come up with some solid reasons, print up a few pamphlets, and pass them out in D.C. Sounds like a lot of work? Vote the politicians who side with you into office, and let them take up your cause. Republicans and Democrats will always have their issues and disagreements, but at least young Republicans are being active. We, on the more liberal side of the spectrum, or even we, on the younger side of the bracket, could learn a thing or four from Saira Blair.

Edited for Libel: “I’m a mouse. Duh.”

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

As the commonly quoted Mean Girls character, Cady Heron, states, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” This is evidenced in the movie during a scene where Karen has lingerie and mouse ears, which is her entire costume. Unfortunately, that’s pretty accurate. A holiday where little kids go on hay rides and trick or treat, pick pumpkins and tell ghost stories, turns very risqué when you get older. For college-age girls there appears to be very little in the way of a creative and spooky costume that’s not a Slutty _____. That’s a shame. Women everywhere, on every day, should have a choice in what’s appropriate to wear. This is not a slut-bashing, slut-shaming omg-cover-up it-is-like-40-degrees-out-here article. If you feel comfortable (and warm!) enough in your own skin to wear extremely revealing costumes, be my guest. If you wait all year to break out that Slutty Devil costume you’ve saved up for, by all means. Strut your stuff girl! What I’m saying is whether girls want to cover up or whether girls want to dress down should be their individual choice, not a stereotype that’s reinforced by cheap costume availability. It should be an option for girls who dress conservatively on average days and want to continue dressing that way to wear a spooky full-dress costume. However, it’s continuously stumping to find a cute, fun old-fashioned spooky getup. You can try buying a Harley Quinn costume, hoping for a red and black jumpsuit but all of the costumes involve thigh highs and tiny dresses. Most costumes are either uncomfortably small or unrecognizable as an actual costume. So if you want to wear lingerie and mouse ears, go ahead. All I’m asking from the costume designing people is a little variety. And warmth. A cute red sparkly dress that covers everything for a Demonic Devil perhaps? Or a blue Dorothy dress that is not showing off to all of Kansas? That’s all I ask for. And maybe some more candy corn. Happy Halloween.

Edited For Libel: Self – Care

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

With the craze of midterm week finally dying down, it’s time to get back to basics. For me, that means endless Netflix-binging, book reading, and procrastination-not-doing. Everyone has something, not quite a hobby, not quite doing nothing, but a preferred method of productive inactivity. Over the course of my academic growth in stress management, I’ve realized inactivity can actually be the most productive way to spend a free afternoon. Self-care is incredibly important in whatever way it expresses itself.

     When it’s hell week, and my “free” time is really just when I’m slightly less constantly busy, having time to myself can really be crucial to my mindset and emotional state. Everyone has something, whether it expresses itself in video games, TV, or going for a run. For the extroverted types, it can be catching up with some friends and blowing off steam together. For those who need time to themselves to recuperate and recover, it can be reading or watching TV. The important thing is to be doing absolutely nothing and giving yourself a break. Hey, college is hard and these are crucial years of our youth – we deserve to kick back a little.

     Stress can be one of the most damaging forces to overall health and productivity. Ironically, yes, the more work you’re assigned, the less likely it is you will finish all of it to the best of your ability. Anyone who has been in the Ath in the wee hours of the morning knows, when you’re trying to polish off an essay in a caffeine-fueled haze of deadlines and anxiety, you are not going to come up with your best work. You are not even going to get close. Additionally, prolonged stress can lower your immune system. High anxiety leads to a crappy diet of Easy-mac and Ramen, less sleep, and general illness. There’s a reason the Goucher Plague moves so quickly among students, and we can’t blame everything on Stimson. Just most things.

We’ve all heard the tips from ACE: space out your work, try not to leave things to the last minute, email your professor if you’re struggling with an assignment. These are great tips, and the psychology behind these are to avoid stress and freaking out. A relaxed mind is the most productive way to actually get stuff done instead of freaking out over not finishing the assignment, wasting valuable time and mental resources.

     So, in the end, yes, we all get stressed out. Even the Type-A color-coded Excel sheet people who seem to have everything in order get stressed out. The important thing is to manage it, and then use it to make yourself a better student. Sometimes, you’ll be too stressed to do work, and that’s fine. It’s not the end of the world – paint your nails, play some Frisbee, go to the SRC, watch an episode (or season) of a show you like, go pet Lucy. Do what you gotta do. I’m not directly saying blow off assignments, but you are important too. Maybe push them back an hour or so, and then start from a better place. You will be much happier.

CON Video App – Why the Video App is the wrong direction for Goucher

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

There has been a lot of talk about the new video application. High school students will now, in lieu of an application with a transcript of their accomplishments and challenges in high school, be able to submit a two minute video responding to the prompt, “How do you see yourself at Goucher?” along with two academic works, only one of which needs to be graded. I feel that this new “selfie app” is not at all a step in the right direction, and ultimately will be detrimental to the value of the education here at Goucher.

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Too #trendy?

Sarah Hochberg

Opinion Editor

Over the summer, a new charitable organization hit the Facebook “trending” ticker. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge went viral during summer 2014, convincing 2.4 million Facebook users to douse themselves in icy water for the good of the cause. Users would get a bucket filled with water and ice cubes, and dump it on their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Then they nominate 2-4 friends to do the same. In my opinion, this is a wonderful public advocacy campaign, and other charities should follow suit. To date there have been 2.4 million Facebook posts and 3.7 million videos uploaded with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge (www.bbc.com).

The posts and videos are meant to raise awareness and donations for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association. ALS, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is a neurodegenerative

disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The motor neurons slowly die and the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. Patients in later stages of this disease can become totally paralyzed. Early symptoms of ALS often include muscle weakness, speech problems, and difficulty swallowing or breathing. When muscles begin to atrophy, they no longer function proper-ly and can look “thinner”.(www.alsa.org)

Skeptics of the #icenucketchallenge argue it’s too trendy, people are being environmentally wasteful, and it’s not actually helping. I argue that the Ice Bucket Challenge is, in the end, doing much more positive than negative for the cause and other charities should strive to attempt a similar media fad. I’ve seen videos of people using rain water, cold shower water, or substituting an “ice bucket” with sand or grass to raise awareness about one of California’s worst droughts in history. There are eco-friendly ways of fulfilling the challenge. I also agree that this is a short-lived movement, but it’s getting the job done. Donations to the ALS Association have gone from $2.7 million to $98.2 million over the course of a summer.

Similar organizations in Britain have also received these benefits. Sure, this will probably not continue, and yes, people are not giving from the goodness of their hearts, but the ALS Association is still receiving higher donations than ever before. Big-time celebrities and local families are opening their wallets for a cause that could truly use the money. It may not be a “genuine” charitable gift, but the money is still being raised for research and other aide.

Getting people who are not personally affected by a disease to donate their extra spending money is no small feat. And while there are criticisms and drawbacks to the challenge, I believe that in the end the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought much needed funds to a worthy cause, and other charities should strive towards creating a similar media buzz.

American Sign Language to fulfill LER?

Sarah Hochberg
Staff Writer

Goucher has an atmosphere where change is welcomed, and new, innovative ideas are championed. College is generally a time to try new things, Goucher’s administration gives us the promise of utilizing their resources to help us do just that.
When I saw ‘foreign language’ as a Liberal Education Requirement, I immediately thought of taking American Sign Language (ASL). It has a close personal connection with me, and there is a large deaf culture across America. It seems like a perfect fit – a language I am interested in that can open doors to a new experience I will carry with me throughout the rest of life.
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How do you pronounce that? Club profile of Capoeira Club

Sarah Hochberg
Staff Writer

Capoeira (cap – oh – air – ah; I know, it’s a mouthful) is a Brazilian martial art with African themes that imitates fighting in a peaceful and often playful dance. Aimed for all

Members of the Capoeira Club practicing in the Pearlstone Atrium. (Photo: Tori Russell)

Members of the Capoeira Club practicing in the Pearlstone Atrium. (Photo: Tori Russell)

skill levels, Capoeira has a theme of openness and community that can be understood by even the most basic of beginners. This martial art has history, dance, music, fighting, philosophy, and an intricacy of people combined into one fluid form of expression. Above all, it’s beautiful to watch and exhilarating to take part in.
In class the instructor, Skher, informs the group of Capoeira history as they sit comfortably in a circle. Originally brought over by the slave population, Capoeira developed as a way for the oppressed to learn defense in secret, so as not to gain suspicion by their masters. This martial art used to be played in the streets, had as many styles as it had participants. Master Pastinha and Master Bimba, over 100 years ago, regimented Capoeira. They set standards and founded an official Academy, adding legitimacy to the practice. These uniforms and customs consequently impact much of what Capoeira is today. Capoeira turned from a version of streetdancing to an authentic cultural art.  Goucher’s group practices an Angolian style, which integrates all aspects of the culture. Movement, dancing, fighting, and a heavy emphasis on musical instruments are woven into the sessions.
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