Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Aprons are the New Skirts

So I was in Mars yesterday, a vintage store on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, CA, and went over to their collection of super adorable aprons. I actually had been eyeing them for a while. I don’t cook that often – and when I do I never wear an apron. But these kitchen garments didn’t look like they belonged anywhere near the oil and grease.

A lot of them were flounced and see-through, with delicate colors like light yellows and pinks. Some of them had pockets and flowery designs. Sifting through the clothing racks, my eyes landed on a navy, sheer apron with red and green lining and flowered pattered pockets. It was love at first sight and was way too cute to be hidden by a kitchen counter.

When I told my friend that I planned to wear it outside of the home, she suggested I wrap it around a black skirt. So today I put on a knee length black dress and tied my new apron around my waist. I bought it for 16 dollars, which may be a little pricey for a place like Mars – but there were others in the rack that went for as low as 8 dollars. It was great find and a trendy fashion statement (The compliments from my co-workers let me know).

I know I look like a throw-back. My mother was one of the first girls to wear pants to school back in the 1960’s. So why am I reverting to 1950’s housewife fashion? Honestly, I just like the look. I didn’t wear my apron to set a new trend, but if a Domestic-Goddess style comes out of it, so be it. If my bold fashion statement has inspired you in anyway, go ahead and rock an apron of your own.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bi is the New Straight

- Lauren Silverman

Girls kissing girls has been “hot” for a while – but recently musicians have gotten hip to the trend and started releasing girl-on-girl themed songs. One that stands out in my memory is T Pain’s “My Girl Got a Girlfriend”.

“My girl got a girlfriend, I just found out but it's aight as long as I can be with her too. My girl got a girlfriend it really is not a problem cuz I'ma make it do what it do. Cuz havin two chicks is better than no chicks I'd rather just join in, keep my girl and keep the other one too.”

And more recently Kate Perry’s “I kissed a girl”.

“I kissed a girl and I liked it…It's not what, good girls do, Not how they should behave.”

People seem to either love or hate the new girl-on-girl song trend, and I tend to side with the latter. My frustration has nothing to do with opposition to girls being with girls, but rather, the way in which bi and lesbian women are portrayed in the media. As someone who identifies as bi-sexual, I find it offensive to hear a guy talking about how excited he is that his girl’s got a girlfriend, and how that means he will automatically get to be with two girls. Likewise, it bothers me that Kate Perry, who apparently isn’t bi, and has never actually kissed a girl, repeats over and over that she kissed a girl and misbehaved. Unsurprisingly, I was even more offended by her other biggest hit, “Ur So Gay (and you don’t even like boys)”.

When asked in an interview whether she thought the song might be offensive to her gay listeners, Kate Perry responded “I think when everyone hears it, they’ll laugh. It’s very funny and positive and kitsch…”

Offensive or not, the song has spurred a lot of great dialogue among young people. If you skim comments about the video or lyrics there's responses such as:

"I'm sick of this bisexuality crap, it's all along the same lines as that Tila Tequila show...it's just for guys to beat off to, it is horrible representation for gays and lesbians..."

and even:

"I love this song. Not the best, lyrically. But hey - its different. Its not too often you hear songs about homosexuality/bisexuality on the radio. Our generation is more open and accepting that previous ones, and now the music is starting to reflect that."

Its true, the fact that major recording studios are accepting lyrics about girls kissing girls is progressive, now we just have to wait to see how long it takes them to promote a song featuring two guys getting it on.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Orbitz is the New Marlboro

- Lauren Silverman

Young people may not be addicted to cigarettes any more, but they are buying packs of something else daily. Back when I was in high school, it was all about Winterfresh. Today, it’s all about Orbitz and Stride.

Stand near a teenager and smell their breath – don’t be afraid – I guarantee that you’ll get a strong whiff of cinnamint or forever fruit. It’s pretty unlikely you’ll smell nicotine. Today, instead of yellow teeth and tobacco it’s about pearly whites and spearmint. It’s “can I get a stick” instead of “can I get a light”.

Chewing gum consumption, just like tobacco consumption, varies by geography. In the U.S., people chew an average of 182 stick equivalents per person per year. In the U.K., the figure is 125 - it’s 103 in Germany, 84 in Russia, 20 in China, and 4 in India. But studies show that sugar free gum sales are on the rise.

Chewing gum, just like cigarettes, has been extremely popular among young females. The typical gum chewer is female, aged 15-24, lower middle-class, employed, and has a large family. Among the young, more females than males are smokers.

And just as some young females turned to cigarettes to shed pounds back in the day, young girls today may be turning to sugar free chewing gum to lose weight.

While what teenagers are putting in their mouths has changed, what they are taking out of their wallet hasn’t. Gum isn’t all that cheap when you are chewing it nonstop. A pack costs anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00, no doubt cheaper than cigarettes, but still a dent in your paycheck.

There are plenty of good reasons to make the switch from tobacco to sugar free gum. But I have to wonder why so many young boys and girls refuse to just leave their mouths empty and their wallets full.

*image taken from adsoftheworld.com

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Killing is the New Fighting - Bonus Video

Ayesha Walker breaks down the broader picture behind her story about Richmond. Read on for more.

I’ve lived in Richmond, California for almost 21 years. My mom has lived here for 52 years. She and my grandmother would always tell me stories of “ancient” downtown Richmond. Both my grandma and my mom told me stories of when young people actually walked the streets late at night – without caution! They told me that youngsters actually resolved their conflicts with some old school quality fighting, and were still friends the next day.

My generation, on the other hand, is equipped with lots and lots of guns, lots and lots of drugs, and way too much leisure time. Richmond has an average of about 4 murders a month. Last year, 47 people were murdered in my city, and in 2006 it was 42. But now, who’s really responsible for all of this mayhem? Someone growing up in Richmond is going to have a greater chance of losing their life than someone growing up in upper class Piedmont, California. I just wonder why some people can go home and be safe while others cannot.

Anyi Howell, the producer of this piece, said something that really struck home with me. He told me that authentic news can only come from inside the community, and that news reporters distort the truth by looking in from the outside. Often you’ll hear a story on the local news painting a picture of how dangerous a city is without explaining the root of the problem. Young people face these root issues in almost every inner city in America: high schools without windows or enough books but full of underpaid and under-qualified teachers; a lack of confidence that stems from institutional neglect, as far back as elementary school; and the white collar employment that would be easier to access with these resources in place. As long as we have to focus on everyday survival, in place of education, we as young people will continue the legacy of becoming working class individuals, just like our parents. Instead of facing these problems, we take our frustration and depression out on each other, and that sometimes results in violence. But, I guess the news isn't designed to paint that broad a picture.