Why Kanye’s Hospitalization Reinforces Mental Health Stigma

Kanye West gets hospitalized and in result we continue to treat mental health issues as the latest meme.

When it first made headlines that Kanye was ranting again at one of his concerts on The Saint Pablo Tour, I watched along with everyone on social media.

(Watch a part of Kanye’s rant at his show in Sacramento, California below)

I was slightly confused about why he thought a concert (a place where people pay money to listen to an artist perform their music live) was the right place to spend 30 minutes talking about but I thought the same thing as everyone always does, “Kanye is just being Kanye.” Like his previous outbursts at NBC’s A Concert For Hurricane Relief in 2005, during Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech in 2009, and his infamous interview on Sway’s radio show, Sway In the Morning on SiriusXM in 2013. I believed Kanye was being himself. But little did I know that something deeper was going on internally.

Exactly one day after Kanye stormed off the stage of his Sacramento show, he decided to cancel the remainder of his shows on The Saint Pablo Tour. And just 24 hours after the cancellation of his tour, it was reported that Kanye had been hospitalized for sleep deprivation.

As always, the news immediately broke on social media that Kanye had been rushed to UCLA Medical Center. But instead of outpours of prayers and concerns, jokes and mockery of his apparent mental illness surfaced. Tweets that blamed “The Kardashian Curse” for making Kanye “crazy,” called him “attention-seeking” and compared his mental breakdown to Britney Spear’s in 2007 are just a few examples of the thousands of tweets that were posted on that day.

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Society’s quick judgment on people that deal with mental illness is so disgusting and an inequality in itself. It does not matter that Kanye West is a celebrity, he is also human. A human-being who has been suffering with a mental disorder for years and it so happens that his breaking point was broadcasted for the world to see. But that does not make his health any less important and it does not give society the right to use his health as a way to get retweets and likes on social media.

After these turn of events it is clear that all of Kanye’s antics were a subliminal cry for help. I advise people to stop trolling behind their computer screens and use the internet for something purposeful. Do your research about mental disorders before you judge someone for theirs because in all honesty what you see does not compare to what goes on in the lives of those with mental disorders.

To learn more about how stigma affects those with mental illness and what you can do to make a difference, please watch this video below.

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Is psychiatric medication helping or hurting children?

Over the course of the past few decades, psychiatric medication has become vastly common and accepted in America. These modern medical breakthroughs in treating mental illnesses – such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD – are helping millions of people across the nation. It’s huge prevalence inevitable brings a rise in prescription drug abuse, especially from stimulants like Adderall, or sedatives like Xanax. However, the biggest concern to come from this rise in psychiatric medication seems to be that these drugs are unnecessary or possibly harmful, especially for the developing mind of a child. In a report from the prescription data company IMS Health, it’s been revealed that over a million toddlers, ages zero to five years old, have been reported to be taking psychiatric medication. This number is shocking since most of these drugs’ long-term effects are unknown and for most psychiatric drugs, giving out prescriptions to infants falls outside of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. It also is somewhat revealing of how easily a doctor can prescribe these drugs, usually without an examination or diagnosis. Because of these loose prescriptions, there have been many reported incidents where these drugs backfire and end up worsening a child’s condition, even leading to sudden death in some cases. With a lack of research behind these drugs, parents and doctors don’t fully know what they’re getting into and are at a high risk of harming a child’s development.

In my podcast below, I explain some precautions you could take when dealing with psychiatric medication and how you can limit the risk of harm.

 

Rape Culture in Beauty in the Beast

 

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When we think of beloved disney movies we tend to think of enchanted romances that exemplify a perfect relationship. As a child I can fondly recall being dazzled by the swirling yellow dresses and the sweet, wise teapot. That being said, coming back older and more aware makes this movie and it’s normalization of many things wrong with rape culture concerning to me.With the new movie starring Emma Watson coming out, I think it is important we first all know of some instances of rape culture casually placed in the movie that are anything but casual.

The first example of rape culture in the movie lines up with how The Beast first abuses Belle upon her arrival. He forbade her to eat at all because she declined eating with him. This related to how in our society some women have so little control they are even prohibited to do things like eat food when they “fail” their partners. This could potentially lead young children having distorted values when it comes to relationships.

Another example of rape culture is the mental abuse done by tearing Belle away from her family. The Beast by giving her no other options for communication essentially forced her to communicate with him. This in turn led her to eventually look over even these abusive aspects, which later transitioned to her developing emotional attachments to The Beast which leads us to our next example of rape culture.

Belle spends the entire movie developing stockholm syndrome. In essence, their whole journey was centered around her starting to see the good things in him after he both cut her off from the rest of the world, and somewhat punished her when she did not comply with what the Beast desired. She even tried to run away, and after he saved her is when she began to shift focus from him being the enemy to him being trying to help.

The last and most obvious case of rape culture is Gaston. The vain man barges straight into her home to propose after her declining relations multiple times. He kicks how muddy shoes up on the table and covers a book with mud, then criticises Belle for even having a book, after all he believed women shouldn’t read. Then he talks about how he wants multiple young, strapping boys and a bunch of large dogs. After Belle’s rejection he denies she even said no and instead moves straight to concocting an immoral plan to force her to marry him.

Overall, I believe most of us can agree these concepts and events are scary. If taken out of the context of wonderful music and animation that enhanced the romantic nature of the film, most of them would actually be concerning to most audiences. The idea that these ideas are present in a children’s movie that most people see shows how desensitised we are as a culture to subtle sexism and even rape culture. In order to fix this problem, first everyone must acknowledge that it is there. We then must work together as a community to make it better.

 

 

 

 

Slut Shaming 101

Although there are double standards everywhere within society, everyone knows there is a double sexual standard, specifically regarding women. Women are judged more harshly than men despite engaging in similar behaviors, especially behaviors including hook-ups and sexual contact with multiple partners. Some men are seen as “the man” whereas women are slut shamed and labeled as easy. Boys and men receive praise and positive attributions from others, while girls and women are believed to be derogated and     stigmatized for similar behaviors.

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cover_hesastudshesaslut As Jessica Valenti states in her latest book, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, “if you have a vagina, chances are someone has called you a slut at least once in your life. There’s just no getting around it.” Additionally, as a strong feminist she is, she writes about her personal experiences behind being called derogatory terms and the double standards she faced throughout her life. Again she wrote, “But it makes sense when you think about what the purpose of the world “slut” is: controlling women through shame and humiliation. Women’s bodies are always the ones that are being viewed over for control – whether it’s rape, reproductive rights, or violence against women, it’s our bodies that are the battleground, not men’s.”

To focus on the audience at hand, college students, men tend to gain status from having sexual experience, whereas female college students lose status and are seen as not having any self-respect – showing that females are more likely to sense regret due their peers’ reactions and lack of acceptance. However, from the start of one’s childhood, girls have been shamed for engaging in sexual activity. According to a study by Derek A. Kreager, Jeremy Staff, Robin Gauthier, Eva S. Lefkowitz & Mark E. Feinberg, The Double Standard at Sexual Debut: Gender, Sexual Behavior and Adolescent Peer Acceptance, they concluded that female adolescents who reported having sex during teenage years had significant decreases in friendships and peer acceptance, whereas male adolescents who reported having sex had significant friendship increases. “These patterns suggest that females and males receive very different social feedback during a critical period of sexual development. Adolescent girls who had sex lost friends, but adolescent boys who had sex gained friends. Sex, therefore, elicited a negative peer response for girls and a positive one for boys. Seventeen percent of girls in the sample had lost their virginity, while only 12 percent of the boys had.”

Another study conducted uncovered a new, more nuanced double standard among adolescents: Girls who reported making out gained friends, but boys who did the same lost friends, however there’s a different standing shown through this. According to the researchers, “this pattern is in line with the sexual script, because “‘lighter’ sexual behaviors may serve as markers of sexual desirability and maturity for girls, but may signify dependence and submission for boys.””

Additionally, to connect peer acceptance toward adolescents and acceptance throughout college campuses, Maura Gallagher, writer of The Female Perspective of Hooking-Up on College Campuses shows that in recent years, it seems to be just as acceptable to hook-up as it is to date on college campuses. Hooking up is now considered a social norm, which makes students believe it is more acceptable. In their survey, Bradshaw et. al. (2010) found that “77.7% of females and 82.4% of males reported hooking up at some point in college with a mean of 10.8 hook ups and a range of 0-65 hook ups. Previously, hooking up with strangers would instantly ruin a person’s reputation. Now it is not so commonly viewed as something to necessarily be ashamed of. College students tend to view their peers as much more promiscuous than they think of themselves to be, but this is not always the case” Hamilton and Armstrong 2009). Society tends to push two contradicting messages: sexual deviance is completely acceptable, but it is only acceptable if you are a male. It is so common now for words like “slut” and “whore” to be tossed around as if they have no negative connotation.

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However, these double standards within society have not only been prevalent just in the twenty-first century. These standards date back to far back in history, specifically the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s. As shown on by this graph, engaging in sex while in a committed relationship is shown as acceptable whereas casual sex is less acceptable. And as you can see, these stats have not changed from much from the year 1990 to 2012.145296-147203

Comparatively, however, women are constantly shamed for showing their bodies on media whereas it is fully acceptable for men to be shirtless. Women are always “asking for it,” even though we merely get dressed up to look good for ourselves and in photos rather than to impress the male race. Yet, to offer another perspective, Cosmopolitan posted these tweets. Why are women always objectified for what they’re wearing, but we [women] can openly talk about the assents that appear when watching the Olympics and within other situations as well? A statement that needs further more discussion than whats currently stated in this post.

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In conclusion – these are the points I have discovered through my research.

Is Systematic Inequality in Schools the Cause of New Racial Tensions and Violence?

While racial inequality in America has always been prevalent, inequality and the racial tensions that follow have recently reached new heights, not seen since the Civil Rights movement. While there are many reasons for these tensions, systematic inequality in the field of education is the leading factor. Without having a quality education, it is nearly impossible to survive in today’s job market by oneself, let alone carrying a family. With this being the case, it is baffling how this systematic inequality has been allowed to go on for so long, and not been made a larger issue yet.

Every year, it seems, violent crime continues to rise in the United States, as racial tensions do as well. Many analysts and pundits would point to income inequality as the main culprit for these tensions and increased violence. But, when examined from a different perspective, it is easy to see how education inequality can account for all of this. While the pundits are correct about increased violence and racial tensions mainly stemming from income inequality, income inequality is usually caused by a lack of education or an existence of education inequality. This systematic education inequality can be demonstrated in many ways, but one of the clearest is funding. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2010, the United States spent 39 percent more per person in public schools than any other OECD country. With this type of spending and money to work with the results of better all-around education should be quite a bit more noticeable. Wealthier, usually white, areas are more likely to see an increase in funding because with kids that are seen as having “a future,” it seems to be a better investment. While, in certain economic aspects, it may be a safer investment, it doesn’t make it correct. There is absolutely no way to justify a certain race or ethnicity earning college degrees at such a higher rate, especially when college grads make almost 51 percent more per year than those with just high school diplomas.

This chart demonstrates systematic education inequality in the United State’s system.85

Many minorities have figured out this systematic education inequality and seen it first hand in action. Because of their loss of faith in the American educational system, many do not push their children to go to college, or sometimes, even to graduate high school anymore. This can cause a vicious cycle or snowball effect, generation to generation. With this lack of education running throughout whole families, this is how poverty is created. Without at least one person in a home being able to hold down a steady job, poverty will oftentimes ensue due to a lack of education, going back to systematic inequality.

Here is a podcast of myself explaining how all of this links together.

 

Pay for Play

Image result for ohio state footballAmericans have become obsessed, obsessed with sports that is. Whether its professional or collegiate level, Americans are hooked to this form of entertainment and can’t get enough of it. The revenue made by these industries is only a small testament to its popularity and the value it has on our society. They generate huge profits each year that in turn goes to the players, coaches, and members of the organization. While this is the case for professional sports, the same can’t be said for collegiate level athletics.

Over the past few decades, collegiate level sports have become just as popular and competitive as professional sports while also generating large profits. In the 2014 fiscal year, the NCAA generated $989 million in revenue! While this is nowhere near the NFL’s annual revenue of a whopping $7.3 billion, they are still both lucrative organizations that generate a good amount of business. The difference is that college players who represent their colleges and universities, and are the stars of their team and the reason why people watch, do not get compensated for their major role in bringing revenues to their schools.

This is a serious topic that has been in the news as of a late. Many people have their own viewpoints and have created their own opinions on this subject. CNN recently did a special asking whether the should be paid or not. They list just a few of the many reasons why they should be paid.

Student athletes are the heart and soul of the NCAA. Without the players they would not  be able to generate the amount of profits they do now. Players are constantly practicing and putting in time and effort for their team and are receiving no payment for it. Not only do they put their bodies through an intense amount of training and work, but they also put themselves at risk to injuries when practicing or playing the game. It is estimated that between the years 2009 through 2014, around 1,053,370 injuries occurred amongst college athletes during practices and during the games. This goes to shows how playing a college sport can be dangerous and how the players are taking a risk every time they step onto the field.

Not only can playing a sport be dangerous, but it is also time consuming. Although they may be athletes, they are also students. They have to deal with all the same things normal students go through such as going to class and maintaining grades but then they also must keep up with practices and other team events. Due to the tight schedules, college athletes are not able to have a job during the season because it will take away for their practice time.

Below is a live interview of two different student athletes here at JMU. In this audio, they discuss what their normal week looks like and how much free time they have.

Both Jonna and Griffen are constantly practicing through out the week. This barely leaves them with any time to themselves and certainly doesn’t leave room for a job as they both said during the interview.  They both said that their sport was their job and they didn’t have time for anything else. Seeing the lifestyle that athletes live shows how they should receive some sort of salary or compensation for the time they put into their team.

This has become such a big issue that people have created a twitter account to bring awareness to the subject.

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This tweet feature a depiction of unpaid athletes vs. their coaches…

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You can see the amount of effort that goes into maintaining your education along with a sport…

Playing a sport in college is a lot to handle. From grades to practices, college athletes put in serious amount of time and effort while the NCAA just sits back and watch as the money flows in. The players are the stars and the reason for their revenue yet receive no compensation. The should receive payment for the things they do for the business.

 

 

Nothing to Show for Their Success: U.S. Women’s Soccer

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“We feel like we’re treated like second-class citizens because they don’t care as much about us as they do the men.” –Carli Lloyd

 

Starting out with The Book of the City of Ladies, written by Christine de Pizan in 1405, gender equality has been one of the most prevalent issues for 60+ years. As it is natural and easy to say that the ideology that society puts on the importance of women has changed over the years, in which it has, however, similar indecencies and  actions are still taken upon women today. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, female workers make about $.80 for every $1 a male makes. If that doesn’t speak for itself, nothing will.

Now, yes, the direct gender inequality is absurdly high, however, it get’s worse.

While clearly there is a large pay gap with women overall, the numbers only get worse as the woman’s race changes. Almost making half that of all men, Latina women are being hit the hardest. Simply being a women in America is difficult, but being a Latina women is even more difficult.

Now, many may believe as the transition of gender equality shifts to professional sports the gap would decrease, but that is not the case at all. Focusing directly towards the U.S. Women’s National Team, with an extremely impessive 3 World Cup titles and 4 Olympic Champions, the gender pay gap is 100% as recognizable as it is in the workplace.

While we all grew up, society teaches everybody one thing, hard work turns into success, which then turns into money. Yes, many are taught that money doesn’t mean anything, but when your male counterparts are doing less and making more, there is a clear problem. Like stated in the video above by the women’s soccer players, the women’s team has brought in $17 million, while the men have actually lost $2 million, but are still making more money. Makes sense to me!!

Although England’s women’s national team has not been as successful as the U.S.’s in recent years, this tweet truly shows the inequality in women, women’s sports, and specifically women’s soccer.

To still view women as simply “mothers, partners and daughters” is a disgrace and in no way shows the true value that women have today. From an early age, girls are born and are looked at as more vulnerable, feminine people, which is generally true; but the problem here is that vulnerability and level of femininity should not be the reason women are making on average 20% less than men, if not more.

Actions must be taken or else change will never be seen. The role of women in society has changed and become more equal, however, with a large pay gap and large sexist group of individuals in America today (including the new POTUS) not a lot will change. If women can eventually be treated more equally, pay and other inequalities will slowly but surely even out.