Life Happens

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Dear readers,

I would just like to clarify the reason to why I’ve ben MIA lately. I didn’t want to write about whatever was on my mind unless I was giving it 100% and more. I had so many factors affecting my state of mind during the past couple of months; people and things that I’ve just started to realise are so insignificant to my life and my future.

We all go through a tough period, and the reason that I’m writing this is inform whoever might be in this rut that it’s okay. A lot of things occupy our minds everyday and it’s O.K. if some conquer the others entirely. So, my darlings, just take as much time as you need, reassess everything that is starting to become an anchor to your life and jump right back into the game. No biggie, I swear. =)

I promise many more posts to come, so stay tuned! =)

Much love,
L.

Has Humanity Become Extinct?

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Dear Readers,

If you haven’t heard of what is going on in Gaza right now, please pick up a newspaper or watch the news (not a channel that is biased only to the Israeli side of the story) because to be ignorant of the massacres that are occurring in Palestine is unacceptable. There have been many bombs during the past weeks that have not only have killed 243 children and adults but have injured approximately 1,850 palestinians. These killings are justified to the Israeli as “retaliations,” but the injured Israelis so far can be counted on one hand. I am certain this is more complicated than what appears on the surface, however, massacres of any human beings let alone children especially during the holy month of Ramadan are NEVER justified.

Don’t be ignorant. Don’t be blind.

Gay and Married?

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What if you were denied to marry your loved one? What if you were denied something that is a fundamental element of your civil rights as a citizen of a state? Would you fight or would you surrender?

The Oxford dictionary defines civil marriage as “a marriage solemnized as a civil contract without a religious ceremony.” Civil marriage has been overlooked over the years because it is seen as less important in comparison to a religious marriage. However, many people are no longer accepting the unjust treatment they are receiving when declined to undergo civil marriages. Ignorant people have limited the term “marriage” to different sex couples and discriminated against the people of different religion, people of different political background and most importantly to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples. I believe that the era of ignorance and discrimination is on the verge of altering itself into a gay marriage movement. By finally allowing same-sex couples to marry one another in return allows them to get the same privileges as any other couples. Same-sex couples can “legally” get married and be with one another, can finally feel secure and happy in their relationship, and can finally receive the same treatment as any other couple.

President Barack Obama once said: “When I think about— members of my own staff who are incredibly committed, in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together. When I think about— those soldiers or airmen or marines or— sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf— and yet, feel constrained, even now that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is gone, because— they’re not able to— commit themselves in a marriage. At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that— for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that— I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” This released statement by President Barack Obama was a life-changing event because as of June 24, 2011 New York City became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage (Copeland 1.) For years, the United States’ civil law regarding marriage and divorce was generally reflecting the Protestant Christian norms of religion. Which states: “marriage was limited to one man and one woman of marriageable age and without prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity” (Nichols 2.) And as advanced as America is compared to the rest of the world, homophobia is still evident in their civilization. Gay, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) have been struggling for their human rights and their rights as citizens of the state. Now, most people thought that the state’s recognition of same-sex marriage would have been synonymous with the LGBT equality movement in 1993 when Hawaii argued that the state shouldn’t exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage and that it violated their constitution (Copeland 105.) But that proved to be untrue. Also, in an article by Peter Edge: “Including Religion: Reflections On Legal, Religious, And Social Implications Of The Developing Ceremonial Law Of Marriage And Civil Partnership,” he states that there was a Civil Partnership Act that was released back in 2004 in the United Kingdom. However, even after the enactment of the act in 2005, Peter concludes that three groups are still not able to take part in religious based ceremonies. These 3 groups consist of: same-sex couples, dissidents and members of smaller/lesser known religious communities. These cases are there to show that even though some states “recognize” the need for same-sex couples and other cases to get married, it does not mean that anything will be done about it. And this kind of treatment, as the state of Hawaii has pointed out, is a hypocritical move if some states choose to take part in, even more so when their constitution proves otherwise.

Following New York City’s example, 18,000 couples were married in the state of California within June 2008 and November 2008. (Dinno 1.) Same-sex couples were no longer denied the opportunity to “elevate” their relationship to the status that they deserve. (Copeland 106.) Some people may argue that such legalization takes away from the “norms” of society. Let me further the explanation by using the previous example of the United States. As I’ve said, the U.S. is considered a Christian country (the majority of the population) so many people believe that the state is the primary generator of a normative meaning. (Copeland 107.) This feared notion of the state allowing LGBT marriages means the state would be saying that this is the new “normal” of society. This “normal” contradicts many of the Christian beliefs and religious customs.

Others also argue that the “legalization of same-sex marriage is positioned as an “assault” seeking to “weaken,” “destroy,” and “undermine” opposite-sex marriage.” (Dinno 2.) Opponents also claim that ‘‘if the definition of marriage between a man and a woman is changed, it would fundamentally redefine its original and historical procreative purpose. Which [all in all] weakens society’s perception of marriage and the importance of having children.” (Dinno 3.) However, couples of different sexes (heterosexuals) and bisexuals across the country have pledged to boycott marriage until it is available to all gender preferences by joining a “National Marriage Boycott.” (Dinno 2.)  So not only do some couples encourage the legalization of same-sex individuals to marry but are also putting their own marriage on hold for the sake of such issues.

Moreover, it is not surprising that marriages bring health benefits to the individuals involved. Allowing civil marriage to same-sex couples has been proven to increase their health, happiness and overall work performance. According to Erin Dean’s article “Health and Happiness,” being married has been proven to lower the chances to develop cancer, have heart attacks and experience dementia. Research done by stonewall has found higher rates of mental health problems including depression among the LGBT community (1.) This is important because lesbians were more likely to heavily drink and smoke than other women due to stress. (1.) This article proves that removing these practical difficulties of performing simple acts such as marriage eventually brings about happiness and increased security to well deserving individuals. After considering these statements, one should ask if they are able to stand in the way of someone and their chance to live a happy and healthy life?

Furthermore, to many people a marriage is less important as a civil matter and more important as a religious matter. For them, a marriage is not accepted unless it is between two similar religions and people whom have received “appropriate solemnization by qualified religious authorities.” (Nichols 2.) So while some people argue that it is against one’s religion to marry the same-sex, others argue that the problem is further expanded to different religions of the same-sex attempting to marry. And at the end of the day, opponents will argue against it in whichever way it is perceived.

In conclusion, acts that practice unjust treatment of any minority communities, whether they are smaller religious groups or gay groups, should be abolished. The discouragement and prohibition of civil marriage has gone far too long, many people are not only suffering mentally, emotionally but also physically for their right of whom to love and often forget that every person is responsible for who they are and whom they can love. Religiously, we are all taught to live with one another in harmony and be accepting of each other. Ethically, we should not judge the other person’s gender preference. The “norms” of society are changing and whether we accept this movement or not is our own opinion.
However, accepting this movement and finding peaceful methods in allowing people of same-sex and different religion to tie the “knot” would be much easier than trying to resist it. Once personal opinions limit another person’s right to happiness and health is when we should draw the line. And finally if you know anyone who is going through a tough time due to this issue or is under malicious acts of homophobia, be supportive and accepting of his or her situation. Also, try to speak out when inequality is being committed because a movement only needs one voice to ignite itself into a change.

My Home Away from Home

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It’s funny how things change when you least expect them to. I came to Lebanon as a foreigner and I am leaving it (temporarily) as if I have been living here my entire life. I would have to admit that it was scary at first, moving countries and starting a whole new lifestyle but I guess change is good eventually, right? In my case it was a dramatic change but I am definitely grateful.

I’m grateful for all those who have entered my life and changed it completely, I am grateful to the friends I’ve made, whom without I don’t think my freshman year of university would have been the same, I’m grateful to those whom I’ve shared laughs, tears, anger, and happiness with. To countless times spent in the mornings talking about the nights before, to the countless times we’ve enjoyed that little pub down the street just because it became our little haven and our home away from home. I am grateful to the people who have entered my life and even to those who have exited it. Even though, they can no longer affect my decisions and I, they have influenced me in a way that can only better my future and of whom to trust.

I have learned so much from so many people; to trust and be trusted, to open up even when situations test me otherwise, to look at the brighter side of things even when they can’t look any worse, and to appreciate everything and everyone around me. To appreciate how early this city wakes up every single day with its rustling and bustling noises, to appreciate the kind hearted and genuine kindness of this culture, to appreciate their ability to forget the world and just have fun. I am leaving Lebanon and after only spending 9 months in this country I can proudly say I fell in love. I am in love with this city. These people. This life. I fell in love with what can happen and what cannot happen here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all those I’ve met and I hope that I have made a big enough influence to you as you have to me.

Till we meet again,
L.
Xo

P.S: To those that think I’m leaving for good, I’m not! Just for the duration of the summer. :)

Banana Republic

Yazan Halwani - The Banana Republic

A politician, obviously by definition, is a person who is involved in politics. Looking back at history, anyone would notice the change in the morals that come with politics because back then politicians actually had an agenda of bettering a certain sector or country, disregarding any personal benefit. However, recently a politician is anyone who practices politics only for personal gain in life or society, examples: To achieve more money, to become or to have a higher power, to be influential upon a large quantity of people or assets and the list goes on. We, as the people who are witnessing this dramatic change, have tried to open each other’s eyes to the reality behind these “political movements” and what their real agenda is. People like Yazan Halwani are doing exactly that. Yazan, who is just 20 years old, is a graffiti God to anyone who knows his art. Ever since a young age, approximately 16 years old, Yazan developed the skill of calligraphy, which was taught to him by his uncle.

“Joumhouriyat Al Mouz” is Yazan’s most famous and controversial graffiti piece that can be found in the heart of Beirut, Lebanon. If I were to describe this piece it would go something like this: A monkey wearing a suit and tie surrounded by Arabic calligraphy language. Now, it’s not the monkey in the suit that catches your eye, but it is the sentences that are intensified, drawn and highlighted to stand out. One of those sentences is the piece’s title which when translated means “Banana Republic” (Most people would associate that title with the clothing line. However, it has a completely different meaning) and the other is a quote. The Arabic calligraphy language surrounding the monkey is a clear indicator that Yazan is focusing on the Arab culture. Moving on to the quote, which was from the golden age of Lebanon, belongs to a famous writer named Jibran Khalil Jibran who said, “If Lebanon wasn’t my country, I would choose Lebanon to be my country.” Now the interesting part is that Yazan did not quote him exactly, his version goes like this, “If Lebanon wasn’t my country, I would choose Canada to be my country.” After studying this artwork, the only question that lingered in my head was “Why?”

Now in my opinion, these are the answers to my question: The monkey, often associated as a primitive animal, is a symbol, let’s say, for any politician around the world, but mostly in Lebanon, who has the intellectual capacity of zero when it comes to politics. Hence why the monkey is formally dressed and perceived as a “politician”. What Yazan is trying to show his fans is that authors like Jibran, along with the majority of the Lebanese people, love their country but dislike “the monkeys in the suits.” Because at the end of the day, monkeys in their simplest forms are wild animals that don’t have a sense of laws or rules; only a sense of personal gain and survival. That is something that is commonly found between both the monkeys and the politicians.

To end this observation, I think that Yazan is a part of an important movement. A movement that is willing to go above and beyond in order for their voices to be heard or in his case: to be seen. Before my research about this, I had no clue about the background of this graffiti piece although I probably walked past it a thousand times. This leads me to the fact that we, as humans, are curious creatures. However, we tend to get too comfortable in where we are to feed our inner curiosity. Therefore, it is important to ask “Why?” to certain things in order to open not only our eyes but also our perception of what things really mean and how influential they are.

“Bait”

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Bait is an Arabic word which means home or house. Many people over the years have adapted to some specific sayings, which might be a little bit cliché and over used but are actually true. Examples of those saying are: “Home is where the heart is.” or “When I’m with you, it feel like home.” A lot of people, like myself, have always rolled their eyes when a fellow acquaintance proudly announces them. However, I never really understood their meaning up until a while ago. Bait or home (I prefer ‘home’ because it has more of a sentimental meaning to it than ‘house’) is a place where you most feel at ease or comfortable. It’s a place where whenever you are outside and you feel tired or upset, you subconsciously think to yourself “I want to go home.” To some of those people home is either the tangible aspect, which is the concrete block, the nostalgic aspect, which is the memories that they’ve built and shared, or the sentimental aspect, which is where their family and friends are. Everyone, in one way or another, has gone through either one or all of those aspects during a challenging period of their life. So my advise to anyone who is finding trouble with their bait is to make it your home for now; make memories, get accustomed to the building, and stay in touch with your family members. In the end, you will be surprised at how many “homes” a person can have.

The Psychological Effects of Social Media

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If we take a trip down memory lane, we would definitely notice that social media has gained quite a vast amount of power. It has the ability to shape every human being on earth, from our grandparents to our grandchildren. Back when technology was still gaining its popularity, social media outlets weren’t yet created and if they were, were found as something unusual. I mean if you would go back in time and tell any person in the 1700s to take a “selfie” and post it on Instagram for the sole purpose of everyone to see it, they would probably laugh at such a thought. However, social media outlets have gained popularity and went from being a luxury to a part of our lives. There are arguments that are trying to debunk myths about how social media affects us on a daily basis but the truth is, social media, whether we like it our not, is found all around us, our children, parents and friends. Hence why it is called the 21st century of technology. So while some people believe that social media has many benefits, there are others who believe that the bad outweighs the good. Therefore, it is highly recommended that we understand the psychological effect of social media, to explore how social media affects us on a daily basis and which type of users are most affected.

Changes in technology have brought a major change in the way we go about our days. An example: children used to go to malls, school and each other’s houses to visit one another. But nowadays, they can simply “catch up” by a click of a button via Skype or any other outlet. But who is to say that this affects them badly? If you think of it, it actually just facilitates life. Other benefits are: 1) A growing number of children are documenting personal experiences, and expressing their ideas and opinions on social media websites such as Facebook (Storm, p. 50). And Paris Storm added that: “Having someone pay attention to your opinions and give honest feedback can support growth.” This means that children no longer need to suppress their feelings and can find somewhat of a comfortable place behind their screen. 2) The Millennials Report Blogs (Storm, p. 50.) At this website, students are given the freedom to discuss frequently changed topics. “The users are expected to read and provide background information about the topics before expressing their views on the blog.” (Paris Storm, p. 51) This just goes to show that some social media outlets such as this blog can be used as a tool to benefit and progress a child’s ability to research and discuss topics in a safe environment.

Unfortunately to every good there must be a bad. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the bad outweighs the good and this is because it is easy to find fault in anything that is new and not yet fully understood. However, the reasons to why some people believe social media affects us negatively are: 1) Public display of unhealthy behaviours (Fernandez, p. 31). Lewis Fernandez and his colleagues have analyzed the top 100 self-injury YouTube videos during their research on this issue. And the results showed that these videos have been viewed more than two million times combined recently. With the popularity of gadgets, comes the freedom of children to search and look up anything on the Internet, so when children see videos such as these ones (and as frequent) they might in the near future attempt to copy it. This does not only affects the person’s psychological train of thought but also their well-being. 2) Selling drugs over Instagram (BBC, p. 1). Many journalists have uncovered pictures and videos on instagram that displayed drug-dealers advertising their sale. “[…] A picture showed a variety of pills, adding: “$2 a pop for xans, $10 a pop for roxys.”” (Refer to image below). Says a journalist in an interview with the BBC. Xanax is a psychoactive anxiety treatment and Roxicodone is used as a relief for pain. Clearly this shows that something as simple as Instagram can be used as a gateway to bad influence.

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Adults are obviously more aware of the amount of time they spend using these social media outlets and whether or not what they are displaying is inappropriate to other viewers or not. However, children may not have that privilege, to them it’s a game of “Simon says” but in this case it’s “Instagram/Facebook/Twitter says.” Which means whatever they see, hear, and do is acceptable. Though, this is not only limited to age but also to gender. According to a study done by Andrew Schwartz and his colleagues, their complete dataset was consisting of approximately 19 million Facebook status updates that were written by 136,000 participants. The participants generously agreed to share their status updates as a part of the “My personality test” that the researchers were conducting. The results showed that there was indeed a difference in the types of vocabulary used among the genders and they concluded the existence of the language of age and language of personality. Which means that people of different ages, genders, and backgrounds responded differently to their Facebook statuses. Females used more affectionate words like “my love, I like, shopping, baby etc…” while males used words like “fight, battle, himself, football etc…” Again this draws our attention back to how an outlet like Facebook affects each and every individual differently. Some in a positive way and some in a negative way depending on what can attract them as consumers.

At the end of the day, we are responsible to what we let affect us and in whichever way (good or bad). In the case of children and upcoming generations, we need to monitor their daily social media intake and limit their usage to websites that will only help progress their state of mind. Also, many social media outlets have been aware of these negative impacts and have implemented options such as “report abuse, block, delete, spam etc…” to help the viewers enjoy their websites in a safer environment. Therefore, I suggest to anyone who thinks anything on the internet is harmful to report it, to limit the amount spent on such websites and most importantly, not to be the person spreading such things around because he/she will not only be affecting themselves but innocent people around them as well.

 

 

 

Work Cited

 

Lau, Annie Y. S., et al. “Social Media In Health — What Are The Safety Concerns For Health Consumers?.”Health Information Management Journal 41.2 (2012): 30-35. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

 

Unknown reporter. “Instagram blocks some drugs advert tags after BBC probe.” BBC News. 7 november (2013). 15 march 2014.

 

Schwartz, H. Andrew, et al. “Personality, Gender, And Age In The Language Of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach.” Plos ONE 8.9 (2013): 1-16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

 

STROM, PARIS, and ROBERT STROM. “Growing Up With Social Networks And Online Communities.”Education Digest 78.1 (2012): 48-51. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

You Don’t Lose Love Just Because A Relationship Is Over

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laraobeidat:

Wise words.

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

In seventh grade science class, I learned that matter always is: it can never be created, lost or destroyed. It is simply transformed or recycled into something new, something unrecognizable.
 
A month ago, my relationship came to an end. This was a person that I had loved blindly and unconditionally while we were together. This past month, I had been feeling such sadness and anger over all of the love I put into a black hole never to see again that I had forgotten a very important lesson that I had learned in the seventh grade: love is like matter. It can never be created or destroyed, it is just recycled or transferred, but it is always present if we open our eyes to our other relationships in our lives.
 
Often times we get hung up on the selfish love, the love where our ego is…

View original 993 more words

Cultural Schemata: The Reason We Are Who We Are

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Considering where we are today, we would notice that there are so many different answers to where humans came from. In a religious aspect (mostly Christianity, Islam, Judaism) humans came from the myth of Adam and Eve. The story begins with God (the upper most powerful creature in the universe) who created man from mud. The mud formed Adam’s muscles, organs and brain but most importantly his bones. Eve was then created when one of Adam’s ribs was broken off and thus Eve was transformed into a woman. Now, no one has seen this occur because Adam and Eve were the first humans to have lived on earth. This assumption makes the answer a myth; basically a story that is thought to be true and told by the word of mouth from one generation to the next. However, this myth is only believed by a vast number of people because it was mentioned in various religious books. Otherwise, it would have seemed ridiculous to anyone who came across it.

Then comes the scientific aspect that clearly states that the universe was made from the Big Bang theory, which is basically a huge explosion that occurred in space creating tiny atoms and energy that over the timeline of billions of years combined to produce planets. And in terms of Earth, the explosion created the atmosphere, then the hydrosphere, then the lithosphere and finally the biosphere, which are all living organisms and plants. So one answer states that we are originally creatures of the mud and the other states that we are composed of billions of atoms that have combined over the years. However, Agustin Fuentes argues that both of those assumptions might be true, but their probability is very low. His answer to the question of human origin is based on Darwin’s theory of human evolution, which basically states that humans are better and improved versions of monkeys, apes, and gorillas; basically that humans are homo sapiens.

The reason as to why Fuentes agrees with this is because of the evidence. Over the years archeologists and anthropologists have worked together to debunk all the other myths and prove that humans are originally wild animals in their nature (in terms of their skeletal structures and some evidence left behind such as drawings, potteries, and tools). Fuentes proves this when he states “humans without society and laws become beasts.”[1]. He is basically trying to strip down humans to their core nature and show the world that what we think is “natural” is actually acquired through something anthropologists like to call “cultural schemata”[2]. This concept is basically acquiring anything through culture and the environment around us and examples of cultural schemata are: learning a native language, knowing your family members (knowing not to marry your siblings) and finally knowing your gender: if whether you are a man or woman.

What does it mean to be of a “gender”? Gender, as defined in Fuentes’ book; Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You, is the characteristics that humans give to one another in the purpose of differentiation. Most people confuse the term “gender” with the term “sex” which is the biological definition that includes chromosome composition and whether it’s XX – Female or XY – Male. But what is gender in society and how do we know?

Growing up as a woman in the Arab society, you learn that you are not a “man” pretty early on in your childhood despite if your learning is subconscious or conscious. For example: when I was first born, my parents dressed me up in pink, yellow, purple, and red, which are all considered and known to be “girly colors” in society. The reason behind this is: a) to show to the public that I am a girl; b) because they had gone through the same thing when they were born. I would say that colors and types of clothing is a major factor in acquiring gender. Also, I was taught while growing up that women should try to wear feminine clothes such as: skirts, dresses and shorts to differentiate them from the men. Who were restricted to the colors blue, black, grey and navy and were expected to wear pants and shorts lengthened specifically under the knee. This is how I subconsciously was introduced to womanhood.

Also being from a village called Irbid, which is a couple of hours outside the city of Amman in Jordan, an area that used to encourage men to wear dress-like traditional attire otherwise, known as “Dish-Da-She”, they would not approve if the women of their village switched clothing and wore pants instead. Here comes a little thing called sexism. They would not approve of the woman to do such a move because: a) they would appear as a man in men-like clothes; b) the pants would accentuate the woman’s curves. And as we all know, men just like apes are territorial of their properties (yes, women to them, being a type of property). And that is how the women of Irbid consciously learn what being a woman really means; basically that they are the property of the man. I associate such behavior with ignorance because most of the men in Irbid have very little to basic education and a lot of cultural schemata. Knowing that about my origin and then later on moving to the Gulf, I also saw the men there dressed in white-like dresses and the women dressed in black-like dresses that also covered their hair completely. In America this color combination wouldn’t be “normal” because in a traditional American wedding, the men wore black suits and the women wore white dresses. This way of viewing things opened my eyes to the importance of cultural schemata in terms of color and type of clothing that has taken over various regions of the world and has influenced them so differently from one another.

Another reason I know that I am a woman is because of the difference in the female and male body, the way in which men and women interact with one another, and how society distributes the power and capability of each gender. Let’s start off by the difference in the bodies. Needless to say that we are evident of the first differences, that women have breasts and vaginas while men have penises. However, those are the protruding and evident differences. In specificity, women have smaller skeletal structures due to their evolutionary role as the home keeper, women have a larger pelvic bone enabling them to carry a child for 9 months, women have breasts enabling them to breast feed, women are more emotionally sensitive to specific issues and the list goes on. But if we actually breakdown and observe the differences between the two genders, we would notice that there aren’t that many to begin with. However, because of the culture around us and because of the human evolution over time, we have acquired many reasons to why we think we are different.

In general, if we observe how women and men interact we would see that women with women are very calm and compassionate to one another. Men with men are very loud, rough and behave in a joking manner. However, that is the case if the environment is at equilibrium; meaning that the environment is calm but that doesn’t mean that women can’t get hostile and men can’t be sensitive if the conditions allow them to be. But society has transformed our mentality to think that men are tough creatures with no emotions while woman are “emotional by nature”[3]. In reality, both of these assumptions are not true because we are all humans made up of the same bones, organs and brains (the shapes and sizes might differ but not due to gender). The only obvious difference between men and women are the genitals. And at the end of the day, those are also composed of the same biological tissue. Thus, men and women are the same.

Society, mainly focusing on the Arab region, has played such an important role in our acquisition of cultural schemata in terms of gender and it has caused many to think this way because it facilitates life. It is easier to have the women stay at home and be the parent, while the man is the breadwinner of the family. This mentality is there because of our ancestors through evolution and it has been passed down to every generation since. Example: I would expect in my great-great grandmother’s time that it was normal for her to be a stay at home wife raising 9 children, the majority of which should be male. Because boys back then were favored by the parents due to the fact that men hold the family name for the future (This is how I acquired my last name), men could go on and become anything they wanted to be; doctors, engineers, and architects. And this cycle would go on to the sons and daughters of the next generation until someone would say enough is enough.

I don’t think that anyone really stops learning about gender in life. This is because there are so many things in the environment around us that make us perceive issues differently everyday. As an example of a mentality change would be pants and their role in the female society. Women were once forbidden to wear pants, and now every woman owns at least 3 pairs in her closet. This just goes to show, that time + culture = change. That nothing in this world is stable; basically we will continue to change the way we think and get influenced by our culture. And this constant change is what Augustin Fuentes focused on because it is the basis to our human evolution.


[1] Agustin Fuentes, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)

[2] Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature

[3] Agustin Fuentes, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)

Coffee is a Drug

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Coffee Is a Drug

            Coffee, in many regions, is a drink favored hot or cold. Drinks like: Iced latte, Espresso, Frappuccino are what come to most people’s mind when they hear of the term “coffee.” However, those are just different types of coffee beverages but not the original form that is the Coffee bean from the Coffea tree. Most people think of the coffee bean as the roasted ones we see placed in front of the line at Starbucks or included in a coffee shop’s logo and it is. But in actuality, the coffee bean is derived from a form of cherry blossom flowers on the Coffea tree when they have matured (National Coffee Association, par. 1). Which is why exploring what Coffee really is, busting myths about the benefits and harms of it and whether or not it is really considered a drug is important because coffee is a universal source of caffeine that people regularly turn to.

As mentioned earlier, Coffee, covered by a cherry layer called “exocarp,” is a seed taken from a Cherry Blossom tree when it is fully matured (par. 5.) According to the NCA (National Coffee Association), it takes nearly a year for the cherry flowers to mature and reach full harvest potential in order for them to be picked, roasted, packaged and shipped to various countries around the globe. Now we know where coffee is originally from but what is coffee?

“The coffee grounds are mainly composed of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.” (Journal of The American Oil Chemist Society) The components of the coffee bean are not fully utilized, only the water-based compositions are used and the rest are thrown away or utilized for different purposes other than for consumption. To understand what coffee is, we must break Coffee’s components down and look at each one’s job separately: 1) Proteins: are used by the body to help us from becoming tired. And helps the body improve its immune system to fight illnesses and diseases (wise geek, par.2); 2) Carbohydrates: are transformed into sugar and is used as the body’s source of energy. It is what keeps us functioning throughout our lifetime and helps us perform our day-to-day tasks (Dr. Nitsi Desai, par. 1); 3) Lipids: play an important role in maintaining the body’s health (Erica Kanall, par. 1). Basically, one can say that coffee has many factors that help keep the body functioning properly. It also includes caffeine and antioxidants. But what benefits does coffee provide when we combine all of those components?

Before we make any assumptions on whether or not coffee is bad, let’s try to explore the advantages and disadvantages. The top four advantages of drinking coffee are: 1) It helps protect our brain from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and it helps reduce stress related issues caused by the lack of sleep (Kristin Kirkpatrick, par 5); 2) Drinking four cups or more of coffee a day can lower the depression level of people than of those who don’t drink any coffee at all. (National Institute and the AARP, par. 2); 3) It is a performance enhancer; it gives us the energy and concentration to perform any task in an improved way. According to The New York Times, “[Coffee] has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream.” This means that it has been scientifically proven to give us an extra shot of energy in our day; 4) Because of coffee’s antioxidants, it has shown that it is capable of lowering the stroke rates and heart disease percentages of average five-or-more coffee cup drinkers (Eating well, p. 3). A common myth believed by many coffee-holics is that coffee has more advantages or benefits and little to no disadvantages or side effects. But nothing in the world, including coffee, can escape the realness of life; every good must come to an end. Therefore, the four disadvantages of drinking coffee are: 1) Balance is key but over consuming the recommended number of cups can do one or more of the following (mostly in adults): nervousness, insomnia, diarrhea, increased heartbeats, upset stomach, restlessness (Christa Miller, par. 4); 2) Too many calories! Nowadays, people won’t just settle for the ordinary cup of black coffee. Instead, they want more cream, more sugar, more caramel, more frosting to the extent that it is no longer a coffee drink but a sugar drink. An example: A study done by Your healthy body website shows us that one 24 oz. mocha ice blended coffee with whipped cream and caramel frosting may have up to 5,000 calories (Christa Miller, par. 3) which leads me to my third reason; 3) A higher risk of developing diabetes (Molly, par. 3); 4) Dehydration (Lawrence Miller, par. 3). Most people substitute drinking water by drinking coffee instead because: a) Coffee tastes better, b) Coffee does include water c) Coffee gives them energy while water doesn’t. That is why average coffee drinkers should be aware that coffee does tend to dehydrate the body due to the presence of caffeine. Therefore, should balance their coffee-consumption with an equal amount of water-consumption.

Now, some people shun coffee away and consider it a drug. But a drug is defined as “A substance that has a psychological effect when ingested into the body.” (Dictionary.com) After discussing the advantages and disadvantages, Coffee remains as the elephant in the room; the thing that no one wants to discuss because this would mean that millions of people around the world would be “druggies,” including children, teenagers, adults, and old folks. Sounds ridiculous, right? Sadly, it is not. Coffee, just like alcohol, narcotics, or cigarettes, is considered addictive (Katy Chamberlin, par 1.).  This is because the caffeine found in coffee makes it that way. Coffee gives the human body such a rush and burst of energy (basically awakening the body from a tired state) that we subconsciously want that feeling to reoccur. That is why millions of working Americans go on “coffee-breaks” everyday due to it becoming a popular drink (Katy Chamberlin, par 1.). Those breaks aren’t really a break from drinking coffee but a break from work to go and drink it. So basically, coffee does change your psychological well-being but only for a short period of time and has fewer long-lasting effects on the human body than other “drugs” which is why the idea of it belonging to the drug family seems absurd to some individuals.

All of the disadvantages and advantages only show that the disadvantages were the result of excessive amounts of coffee consumption. Just like objects found in nature, the more of anything, the harmful it becomes. That’s why less is more. And keep in mind that coffee affects people in different ways according to their physical structure such as: the height, weight, age, and medical stability. For example, it might take a longer time and more amounts of coffee to give an obese individual the famous “buzz” than it would take an averagely sized individual. After reviewing the advantages and busting the myth, coffee still isn’t the “bad guy” in this scenario. It is just a tool that we use to facilitate our daily lives but yet again we have found various ways to abuse it. But how it influences our lives and actions is all in the power of our hands or in the next coffee mug that we hold.

Work Cited

 

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