Media’s Focus on the Female Physice

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Watch out thin and slender body types, the curvy look is in this year. The popular hits from Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ and Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About the Bass’ have made it known that having a big booty is beautiful and that curves are to be celebrated. The media has joined the cause with its input with whose body is rockin’ and what workouts these women do to keep their figure.

But why does it matter?

A woman’s body has become a public forum for opinion. Their shape and size have become an important factor in determining their beauty in society’s standards. Such views can be seen in the new popular dance fad – twerking. This dance focuses on the sensual booty shaking (the bigger the better) and has been prevalent in many performers’ dance routines.

In the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Chelsea Handler came onto the stage to present and made a joke about being surrounded by all these shapely women and being thankful that her entrance followed a Taylor Swift performance.

“They asked me if I wanted to perform at the VMAs and I said there are going to be a lot of big fat a**es at that awards show,” Chelsea said. “So I will present, but you have to put me up after someone who’s white. So thank you, Taylor Swift, for being so white!”

Taylor Swift has also received media attention for her body – rather unfavorable attention because of her lanky stature. With memes popping up all over the Internet, mocking her for her minimal curves, it has become clear that this mindset has seeped into those watching at home.

17-year-old high school senior, Vanessa Andrada, says she notices the female-physique emphasis in the media and feels it is worrisome for her generation that consumes it.

“I think the media focus primarily on how skinny a girl is or even now how curvy a girl is. Even curvy girls must have a ‘coca-cola’ type body to look attractive,” she says. “They focus on this way too much and it makes girls seem as if they have to live up to this standard to be considered beautiful.”

This body-centered attention, unfortunately, is fairly prevalent in Latina celebrities.

A study shows that Latina actresses are unrepresented on screen, but are most likely to be sexualized in their roles, according to a TIME article. Out of all women on screen, 37.5% of Hispanic actresses were most likely to be partially or fully naked on screen in 2013.

The curvaceous bodies of Eva Mendes, Sofía Vergara, Penelope Cruz, and Jennifer Lopez have all been the main attraction to their media coverage. The hype of the “curvy Latina” is accentuated and preserves a stereotype that isn’t really apparent in most Spanish women.

“Not all Latinas are curvy and it makes the less curvy women feel like they are not as beautiful as a curvy Latina,” Andrada says. “In some sense, if you don’t have the ‘curviness’ of a Latina you may consider yourself less beautiful than what you really are.”

Although statistics of eating disorders in minority women are unavailable – because of a historical bias that they only affect white women – one study found that of the leanest 25% of 6th and 7th grade girls, the Hispanic and Asian girls found the most dissatisfaction with their bodies, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

“These factors do really impact the way girls see themselves! They hold themselves to what the media or even stereotypes consider as beautiful,” Andrada says.”That’s why many girls have low self-esteem now-a-days because we focus on trying to be the girl with flawless skin, a coca-cola body type, with no stretch marks and have no extra body fat.”

15-year-old Hannah Leija agrees that women shouldn’t have to face criticism for their body image. She shares that it is unfair that they are held to certain standards in the media and that it affects her peers. However, she refuses to succumb to these pressures with a positive outlook and confidence.

“The way I see myself is good,” she says. “I don’t care what the media has to say or what people think. I’m happy with the way I am.”

Women. Ladies. Girls. Latinas. Or non-Latinas. They all come in different shapes or sizes. Nicki Minaj and Meghan Trainor are right. You should celebrate your curves, but you should, also, celebrate whatever body type you may be.

So if you are a curvy Latina or a slender one, it doesn’t matter. Beauty is found with actions and not appearance.

10 Latinas in History

It’s Women’s History Month and what better way to celebrate then to learn about some awesome Latinas that have made an impact in the world. From politics to sports to education, there is no shortage of chicas that have made a name for themselves and have proven to be some world-class women. Here is a list of 10 Latinas who have made an impact!

Rosie7Rosemary Casals

Rosemary “Rosie” Casals is a former American professional tennis player. Rosie is a daughter to immigrants from El Salvador. Her parents, discovering that they could not care for her or her sister, gave them up and she lived with her uncle, Manuel Casals, who became her first and only tennis coach. Rosie was known as rebellious and entered tournaments against women two or three years older than her. She was determined to prove herself despite her shorter stature and different background compared to the wealthy White players commonly seen. Rosie was known for fighting for rights of tennis players and women players. She fought for an arrangement for amateur – poorer and nonpaid players – and professional players to play in the same tournament. And most notably, she fought for the right of women to have the same amount of prize money compare to their male counterparts. Rosie and a group of women boycotted tournaments and created an all-female tournament that gained a lot of media attention. Her endeavors helped pave the way for female tennis athletes.

Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia Mendez was 9 years old when her and her sibling were denied enrollment into their local elementary school because they were Mexican. Interestingly enough, her cousins were allowed enrollment because they were half-Mexican, therefore had lighter skin and a French surname that allowed them admission into the “white school.” Mendez’s parents were appalled and filed suit against the school district, bringing forth one of the most groundbreaking cases in Civil Rights. The Mendez vs. Westminster outlawed segregation in California schools and is set as precedent for other cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education. Sylvia Mendez was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama and has received several Lifetime Achievement awards and Certificates of Recognition for her role in advocating education.

Rosario Dawson and Maria Theresa Kumar

Rosario Dawson and Maria Theresa Kumar are founders of the organization Voto Latino. Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that encourages Latinos to vote in elections.  The organization targets Latino Millennials and hopes to encourage them to take advantage and claim a better future for themselves and their community. Voto Latino’s goal is produce a positive change by engaging youth to be more proactive. This organization has received recognition for their endeavors toward Latinos.

Mari-Luci Jaramillo

Mari-Luci Jaramillo was a pioneer in Bilingual Education. She emphasized collaborative learning, whole language, bilingual/bicultural education, and taught children identity and a self-love for learning. She taught elementary school during the day and attended Masters program at night, as education is an important aspect through out her life. Her classroom, at one of the poorest schools in Albuquerque, became a demonstration site for people across the country. Jaramillo was known as a “master teacher.” In 1977, President Carter appointed her U.S Ambassador of Honduras and became the first Latina ambassador.

Mirabal Sisters

The Mirabal Sister were four Dominican sisters – Patria, Dede, Minerva, and Maria Theresa – who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Minerva was the first of the sisters to become active in the overthrow of the dictator and eventually the rest of the sisters joined the efforts. They created a group called The Movement of the Fourteenth of June, which distributed pamphlets detailing of Trujillo’s horrendous actions and acquired bombs and guns for their impending revolt. They were called La Mariposas (The Butterflies). The sisters and their husbands faced multiple incarcerations but it did not discourage their efforts. They continued to oppose Trujillo until he became deeply troubled by their actions causing him to order an assassination. On November 25, 1960, Trujillo’s henchmen killed Patria, Minerva, and Maria– leaving Dede as the last remaining Mirabal sister.  On December 17, 1999 the United Nations General Assembly appointed November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in honor of the sisters.

Adelfa Botello Callejo

Adelfa Botello Callejo is a former Dallas layer and civil rights leader. Callejo was the first Latina to graduate from law school at Southern Methodist University and was one of three women in her graduating class. After law school, this aspiring lawyer had to create her own private practice because she would only be hired as a legal secretary. Her actions included the protest against the fatal police shooting of a Mexican-American 12-year-old boy in 1973, protests against the deportation of immigrants, fighting for City Council redistricting, and frequent encounters with the Dallas school districts to push for better bilingual education. Callejo was sometimes called La Madrina (“The Godmother”).

Aida Alvarez

Aida Alvarez is the first Latina in a United States Cabinet-level position. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, in 1997, Alvarez was appointed as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Coming from humble roots, after leaving Puerto Rico, Alvarez attended high school in New York and participated in a program called “ASPIRA.” This program’s goal was to help disadvantage youth and instilled leadership skills and helped them in their endeavors to attend college. From a journalist at the New York Post, to TV news anchor for Metromedia Television, to venturing out into the banking business, Alvarez worked her way up in her career.

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta is well known for co-founding the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez. The organization is one of the largest and most successful farm workers unions and is currently active in ten states. This labor leader and civil rights activist has been incarcerated approximately twenty-two times for her non-violent civil disobedience, as well as been beaten by Sand Francisco police publicly in 1988 for a peaceful and lawful protest. Huerta has received many awards for her advocacy for women’s rights, worker’s rights, and immigrant’s rights, such as the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno hit the big screen in 1961 when she played the role of Anita in Westside Story. While she had smaller roles prior to this musical, this role is what gave her much recognition. Moreno is one of the few performers, and only Hispanic, to be awarded all four annual major American entertainment awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and the Tony award. Moreno is, also, the second Puerto Rican to receive an Oscar. This actress made a name in the entertainment business and paved the way for later Latina actresses.

Sonia Maria Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor was the first justice of Hispanic heritage, as well as one of the youngest. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and earned her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. She is advocate for hiring more Latino faculty at both school, Princeton and Yale. After working as an assistant district attoenty and eneterning private practice, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009

 

Quiz: Do You Know the Chicano Education Struggle?

Social Media Done RightSo you know about the Alamo, Santa Ana, and maybe about Cesar Chavez. But what else do you know about the history of Mexican Americans? There’s a lot to our past that we know very little of – but no fear, we are here to help change a little of that. The Latino and Latina’s right to education has not been an easy path, and we are here to put your knowledge to the test of the Chicano educational struggle, from prominent court cases to terminology.

This quiz is not for the faint of heart. Are you up for the challenge? Step up to the plate and try your best – it’s okay if you can’t get a perfect score. You’ll walk away from this quiz learning a lot more  about the Chicano educational struggles, which is way more rewarding.

1. There were many justifications school officials used for segregating Mexican American students from white students, aside from prejudice. What was not a reason used for segregating?

A) Mexican American preference – they wanted to be segregated

B) Low achievement – they did not do well compared to other students

C) Language problems – the language barrier between Teachers and Spanish-speaking students

D) High achievement – they did better compared to the other students

2. Which act prohibits discrimination against faculty, staff, and students in educational institutions?

A) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

B) 14th Amendment

C) Equal Education Opportunity Act

D) Right to Education Act

3. Crystal City, Texas is home to one of the most prominent school walkouts in 1969 for civil rights. Students walked out in protest over the racial limitations on the ______________ put by the school board.

A) Football team

B) Student body

C) Teaching staff

D) Cheerleading squad

4. Which president passed the Bilingual Education Act, which aimed to improve programs for students with limited English-speaking abilities – but ultimately failed?

A) Lyndon B. Johnson

B) John F. Kennedy

C) Ronald Reagan

D) Barrack Obama

5. Mendez v. Westminster is a court case that addresses racial segregation. It’s most known for critiquing the “separate but equal” standard created by Plessey v. Ferguson by adding that _________ equality should be involved in the standard.

A) Social

B) Racial

C) Gender

D) Economic

6. Cisneros v. Corpus Christi ISD was the first court case to argue that Mexican Americans were an ethically identifiable minority group and abandoned the ___________ strategy that many other cases had used previously.

A) Hispanic-Caucasian

B) Other white

C) We’re all the same

D) No race

7. What does LULAC stand for?

A) Latinos United in Latin American Countries

B) League of United Latin American Citizens

C) Leave Underrepresented Latino Americans in Class

D) Love and Unite Latin Americans in the Country

8. What is the name for the type of segregation that occurs when Caucasian students leave a school because of the rise in attendance of Mexican American students?

A) De jure

B) Jumping ship

C) De facto

D) White flight

9. LULAC vs. Clements was a court case that fought for access to equal educational resources (such as higher education) for Texas residents in _______________ region.

A) Panhandle

B) South

C) Central

D) Border

10. Which of the following is not an outcome from segregated schools settings?

A) High drop out rates

B) School stress

C) Increase in college-bound students

D) Poor performance in academics

Answer Key:

1. D – Students were not segregated because they preformed higher than others.
2. C – Equal Education Opportunity Act was an important act for educational rights.
3. D – There was a restriction of only 2 Mexican American students on the cheerleading squad, despite the largely Hispanic population. This walkout prompted a change in the school board to reflect the population of the town.
4. A – Lyndon B Johnson emphasized education as a necessity for the American Dream, especially for minorities.
5. A – this case said stated the social inequality should be implemented with the “separate but equal” decision, and sparked a ripple in Civil Rights cases. It had an indirect influence on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
6. B – other white refereed to Mexican- Americans as the “other white,” but this was changed with a school attempted to mix African-American and Mexican American students as a form of “desegregation”.
7. B – LULAC is an organization that advocates for the rights of Latinos in the US.
8. D – de facto is segregation by law and de jure is segregation by residential neighborhoods.
9. D – this case was about residents in Border regions. Although they lost, it influenced the creation of South Border Texas Initiative, which is a funding package for 9 four-year universities in the area.
10. C – segregated settings negatively affect the amount of students going to college.

This quiz was inspired by a class available at the University of Texas at Austin.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire’s Audrey Ramirez

Warning: Spoilers ahead

We have Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and now Elsa and Anna. These gals are the most prominent faces for young girls and their Disney princess movie infatuations. These animated women transform into their role models and embody what they foresee as beauty and the ideal woman.

With this in mind, Disney has taken steps to add diversity to their collection – like The Princess and the Frog – and even opened up “true love” to include family – yes, we are looking at you Brave and Frozen! But this new and necessary transformation has many waiting for the Latina princess, especially after the controversy with Sofia the Firsta TV series on Disney Channel that was revealed that the young princess is not actually “Latina.”

Audrey-atlantis-photo-450x370-pr-amrks9sm1However, between the anticipating and controversies for the Latina princess that young girls can idolize and relate to, why has no one acknowledged Audrey Rocio Ramirez from Disney’s Atlantis?

Atlantis: The Lost Empire was released in 2001 and follows a young man and his crew on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis. The crew, composed of unique and interesting individuals, includes a Latina, Audrey Ramirez. Audrey Ramirez is a sixteen years old engineer with a big personality. She’s tough, sarcastic, sassy, and intelligent. Breaking all stereotypes for women, she’s a tomboy that loves to get her hands dirty and very skilled in auto mechanics.

Throughout the movie you learn more about the young engineer, such as how she honed her skills while helping her dad at his Auto Repair Shop at age five. Also, she reveals that her sister is a boxer with a shot at the title. In a touching conversation with Milo, the protagonist, she even shares that with the money they’ll receive from the expedition, she plans to open up her own high end repair show with her father. Through this interaction and other mentions throughout the film, her love and pride of her family is unmistakable.

Another notable aspect of this character is her compassion for friends despite her tough exterior. Both young in age, she connects well with Milo and jokes around a lot with the crew. In a series of unfortunate events that causes her and the crew’s loyalties to be skewed, she is the first to feel guilt on turning on her friend and returns to her loyalties.

“I think people always forget about Atlantis [the movie]because it’s not a big princess movie, but it is a great movie for any gender or any age!” 18-year-old Reana Chavez said. “I liked Audrey’s character a lot – she was my favorite! She’s so spunky and tough and it doesn’t matter if she’s not a princess. She’s different and more relateable to me.”

Audrey Ramirez’s tanned skin, big brown eyes, and black hair does not mislead her culture. Her subtle accent and Bronx attitude does not deceive the audience. She is a Latina and she is strong. Always donning a white shirt and blue overalls – however, cleans up nicely at an award ceremony – she’s young, beautiful, and innovative.

The teenage female mechanic is a grease monkey within a Disney world of pink dresses, endless ruffles, fairy godmothers, handsome princes, and fancy balls. Her attitude and perspective is modern and competes with the rebellious princesses, such as Mulan and Merida. She demonstrates that girls can succeed in STEM and compete with the boys – forget the crown.

Audrey Rocio Ramirez may not be a princess, but her character is undeniably role model worthy for young girls.

Quiz: What Song Are You?

Music2Music is one of the many creative outlets. It’s used to tell a story, spark emotion, and, most importantly, is used to express yourself! From carefully crafted lyrics, rhythmic beats, and sweet melodies, songs embody an essence that carries personality. Take this quiz to find out which Latina’s iconic song represents you!

1. What adjective would your friends use to describe you?

A) Shy

B) Independent

C) Fun

D) Dramatic

 

2. Your friend asked you for help to plan her birthday party, what is your role?

A)   Helping hand – everything & anything she needs, I got it!

B)   Constructive criticism – Hey! She’ll thank me later, when she has the best party ever.

C)   Tunes Whiz – Don’t care what’s going on, so long as I get to get my groove on.

D)   Bouncer – That guest list is exclusive! She can’t just have anyone there.

 

3. What color do you like to paint your nails?

A)   Black

B)   Red

C)   Neon pink

D)   Purple

 

4. You find out your crush isn’t into you, how do you react?

A)   Sad, of course! But it happens, it’s not like I told anyone that I was crushing, anyways.

B)   His loss! If he doesn’t see how amazing I am, then totally not worth it.

C)   What crush?! I’m just trying to have fun with my friends. Boys shmoys.

D)   END OF THE WORLD!!

 

5. What school organization/activity are you more than likely to take part in?

A)   Tutoring

B)   Sports team

C)   Dance

D)   School Newspaper

 

6. What is your greatest strength?

A) Your reliability

B) Your honesty

C) Your loyalty

D) Your wit

 

7. What does your dream job involve?

A) Helping people

B) Traveling

C) Flexibility

D) The red carpet

 

Mostly A’s – Skyscraper by Demi Lovato
Like this gentle and emotional tune, you tend to be a little more on the shy side. You’re very compassionate and care a lot for others. You find yourself always saying yes and putting what other people feel in front of your own feelings. You don’t like to be the center of attention and it takes a while for you to break out of your shell. But once you open up to people, they get to see how warm-hearted you are, so don’t be afraid to be noticed, you deserve it!

Mostly B’s – Come & Get It by Selena Gomez
That’s right, “come & get it” because you’re too independent and strong-willed to succumb to anyone’s games. You’re very head strong and honest. You have your own thoughts and opinions and are not afraid to share them. Sometimes you come off a little too strong and a little stubborn, but that’s okay! You have a mind of your own and you don’t let what anyone thinks affect you. You are a natural leader.

Mostly C’s – On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez
Just like this song, you have this effect on people that just wants to make them get up and dance! You are the life of the party and always want to have fun. You live for enjoying the little moments in life. You are carefree and bubbly. You are full of personality and you can’t always stay still. You hate having a routine and like to be spontaneous. Sometimes you can be a little impulsive, but that’s because you want to live life to the fullest. You make happiness your priority.

Mostly D’s – Can’t Remember to Forget You by Shakira
This tune that tells of a girl forgetting to move on from her ex embodies your love for the drama! Boring is overrated and you enjoy having something entertaining going on in life. You’re in-tune with the latest news, gossip, and are always onto the new fashion trends. You love the limelight and your friends enjoy your larger than life view on things. However, sometimes the drama can get a little stressful for you. Don’t forget to sit back and relax!

DIY: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday full of pink, red, hearts, and of course, chocolate – but aside from that, it is a day to show your family, friends, and your crush how much you care. And what better way to show just that with a hand-made card or gift! So put down your wallet and step away from the store bought cards, chocolate heart, and stuffed animals and try something a little different this year. Here are some creative Valentine’s DIYs to spruce up your gift giving!

Note: All materials used were from Dollar General or Wal-Mart and can be found at any local store.

Foam Postcard:

Materials: Hot glue gun, scissors, ruler, fine point marker, 3 foam sheets (white and two colors of your choice). Optional: Glitter.

  1.  With a white foam sheet, trace a rectangle to be your “post card” and cut it out. The dimensions are up to your discretion (dimensions pictured: 3 ¾ x 2 ¼).
  2.  Using the fine tip marker, write your ‘to and from’ on the post card.
  3. Then, using another foam sheet of a different color, create a fun design to be the frame. The frame should be slightly smaller than the dimensions of your post card. (Pictured: frame is a quarter of an inch smaller than the post card).
  4.  Next, with the last foam sheet, trace and cut out hearts for decoration. You can make the hearts different sizes or even add some glitter to make the card more fun. Note: precut foam hearts can be brought at stores, as well.
  5.  Hot glue the frame and foam hearts to the post card and fill in your ‘To and From’ to give to your Valentine!

Flores para Mamá

 

Materials: Small vase or jar, artificial flowers, ribbon, hot glue gun, scissors. Mini chocolates. Optional: rhinestones, glitter or spray glitter, glass pebbles, and beads.

  1.  Cut each ribbon of desired length – if you’re using a thin ribbon (like the red pictured) cut two strips – make sure it can be wrapped and tied around your vase
  2.  Place a dot of hot glue around the neck of your vase to keep your ribbon in place
  3.  Once glued, wrap and tie ribbon into a bow and add glue behind the knot of bow to keep it in place
  4.  For extra decoration: add beads to the end of the ribbon and tie a knot at the base of the beads
  5.  For extra decoration: can glue rhinestones on ribbon
  6.  Fill the jar with your choice of mini chocolates or if not chocolates, glass pebbles are excellent jar fillers, as well
  7.  Place bouquet of flowers in vase
  8.  For extra decoration: add glitter to your flowers
  9.  Adjust flowers in vase and it’s ready to gift to your mom

 Not-Your-Ordinary Cards

Materials: Card-stock or decorated scrapbook paper, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, glue, markers, pencil. Optional: Rhinestones, glitter, hole punchers,and ribbon.

  1.  Pick a card-stock as your main color (pictured: red) and then trim off a centimeter around the cardstock that you want as the inside of the card (pictured: heart paper)

Design One:

  1.  Grab two pipe cleaners of the same color and create the cursive letters “Lo-“ with one and “-ve” with the second; leaving extra pipe cleaner on the “v” so it can connect with the “o”. Trim off extra pipe cleaner, if needed.
  2.  Glue your “Love” to the front of the card.
  3.  Place the design with glue and sprinkle glitter on top of the glue.
  4.  Glue rhinestones, if desired.

Design two:

  1.  Trace a heart on the cover of the card.
  2.  Fill the heart with glue and place cotton balls to fill the heart. You can tear apart cotton balls to fill accordingly.
  3.  Again, you can create a glittery design with glue.
  4.  Finally, write a cute message with the colorful markers on the inside and present it to your Valentine.

*Note: the ribbon pictured was not used, but can be cut into small bows to glue on cover for extra decoration

 

It’s Mice to Meet You

 

Materials: Hershey’s Kisses, Googly eyes (or black beads and white marker), pencil, hot glue gun, pipe cleaner, scissors, and card-stock (brown, white, black, or pink).

  1.  Grab your two card-stock colors for the mouse’s ears, and cut them both in the shape of a “D”.  Make sure to have one color slightly smaller than the other in order to form the ears.
  2.  Glue both “D” shaped colors together.
  3.  Next, glue ears at the base of a Hershey kiss.
  4.  Then, glue the second Hershey kiss to the base. The chocolates must be base to base.
  5.  Remove the Hershey’s Kiss ribbon on both Kisses.
  6.  Glue black beads to the front Hershey’s kiss to form the mouse’s eyes. Googly eyes or black beads will suffice.
  7.  Cut the pipe cleaner to the desired length for the tail.
  8.  Glue the pipe cleaner or insert the pipe cleaner into the foil of the back of the mouse. You can shape the pipe cleaner to any shape.
  9.  Make as many mice as needed and hand out to friends and family for a cute little gift!

Best Apps For Your Education

latina girl on computerDid you know that thirty-eight percent of college students cannot go more than 10 minutes without technology, according to a study conducted by CourseSmart and Wakefield Research. Seventy-three percent said they would not be able to study without any form of technology.

Education has transformed drastically. More students take online courses and a lot of assignments and tasks are now expected to be completed and turned in electronically. Paper and pen have gone out the window, even textbooks are dwindling with the rise of eBooks.

It is a New Year and a new semester of school, so time to shrug off the holiday spirit and put on something a little more… studious. It is time for you to get started on your New Year’s resolution of attaining that golden 4.0 this semester. We are here to help with the best apps for your education. So dust off your iPads, iPhones, and tablets – who are we kidding, they weren’t collecting dust – and start downloading these free tools for success.

Evernote:
Spirals? Folders? Binders? Who needs then now-a-days with Evernote’s app-ly existence. For all those students who use their iPads and tablets for quick note taking in lecture, this app has all you need to stay organized and informed. Along with having the ability to create your own “notebook” for each class, this app contains a text feature for notes and a camera/photos feature that allows you to snap a quick pick – maybe a graph or a table – to put in your notebook. A cool part is that you can share your notebook with someone else to collect ideas and to do some research for the upcoming group project! Evernote, also, doubles as a planner. You can set reminders and create a to-do list to keep you on task. There is a lot going on with this app and it can get a little tricky to figure out, but with some exploration you’ll become an Evernote pro in no time. It is one of the few apps that is multifaceted.
“This app is great for note taking on my tablet,” University of Texas at Austin student, Maria Morales said. “I like how it syncs up with my stuff and has everything at your finger tips.”
Evernote deserves a gold star for its adaptation to the modern-student. Plus, you can sync the app with your phone and tablet — both Android and Apple!

Wunderlist:
If you find yourself jotting down quick to-do lists on Sticky notes, corners of papers, or yourself, this app is for you. It’s a planner in the disguise of multiple to-do lists. This app allows you to create as many lists as possible, whether it is a grocery list, to-do list, or a bucket list. For each item on your list, you can set a due date or a reminder – which is really helpful for when you’re adding a homework assignment or an assigned reading! It allows you to see what you have due during the week as a whole, so no need to flip through all your lists to see what you having going on. It can sync up with your email and allows you to even share your list with someone in your contacts or publish it.
“I find this app to be so much fun. It’s so easy and it makes me feel so organized,” said Georgie Jasso, University of Texas at San Antonio student. “I find myself making lists for everything just so I can use this app to check it off. I like how it says completed when you do.”
Wunderlist excels in its simplicity and its ability to make yourself feel so accomplished when you check off a completed task – especially with the little ‘ding’ it makes.

Grades+:
We all know that grades mean everything – they do when you’re trying to pass a class and get credit for it – so it is frustrating when you have that one professor who waits until the last minute to average out your grade. The professor will pass back your paper or test, let you see what you earned, and then pick it back up. Of course it won’t be posted and averaged out until a week before grades are due. It’s all on you to keep track and to know if you’re getting that A you need to keep your pristine GPA. So to make your life simpler and a little less stressful, the app Grades+ will be your savior. This app enables you to input your grades for homework, quizzes, tests, papers, and more for each class you take. Its handiest feature is that you can set a “target grade” and it will let you know what you need to make on your assignments to reach your goal. The number of hours is taken into consideration making its GPA calculation – for overall or just that single class – is spot-on. There is even a reminder feature for due dates.
“I was always keeping track of my grades. I like to know how I’m doing at all times,” said Daniella Aguirre, student at Texas A&M. “I like Grades+ because it does all the work for you – a plus for a lazy college student with a lot on their schedule. I like that it even lets me know what I need to score to get the grade I want in class.”
Grades+ is a useful and successful personal grade book.

Recordium:
Are you an auditory learner? Notes help, but what actually gets you to understand is re-listening to a lecture and making sure you got every key point and definition thrown your way.  Recordium is a recording app – and yes, that’s its only feature. But what makes it so effective  is that it allows you to add notes, tags, highlight, and pictures as you record. This makes it simpler to go back and listen to the audio with additional snippets of information. You just set record and tap the whichever button you want to include an additional memo. There is also a search feature that makes sifting through the masses of audio files more user friendly. Also, you can upload your recording to Evernote, DropBox, Google Drive, or email it.
“I got this app because I was testing out if recording a lecture would help me study better. I ended up really liking it! It’s a recording that is tailored to how you want to study. I’ll add some notes or even highlight to make sure I’m getting all that I can from it,” said Gabriela Gonzales, student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Recordium is another simple and basic app that deserves an applause for meeting the needs of a student.

Canvas:

Canvas is a platform that more than 800 colleges, universities, and school districts are using now. It’s how you get your grades, syllabus, assignments, readings, contact your professor and classmates, and much much more. But did you know that there is an app for that? Well there is! And if you find yourself living, breathing, and eating (well not exactly) Canvas, then download it and always have it at your fingertips.

SuperNotes:
SuperNotes is a lot like Evernote just without all the bells and whistles. It is a simple note taking app that is divided by notes, lectures, and memos. It has a recording feature that allows you to record lectures, a camera feature, and even a reminder feature! It’s worth a look, if you want to try other note-taking options.

Censorgram:
Cyber bullying is real. And with the growth of technology and social media, it has grown too. But here’s a great new app that’ll help you put a stop to that. Censogram links with your Instagram and allows you to scan your account for any negativity that doesn’t belong amongst your glorious pictures of beautiful scenery, candid moments with your friends, and your cat Fluffy. You can set up keywords for it to detect and it can even help you block those associated with those comments. It’s a breath of comment control. This app is new and growing and unquestionably worth the $3.

Technology is on the rise and taking over educational institutions, so keep a look out for more apps that can help you down your path of success.

Review: East Los High

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Hulu released its first and only original series in 2013, East Los High. This short series is one of a kind, an English-language show with an all Latino cast. With only two seasons under its belt, it is making an impression. East Los High is produced and directed by Carlos Portugal, who’s worked on other Latino projects such as East Side Story and Pop Star. Portugal called for help from Advocates of Youth, Voto Latino, and the California Healthy Family Council to create a series that is informative, educational, and realistic to its audience.

East Los High is a teen drama based in East Los Angeles, an area with a reputation of being tough and dangerous – a stereotype the show wants to discourage. The show follows a group of students at the local high school and focuses on many common situations that occur in a high school setting: friendships, love, sexual encounters, and peer pressure. However, even though many of these matters can be found in other teen drama series, the difference with East Los High is their focus on Latinos and their way of addressing the issue in an honest and upfront manner.

In Season 1, a student finds that she is pregnant and viewers get to see her discuss her options with a counselor. The information provided to the character is not limited to her and can be information useful to any adolescent outside the TV screen. This situation repeats in season 2 when a student is discussing her encounter with an abusive relationship to a counselor. These scenarios, which are rather serious in nature, are seen in today’s society and are able to be addressed to a young audience watching the series.

“The wholesome kid show, the polished teen drama isn’t real life,” said Danielle Vega, East Los High’s Ceci, in an interview with LA Times. “‘East Los High is gritty, it’s in your face because the world out there is in your face. But it’s also teaching something, which is incredibly important because you look at kids these days and they don’t look up from their screens. So at least this show gives them something to think about when their eyes are glued to their devices.”

Telanovelas are known for its popularity in Latin American cultures and East Los High reflects this in their Latino-focused show. With a telanovela-esque plot and character dynamics, the series does not have a shortage of entertainment and drama. There are love triangles, revenge, mean girls, and the classic, good girl losing her way in the face of popularity. Each of these situations touches on a realistic aspect found in a teenager’s journey through high school – and there is no sugar coating.

The team of writers reflects the demographics in cast: predominately Latina. Only two men grace the writers’ desk and one African American woman. Portugal, Director and Producer, has stated that he wanted to write what he knew and encourages his writing staff to do the same. The storyline is to reflect daily lives and connect to its audience through authenticity. Admittedly, some characters and the vernacular do seem to embody a stereotype found in Latinos. However, it is fleeting and is cancelled out by the wide range of perspectives, personalities, and conduct presented by the characters.

“Since we are the culture, it never feels like, ‘Oh, we’re creating stereotypes,'” Portugal said in an interview with LA Times. “Stereotypes exist. I think one of the reasons why we are doing this is we present them, and then we start exploring them. My hope is that the people from East L.A. see themselves being portrayed as diverse individuals.”

East Los High succeeds in its uniqueness in teen dramas that are dominated by Caucasian actors and actresses. Hulu’s original series brings in a handful of new faces to the screen – freshness amongst the overdone big names. And it excels in bringing real life situations and addressing them in an educational way that takes the viewer outside the classroom. This show can be seen as a teaching method, which is a goal achieved through the help of the numerous organizations that have played a role in its creation. However, some incidents and character portrayals do seem exaggerated and it can distract from the purpose of the show. Even though the series’ main characters are the youthful faces, it has been overlooked that the counselors, doctors, teachers, and other professional in the series are Latino.

This teen drama does illustrate genuineness to American-Latino culture, a nice change to shows like George Lopez and Cristella that relies on comedic scripts. It is serious, honest, and mysterious.

East Los High has been renewed for a third season; bringing in a new set of characters as each season focuses on a new group of students. The series airs weekdays on Hulu and entire seasons are available for Hulu Plus members.

TV Review: The Fosters

the-fosters-290x400I remember sitting in the small theater in my neighborhood, large drink in one hand, while shoving handfuls of popcorn in my mouth with the other, the ad for “The Fosters.” ABC Family was presenting a new series, “The Fosters,” and among the many teenage faces on screen, I saw the familiar faces of Cierra Ramirez (“Girl In Progress”) and Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”). I was a former Wizards fan, so, yes, my interest was sparked.

That was the exact memory from the summer of 2013 that played in my head when I was scrolling for something to watch on Netflix. “The Fosters” appeared before me. I clicked. And boy, I do not regret it.

“The Fosters” is a show that entangles drama, addresses social issues, and gives life lessons through background stories and character development – just like the classic ABC Family TV-show should. However, the story follows a multi-ethnic family composed of biological, adoptive and foster children. A lesbian couple heads the home full of teenagers. The show, whose executive producer is Jennifer Lopez, is rich with love, trust, and family. Think of ‘The Fosters’ as a more modern ‘7thHeaven’.

The show follows 16-year-old Callie, as she enters the new foster home. Her and her 12-year-old brother, Jude, have had multiple fosters homes during their six years in the system – all terrible and full of problems. But this foster home is different. Vice Principal Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) and police officer Stef Foster (Teri Polo) are in a domestic partnership and built a home through honesty and compassion. Brandon Foster (David Lambert) is the 16-year-old son of Stef, from her previous marriage, and is the “golden boy” with his good looks and musical talent. The adoptive 15-year-old twins are Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), who embodies the classic teenage girl just wanting to fit in, and Jesus Foster (Jake T. Austin), the more rebellious out of the teens with ADHD.

The ethnic diversity in the cast makes the show much more unique than most. From the multi-racial Lena to the Latin descendent twins, the diversity is acknowledged and embraced. Most shows with minorities in the cast always resort to having an incident with racism and bigotry to produce a discussion. However, this has not been seen. Instead, the show introduces situations that subtly express their diversity, such as a quinceañera episode, the twins carrying conversations in Spanish, and Lena sharing how she was called an ‘Oreo’ in high school. The variety of races in the family is not something that is blatantly said – which by now, it really doesn’t need to be – but is displayed on screen beautifully to the audience.

Another hit for this tv-screen family is Lena and Stef’s relationship. The two mothers face some obstacles in a world still adjusting to the LGBT community. But despite a father failing to accept a daughter’s lifestyle, the couple is seen immersed with the love from friends and family members. The success of the couple parallels the success of ‘Modern Family’s’ Mitchell and Cameron – just minus the constant comedic quips. The couple demonstrates kindness and selflessness as the raise their children.

This television series thrives with its breaking of boundaries with the “non-traditional” family.  The show relies on realistic problems that can occur rather focusing heavily on the apparent uniqueness of the family. The classic ‘let me show you rather than tell you’ applies greatly to the storyline.

It’s a show for all ages – adults and children alike can watch and learn from the Foster family. It powerfully confronts serious issues such as child abuse, drug abuse/dealing, and teenage sexuality. While most can criticize these instances, in this day-and-age, the realities of the events have proven to occur. ‘The Fosters’ deal with these issue that is suitable for any age – no need to cover a child’s eyes. Even though you may not be able to relate to every occurrence in the show, the character’s actions and emotions allow an understanding of the dilemmas they face and the morals they abide by.

“The Fosters” is an excellent TV show that leaves you hooked. Its ingenuity and one-of-a-kind storyline brings a freshness to the television realm, full of bad reality TV shows and the over-played teenage love triangles.

Seasons 1 and 2 are currently on Netflix.

Loving Your Body

561541_167302600081618_1634527473_nWatch out thin and slender body types, the curvy look is in this year. The popular hits from Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ and Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About the Bass’ have made it known that having a big booty is beautiful and that curves are to be celebrated. The media has joined the cause with its input with whose body is rocking’ and what workouts these women do to keep their figure. But, why does it matter? A woman’s body has become a public forum for opinion. Their shape and size have become an important factor in determining their beauty in society’s standards. Such views can be seen in the new popular dance fad – twerking.

This dance focuses on the sensual booty shaking (the bigger the better) and has been prevalent in many performers’ dance routines. In the 2014 VMAS, Chelsea Handler came onto the stage to present and made a joke about being surrounded by all these shapely women and being thankful that her entrance followed a Taylor Swift performance. “They asked me if I wanted to perform at the VMAs and I said there are going to be a lot of big fat [butts] at that awards show,” Chelsea said. “So I will present, but you have to put me up after someone who’s white. So thank you, Taylor Swift, for being so white!” Taylor Swift has also received media attention for her body – rather unfavorable attention because of her lanky stature. With memes popping up all over the Internet, mocking her for her minimal curves, it has become clear that this mindset has seeped into those watching at home.

17-year-old high school senior, Vanessa Andrada, says she notices the female-physique emphasis in the media and feels it is worrisome for her generation that consumes it. “I think the media focus primarily on how skinny a girl is or even now how curvy a girl is. Even curvy girls must have a ‘coca-cola’ type body to look attractive,” she says. “They focus on this way too much and it makes girls seem as if they have to live up to this standard to be considered beautiful.”

This body-centered attention, unfortunately, is fairly prevalent in Latina celebrities. A study shows that Latina actresses are unrepresented on screen, but are most likely to be sexualized in their roles, according to a TIME article. Out of all women on screen, 37.5% of Hispanic actresses were most likely to be partially or fully naked on screen in 2013. The curvaceous bodies of Eva Mendes, Sofía Vergara, Penelope Cruz, and Jennifer Lopez have all been the main attraction to their media coverage.

The hype of the “curvy Latina” is accentuated and preserves a stereotype that isn’t really apparent in most Spanish women. “Not all Latinas are curvy and it makes the less curvy women feel like they are not as beautiful as a curvy Latina,” Andrada says. “In some sense, if you don’t have the ‘curviness’ of a Latina you may consider yourself less beautiful than what you really are.”

Although statistics of eating disorders in minority women are unavailable – because of a historical bias that they only affect white women – one study found that of the leanest 25% of 6th and 7th grade girls, the Hispanic and Asian girls found the most dissatisfaction with their bodies, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

“These factors do really impact the way girls see themselves! They hold themselves to what the media or even stereotypes consider as beautiful,” Andrada says.”That’s why many girls have low self-esteem now-a-days because we focus on trying to be the girl with flawless skin, a coca-cola body type, with no stretch marks and have no extra body fat.”

15-year-old Hannah Leija agrees that women shouldn’t have to face criticism for their body image. She shares that it is unfair that they are held to certain standards in the media and that it affects her peers. However, she refuses to succumb to these pressures with a positive outlook and confidence. “The way I see myself is good,” she says. “I don’t care what the media has to say or what people think. I’m happy with the way I am.”

Women. Ladies. Girls. Latinas. Or non-Latinas. They all come in different shapes or sizes. Nicki Minaj and Meghan Trainor are right. You should celebrate your curves, but you should, also, celebrate whatever body type you may be. So if you are a curvy Latina or a slender one, it doesn’t matter. Beauty is found with actions and not appearance.