Dear 2016 Me

Dear 2016 Me

Cheers to the new year.

2016 me,

It is a new year. Of course, that tends to mean a new year, new me. As Sharpey would say, "out with the old and in with the new." Just because it is a new year does not technically mean it is a new you however. You are still the same you that you were on December 31st at 11:59pm, it is just a different year.

In 2016, things will change. You will change. Do not be afraid of the change. Make this year the best year yet. Do not dwell on previous new year resolutions, instead, focus on what you want to change this year.

This year, be who you are with no regrets. Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Do the things you love even if they may seem weird to others. Do what you want to do, be who you want to be, feel what you want to feel regardless of what others may think.

This year, travel. If you have an opportunity to go on a vacation then do it. Take time to see the world, especially while you are still young. Don't settle for the same town that you have been spending your entire life in, go somewhere new. One day you won't be able to see it anymore, take advantage of the Earth's wonder and beauty while you still can.

This year, save money. No matter how much you think you may need that new pair of shoes, trust me, you don't actually need them. Save your money for your future or put it towards something monumental. Save your money so that you can travel or so that you can do something that you absolutely love.

This year, free yourself from negative energy. The people, places or environments that cause you to feel down or bring a negative energy into your life no longer need to exist. There are plenty of people in this world who will bring joy, happiness and hope into your life. Stay positive and stay happy. Do not waste time on people or things that are not bettering you.

This year, remember to be kind. We often forget to treat others how we would want to be treated. We tend to forget that other people have feelings too and that we are not the only one's in this world who matter. Channel your positive spirit and your happiness towards others. Have courage and be kind each and every day.

This year, have fun. Keep in mind that you do only live once so make this year be one to remember. Make memories and have fun while making them. Go out and do something that you have been wanting to do, or do something you know you enjoy. No matter what, just make sure you have fun.

2016 is just around the corner, so be ready for it. Let 2016 be another year of learning, growing, mistake making and happiness. Give people outside your social circle a chance, keep your options open and do not take this year for granted. Enjoy every single minute of it.

Here is to a new year, not a new you. Cheers to 2016, may it be the best year yet!

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What Our Horror Movies Reveal About Us

There's a reason certain monsters always give us a scare.

Don't open that door!

Too late. Our blood-soaked heroine didn't think to turn the lights on or check the windows. She is now our lovely, headless heroine. C'mon... Couldn't she have posted on Facebook?

"Help! I'm currently being stalked by an 8-foot tall gremlin wearing a hockey mask and jorts. Call the police for me!"

Horror movies can be aggravating. From B-list actors to twists and turns that make us pull out our hair, they can be a lot to handle. Horror movies aren't a tremendously popular genre. In terms of market share, they clock in just below romantic comedies and only a few percentage points above musicals. They aren't adorned with praise at award ceremonies. Often, they are cheap to make. Many are an easy way to create a low-profit, high-return box office monstrosity. Despite that, the genre holds claim to countless classics: The Exorcist, The Thing, The Blair Witch Project and more recent hits such as It Follows and Jordan Peele's Get Out.

Some horrors movies make us jump in our seats, some wretch our stomachs, and others fall completely flat. That thing that goes bump in the night isn't just a clever editing trick, though. These are movies that reflect our society's greatest fears. Horror movies are looking glasses for the real anxieties that haunt our nightmares.

Stephen King, a master of suspenseful writing, has explained that horror films "serve as an extraordinarily accurate barometer of those things which trouble the night-thoughts of a whole society." Trends in horror are more than studio executives choosing vampires as the next terrifying fad. The monsters we create are channels for us to express the very real concerns that haunt us long after we leave the theater.

One of the earliest examples of horror cinema reflecting our anxiety is none other than "King Kong" (1933). The film, unfortunately, reflected the racism that pervaded American culture in the early 1900s. The image of a tribal beast coming to the cosmopolitan haven of Manhattan, climbing the skyscrapers in the face of the white citizenry, was more than just a spooky tale. It was a not-so-subtle reaction to a black population that was finally beginning to realize their own American dreams. To a racist and concerned populus, these were beasts descending upon their kingdom.

Another poignant example of the trend is "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956), a classic film about a community of neighbors slowly being replaced by lifeless aliens who imitate their appearance. Terrifying? Certainly, but especially horrifying to an America that was obsessed with fears of communism - their loyal compatriots who had potentially been turned red by the maniacal arm of the Soviet Union. Fear of losing friends to a socialist darkness was at the heart of McCarthyism and the 1950s.

The trend hasn't ceased. The original "Godzilla" (1954) showcased a lizard turned demonic from a nuclear blast. Could the preceding dropping of the world's first atomic bomb had anything to do with the horror of radiation? George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" (1978) features hordes of mindless zombies crawling through malls at the height of America's obsession with consumerism. The true fear in the masterpiece came not from the protagonists' concerns about becoming zombie-chow, but our own fear of becoming just like those mindless bodies.

Some of today's films are blatant in their approach towards the real horrors of the modern day. "Get Out" (2017) is a clever, head-on grapple with racism in our day and age. What spooky stories at your local cineplex are using a softer touch? Consider the B-movies that you brush off on Fandango. Some films may rely on screeches and jump scares, but a fine horror movie preys on us. It has watched us grow. It bides its time before lurching out of the shadows to tell us a story that chills us to the bone.

Cover Image Credit: David Jensen/Unsplash

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Blake Shelton’s Song, 'I’ll Name The Dogs,' Makes Me Ashamed To Be A Country Music Fan

No, I will not find the spot while you find the money.

The first time I heard country artist Blake Shelton’s single, “I’ll Name the Dogs,” my first impression was, Wow, this is catchy. Because it is. Take a listen.

Essentially, the song is about a couple who marries and settles down with a house, kids, and dogs. They’re super duper in love.

The second time it came on the radio, I paid attention to the inner clockworks of the song, which included the beats, rhythms, sounds, and most importantly, the lyrics. And as I listened more closely, I wanted to scream.

Shelton’s song “I’ll Name the Dogs” is incredibly sexist, and lyrics are reminiscent of the 1950s era. Let’s look at the chorus

"You find the spot and I'll find the money
You be the pretty and I'll be the funny
You plant the flowers, I'll plant the kisses
Baby, let's get right down to business

I'll hang the pictures, you hang the stars
You pick the paint, I'll pick a guitar
Sing you a song out there with the crickets and the frogs
You name the babies and I'll name the dogs, yeah"

In the opening line, Shelton sings, “You find the spot and I’ll find the money.” So basically we’re back to the times where women stayed at home, and the husband was the main provider of income. Following the theme of male dominance of the household, he croons, “You plant the flowers, I’ll plant the kisses...You pick the paint, I’ll pick a guitar.”

Now, one might argue, oh, but the wife gets to pick the paint! Her husband is giving her the freedom to choose! Wow, what an honor. Allowing her to choose the colors of the walls in a home that apparently, she’ll be spending her entire livelihood in further implies the two together: woman and household.

Oh, but the woman is working in the garden! Hooray for her, getting on her knees, down and dirty! Yes, good for her. Getting out of the house and doing the hard labor of gardening. (This isn’t sarcastic). But the fault: these lyrics also suggest that the husband is too “masculine” to be out in a garden of roses. Shelton associates femininity with flowers, adding to gender stereotypes.

As the song progresses, Shelton seems to degrade women and men even more. For example, the lyric, “I’ll hang the pictures, you hang the stars” Is a woman not freaking capable of doing the handy work of using a hammer to hang picture frames? By telling his wife in the song to “hang the stars” — these intangible matters might I add — he insinuates that a woman is incapable of doing any labor-intensive work.

To add to this nonsense, Shelton later drawls in the second verse, “I’ll put a little swing on the front porch/If you put a little tea in my glass.” Yet another case of the man being all “masculine” like it’s his duty to install, build, construct, while the woman is in the kitchen making tea. Lovely.

Now for my absolute favorite lyric from the chorus!

“You be the pretty and I’ll be the funny.”

Just a cherry on top. It just adds to the fact that the woman in the song is Shelton’s trophy wife. Like seriously, “pretty,” this physical attribute was the one word you had to give women while the men got the personality traits? C’mon, Shelton. Couldn’t you find any other word to use besides “pretty”?

Musically, Shelton wins. This song is incredibly catchy and has an intriguing melody that doesn’t make me turn the radio station right away. However, no matter how catchy the song, a song like this cannot be lyrically ignored, especially in the era we live in now.

Please tell me what’s wrong with men choosing paint colors and planting flowers? Can’t women be just as funny as men? Is it still masculine if a man doesn't want to do handy work in the house? So what if women want to be associated with her dogs, aka man's best friend?

The last line of the chorus, “You name the babies and I’ll name the dogs,” refers to the song’s title. What I don’t understand is why both the husband and wife can’t name the babies and dogs together. Why do they have to divide all the tasks? The song should use the pronoun “WE“ more often instead of “you” and “I” separately.

Now, to clarify, I believe there’s nothing wrong if women want to stay at home or if men want to be the main providers of income. However, as a female of the 21st century, I’m pissed that people are accepting a song with lyrics like these and that there’s no bigger outrage.

To all my fellow country music fans, why have we allowed this to be a No. 1 song? What if this was the first song that a non-county music fan listened to because they wanted to see what was popular in country music? Imagine their reaction to the lyrics. This song doesn’t represent the country music that I love nor what I want my younger cousins and friends to listen to and say, “You like this?”

Although Shelton did not pen the song himself, he decided to not just put the track on his latest album, he released it as his lead single. What kind of message does that send? The wrong one if you ask me.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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