Why Rey Is Such An Important Role Model To Young Women

Why Rey Is Such An Important Role Model To Young Women

Leia can't rule the galaxy with a progressive fist by herself.
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Since the news about the latest installment of the multi-million dollar franchise dropped, the public has had their fair share of divided opinions. You either hate it or you adore it, and don’t care if somebody doesn’t feel the same way as you (even though, you know deep down they are just jealous). But if there is one thing we can agree on, it’s that the new protagonist of the Star Wars series, Rey, is absolutely flawless.

For those of you who have not seen Star Wars: the Force Awakens yet, Rey, a female reminiscent of an early Luke Skywalker, played by actress Daisy Ridley, is already making waves as the next leading lady of our beloved universe. And truth be told, it's about time we brought more girl power to the hero scene.

Young men get a plethora of ‘good guy’ role models in television and movies nowadays, mostly in the form of superheroes and others with powers beyond their human attributes. They have characters they can look up to, in a sense, and follow throughout their movies or TV series; characters that most of us would say, at face value, are not misguided role models to have.

But what about the young ladies in the audience?

Young women today are bombarded with unrealistic, and more accurately – unfitting role models on whom to base their attitudes and behaviors. Even on supposed "kid shows" like on Nickelodeon for example, we see young people, young ladies in particular: dress in revealing clothing, take a nasty attitude with their parents and other adults, careless and a little ditzy, seeming able to do whatever they want, and whenever they want without consequence. Yes, for television and entertainment sakes, the characters and their storylines achieve those goals. Yet, it seems rarely considered that many young people – whether they realize it or not – are very much influenced by the portrayals they see in the media when creating characters and their behaviors in their episodes or movies.

Hence, why Rey is so significant. As of late in our society, we are obsessed with dynamite, progressive women, and rightfully so. It is refreshing to see such a successful, respected franchise introduce a female character – one of the few in the galaxy, it would seem – that defies societal stereotypes. In just one film, Rey shows her complexity. She’s a hero; she doesn’t need saving, in fact she almost resents the idea of needing rescuing. She’s strong, and independent, as one would need to be if they are fending for themselves on a desert planet. However, she’s also loyal, vulnerable at times, and wide-eyed like a child.

Rey is such an intense combination of strength and vulnerability that it is hard not to get wrapped up in her story; you want her to come out heroic in the end. She shows not only young women, but people of all ages, that it’s okay to be tough, and to know how to fend for yourself, but you can also be sensitive, and allow yourself to get swept up in adventure. She can fight off Storm Troopers single-handedly, pilot a spaceship, and she can do it all only showing ten percent skin.

The character of Rey teaches young women that they don’t have to fit into the mold Hollywood laid out for them. They don’t have to act incompetent to get attention; they don’t have to look or dress a certain way to be considered beautiful. They don’t have to be rescued by someone else. Of course, they don’t have to be the next savior of the galaxy or learn how to work a Lightsaber (even though it’s totally awesome), but they can learn something from Rey about being confident in themselves. Through Rey, Star Wars has the capacity to make a generation of leaders out of new female fans, and I hope they succeed.

Cover Image Credit: screenrant.com

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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I Didn't Choose To Be A Dance Major, It Chose Me

How my passion became my purpose

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I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember the process. I remember moments in time and the way joy has manifested itself into my life. Perhaps this is the meaning of life—a slow growing journey of finding yourself through experiences and delightfully long conversations with people we care about, long nights filled with laughter, early mornings with dew beneath our toes, waves of utter joy, followed by waves of somber; it's all just part of it. And within these waves and moments of our lives, we begin to see with clarity—a slow but steady process. Clarity occurs when the fog is lifted. It's when you find that thing you're passionate about, and you do it relentlessly. This is the art of becoming.

So, I don't really remember when I became a dancer. I suppose it's been a lifetime of becoming. I can't even really say that it's a choice. I don't think it is. I know that I was born to dance. And this has nothing to do with how I look or anything like that. But it has everything to do with how I feel when I dance. It's this sense of sheer release, and to be able to get to that point of really, truly not having a care in world; this is how you know you're in the process of becoming. It's in the moments where I'm the most lost—the moments where I've really given myself over completely that result in the greatest rewards, usually in the form of self-knowledge. This is clarity.

I have not chosen to become a dancer, but inevitably dance has so gracefully chosen me. And with great appreciation, I've accepted the invitation. I've since made the mindful choice to immerse myself in this art form, because to me this is how joy has chosen to manifest itself in my life. Through movement, and love of music, and love of creating, this is how I've chosen joy.

It recently dawned on me that dance is what we as humans use to declare our vitality. It's an appreciation of being alive. And more so, it's a celebration: of being alive, of our bodies, of human contact, but mostly just of life. We as humans dance to celebrate life.

So with this joy that I've been so lucky to find, I am compelled to study dance. And not just take classes, and not just take notes, but to really study—to really understand what it means to be alive, and to feel gratitude for every ounce of my life.

This is why I'm a dance major.

So before you question me, and perhaps tell me that my major is useless or is not setting me up for a successful life, maybe consider that I've chosen a life of joy. I've chosen to be passionate and throw myself into gaining a greater kinesthetic awareness, a more profound appreciation for music, and for art, and for culture, and just life in general.

I have chosen to celebrate my life, and celebrate what my body allows me to do every day. And through my choices, I've begun to master the art of becoming.

Author's note: The theme of "becoming" was subconsciously inspired by Michelle Obama.

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