An Open Letter To People Who Look Down On The Fine Arts

An Open Letter To People Who Look Down On The Fine Arts

The Arts Are Not Useless
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Imagine this: you go to work, as usual, watching everyone dressed in leaves on a grassy plain. Afterward, you entertain yourself by throwing a ball around. You miss dancing. You have nothing to dance to. Music doesn’t exist. You return home to a box that you found the other day. Houses collapsed long ago with business buildings when architects stopped. You fall asleep thinking about that old movie poster that you threw out and you wonder if your children have ever heard of movies or plays. You realize that they will lead lackluster childhoods–after all, roleplaying, singing, and watching movies are all now impossible. You’ll have to memorize what they look like. The world officially deemed photography to be “art” and threw it out. How will your kids survive the winter? With fashion designers gone, who’s left to create clothing?

That’s the world without art.

The arts create humanity every day. They shape us, whether we’re art majors, STEM majors, custodians, therapists, cashiers, or CEOs. They permeate everything that we think, say, and do. They're part of our cultures, our passions, and our lives. So why do people call it “unnecessary?” The jokes always come up in daily life, sometimes thoughtless (“You value your hobbies more than making a living.”) and sometimes intentionally harmful (“You’ll never get anywhere in life. Your degree is useless and so are you.”). Three types of people scoff at art: those who fear, those who ignore, and those who worry.

If the arts are really so insignificant, then why are they always the first to encounter censorship? I believe that people know the importance of music, of paintings, and of “Internet memes,” even on an unconscious level. They know how easy it is for a powerful song to make someone feel surges of emotions (like how Adele's songs seem to make people cry over partners that they never had). They know that what starts as a simple melody can become rallying cries of protestors (see also: the national anthem in the French Revolution). They’re not laughing at art because they think that it’s nothing, they’re laughing because they’re scared.

Others ignore the arts. Some people refuse to be in touch with their emotions. They believe that living life with practicality will make them successful. It will. They’ll survive and earn a living, maybe build a family off of their income and be in love with their careers, but completely rejecting the therapeutic effects of the arts hurts them. They want funding for arts education to be cut, but they also want their movies, their shows, and their advertisements. They want to wear professional clothing to work every day, but they don’t want to support the people who design it. It’s possible to live with the acceptance of both STEM majors and art majors. Even doctors find the time to form orchestras.

Angry critics will always argue that the arts are almost entirely emotion-driven. I agree. Isn’t that what makes art so powerful? Emotions form identity and if the arts can’t exist without identity, then every form of art is who we are. Art is being. Whether we are the bright-eyed innocents of small statures and great imaginations or the wise-eyed veterans of the world, we cannot be without it or it without us.

Don’t worry on the behalf of fine arts majors and artists. We’re aware of the hardships in this field. We hear it every day and we choose it anyway. Besides, the “starving artists” stereotype often comes from people who aren’t sure what to do with their talents. Times are changing. Art entrepreneurship has now become widespread as more courses and programs delve into the subject. We’re taking care of ourselves. We worry too, but we’ll be okay.

Everything plays a part in the structure of this world, but the arts are there to connect them. When humans die away, when the last wars have been fought and the rains fall without us, every form of art that outlives us will be the true captured essence of who we are now. Dear critics, I’m asking you to let go of your fear that we’re throwing away our lives for nothing. Let it go and let us make art. Let music therapists, designers, producers, singers, performers, and painters continue to serve you and we’ll let art continue to tell your story and ours.

Cover Image Credit: Caroline Jok

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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