Category Archives: Entertainment

“Is your Favorite Character Hot?”: Pretty Privilege in Media

Does being beautiful make your life easier? More interesting? Have a dramatic soundtrack or endless close-up camera angles? Hollywood obviously thinks it does. It doesn’t take watching more than a few movies or TV episodes to realize the entertainment industry is saturated with inhumanly gorgeous actors and actresses. Does this change how we as viewers judge their characters though? Today, we will be examining “pretty privilege” in our media. 

What is pretty privilege? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Characters can get away with more simply because the people who play them are pleasing to look at. They can be cruel, selfish, callous and downright evil. Yet, these qualities seem more acceptable because the actor is just “too cute to really be that bad.”

Let’s look at this stereotype of beauty and its correspondence to goodness through a movie most of us have seen: “Sleeping Beauty.” The main protagonist is kind, talented and innocent. How do we know this? Because she’s beautiful. With her golden hair, pink lips and glittering eyes (plus her being referred to as “Sleeping Beauty”),  it is not up for debate that the character is meant to be seen as lovely. The main antagonist on the other hand is malicious and harsh. How do we know? Because she’s ugly. It was not until the breathtaking Angelina Jolie took over this “antagonistic” role in the 2014 live-action film “Maleficent” that the character was redeemed as loyal and misunderstood. 

There is clearly a conditioned coordination between perceptions of beauty and perceptions of goodness. We have been taught to assume the best of attractive characters and the worst of unattractive ones. How does this idea of pretty privilege apply to less obvious examples of media though? To answer that, I will remind you of the once wildly popular musical TV show, “Glee.” Two characters share a shocking similar backstory: Santana Lopez and David “Dave” Karofsky. Both characters struggle with their sexualities in the show. Due to their insecurities about their sexualities, Santana and Dave lash out and bully many other characters. Despite their similarities, the fanbase tends to treat them considerably differently. Dave is treated with indifference or even hostility by most fans while Santana is widely regarded as a fan favorite. 

One could argue this treatment is because Dave threatened serious physical violence against another character, Kurt, in season two. However, the aversion to Dave by the fanbase predates this threat. In addition, Santana has also threatened physical violence against multiple characters and even made another character bleed by hitting him repeatedly with a dodgeball after the game was over. 

Both characters have the same drive behind their cruelness. Both characters display inclinations towards physical violence. Both characters are bullies. So, why is one loved and the other disliked? It could be because of how they look. 

Max Adler, who plays Dave, is certainly not ugly but he also isn’t depicted as the traditional Hollywood hunk either. Naya Rivera, who plays Santana, is known for her beauty though. Would fans have liked Santana so much and forgiven her so easily if Naya had been average-looking or even unattractive? While there is no way to say for sure, I’m tempted to vote no. 

Let’s look at an entirely different show to further explore pretty privilege in media: The crime comedy-drama series “Bones.” Just like in “Glee,” two characters stick out as having similar personalities that are perceived completely differently. Both characters, Oliver Wells and Rodolfo Fuentes are interns on the show who are incredibly brilliant but also incredibly arrogant. 

Now, what makes these characters different? Rodolfo is portrayed by the handsome Ignacio Serricchio. The show and audience is well aware of Rodolfo’s status as a beautiful man as other characters frequently comment on his attractiveness. He even has a line where he states “I’m handsome.” Oliver Wells, on the other hand, is played by Brian Klugman. Much like Alder, Klugman is not unattractive but is not depicted as extremely handsome the way Serrichho is. 

Despite having similar arrogance and intelligence, fans significantly prefer Rodolfo to Oliver. Even the review website “Screen Rant” ranked Rodolfo two places ahead of Oliver in their “Bones: All of Brennan’s Interns, Ranked” article. Could this fan favoritism be because of pretty privilege?

We have been taught from a young age to think favorably of attractive people so it’s no shocker that we’re often kinder to characters played by attractive actors. Next time you’re watching a show or movie, take a moment to think: Do I really like this character or do I just like the way they look? The answer may surprise you.

A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE

In 2020, the world came to a pause with the rise of COVID-19. With lockdowns and quarantine mandates surrounding a majority of nations around the globe, businesses went bankrupt, people lost jobs and the economy tumbled downwards. 

Among all of the chaos, one piece of good news TV channels broadcasted was the massive reduction in carbon emissions. This further prompted positive changes to the global climate such as repairing the ozone layer and bringing back native animals to their oceanic homes. 

However, as the world slowly recovered from COVID-19, climate change organizations are concerned that the emissions will not only return to normal but increase drastically after over a year of staying stagnant. While countries are setting goals to reduce carbon emissions and try to adopt more biodegradable forms of fuel, climate change activists like Greta Thunberg are skeptical of politicians keeping their word. 

Instead, activists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are urging people to take a stance and join the fight against climate change.

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WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

According to a 2019 Pew Research data report, around 38% of American adults said they do not believe climate change impacts their lives. Yale University’s Climate Change Communication reports that near 46% of all Americans who responded to their survey do not believe in Global Warming. 

Both studies highlight that these numbers can be split up by political affiliation, race and age. But they also stated that most of the people who do not believe in climate change do not understand the fundamentals of climate change and global warming. 

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A simplified explanation from NASA defines climate change as the rise and fall of Earth’s overall temperature. Global warming, which is the constant rise in the world temperature, is a feature of climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions, which come from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gas and wood, is the leading cause for global warming, according to National Geographic. 

Specifically in the United States, climate change impacts each region differently. In the East, climate change brings extreme heat waves and a rise in sea levels which puts sea life and agriculture at risk. In the Northwest, a rise in sea levels harms aquatic agriculture and the spread of wildfires puts many communities at risk. In the midwest, climate change brings extreme heat and flooding from the Great Lakes, harming people directly and affecting businesses. In the Southwest, including Texas, climate change causes droughts, floods, hurricanes, insect outbreaks and declining water supplies. 

While the consequences may seem endless, global warming is reversible if people work together to make more sustainable living decisions. 

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HOW TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING FROM YOUR OWN BACKYARD

The National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) provides options on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

One way they say to stop global warming is to speak to elected officials and local representatives. Holding local governments accountable for the pollution and toxic waste created by big businesses. Voicing concerns and engaging the community brings the most efficient change. 

Another conscious choice people can make is to rethink travel modes. Air travel is reported to be one of the biggest air pollutants. In the past year, with airports shut down or at minimum capacity, air pollution was at an all time low.

Some simple remedies to control carbon emissions are to buy more LED lights, unplug devices not being used, keep tires inflated at all times and decrease food waste. 

All of the small modifications can help decrease an individual’s carbon footprint drastically. 

But there are more ways to help the environment. The primary way is to get involved locally. 

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LOCAL AUSTIN CLIMATE CHANGE ORGANIZATIONS 

In Austin, climate change activists and concerned citizens have started forming a plethora of organizations to conserve the natural world. 

Sierra Club, which formed in 1968, focuses on fighting global warming and protecting local wildlife. The organization of over 5,000 volunteers participates in conservation hikes, community outreach and endorses climate conscious politicians. 

Austin’s Nature Conservancy chapter has worked since 1964 to conserve nearly one million acres of land and more than 200 miles of rivers and streams. The group offers volunteering projects as well as membership and donation opportunities. 

The Texas League of Conservation Voters endorses climate conscious politicians and helps them get elected to represent the state. In addition, their website offers tips on how to stay environmentally aware and make climate-friendly decisions. 

Ocean Conservancy focuses on keeping bodies of water inhabitable for animals. They protect the oceanic ecosystem through various clean-up projects and fundraisers. 

Clean Water Action was based in Washington DC in 1972 after the release of the Clean Water Act. The organization has grown since then and the Texas chapter is one of the largest in the nation. Not only does it focus on community outreach and volunteering but it also holds members of congress accountable for their climate-based choices. 

Last, a non-profit organization called Environmental Stewardship advocates specifically for the Texas Colorado River, protecting its wildlife, community and surrounding ecosystems. 

Dating Profile Dos and Don’ts For Guys to Get the Girl

With Hot Girl Summer— or rather, Hot Boy Summer— about to be in full swing, it’s time to get those dating profiles updated. This is the summer to get vaccinated and finally get out of the house to meet some new people and have some honest fun. I’m sure you’ve been swiping left and right all pandemic out of boredom, but it’s time to get rid of the fish pics and smile a little to get a girl to swipe right and start a conversation.

So, here are some dos and don’ts for the guys to make the ultimate Tinder profile and find true love (or whatever else you’re looking for, I don’t judge.)

1. DO Smile

Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

The amount of guys who glare back at me from mine and my friend’s Tinders is a little unnerving. Use the muscles on the side of your face and smile— just a little. It won’t hurt your masculinity, I promise, but it will make you look like you’re not dead inside, and will definitely increase your chances of getting a match.

2. DON’T Use The Fish Pic

We get it. You fish and hunt and think displaying dead animals is a sign of your machoness. But it’s really just a verified way to get the majority of girls swiping left. While some girls might be into hunting too, the majority are probably just going to be really upset that you killed Nemo, or Bambi and move on.

3. DO Fill Out Your Bio

The amount of men who post three photos and no bio and wonder why they never get a match is astonishing. If you have a cute face but nothing in your bio, it’s more likely to get a left swipe. Yeah, some girls will swipe right due to the initial attraction, but unless you’re both just looking for a hookup it’s more than likely you won’t be getting that match notification very often.

Use this place to put some interests, hobbies, work, school— anything that could spark a conversation. Maybe fun facts, or even just putting your intentions out there so when you get a match you both can start off on the same page.

4. DON’T Be Rude In Your Bio

Photo by AKirk on Getty Images

Saying things like “no fatties” is actually going to get you no one. If you have preferences that’s fine, use them when you are judging and swiping, but don’t list your perfect dream girl in your bio and tell specific girls not to swipe right. It looks rude and just keeps everyone away.

5. DO Get Those Good Angles

Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

While photos aren’t everything, they are the first thing girls see. And that first photo is going to decide whether she stays and checks you out, or swipes left. At the bare minimum, it should give off “High School Picture Day” vibes, framed with your head and shoulders in view. Good lighting is also a must so we can actually see what you look like. 

Don’t forget to use photos that show your whole self, not just your face. Add some goofy pics, photos with friends, or even pets! Just be sure to lead with one of just you, especially if you and your friends all look alike (I’m talking to you, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Alpha beta Sigma Phi boys).

6. DON’T Get Those Bad Angles

I’m not sure why so many guys think flipping off the camera is a cute photo to put on a dating app, but I can promise you it’s not. Don’t make every photo half your face, don’t use Snapchat filters in all of them, and definitely don’t put your middle finger up. It doesn’t look too good. I guess if you’re trying to be a “bad boy” it gets the message across, but I promise the majority of women are not looking for Mr. Bad Boy.

7. DO Post Several Photos

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels

The amount of times I have clicked for another photo to get a better look at a guy only to realize they only have one is extremely disappointing. I would recommend at the very least have three different angles in your photos, but try to go for five or six. This helps girls get a better idea of who they’re swiping right on, and most of the time if there’s only one photo girls will just swipe left.

8. DON’T Post The Photo With Your Ex

Photo by Pressmaster

Again, not sure what you guys are thinking here. Seeing a photo of you with your arms around another girl does not give off a great vibe on a dating app. And it just looks shallow to cross her face out with an X or put an emoji over it. Take some good photos on your own and with your friends. don’t rely on the pics with your ex.

9. DO Be Yourself

It might seem cliche or cheesy, but too many people overthink the dating game and try way too hard. More than anything, dating apps are a place to get to know people in hopes you will be spending time with them in real life (with any luck, more than once). It’s important to be yourself when you’re creating your profile instead of trying to come up with some persona you think will reel in the ladies. I promise, if they swipe right, they want to get to know you.

10. DON’T Be Arrogant

Photo by SIPhotography on Getty Images

The shirtless pictures and acknowledgment that you’re super cool actually isn’t cool at all. Don’t spend all your photos posing in front of a mirror flexing your muscles, and don’t write in your bio about how amazing you’d be. I promise we won’t think you’re amazing, and you will get a swift left swipe. If you just be yourself, there’s a much better chance girls will like you.

So, as summer starts and the CDC begins to loosen their COVID guidelines, go ahead and get those profiles polished and ready. I guarantee if you follow these tips it’ll help your dating game, and hopefully get you those matches you’re looking for. Happy swiping.

Dog videos that distract me from the stresses of life

The end of the school year is miserable and overwhelming. I wish I could give everyone a hug and remind them that all the hours spent studying for finals will pay off in the long run, but for now I can only offer a distraction. Here are some videos of dogs on TikTok that make my heart flutter. It is healthy to give yourself a mental break and just smile at some dog videos. Here you go!

Very cute and funny little pug. I am overjoyed by this performance.

I love chihuahuas because they are so sassy, especially on social media. They get a bad wrap, but they are good babies.

@ipanemma

penny wanted to bless you with some pics

♬ original sound – @knight_thepit

I disagree with the intro, because I love all dogs but the puppy is adorable and deserves all of the love in the world. 

Points were definitely made! Most dogs can relate, I would assume.

The energy in this video is unmatched. I wish I could relate.

This cute little baby makes my heart swell. I want that hat!

I did not see that coming, but I am happy and my heart is at ease.

@lifewithkleekai

Bet you didn’t see that coming 😅 #dog #cutedogsonly

♬ Godspeed – Taris Tallman

Very informational video. I learned so much. I am forever grateful.

A bilingual king. I applaud him.

I am screaming. Covid will not allow for the emotional support dogs on campus, so I guess TikTok will have to do.

Featured image courtesy of Kara Fields