Capstone Project – #我也是

What is the issue you would like to focus on? What are some of your perceptions or beliefs that you have about the social issue you will be working with?

What is your working research question?

What fear, if any, do you have about starting out on this journey?

What do you hope to gain from this research?

What message do you hope to send about your social issue?

Source: Simon, Denyer. “No Means No: Golden Rule of Consent.” SOS Safety Magazine, 10 Aug. 2016, sossafetymagazine.com/abuse/no-means-no-golden-rule-of-consent/.

 

Source: Bisley, Naomi. “The We Are Not Surprised Letter and The Importance Of Female Dialogue.” Sleek Mag, 24 Nov. 2017, www.sleek-mag.com/2017/11/21/not-surprised-sexual-harassment-art/.

For my research topic, I would like to focus on the #我也是/#MeToo movement. I feel like this is a major problem in China because the Chinese government has a patriarchal culture and a male-dominated one-party state that obsessively protects those in power. This led to the suppression of the accusations and confrontations brought up by women who have been harassed. The government even apprehended the feminists that were the driving force of this movement in a weak attempt at silencing them. However, as we’re living in an age where technology is developing ever so rapidly, the MeToo movement went viral on Weibo. Though it is ingrained in the traditional culture that it is a virtue of women to be submissive to the wishes of others, I would like to inform the public that it is acceptable to bring light on their harassers.

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Fight on for the Perfect Communist Society!

Somewhere in the middle of China, I was conceived on the side of a swampy road with sinister streetlights that seemed as if they were snickering. It was raining on that day. The sky clouded over to a suffocating grey. The wind picked up and fired bullets of soiled raindrops onto my delicate face. Water pounded on the stone pavement and drowned out my senses. But the distinct smell of dense dust hung heavily in the air and hurt my nostrils. I faintly remember someone crying. Maybe it was me, or maybe it was my mother and father. I didn’t know who they were – and I still don’t know who they are to this day. All I know is that they left me there, on the side of that swampy and muddy road, alone. Maybe they thought I was useless because I was a girl and I was not able to carry on the family name. Maybe it’s because they were unable to afford a baby. Well, either way, luck eventually found me and I was discovered by a very warming family. From then on, they took me to live in Shunyi. No one really ever expected me to become anything more than how my parents were. And definitely, no one expected me to become a part of the glorified Red Guards. Read my journal entries below to follow my journey.

At the end of any revolution, there are always countless changes that were caused by the conflictions. After the cultural revolution, people weren’t as extreme when others disagreed with Mao. For example, if you talk negatively about Mao, people won’t resort to violence to solve the disagreement. And of course, Mao is no longer present, but communism still is. People went to school again and high schoolers were allowed to graduate. Needless to say, there are also things that stayed the same. China was still led by the Communist Party. The Chinese’s respect and trust for the major leader groups haven’t changed. Chairman Mao is still remembered as the great leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China.

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Cultural Revolution

In the video above, we used ideas from the Common Craft crew and created a short explanation of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (文化大革命). The revolution lasted from 1966-1976. During this period of time, many people called the “Red Guards” tried to push the true Communist ideology onto everyone in China. The Red Guards were the supporters of Mao, and they killed anyone who dared to oppose them. These movements paralyzed China politically and negatively affected the country’s economy and society to a significant degree.

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No Place to Hide

The government is the leading icon of a nation. They are expected to follow laws, respect privacy, and use the trust and resources from its people to improve their country. But, what if the government goes behind the country’s back and abuse its power? What if the government is far from everything we’d expected it to be? People are supposed to be able to rely on the government for privacy and safety; however, the government is causing the issues as opposed to solving them. The government has been dragged into the light by a former member of the CIA, Edward Snowden. In the book No Place to Hide, Snowden has exposed how government organizations have been abusing their power to achieve or obtain objectives. I find it very appalling and despicable; therefore, that is the topic that will be discussed in this essay.

Many huge companies have been using their status and money to avoid the consequences of their actions. In an email exposing himself, Snowden said: “When marginalized youths commit minor infractions, we as a society turn a blind eye as they suffer insufferable consequences in the world’s largest prison system, yet when the richest and most powerful telecommunications providers in the country knowingly commit tens of millions of felonies, Congress passes our nation’s first law providing their elite friends with full retroactive immunity – civil and criminal – for crimes that would have merited the longest sentences in [] history” (32). Telecommunications providers are usually very secure and well-known. It’s understandable that they are very important and hold a lot of power in society; however, these government organizations should not use their resources to such extents as to sneak past the law. Even if they broke the law trying to accomplish an objective, it is still unfair for corporations to dodge these bullets. In this piece of evidence, we see that the telecommunications providers are using their wealth to bypass the law. They are using their connections with the government to avoid the consequences of the crimes they’ve committed. On the other hand, civilians are being punished for crimes that can’t even begin to compare with what the telecommunications providers have done.

In addition to government organizations abusing their power to surpass the law, “the NSA has also colluded with foreign governments to construct its far-reaching surveillance system. Broadly speaking, the NSA has three different categories of foreign relationships. The first is with the Five Eyes group: the US spies with these countries, but rarely on them, unless requested to by those countries’ own officials. The second tier involves countries that the NSA works with for specific surveillance projects while also spying on them extensively. The third group is comprised of countries on which the United States routinely spies but with whom it virtually never cooperates. Within the Five Eyes group, the closest NSA ally is the British GCHQ. As the Guardian reported, based on documents provided by Snowden, ‘The U.S. government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programs’”(118). It is normal for government organizations to form relations with foreign countries. But it’s unacceptable when these bonds lead to obtaining private and confidential information from innocent individuals. Government organizations are trusted by their civilians and should not use that trust to get the information they want behind people’s backs. This supports my main point because the NSA is using its power and relations to obtain information from people without informing them about the organization’s actions. And as I’ve mentioned before, the government has a lot more power and resources than the rest of the countries; and this makes it easier for them to use their privileges to achieve their goals.

To think that even our own government organizations would take advantage of their privileges and use it to invade basic privacy without informing the public is just so horrendous. Are government organizations trustworthy anymore? Were they ever trustworthy to begin with? All in all, many organizations have made many sickening and irresponsible decisions; however, I really do hope that they have understood the issues carried by their actions, and launch into restoring that safe environment for their citizens.

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A Constructive Katherine is Hard to Find

 

This was made using Canva.

The series of postcards above shows the internal conflict that the main character, Colin Singleton, was facing throughout the book. He was very conflicted between staying with Katherine XVII or moving on with his life. I decided to write to Katherine from the perspective of Colin to show how he has moved on and how he would like to thank her for all the wonderful things they shared together when they were a couple. I believe that I did pretty well for this month’s multimedia because I found quotes that showed the conflicts that Colin was facing and I showed how and why he overcame the issues that he was facing.

 

Citations for Tennessee stamp: 

“Cayuse Canyon, LLC.” The US50 – A Guide to the Fifty States, www.theus50.com/tennessee/stamp.php.

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Boxer Streets

 

My initial thoughts were that the Boxers were right to start a rebellion even though it was certain that it was going to fail. The Boxers were trying to protect their culture and that is understandable. Many had lost their jobs because of the different kinds of new machinery that were brought to China. People were in poverty and they didn’t want the westerners to influence Chinese people through trade. The westerners were not prepared for the uprising of the Boxers because they thought that the Chinese wouldn’t dare to kill the western officials. After all, the westerners had all the powerful troops and technology. And when the Boxers trapped the officials in the Tiananmen, the Relief Army sent reinforcements and they also killed many Boxers and other innocent Chinese citizens which was extremely unfair to the Boxers.

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Pride

Poem read out loud:

Citations:
Roagui, Alfredo. “NO MORE HATE! Pic.twitter.com/KAfKN5COjd.” Twitter, Twitter, 12 June 2016, twitter.com/roagui/status/742132980982919168.

 

 

I remember back to the summer of 1969 clearly,

I had just turned 16.

My grandmother came up to me at a wedding in New Jersey and said,

“Sometime, later in your life, you’re going to have a wedding just like this.”

I brushed it off, saying something along the lines of “aww, that’s sweet of you, grandma.”

But actually, I didn’t know how to tell her

that I wouldn’t be able to have a wedding at all.

That I’m suffocating in this dreadful façade that I’ve trapped myself in,

That really, I was infatuated with my best friend, Dodie

I thought that maybe if I drowned my feelings in deep pools

of disenchanting sayings and unaccepting lashes at my heart,

it would float up dead and blue.

That these feelings, tugging so hard at my mind,

would just disappear and leave me be.

And every time Dodie asked me about my opinions of her boyfriend,

my heart would tear into a million pieces that I would have to stitch back together

with quivering hands so that the parts of me

that don’t fit into the plaster of who I’m supposed to be

would be accepted.

I know what shame feels like,

I have coated myself with layers of gleaming ceramic glaze,

As if the best I could ever hope for was to reflect off someone else’s shine.

As if these parts of me were better off

Buried under layers and layers of magazines and newspapers and reports

Telling us that same-sex marriage is a disgrace to God.

Cringing at the mirror for hours,

Trying to find what makes me so different from the others.

What’s wrong with me?

I often asked myself,

feeling my mouth subconsciously gnawing at the sides of my cheeks where my teeth have left tunnels whenever I was scared or nervous of what people thought about me.

Free flowing feverish copper rolled against my tongue.

Do I have a loose skewer or two that made me lose my ability to function?

Why can’t I be like other people?

Why am I not normal?

Is it a phase? A choice? Is it etched deep in my DNA that I must be different?

Why doesn’t society accept me?

What is so wrong with me?

But it’s not in our nature to tear ourselves apart in front of the mirror,

it is in our bone marrows not to scorn shame into our blood

But to live boldly.

So now, here is my pride.

For every time I refused to allow the strangers on buses to

Smother out my burn to hold her hand with their

Stares of condensed chiffon carpets.

For every time someone told me “Wow, you don’t look gay”

And I didn’t say thank you.

For not taking being called gay as an insult,

But a compliment

For not showing my heart to those who wanted to see if my love was pure enough.

Because I already know their tactics and tricks from committing hate crimes against myself my entire life.

So when other people asked me why there is no straight pride parade, I tell them,

“You can’t be proud of something you’ve never had to fight for.”

Reflection:

I am really proud of how I presented the poem because I included a lot of emotion and actions. Although you will not be able to see my actions, you can hear me read my poem out loud because my poem falls under slam poetry, and it is meant to be spoken out loud. I also really liked how I made my poem a story and ended it with a meaningful sentence.

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Courageous Characters

The artwork above shows the theme of courage in the novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The theme of the book The Hobbit that my art is based on is courage. In this novel, the author, J.R.R Tolkien, has shown courage constantly throughout the entire book. At the beginning when Bilbo, the main character, refused to go on the adventure proposed by Gandalf, courage was shown when Bilbo “could not help feeling just a trifle disappointed” (Tolkien 34) when he thought the dwarves had left his home. The dwarves in this story were very adventurous; therefore, the fact that Bilbo felt disappointed when they left shows that he was beginning to become valorous. In some other parts of the story, characters made some very courageous actions. For example, when Bilbo Baggins was left behind in the goblin den and had met Gollum, a terrible creature that lurks in the dark, Bilbo was trapped and had to take a risk. When he was very hopeless and scared, a feeling came over him and “he trembled. And quite suddenly in a flash, as if lifted by new strength and resolve, he leaped” (102) over Gollum, who was blocking the only path. In this situation, Bilbo was very brave because he made the decision of escaping by jumping a great height over Gollum.

 

For my multimedia piece, I have drawn a picture of a girl with quotes from the book that show courage. The color of her dress represents boldness and strength. Since the dwarves and Bilbo overcame countless obstacles that were in their way to treasure, I thought that it was suitable to use the color red. The girl is also holding a shining stone that has captured everyone’s attention. This is the stone from the “Heart of the Mountain, the Arkenstone of Thrain” (268). It represents the wanting of treasure that motivated the dwarves and Bilbo to continue the journey no matter what came in their way. But as the group gets mesmerized by the Arkenstone, they don’t notice that they are becoming more courageous. This is shown in my artwork by the sparks around the characters.

 

Overall, the main theme of this story is courage, and the closer we get to our desires, the more lessons we learn because of all the obstacles that we had to get through.

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Heavenly yet Devilish Helena

The magazine cover above shows the personality of Helena from the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There are opinions of her from other characters, and there are several lines that show her personality. The photo that I have chosen for her makes her look very angry. This fits her because she’s very jealous of Hermia’s beauty and how Demetrius is only in love with Hermia. This was created using Pages.

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Best Friends or Boyfriends?

The evolution of same-sex rights in Europe, 1989-2017 || Link: https://maptitude1.tumblr.com/

Just a simple logo || Link: http://aryson.tumblr.com/

Homosexuality is something that a lot of us don’t feel very comfortable to talk about in public. People get criticized and degraded for when they “come out of the closet”, meaning that they are public about their sexual orientation. But this also leads to a lot of compelling and heartwarming stories that are worth your precious time to read, and I believe that Fan Art by Sarah Tregay is one of these books. The dynamic main character that I am going to talk about in this essay is Jamie. Jamie is insecure and afraid that people would judge him, but as he goes through different experiences, he becomes more open.

 

At the beginning of the book, Jamie, the main character was very shy, and he made sure that nobody knew that he was attracted to males. The protagonist would always pay attention to himself about the way he moves and the way he talks so that he wouldn’t blow his cover that he has built for many years.  For example, “I wait a minute to catch my breath and the last shred of my sanity before I follow Mason into the locker room” (Tregay 23). In this scenario, Jamie is trying to keep calm after realizing that he might be attracted to his best friend; but, he is afraid that by coming out to him, he might lose his best friend since childhood. There were also many moments in this book showed that Jamie didn’t know what makes a person a good father/partner. But what about “[Jamie’s] dad? He never married [Jamie’s mother]. They were college sweethearts, but after graduation, they found jobs in different cities and promised each other they’d work something out. They never did” (16, 17). Jamie and his father never got to interact with each other. They were “always on tectonic plates, slowly drifting apart, from father and son to nothing over the course of eighteen years” (17).

 

As the story progresses, Jamie becomes more open. He has come out to a friend instead of just his family. This helped him become more emotional and a little more outrageous than before. On his senior prank night, Jamie was “trying to absorb the fact that it’s midnight and [he’s] at school — and not with good intentions” (168). This shows that he’s beginning to accept the norms of high school because he agreed to go along with the plan. Later on, his best friend suggests that they go for a break. However, because Jamie has become more emotional, he had an outrage at his friend. “‘You thought what, Einstein? That this would be fun? That getting stuck on some two-lane highway would be fun?'” (201). In this example, Jamie uses a mocking term that he has never used in the story before: “Einstein”. Although Jamie has changed, he still has moments when he’s afraid of the outcome of his actions.

 

Jamie’s personality has developed immensely over the course of the story because of the new situations that he has been through. In the beginning, Jamie was unclear about what he really wanted for himself; but after coming out to a few close friends, he has grown confident and knows what he’s thinking. In conclusion, Jamie is no longer afraid of the controversy around homosexuality because of the expriences he has been through.

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