T. Clark: Melania Stuns Them All

melania_trump_escorted_by_a_u_s__marine_jan__20_2017

Image: Melania Trump In Gorgeous Tiffany-blue Dress retrieved from Wikimedia.org

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2017/01/20/melania-trump-inauguration-day-fashion-ralph-lauren/96825864/

The woman who’s been labeled many things before the inauguration, stuns many with her wardrobe on Friday. The First Lady of the United States, the now FLOTUS, wore a custom American designer by Ralph Lauren. Attending the church service at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House, the Tiffany-blue dress awed the crowd and left a classy taste in everyone’s mouth.

Melania Trump’s attire consisted of a dress that had a mock turtleneck, a cropped jacket (cashmere), a suede clutch, and she topped it off with her suede gloves and matching pumps. Lastly, she wore an updo that complimented her whole attire.

By Melanai carrying a new role, a stereotype that she will be held accountable for fulfilling  will come from her being First Lady. Often this role is classified as being the President’s right hand, after First Lady Obama greatly achieved this. The role that was once viewed as the husband’s shadow, now has higher expectations. The public ‘s view along the campaign of Trump has described Melania as quiet, a liar (due to her plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech), and a bit edgy or risky from  her  prior model career.

Throughout the three entire days filled with events, the now First Lady Melania has now been classified as mocking the trendy style of Jackie Kennedy. The mid-sixties style was splattered all over the once model’s style. Before her husband’s victory she was classified as everything but her now known title  as First Lady. The woman once viewed by her vulgar pictures, is now labeled as a fashion icon in many of the American’s eyes.

With Melanai Trump’s first fashion statement, this has shown Americans not only is she not just the typical First Lady by having her previous career as a model, but by showing she does not have the traditional family that many of the previous families have had. Her daughters Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump also followed by having on all white designer glamourous outfits. Let’s just say  that the Trump’s delivered what many thought could not be delivered .

 

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B Smith: Welcome to the White House

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet former president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meet former president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama

The Obamas Welcome Donald and Melania Trump to the White House Just Before Inauguration
As apart of American tradition, On January 20, 2017, president elect Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump met with former president and former First lady Barack and Michelle Obama on the White House steps. The new First Lady presented former First lady Michelle Obama with a gift of her own. Despite the awkward greeting between the two families, both families turned and faced the cameras as they took pictures and walked into the White House for tea. After their meeting, the two families headed to the inauguration.

During the meeting you can see the awkwardness between these two families. But one thing that is noticed during the greeting was the interaction between Melania Trump and Michelle Obama when Melania gave Michelle the ribbon tied present. Michelle’s face looked confused when she took the present and tried to find someone to take the present while posing for pictures. In fact, Michelle gave such a priceless facial expression it became a new meme for January and Twitter. Though this is comedy in the meme world, this encounter between the two ladies shows how shady women can actually be and sparks the questions, “Is there a hidden message behind the light blue Tiffany and Co. gift presented to former First Lady, Michelle Obama. In addition it shows the stereotype of Black women being rude and angry which Michelle Obama has been labeled during her time of serving in the white house.

Another stereotype that was noticed during the transition of power was the representation of the First Lady. The First Lady is the personal ‘right hand man’ of the president. During President Trump’s inauguration you can notice the relationship between not only the Trumps and the Obamas but between former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden and new Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence. When the ladies were escorted back to their husbands, First lady Melania Trump stood next to her husband as if she was a trophy, same with Vice President Mike Pence, while Former President Barack Obama, held and kissed the hand of his “First Lady”. Joe Biden mirrored the gesture with his wife as well. In addition to this observation, during the meeting President elect Donald Trump proceeds up the steps without even waiting on his “First Lady” to get out the car. President Trump’s actions differ from Former president Barack Obama’s first white house meeting in 2009.

From a model to First Lady, Melania Trump takes on an important role. According to Washington Post, Melania may be doing future first ladies a favor by not acting like a first lady. In addition, Melania Trump is the first First  Lady not to move into the White House on inauguration day since 1853. Washington Post also explains that Ivanka Trump could actually be the most powerful First Lady ever. Ivanka Trump has served a great deal in father’s campaign. According to Washington Post Ivanka Trump has already participated in calls and meetings between Trump and heads of state, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Argentine President Mauricio Macri. With this being said, this destroys the stereotype that non-spouse can not serve as First Lady which is not unlikely throughout presidential history.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/19/melania-trump-refuses-to-act-like-a-first-lady-good-for-her/?utm_term=.7a0812338c2e

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/12/16/ivanka-trump-could-be-the-most-powerful-first-lady-ever/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.82991e1b6a2a

R. Beja Myanmar child slavery

Myanmar ‘child slavery’ outrage sparks investigation

In countries like Burma and most of southeast asia human trafficking and slavery are very common practice, and in this article we will be discussing the themes and stereotypes portrayed by this story of two girls. The over all story for the article is that these two girls were sent away from their parent’s village to help earn money to help support the family. What ended up happening is that the girls were abused, mistreated, and beaten regularly. When the village and the parents finally went to the police for assistance they were turned away time and time again. The tone of the story paints a very dismal outlook for not only the girls in the article but the country as a whole.

It was not until a reporter became involved, Swe Win took the case to the national human rights commission and the United Nations started putting pressure on the local police to get involved and the girls were released, and their captors arrested. It just speaks volumes to how corruption, poor leadership, and a general sense of apathy is portrayed when the article deals with the government. It is sad that these girls were treated like they were by their captors.

Picture originally from AFP/Ye Aung Thuye Aung Thu obtained from BBC World

Picture originally from AFP/Ye Aung Thuye Aung Thu
obtained from BBC World

The girl in the photographs shows only her injuries. If you first look at her hands you can see the scars on her forearms most likely from a knife trying to cut her face and she covered herself with them. When you see her hands look at her fingers and how her fingers are gnarled and almost locked into place. That’s from multiple fractures to her fingers from being broken constantly most likely with a hammer because of the circular indentations in between her knuckles and forefingers. That young woman will probably never be able to use her hands again. Simple things such as even feeding herself, bathing, and even going to the bathroom will be a daily struggle for her. ‘What was her crime?’ One might ask in regards to seeing these photos. The answer is simply, ‘her cooking and cleaning,’ according to the article.

The fact of the matter is that even though the families were justified in asking for the captors to be brought up on charges, chances are that this is not the only story like this from Burma. It is rugged, rural third world, and the majority of its economy is based around the black market. Drugs, guns, human trafficking, and murder are a daily reality for countries like this. So while the journalist who fought to get the village help will get an award, and the girls are safe and healthy, the situation in the article appears to be hopeful. The reality however is extremely grim, and unless people continue to step forward and make waves like this it will not ever change. The easiest way to remember the tone that the pictures portray in contrast to the writing is best summarized by Edmund Burke, “Evil prevails when good men fail to act.”

For more information, please visit the BBC for the full article located here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37448243

R. Beja Julie Walters doesn’t want surgery

Julie Walters ‘a Hollywood freak’ for not having plastic surgery

     In the current culture of movies and television, it is clear that there is a certain formula that is almost inherent to a film or television program’s success. That is the image of the ideal view of women and men together on screen. The male characters range from a variety of stereotypes and backgrounds but typically share many qualities with their female counterparts. In that they are in the sense generally young and have an athletic build. This is especially true when looking at film studios in other countries. The whole world is striving for what their culture views as the ideal man or woman. The fact of the matter is that it is impossible to continue to be the vision of the ideal because people age. The article sheds light into British actress Julie Walters, and her views on the cosmetic surgery industry that has largely taken over places like Hollywood in America as well as film studios overseas.

     Walters explains the pay scale for female actresses tends to peak around the age of thirty-four while male actors top off usually at the age of fifty-one. She explains that generally Hollywood does not have endearing or memorable roles for older female actors in general, which is why many women in Hollywood feel pressured into getting cosmetic surgery treatments. Walters believes that it is unnecessary, and while she does feel like she is unusual for not wanting to get surgery. She feels it is unnecessary and feels comfortable in her own skin. This article mostly asks the age old question, “What does it take to feel comfortable in your own skin?”

     The quest for the ideal image is on going and will never end because in all honesty, it is unattainable. People get older and the stars you grew up with in your youth are either aging out and getting replaced or it has already happened. It is a fact of life when you are dealing with a visual medium of art and entertainment. Actors and actresses tend to try and hold onto their image as long as possible because it is how they make a living. The sad fact is that actors in general who do not get some type of facial surgery to lessen the visible signs of aging then they will find themselves replaced and unless they diversify into production, clothing, ads, or anything like that they will become less and less prominent in society and in show business you are either what someone wants or you are not. There really is not a middle ground as mentioned in this article.

     This article showcases the problem that all actors face at some point during their career. That is time will age them out of work. Some actors choose to hold onto their crafted image, a few much like Julie Walters believes that if they are happy with the way they look, then society should accept them as well. This article is a good example of how young female actresses especially are objectified for their looks and only given work in some cases as long as they can maintain that image against a truly unbeatable foe, time.

For more information, please visit the BBC for the full article located here: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-37350032

R.Beja: Corsica Upholds Burkini Ban

France burkini: Corsica court upholds local ban

Ever since the invention of the Burkini, there has been backlash from governments, the most outspoken of which is France. The purpose of the Burkini is to allow Muslim women the ability to go swimming, while at the same time keep with modesty requirements of their faith. The French government passed ordinances banning the wearing of the Burkini at beaches and pools due to the possibility of it being a threat to public order. This is for the lack of a better word absurd. The concept that a woman wearing a two piece full body wet suit basically is a threat to public order and decency is simply mind boggling. However, the issue is not the women in these swimsuits as much as the fact that they are Muslim women being photographed in some ways that are objectifying and even giving them sexualization akin to super models or adult film stars. When one looks at this like that it is clear to see why the rest of the world does not understand why the French government would step in about a swimsuit unless they look at everything especially the amount of terrorist attacks France has been subjected to in the last two years alone by Islamic fundamentalists.

Corsica, according to the article, has had an episode of violence and while the reasons for the brawl are unclear. The mayor and a local judge clearly felt that the strong emotions regarding this piece of swimming garb must be treated as a possible threat to public order which a mayor and duty bound representatives of the government are meant to enforce. A woman wearing a burkini is not the problem, and that is the issue the world is having on swallowing this. The problem are the contrast of French society and how the burkini is viewed as being largely restrictive, and almost as a symbol of oppression for Muslim women. The real question that should be asked, “In a society that is democratic and tolerant of other religions and cultures, where is that tolerance?”

The most common response is that the burkini is a problem to the French government, because it can lead to violence between Muslims and non-Muslim citizens. The article emphasizes that tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Southern France is at a record high especially after the attack in Nice which led to eighty-six fatalities. It further emphasizes that in Corsica Muslim women wearing the Islamic headdress tried to enter a nursery school and were turned away by parents. The tone of this article is very clear the French government really is trying to prevent another terrorist attack by Islamic terrorists on its own soil again. The community can say things such as it represents female oppression, or the liberation that female Muslims can finally go places they were never allowed to because of the limitations of the burka, but the bottom line is this was a political move from the beginning.

The problem is the approach to this article, in the sense that it down plays the history of past terrorist attacks in France which have led to laws the rest of the world sees as odd and bizarre. The fact is while the rest of the world sees images of Muslim women swimming and spending time with children, the French government is mostly worried how groups like ISIS view those images. One of the messages that can be taken away from this though is that, at what point of trying to preserve social order are you compromising the very values your government is supposed to stand for.

To find out more on this article please visit the BBC for the full story located here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37293201

R.Beja: Great Britain Troubles

G20: Theresa May faces Brexit trade Pressure

Ever since Great Britain decided to leave the European Union and no longer link its economy to that of countries in the E.U., there has been some backlash as a result that was felt at the G20 trade and economic summit. Mostly, it can be summarized as this, if Great Britain can in fact survive and even prosper as its female prime minister Theresa May believes without being involved in the E.U. The main stereotype is just how well Prime Minister May stacks up against other successful British females who have held the reigns of power such as Queen Elizabeth who was arguably one of the most powerful and successful monarchs in British history and more recently Margaret Thatcher who led the United Kingdom during 1979-1990 and help establish the current economic trends that Great Britain is largely following today Prime Minister May has a lot to live up to in terms of expectations.

The article focuses on inter economical relationships between not just countries that are on the U.N. Security council but also other countries besides countries in Europe. The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom since the country left the European Union, the United States will not prioritize the United Kingdom for a trade deal if given the choice between a stronger and more viable European Union agreement. The United Kingdom still has strong diplomatic and military ties to the United States and both President Obama and Prime Minister May wish to continue this trend into the future, however, President Obama stated that the United Kingdom will have to wait in line in terms of trade negotiations. What this can do with diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom is anyone’s guess but for the most part old allies seem to be extremely skeptical of the new image Prime Minister May is trying to portray that Great Britain can, and will thrive as a large player in the world free trade market.

The exception was the relations with China. Hong Kong has been a major trade port for most of South East Asia ever since it was a British colony. The Chinese government is still willing to maintain strong economic ties with the United Kingdom even though they are not part of the European Union any longer. The United Kingdom was even being marketed to China as “the gateway to Europe,” by David Cameron and George Osborne. That means that while China still has some skeptical tones about financial reliability, they seemed to be willing to embrace the new direction Prime Minister May is taking her country. Politically, this could mean a slightly more favorable economic and political climate with the communist super power.

Even when dealing with Russia it is clear that most of Europe feels uneasy about trading with the United Kingdom. There is a lot more risk now that it’s economy is no longer linked to other countries and the political, social, and economic ramifications of the U.K. severing its ties with the E.U., are just now being beginning to be felt. Prime Minister May is putting on a face and tone of confidence befitting a head of state, but at the same time she is doing what she can to ensure the economic survival of her nation and attempting to ensure that it still has a role to play in shaping the events of the world. Needless to say that is no simple task especially when most if not all of the countries her nation relies upon for economic trade and support have basically been hesitant and skeptical to say the least about any form of an arrangement.

To find out more on this article please visit the BBC for the full story located here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-37269916

R.Beja: Pilipino Government Assassins

This article from the BBC involves the current Drug War in the Philippines. In this article women are being recruited, trained, and contracted by the government to kill drug dealers, pushers, and suppliers. This is part of the Pilipino government’s war on drugs. When one looks at the measures that the government is willing to take to send a message to those involved in the narcotics trade this is not just a war that involves arrests, seizing money and drugs, this is about shutting down the network and logistics through covert assassination. This is a full on war where the soldiers are not only police but civilians given briefings on their targets and then carry out government sanctioned killings.

The fact that President Duterte is even quoted as saying as a threat to drug dealers, “Do not destroy my country, because I will kill you.” It is clear that the president took those words very seriously with the inaction of this new policy. The problem however, as the President Duterte later reveals is that the problem is that the government is involved in the drug trade including the police and even some judiciary officials. It is easy to see that the assassination teams will most likely never target anyone high on the organizational chart of these drug lords. It seems almost as if this is just being used as a form of scare tactic against the drug traffickers.

It is clear that there is some similarities between the drug based corruption in the Philippines and countries like Mexico and other South American countries. The biggest difference in this story however, is that this is treated as a paid government contract. It is almost as if these groups of mostly women who are being used are being singled out due to certain characteristics, and then transformed into covert operatives meant to strike fear into the hearts of other drug dealers. When it is very possible that they are simply removing rival dealers from the local kingpin’s territory.

The women who are recruited are usually from rural, poor areas of the Philippines, and lack a formal education. These women to be honest are used based on their ability to blend into a crowd. They tend to not arose as much suspicion when getting near a drug dealer or someone in the drug trade as a male would. While they maybe women that does not mean that they are any less deadly than a male. A bullet can kill you regardless of who pulls the trigger of the weapon. The issue with this program is that in a way these women are being taken advantage of.

They are forced to split their pay between the team after a mission is complete and when the pay for a contract which is 20,000 Philippines pesos which amounts to around $430 per target. So each member only gets around $143.33 or less per target, for people who have very little, this is a lot. However, when the math is all said and done, it really does beg the question that is a human life really worth that, even if he or she is a criminal? The worst part is that much like the sex trade, it is very difficult to get out of this program mostly due to intimidation; as well as fear of reprisal from the families of the victims of the assassins. It is difficult to not view the assassins as victims themselves. They are basically trained to become predators, given very little in terms of financial support, and are required to live in certain areas. Even if they saw the money offered as a way to improve their lives and themselves, the only thing they ended up doing was to become contract killers on the payroll of their own government. The assassins had little choice but to go from contract to contract, and sooner or later they will realize they gave up part of their souls to be judge, jury, and executioner for a compromised government trying to fight a secret civil war within itself and calling it a war on drugs.

To find out more information on this article please visit the BBC for the full story: Philippines drugs war: The woman who kills dealers for a living