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Male Characters Worthy of a Crush

It’s a common occurrence to have an audience member have a crush on a character and the actor that portrays them. When Wonder Woman came out and I, along with many, many others had a crush on Chris Pine that grew experientially after seeing his portrayal of Steve Trevor. This made me wonder about my character crushes and I realized a connection:

TITANIC 3DMy first big crush on a character was Jack Dawson from Titanic and the actor that beautifully played him was Leonardo DiCaprio. I was 9 years old seeing it three times in theaters, I got the movie for my birthday and I had posters of him and of that film all over my room.

Soon after, I saw Out of Sight (my parents let me see Rated R movies all the time and I still remember my dad just wanting to see anything but Titanic again). Jack Foley played by the suave George Clooney quickly became competition for Dawson/DiCaprio.

 

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Then at 14 years old, an independent British film hit the world full force, Bend It Like Beckham and the coach, Joe played by the sweet but tough Jonathan Rhys-Meyers came into view. Fast forward to present day and Chris Pine is playing the dashing yet humble Steve Trevor. Do you see a pattern? Because I do.

These four characters share a lot of characteristics that I admire and that isn’t even touching on the physical attributes. The film industry is notoriously known for its lack of diversity. All of the actors in these films are Caucasian and handsome. Let’s put that aside and dig into what else the characters have in common: they support and encourage the women they love.

There are several scenes that stand out to me. In Titanic, Jack sneaks Rose away from her family to the gym and begs her through pointing out her flaws as well as her attributes, to stay strong and leave her fiancé. “Sooner or later, that fire that I love about you, Rose, that fire is going to burn out.” This isn’t an entirely selfless declaration, he wants her to be with him but first he wants her to be free from the shackles she is put in. I remember seeing this in 3D when the film was released in 2012 for the centenary of the Titanic. I am no longer a little kid, I am an adult, I have been on dates, I have seen marriages and divorces, but after watching this scene on the big screen, I found myself falling in love all over again with Jack Dawson. Here is the unforgettable clip:

In Out of Sight, Jack Foley is a felon and Karen Sisco is a US Marshall looking for him. When they meet up, they decide to put pause on the cat and mouse chase and for one night, they pretend to be just strangers who find each other attractive and spend the night together. Afterwards, Karen feels regret that she has been used by the cunning felon and confronts him. He sees that she is upset, that she is unsure of their situation and how he views her and he responds in the most honest way:

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“I know a guy…walks into a bank with a bottle, tells everybody it’s nitroglycerin. He scores some cash off of the teller. On his way out, he drops the bottle. It cracks on the floor. He slips in it. He smacks up his head. They get him. The nitroglycerin was canola oil. I know more fucked-up bank robbers than ones that know what they’re doing. I doubt one in ten could tell you where the dye pack is. Most bank robbers are fucking morons. For you to go to bed with one for kinky thrills, like you were saying, makes you as dumb as they are. Now, you are not dumb. Why would you think that? Why would you think that I would think that?

That last line always got me. All the insecurities wash away and you see that he really cares for her and thinks highly of her. This one night was not meaningless, it wasn’t a con. It meant something to him, just as much if not more than for her and he doesn’t think any less of her.

Joe in Bend it Like Beckham continuously pushes Jess to do her best, to share with her family and friends her talent, passion and ambition. He also does his best to respect her culture, even winning over her family in the end. I come from a big family and to see a man spend time with this big, Indian family even though she is not there meant that he genuinely likes to be there with her family and would do anything to make her happy.

wonder-woman-and-steve-trevor-in-london-988477-1280x0Then there is Steve Trevor, from his respecting Diana’s wishes to thinking of others, it was two hours of a pretty perfect guy. For more, this post explains it pretty much. 

All of these men want the best for the women they love.

Another reason why I think I am drawn to these four characters so much is that the women they love are so strong with imperfections. All of the women, Rose, Karen, Jess, Diana are stubborn, struggling between duty and wanting more, their male counterparts do not use their weaknesses against them but try and show them how to strengthen those weaknesses for their own good.

These are just four examples of male leads who are a girl’s dream (they for sure are for me). They are well developed, played beautifully by talented actors and the best part? Their female leads are just the same. I hope to see more of these kinds of love stories, where there is mutual respect and encouragement. For now, I will always have a crush on Leo’s Jack, George’s Jack, Jonathan’s Joe, and Chris’ Steve as well as striving to be like Rose, Karen, Jess and Diana: strong, independent and loved women.

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Film, TV

Have Women’s Roles in Media Influenced the Real World?

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A publicity show for Double Indemnity

There’s an argument that media has an effect on the people’s perception of reality. Media’s history of portraying female characters in film and television have kept them as mostly one dimensional and supporting roles. They have been the housewives, moral supporters for their husbands such as in The Dick Van Dyke Show. In films, they have been portrayed as femme fatales or in essence, sexual objects that need to be rescued in some form such as in Double Indemnity or Chinatown.

In the real world, since the moving pictures began, the world has gone through a lot. Two world wars, technology advancing faster than ever before, and the changing role of women. Females wanted not only to be doing more, they wanted the media’s representation of them to add more to what was going on in reality.

Over the years, there have been changes in the media’s portrayal of women. Women played more leadership roles such as Murphy Brown or Working Girl, where the main female character’s priority was her career. Women were shown in more powerful roles, instead of being the damsel in distress, especially in the fantasy genre. Characters like Buffy from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Xena in Xena: Warrior Princess showed young women and men that the girl can be the one to save the world time and time again.

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Detective Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

 

In recent years, we have had a stronger presence of female characters. They are multidimensional, and they come from a wide range of professions and personalities. There is the strong but surrounded by personal problems lawyer, political fixer, Olivia Pope on Scandal; the unapologetically girly-girl doctor, Mindy Lahiri in The Mindy Project; and we watched as strong and empathetic Detective Olivia Benson became a Lieutenant on the long running show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

What does this mean for media and its audience? If the argument is true, then this change of more multi-faceted female characters can help people see reality in a different way. Women can be strong, independent, smart workers and leaders. They can also care about relationships, just like many male characters have for so long in media.

If the range of female characters continues to grow, the idea of a femme fatale or damsel in distress will slowly start to change into more equal standing with the main male characters. Shows that showed men and women working together, using each others strengths to achieve a goal proved to be popular. Watching the dynamics of the journalists in The Mary Tyler Moore Show or the partners in The X Files represented a small window of what media can bring to light. Women can be the smart person in the room, and they can also work together with men, to compliment each other to achieve a greater good.

The role of female characters is in constant change and hopefully,  people’s attitudes towards women in the real world will change as well. As someone who grew up during the days of Buffy, Xena and Olivia Benson, I want this trend of strong female characters to continue. I wanted to be a writer and work in media production because I knew there is more than just what meets the eye. The femme fatales in classic Hollywood films were always the most interesting part for me but alas, we never learned their stories. We just knew that they moved the story forward for the male counterparts. Today, it is changing and I hope to be a part of that change too.

*Originally for Women on the Map.

The Baha'i Faith

A Human Rights Case for Digital Media: The Persecution of Baha’is in Iran

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Imagine not being able to go to college, let alone graduate school. Imagine not being able to get a government job or owning a business. Imagine not being allowed any legal rights or representation. I hope this is hard for you to imagine, I hope this never becomes the case for you. However, for Baha’is in Iran, this is all too real. While the persecution of Baha’is has never stopped since the faith started in Iran in the 1800s, the severities have changed over the years.

The Baha’i Faith was founded in the mid-19th century in Iran; its main principles are that there is one creator, oneness of religion and oneness of mankind. When it first began, they were brutally tortured and publicly executed. Over time, the killings stopped but there were still rumors, children were picked on and there was a constant stigma of being a baha’i. However, when the Shah was overthrown and during the Iranian Revolution in the 1980s, the brutality of torture and murder in large numbers came back. One reason is that in the Baha’i Faith, there is no clergy and the growing power of the clergy in Iranian politics found the faith as a threat. Global media attention brought this persecution to light and the government stopped killing them however baha’is are continuously not allowed basic human rights such as education or voting.

Baha’is only want peace and unity so obeying the government laws where they live are principles that Baha’is must strive for. Since the Iranian law does not grant them rights as they believe in a faith that happened after Islam, they cannot do anything about it. However, other countries are helping us change that. The US and New Zealand governments, among many others have tried to help bring rights to Baha’is in Iran; Iran signed the Declaration of Human Rights, one of the rights is the right to freedom of religion. Yet the persecution persists without an end in sight. The US House of Representatives has been working on getting House Resolution 220 passed. This resolution, “Condemns the government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” Other countries are working on similar acts and they have helped but there needs to be more media coverage to bring awareness to this injustice.

After the Iranian Revolution and well into the 1980s, Baha’is were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered without any justice. Once there was the help of the worldwide media, they are no longer being killed but they still can’t go to school. Without education, their possibility of prosperity and taking care of their families diminishes. This is a systematic way of destroying a faith and it’s followers. Not only that, but Baha’is are continuously being imprisoned, without any legal representation. All of this is due because the religion started after Islam was established, therefore, the Iranian government decides Baha’is are heretics and do not deserve basic human rights.

Many Baha’is escaped Iran and have not been able to go back home for fear of being imprisoned. My mother didn’t know that when she went left Iran to Paris for school, it would be the last time she would see home. While as an American, I have the right to practice my faith, a chance to continue my education which has led me to Georgetown, none of this would have been possible if my parents didn’t get out when they did. My mother would never have been able to own her business; my father would have never been able to go to law school.

My years spent spent traveling around the world and bringing awareness through videos and social media on the persecution of Baha’is in Iran gives me drive and purpose. The more we educate ourselves, the better our lives will be. In Iran, they decided to stop the Baha’is from progressing by stopping our education. Without worldwide awareness and pressure, nothing will change.

Digital media has allowed Baha’is and their friends to speak out against the injustices and it has helped. Continued endeavors by government and private citizens all over the world using the media will bring steps to ending this persecution hopefully, once and for all.

You can learn more about the issue and what you can do to help here.

Works Cited

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, “H.Res.220 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Condemning the Government of Iran’s State-Sponsored Persecution of Its Baha’i Minority and Its Continued Violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.,” legislation, (May 20, 2015), https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-resolution/220.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Qajar-dynasty

*Originally for gnvois.
Europe, TV, Uncategorized

The Spanish Game of Thrones

I spent a 9 days in Spain where I got to visit four Game of Thrones locations. In honor for the upcoming season, I want to share where and how to go see some of the most famous places of the series in Spain:

Dorne aka The Alcázar of Seville

Visit the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe, which is also a World Heritage Site. It is also the place that is the location for the fictional place of Dorne from the popular tv show, Game of Thrones. It is in the city center and is very popular. I already wrote about how there is a cafeteria and plenty of gardens to relax and spend a couple of hours to see beauty.

About three hours away from Seville is the The Alhambra in Granada.

This is where the show originally wanted to film Dorne. However, the Alhambra is the biggest and most visited monument in Spain with about 9,000 visitors a day. It proved too expensive for the show to close it down for the several weeks needed to film and so they “settled” with The Alcázar of Seville. Still, visiting the four palaces and hearing the history of the Alhambra is well worth it and to see what could have been for the show.

The Tower of Joy aka Castle of Zafra

Rent a car and take a two and a half hour drive from Madrid to the castle that is the place for the famous Tower of Joy scene (well at least the exterior). It is a 12th-century castle located in Guadalajara. You have to go through a very rocky road uphill, take it slow but eventually you will see the castle. Reenact the scene from season 6 (I got to direct two other fans playing the parts, a geek’s dream come true). The castle is privately owned and unfortunately you cannot go inside the castle but there is tons of history. There is a board in Spanish that explains it. If you are a fan of the show and the books, it really is a thrill to see the chosen real life location for such an important even in the stories.

Italica aka Season 7 will reveal

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The Roman city and well preserved amphitheater, the third largest in the Roman Empire at the time is the setting for an unknown setting for season 7. I went a month after they finished filming in the early winter, 2016. Not much is known about this location but being a 45 minute bus ride from Seville, there is still a lot of history to learn. Only after the show airs will I (and the rest of us fans) learn what Italica was used for. Until then, we can only speculate. I theorize it has something to do with Daenerys and her dragons.

There are so many places in Spain that the show uses to film. I was happy to have gotten to see three locations and the Alhambra. All of them are historic in their own right, for centuries standing and hase it’s own stories. For us fans, there is an added element to be where the show’s fiction becomes slightly real.

Social Media

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Writing Surveys

not-see-1404401_1280Creating surveys to better your business can be really beneficial. Making sure your survey is easy to read, to answer and avoid confusion is key. Here are three big no-nos:

Double-barreled questions

This is really unnecessary and annoying, right? Basically, don’t ask two questions and force them to give one answer. It really doesn’t save time, it can even hurt your results. For instance, for your restaurant, do not ask: Do you wish we had more chocolate options and service was nicer.

Instead you can ask:

  1. Do you wish we had more chocolate options?: Yes or No
  2. Do you think our service could be improved? : Yes or No

Leading questions

They really are the worse, don’t you agree? The point of a survey is that you want to learn an unbiased opinion or experience. Leading questions don’t allow that to happen. It can be hard trying to plead your case to something. However surveys aren’t about that. You want to know the truth and you can handle the truth!

Bad Example: We spent a lot of time and money on our website, was it easy to use?: Yes or No

Good Example: Was the website easy to use?: Yes or No

Avoid double negatives

That wont do you no good. If you had to reread that last sentence, I prove my point. To make an effective and quick survey (the faster it takes them, the more inclined they will participate), you need to be very on point.

Bad Example: Long lines are bad, aren’t they?: True or False

Good Example: In your opinion, the wait line is too long: True or False

If you avoid these three mistakes, you will get the most out of your survey. There are other things to help your survey. Being aware of these three is a good place to start when you first create your survey. The takers will not be confused or annoyed. You get the answers you need to make the most effective changes to progress your business.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.
Social Media

The Appeal of Anything Quick

clock-1527700_1920Why would someone want to give out a survey? Particularly for a business, it can help better their services for customers. Perhaps you would get more customers if your prices were slightly lower. You might find out that people tend to come to your store on Tuesdays rather than on Saturdays. Basically, you make a survey to get results. All of these can help you and your business do better.

So how do you get people to pay attention to you? The obvious choice is creativity but another key is quickness. The chances of anyone taking longer than three minutes out of their day to listen to you is getting slimmer. Therefore, anything that can help you get your message out there quickly is an asset.

Enter Qrvey: the free, quick survey making tool. Now, how much time do you want to take making a survey? Chances are, not a lot. Most survey makers at Qrvey take less than 4 minutes.

How much time does someone want taking a survey? As short of a time as possible! Again, with Qrvey, it takes about 60 seconds, that’s it!

No one’s time or money is wasted. The qrvey maker first has to narrow down what they really need to know. Then they can send it out to as many people as they want. The qrvey taker takes less than a minute to contribute. The results are given easily and quickly. Everyone’s a winner.

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For you and your business, how much time do you want to go over all the answers? Analyzing results and quantifying them is not the best part of surveys. Qrvey takes care of that too! All the analytics, the most popular answer, popular times people took the survey, who answered what, all of this is give to you simply and quickly.

Don’t forget that Qrvey takes care of all the steps with you and for you for no charge! From making the survey, sending it out, taking it, organizing the results – we offer it all for free! You don’t have to spend any money and spend very little time to help your business! The best things in life can be free!

So take two minutes out of your day to create an account and start your own survey, now.

*Originally from my internship at Qrvey.