All posts by madisonhargis

About madisonhargis

Pronouns She/Her/Hers

Exercising Public Voice: The Pandemic and Physical Activity. Blog #4

Full disclosure before I begin this blog: I am not a doctor nor a dietitian. Everyone’s exercise needs vary. Please consult your physician with any concerns or questions.

When I thought about a public issue to discuss I found my mind wandered to heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity; while at the same time, I thought about how these issues and their antidote are portrayed on social media. As an American society we are always throw an antidote for such conditions by being advised to exercise, drink water, get enough sleep, and so on. I wrote a blog recently about the Tumblr girl era and how the mid to late 2010’s were infused with body-type aesthetics, eating disorders, and specific beauty features and standards.

Bottomline is exercise is great, and the latest conversation attached to the word “physical exercise” is how since the pandemic, we all walk and move our bodies significantly less.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-walking-exercise/2020/09/04/a5a2f5bc-dbfb-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html

Over the years I have witnessed a dichotomy surrounding exercise from the media and influencers and medial professionals. The first one: exercise in whatever way feels right to you, moving your body in any shape or form is beneficial to your health- That being said form health professionals. The second is this idea of working out to ultimately look a certain way (i.e, bbl workouts, rock-hard abs, slim thick figure.) I’ve seen and heard of these kinds of exercises for years from influencers, fitness celebrities, media outlets, and so on. There was and still is this glorified incentive to working is for the look you will achieve.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/health/good-health/2020/07/03/study-finds-people-taking-fewer-steps-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/

Don’t get me wrong, I lift weighs and love it. It’s my favorite exercise to do that also reliefs my stress, keeps me healthy, and my mind strong. But what bothered me for years was I pressured myself into doing one kind of physical activity and put it on a pedestal for the sake of how I will look. When I didn’t do it, I felt bad about myself. I say this because I think many people struggle with consistency and also feeling like they’re doing the “best exercise regime”. But in my opinion, that’s bull crap, and if you’re moving you body in a way that feels good, more power to you. So what’s this to do with the pandemic?

A: We were trapped inside spending way more time on social media being shown all different kinds of beauty standards. B: Most of us were physically moving less. C: This was a time where people were trying to workout or find a way to move their body while staying safe/at home.

My position is that its been hell the almost three years. Many people have faced weight gain, experienced a decline in their health, increased levels of stress and sleepless nights. And just like the slow process it has been of getting things back to normal in our world, it is the same for our physical activity routines. What we can do for ourselves is take the baby steps we know it requires, and get back to the basics. Let’s not overwhelm ourselves with all these lifting routines, intense pilates monthly challenge workouts, or HIT circuits to the point where it feels unattainable. Walking is amazing and many Americans have this as their #1 form of exercise. That said, move your body in whatever way feels right to you. I remember as an 8 year old girl I would get so sweaty and tired just from dancing in my basement for an hour. It was my favorite things to do. For some, certain people got back into a fitness routine during the pandemic because it was a wake up call or, they had more time on their hands. For others, they experienced less physical activity due to the closing of fitness centers.

You may have even met someone or know someone throughout the pandemic who found a new love for yoga or running and ditched traditional weight lifting or pilates. Truth is, it’s okay to shake things up and let go of something that isn’t working for you. As a society, let’s let go of this social media based perception of wanting to get abs, have the perfect gym-fits, and having a strict routine of doing a specific exercise. All of those things can end up burning us out and making us feel about ourselves. I understand that strict regimes may work for some, but as someone who gets bored with routine easily, I have to keep my workouts interesting and fresh.

This topic of fitness, physical activity and caring for you body isn’t to diminish or dismiss barriers and other challenges we may face that can keep us from being physically active or feeling like even trying.

My hope is that we can all find away to move our bodies in a supportive way that enriches our lives- Not just for a physical aesthetic or because we feel pressured for the sake of our health.

Did The Movie SuckerPunch Really Suck That Bad?

Writer and blogger Dodai Stewart for Jezebel.com titled an article, “Why SuckerPunch Really, And Truly Sucks.”

Before I dive in I want to thank my classmate Jerome for inspiring this blogpost! They have posted several blogs on movies and shows which motivated me to cover a favorite film of mine.

Dodai’s blog post about Sucker Punch caught my eye years ago when I was looking for articles about the movie in my teens. To my surprise I found that a lot of people hated the movie… until one day people didn’t. For whatever reason in current time the movie has increased in people having a positive opinion about it. But at the time when Dodai wrote the article many people shared the same reason why they loved and hated it: the sexualization of women. So what has changed the past almost 12 years since Dodai Stewart wrote that blog post? In summary their blog post says they should have just created an adult film and saved themselves the $82 million dollars to create the film.

I am going to cut to the chase and now begin sharing what I disagree wight Dodai on AND what I do agree with them on and can see their point.

I think that’s the point people are emphasizing today in 2022; a woman could fight crime or for her rights in a hijab, lingerie, a turtle neck, crop top, tank top, or sweatshirt. It is their body. And I don’t doubt that the writer agrees it this statement. This article was written literally 11 years ago. Why Sucker Punch Really, And Truly Sucks. And I get what Dodai means, this movie was in fact written and directed by a man, so it was constructed around the male gaze. I think this movie currently would be done different for the following reasons: it would likely be directed by a woman, the movie would be interpreted differently due to better writing, and women rights and activism has evolved the past 11 years.

“It’s like we talked about, you control this world. Let the pain go, let the hurt go, let the guilt go. What you are imagining right now, that world you control. That place can be as real as any pain.”

Women’s bodies in film was different then even compared to now. Are women still over sexualized in films? Yes. Is there problematic black and white themes such as they’re either the virgin or a vixen? Yes to that too. And likely at the time it did attract mostly men who were in it for the male gaze and sexual themes. But then also came women and people like myself who resonated with the film’s themes of mental health and resilience. I mean hey, I’m a woman and I like looking at other beautiful women! Yeah the movie is messed up in various aspects. It’s suppose to be. And yes the movie in certain ways is predictable. Movies don’t always have to have this mind blowing ending in order to be moving or entertaining.

Am I saying this is a film that is worthy of an Oscar or moves mountains? No. It is visually fun and tropey- as movies can be! It is dark, thematic, female driven and I love that. No, this movie is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have loved the way it has inspired me since I first saw it at 14 years-old. And yet- I see the point Dodai is making: do women need to be sexualized for everything they do? No, they do not. I would still watch a film like this in a heartbeat if the women were fully covered and not in the scenario of being exotic dancers working in a brothel.

What I loved: The themes of sisterhood and female bonding. 2) The concept of our inner worlds versus how we perceive the external world 3) How outrageously edited and theatric it was! It mirrored in a sense my own personal internal battles I faced at the time when I first saw this. To boil it down, I felt seen.

“If you do not dance you have no purpose. And we don’t keep things here that have no purpose. You see, your fight for survival starts right now. You don’t want to be judged? You won’t be. You don’t think you’re strong enough? You are. You’re afraid. Don’t be. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight.”

“Who honors those we love with the very life we live?
Who sends monsters to kill us, and at the same time sings that we will never die?
Who teaches us what’s real and how to laugh at lies?
Who decides why we live and what we’ll die to defend?
Who chains us? And who holds the key that can set us free?
It’s you…
You have all the weapons you need.
Now fight!”

If you can find the film or get the chance to watch it- why not! I cry every time at the end. It leaves me feeling empowered to go for things that scare me and challenge me. I also love the all the actresses and the female-power energy.

The 2010’s Tumblr Era Phenomenon.

As a person born in 1999 I grew up playing the sims on a dinosaur PC while my brother who is 13 years older than me played resident evil on his PS1. My two sisters who are ten and seven years older than me flooded their Myspace and Facebook walls with mirror selfies showcasing their Blackberry and Samsung flip ones. Before I knew it I was 13 and blindly launched into the social media era of Instagram and Snapchat in the year 2013. Along with that I was talking to strangers on Omegle.com (Yes, it’s as dangerous as it sounds) while interacting with other internet friends on the Kik app. Do I still have everyone comprehending the situation? This was the time when the floodgates opened introducing an entire new era of social media apps to the world and younger generations such myself.

Research is still studying the psychological effects of people my age growing up influenced by social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. People my age typically born between 1997-2000 were exposed to this new kind of social media overnight around an early pre-teen age and it was drastically different than good ole’ Myspace or AIM.

Fast forward a year and it is 2014. I was getting ready to go into my freshman year of high school. Around this time a newer website for blogging arose to popularity called Tumblr. It was a blogging website that blew up because they had blogs for literally everything. You name it. Cooking, K-pop, anime, TV shows, fashion, travel, grey’s anatomy, Lana Del Rey, even furries. Yeah.

Content Warning: eating disorders, mental health, and suicide

I could literally write a whole novel- probably an entire book series about Tumblr and its different niches along with revolution it caused on the internet for many teens. I amongst many other isolated and lonely teenagers found myself spending hours on Tumblr looking at blogs re-blogging posts, listening to music, reading stories, and searching hashtags. TW: Before Tumblr had a strict content policy nothing was off limits. Some of the blogs I came across as a teenager were disturbing.

I can recall specifically clicking on this one blog and although I am tempted to say its name I think I’ll just play it safe and leave it out even though the blog is long gone by now. But essentially the blog I stumbled upon was romanticizing the columbine school shooting and was obsessed with the two killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The blogger had endless gifs of them and scenarios written out about the two. I remember being shocked as I scrolled through their page. I decided to message the blog owner (another teenager like myself) trying to reason with them to get some help. To my horrific discovery there were plenty of other bloggers that were mesmerized by serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, and Jeffery Dahmer.

Algorithm is weird and yet it makes sense; you’re bound to come across pages other people in your circle follow. I was following blogs for soft grunge and other darker artistic pages.

Another blog I found on was a pro-eating disorder page. I was looking at all beautiful Tumblr girls in the soft grudges aesthetic when I saw the hashtag “#pro-ana”. The page was filled with skinny attractive girls while in between posts writing “encouraging” messages to keep themselves from eating. Pro-and means the promotion of anorexia and other eating disorders. Things such as, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” were plastered across the blog while also offering links to group chats were people banded together to “support” one another- if you catch my drift. https://lipmag.com/opinion/the-dark-side-of-tumblr/

These were the kinds of girls I found myself in awe over, trying to capture their likeness.

Lastly, this is no surprise and you probably could have assumed from reading my blog that Tumblr was also a space for adult content. You might ask, “Madison, how did you even end up on such pages?” Well, as I mentioned above, as a depressed teenager I found myself loving the grunge aesthetic and music scene. It was a way to express myself and escape. If you watched the video above part of the “aesthetic” was romanticizing mental illness and suicide. I’m not saying its right, it’s awful. But at the time a lot of the bloggers I followed were depressed and so was I. I was consuming content that was idealizing suicidal tendencies and pictures. At the time I found comfort and solace in following blogs that felt the same way I did.

If you are having any thoughts about taking your life or harming yourself please call the suicide lifeline at 988.

Nonetheless I stayed on Tumblr for another 4 years until 2018. I recently pulled up my old blog and scrolled through all my follows and photos I had accumulated on there over the years. All the old memories came rushing back in of who I wanted to be, and what I imagined my life would become. It wasn’t all bad- for real. Although this blog may appear to be a big downer Tumblr was a huge part of my life that showed me beautiful art, places, and gave me lots of inspiration. I eventually unfollowed many of the blogs as I found it wasn’t helping my situation.

In December of 2018 Tumblr enacted strict content policies on their website and many of the blogs I once saw slowly but surely disappeared and deactivated.

These seemingly perfect and beautiful (mostly white) girls were the aesthetic people across the world were trying to achieve. During this time was when Instagram models came to fame as well. This was the rise of when people became engulfed in capturing the perfect photos with the perfect outfits, hair, set-ups, aesthetics, etc. And then came the likes. It was about attention, the numbers, the comments, the follows, the re-blogs and the fame. Representation on Tumblr was few and far in between at the time for said soft-grunge era, so I am using images to represent the photos found during that time. As discussed above many body image issues arose during this time.

It feels weird now to be almost 23 and a trend that I lived and embodied is now being seen as nostalgic by people younger than myself. I literally got a clothing ad email today where it said “dress like Tumblr girl”. I was like, “oh my god. not again.” This is the first time I’m saying this but…I feel old. It’s kind of like how as a teen I romanticized the 2007-2012 emo phase that millennials went through. Well, needless to say I had my time in the sun with the Tumblr phase and the things that came with it. Good and bad. I had fun dressing the way I did, I enjoyed being creative an expressing myself during my teenage hood- I just wish I didn’t take everything so seriously is all. I wish I stepped out of my comfort zone more and didn’t stay in my bedroom all the time glued to Tumblr.com.

Thanks for letting me get all of this off my chest.

To end this, here are some treasured Tumblr photos of myself I took in my “grunge phase” back in early high school

Blog 1: Blogger as intelligent filter – Minnesota Indigenous people’s Blood Quantum

Good evening fellow students this is Madison here. I’m sitting at my dining room table typing this out on Labor Day. I wanted to begin my journey on blogging by sharing news local to our state of Minnesota. I have been following this story throughout the summer and the topic is on Native American blood quantum. In this context what this means is that in order to be a part of a Native American tribe the person needs to have at least 25% Native blood. As we know there are 11 federally recognized tribes in the state of Minnesota. Northern tribes are the Anishinaabe reservations are Grand Portage, Bois Forte, Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs. In Southern Minnesota the four Dakota reservations are Shakopee Mdewakanton, Prairie Island, Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux.

As a student who is white I want to make an extremely important note that this something I am sharing for educational purposes and bridging awareness from the articles to the blog. That is all. I see this as an opportunity to learn and further educate myself about the history of Minnesota’s Indigenous people.

On August 2nd nearly 7,800 Chippewa tribe members voted on a ballad as to whether or not they want to lift the rule that at least 25% Native blood is required to be a part of the tribe. About 70% of tribes around the U.S still have the blood quantum rule. However tribe members all over the Untied States- not just Minnesota, are sharing that they want their legacy to live on in their children and their grandchildren. Some member’s children of the Chippewa tribe at 1/4 blood which disqualifies them from joining. (Kraker, 2022) This is a widespread issue across the U.S that many member’s children and grandchildren are encountering. Voices from the Chippewa tribe are sharing that what blood quantum is doing is placing a restriction on family legacy. The vote is a non-binding referendum which means it is to weigh the opinions of the Chippewa tribe member’s and is not to necessarily execute the popular vote into action. In the end the popular vote was to remove the blood quantum restriction. This is allows people apart of Native American bloodlines to be a member of the tribe and partake in the culture and practices.

The history of the blood quantum comes from colonialist beliefs. In the 1930’s the federal government coerced tribes into a blood quantum agreement which ultimately decides if a person qualifies as a member. (Kraker, 2022) A woman said in article Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Votes to Remove Blood Quantum from Enrollment Requirements, “I am in support of changing blood quantum requirements that ensures enrollment protects our rights, citizenship, and resources,”. (Thompson, 2022) What is being talked about here is the undoing of colonial invasion. Power is being taken back by Minnesotan tribes and other Native American tribes across the United States. Since George Floyd’s murder in May of 2020 there has been an earnest wave of change sweeping across organizations, racial groups, and communities that are demanding justice and reformation not only for Black lives, but as well for Indigenous, Asian and Latinx lives. By dismantling laws and regulations made by colonizers to oppress, control, and silence the BIPOC community and other minority groups they can begin to have a voice not only for their own lives and communities but as well as on the world stage.

To end this blog if you have the time I highly recommend reading this article by Nancy Kelsey who is Anishinaabe. https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115113643/chippewa-tribe-members-in-minnesota-consider-whether-to-continue-blood-quantum

Bibliography:

Kraker, D. (2022, August 2). Chippewa tribe members in Minnesota consider whether to continue blood quantum. NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115113643/chippewa-tribe-members-in-minnesota-consider-whether-to-continue-blood-quantum 

Thompson, D. (2022, July 21). Minnesota chippewa tribe votes to remove blood quantum from enrollment requirements. Native News Online. https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/minnesota-chippewa-tribe-votes-to-remove-blood-quantum-from-enrollment-requirements