Why I Converted as an Adult

How God Cured my Anxiety

By Cassie Rodriguez

Never in my life did I think I’d be able to say I’m interning with the firm planning the Grammy Awards. Never in my life did I think I’d get to move to NYC for a semester for college credit, and never did I think I’d become such a follower of God.

If you had asked me a year and a half ago if I’d be a rosary-bearing, cross-wearing, newly Baptized Catholic, I’d laugh in your face. Loudly. Coming from a non-religious family and having never been to church, converting at age 20 is just an odd occurrence.

If you told me that I’d have my last year of school completely paid off *and* still be able to come up with the funding to go to NYC, I’d probably cry. Because it’s still so incredibly insane to me that this is happening.

All in all, I worked tirelessly for the past three years racking up scholarship money, spending my income tax on summer school, doing the best I can in my classes and working multiple jobs while going to school full-time for this to be possible. From starting off in a completely different major (music school dropout) to being able to have room to take a semester ‘abroad’, I can testify that absolutely amazing things happen when you let go of anxiety, trust in God and quite literally let Jesus take the wheel.

I don’t say this because only good things have happened to me, because that is definitely not the case. In fact, it’s just the opposite. 

I’ve had my fair share of roommate nightmares, academic struggles, money shortages, trust issues and anxiety attacks since choosing to believe. I’ve had to fear not affording to finish school and I’ve had gradual revelations of who truly cares for me and who doesn’t when things get difficult. I started taking RCIA (adult conversion classes) exactly a year ago, and since then life has been a roller coaster that will not slow down.

Through the good and the bad, I trusted God. When I was being harassed and verbally abused by ex-roommates, I trusted God. When I didn’t know if I was good enough for the New York program, I trusted God. When I was struggling financially, I put all of my trust in God, unfailing. When I had no idea where I was working this summer, I trusted God. When I seriously damaged my car last month, I kept my trust in God (after freaking out for a few days.) When weeks had gone by and I hadn’t heard from not one internship, I kept my faith. And sure enough, God did provide.

I have genuine, amazing new friends and sorority sisters that I can trust and be myself around. I am free of my awful previous living situation. I got my entire last year of school paid off through additional scholarships and grants that I earned this past year. I’ve experienced so much growth and success in my major, and was even selected to be an ambassador for the school of Journalism, PR & New Media and received a departmental award and scholarship. I am set to go to New York in the fall with a PAID internship. I have a perfect job with a well-renown (and ethical) company, complete with kind coworkers who care so much about me and my future, and a boss that I love- and it’s gonna be extremely hard to leave.

God is not a wish machine. God is the reason I no longer need weekly counseling sessions to overcome my anxiety. God is the reason I can work hard without worrying about what’s next, and where I’ll be. God chose to lead me to him now as an adult, and not a moment sooner or later. While I sometimes (well, often) think that I should have known him earlier, I know that the timing was perfect. God is the reason I did not ever give up, but instead pushed myself even harder when it seemed like there was no solution to my problems. When all else failed, I clung to God and trusted him with everything I had. And I actually ended up alright. The more I learned about my savior and the sacrifices he made for me, the more I realized that I shouldn’t worry the way that I do. Every struggle I’ve had and every struggle I will have is all part of a bigger, greater plan, and I don’t have to stress over the smallest details anymore. God will do wonders for you, and the greatest thing we can do in return is be faithful to his word and to love him irrevocably. When you take away the politics (which was never meant to be involved anyways), this is a beautiful, pure religion that I have chosen to convert to- coming from a completely clean slate. And I couldn’t be any prouder of my decision.

It is God who equips me with strength and makes my way perfect – Psalm 18:32

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Initial Feelings (Blog Post 1 for GRM)

by Cassie Rodriguez

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When I first signed up for Gender, Race and Media, I was so excited and thankful that I could finally take this class. Ever since I found out freshman year that our department even offers this class, I’ve always wanted to take it. However, as a recent transfer from the school of music, I wasn’t sure if my degree plan would allow for me to take more of the fun classes until later on. Or really, until my last year here. Upon finding out that GRM would be offered during a semester where it would actually fit in my schedule, I was overjoyed. And here is why.

This class and what we learn in this class are so much more important that we can even say. Especially now, when so much tension between races and genders exist, and the social climate of our nation is undergoing massive change. It is vital for us to not only be in tune with what is happening, but to also educate ourselves on the concepts of prejudice, stereotype and framing, all of which (and much more) we have covered in this class.

 

I walked into this course already knowing what I wanted to write about for my research paper. While I have never done a research paper of this volume before, I plan on doing my best to make my paper up to par. My topic is the sexualization of Hispanic women in media and what effects they have on younger media consumers and their views on these women. This is an issue that has been on my heart for quite some time, and I feel like it really needs to be looked at in greater detail.

It all started when I was looking for what defined a Latina and what defined a Hispanic woman, and more importantly what the difference is. This was maybe two years ago or so, but that was when I discovered the horror of simply searching that one word: Latina.

Latina. It has somehow become a dirty word, a filthy image. Latina. Just hearing the word can invite dirty thoughts nowadays. The meaning has evolved from a definitive term of proud heritage and feminine strength to something almost directly pornographic and explicit. I was appalled. Who said that this was okay? When did this happen? Why is this happening?

More importantly, how does this affect young women and how they view and value themselves? I feel like this is a very important discussion to be had, and I am very excited (but also nervous) to explore this topic in further detail. I also want to look at the positive aspects, and what is being done to stop negative views of Latinas and harmful stereotypes. Honestly, there is so much to be studied, but I have never felt like anything I have studied has been this important.

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Asian Moms and their Stereotypes

Representations of Asians on YouTube and in media

by Cassandra Rodriguez

Asians moms, like all moms in general, are often caricatured and stereotyped in media, as we found out in chapter 6 of our textbook.

Moms have always been the center of most family drama and scrutiny, however, when that family happens to be Asian, the mom role takes on a whole new set of expectations and mannerisms that are otherwise foreign to non-Asian media consumers.

Tiger Mom

While there are many YouTube videos and Vines that poke fun at these stereotypes, many Asian Americans find that most of these stereotypes and exaggerations are based on a certain degree of truth– which is what makes them so entertaining.

While for non-Asians, these types of videos serve as comedic exposure to the realities of others, for Asians they serve as a way to laugh about how true these stereotypes are.

These videos above are part of a multi-video series created by the Fung Brothers about the many different things Asian parents say and do. I have watched all of these videos, and have found that Asian moms generally have the following characteristics:

  • Being very frugal with money (cheap, saves every bit of food and doesn’t use the AC)
  • Being very strict with their children in terms of academics and behaviors
  • Having high expectations for the future of their children’s (Doctor only mentality)
  • Being hypercritical of their children (physical appearance, friends, expecting perfection)

In the media, Asian women often fall under the Tiger Mom or China Doll stereotype, meaning that their characters are often either strict mothers or pretty faces, but not much else. Other times, they are given the Dragon Lady stereotype, as seen in these movie stills.

Dragon Lady

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In movies, Asian women are hardly on the side of the protagonists. The Dragon Lady stereotype portrays Asian women as being highly skilled in martial arts, often as sexy villains who are dangerous but beautiful. Another thing to note is their general mannerisms- they are quiet, speaking little to no words, and often speaking in their native language when they do. They are cold, unfeeling, unkind and only have their own interests in mind. Hu Li from Rush Hour 2 is a great example of this stereotype. She is a spy on a mission to kill agent Carter and agent Lee, and does so by being manipulative, stealthy, and ruthless, often showcasing her mastering of martial arts.

Model Minority

Asians generally have the “model minority” label on them, as it is often portrayed in media that Asians study hard and make the best grades. Culturally, this stereotype can sound very positive, but can actually have negative effects on Asian children.

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With this model minority label, Asians can experience more pressure than other races to perform well academically and be perfect. This high expectation can cause them to question their worth if they perform less than flawlessly, and beat themselves up for underperformance in school and even in music skills or extra curricular activities. It can also result in them being disliked or outcast by their peers.

In The Proud Family, the Chang triplets are a perfect example of this stereotype. They are known as being the smartest kids in school, and are naturally gifted at everything. Penny and her friends consistently express their annoyance and dislike for the triplets. Their successes are often obnoxious and aggravating for the other kids. Sadly, as a result of this, the Chang triplets do not have any real friends, other than each other.

Asian Diversity 

Another problem in media is that Asians are often represented as a single nationality– often Chinese or Japanese. The “Asian” label lumps together dozens of different nationalities and cultures, when in fact they are all vastly different and unique from one another.

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To simply categorize all of these countries and their cultures as a single, unified culture ignores the fact that Asians come in many different colors, sizes, backgrounds and faces.

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It is important that we recognize these differences and educate ourselves on the diversity of Asian people. Asians represent a majority of the world’s population and 49+ different countries, and should not be culturally limited to a single or even a few stereotypes.

 By Cassie Rodriguez

“We want more actors of color in roles that don’t continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes.” – Gina Rodriguez

A few weeks ago, I was asked to research tweets pertaining to my topic of sexualization of Latinas in mass media. When searching #latina or just latina, many pornographic images popped up, which is truly disturbing and disappointing. This further proves that Latinas are ruthlessly oversexualized whether we like it or not.

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When searching “latina stereotype,” many tweets showed outrage and disappointment over how Latinas continue to be stereotyped in the media and how often times, these stereotypes do not represent the Latina population as a whole.

The long-standing root of all problems when it comes to the misrepresentation of Latina/Hispanic women in media comes from archetypes and stereotypes often used in media. These stereotypes are often seen in one of three forms:

  • The old maid/abuela who can’t speak english (Consuela, Family Guy, Flor, Spanglish,  etc. ) In the 1980s, the long-used black housekeeper “Beulah” stereotype began to be replaced by elderly Latinas representing domestic workers. Late actress Lupe Ontiveros estimated that she played a maid over 150 times on television and other media. (race relations.about.com)
  • The sex-crazed, submissive Coke bottle-shaped “take me now!seductress. This stereotype arguably proves most problematic due to the effects it has on the way Latina women are viewed and treated. The more we present Latinas as sex objects, the more Latina women find themselves objectified and unheard- not taken seriously as a result of the media’s idea that we are only good for one thing.
  • Spicy. Fiery. Temper, temper, temper. This stereotype enforces the idea that Latina women cannot control their anger, and have short fuses and are likely to make drastic, irrational decisions and definitely make a scene. This is very similar to the “ghetto” stereotype media and society has placed on African- American women when they are angry. I once had a friend who told me she almost felt like she “wasn’t allowed” to get angry in public without the accusation of her being ghetto. This is a feeling I started to encounter as I got older, late teens/early twenties. It sometimes feels like Latina women cannot get angry without immediately being written off as “irrational” and “crazy.” Oh, don’t take her seriously. She’s just spicy. You know how they are.

https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/1082669498435175/

The main problem with these stereotypes (the second and third ones in particular) is the impact it can make on young Hispanic/Latina girls who view this media. What happens when a generation of girls are given the notion that they are expected to be sexy, perfect, submissive and dirty? This is a toxic environment that we are creating for our girls and it can really hurt them in the long run. Living with these expectations can often times lead to girls trying anything they can to speed their development, look more like adults and desperately seek acception by their peers. With this idea in mind, girls also give in to sex earlier because that is what they believe they are supposed to do. All of this inevitably will lead to the surrender of childhood, and growing up way too fast. What’s at stake is their self esteem and linking of their self-worth to their looks and more specifically, their sexiness. This means we could potentially create a generation of girls who lack self-confidence and devalue themselves if they don’t fit the mold.

http://www.wearemitu.com/mitu-voice/when-youre-a-not-so-curvy-latina/

Other Twitter reactions spoke words of encouragement to today’s Latina youth, and understood that the current model of Latina representation is potentially dangerous.

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Solution? Yes please.

One of the best ways we can avoid the broad stereotyping and negative images of Latina women in media is by creating more inclusive roles for Latinas that have a much more dynamic range. Shows like Ugly Betty with America Ferrera and Jane the Virgin with Gina Rodriguez do a great job of putting Latinas in a positive light in the sense that these characters are NOT any of the stereotypes we are so used to seeing. We need to let young Latinas know that it is okay to be awkward. It is OKAY to be weird or like reading over makeup and yes, it is okay to say no. And it is okay to get angry. You are allowed to have feelings and you should never feel the need to fit some oversexualized idea America (and the world) seems to have about women of color. Hispanic/Latin heritage is something to be celebrated and proud of, and the day we can tell our girls that they are “Latina enough” just by being themselves is the day we can start building a better, more inclusive future.

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More importantly, having positive roles in the media that are non-stereotypical opens up a world of better representation and opportunities for Latinas.

“The only thing separating women of color is opportunity.”- Viola Davis

#Latina #LatinaStereotypes #latinasinmedia

source 1

https://renaefordays.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/too-sexy-or-not-sexy-enough/