Author: Sage Fulco

Watsons HeForShe formally invites men into gender equality discussion

It may a tad confusing to see Hermione Granger formally addressing the United Nations. But Emma Watson is no longer just a movie star and no longer a child: six months ago, she was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and now she is ready to begin making real change. And with her clear, demanding, personal call to action, she has made it impossible to laugh her off as just a Harry Potter character.

Her speech to the UN on Sept. 20 announced the creation of the HeForShe campaign, a movement for gender equality targeted at involving men and boys in the discussion. Since then, Watson’s message has gone viral, with millions of views on YouTube. There’s a simple reason for this: Watson’s message and call to action is one of the most decisive and powerful gender equality speeches ever delivered.

The power of the HeForShe campaign comes from its directed focus on men and boys. The problems with past and even current feminist movements is that they are often interpreted as being against men, rather than for women or for the equality of humankind. Too often, these movements have ended up with women fighting back against men. This has pushed men out of the conversation, placing the two genders into two different camps, and has even made the word “feminism” seem aggressive and hostile. As a result, Watson said, this associates the movement with “man-hating.” In the past, these movements have pitted men and women against one another and forced them onto opposing sides of the conversation.

But now, Watson has extended “a formal invitation” to men to participate in the movement for gender equality. Her campaign is targeted directly at men, proving that feminism is not anti-men. Moreover, Watson does not just invite men – she forcefully calls them to action, causing them to ask the questions, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” HeForShe is calling men – the other half of humanity who has largely ignored the discussion – into the movement for gender equality and calling them to act right now.

Watson’s speech also dispels the bygone movements that solely focus on female rights and looks broadly to overall gender equality. This intention is deliberate and crucial. Not only is the current feminist movement more progressive, it is also no longer a women-versus-men movement; it is a people-for-humanity movement. Watson’s speech is largely centered on the injustices faced by women, but this is simply because the issues and injustices women suffer through are more numerous and more statistically relevant than those often suffered by men.

However, she makes a deliberate effort to call attention to the fact that gender equality is an issue for men as well as women. Boys suffer from unjust standards and perceived expectations of masculinity in similar ways to how girls suffer from expectations of femininity. The HeForShe campaign seeks to empower men to help alleviate all gender inequalities, and that is why the front page of the movement’s Web site does not say “women’s equality” or “men’s equality.” It says “A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality.”

That is really the final piece to Watson’s remarkable speech. This movement is a campaign for solidarity. This is not just a call to action; it is a call to community for both genders. This campaign seeks to bring men into the conversation that women have dominated for decades so that both genders, as an act of solidarity, can achieve universal gender equality.

It is too early to see if the HeForShe campaign will revolutionize the gender equality movement, but one thing is for certain: Emma Watson is not just a child star thrust into the adult spotlight. Her voice is strong and her message is clear. Through her past and present influence, she has the ability to reach the lives of so many boys and families and her message will be widely heard. HeForShe is the most powerful movement for gender equality and feminism so far in our time.

Sage Fulco ’18 is from Wayzata, Minn. He majors in physics.


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Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential run spurs commentary

Hillary Clinton has often inspired global conversation with her actions, whether through her speeches as First Lady, her many pantsuits or the photos in celebrity magazines of suggested “texts” she might be sending. Americans have been especially interested in her activity after she stepped down from her position as Secretary of State last year.

In most recent news, Clinton visited Iowa for the first time since her 2008 caucus loss to our current president, Barack Obama. This has led to a flurry of commentary about the potential for another presidential bid in 2016. Despite the outpouring of public sentiment about whether or not Clinton should have her eyes on the Oval Office, she has publicly maintained a completely neutral stance on the idea. All of this begs the question: why does Clinton want to run for president again?

Whether you agree with Clinton’s political policies and viewpoints or not, she is an undeniably seasoned politician. As a former First Lady, United States senator and our 67th Secretary of State, Clinton has traversed the depths of Washington and come out the other side relatively unscathed. From the impeachment of her husband, Bill Clinton, to the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Clinton has endured some of the worst political fights of the past few decades – not to mention the incessant slandering and public criticism that naturally came with her last presidential campaign.

In many ways, Clinton has begun to enjoy a life outside of Washington politics. It has been about a year and a half since she stepped down from her role as Secretary of State in Feb. 2013, and she doesn’t seem the be jumping at the opportunity to get back into the political arena. Honestly, who can blame her?

But Clinton hasn’t completely ruled out a presidential campaign yet. If she had, she would probably laugh off questions pertaining to a 2016 bid, but she hasn’t done that. There is probably still a small part of her that is considering going back to the cruel, unrelenting political arena.

It seems as if Clinton is asking herself whether the best option for the country is to have her as president. The neutrality that she has maintained appears to stem from an internal conflict between her enjoyment of semi-retirement and questioning if the U.S. wants and needs her expertise and talents.

Clinton’s last presidential bid was often described as a desperate attempt to take the White House. People seemed to think that Clinton only wanted to prove that she could do what her husband did before her. She was shown as willing to do anything to become president, and that hurt her image in comparison to Barack Obama, who was portrayed contrastingly as a man concerned for the people.

This is where Hillary’s potential 2016 bid could be different. The effect Hillary has created is that she doesn’t seem to want the Presidency, but will take command if she feels that Americans want her to. It is no longer even about her, as it seemed in 2008; it is about the United States of America. No matter your stance in regards to Hillary Clinton, this is an undeniably huge change in perspective.

Regardless of Clinton’s last run for presidency, if she chooses to run for president in 2016, it is clear that it will be a very different campaign than her previous one. This will no longer be about pride, self-image, or even about the Oval Office; it will simply be about the U.S.

Sage Fulco ’18 is from Wayzata, Minn. He majors in physics.

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This Week In History: 10/5 – 10/11

Sunday, October 5th: Monty Python’s Flying Circus Premiers

On October 5th, 1969, Monty Python’s Flying Circus premiered on BBC One. The series featured 45 episodes over its run, until it ended in 1974. The show was a comedy, but its members were highly educated, with two of them being Oxford University graduates, and three more having attended Cambridge University. Throughout its run, the show drew great acclaim and great criticism for its satiric descriptions of English society.

Monday, October 6th: Thomas Edison Shows Off First Motion Picture

Even though Thomas Edison is most remembered for the light bulb, he actually held about 1,300 international patents. One of his inventions, the Kinetophone, was used on October 6th, 1889 to premier the very first motion picture. It was a huge success! Later on, the Edison Company started its own production company, producing more than 1,700 films.

Tuesday, October 7th: Battle of Lepanto

On October 7th, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire off of Greece. This battle was a turning point in stopping the advance of the Ottomans into Europe. This was the first major naval battle that the Ottomans had lost since the 1400’s. It was a catastrophic blow, and, even though the Ottomans were able to replace the ships they lost, they could never replace the experienced sailors who had died.

Wednesday, October 8th: First Perfect Game in the History of the World Series

Don Larson, former pitcher for the New York Yankees, pitched the first perfect game, or no-hitter, in the history of the World Series on October 8th, 1956. This game is one out of twenty-three perfect games in the history of the MLB. It remained the only perfect game until 2010, when Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. Larson’s amazing game earned him the World Series MVP award and the Babe Ruth award.

Thursday, October 9th: Beginning of the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot

Sukkot begins at sundown on October 8th, and continues until sundown on October 15th. Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Booths, is a biblical Jewish holiday. During the holiday, Jewish families live in sukkahs, or booths, that they build themselves. The sukkah is meant to help the Jewish people remember the dwellings of the Israelites as they wandered in the desert for 40 years after the Exodus form Egypt.

Friday, October 10th: Fiji Becomes Independent From the United Kingdom

The Republic of Fiji became independent from the United Kingdom on October 10th, 1970. Fiji is comprised of an archipelago of more than 332 islands, only 110 of which are permanently inhabited. Europeans began settling permanently on the island during the 1800’s, with the British taking control. Then, in 1970, the British granted Fiji independence.

Saturday, October 11th:Saturday Night Live Premiers

On October 11th, 1975, the television show Saturday Night Live first premiered. SNL originated under the title NBC’s Saturday Night. Throughout its run into the present, SNL has won 36 Primetime Emmy Awards, and was ranked 10th in TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. It has received over 150 Emmy nominations, the most received by any one show in history.

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Domestic violence bigger than athletics

The news of Adrian Peterson is everywhere, smeared in bold text across the tops of newspapers and magazines. Chat rooms are overwhelmed with debates between those who condemn him and those who support him. As usual, everyone has an opinion. Everyone seems to know what the right choice is for Peterson, the Vikings, the NFL and the legal system. But let’s step outside of those arguments and take a broader look at what is really going on, because the big picture is far more enlightening.

The scary truth here is not that a single man abused his son; it’s that our culture exhibits a wide pattern of violence and aggression, and Peterson is just one isolated – albeit public – case out of thousands of similar cases. We live in a culture that showcases violence in hundred-million-dollar movies and has tournaments for kids playing video games in which they kill each other. It seems impossible to listen to the news without hearing about another school shooting, bomb threat, mugging or even just random acts of raw hostility and violence.

We like to brush this off and say it has nothing to do with us – but it does. All of these acts of violence are committed by people who live in community with us. And, as is now demonstrated by Adrian Peterson, even the people we idolize are not exempt. That’s at least a part of why this incident strikes a chord with so many people; it makes this unsettling part of our culture visible for all to see. And we don’t like seeing it.

What Peterson did was wrong. But I think this situation really brings forth many questions for our society, rather than just the moral deficiencies of a single man. I think many of us are searching for an explanation for how Peterson, a man of wealth and influence, could somehow not know that abuse is wrong. What worries me is how grievously his family, friends, education, career and fellow football players failed him, leaving him to feel that this was just. Education failed. Peterson’s cohorts and advisors failed. Yes, what Peterson did was wrong, and he will face the consequences of his actions, but society plays a larger role in this.

Considering the violence that is all around us, it is clear that something is terribly wrong with our culture. What breaks my heart the most is that cases like this only perpetuate our sickness.

We spend our time defending or attacking Peterson, the Vikings and the NFL, and it distracts us from the larger issue. This situation could be the cornerstone in our fight against violence in our culture, but it won’t be. Instead, we spend our days blocking out the larger perspective. We either want Peterson punished or protected.

I want our culture to change. Whichever systems that failed Peterson so miserably, I want them fixed – so that this never happens again. I want students to learn what is right and wrong. I want family and cohorts to know how to look out for us and make sure we are instilled with the right values. It only takes one person to start a fight, but it takes all of us to stop the fight. And I want the fight to stop.

The first step is accepting that this problem is much, much larger than just Adrian Peterson and football.


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This Week In History: 9/28 – 10/4

Sunday, September 28th: Discovery of Penicillin

On September 28th, 1928, Alexander Fleming, a Scottish scientist, first discovered Penicillin. It was a pure accident. Fleming had forgotten to close the top to a petri dish and later came back to find a mold growing in it. He examined the mold and found that it was a Penicillium mold that was inhibiting the growth of bacteria. A decade or so later, and after numerous scientific experiments, Penicillin was finally ready to be used as an antibiotic. To date, it is the most used antibiotic ever.

Monday, September 29th: Feast of St. Michael

Also known as Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael marks the Feast of all the Archangels. It is primarily celebrated in the Western Christian Churches, honoring when St. Michael defeated Lucifer in the War in Heaven. St. Michael triumphed over Lucifer and casts him out of heaven. From this, St. Michael is depicted as the greatest and most powerful of all the archangels.

Tuesday, September 30th: The Magic Flute Premiers

On September 30th, 1791, Mozart’s German opera The Magic Flute premiered in Vienna to great success. One of Mozart’s most famous compositions, it features the aria of the Queen of the Night, Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen, or “The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart”, one of the most famous and most difficult female vocal parts ever written.

Wednesday, October 1st: International Music Day

The first International Music Day was held on October 1st, 1975. It was formed through the International Music Council, which still exists today, and was set forth in order to spread music to all levels of society. The day usually comes with musical programs, concerts, radio broadcasts, and other such events.

Thursday, October 2nd: First Peanuts comic published

Charles M. Schulz published the first Peanuts Comic strip on October 2nd, 1950. The comic series became the most popular and influential comic series ever written, with over 355 million people reading them on a weekly basis at its height. The strip ran from 1950 through 2000, printing almost 18,000 strips during that time, and it has continued in reruns since.

Friday, October 3rd: Roy, from Siegfried and Roy, is mauled by a tiger

On October 3rd, 2003, during a show at the Mirage in Vegas, Roy Horn, from the famous duo Siegfried and Roy, known for their magic tricks featuring white lions and tigers, was bitten on the neck by a white tiger. It seemed as if Roy had possibly had a type of seizure while on stage, and that the tiger was trying to drag him to safety; however, Roy suffered severe blood loss from the bit and was taken to the hospital. He lived, but went through years of recovery and the show was discontinued. The tiger was not harmed and died earlier this year, in March 2014.

Saturday, October 4th:Yom Kippur

From sunset on Friday, October 3rd through sunset of Saturday, October 4th, Yom Kippur is celebrated in the Jewish faith. Also known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish faith. The day is characterized by fasting and prayer services during which the Jewish people atone and repent for their sins of the last year.

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