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Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

And that concludes Sunday’s 44th annual People’s Choice Awards. The show— featuring performances from Rita Ora, Nicki Minaj and Tyga, and John Legend—returned to TV for the first time on E! and broadcasted live from nine to 11pm from Santa Monica. Hollywood A-listers gathered at the viewer-voted ceremony to witness an interesting and memorable group of winners grace the stage. Here are the highlights.

Best movie goes to…

Avengers: Infinity Wars was named best movie of the year. The mega-blockbuster superhero movie also received the Action Movie of 2018 award and saw Scarlett Johansson take home best female movie star for her performance as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.

You go, Danai

Black Panther’s Danai Gurira accepted the award for Action Movie Star of 2018, besting four of the world’s biggest male movie stars (Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwich Boseman and Chris Pratt). Gurira referred to her fellow nominees as “very beautiful men”, a statement that both inverts the patriarchy and elicits no argument from us.

Queen Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was crowned female artist of the year and her LP, Queen, was also professed album of the year. It was Minaj’s acceptance speeches that made her an even bigger winner in our eyes.

“I wanna dedicate this award to Kim Kardashian’s ass in that dress,” she said, while receiving the Album of 2018 reward.

The 35-year-old later thanked the designer, Donatella Versace for her outfit, as well as Black Panther star, Michael B. Jordan, “because he’s going to be taking it off me tonight.”

Shadowhunters Sweep

It’s clear that fans of Shadowhunters are devastated that the series, which is based on The Mortal Instruments book series, may be ending prematurely. With the show awarded TV show of 2018 and Bingeworthy Show of 2018, and Katherine McNamara and Harry Shum Jr. also claiming big wins, the People’s Choice Awards has surely given the cast a memorable send off.

Melissa McCarthy, A.K.A People’s Icon 

Comedy actress, Melissa McCarthy, was honored with the first-ever People’s Icon award, acknowledged for her television and film work, which includes roles in Mike and Molly (2010), Bridesmaids (2011) and Spy (2015).

“Thank you for making it possible for me to do something I love more than anything else,” she said during her acceptance speech.

Spice up your life

Victoria Beckham referenced the Spice Girls hit song Wannabe during her acceptance speech for the Fashion Icon Award. Coming after her band-mates announced a reunion tour that would not include Beckham, fans can be sure that Posh Spice’s dedication to fashion and “girl power” will still give them what they really, really want.

“I wanted to show that if I can do it then really anyone can do it, and what you achieve really can be limitless,” Beckham said. “If you really, really—I can’t help it—if you really, really want it.”

Touching tributes

The People’s Choice Awards fell on Veterans Day and many stars took time to honour the veterans in their speeches. Scarlett Johansson dedicated her award to “the men and women of the armed forces who put their lives on the line every day so we don’t have to”.

Blake Shelton donned a red, white and blue ribbon on his lapel in honor of his veteran father, and Bryan Stevenson spoke out about recent mass shootings, the #MeToo movement and racial inequality during his speech for the People’s Champion Award.

“It’s Veterans Day, it’s important that we honor all our veterans, but it’s important to remember that black veterans after World War I and World War II were menaced and targeted and lynched because of this narrative of racial difference, and today we’re still burdened by that history,” he said.

Attendees also frequently touched on the devastating Woolsey Fire, raging less than 40 miles away from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy, and Kim Kardashian West were among many who thanked firefighters for their tireless work.

Accepting a best reality TV show prize for Keeping Up with The Kardashians, West dedicated the award to “all the firefighters, the law enforcement and the first responders, we really truly appreciate what you have done for all of us.”

Winners

With 46 awards lined up and only 22 given out during the red carpet and live telecast, the winner’s list is deliciously long.

The show witnessed Korean boy band, BTS secure multiple awards for their song and video Idol. Shawn Mendes was named male artist of the year, Jim Parsons announced Comedy TV Star of 2018, Chadwick Boseman crowned male movie star of the year, and Taylor Swift and Shane Dawson also claimed wins. When receiving his award for Nighttime Talk Show of 2018, Jimmy Fallon was met with laughs for thanking “my better half, my rock, my soulmate…Justin Timberlake”.

Popular high school drama, Riverdale won best drama show, Fifty Shades Freed: best drama movie, and Incredibles 2: best family movie.

A full list of winners can be found, here.

Further reading: “We Solved it!” Diversity at the Emmys

The Midterm Results Are In and This is What They Mean

The Midterm Results Are In and This is What They Mean

Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives after an eight-year one-party rule in Congress. However, in a “blue wave” that was more of a “ripple”, Republicans have tightened their grip on the Senate.

Despite losses in the lower chamber of Congress, president Donald Trump declared the midterm election a “tremendous success” as Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate, paving the way for a divided Congress.

Promoting himself on Twitter, he focused on the Senate, quoting the following from a commentator:

“There’s only been five times in the last 105 years that an incumbent president has won seats in the Senate in the off year election. Mr. Trump has magic about him. This guy has magic coming out of his ears. He is an astonishing vote getter & campaigner.”

The primary role of Congress—consisting of the House (its lower chamber) and the Senate (its upper chamber)—is to make and pass laws. A legislative proposal only becomes law once the House, the Senate and then the President, have approved it.

Consequently, that the Republicans lost the House to the Democrats could actually mean that Trump’s final two years of term have just become severely limited. Although his name was not on the ballot as a higher-than-usual number of voters elected Congress members on Tuesday November 6, the election was considered a referendum on Trump’s America.

Democrats needed to pick up 23 House seats in tallies early Wednesday, results that could enable the party to block much of Trump’s legislative agenda as well as issue investigations into his administration and business affairs. The Democrats now control the Intelligence Committee—responsible for considering potential Russian collusion in the last presidential election.

It will also be more difficult for Republicans to make changes to health legislation, including Barack Obama’s healthcare law, and could cause problems for Trump’s plans to build a border wall with Mexico. By passing laws out of the House, it will also force Republican senators to consider subjects like minimum wage.

The increased Republican majority in the Senate however, will make it easier for Trump to appoint judges and remake the judicial branch—a branch of government that interprets laws in the name of the state—into a more conservative system.

Democrats also flipped six governorships in the election, including Kansas, where Laura Kelly beat Trump ally, Kris Kobach. Two victorious Muslim Democrats—Ihan Omar (Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan)—made minority firsts, along with elected Democrat governor, Jared Polis (Colorado), the first openly gay man to be voted into the position.

A record year for women, at least 90 female candidates won their elections, the majority of whom were Democrats and at least 28 of whom were sent to Congress by voters for the first time. Sharice Davids (Kansas) and Deb Haaland (New Mexicao) became the first Native American women to be elected. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) became the first woman in her 20s to win a seat, and was later joined by 29-year old Abby Finkenauer (Iowa).

House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, spoke in Washington. “Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” she told supporters.

Trump allegedly called Pelosi “to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority,” her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted.

“He acknowledged the Leader’s call for bipartisanship in her victory remarks.”

According to an exit poll survey conducted by the Associated Press, healthcare and immigration were at the top of issues expressed by voters, and 64 percent of those surveyed revealed that Trump factored into their choice when casting their ballots.

Further reading: The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

On Tuesday November 6, voters will receive their first chance to weigh in on Donald Trump’s presidency since he was elected in 2016. With the economy doing well but approval ratings falling short, the midterm elections could sway the control of Congress.

Still following? Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming midterms.

What are the midterms?

Midterm elections take place halfway between presidential elections, every two years. On Tuesday November 6, voters will choose new members of Congress—a term that indicates the combined body of the House of Representatives (the House) and the Senate. President Donald Trump’s party, the Republicans, currently control both houses of Congress. However, the midterms are generally considered a referendum on the current president, with the party whose president is in the White House often struggling to secure a net gain.

Who is being elected?

All 435 members of the House are up for election, as well as one-third of the Senate, with members of the Senate serving staggered six-year terms.

36 state governors (similar to a local president) will also be elected, along with dozens of local legislative officials.

The most important question: Can the Democratic Party win control of the House? 

This year, the Democrats believe that they can win control of the House by winning a majority of the seats. In order to do this, they will need to claim at least 23 seats from the Republicans; a feat that many experts believe to be possible.

On average, the party with a president in the White House has lost 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate in every midterm election since the American Civil War. President Trump has also received low approval ratings, a figure that is currently at around 42 percent. On the other hand, generic ballot polling shows the Democrats up by around eight percentage points.

Furthermore, this year, a record number of more than 30 Republicans have retired or resigned for a variety of reasons, with sexual harassment accusations and feelings towards the president among those cited. With representation in the House relatively proportionate to population, and voters usually reluctant to eject sitting representatives, this creates an opportunity for the Democrats to claim seats. Florida and Pennsylvania are two such key swing states where the incumbent will not be standing again.

In the last 50 years, the Democrats have only made a net gain of 23+ seats twice, in 1974 and in 2006. Similarly, the same period of time has seen the Republicans score a net gain of this size three times, most recently in the 2010 midterms during Barack Obama’s first term.

The low voting turnout for midterms (around 40 percent of Americans) has also tended to help the Republican Party, as those who do vote tend to be white and belong to an older generation. However, the “pink wave” of female candidates running for election is hoped to encourage more female voters and increase women’s representation in Congress.

The Senate

35 of 100 seats are up for election in the Senate, with 51 seats needed for control. Republicans have a strong advantage over the Democrats here because the Democratic Party is defending 26 seats, while the Republican Party is only defending nine.

The Senate electoral system also means that each state gets two senators, regardless of how large the population is. These smaller states tend to be more rural and, in the past, rural areas have favored the Republicans.

What does this all mean for president Trump?

With control of Congress comes the advantage of passing or blocking legislative agendas.

If the Democrats win control of one or both of the houses, they’ll be able to limit the final two years of President Trump’s term. For example, they’d be able to block his future Supreme Court picks and investigate issues such as the president’s business dealings or the allegations of sexual assault made against him.

If the Republicans hold control of Congress, President Trump’s key agendas and promises could be revived. The president was only able to sign his overhaul of the US tax system into law because Republicans held majorities in both houses of Congress.

The word impeachment has also been following discussions around the midterms. Impeachment does not necessarily lead to a removal of office—the formal statement of charges against the president has only been presented twice. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted after a trial in the Senate, and Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in the 70s.

With the Democrats in control of Congress, calls for president Trump’s impeachment are likely to increase. However, Republican senators would need to turn on the president, as a two-thirds majority is needed to remove him from office.

Nevertheless, with a Democrat majority in Congress, the party would have a better chance of defeating Trump in the next presidential election in 2020.

What happens next?

The results of the midterms could shape the nation for years to come. A “blue wave” of Democrat majority in both the House and the Senate would be able to block President Trump’s future plans.

After the midterms, thoughts will turn to the 2020 presidential election. Worth mentioning here is the fact that 26 of the 36 state governors being elected on Tuesday are Republican. With governors playing a large role in supporting their party’s candidates, securing new governors could have a major effect on presidential campaigning.

Further reading: Taylor Swift Speaks up about Political Opinion

The Most Haunted Universities in the World

The Most Haunted Universities in the World

Are you brave enough to study at one of the world’s most haunted universities? Settle down for some college ghost stories that are sure to get you in the Halloween spirit.

University of St Andrews, Scotland

 As well as being Scotland’s oldest University (dating back almost six centuries), the University of St Andrews is considered one of the country’s most haunted places. The weathered, gothic building is home to over a dozen ghosts, including a piper and a ghost ship.

A phantom monk also protects St Rule’s Tower in St Andrews Cathedral but it is the apparition of the White Lady who is most well-known at the university. Said to be one of the ladies-in-waiting of Mary, Queen of Scots, the grieving beauty resides inside the wall of a desecrated abbey and takes nocturnal strolls across the cathedral grounds. In 1868, stonemasons broke into a sealed chamber where they discovered an open coffin containing the preserved body of a young woman in a white dress…

Gettysburg College, USA

America’s most haunted college, Gettysburg College was the site of the brutal Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Unsurprisingly, ghosts are commonplace at this site, with frequent spectral activity occurring at Penn Hall—the oldest building on campus that served as a hospital and morgue during the battle.

Here, the most popular ghosts include armed sentinels, a little boy with a blue face known as the ‘blue boy’ and bloodstained Civil War doctors that haunt the basement.

University of Toronto, Canada 

The University of Toronto actually conducts haunted tours of the campus, so certain are they of the many specters that parade the halls. The Christie Mansion building was the site of a 19th century illicit love affair and death. The mansion’s owner kept his mistress hidden in a secret chamber behind the library (room 29), where she hung herself with her bed sheets.

Most famously, Russian stonemason, Ivan Reznikoff, attacked his colleague, Paul Diablos with an axe for his affairs with Reznikoff’s fiancé. Diablos stabbed the Russian with a knife and hid the body in a ventilation shaft. The university claims that an axe mark can still be seen and workers later discovered the skeleton of a man wearing a belt buckle with Reznikoff’s emblem in a ventilation shaft, after the building partly burned down.

Heidelberg University, Germany 

Many professors from Heidelberg University were sent to concentration camps during Nazi Germany, and two were also said to have been murdered. The most disturbing part of campus is the University’s clinic, where women who were forced to undergo sterilization under eugenic experiments can be heard weeping and screaming.

Chalkboards erase themselves and mysterious words appear on them over night, even though the halls are kept locked. It is also said that the smell of smoke and burning leather still lingers at the site where banned books were burned before WW2.

University of Northern Colorado, USA

The University of Northern Colorado warns prospective students about its phantom residents with a dedicated page on the university’s website. With a ghost story for every single building on campus, a less scary but memorable account of ‘Stoney Ghosty’, the spirit of a student who overdosed on drugs, claims that he is eternalized by the smell of marijuana.

On the other hand, the presence of another student haunts the attic where she was found hanging. Bullied by her peers, Edith would hide away and play with marbles. Students have reported hearing the noise of marbles rolling across the floor, and her ghost has often been sighted outside the Wiebking and Wilson dormitories.

Nagasaki University, Japan

The ghosts at Nagasaki’s medical school are said to be victims of the atomic bomb released by the US on 9 August 1945. The smell of burning flesh reeks the hallways, accompanied by ghostly figures and the screams of the 800 staff and students who were killed in the blast.

Chinese University of Hong Kong, China 

If you’re a male and you visit the Chinese University of Hong Kong, you could fall prey to the faceless ghost that haunts Single Braid Road, which runs beside campus.

The woman has long, braided hair and, legend has it, had her face ripped off after jumping from a moving train. With a train station at the end of the road, young men who tread the path alone risk being traumatized by the faceless specter. 

Smith College, USA

The largest women’s college in America is also one of the most haunted and has centuries of murders, accidents and epidemics peppered throughout its history. Smith’s website continually updates it’s list of reported ghosts, including a senior who died after forgetting to turn the gas oven off, a little boy who died after being locked in the attic, and a pining mother who cries for the baby she murdered in life.

Another infamous story describes the haunting of the Sessions House, where a British soldier and an American girl would meet on a hidden staircase during the Revolutionary War. The staircase is real, and new students are often set the task of finding it on Halloween. The ghost of General Burgoyne has been sighted wandering Sessions House looking for his love, and other students have seen the pair rendezvousing on the secret stair.

Further reading: Six of the Best Books to Read This Fall

Join the Fight Against Sexual Assault

Join the Fight Against Sexual Assault

Bill Cosby, previously dubbed “America’s Dad”, has recently been sentenced for three to 10 years and “total confinement”. The 81-year-old comedian was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault, drugging and molesting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004.

The fall of such a powerful media figure began when prosecutors re-opened Constand’s case, after more than 60 other women came forward against Cosby. Her allegation against the man whom she thought was her “mentor and friend” was the only case that occurred within the statute of limitations.

“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others,” she wrote in her statement.

Cosby may have declined the opportunity to speak before his sentencing, but the voices of many brave women haunt the aftermaths of the trial.

Actress, Lili Bernard said: “On the one hand I feel absolutely elated that justice was served. On the other hand, I also feel disappointed, because clearly the three-year minimum sentence does not adequately reflect the havoc this man, this rapist, has inflicted on so many women, including myself.”

“It does indicate there is now a shift in the legal system that is now going to reflect modern culture, and that now women’s voices are being believed and women’s lives are being valued,” she continued.

Janice Baker-Kinney, who also testified against Cosby, thanked him directly in a statement: “Your arrogance sparked a movement that has grown to thousands of women taking back their self-esteem and proudly standing up for what is morally right.”

Such an inspiring outlook on equality has been helped by Cosby being the first celebrity of the #MeToo movement to be sent to prison. Following the sexual misconduct allegations made against Harvey Weinstein, men and women everywhere are encouraging each other to speak out against sexual assault and domineering ideologies with the hash tag, #MeToo.

“The #MeToo movement has shown that we are at a turning point on certain issues. While many of our elected officials are yet to catch up, the public has become more comfortable with talking accurately about sexual harassment,” says Camonghne Felix, Senior Communications Manager at the Ms. Foundation for Women.

“However, not all women have benefitted from the #MeToo movement equally. The initial survivors who shared stories about their experiences were wealthier, white women, while women of color, LGBTQ and transwomen, undocumented women, and women in lower income work still face exceptional risks to their personal safety every day.

“They are the least likely to be protected and believed in the case of sexual harassment and we need to continue to fight until all women, everywhere, are respected.”

Cosby’s case comes at a time when Brett Kavanaugh is also facing accusations of sexual misconduct.

President Trump has publicly challenged the assertions against his Supreme Court nominee, questioning why they weren’t “immediately filed”.

In the era of #MeToo, thousands of social media users have responded with passionate fury to the president’s comments, recounting why it took them time to open up about their attacks.

College News asked Felix for her thoughts on the link between shame and trauma—an emotion that Andrea Constand openly described as “overwhelming”:

“We need to change the way that our country talks about sexual assault, and we need to change the messages that we send to girls and women about their value and their worth.

“Our country was founded on patriarchy, misogyny, and white supremacy, and cultural acceptance of these societal systems needs to change. For it is these issues that send a clear message to women and girls that they are to blame for what happens to them, and that men do not care about their pain, humiliation, and self-worth,” Felix said.

“We live in a highly patriarchal and misogynistic society—it’s what this country was founded in. Boys and men are applauded for their sexual activity, while girls and women are degraded for it. If a woman is sexually assaulted, often the first instinct is to ask what she was wearing, whether she had been drinking, or how she had been behaving.

“But it does not matter what she was wearing, or if she was drinking, or if she was flirting prior to a sexual assault. Period.

“Because of these expectations and these types of questions, it is difficult for women in our society not to internalize the events that may have happened to them and to blame themselves.

“Overcoming this way of thinking depends on listening to women and believing their experiences so that they are not inclined to blame themselves and feel shame for the abuses perpetrated against them.”

It does not matter what she was wearing, or if she was drinking, or if she was flirting prior to a sexual assault. Period.

And how can we continue to bring attention and justice to sex offenders? We asked.

“It is critical that we continue to listen to and believe women and their stories. Whether allegations of misconduct took place three days ago or three decades ago, whether it took place in a social setting or a place of work, it is important that we continue to listen to the stories of women and learn from their experiences.

“But we cannot count on women alone, and women shouldn’t have to share stories about their deep personal traumas in order for change to happen.

“We have to have honest conversations with boys and men about what it means to respect the girls and women around them. Men need to step up and do the hard work of teaching men around them to do, and act, better. Movements can’t grow without allies, and we need to ensure that men are just as active a part of the #MeToo movement as the brave women who have stepped up have been.”

Camonghne is a member of the nation’s oldest women’s foundation, that works to build women’s collective power in the US and advance equity and justice.

“We provide financial and capacity-building investments to grassroots, women-led organizations, that are making meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women.

“Only 2 percent of fundraising money goes to women and girls of color, and we believe that, by targeting these underserved groups, we can create better outcomes for all women.”

Felix’s passionate intellect made us eager to get involved.

“Visit our website, join our mailing list and learn more about our current grantee-partners in your community to get involved in issues that matter to women at the grassroots level.

“Keep an eye out for the next Young Professionals Advisory Committee (YPAC), which is currently planning upcoming events in which there will be plenty of opportunities to participate in and advocate for women!”

Bill Cosby may be in prison, but it’s clear that the fight isn’t over.

Find the Ms. Foundation for Women at forwomen.org

Further reading: Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski Arrested During Kavanaugh Protest

The 12 Best Netflix Movies to Watch This Halloween

The 12 Best Netflix Movies to Watch This Halloween

A recent survey by Redbox.com found that, after 45 years, The Exorcist (1973) is still the scariest movie that members have ever seen. Hocus Pocus (1993) is also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, and it’s no surprise to hear that the iconic, 25-year-old classic out-performed all other family-friendly Halloween movies.

Whether you prefer fun or frightening, staying in with Netflix beats trick or treating—just ask the survey. We’re giving you 12 spooky movie options that you can stream for the best October ever.

The survey also showed that 72 percent of responders prefer popcorn to candy, so you should probably watch Children Of The Corn (1984) too. Happy Halloween!

  1. Scooby-Doo (2002)

Anyone who says this isn’t the best film ever made is lying—or just isn’t that nostalgic. The live-action re-imagining of the classic cartoon involves cults, spirits, brainwashing and meddling kids.

  1. It Follows (2014)

This horror film seems to be about an STD—except it takes the form of an evil spirit that sets out to murder its victim. Pass it on to survive.

  1. The Sixth Sense (1999)

This classic psychological thriller follows Bruce Willis as his character tries to help a young boy who is visited by ghosts. If you haven’t already been spoiled on the ending, your Halloween just got 100 times better.

  1. Coraline (2009)

Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s slightly disturbing children’s book. It follows a young girl who discovers an exciting parallel universe. Once you get over how creepy the character’s button-eyes are, this movie is awesome.

  1. The Babadook (2014)

On the surface, this monster movie seems like a terrifying horror film. Deep down, it is a terrifying horror film that cleverly explores the stresses of being a single parent and the manifestation of grief and depression.

  1. The Conjuring (2013) 

The Conjuring is inspired by a true story, and it’s petrifying. The movie follows paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, as they attempt to help a family who are being terrorized by a malevolent spirit.

  1. The Boy (2016)

Creepy doll movies are perfect for Halloween, and this one is no exception. When a young nanny breaks the list of rules for looking after a life-size doll, it becomes clear why the parents treat it like a real boy.

  1. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

If you need a break from the horrors, Hotel Transylvania’s monsters-meet-humans adventure is charming and fun. It was also voted as the fifth family-friendly favourite in the Redbox survey.

  1. Would You Rather (2013)

We dare you to tear your eyes away from this gruesome horror. The intense movie follows a group of unfortunate characters at a dinner party. In a merciless twist, the host forces them to play a sadistic game or pay the price.

  1. Curse of Chucky (2012) 

What screams Halloween more than Chucky? Another sequel. This installment is actually one of the most atmospheric and scary Chucky films, and follows a grieving daughter whose niece has a creepy doll.

  1. Van Helsing (2004)

This monster hunter saga is mainly here because it has Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale in, but it’s also a thrilling roller-coaster ride of entertainment.

  1. Raw (2016) 

This one is best viewed on an empty stomach, so put the popcorn down. At school, a vegetarian girl is convinced to eat raw meat for the first time and develops a craving for flesh. This movie is famous for causing audience members to faint at the Toronto International Film Festival. Go on, we dare you.

Further reading: Why Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is A Loser Is Problematic

Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski Arrested During Kavanaugh Protest

Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski Arrested During Kavanaugh Protest

Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski joined thousands at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill to protest the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The actor and model were two familiar faces among the 300 people to be arrested during Thursday’s protests.

In video footage that has been circulating on Twitter, Schumer, 37, can be seen interacting with the police.

“You want to be arrested?” an officer warns her.

Schumer replies: “Yes.”

An outspoken advocate for women’s rights and gun control, Schumer’s shirt read: “This today, then #ERA”.

Ratajkowski, 27, shared an image of herself with a banner on social media, stating that she had also been arrested at the protests.

“Today I was arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Men who hurt women can no longer be placed in positions of power.”

In the photo, Ratajkowski’s banner reads: “Respect female existence or expect our resistance”.

The Women’s March, a liberal organization that moved in opposition of President Donald Trump, was one of multiple activist groups tweeting from the protest.

It comes before The Senate’s crucial vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Friday. A week-long FBI investigation has concluded, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Banners from angry protestors read: “We believe Christine Ford”—the woman who has spoken out about being sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party in 1982.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has expressed support for Kavanaugh—who denied all allegations—recently angering some of his fellow Republicans by speaking against Ms Ford’s testimony.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” the President mocked.

Republican, Jeff Flake, responded to the incident, saying: “There is no time and no place for remarks like that, but to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.”

Kavanaugh’s appointment to the US Supreme Court would put it in favour of conservatives for years to come.

Further reading: Why We Should All Channel Our Inner Serena Williams

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

Dr. Sherry Benton on Mental Health Support at College

If you’re a college student and you’re struggling with mental health, you’re definitely not alone. College News got advice from an expert.

With a recent research study showing that one in five university students are affected by anxiety or depression, the pressure on campus facilities is high. College News discussed the problem with Dr. Sherry Benton.

Dr. Benton is a psychologist and mental health care administrator with over 22 years of experience. She is also the founder of TAO Connect—a digital platform that functions to make mental health recovery treatments easily accessible.

College News: How can college students reach out about mental health struggles?

Dr. Benton: Most campuses have a counseling center, counseling service or psychological services. Find your campuses service and learn about their programs and services. Typically, they offer a range of options.

CN: What kinds of mental health support facilities should students be looking out for when applying for colleges?

DB: Ideally, campuses should take a campus wide, comprehensive approach—including prevention, resilience training, counseling, groups, bystander education programs and other services. The Jed foundation, “Jed Campus” program works with a campus over a four-year period to insure the campus approach to mental health, substance abuse and suicide, are comprehensive and well-coordinated. Jed Campus designation is an excellent way to insure a campus has taken these issues seriously and thought out the best approaches for them.

CN: What are the most common and the most effective ways to deliver mental health therapy?

DB: Different people have different needs and respond to different approaches. Traditional face-to-face individual psychotherapy is the most common and best known. However, research has shown it is not more effective than group therapy or internet based cognitive behavioral therapy for many common problems. Many people also find self-help or apps effective for them.

CN: Do you think that students do not receive enough mental health help at college?

DB: I think most universities work very hard to meet the need, yet providing psychotherapy is really expensive and often difficult to access everywhere not just in universities. Using effective models such as stepped-care can help campuses to stretch limited resources to provide more help to more students. In stepped-care, students are quickly assessed and then begin with a level of help likely to be helpful. Progress is monitored regularly and students can be moved to more intensive or less intensive levels of help depending on their responses.

CN: How can campuses raise awareness and take a proactive approach to mental health?

DB: Campuses can raise awareness through the following: educational campaigns, resilience training in freshman orientation classes, bystander education programs like Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) or Kognito, education programs through Greek houses, residence halls, athletic departments, clubs and organizations.

CN: Are there exercises that students can practice on their own to help improve their mental state?

DB: Mindfulness meditation is something everyone should do. The many health benefits and mental health benefits would suggest that daily meditation should be as consistent as brushing your teeth. Another option is TAO Connect, which provides students access to its self-help courses whenever they want, without having to make an appointment to see a therapist.

CN: What is TAO Connect?

DB: We are a suite of online tools for mental health screening, assessment, patient education, skill development and progress monitoring. TAO can be used as self-help or with a therapist or case manager. TAO’s materials are interesting and engaging with actors in scenes, animations, interactive exercises and journaling.

CN: How can students take advantage of TAO Connect?

DB: There are 120 colleges in the US and Canada offering TAO’s programs to students either as self-help or through their counseling center. Contact your counseling center to find out if your school subscribes to TAO.

Further reading: You’re Not Alone: Facing Loneliness In College

Why Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is A Loser Is Problematic

Why Netflix’s Sierra Burgess Is A Loser Is Problematic

2018 is becoming the year of the hit or miss Netflix rom-com. The streaming sensation’s most recent success, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, is a charming and mature exploration of identity, family and young love. With emerging teenage heartthrob, Noah Centineo, also appearing as a new love interest in Sierra Burgess Is A Loser just a few weeks later, it’s hard to see how Netflix got this film so wrong.

Netflix’s Stranger Things star, Shannon Purser has been promoted from sidekick to leading lady in Sierra Burgess—what should have been a heartwarming move towards body positivity. With a respectable, talented cast and undeniably positive themes of friendship, it’s a shame that pretty much the rest of the Sierra Burgess plot makes us feel uncomfortable. Indeed, for a film that was supposed to subvert the stereotypes of teenage rom-coms, every joke served to insult its own integrity.

Sierra Burgess is loosely based on the 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, and follows an intelligent misfit who accepts her unpopularity at school with the help of family, friendship and integrity. Sounds good so far, right?

When stereotypical it-girl, Veronica (Kristine Froseth), gives Sierra’s phone number to Jamey (Noah Centineo) as a joke, and he texts the number thinking he’s messaging Veronica, Sierra just goes along with it. Perhaps if Sierra had any incentive to do so—perhaps if she had ever actually met Jamey—we’d sympathize with her character or see this moment as comedic. As it goes, we see Sierra cat fishing Jamey throughout the film by pretending to be Veronica, without her permission.

Luckily for Sierra, Veronica doesn’t seem to mind this, and goes on to help Sierra to continue to deceive Jamey in exchange for tutoring. Notably, the tutoring stems from a guy calling Veronica “dumb” and serves as an attempt—not to prove him wrong—but to impress him. Veronica even allows Sierra to coerce her into face timing Jamey and, at one point, actually goes on a date with him. We’ll forgive you for being such a dreamboat, but come on Jamey; she has a completely different voice!

As this scene comes to a head, Netflix also throws in a huge consent fail. Jamey asks to kiss Veronica, at which point she promptly puts her hands over his eyes and switches places with Sierra, who has been eavesdropping on the date from underneath Jamey’s car. Cringingly similar to ‘The Houdini’ manoeuvre, this PG-13 version is still ringing all of the alarm bells.

Bizarre, cat-fishing scenes aside, this message does not promote body positivity or self-acceptance to its young viewers. Instead, it seems that the only way Sierra can get a guy to kiss her is through force, and by pretending to be someone she’s not—a thin, blonde socialite. Even as Sierra and Veronica become unsuspecting best friends, a scene where Veronica plucks Sierra’s eyebrows reminds us that grooming is still considered a way to fit in to gendered society.

In a more positive light, another casting success for the film was the role of Jamey’s deaf little brother, who is played by the deaf actor, Cochise Zornoza. Unfortunately, a scene where Sierra bumps into Jamey in real life and pretends to be deaf so that he won’t recognise her voice, does not help its cause. Prominent deaf activist and male model, Nyle DiMarco, was one of the first to point out why.

“So one of my close friends’ deaf brother is in Sierra Burgess”, he tweeted.

“When I learned, I was elated. Finally more deaf actors/representation & ASL inclusion in films

“… Only to find out the deaf character was written and used for a terrible joke.

“PS- pretending to be deaf is NOT ok.”

Viewers have also been quick to point out that the slut shaming in Sierra Burgess, as well as a number of LGBT and mental illness jokes, is totally not okay. For a movie with the slogan “Just Be You”, it really just romanticizes cat fishing and manipulation. In a somewhat undeserving resolution, Jamey tells Sierra that “even though she isn’t everyone’s type,” she’s perfect for him—charming.

Whilst I think that the idea of teenage love bringing out unexplored insecurities is relatable—and I did relate to Sierra on a few different levels—this film was just far too problematic to work for me. I’m also definitely on team Veronica—sorry Barb.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Heads Towards Virginia and the Carolinas

More than one million residents living the coastlines of Virginia and the Carolinas have been forced to evacuate their homes as the life-threatening Hurricane Florence hurtles towards the east coast.

Weather officials predict this storm to be one of the most powerful to ever hit the region, with forecasters estimating that the hurricane will make landfall this Thursday (September 13). Experts have reported that the region can expect potentially catastrophic winds of up to 150mph and high levels of flooding with up to two meters of rainfall.

The storm currently sits in category four on the national weather service’s (NWS) classification system, but the US national hurricane center (NHC) has said that it is closer to category five in strength—the most powerful classification as marked on the classification system.

At a news conference on Monday, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster said Florence “is particularly big, particularly strong and… there’s nothing stopping it.

“And when it hits the Gulf Stream in warmer water, it’s going [to intensify] even more.” McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday, along with the governors of Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

The NHC said, “The bottom line is that there is high confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity.”

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say, “My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East coast in many years. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Caroline, South Caroline and Virginia. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!”

According to records, Hurricane Florence is the first storm at category four strength to hit the Carolinas for 30 years; the last occurrence was Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

People have been warned to steer clear of the coast’s beaches and oceans as the sea swelled and dangerous rip currents already surfaced over the weekend, forecasting the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Further reading: Did Hurricane Irma Happen Because of Climate Change?