Gender Neutral Bathrooms

This sign is posted outside of one the gender-neutral restrooms on American University’s Campus. The sign reads in the second paragraph, “Sharing  a bathroom could feel new and different, but we appreciate everyone helping to make this restroom inclusive to everyone.” this statement is American University acknowledging the people that are going to be bothered by beneficial efforts such as this one, but at the same time its a statement that is firm and to the point about the necessary to be inclusive. This paragraph cordially and professionally leaves no room for dispute about this being a gender-neutral restroom; yet,  there’s no number or email provided for people to contact Housing and Dining to voice their complaints  and I appreciate that. Im proud of American University to making this change to the campus and Im proud they choose to take a stance rather than playing “the middle man” in a topic such as this.

The presence of gender-neutral restrooms is a fairly new addition to a few big name public spaces such as Target stores and Google offices. It is no surprised that American University, being a liberal college has headed in the direction of being more progressive in regards to gender, thus including gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. In today’s world we are living in a society where identity in gender is increasingly more fluid and young people on college campuses are becoming more expressive. Im glad American University is making a step in this direction to a greater acceptance of all people and I look forward to the continuing of efforts made by the university to uphold the standards of inclusion and acceptance that they promote and advertise to the public.

The Power of She

***All images featured are from Google.com***

Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty is a FASHION ICON. She’s a world renown pop-star, singer, songwriter, philanthropist and CEO but she’s made the fashion world her playground within the past few years and the image above is the most recent photo of Rihanna circling the internet. Its not the ensemble that Rihanna adorn at Coachella 2017 that has the internet in a frenzy (again) but its her nipples that has people talking…..yes her nipples. Rihanna is notorious for her cutting edge style and unique taste but more she has a lot of critics for the way she chooses to expose he nipples in nearly almost every outfit she wears. Why its such a big deal? I have no clue. I’ve never understood why people are so outraged over a human body part as simplistic as a nipple when it comes to women but yet men expose their nipples all the time. Male nipples are commonplace and female nipples are some how made out to be taboo…..Rihanna has clearly rejected this social norm with her stylistic choices over the years. Whether its been another televised award show, editorial photoshoot, her own “Work” music video, a music festival, or just a causal outing, Rihanna has no problem “freeing” the nipples and remaining carefree about who doesn’t approve of it. She’s been such a trailblazer in contemporary fashion, a trendsetter in pop-culture, and a icon in the entertainment industry over the years, all while challenging social standards and gender norms/expectations of the female human body simply through the way she dresses. Seeing these images of Rihanna and even how comfortable she is with herself and choosing to wear what it is she likes despite the misogynistic, hateful, comments she receives is extremely empowering for me to see as a young woman. 

Self Celebration

This image was on my Tumblr page and its something I’ve thought about so many times and its been a reoccurring thought as of lately. We as students spend so many years in school and some more than others if we attend college and/or graduate schools. We pay full tuition, some of us collect large amounts of debt, some of us work two and three jobs all to take classes that are supposed to make us “successful” or contribute to our success  in some way or another. With that being the case, Ive noticed that there are little to know undergraduate classes offered that teach us the art of loving one self…..thats unacceptable in my book. In my mind, I could be the richest, most famous, most educated, most successful woman in the world  but that doesn’t mean a thing if I don’t know how to love myself. Its a shame too because some many young people growing up struggle with anxiety, depression, emotional disorders that stem from lack of self celebration and self love.

A lot of people would argue that teaching of self love isn’t the responsibilities of our school system, or a duty of public education systems but I disagree because if its not, our society and we as a human race are going to crash and burn. We’re going to have more and more people hurting themselves and hurting others, plenty of young, bright, smart, beautiful people getting in their own way because they never learned how to love themselves honestly. Growing up Self celebration is something that I had to teach myself, no one in my life told me it was “cool”, heck a necessity in fact, to love myself. Two things that saved me from a lot of darkness, God and the power of self celebration, because at the end of the day I know that even if it feels like all is wrong in the world, God loves me and I love me, and that is enough. That is why Im still here.

Gender Design and Individuality

Creative Director and Writer, Suzanne Tick, describes in her article, “His and Hers? Designing for a Post Gender Society” in Metropolis Magazine , the increasing importance of gender-neutral designs in society. Tick expresses that gender-neutral designs are so important in today’s world because its a necessity for people to feel “safe” to function anywhere, do what they would like to do, no matter how they identify. Suzanne Tick gives examples in ways in which society is already contributing to gender-neutral designs in society, such as companies like Google and Target having gender-neutral bathrooms and college applications no longer making it mandatory for students to choose a gender as option on forms. Given the examples Suzanne uses in this article , she determines that we are living in a post-gender society given the fact that androgyny is now commonplace, meaning gender ambiguity and a mix of masculine and feminine characteristics are being shared among most individuals in today’s society. Tick feels as though, creating more designs that are gender-neutral will allow for the creations of environments that are more individualistic and free.

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Zara’s Ungendered Line (Source: Google)

I love Suzanne Ticks take on gender-neutral designs in society; I for one don’t think that we live in a post-gender society just yet but I do think that we are headed strongly in that direction. I’m a person that has definitely felt comfortable and benefits from gender-neutral designs and gender-neutral environments. When I shop for clothes, I shop for things I live, whether it be men or women clothes, I can say that in my closet I own a fair share of both. I love to shop in the men’s section of Urban Outfitters, given their style but I’m also very much into Zara’s ungendered clothing line.  I wear whatever it is I like and sometimes that very feminine and sometimes its androgynous to masculine but its always me, and thats what Tick is getting at, these gender-neutral designs just allow people to be purely themselves, making way for individuality.

Prince Roger Nelson (Source: Google )

Despite what society likes to make it seem or think, androgyny has been present for a long time, which is why it now has become commonplace such as Tick mentioned.One of my biggest role models and inspirations of all time is the late icon Prince, he was extremely androgynous and people adored him and he still is a huge part of our culture.

Gender is a social construct that I believe will always be there to some extent its just a matter of how much it will continue to impact the way we think about individuals, what preconceive notions we assign to them, and what we expect of people.

 

Linguistics, Civic Education, and Designs

 

In the last chapter of his book, City of Rhetoric David Fleming, challenges the reader to think about how he/she can be now humbled by the understand of the built world and the built environment hat surrounds us. Fleming points out that we need to understand that the level to which we flourish and survive directly relates to the design of our built environment and in turn how this matters to us as individuals and as a whole population. He refers to the greeks in the way in which they have combined “modesty” and “hopefulness” in the success of their architectural design, something we in turn should learn from. In this chapter, the city as a place and people are described as being together in a oneness as Fleming is to make the point of this symbiotic relationship the environment has with the people in and the people are a direct reflection of their environment. We as citizens are dependent on our cities, its where we live and where we grow and survive, in turn, our cities are dependent on us and only as the good as the resources and structure we as citizen provide it.

In this final chapter, Fleming addresses the linguistic obstacles that prevent us from improving our cities from what they are now, he presents three reason: debates and discussions about our communities, political position being routinely associated with self-interest, and the lack language that provides us ways to address conflict and resolutions to conflict that do not include assimilating or separating. Fleming uses these reasons to describe to the reader the necessity to put meaning, harmony, resolution and depth of understanding over our own self-interest, personal politics, and publicity in order to improve our environments that we have built and are struggling to survive in; he states that this can only be done through linguistics and the effective use of language.

Fleming says that the success and progress of our built environment and surrounding is dependent on the improvement of teaching our young people in society the importance of linguistic and teaching young people a language that is not directed by privilege or how to win a debate but how to understand and then reason with others alike and different from ourselves that allows us to render the most successful outcome for all of us. He notes that teaching our young people in society this requires more listening than talking, more inquiring rather than debating, more understanding rather than ignoring. The advancement of  education and promise of improvement in our cities is upon our young people being taught through a rhetoric oriented in schools that is community based, inclusive, and reasonable rather than exclusive and argumentative. Once the rhetorical bases and linguistics in our education systems change we will see our people change and with that our environment will start to change in a way that serves the public discourse, responds and reasons with the people that inhabit it rather than excludes and marginalizes groups that fall outside of whomever isn’t served by the public discourse.

Overall,  Fleming proposes 4 components of civic education that believes will grant students with the power and knowledge necessary to fulfill the tasks of what society needs from their cities and their built environment in which they live. The first component being memory, Fleming talks about the need for students to acknowledge the past history of ones environment, learning what problems currently present themselves isn’t enough when we don’t know where those problems came from, how they were created and whom they did and still do effect. Memorializing the successes as well as failure of an environment and relationship these memories and moments in time have with the current status of the environment is crucial.  He encourages young people to listen to the stories of the elders in the community and “uncover” history and conflicts seemingly forgotten about from he community. Secondly, Fleming states that mapping is another component that will lead to a students success in fulfill their civic duties as well as improving their environment. Fleming claims that students today often dive into subjects and write, speak and present about things that they know very little about and he stresses the importance of mapping in order to produce our own understanding of public discourse. Students such be doing genuine research by traveling into communities and cities, seeing, experiencing and thinking then developing our own hypotheses rather than the sterile, less humanistic version of “research” that is pushed by the majority of our educational system currently. The third component Fleming suggest is judgement, how student form the opinions they do, on what basis do we develop our own thoughts and ideas to assess conflicts and situations. Fleming explains that society wants to constantly put young people in decision-making groups and situation without providing students with the education to function in such situations competently. He points out that students should be collaboratively working together in school to study “real” cases and learn how to render a functional and reasonable, developed opinion and decision. Lastly, Fleming says that design is the final component that is going to empower our students and provide them with the knowledge and skills to fulfill civic duties and serve our environment. Fleming elaborates on what he feels in need for students to learn how to construct, invent and design solutions to all of the problems that they face and situational conflicts they incur. Fleming suggest that students in school are presented with current political and cultural conflicts and issues present in their city and work collaboratively in trying to design a plan that would lead to a resolution or invent some sort of amendment that relives a pressing issue. This teaches students to acknowledge, address, and combat problems they share with others in their environments and the type of progress that happens through working with others that we not only share commonalities with but also differences.

Writer, David Fleming (google.com)

The things we know about our cities and about our environments are the things we know about each other and ourselves, some of what we know is amazing and astounding but some of it is disappointing, disheartening, and maybe even destructive. When we take these latter parts of what we know and reinvent them in a way that betters our children, improves our education and alters the origin of our rhetoric then we’ve already made progress. This progress will contribute to the equality, improvement, success, advancement and security of our cities and the environment in which our children’s children will live, grow and survive in; making us better and thus making our city better, perhaps better than we could have ever imagined.

Lincoln Theatre: Interior and Cultural Digital Archive

Watch a Video of the Inside of the Lincoln Theatre Lobby Here.

The inside of the Lincoln Theatre was grandeur. The Lobby of the theatre was clean and polished just like what one would expect from the outside. There was a red carpet outside of the theatre, with “Lincoln Theatre” printed on it that lead to the entrance of the lobby. The architecture was a very classic baroque detail that makes one feel like they are about to see one of the most magnificent shows of the year. The colors of the lobby are a baby blue with Gold painted crown molding and trimming. There are bright red carpeted stairs on both sides of the lobby that lead the guest to their seats for the show. The ceiling is very high, painted in a gold color with details and large Chandelier hanging over the entire lobby. The design of the inside of the lobby alone gives such a grandiose feeling that adds to the whole experience of what the Lincoln Theatre is and whom gets to perform as sed venue. The design and architecture of the inside of the theatre, especially the lobby fit the culture and the classical history of what the venue is about perfectly.

Annotated Bibliography 3 + 4

“U Street.” Washington.org. Destination DC, 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

This website has page for all of Washington DC’s neighborhoods and the entities and attractions of the particular area. The page for U Street is has a big picture of the front of Ben’s Chili Bowl when a reader is to click on more information about U Street. The first line of the description for U Street says, “U Street was once truly the heart of black culture in America, attracting locals and visitors for an unparalleled music and nightlife scene”. The description commences to explain the significance of black culture pertaining to U Street and how Duke Ellington is celebrated here being that DC is his birthplace. The further in the description are food places that are  popular visits for tourists as well as locals such as Ben’s Chili Bowl and various ethiopian and soul food eateries.

I plan to use this article in a way that helps me better understand exactly how not only Lincoln theatre is marketed towards people but also how Street itself is marketed towards visitors and people unfamiliar with the area. Noticeably, like art of the other sources I’ve found so far mention the cultural history of U Street as the main attraction, just as this article does in the first sentence of the description.

EllingtonApts Apr. “The Ellington.” The Ellington Apartments Washington, DC: The Bozzuto Group  N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

This is the official website of The Ellington Apartments, located on UStreet. The website shares an about page regarding he ownership and location of the new luxury apartments. The drop down menu feature the amenities, a short description about the neighborhood, floor plans, a gallery of the inside, and a tab for service information. At the very top of the website is a link to schedule an appointment for a walk through for perspective residents.

I plan to use this website as a source of the changes happening on UStreet and around the Lincoln Theatre given the fact that these apartments are located directly behind Lincoln Theatre and named after one of the greatest musicians to ever, Duke Ellington. Ironically, despite the namesake, Duke Ellington is not mentioned once one the website, not even on the about page; the description simply mentions the area is a popular one for live music and musical entertainment. Im not sure that the residence moving into “The Ellington” are even aware of why the apartments are named that. To market these grand apartments the way they are and not mention Duke Ellington’s significance to the area is something I would like to investigate more and definitely address in my Essay.

Annotated Bibliography 9 + 10

Ramanathan, Lavanya. “The Latest Trick to Making New Developments Cool: Just Add Rock-and-roll.” The Washington Post [Washington DC] 23 Mar. 2016: n. pag. Print.

This article featured in the Washington Post last month explain’s Seth Hurwitz’s plans for The Anthem, a brand new concert venue and  the highlight of the highly anticipated new attraction to Southwest DC called The Wharf.  Seth Hurwitz is the co-founder of IMP Productions and also the owner of 9:30 Club as well as the Lincoln Theatre. Hurwitz’s vision for his newest concert venue, The Anthem is a grand one, it is suppose to open October of this year and seat 6,000 people per concert. The concert venue is going to  be below a pool club that he plans to open in the roof of the venue and concert go-ers will be able to look up at the glass floor of the swimming pool. The 60 million dollar venue is highly anticipated and a project, Hurwitz himself has state he thinks will be an “excellent attraction to the area”.  The Anthem is sure to be heard about again in the fall of this year for the grand opening. 

This article is helpful more me in a way that allows me to learn more about the owner of the Lincoln Theatre, Seth Hurwitz. This article goes into fair detail the business side of what Hurwitz is like and why he chooses to invest in the projects and partnerships that he does. This article is a helpful source from learning about Hurwitz in a business perspective.

 

Phillips, Hayley G. “San Francisco-born Pop-Up Magazine Lands at the Lincoln Theatre Tuesday.” Washingtonian [Washington DC] 28 Feb. 2017: n. pag. Print.

 

This article covers, a performance of Pop-Up Magazine at the Lincoln Theatre two month ago. A pop-up magazine is also known as a live magazine that performs all of its contents therefore its producers, writers, filmmakers, actors, and photographer as well as radio host take the stage and perform the content that would otherwise be found in a magazine. The performance is about 90 minutes and is made up of about 10 people. The founder of Pop-Up Magazine, Douglas McGray,  thought the Lincoln theatre would be a great venue for the show because he grew up in Washington DC well into his 20s and felt like it would be received well in this area, he said “DC is such a smart crowd, full of curious people”. McGray has brought the Pop-Up Magazine to venues in DC as well as San Francisco and he thinks the Lincoln Theatre is a “nice fit” for his show.

This article is useful to my research because I able to learn more in detail about the current acts and talent being booked at the Lincoln Theatre a bit more in detail rather than just looking at the show schedule on the theatre’s website. From this article I am able to learn about what type of talent the Lincoln Theatre is presently booking, what type of shows are being hosted and whom are in the Theatre looking to attract the most. 

The Lincoln Theatre: Exterior and Political Digital Archive

Source: Google.com

The environment in which surrounds the Lincoln Theatre is incredibly historic, the exterior is of the Lincoln Theatre and its surrounding is probably just as significant as the theatre itself. Since being re-done the outside of thee theatre is regal and polished making he theatre inviting and presentable all while keeping that old school, classic looks that the Lincoln Theatre is known for. The theatre itself is surrounded  by history, right next to it is the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, that was founded in 1958! A few doors down from the theatre is the a grand new living space called The Ellington Apartments. Ironically, enough one of the most famous people to play at the Lincoln Theatre when it first opened as Duke Ellington. The namesake of the new luxury apartments I’m sure is a nod to the historical significance of not only Lincoln Theatre but of U Street’s connection to the great musician. Although one could say that the theatre is located right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of U Street right next to one of DC’s Most famous eateries, luxury apartments, U Street Music Hall, and across the street from a metro station, the theatre does not have a hard time of standing it from its surroundings, it sits on the corner, bold and regal.

Source: Google

A much as the Lincoln Theatre is effected by the history of its exterior and its surroundings, its just as heavily effected by politics. First, U Street much like the majority of Washington DC is being gentrified, not shockingly so. The politics of money is what really is connected the Lincoln Theatre, The renovations, the new ownership, who owns the theatre, where its located all have to do with politics of money, with the hopes that these factors will attract the people with money. The people whom live in the Ellington, next door to the theatre are going to be only people whom are culture connoisseurs with money.

Now I Do What I Want…or What They Want

Pop Culture is probably one of the most powerful forces that society has. Im not a fan of Jordans, never had a desire to own a pair and I can say that I’m not too invested in Russell Westbrook as a fan, but how come after watching this commercial, not only did i want these sneakers, I actively went online shopping to try an purchase them; it wasn’t until I actually stopped myself and thought about if I genuinely wanted them. I was astounded that a commercial took me this far to find the sneakers in my size and put them in a shopping cart, but when I look at the situation in hindsight, I can’t say Im surprised with my own behavior as a 20 year old influence heavily by pop culture. First of all, I love the song playing in the video, its call “Do What I Want” by one if my favorite rappers of all time, Lil Uzi Vert; secondly, everyone dancing in this video is doing  a dance move that hit the internet and went  viral, its called the Hit Dem Folk.  Once this dance move caught on it resulted in people all around the world posting on social media the Hit Dem Folks Challenge. Thirdly, the commercial is starring one of the biggest athletes in basketball at the moment, Westbrook has fan near and far, nationally and internationally, He’s appeared on the most popular magazine covers, biggest red carpet events and has over 4 million followers on Twitter.

These three aspect alone, a popular and current person in music along with a viral internet dance challenge, starring an incredibly relevant athlete were all things  familiar enough to me and influential enough nearly lead me to buy something I wasn’t even interested in purchasing and wouldn’t ever have purchased ordinarily; I didn’t even realize what the commercial was selling until the very end when it was about to go off and I saw “Westbrook .2” with the Air Jordan symbol on the screen. Its crazy how 60 seconds can completely change ones whole outlook on something they’re fairly certain about before seeing this commercial, i.e. my dislike for Jordan Basketball sneakers. I still might go out and by me a pair of the Westbrook .2’s and the world will keep spinning but if its that easy I think about how easy it is to influence people on purchasing things that mean more than a pair of sneakers. I ask myself, at what point does it change from a culture and a fad, to playing on the influence and persuasion of people and the manipulation of minds?