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QuaranTimes Volume 23

Updated: Jun 7

June 1, 2022


Flower Girl by Danielle Yeboah, YPIE Scholar 2027



In this Issue


Current Events

  • The Yonkers High School Gala

  • The Incredible Lincoln High School Talent Show


Creative Corner

  • Woman

  • Flower in the Field

  • Spring

  • Walking Through the Mountains, We Discovered that Even the Impossible is Possible Part 2


Entertainment and Lifestyle

  • Women-Led Shows to Watch

  • Comparing Hype Behind Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman

  • What is the Male Gaze?


Our Voices Heard

  • Beauty Standards and Other Concepts That Put Women Down

  • Unfair Dress Codes

  • How Mental Illness Is Portrayed in the Media

  • Is the Puzzle Piece Good Representation for People with Autism?

  • A Love Letter to my Best Friends


YPIE QuaranTimes Staff


Editors

Alyssa Lee, Editor-in-Chief

Julia Azulay, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor

Annabelle Bradley, Section Editor

Natalie Flores, Section Editor

Amber Morales, Section Editor

Oluwafadeyemi Akinkuolie-Ibidapo, Arts Editor


Contributors

Sebastian Albano

Esperanza Aguilar Bello

Esteffany Ascencio

Jenna Aviles

William Dewar

Joyeta Dutta

Abigail Garcia

Delaney Gardinet

Emily Guttierez

Arriana Howell

Ashwani Pothen

Danielle Yeboah


Advisor

Stephanie Abiva


Welcome to the YPIE QuaranTimes

Produced by YPIE’s Journalism major, the YPIE QuaranTimes is a way for YPIE students to connect and share experiences during these unprecedented times. YPIE Scholars are using this time in so many creative, meaningful ways. As such, the YPIE Journalism major hopes to highlight all of the talents in our community through this publication.


Current Events



The Yonkers High School Gala

Ashwani Pothen, YPIE Scholar 2029


Yonkers High School’s multicultural gala is a celebration of many different cultures where students come together to put on a show of singing and dancing to display their cultures. Throughout the performances there were many dancers represented in groups such as Italian, Hispanic, Mexican, Afro Soca, Korean, Filipino, and Indian. This was an experience that all students could take part in, including middle school. Even though they were not in the dances, all students had a chance to walk in a fashion show to show off the traditional clothing of their country.


After two long years of remote learning and COVID-19, YHS was finally able to bring back the tradition of the multicultural gala. In the past, students would start to prepare early in the school year around October or November. This year however, students were challenged to put together their show with only a month to practice. With the new principal, many things had taken longer to get approved, but this did not stop students from putting on an amazing performance. To be able to perform, you would have to try out, and the captains would take the best of the dancers. While many people were accepted, there were limited amounts of spots for each team so not all who tried out were able to make it. Our students had worked very hard to accomplish what they did, with practices after school many times each week as well as more on their own time. Every part of the show was put together by the student captains, from the choreography and music to the costumes and songs.


During the performance, each culture had performed a mashup of many different songs. Each group went on from anywhere between five to ten minutes in length. Before anyone had begun, there was a small introduction to give a description of what type of dance each group was doing and some background about it.


As a viewer, watching all the dances was an amazing experience, and was overall such a fun environment. Every single group had amazing stage presence and was genuinely such a pleasure to watch. Especially because I had a couple friends performing, it was exciting to see what they had been working so hard on for so long.


Gala is such an important tradition that was missed by many students in the years that schools were closed, so to be able to finally go back out and continue a loved and highly anticipated part of the school year brought joy to many people. After interviewing a couple of the students who had performed in the actual show, the majority had said that they had a great experience and would hope to do it again throughout the rest of their high school experience. “It was amazing, everyone was so nice and I see why people love gala so much,” said a Filipino gala member.

As for the seniors, they were happy to be able to take part in a favorable tradition especially because a lot of their high school time had been taken from them and it’s their last year. “I’ve been waiting for this since my freshman year, it was amazing to be such an important part of it,” said a senior in the Indian Gala.


The multicultural gala is one of the biggest traditions here at Yonkers High. It has changed a lot throughout the years to become what it is today, but it is still such an important event that everyone loves. It shows how much diversity is present in the school and brings everyone from any unique culture together.



The Incredible Lincoln High School Talent Show

By Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028


On April 7th, Lincoln High School organized a talent show to showcase student talent! Many students were able to perform and present their inner creativity which included dancing, art, and singing!


A total of 12 students participated in this talent show and the duration of this talent show was an hour and a half.


My experience at the Talent Show:

This year’s talent show was nerve wracking because I never performed in front of an audience. Dealing with social anxiety makes it very difficult to be outgoing. This talent show helped me in terms of my confidence in performing.


Highlights from the show include:


Abel Garcia- Creep by Radiohead

Amber Morales - Stay by Rihanna

Sarah Ankrah - Original drawing and presentation called “Lost Souls”

Kayla Bartley - Choreography of Money by Cardi B

John Lang - Acapella

Anisa Rullab- Beautiful by Cristina Aguilera













Creative Corner


Celebration of Women by Abigail Garcia, YPIE Scholar 2028


Woman

By Amber Morales, YPIE Scholar 2028


In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a brief poem depicting a flower on its journey to enlightenment:



First it was a seed

The seed grows roots

It sprouts from the ground, and watered by the rain and given sunlight from the sun

Slowly, it becomes a flower, beautiful and vibrant

Full of passion and energy


It is told that their stems aren’t strong enough

It is told that it is inferior to the other flowers

This put the flower into a spiral of insecurity

Slowly, the flower begins to wilt and tilt

Its roots turn gray and the soil becomes dry

It seems as though their happiness has been taken away


But then, another flower sprouts right next to the first one

And reminds the other flower of its worth

Soon, the other flower started to gain life again

It became more vibrant and shined like the colors of the rainbow

Both flowers gave enlightenment to every flower that sprouted around them and created a ray of positivity

And all the flowers in the garden lived happily ever after


Untitled by Esteffany Ascencio, YPIE Scholar 2026



Flower in the Field

By Jenna Aviles, YPIE Scholar 2028


I’m a flower that is late

But always I try to escape

I have been through winter and through fall

I have seen it all


I’ve seen pain

I’ve seen light

I realized I’m alright

I stay here for so long

But I’m happy you come along


As the wind blows and the tree falls

I will be here on this lawn

Waiting for you to come around

Maybe one day you’ll show me the town


But ‘til then, I’m right here

Because I’m the flower that you hold dear



Flower Collage by Abagail Garcia, YPIE Scholar 2028


Spring

By Arriana Howell, YPIE Scholar 2029



Why does it rain

Is it raining cats

Is it raining dogs

Is it raining acid

Or is it raining tears


After the cold winter,

Why else would it rain

Droplets fall like iron

Making friends with the floor


Taste like tears

But feels refreshing

The refreshing tears that makes all come alive

The plant, the life that is resurrected


It is a time for a new beginning

The sun rises higher

People refresh their living styles


Just like new year

Everyone makes a new goal

The goals that cry to the sky

Asking why it pours shadowing souls

And blows fighting winds


Everyone looks forward to the end of spring

So that a new friend rises again

The temperature and the sun

As it’s summer



(l-r) Showers and Flowers and Dark Skies, Bright Rainbows

by William Dewar, YPIE Scholar 2027


Walking Through the Mountains, We Discovered that Even the Impossible is Possible Part 1

By Oluwafadeyemi Akinkuolie-Ibidapo, YPIE Scholar 2027

Many African American achievements are only remembered when mentioned in history books, while a great deal are too-often overlooked. To shed light on just a few out of numerous significant accomplishments made by African Americans, I created the following collages:




To see even more displays of Black achievement, I encourage you to visit: The Biggest African American Achievements Every Year



Walking Through the Mountains, We Discovered that Even the Impossible is Possible Part 2

By Oluwafadeyemi Akinkuolie-Ibidapo, YPIE Scholar 2027

This is a piece based on how I felt after researching African American achievement in history and how much it motivated me. This art can be interpreted based on your perspective.





Entertainment and Lifestyle


Women-Led Shows to Watch

By Natalie Flores, YPIE Scholar 2028


Ever since the start of television, women have always graced the screen. Women were represented in various ways, especially in tropes and stereotypes, all negatively affecting women in the long run.


Women have always found themselves as the damsels in distress or the love interest to the male lead, seemingly having importance only when it involves a man. Over time, women have pushed against this narrative and found themselves the protagonist of their own stories.


I would like to take a moment and look at my favorite women-led television shows, as these shows changed the way women were represented on-screen or subverted harmful tropes and turned it into a story to which all kinds of women can relate.



Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)


One of the favorite sitcoms of all time and the ultimate comfort show, Parks and Recreation is a must-watch for any sitcom enthusiast and comedy fan.


Parks and Recreation follows Leslie Knope, played by the fantastic Amy Poehler. Lesie Knope is a bureaucrat in the Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. Leslie hopes to help her community by assisting a local nurse, Ann Perkins, into turning an abandoned construction site into a community park. What may seem like an easy project seems to have a myriad of problems, from government regulations, stubborn, eristic bureaucrats, and the oddball citizens of the town.


This show is pure magic as it has an incredible ensemble of actors, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Nick Offerman just to name a few. They all flow off each other seamlessly and all the characters’ chemistry is purely magnetic. Each character is likable and multifaceted.


At its core, it isn’t just about a bunch of goofball government workers who care too much about their town but about how crucial friendship is in one’s life. This show has the best representation of women's relationships, with Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins’ friendship seeming to be the catalyst to the main events of the series.


This show is like a warm hug after a hard day, with just the right amount of feelings but making you feel all warm and cuddly inside.



The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-)


By the creator of the Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman-Palladino, this 1950s-set Amazon Prime original series follows a woman named Miriam “Midge” Maisel. She seems to have the perfect life with everything she ever wanted, two kids and an amazing apartment on New York’s luxurious Upper West Side. The life she always wanted takes a surprising turn when she discovers a hidden talent she could never guess she had… stand-up comedy!


This discovery changes the course of her life as she starts her journey as an aspiring stand-up comedian, leaving her comfortable New York apartment at night to perform stand-up all around New York’s nightlife. It leaves her to question if she should pursue this newfound passion and leave the life she was all too familiar with or stick with the status quo.


This show is nothing short of refreshing as it deals with the male-dominated world of comedy through the lens of a woman in the 1950s, juggling with her marriage and her children. Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the titular character Miriam Maisel, steals the show every scene she is in. She has excellent comic timing and seems so effortless standing up on that stage telling jokes with such ease that some stand-up comedians now wished they had.


It is a wholesome show with a unique story, amazing performances that leave you laughing but also tugging your heartstrings.



Jessica Jones (2015-2019)


*This show has triggering themes, such as PTSD, assault, and shows explicit content


The show chronicles the life of one of the darker and less well known Marvel characters, Jessica Jones in this Netflix original series. Jessica Jones tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator in Hell’s Kitchen after she experienced a traumatic life experience that had left her shaken and torn apart. Plagued by the ghosts from her past and PTSD, she battles her inner turmoil from within by dealing with cases that involve people like her, with remarkable abilities.


This show deserved just as much hype as Netflix’s Daredevil as its storyline dives deeper into the broken and deeply flawed characters of the show. Jessica Jones is shown as a complex woman, who is tormented by her trauma and one of the best portrayals of PTSD in the media.


PTSD is a stigmatized mental health disorder that is mostly portrayed through war veterans in the media and never really portrayed on women. This portrayal is refreshing but hard to watch as Jessica’s experiences are all too familiar…


Jessica Jones is by all means, a troubled person, but through her perseverance and efforts to better herself, her journey of healing from her trauma and helping other victims heal was a powerful message. Krysten Ritter, the actress who plays Jessica Jones, did a phenomenal job.


If you are a fan of Marvel or of noir films, I cannot stress this enough, this show is a must.



Fleabag (2016-2019)


*Shows explicit content*


Based on a one-women’s show by the same name, Fleabag is an Amazon Prime original which stars and is written by one of my favorite comics, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.


A dry-witted woman, who is only known as Fleabag, seems to have no filter as she navigates life and love in London, all while trying to cope with the loss of her best friend.


This is one of the most original, believable, and incredible storylines in a show I’ve ever come across. This show had me immediately invested in this nihilistic woman’s life as her reactions to the events that transpire around her are quite fascinating.


Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the main lead in Fleabag, is not only one of the best writers in Hollywood,but also an outstanding actress who’s acting isn’t given enough credit.. Every moment of this show went from hilarious to heartbreaking in a blink of an eye. It is truly executed phenomenally as many fail to make those breaking the third wall scenes not feel shallow nor cliche.


Phoebe’s character shows the pain, confusion, and utter helplessness you have when you are struck with grief, you can’t help but connect with her on a personal level. The best word to describe this show is “irreverent”, in the highest regard possible.



Pen15 (2019-2021)


PEN15 is a Hulu original show about these two comics, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle,who play a version of themselves as teenagers living through the early 2000s. The catch is that Maya and Anna are adults playing as their younger selves and are surrounded by actual teenagers as they re-imagine and re-experience their adolescence, all the ups and downs and embarrassing moments.


When my older sister told me the premise of this show, I was beyond confused as to how it could be pulled off but,to my surprise, the show works verywell. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle are masters of their craft, as this show is so heartfelt, nostalgic, weird, relatable, but hilarious. They flow off each other so well and they never seem to miss a comedic/emotional beat.


Even though the leads are nearing their 30s, they act amazingly believable as middle schoolers. Their acting is so good that sometimes you forget that they are the only adults, other than the parents, in an ensemble filled with actual teens.


Although I was not alive in the 2000s, I was still able to understand almost all the niche references during that time period. If you are a millenial and you are looking for a genuinely heartfelt show that takes a new look into childhood, I recommend this show. If you are like me, a teenager, who wants to watch a relatable show that deals with themes of growing up while effortlessly being inventive and original, I 100% recommend this show.


Comparing the Hype Behind Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman

By Emily Guttierez, YPIE Scholar 2028


For a long time, Spider Man and Batman were fictional characters who got hyped because of comic books.


What’s hype? Hype is to promote or publicize intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits. For example, Gen Z's hype is Tik Tok, a popular app that provides short clips of videos for entertainment.


In the movie ”Spider-Man: No Way Home”, Spiderman’s identity was revealed. Spider-Man didn’t want anyone knowing so he asked Dr. Strange for help. He ended up asking for too much help requesting to erase the memories of people who know his identity as Spider-Man. He then asks for too many amendments that messed up Dr. Strange’s spells. Later on this became dangerous making Peter Parker discover what it means to be Spider-Man.


Batman’s movie was inspired by one of the DC’s comic books based on Batman called Batman: Ego and Other Tales. This inspired the director to get into Batman’s mental agony. To let us know what’s going on inside Bruce Wayne’s (Batman's) mindset. What Batman wants is justice and revenge. Justice for his parents getting killed in a city riddled with corruption and crime. He also wants to gain the city’s trust and let them know that he’s not the bad guy.


Some people wonder, what is the difference between Marvel or DC Comics and why aren’t all superheroes under one comic. Both comics follow different characteristics and guidelines. Marvel has the Avengers while DC has the Justice League. Most of the Avengers are people who have suits with powers or either get them through something happening to them. The Justice League has aliens like Superman and gods like Wonder Woman. I actually like Marvel better than DC because of the characters. I like almost all of the Avengers.


You’re probably wondering why people want to see these movies and there’s a few reasons why. If you are a fan of Marvel or DC comics then of course you’d want to watch it. Depending on which you like best. To me it’s very entertaining. Everyone likes to feel that enjoyment of seeing your favorite celebrity, superhero or artist in a movie. That’s what attracts you to watch it. I hope you watch one of those two movies someday. If you did then I hope you enjoyed it.


What is the Male Gaze?

By Joyeta Dutta, YPIE Scholar 2027


The male gaze is a description of the way men visualize women as sexual objects for their own desires, it is found in all forms of media but specifically in film. The perspection of the male gaze allows a woman’s ideas, feelings, and sexual desires to be deemed as “less important” than her own being.


The theory of the male gaze was introduced by a scholar and filmmaker, Laura Mulvey, in her 1975 essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. She breaks down the male gaze into three perspectives, the man behind the camera, the man in the scene, and the man in the audience.


The male gaze has been evident in flim for a significant amount of time, as some notable examples include Harley Quinn, Black Widow, Megan Fox in Transformers.


In the first Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, Harley Quinn was first introduced as a reflection of the desires of the heterosexual men around her. By creating Harley for cishet men, they were able to project their fantasies and desires onto the character.


In the movie, she was seen wearing tiny shorts and a shredded top. The top says the line “Daddy’s Lil Monster” and has a collar that says “Pudding,”urther proving the point that Harley Quinn is a character that the male audience should crave to objectify.


Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan, is the first time Harley Quinn’s character was directed by a woman. With a woman behind the camera, Harley is now portrayed in costumes that are not overly sexual nor trying to appeal for male affection. Instead, the film establishes that her character, desires, and violent ways have not changed, but have rather developed.


Her desires and violent ways are more developed in The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn. She gets portrayed again for herself, it is her desires that are on top not the desire of the men. And she still remains as violent as ever.


Harley’s entrance in the first Suicide Squad film compared to her entrance in her stand-alone film best represents the male gaze. In the first film, the camera shows her heels and then it slowly moves up her body gradually until it reveals her face.


Whereas in Birds of Prey, it shows a shot of her heels but instead of the camera lingering up towards her figure, it keeps up with her shoes, staying directly behind her. The scene ends with a shot to her face.


By having the camera move up her body, it lets the male audience ‘take in’ her body for a longer period of time. Inherently making Harley Quinn more sexual.

Another comparison is the airport scene in the first Suicide Squad and the scene of Harley breaking out of chains in the second Suicide Squad portrayed the male gaze done wrong and then right.


In the airport scene, the camera once again moves from her legs, to her hips, then to her chest then finally to face. Again allowing the male characters in the scene, and men in the audience to crave her body.


In the second Suicide Squad, the camera tends to focus on her point of view, it is as if the camera moves with her. The audience feels like they are in her mind all throughout this scene, especially with the comical imagery in the background.


Harley Quinn is not the only female to be portrayed through the male gaze. Another female character who has been portrayed through the male gaze is Natasha Romanoff, commonly known as Black Widow.


In all her films she’s appeared in, it has been evident that there was a man behind the camera. This aspect of the male gaze applies to the film that introduced Natasha, Iron Man 2, which was directed by Jon Favreau.


For instance, in Iron Man 2, there is a scene where she is getting into her costume in the back of a car, Happy is seen changing his rearview mirror to focus on Natasha as she changes.


Another scene that explicitly shows this is in the diner, where she is introduced as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, the camera lingers on her back as the shot is shown with her walking towards Tony Stark than to her face.


Lastly, in The Avengers, she has a scene where she is held captive, while this scene can be seen as empowering as she escapes by using her tactical skills. It ends with Natasha picking up her heels that were previously left discarded and walking off, her backside towards the camera.


In the majority of her scenes in the MCU, Natasha is rarely seen by herself or amongst other women. She is frequently seen with another man, something that goes against the bechdel test. The Bechdel test has three rules; (1) at least two women are featured, (2) that these women talk to each other, and (3) that they discuss something other than a man.


She barely passes the test, as she only passes by having a few minutes with other women characters in the movies. This was until the last two Avengers films, in which she had again a few but considerably more scenes where she was on the screen with another woman, had a conversation, and it didn’t revolve around a man.


This also changed in her solo move where Natasha's character was developed more than being the ‘sexy but deadly’ character. But to a character that has emotions, that connects with the other women that are also portrayed on screen.


In Black Widow, she is also no longer dressed in tight bodysuits that are not functional but in a suit that is functional and not overtly sexual. She is portrayed as a multi-faceted character that does not need a male character.


One of the infamous instances of the male gaze is in 2007’s Transformers, directed by Michael Bay, which starred Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf. Mikaela (Megan Fox’s character) serves no purpose in the movie but to make the main character, Sam, feel more dominant and masculine. She is soley there for the sex appeal and this is even more apparent with the scene where she is fixing Sam’s car.


In the scene, she is shown through the eyes of Sam, who sees her as a sexual object or a fantasy. By having the camera show her figure, it is used to attract the male audience as alludes to their own sexual desires.


The effects of the male gaze is a concern as it sexualizes women so much. This can cause women to develop body image issues or even worse, it can encourage the harassment by men, who have grown up watching these forms of media portray women like this, normalizing this behavior.


Portraying women as sexual objects in film and tv only to satisfy men’s sexual desires and not for the sake of great character writing nor representation creates a world that declares women as nothing but a way to empower men and to be used as objects for their disposal.




Our Voices Heard





Beauty Standards, and Other Concepts That Put Women Down

By Sebastian Albano, YPIE Scholar 2029

During March, Women’s History Month, the world comes together and appreciates the remarkable accomplishments made by female scientists, writers, and athletes. This appreciation is lost in the months following March, as people lose interest in the “gimmick” of Women’s History Month and treat women with disrespect once again. Among this treatment are three major concepts that ultimately belittle women: beauty standards set by influencers and advertising, exoticization of AAPI (Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders) features, and the fetishization of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Beauty Standards: The Effects of Makeup, Photoshop, and Instagram

Many factors that enforce beauty standards upon women are included in some sort of media, whether it be a makeup commercial playing on the TV, or your favorite influencer showing their workout routine for the “perfect” body. Young women are targeted by these media and led to believe following these regiments will result in beauty benefits, like clear skin or smooth hair. In reality, beauty standards are forced into women by these media, causing some to form an obsession with seeming conventionally attractive. Ads for the newest anti-aging cream or hair conditioner that tell women to “be their best selves' ' indirectly tell viewers that they aren’t enough as is and should strive to look like the flawless models in the commercials.

A study showed that when young adults are notified of a swimsuit model’s body alteration, they seem to rate their models as more attractive and have a higher desire to look like them. This contrasts with another case in which images of thin models labeled as underweight caused a sample size to feel more confident in their own bodies. While revealing that an image is edited does not prevent young women from continuing to pursue their beauty fantasies, exposing the truth of conventionally attractive, everyday people shows the repercussions of trying to become someone based on society’s standards.

Exoticization: AAPI Features and Stereotypes


Non-Asian women have used tactics to try and copy features found in those of Asian women, indirectly appropriating their culture and belittling, to them, women with “funny faces.” This can be seen in makeup techniques where dominantly AAPI features, such as round or almond-shaped eyes, are mimicked with the use of eyeliner and eyeshadow. This technique, termed “Fox Eye” makeup, is the newest rage in the beauty community, despite the countless AAPI individuals who have been bullied or tormented for these same features in the past. This brings up the idea of double standards and hypocrisy all women of color experience daily. When your education or livelihood is decided by a predominantly white council, women of color must change their appearance, voice, and personality to seem “professional.”

Looking at another perspective, AAPI women often experience stereotyping, which reduces them to the submissive, docile, and “exotic” traits exaggerated in offensive movie and TV show characters. In a survey given to Asian American women, 96.3% of participants agreed that they had experienced some sort of stereotyping in their lives. Due to the blatant stereotyping made against Asian women, personal and professional relationships are made unstable as women find the same discrimination in their trusted peers as they do from society or social media.

Fetishization: Objectification of the LGBTQIA+ Community


Fetishism is a term that describes an attraction to a non-sexual object or feature. In certain erotic media, LGBT+ couples, specifically lesbian couples, are portrayed as sexual beings who can be “saved” and converted to heterosexuality by a male. Due to this abundance of fetishized media, it is extremely hard for lesbian (and other GBT+) women to find accurate representations of their identity. This instance of exaggerated lust can also be seen towards transgender people, where straight males desire trans people solely for their bodies.

Out of all members of the LGBTQ+ community, the worst instances of fetishization occur towards transgender people from cisgender men. A common theme in each case was an infatuation with a body part or the “novelty” of a trans person. This dehumanizes the person and causes them to believe their desires and wants are irrelevant. Transgender people also revealed the invasion of privacy they experienced, having questions asked about their private life and history on dates where these questions are inappropriate. This is a case of insensitivity, in which the person’s emotions are disregarded out of ignorance or narcissism from the other party.

* * *

The troubles and judgments women face are undeserved and often come from blatant sexism. These years and decades of discrimination are seemingly hidden within 31 days as the month rages on, intended to showcase, respect, and highlight significant women in history and our lives. Through the elaboration of these three oppressive concepts, I hope to provide a realistic and eye-opening perspective of multiple women minorities.


Unfair Dress Codes

By Ashwani Pothen, YPIE Scholar 2029


Women are told from such a young age how to dress and what to wear in order for other people to be comfortable around their own bodies. Especially in school systems, girls have a much stricter dress code as opposed to the boys; there are so many more rules and restrictions that apply only to the girls.


In my experience, especially during the warmer months of school when people start to alter their wardrobes, many teachers and administrators are too concerned with what students are wearing, claiming it can be too distracting for others trying to learn. These dress codes often go hand-in-hand with thinking that the best way to prevent sexual harassment in schools is to advise girls to cover up. Dress codes are targeted towards women by sexualizing body parts, saying that boys will be distracted, as well as enacting a double standard by not applying the same rules to them.


Every woman has a different body type, so even with the focus of dress codes being mainly on women, it is also even more targeted towards girls with bigger body types. Those who are plus-sized or have fuller bodies, specifically girls with larger chests, are more likely to be stopped for anything they are wearing because of the sexualization of a part of their body that they do not bear control over.


Girls with smaller bodies may get away with more though because even if they are wearing revealing clothes, it may not be showing as much skin as other girls. The Yonkers Public Schools Code of Conduct states, “Students may not wear extremely brief, revealing garments such as, but not limited to, tube tops, net tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, plunging necklines (front and/or back), midriff tops, see-through fabrics, short shirts, or dresses.” It also says, “...(Students) appearance is safe and appropriate, and does not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.”


The Code of Conduct cites many general rules that all students must follow. However, when it comes down to actually being present in school and learning, many of the staff are stuck in their conventional ways and think that women's bodies are what prevent boys from learning, and never enforce the same rules on boys as they do the girls. This may affect the way girls perceive themselves and feel about themselves, as well as how safe they feel coming to school.


The idea of girls needing to cover their bodies for others may also lead to other misconceptions, such as believing that the only way to not be harassed is to always cover themselves up. Boys are seldom blamed for their own actions when they are not mature enough to control themselves around women. According to social conventions, it always comes down to the girls to change when a man is affected by something they shouldn't be.


Ultimately, girls are not treated the same as guys when it comes down to the dress code. To plant seeds for change, it is a necessity for more men who try to understand what women have to go through and try to see the problem from our point of view. They should also see girls for their character and who they really are, rather than just objectifying them.


This could also help to spread awareness for the sexual harassment that some people receive helping to feel better about themselves, as well as to bring change to the public school system’s sexist dress code.



How Mental Illness is Portrayed in Media

By Delaney Gardinet, YPIE Scholar 2029


There are many cases where mental illnesses are either highly romanticized and glamorized or looked down upon. On social media, there are people who fake having mental illnesses because they think it’s cool. Countless people fake having things like depression, DBD, schizophrenia, anxiety, OCD, etc. to gain followers.


It’s very harmful to the people who actually have these mental health challenges because a false narrative pushes on people with these actual everyday challenges. It is insensitive. In many other cases people also like to view these problems as small and think people are weird for having them. This points to a negative light and a huge amount of generalization to the community of people who do struggle. Not only does it affect people's daily lives, it also can make somebody feel worse, especially when you tell them something personally that can be very offensive.


People with depression for example, are seen as being “over-dramatic” for feeling the way they do or lazy because they don’t have enough motivation to clean their room. They already feel misunderstood enough, and the media puts another ultimately negative narrative that can affect the person’s daily life.


Not only is mental illnesses falsely portrayed on social media but in movies as well. For example, many other people and I would love to see characters with actual schizophrenia depicted more fully in movies and TV. People who live with these things daily, there’s a lot more to them than just living with them. More nuance takes an understanding of the characters to be depicted in television, movies, books, etc.


The bare minimum of these movies is if they got the actual mental illnesses accurate in terms of the actual symptoms and what the illness actually entails. I’ve seen many movies that portray certain mental illnesses in atrociously inaccurate ways. I think mental health awareness is necessary, but presenting yourself at your worst and making a joke out of wallowing in your sorrow is harmful.


Pubmed states, “Studies consistently show that both entertainment and news media provide overwhelmingly dramatic and distorted images of mental illness that emphasize dangerousness, criminality and unpredictability. They also model negative reactions to the mentally ill, including fear, rejection, derision and ridicule.” This indicates that many times the media has presented mental illness in such a negative light that it affects the people who actually struggle with these things.


Since mental illness is portrayed falsely in media, movies, things that are supposed to be entertaining or educating, etc. it can bring in a false narrative and generalization of other people to the community. People will generalize all people with specific mental illnesses as a whole since they’ve seen it on television or on instagram or even on the news.


Is the Puzzle Piece Good Representation for People with Autism?

By Esperanza Aguilar Bello,YPIE Scholar 2029

Though some people may say that the puzzle piece is a good representation for people with autism since the symbol may represent confusion and puzzled parents who have kids with autism. According to what this website called killsplatform.org that's what “most autism advocates say ''yes to the puzzle piece as a symbol. But we all shouldn’t just make those inferences if you don't know what people with autism have to go through or parents who have kids that got diagnosed with autism. In the website killsplatform.org as mentioned before states that “the puzzle piece can symbolize something incomplete- are all things we shouldn’t be attaching to any person with a disability or neurodiversity.” This can show how people should not be deciding what the people with autism have to be symbolized with and should let them choose what they feel more comfortable being as a symbol for them.

The puzzle piece means that the puzzle is incomplete and the people with autism don't want to be implied that they are not complete people just like any other human being. They don't want to be seen as different people or people who are ‘not complete”. Just because they have autism does not mean they are not like everyone else. The community simply does not want to be resembled by something that does not make them feel good about themselves and a symbol that can “tell them to not embrace the experience they are having but to be ashamed.”

A symbol that the community would like to use instead of the puzzle piece is a rainbow infinity symbol, which can be connected to the neurodiversity perspective according to this website.


People with autism do not want to have a symbol like the puzzle piece represent them but they would rather have a rainbow infinity symbol to represent them since it does not have a problematic pass towards people with autism unlike the puzzle piece. When people with autism see an organization or an adult using a puzzle piece for autistic people and then knowing the connotation, they assume that an organization does not consult with actual autistic people and they may find that problematic or assume that the organization may not actual care about how they feel towards the symbol. This can all teach us that people who have autism do not want people to use the puzzle piece as a symbol for them since of the problematic pass with that symbol. And will all rather have the rainbow infinity symbol resemble them since it is not a sign of disrespect towards them unlike the puzzle piece. In my opinion after my research the puzzle piece does have a problematic past and can be associated with different things that people with autism don't want to be associated with or don't want to be seen as a “normal” human being.


A Love Letter to my Best Friends

By Natalie Flores, YPIE Scholar 2028


The media often portrays women's friendships or relationships as something toxic. Often pinning women against one another, my experiences have been the complete opposite.


My friendships with other women always felt intimate, warm, loving, and felt like the embodiment of a hug.


Yes, I have experienced a fair load of toxic friendships between other girls my age but the great friendships I’ve experienced outweigh the bad.


I had a particularly hard day at school. As someone who suffers from anxiety and frequent panic attacks, this day was especially overwhelming as I had a very important test and well, I was sure I failed it.


I remember how fast I ran to the cafeteria with tears in my eyes, so overwhelmed by the events that transpired throughout the day. I felt hopeless in those specific moments of panic.


Fortunately, a close friend of mine, who also had the same lunch period as me, ran straight towards me. She was so fast that some may say there was a gust of wind in a seemingly dreary room. She immediately knew something was wrong.


Instantly, the walls I previously put up came crashing down at the sight of her. She engulfed me in a hug and I feared she could hear how fast my heart was beating through my layers of clothing. Yet, I was immediately calm.


Chloe, one of my dearest friends, always seemed to know when I was anxious, sad, annoyed, or happy. I was able to be vulnerable around her and never questioned her sincerity when she gave me advice. These were one of the moments I needed to be lifted and put together. I was in a puddle of tears in front of her, I was overwhelmed, scared, and fed up with almost everyone. I felt as though I was alone in a room filled with faces I know.


Yet, she was my shoulder to cry on. She listened to my shaky breaths and fast, incoherent talking, nodding her head as I spoke. I told her how I was done with everything like my world was crashing down. In retrospect, it was a bit silly as it was a chemistry test but my need for academic validation seemed to overshadow my rational thinking.


After I was done ranting about my 'boy' troubles, the silly drama in my life, and how I couldn’t understand the new lesson for chemistry, I waited for Chloe’s response. From an onlooker’s perspective, I probably looked deranged but somehow Chloe still put up with it.


She looked me in my eyes and gave me one of the best responses I have ever received in my life. She told me how she was sad to see how upset I was and that she hated seeing me like that but she told me how seeing me at lunch was one of the highlights of her day. She went on to explain how she loved me and that she will always be there for me.


I felt like crying again but for another reason, at that moment I felt loved and listened to. I engulfed Chloe in the tightest bear hug and told her how I loved her just as much, if not more, and will always be there for her.


I think about that moment often; someone could be having the worst day ever, but when they see a person they love, they instantly feel better. It just shows how important you are to someone. Friendship isn’t a one-way street and oftentimes your brain likes to trick you into thinking it is, that none of your friends love you when really, you’re just afraid of losing them.


To any of my girl-friends reading this, you matter to me, and my experiences with you constantly make me better. Being feminine is such a beautiful thing to me, and the opportunity of sharing my womanhood alongside other incredible women, or feminine individuals gives my life the most pleasure.


The friendships I experienced shaped me and continue to shape the person I am and who I will become. Every woman I have befriended and continue to love and support has altered my life for the better.


Interested in contributing to the YPIE Quarantimes? Email Stephanie Abiva, YPIE QuaranTimes Advisor and College Readiness Manager.



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