Anja Young

Colorful imperfections

In the summer of 2012, 2016 was basically a nice idea with a lot of dreams attached. It was a mark of camaraderie between people who would experience completely different things in the same place, arbitrarily caught in the cross-hairs of the same time. Four years later, it’s strange how quickly that number we’ve been…

Girl power (for someone else’s world)

In an effort to build empathy, we’ve made it about us - transplanted our problems and perspectives onto people a world away. In an effort to rally support, we’ve justified our cause by highlighting the benefits to those around the people we’re trying to help; and on both sides of the conversation, we’ve lost sight of the girls and women we set out to help in the first place.

Shut up and eat your vegetables

Self love isn’t the be all and end all of self improvement. But self love, whether you focus on it or not, is all-pervasive. Its presence or absence can impact everything from our relationships to our performance in our day-to-day lives.

Next time, bite your tongue

Catcalling at will is unacceptable not because the people who are flattered by it don’t count; it’s unacceptable because, as with anything else, consent is paramount.

Caricaturing cultures: The dangers of appropriation

If we truly want to appreciate the cultural treasure trove America has to offer, we have to take time to understand the context that produced them. Imitation may be the best form of flattery. But if you have no idea what you’re imitating, the other side may remain equally ignorant of your good intentions.

Black and Yellow: Unity in difference

The series presented a tangled web of narratives that seemed to leave its audience with more questions than answers about what it really means to live in between categories. Communities play such a vital role in defining us that identity often becomes a power struggle between self-perception and external labeling. But in spite of this challenge, the stories left their audience with a profound sense of agency. I was inspired to see the unity that arose from the continual differentiation these individuals face.

The illusion of agency in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Mass-distributed fantasy is a dangerous game. E.L. James invites us into a world without inhibitions, where we can shed logical limitations in favor of a completely foreign experience. But even in the fantasy-world movies represent, there should be some uncrossable line we lay out for our protagonists.

The blame game is played out

The answer here is not fewer protests or more conversations. Dialogue is a two-way street. If we really want to demand more effective communication, both sides have the power to bridge the gap and initiate a more productive conversation.

To Stanford, with love

By definition, labels allow us to sort people, and can’t help but dictate our assumptions of how we should interact based on our similarities and differences. These labels impose arbitrary boundaries on a world of spectrums, and with them come a series of divisions between “us” and “them” that are almost impossible to dissolve.
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