Friends with me

“And that was the first time I talked to you… and I almost didn’t, because of your… you know… headphones.”

And, I mean, she’s nice. Pretty enough, nice haircut, good teeth, and siblings I’m told. And yeah, yeah she nice, and, for some reason, she wants to be nice to me. I cannot think of one goddamn reason why.
We’re not friends.

Not quite, we know each other, but we’re not friends. She knows it, I know it, and we’re skipping around the fact, trying to coordinate ourselves like we’re blind folded in a darkened room and are trying to avoid touching the other. We should have done this earlier, it would have been normal earlier, and now it’s not. Now it’s awkward because it took us this long.

I always liked her, secretly and from afar. She laughed at the same things I did, only she actually laughed and I smirked behind my laptop screen. We would have been friends under different circumstances, but she’s popular and properly proportioned and knows how to interact with people who aren’t like her beyond just basic small talk. She’s not like me and I’m not like her.

She is not my people.

“Yeah,” I say, I’m trying to grin, “my great strategy.”

She’s tried to talk to me before, has been trying to be my friend for a while now. She’s commented on my hair color and in return I’ve commented on hers, and she’s pointed to the sewn on school logo on my pants and said “everyone say’s there going to do it, but you actually did.” And then she laughed and I laughed too, and I didn’t know why we were laughing. I can’t figure out why she’s trying to talk to me, but I like the fact that she is, and I try to talk to her back.

This is the only class we have together, we don’t talk anywhere else. And she sits on the other side to the classroom to me, with her friends. With a loud girl and a girl wearing a hijab. The girl wearing the hijab and me are friends. Maybe that’s why the girl is trying to be friends with me. God I hope not.

She has one of the most truthful views of me, I suppose, out of the rest of the school. I don’t socialize in the class with her, I don’t even try. I used to sit with someone who used to be my friend, then I realized we had never been friends, her voice annoyed me, and I would rather eat my own tongue than continue another conversation that involved both the word ‘adorbz’ or how much she hated this specific person. So I decided not to care, and instead seated myself as far from her as humanly possible.

She saw a Clementine that the rest of school didn’t see. A Clementine that was not out-going, who spoke in dry, ironic tones, a Clementine that was not actively hostile, but not actively inviting and was smarter than all of them.

She’s looking at me hopefully, and I’m looking back, over my laptop screen. I’m keeping my face neutral, but I’m analyzing every novel I have ever read trying to think of something to say. I realize, instantly, that I shouldn’t be sitting with her, I should literally be sitting with anyone else, because this is not going to work. I’m only sitting here because my usually secluded spot has been stolen and I’m really starting to think that I should just get my biggest sharpie and write in big bold letters ‘only sit here under pain of death’.
And then the bell rings, and we untangle each other from the other’s verbal stumbles and excuse ourselves from the presence of the other, me to scuttle of to the art rooms, her to do whatever popular girls do on their own time, and we both know that we’re probably going to do this again until one of us caves and we’re friends.

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The Portrayal of Women in the Media

This is an exposition I did for my English class, and I thought I would share it with you:

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The Portrayal of Women in the Media:

In one of the displays, the left, the shirt is advertised as an accessory to the man, as it is meant to be seen, but in the right advertisement the woman is an accessory to the shirt, she makes the shirt look better, rather than the other way around. This shows the stark difference between the portrayal of men and the portrayal of woman in the media. It happens in all sorts of mediums, movies, tv shows, magazine, but very prominently in advertisements. Women, unknowingly or otherwise are seen as an accessory, or something to be taken or conquered. In men’s magazines it’s telling you how to conquer, in women’s magazine’s it’s telling you how to be conquered.

And this is a fundamental misinterpretation of the way that most people interact with each other.

In the advertisement to the right, the woman is viewed more as a mannequin, a lifeless thing, instead of a person. She’s posing, her shirt is open, and she’s not a human being. In comparison the man is just standing, he’s wearing the shirt the way that it’s meant to be worn, the way a person would wear it, he doesn’t have to pose, he is advertising a shirt, he’s not being advertised.

Both advertisements are being used to show how the shirt looks on a human, how it would look on you. In the right one it uses the woman’s open shirt to capture the attention of a potential buyer, in the left the shirt is used to catch the attention of a buyer. A basic difference. In both cases the shirt is the center of attention, it’s in the center of both photos, it’s the first thing you see, but it’s the first thing you see for very different reasons. In the left photo, you see it because he is so plain, he has no expression, he’s not moving, and the shirt is the only factor in the photo. In the right display, you have to notice the shirt, because it cases the area that would not usually be seen. The advertisers using the social inequalities of the picture to draw the eyes to where the shirt is.

Since women have been girls the media has been constantly pushing the basis for insecurity. ‘I need to be pretty’, ‘I need to have a boyfriend’, ‘I’m not good enough’. And when you see this perfect specimen in the right advertisement, this person who is pretty and probably has a boyfriend and is good enough, you have to think that you would like to be her, and she’s wearing that shirt. And once you start associating a specific thing with beauty then you’re already sold. On the other side the man is just wearing a shirt. And lots of men wear shirts, and generally it’s just something that you do and maybe you’d fancy another.

Both the shirts are advertised by American Apparel, a very popular brand, on their website, and it does work, what they’re doing. It is the basis for thousand of sales, has been for decades, advertising hasn’t become any less fundamentally sexist since the fifties, perhaps more in fact. Because it’s stopped being obvious or big or blaring.

It’s become about manipulation.