Bully

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As a young immigrant child, it was quite the disappointment to find that there were no white picket fences in Brooklyn, NY and no discernible “Give me your lunch money!” bully in my elementary school. The archetypes I had been exposed to in my time of watching movies and cartoons had not prepared me for the real-life situation of a New York City childhood.

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I continue to consume American media and yet again, my time in middle school and high school produced the same result as in elementary school. Where were the mean girls? I had wondered. The douche-y jocks? The outcasts in their corner of the lunch room? Where? WHERE???

What I thought high school would be like: 

Three girls dressed nicely walking down a crowded hallway as their last friend accidentally falls into a trashcan.

How high school pretty much went:

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Trashcan incidens: 0

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So, upon entering college, having already been proven wrong multiple times, my mind insisted that this experience would, in fact, be just like Sydney White or The House Bunny or even Pitch Perfect.

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Clearly, I wasn’t paying attention.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned while attending City Tech, it’s that you can find your place and no one will judge you for it. Everyone is too busy trying to get through class and paying tuition that there’s no time for petty judgements. I’ve found different circles to circumnavigate on campus, between my Buzz sisterhood and the family I’ve created in the CMCE department.

The ones who could easily fit the “jock” or “cool guy” stereotypes in their high school days are some of the hardest working academically and the most accessible. The “pretty girls” don’t care how good you look, just how good their GPA is. No one fits in a single over-exaggerated archetype. Instead, the people I’ve met rarely judge openly and allow themselves to be proven wrong.

Life is no movie. There is no singular category for the people I meet and I have no idea why I continue looking for them.

Wherefore Art Thou Denise

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I am a woman of many names.

Nowadays, I often times simply respond to whosoever directs a statement towards me, regardless of the name used. In reality, my given name is Denise Claire.

(I had typed in my name for a group project and the team leader looked at me and scoffed. I’m not trying to be pretentious, my dude. Nah, that’s my given name.)

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Although I am officially Denise Claire, at home my family and friends call me Pebbles. I’ve adapted this into my day-to-day life at City Tech and for the most part, my professors and fellow students haven’t had a problem with it. (Of course there are some who look at me funny. Do they think it’s a gang name or a self-appointed nickname? I’m not sure.)

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My maternal grandmother has taken to turning Pebbles into Pablo—Blo for short. In middle school, I befriended one Emiliano Sanchez, who continues to refer to me as Dennis the Menace Who Plays Tennis in Venice. My best friend from high school refers to me as Denchik. A girl in my advanced painting class in high school called me Brenda. My middle school assistant principal called me Rose. My Confirmation name is Rita. And of course, the wonderfully horrendous Key and Peele skit “Substitute Teacher” that haunts me with “De-NICE! Say your name correctly!”

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My father tells me that he had initially wanted to name me Abigail Xena, if memory serves me correctly. Xena after the hit Xena the Warrior Princess. I’m not sure how that kick-ass name was replaced with Denise Claire, but I think it worked out. I don’t think I seem much like an Abigail….

Which makes me think:

Is there really much to a name? Do you make your name or does your name make you?

Do I look like “a Denise” or does “Denise” look like me?

What does “a Denise” even look like?

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If a cat was actually called “fish,” would it be the same? If a cat were called a “fish,” a wolf a “rabbit”… Would we even realize the difference?

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Is my name a reflection of me or am I a reflection of my name?

 

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Hi, y’all! I tried something new for the art this week. I really prefer traditional methods, but I still have to figure out how to scan it in so it looks at its best! Also, its all a learning process, so I hope you won’t be too hard on me! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next week!

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

The Scientific Method

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The scientific method is something we are all familiar with. Basically, it is the systematic observation, measurement, experimentation and modification of a hypothesis.  

I am a great believer in the scientific method. It is never scientifically proven until it can be repeated multiple times with the same result and I am proud to say that I have been conducting thorough scientific observation since my formative years.  Take for example, the research I helmed in electrical conductance and insulation:

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As any famed scientist should, I shall share with you the findings of my experimentation. And because I am also a storyteller, we shall set the scene…

It was midday somewhere in the hills of Cebu City, Philippines. A young Pebbles has been sent to bed for a nap before she attends pre-school. With the doors shut and the sun shining, our rebellious little scientist refused to shut her eyes. Instead, she discovered one of her father’s pens, laying on the bed beside a stuffed animal.

Now rumor had it that if one  were to put a metal something into a socket, it would electrocute said idiot. But, it was Pebbles’ hypothesis that if there were a buffer (the teddy bear) between the metal something (the fancy pen) and herself, there would be no cause for injury. And so, our little scientist set to work…

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There is a moment in every young scientist’s life that she realizes she’s made a grave mistake. As the daylight suddenly turned to darkness, little Pebbles–

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Rumor had it, that if one were to put a metal something into a socket…

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Rumor had it…

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It was now three p.m. The sun was lower, but our young scientist had exhausted her resources. Her blackout in the name of science had been longer this time around. It was now time for preschool. Rumor had been true and her hypothesis false. Conclusion:

Teddy bears are terrible electrical insulators.

 

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Anyone recall their childhood science experiments?

 

All artwork by Pebbles!

 

 

 

A Note on Beauty

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On most mornings, you can often find me cross-legged in front of a mirror buffing on eyeshadow. It’s a process:

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Admittedly, I had begun wearing makeup to please the false gods of society and snooty middle school girls who I always thought were cooler than me. I was delving into the world of beauty for the sake of others.

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I was trying to match looks that weren’t necessarily meant for me, for the sake of fitting in. So, instead of makeup being a source of creative expression and confidence, it became a crutch and a prison. I HAD TO LOOK LIKE THE OTHER GIRLS!

In hindsight, however, I think I had to go through that painful stage to get to where I am now. I wasn’t born naturally assured of my worth and I had to work for it. I still do. Because of this, makeup for me today isn’t the same as it was for me five or six years ago. Where putting on eyeliner and the perfect mascara was a tool to fit in, those things today I do for myself.

Naturally, there are the skeptics:

“That’s BS. You just want to impress boys.”

“If you were actually confident, you wouldn’t wear makeup. You’d be fine with your own face.”

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Well, I am fine with my own face. Thank you for the concern! Of course, there are days where I don’t feel one hundred percent and need the makeup to give me a little boost. But for the most part, I am happy with what my mama gave me. I have been living in my body for all 19 years of my life and I’ve seen it evolve and change and I have learned to love its little nooks and crannies. My makeup has become part of my routine, just like coffee or showers. And believe me, I don’t drink coffee or care for my hygiene for the sake of others.

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A great little instagram video I saw a couple of years back mirrors my sentiments perfectly:

(Instagram: @tinawoodsss)

The first time I put purple on my eyelids at fifteen, I could hardly give two toots about what the cute guy in science thought. I put it on because I liked the way it made my eyes look. That same sentiment applies for the reds and yellows I put on my lids in the present, despite the colors not being “in season.”

I was scrolling through YouTube a few days ago, and I happened to watch a video of actor Dove Cameron getting her hair dyed. While her hair was processing, she and the man doing her hair were sitting outside in the LA sun, talking about life and beauty.  About two and three quarters of a minute into the video, Dove says something that has stuck with me. She explains that Beauty gets a “bad rep” because it is often associated with vanity. But, “…if it comes from a place of self-love, it’s fun.”

Makeup isn’t necessarily about being prettier about everyone else. At least it isn’t for me. For me, the way I do my makeup or the way I dress isn’t to impress the world or boys or picky middle school girls. For me, Beauty has transformed from a social pressure into another piece of art. I do it for the love of it.

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Hey, if anyone has any interesting eyeshadow looks you could suggest for me to recreate, please leave me a link below!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next week!

Pebbles <3

Brotherships Pt.1

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And thus, the interviews return! Please welcome my

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Pebbles: So, what are your names?
Erikson: Erikson Calungsod

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Raphael: Galactic Superstar President Superstar McAwesomeville… It’s a reference. Look it up. Just kidding. It’s Raphael Calungsod.

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Pebbles: Are you guys planning to go to college? 
Raphael: No! (Spins a tale of future of being a bum) I’m just kidding. I’m applying to currently. 
Pebbles: And what are you guys planning on majoring in in college?
Raphael: Erikson? 
Erikson: Uh… Computer Science.
Pebbles: Kay…
EriksonCos its cool.
Raphael: A BFA. Hopefully. Something that involves digital art. Hopefully. 

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Pebbles: What’s your dream job? 
Erikson: Make pretty cool games! 
Pebbles: Like what? Do you have an example? 
Erikson: Hyperlight Drifter, Old Mans Journey… 
Raphael: So… Aesthetic indie games. 
Erikson: Yeah.
Pebbles: (To Raphael) So, what about you?
Raphael: Anything beautiful! It doesn’t matter— movies, games, a show, who knows. Just— 
Erikson: OR! Or to be a fighter pilot because… 
Pebbles: (To Erikson) Wait! You want to be a legit fighter pilot? 
Erikson: (Indistinguishable explanation)
Pebbles: OH! OH! (Laughing) I thought you wanted to be— I thought you aspiring to be a plane. Like not the pilot, but the legit plane!
Erikson: NO! (Chuckles)
Raphael: (Laughing) F-22!

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PebblesOkay, so in the fields you want to work in, do you a place for women in that? 
Raphael: Oh, hell ye! [The arts] is an industry run by women! 
Erikson: What do you mean? All the males are stupid… Its kinda— 
Raphael: No! Most of the STEM fields are usually male dominated. Its ridiculous. 
Erikson: No, but its mostly, like, computers… 
Raphael: Yeah, still mostly male-dominated. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs…
Pebbles: But, Erikson, Do you think that women belong on those fields or they can achieve greatness there? 
Erikson: Yea! 

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Pebbles: Why?
Erikson: Because they’re people
Pebbles: Okay… That’s a pretty valid answer. 
Raphael: (Laughs) Valid. Valid. 

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Pebbles: So, who is your hero? Who do you look up to…?

 


Today’s art is kind of different! Because both my brothers are artists, I decided I’d give you all a taste of their artistic flavors!
If you want to see more, these links will take you to Erikson’s work and this to Raphael’s socials. 

My final post for the semester will be the second half of this interview! I wish you all the best for all your finals! 

 

Artwork by 3/5 Calungsod Kiddos:
Pebbles, Raphael, Erikson

 

The Prosthetist

Before you read:
I accidentally erased my hard drive and need to find a way to get the files back. Because of this, I’ve lost the original Lady Business logo, but now, I have the opportunity to make seasonal versions! I hope you all enjoy!

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In this week’s installment, I interviewed Harold Barreto over some Tex-Mex. He has lots of ideas and a lot to say, so this will be part one of the interview!

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Please excuse how deconstructed the post looks today, but I hope you like it! Back up your back up drive, kids! 

 

All art by Pebbles

Interview With A Vlademir

… Get it? Like Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire. 

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(Answers were provided via e-mail)
Q: What is your name?
My name is Vlademir Gadir.
Q: How old are you? 
I am 19 years old.
Q: At this point in your life, what are your goals for the future?
My current goals revolve around the pursuit of becoming financially free, and ultimately living a life that is characterized by travel, art, spirituality, and most importantly, love.
Q: Do you see a place for women in your future/current occupation? 
Of course I see a place for women in my future occupation. I am currently pursuing a career in nutrition, which just like all other occupations should be open and encouraged to all people, no matter the gender, racial, sexual, and cultural differences. Although the majority of nutritionists are women, I believe that it’s important to break those gender boundaries and change what society considers to be appropriate, and instead to use our reasoning to dismantle fragile and toxic masculinity that truly disallows men from pursuing many of these careers that are considered to be too feminine. In addition, the same applies to women. I believe in the importance of women pursuing careers that are traditionally considered masculine in order to truly change the course of gender roles and recreate what society views as feminine or masculine.
 
Q: Who is/are the most important women/women in your life? 
The most important women in my life are not only my sister, my mother, my grandmothers, my girlfriend but also all my friends that are female. However, probably the most important female in my life would be my mother because she is the individual who nourished me in her womb, and ultimately gave life to me…which I cannot be more grateful for.
Q: Does feminism have meaning in your life? 
Feminism definitely has meaning to me, just as it should for any other sane human being because it is the simple ideology that claims that both men and women are equal, and as a result should be treated with same respect.
Q: What is your definition of feminism?
My definition of feminism breaks down into the ideology that men and women are both equally important individuals for life, and as a result should treat each other with equal regards and respect. It’s really that simple, unfortunately most people don’t have enough reasoning ability to comprehend that.
Q: Do you identify as a feminist? If so, why? If not, why? 
Obviously, I consider myself a feminist the same way I consider myself a human being. I believe that any human who understands life to just the smallest degree, should be able to then understand the importance of women, and consequently see them with great reverence since they are the people who have given life to us. Hence, it is only reasonable to agree that they deserve equal rights with men.
Bonus Question: What would be the soundtrack to an important life event of your choosing? (I.e. wedding, funeral, graduation, etc.) 

Let’s get it on – Marvin Gaye for a Wedding

 

Next week’s installment: Harold Barreto

Have a lovely weekend, babies!

 

All artwork by Pebbles.

Romance While Feminist

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Romantic comedies are my go-to movies. For the longest time, 27 Dresses played in the background while I dealt with menial tasks and humdrum days. I am a complete sucker for formulaic meet-cutes and/or hate-to-love plotlines. But as time progresses, the common thread of phony-independent women starts to rise from the woodwork. All the tropes become obvious and I begin to feel hypocritical or even dirty for being such a fan.

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Love and romance is such an age-old mind boggler that it’s quite easy to turn to oversimplified scripts of what love should look and feel like. Of course, judging from my perpetual single-dom and fear of pretty much all serious emotion, I haven’t quite figured it out.

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But I believe that hope is not lost. Here is what I do know:

Self-esteem and self-love is key!

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Falling in love with someone else while you aren’t quite as loving to yourself is detrimental. A partner can help you grow and be your best self. But, if you go into a serious relationship without figuring yourself out first, it creates significant damage  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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You become reliant on the validation of your partner and you become lost and self-loathing when they aren’t around. You may be solid as a unit, but what happens when you are left alone to your own devices?

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If you don’t love yourself first and be solid in your own worth as a human being, you can become a swallowed up and withered version of yourself, regardless of how gracious your partner is.

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I believe if I were ever to fall in love, it would be when I am sure of myself. I was born into this life alone as my own individual and I will leave this Earth as such. It’s a decidedly grim outlook, but it does teach me one thing:

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No matter how amazing my rom com meet-cute will be, I will always need to be the master of my own destiny. My future partner shouldn’t never complete me. Instead, we should supplement one another and bring out each other’s best sides.

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I may have a love affair with rom coms, but the important thing is that I learn to I learn to fall in love with the safety and security of my true worth.

Fall in love responsibly!

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

A Follow-Up on Pink

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Last Saturday, a friend of mine tasked me with recreating a tattoo from the most recent cinematic incarnation of The Joker for a Halloween costume. It was honestly one of the stranger things I’ve done:

Faux tattoo made with eyeliner drawn on a man's chest.

Photo by Pebbles

When it came time to set the “tattoo,” my friend produced an aerosol can of men’s hairspray. I made a face and asked him what sort of tomfoolery this was. They produce sex-specific hairspray? Isn’t hair just hair? (Albeit, we were using it for incorrect purposes…)

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Unamused, my friend says to me: 

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So, of course, already well aware of the issue and just a tiny bit peeved, I turned to the internet for a little research.

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I had written “Pink,” but it was time to dive deeper. Here’s what I found:

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This higher cost is the result of extra taxes specifically placed on women’s goods most commonly known as the “Pink Tax.”

With children’s toys, girls’ toys are priced higher but often have less capability than boys’ toys and are lower in production quality. Lower quality is also seen in other products such as female razors, where men’s razors can last month while female disposable razors dull out halfway through a shin.

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What’s more, advertising aimed towards female audiences tend to program a viewer to associate female products with emotional stability instead of a product’s quality and merit. This conditioning makes women reliant on material things for happiness and security. Psychology is a powerful weapon. 

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The marketing industry see women as their prime target. Once the women have been softened for the kill, retailers do not stop. They invest so much money into marketing to women that women ultimately pay the price. The Pink Tax covers the billions of dollars set to market women’s items and extra packaging and very minor variations in design. Often, the motto for companies when creating and marketing a product to a woman, despite its price, is to “shrink it and pink it.” That is, make it smaller and more delicate for the fragile women and make it, of course, pink!

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The assumption that women have nothing better to do than just shop stems from a deep rooted sexism that seeks to leave women as the subordinate sex. The extra few dollar for “women’s” hairspray goes a long way to continuing to promote this fiscal misogyny. With women making only a fraction of what men make in the workplace, it is no wonder that women are suppressed. Our patriarchy has created an endless loop of categorizing women as insecure shopaholics, spending billions to encourage materialism and taxing the conditioned materialism, only to give us a sole fraction to pay for the overpriced goods.

Ultimately, this must change becuase Lord knows I need that extra change for tuition… 

 

If you would like to read more on this issue, here are a few links you could follow:

  1. The Pink Tax: Why Women’s Products Often Cost More
  2. “Pink Tax” Forces Women to Pay More Than Men 
  3. How Much the “Pink Tax” Is Costing Women on Everyday Items 
  4. The Pink Tax Explained – What It Is and What You Can Do About It

All artwork by Pebbles.