It was another hot day in August, and I was walking down 60th street towards my block. With it being hot, I was able to finally wear a pair of shorts and let my legs get some air. Unfortunately, the usual catcalls followed my attempt to be somewhat comfortable in the intense heat. I walked past a group of guys huddled at the corner of the block I live on, and I hoped that I could walk by without an incident. But, of course, that wasn’t going to happen.
Teenagers and adults catcall in my direction every now and then, so it was a struggle figuring out what to wear with the air conditioner turned up high in my school during the day and the drastically high temperature change once I walked out the main entrance. Wearing a jacket and a short sleeve shirt seemed fine whilst inside, but after I get halfway to my bus stop there’s sweat marks all over my shirt. Turning to tank tops and tying the jacket around my waist handles my sweat problem until I get looks, nods, whistles, and comments thrown at me.
One time, to be specific, it was 92 degrees that day. When I stepped out the house that morning around 7:30 am it was about 75 degrees. The temperature in my school was at least 60 degrees, so I had to make sure I had a sweatshirt or some type of jacket with me when I went to school. Walking out the house with a sweatshirt on was a little uncomfortable because of the weather, but it would spare me from having to stop in school to put it on. Around that time there was a two week long heat wave happening, so everyday was a half day. Having to put the sweatshirt on then taking it off only a few hours later was getting frustrating, but I couldn’t control the weather so I had to deal with it. The bus ride relieved some of my tension since all the buses have air conditioning on them, yet my real problem was if there would be a group of guys at the corner of my block by the time I got off the bus. Sometimes they’d be there and other times they wouldn’t. There was no true pattern either, so I just had to hope for the best.
My parents try to make sure that I wear clothes that won’t attract unwanted attention when I’m outside by myself. I try to do the same whenever I have my own money for clothes I might want. It’s frustrating not being able to fully express your style or expand your comfort zone when a stranger’s opinion affects my decision. “Just ignore them,” a friend of mine said. “It’s what I do.” The thing is, I shouldn’t have to ignore them. I shouldn’t have to deal with them in the first place. There are times during the year where it gets hot and that’s when people decide to wear less clothing to help regulate their body temperature. Men like to call out women on the street because “she’s hot”, then get mad when she rejects them. If they just don’t do it in the first place, we wouldn’t have this issue.
I see girls at school and outside of school dress in many different ways. Sometimes it’s in a uniform because of the type of school they go to, or it’s however they please to dress if they aren’t held back by a dress code. I believe that the systematic power of beauty influences everyone into making certain decisions and evolving the way they think as they get older. It has its positive and negative effects in communities and in the world. The way someone dresses and the way someone wants to express their style should not be held back by strangers who give off an unsettling feeling when they think that proclaiming their interest in an inappropriate way is okay. If we can find more ways to help stop the process of sexualizing women in society, I believe that would help this issue more and it would prevent people from writing more stories like this.
For my agent of change, I wanted to have my household go through a habit change. I wanted my family to watch what we were buying and throwing away to reduce the amount of waste we produced. This idea might’ve worked, but at the time I didn’t think it would’ve worked well since I didn’t know how to measure the amount of trash we produced per week. My second idea was to be a local ambassador for the JUST Water company. While we were working on our second Y&TW post, I had reached out to them for information I could use. They didn’t respond until my class was halfway through our Agent of Change stage of the Y&TW project. I had contacted Bonnie Boyes, a PR representative of the company. The last email that exchanged between us was me explaining my idea to her and seeing if the company would be okay with that, but Ms. Boyes never responded. My third and final idea was to do something more like DIY with water bottles. An ironic idea I had was to form the water bottles into the shape of a trash can. With the little time I had left, since I had spent part of it giving the JUST Water company more time to respond, I went to work. It didn’t work like how it should’ve, but maybe if I had more time and different materials, it could’ve. My experience was frustrating, but throughout the process I got to learn about different people involved in the purification system which is something I’m grateful for.
During this project, I did feel overwhelmed about what I was going to do for my agent of change. Once I got an idea of what I could do, sometimes it was hard to follow through with it, so I was forced to move on to a new idea. But I was glad that I got such an opportunity to help my community in any way. I learned about the different ways that plastic was being used and affecting people around the world and primarily in the U.S. I learned that some people don’t always come through for you when you need them to, and that others do try their hardest to help you get where you need to go. I feel like I could’ve worked harder on initiating my agent of change itself, but I’m okay with what I have. For others, or myself, when it comes to helping fight against pollution, you can reach out to companies and small businesses that specialize in this type of treatment for communities like yours.
My annotated bibliography is here if you want to view it.
When I presented my slide to my peers, I gained critique about the font, the placement of the words, and the background. I was told that the font of the words didn’t really describe me, since it was really basic. The background had seemed boring, and the placement of the words could’ve been better. I learned that what they were saying was true, and maybe I didn’t step back and look at it long enough.
After I looked at the background, I thought that it should stay the way it was. According to the sources, empty spaces and bright colors are the best way to go. The black background would draw your eyes towards that colors, and the hues worked well with each other, so I didn’t change anything about that. The font to me was boring, so I played around with different types ones until I settled on Lobster, a thick and cursive font. I changed “photography” into photographer and “art” into artist. I put those two words below the side pictures, and I put my name at the top middle, since this slide is about me.
The research helped me realize what good points I would’ve missed if I didn’t read them. It helped me learn new words for when I had to write my script, and it made everything more cohesive. Before I read the info on how to make a good slide, I was going to put words that described me everywhere, but I learned that big and simple is better, since the slides are supposed to provide more of a visual rather than text. Some of the sources that I used were Presentation Zen, Slide Design for Developers, and Elements of Design Defined for the slide itself, and I used my phone for the pictures.