Author Archive for Brianna Shawhan

Seven Days on the Bright Side (a personal experience)

From all black to pink and flowers

I haven’t worn color in eight years. No yellows, purples or greens. No chartreuse, honeydew or periwinkle pink. I’m a walking black and white photo – except for the pink that flushes my face. I was 13 when I discovered Goth and decided flowers and the colors the other girls were wearing weren’t for me. It was the first time I took an interest in fashion and music. Before then, I just tried to look like everyone else. So I slowly started to add black and strip the color from my wardrobe, one retina-burning shirt at a time.

Monster High doll review/Koffin Kats CD review

Monster High Doll line review:
Pale grey skin, limbs held together with stitches, and a mixed pair of eyes – one blue and one green – peering out from under black hair streaked with grey. One of Mattel’s newest creations is now terrorizing the children’s aisle – Frankie Stein, the sweet and naïve daughter of the Frankenstein monster. Maybe she’s not so scary after all.

Throwing Away the Baby Pinks and Blues

How to raise your child without enforcing gender stereotypes

Gender-neutral baby merchandise is hitting the nursery harder than ever before. Many parents are taking the step to stop gender stereotyping by not enforcing pink-clad baby dolls on their daughters or blue racecars on their sons. Instead, it’s about parents letting their child choose what they enjoy. “I think it’s important to let children make their own decisions and not impose,” said Leslie Jones, a Borderstan parenting columnist. “This way, they can create their own identities.”

Racism is Trending

The exploitation of Native American culture has become explosive throughout fashion and the media

Halloween – the one day of the year where everyone gets to be someone they are not.  Stores open with a plethora of costumes from monstrous creatures, movie characters, celebrities, and animals.  But what is meant to be a harmless holiday of fun has turned into a nightmare for other cultures. While walking through the aisles, no one can escape the hordes racially themed costumes – most notably the ones depicting Native Americans.

For less than 50 dollars, children and adults can buy stereotypically designed Native American outfits, many of them being overly sexual or depicting alcoholism or violence with demoralizing names, such as “PocaHottie.”

The Power of Voice

Two Harding Middle School Teachers improve minority literacy skills through hip-hop

Ain’t nobody gonna win that war
My details be retail
Man, I got so much in store
Racism is still alive
Yellow tape and colored lines

Two students create beats on their desks as the music of Kendrick Lamar reverberates throughout an eighth-grade classroom of 18 students.  The topic of the day isn’t what is usually taught in an eighth-grade classroom – the disproportion of minorities in prison.  But it’s a topic that hits close to home for many of the students in the class.

Kristopher Rollins and Emily Lang have been teaching at Harding Middle School in Des Moines for almost two years.  Their main focus is to help minority students by teaching them about the stereotypes and expectations society has of them and how to break those expectations.