George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elephant” Part Two

The second thought Orwell hits us with is the reality of social pressures. He observes that “when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.” In the story, he goes against his better and more “moral” judgement (but then again, what truly is moral judgement) and shoots an elephant that he does not think deserves to be shot. He feels sorry for the animal, but with his mind clouded by the chants and cheers of a broad lurking crowd, he shoots it anyways. This act goes beyond the elephant or the shots fired from Orwell’s gun. This goes deeper down into Orwell’s being and into his insecurities. By shooting the elephant, he is really seeking the approval of the crowd. His lonely life as a police man was filled with negativity, and all he wanted was a moment of recognition, though he undoubtedly went about it the wrong way.
Orwell wrote this story almost a hundred years ago, yet his words of wisdom are timeless. Today, there are many ignored problems with social pressures. There are magazines telling women that they can’t be beautiful without their makeup, and men that they aren’t attractive unless they have abs and a pronounced jaw line, all of which are untrue. The makeup brand Bare Minerals has a ridiculous slogan that proves just that. It says: “Pretty is not enough. It’s fine. Pretty can turn heads. But beauty? Beauty can change the whole world. Pretty is what you are, but beauty is what you do with it.” Each time I hear this, I grow to be more and more appalled. Bare Minerals is claiming that without their product, people are simple. Basic. Not enough. They’re telling society that their inner beauty is worthless. “Pretty lifts spirits. Beauty makes them soar.” What kind of message does that send people? Be skinny, have a big butt and big boobs, stand tall, wear makeup, dress impeccably.. or you will not be going anywhere. This is all a lie, yet boys and girls alike allow themselves to be pushed around and molded into a creature that isn’t themselves, but that of what other people have made them into. Its absolutely repulsive. Yet people believe them. Which really is the saddest part, because as Orwell accurately states, “it’s his own freedom that he destroys.”
The plot of “Shooting an Elephant” really goes beyond what meets the eye. Due to Orwell’s battle within himself and his own mind, the reader can take many different approaches and be able to relate his writing to themselves on a more personal and intricate level. Reading between the lines can open many eyes to the actuality of the world we live in. In the end, we wont be stuck with horror movies, TMZ, desperate salesmen, or elephants. It really all comes down to what we decide to put up with and how we decide to behave.


A Phenomenon I Cannot Quite Understand: Them vs. You

You pretend that you get it all. You nodd your head as if you understand the realities and the abnormalities of the unreliable world. Unreliable world filled with unreliable people. You act as if they can’t harm you, can’t pull you in, faze you. You laugh at them, mock them, hate them. Them in their low form, gilded and smiling. Itching to perform their spells on you.. “Try it! It works, like magic!” No. It’s not magic. They’re just sadists. All of them. Lying and selling themselves, dumbing it down yet brightening it up with big words, fancy symbols. Money, fame, sex…money. Don’t do this, do do that. It’s all relative, really. Or so they preach. I’d like to see one of them try to be half the person you are, care half the amount you do, love half the amount you can. They can’t. They try and they try, then stop because why try when there’s a simpler way? Why try, Why? But then you’re the crazy one. “She did what? No way, unheard of.” Different, you are. They can’t deal with it. Fit their mold or melt, spill to the floor and combust into a million pieces on the way down. Fit their form because what other form is there? Obviously somewhere, someway, somehow they got to you. Why must you succumb to the grotesque, low levels of their barbarous and fiendish twists and lies? Your allure, your radiance, your beauty is something they could never possibly imagine, nonetheless obtain. Your power is stronger than theirs, them being infamous for negligence and abominations. Save yourself, shield yourself, take yourself back. You are not theirs to steal, squish, bend, and fashion into an unfeeling robot filled with nothing but that of your own. Feed yourself, breed yourself, knead yourself. In the end, you won’t be stuck with them or with me, but with you. It all comes down to you.

Satire on Feminism

In respectively modern times, the belief that women are just as capable as men has sparked women’s rights activism across the American nation. Women’s rights activists began their fight to rid America of sexual discrimination in Seneca Falls, 1848 when the first women’s rights convention took place. Their hard work finally progressed with the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving them the right to vote. Though women were granted voting rights, sexual prejudices continued and still continues to this very day. In their battle against sexism, women’s rights activists attempt to pass laws in hopes to decrease sexual prejudice and increase female opportunities.

As of 2014, there are several things that favor men over women. One of the many biased affairs are jobs. Men are given jobs over women due to their irrational fear of loosing their title as the “superior” race. Another problem related to the work force are male wages versus female wages. A woman earns merely 77¢ to a man’s dollar for the same job. Thankfully, there are several ongoing campaigns to stop these absurdities.

As you may or may not have heard, a feminist movement called “Free the Nipples” is currently at large. Starting small from a short video on Youtube, it quickly went viral.  The idea is to legalize the public nudity of women. The video preaches that it shouldn’t be legal for a man to walk on a hot summer’s day shirtless, yet have a woman get arrested for doing the same thing. It brings up valid points and arguments to ponder, such as the fact that violence in the media and in movies are tolerated, yet “nudity is discouraged.” This is the first step towards making men and woman equal, not only at work but also in the streets.

People love the idea of “Free the Nipple,” and celebrities such as Miley Cyrus campaign for the cause and support it wholeheartedly. She posts pictures on the media supporting the campaign, urging her fans to join her in the fight to free the nipples. “Guys get to show their titties on the beach, why can’t we,” she asked. “I don’t understand the double standard of life.” Preach it, Miley!

“Freeing the Nipple” will cause all sorts of ripple effects.  If everyone just walked around naked, it would increase confidence and decrease amounts of rape as well. Nudity would become casual, and neither women nor men would be harassed about their bodies. As feminist Susan Brownmiller rightfully states, “Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” This wouldn’t even have to be a thought if “Free the Nipple” works out!

If you think about it, there are only two possible ways to solve the inequality of men being the only sex able to walk around shirtless. Either we make it a rule to keep all of their shirts on, or we urge women to take their’s off. The only real compromise is to do the latter. Trying to get men to put their shirts back on is out of the question, because this is a free country and they’ve been doing it for years, so why stop now? And if it truly is a free country…shirts off, ladies!

One can only hope that more astute, bold women step up to the the plate and continue starting more movements such as “Free the Nipples.” Soon, pay between men and women will be equal and there will be no reason to fret over sexism and inequality. As some feminists say, “it’s one small shirt to take off, one giant leap for woman kind!”



George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”

After reading and rereading George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” I couldn’t help but have tears in my eyes. The first time I read it through, I had a hard time processing the fact that the protagonist had shot a live elephant in it’s natural habitat purely for the enjoyment of a crowd and self satisfaction. It took a second for me to wrap my head around that and get over it, but when I finished silently aching for the poor soul of the animal, I tried to play devils advocate. There had to be some underlining empathy to feel for the audience- and I mean “audience” literally, since the characters in the story were acting as excited and gleeful as they would if they were watching a concert. I really tried my hardest to justify their behavior, and in the end I figured out a viable explanation.

Orwell states, “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” This captures the essence of the civilians perfectly. Not just the civilians, but rather humans in general. Humans are animals. Highly intelligent animals, but animals nonetheless, and as hard as we try to push down our sadistic thoughts and tendencies, they are still there. Being eminently perceptive creatures, we’ve of course found a socially acceptable and camouflaged way around looking barbarous. Maybe we do this subconsciously, or maybe we do it knowingly. An example of this is our fascination with horror movies, or even murder shows. Let’s face it, we don’t go see “Saw the ‘XIV’” for the cinematography or to coo over the tortured couples’ love affair, we go to see the blood and the guts and the gore. The part that scares us isn’t even the fact that somebody—real or fake—is getting brutally murdered on a giant screen in front of our faces, it scares us because we know that we’re capable of doing that, and as dreadful and horrid as it seems, we may even get some satisfaction out of it. Clearly this is heinous to think, and I’m even scaring myself by writing this, but it’s an instinctive reaction due to our outdated pre-modernized mindset.

The same can be said about any animal. In the wild, violence is expected. We differentiate from the wild creatures due to the fact that we are trained to be tame. We see violence amongst each other (i.e. boxing, fighting, verbal arguments) and are not only enthralled by these sightings or confrontations, but also amused by them. Whether it’s televised fights between two buff mad men or TMZ reporting the latest fight between Justin Bieber and some paparazzi, it brings television companies views. People love it. We say that boxing is inhumane and that the media reports irrelevant headlines, but if we truly felt that way we would change it. The same could be said for gun laws, reality T.V. shows, war, abortion rights, civil rights, anything. If we really cared enough to change what we claim to think is wrong, we would do something about it, yet every day we sit idly by.