A Female Doctor?!

I haven’t watched Doctor Who in a long time, but I’m about to start again.

After 54 years, the creators of Doctor Who have decided to instate a female doctor. This announcement of a female Doctor has me so excited.

Yet, I keep hearing the cries of people claiming that this is breaking tradition, that a woman could never be the doctor, that we are ruining their childhoods, that the show has just lost a fan, and more and more.

This new era featuring strong female leads in the media is wonderful, and long overdue. Let me tell you why it’s so important…

I grew up in an era where practically every superhero and every strong lead was a man, and women were just plot devices to be used as hostages or love interests. Playing games on the playground, I had to either be a man or be a princess waiting to be saved. The number of times I was told I couldn’t even act like a boy was ridiculous.

When you watch shows as a child and almost all the characters are men, especially all the strong leads, it can be really damaging to young girls. If you grow up being constantly told, both literally and through subliminal messaging, that you are not and cannot be strong, you start to believe it.

Boys get superheroes saving the world. Girls get Disney princesses who have to wait to be rescued by the prince, and that sends a strong message. Girls are supposed to need a strong man to “protect” them, when in reality we are perfectly capable of protecting ourselves.

Even when women are featured in a lead role, they are often sexualized. Women leads wear tight fitting suits, use low cut dresses to seduce bad men, and are generally otherwise made more “desireable” than men. Never once have I seen a movie where a man uses a v-neck t-shirt to display his bulging muscles for the purpose of tempting the bad guys into giving away their plan.

Female leads are emerging. Wonder Woman was incredible, depicting badass fighting scenes that empowered women and practical costuming. Star Wars features a female jedi who can easily carry her own weight. Movies like Moana and Frozen target young audiences where girls can see women acting in power.

Girls can finally have role models who encourage them to be strong and independant, and I am thrilled.

So, thank you. Thank you so much for the inclusion of strong female leads after such a long wait. Thank you for giving girls strong women to look towards, to impersonate on the playground, to dress up as for Halloween, to wear on t-shirts. Thank you for helping to send the message to girls that they are strong, and beautiful, and smart.

And thank you for helping me look with positive outlook toward shows such as Doctor Who and the future they promise.

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How to Make Ban Chaew

So far, my absolute favorite thing I’ve had to eat in Cambodia is a dish called Ban Chaew. Ban Chaew is basically the Cambodian mix of crepes and lettuce wraps, a thin yellow pancake with meat and vegetables inside that you wrap in lettuce and dip it into a side sauce. You can find it pretty easily just about anywhere in the street carts… that is, if you’re here. I’ve been dying to learn how to make it so that I can bring this delicious food home with me, and today I got my wish!

The crepes themselves were much more difficult than expected, especially because we used a wok to cook them over a small fire pit!

In case you wanted to try making it for yourself, I included the recipe below. It should feed five or six people.

Sauce:

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 chili pepper

.25 cloves garlic

.5 cup fish sauce

.5 cups lime juice

1 can of Sprite or 7 Up

 

Filling:

1 cube vegetable stock (crushed)

1 gram ground pork

1 gram ground chicken

1 yellow onions (chopped)

2 tablespoons oil

4 cups bean sprouts

 

Crepes:

400 grams rice flour

10 grams turmeric

2 tablespoons oil

1 can club soda

2 eggs

2 cups of water

Instructions:

Grind garlic and chili pepper together until it makes a paste. Add in sugar and salt, then grind again. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and Sprite or 7 up. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Pour oil in pan, then add the yellow onions and cook until soft. Add pork and chicken. Once no longer pink, add in the vegetable stock cube. Remove from heat, and gently mix in the bean sprouts. Set aside.

Mix the rice flour and turmeric together, then add water and club soda. Add eggs in, and whisk until smooth.

In a pan (non-stick is much easier) wipe with oil and pour in a scoop of the batter. Swirl around, then cover with a lid for a minute or so. Remove lid and place filling in the center. Place the lid back on. Once the edges of the crepe begin to lift, fold in half and place on a plate.

Serve with a large plate of lettuce and your choosing of fresh vegetables.

Review: Wu Ji Tao Martial Arts Studio

I recently had the pleasure of working with Wu Ji Tao Martial Arts Studio as part of a women’s self defense program which ran on February 17th from 7:00-8:00 PM.

I am the director of the Diversity and Inclusion Board for the Residence Hall Association (RHA) at the University of Utah. Part of my job is to plan programs in the Residence Halls that will benefit the students and help educate them on social justice-related topics.

One of the programs that my board and I planned for this Spring Semester was a Women’s Self Defense program. In today’s social climate, rape and sexual assault are a huge issue, especially on college campuses. The primary targets are typically women, and the primary perpetrators are typically men. To try and combat this, we wanted to bring in some self-defense instructors to teach a few basic skills that would help someone escape such a situation.

I was first attracted to Wu Ji Tao Martial Arts Studio during my initial research when I discovered that they hold a free class every month on women’s self defense. To me, this showed that Wu Ji Tao is a company that really cares about its work and about improving the lives of women.

I corresponded primarily with Joel and Jacob Black. They were easy to get hold of, returned calls and emails quickly, and were very friendly and personable. They seemed very excited to work with my group and to help with the class.

They brought six people to help with the workshop; Joel and Jacob, and four of their students. Two of the students were female and two were male. I appreciated that they brought both genders. I felt that having women there helped make students feel more comfortable. The men were able to help with demonstrations and assisted the students so that they could feel the weight and strength difference they might encounter.

The moves they taught us were easily mastered and, more importantly, very practical. They began with a quick talk on basic awareness of surroundings and made sure that students understood that they will have to use force if they encounter such a situation. They showed us three different moves to combat certain situations: a hair-grab, getting pulled along by the arm, and being grabbed from behind. Even practicing with the male tutors, the moves were easy to do despite the strength difference.

I thought that Wu Ji Tao Martial Arts Studio did a wonderful job on this workshop, and I will definitely be recommending them to others. Thank you!

 

For more information see: http://wjtslc.com/