The Truth About the Pay Gap

The people of the United States have been led to believe that without reason, women are paid significantly lower salaries than men with the same jobs. This is simply not the case. In 2014, President Obama addressed the issue of the pay gap with a speech, and since then has made an effort to fix it. In his speech, he made the claim that, “the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.” He called the 77% figure “an embarrassment.”

The public misunderstands the pay gap.

President Obama would be correct; this would be embarrassing, if it were true. It isn’t. When I watched this speech, I thought about the things he said, and one statement stood out to me: “Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force.” If women are making 23% less money than men for working the same jobs, women should make up the overwhelming majority of the workforce. Why would any company hire an equal amount of men and women, if by hiring more women they would save 23% on every employee’s salary? They wouldn’t. The point of running a business is to make as much money as possible, and if women were making 23% less money than men for the same jobs, companies could maximize their profit by hiring women, and they would.

When it comes to the wage gap percentage, there’s no single, universally acknowledged number for the amount a woman makes compared to the amount a man makes for the same job. When I tried to find the exact pay gap, I discovered that the number fluctuated anywhere between 64% to 84% depending on where I looked, which doesn’t make any sense because actual statistics are exact, and they aren’t measured in windows. This is when I realized that something more serious was going on, and the real information either doesn’t want to be found or is being hidden. It was time to investigate.

In the official White House address on the issue by President Obama, the 77% number was highlighted. President Obama didn’t just choose a random number somewhere in the range of all the numbers used to describe the gap. Which assumptions were made to find this number? I found that the method the White House used in determining this 77% number was by comparing the annual salaries of all men to the annual salaries of all women. That’s like taking the annual salary of an employee at a Ralph Lauren flagship branch and the annual salary of Ralph Lauren himself, averaging those three and saying the average Ralph Lauren employee makes $875k a year. It’s basically comparing the salaries of a male surgeon and a female nurse and using that as the basis of comparison between male and female wages. The US Department of Labor found that when you take into account the salaries of men and women with the same variables like job type and several others, comparing like to like, the pay gap shrinks to about 93-95%. Even a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, using a control for all the same variables, resulted in the same number found by the US Department of Labor: 93%. In fact, in a 63- page report, the number was only mentioned once. The American Association of University Women then tried to obfuscate this number by saying, “just over one third of the pay gap cannot be explained.” This makes it sound like as if the gap is one third, but what they were referring to is a third of the misleading 23% number. That’s not the clearest way to say, “7%”.

So, if the wage gap is actually about 5-7%, then there’s still an unexplainable difference in pay, right? Well, not exactly. While the percentage difference is undeniable, it’s fully explainable. The explanation for the smaller, more accurate difference lies in job satisfaction and negotiation for contracts. In a study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitle, “Who goes to the bargaining table?: The influence of gender and framing on the initiation of negotiation”, four researchers did a thorough test on salary negotiations by gender. They found that when women are informed that they can “ask” for more rather than “negotiate” for more, not only does the negotiation gap disappear, but women are actually 4% more likely than men to negotiate for higher salaries with 73% of females versus 69% male doing so. This is significant, because without the “ask” control, men are 25% more likely to ask for more money: 83% male to 58% female. A study conducted by PayScale showed that the average woman who is very satisfied with her job makes about as much as the average man who is unsatisfied with his job. According to PayScale, a possible reason for this is that more women tend to work in professions that are altruistic in nature: helping others rather than themselves.  And in my opinion, another explanation could be that most women are misled by those who talk about this 77% figure and go into the workforce expecting lower paying jobs, which results in them being more satisfied with their jobs.

The simple truth is that the 77% wage gap is a misleading piece of information, and is a major part of the problem which makes women believe that they are purposely being held down for no reason. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. When society tells women that, in the end, they’re going to be paid less than their male coworkers, they might be less likely to expect expect equal wages, thus feeding the fire and furthering the cycle.

Ladies, you can negotiate for higher wages, and nobody is stopping you. If we tell the truth about the actual wage gap and encourage women to do something about it other than raising lawsuits against companies that aren’t at fault, the wage gap between men and women wouldn’t be lowered, it would be eliminated.

Three of the Biggest Fails of the 2016 Oscars.

Fashion Fails

Heidi Klum


Can you spot the difference between these two pictures?

  • Heidi Klum’s dress looks like it came out of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother’s closet but there was nothing magical about this dress other than that. Sorry, Heidi.

Amy Poehler


Are those my grandmother’s curtains?

  • Nope, it’s Amy Poehler in a dress made out of my grandmother’s curtains. The only thing to do to help this dress is to burn it.

Stacy Dash’s unnecessary cameo


Looks like we’re gonna have to make a cameo at the Val party”- Cher, Clueless

  • The Clueless star should’ve just stuck to cameos at valley parties with her on- screen bestie. Dash was recently in the news for wanting to end BET and Black History Month. So, when she walked on stage as “director of minority outreach” as Chris Rock said, the only funny thing about this joke was Chrissy Teagan’s reaction.


And now for the only thing the Oscars got right……


After six nominations, Leo finally won his Oscar!!!



Torture is Actually Torture

This cartoon isn't wrong.

This cartoon isn’t wrong.

President Obama released a plan on February 23rd to close Guantanamo Bay which, although a promising gesture, doesn’t go nearly far enough to expiate the unethical treatment of its prisoners. From a fiscal point of view, his plan makes sense. We would initially spend up to $475 million to upgrade an existing prison and in exchange, we would save as much as $85 million annually. Unfortunately, Obama’s plan has generated much controversy among the Republican-dominated congress, and furthermore doesn’t end the practice which made Guantanamo so famous– waterboarding. In fact, according to Obama’s statements about his plan, he intends to use “all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees”. These “legal tools” known broadly as “enhanced interrogation”, include: mild violence, cramped confinement for up to 18 hours, forced nudity, stress positions, and waterboarding, etc. 

Not only are these methods of enhanced interrogation blatantly inhumane and torturous, they are also sometimes used on those whose guilt is ambiguous. Most of what we know about enhanced interrogation has been gleaned from the 10% of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA report on that has been released. It confirmed that at least 26 detainees were wrongfully held. In one particularly egregious instance, an intellectually challenged man was detained for use as leverage. While those myopic enough to support enhanced interrogation may attempt to dismiss the report as leftist, the committee that authored it was majority Republican. In fact, the majority party’s delegation included future 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio, amongst other prominent Republicans.

Startlingly, enhanced interrogation is actually an awful way of gathering intelligence. According to the CIA report, no actionable intelligence was gleaned from enhanced interrogation, in fact, it actually elicited many false confessions. HIG– or High Value Detainee Interrogation Group– is a government research program comprised of FBI, CIA, and Pentagon officials, which released a peer-reviewed study demonstrating that controlling interrogation strategies– such as torture– are ineffective at producing credible intelligence. In contrast, the same study found that “supportive” rapport-building techniques produce veritable intelligence at a superior rate. While proponents of enhanced interrogation may scramble to find morsels of useful information gleaned from torture, the argument is a non sequitur. Whether or not torture has ever produced actionable intelligence is irrelevant if other–more moral– methods produce equal or, in this case, superior results. In my research for this article, I could find no peer-reviewed study to promulgate the ubiquitous notion that torture is more effective than other means of interrogation and several to prove the opposite.

Despite the obvious immorality of enhanced interrogation, it is disgustingly ambiguous whether it is illegal in our country. Legally, torture is defined as “an act committed by a person… intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering”. Severe mental pain or suffering is constituted by a series of vague standards, which allow the government to dodge questions of legality behind the ambiguity of the law. In contrast to our own government’s moral cowardice, waterboarding is denounced as torture by reputed international bodies such as the Red Cross and the European Court of Human Rights.

In conclusion, Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay has needlessly stirred partisan controversy in spite of its reluctance to permanently end state-sanctioned torture in our country. Instead, the proposal attempts to exculpate the government by removing it from the facility that has come to symbolize its sins. While it may be fiscally responsible, and relatively safe, to move detainees elsewhere, it doesn’t prevent the greater evil: torture. To reiterate, enhanced interrogation is torture, and torture is–at least based on the evidence available– extremely ineffective at producing actionable intelligence and inhumane in the extreme. It is fair to assume that torture might stop if detainees were sent to a U.S facility, but it is imperative that we explicitly prevent such revenge-driven, cruel, and ineffective practices from being continued in the future.

Should we have family meetings at Village School?


Recently, there has been some… hostility here at Village.  And yes, after Credit Boards it seems to be getting better, but we all can clearly sense that Village is not as friendly as it used to be and certainly not as much as it used to be!

After a recent general meeting, Steve talked about and addressed the problem. Later that day, I think we could all tell that tensions were lowered. About a week later, we were all much better but there still seems to be hostility. How can we fix this? I interviewed Steve, our principal, and he shared good words of wisdom, “Mostly, I think talking things out is a good move”, he said. But he also admitted that though it sometimes works, you can’t hit things when they are hot, because that might end up blowing up in your face and exacerbating a situation.

So it seems true that the best way to solve problems is to talk them out, but how can we do this in a productive, effective way? Well, family meetings, so to speak, held once a week or every other week might be the answer. In these meetings, we can talk to each other in a non-hostile, friendly environment, and explain what school, teacher, student or even family matters is making us stressed and agitated.

While someone might argue that these meetings would just be a bunch of people yelling at each other and fighting, if we organize it well and go into it with the mindset that we are going to solve our problems rather than just make new ones, then everyone will be able to stay calm and communicate effectively. Communication is key in order for a functioning family to work, and at the end of the day that is all what we really are, a family.

What if the issues we are dealing with are private ones? “Sometimes the issues involve private items and so they can’t really be discussed in a big forum, but I think in a place like this we can get closer to private than in a bigger school,” Steve told me.  We all know each other, we should be able to help each other not only with in- school problems but with possible home or other personal issues. People here should be happy and able to learn, without having to burden Lisa with every problem we have with someone. When we have a problem with someone, the best way to deal with it is not to tell everyone else, but address the person in question, and tell them what is wrong, whether it is about something that happened during lunch or during class. The communication skills that we learn during these meetings could carry over into these smaller, one-on-one interactions and later in life.

While the whole school is obviously never going to be perfect and there will always be people that don’t like each other, we should never use the word “hate” when talking about a classmate– we should all be able to tolerate each other. At the end of the day, we are all in the same school and  in close proximity to each other. The more tension there is, the worse it is going to get. So, if we don’t want to hinder our ability to earn credit in our classes, we should all just sit down and have mellow conversations about what is bothering us. And, if your behavior (directly or indirectly) is being addressed, try to take that feedback and use it constructively to make better choices later on.

So how might this all work?  One way is to only have the students who are having issues come in to talk, but Steve said by not meeting with everyone, “I’m punishing [the students without issues] by depriving them of not knowing what’s going on in the school.” Whether you agree with the whole concept of having a meeting with everyone involved, one can understand where Steve is coming from; he wants everyone to know that if there is indeed a problem, it should be shared and solved, not ignored. Some students may even think that not being invited to the meeting means that they are the ones being talked about. It seems best then, if we were to have bi-weekly or even monthly meetings in which everyone is invited and everyone- the involved and not involved- can voice their opinions and give suggestions.

Looking to Village School history can help guide us when it comes to these issues.  Steve himself has been here for about 20 years, and has been principal for 15. When we discussed whether or not there have ever been meetings like this in the past, he said that through the years, from meetings, and reforms to the school, he is proud to say he is a part of the Village School community. But 20 years ago, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to work here.  I think that this really says a lot about the power that meetings can have on the school culture. From just 15 minutes of talking about what is wrong and how it can be fixed, Steve was able to help transform the school into something that we can all agree is really great.

At the end of the day, we have to coexist because none of us want to have to leave the school because of something someone did or something we did, because as we all know and say often, we really are all here for a reason and this school has helped each and every one of us. If we are aware of our faults, then we can try to work on them and make changes. That way, we can all focus on what really matters here, doing well academically and giving ourselves the opportunity to go somewhere in life.  That is, after all, the ultimate goal of school, and yes, this is a real school.


Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon’s, “Sempiternal”

BMTH_SempiternalBring Me The Horizon is a band from Sheffield, UK.  The band has five members: lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboardist Jordan Fish.  Bring Me The Horizon is known for originally being categorized in the genre known as Deathcore. Deathcore has either been upgraded (or downgraded, depending on who you ask) to a mixed genre that is known as Electronic Metalcore. As their sound has evolved, they have found success with each new release, causing each album to be better than the last. They are a band that has one of the most dedicated fan bases to date. Sempiternal was released in 2013,  and followed three previous studio albums and an EP.  On each album, Oliver Sykes’ technique continues to improve and the band’s execution and lyrics show growth and maturity.

Though it isn’t their most recent album ( That’s the Spirit was released in 2015), Sempiternal serves as Bring Me The Horizon’s all-around most diverse record, with softer to heavier songs. This album is the first with Sykes singing. The opening track ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ is arguably their most experimental track they’ve done over the span of their career. Sykes’ vocals were almost Linkin Park-esque, sounding like he was both singing and screaming at the same time, which is of what most of the album consists. His voice soars through the chorus with intensity and passion. To add to it all, the glitchy vocals throughout that whole song adds another layer, as do the harmonies and the many electronic parts.

There are more experimental songs similar to this song such as ‘Sleepwalking’. In it, crazy, clean, and screamed vocals combine with melodic electronic elements and little breaks of soft singing, showcasing Sykes’ maturing vocals. There are also songs to please their fans of their previous albums.

The album features some memorable but really provocative, anti-religion lyrics in this such as, “And when you die, the only kingdom you’ll see is two foot wide and six foot deep.”  These lyrics are screamed on a track called “The House Of Wolves,” a song that has a very memorable breakdown after that line is delivered. Some other parts in a track called “Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake” seem to mock and really question the hypocrisy of Christianity in lines like, “I’m burning down every bridge we make/ I’ll watch you choke on the hearts you break/I’m bleeding out every word you said/Go to hell for heaven’s sake.” 

These lines mock God and Jesus and the lies the Bible imposes on us as well as the sheer hypocrisy of thinking they (God/Jesus) are above mistakes. It was put very bluntly and quite sarcastically in the song (one of my personal favorites) “Crooked Young” when he screeches the lyrics, “Believe in the one/ Hallelujah, well I’m saved/
Just a dozen steps and 28 days/It’s a miracle, I’ll be born again/As the Lord as my Shepherd I will find a way,”which makes a stark contrast to the lyrics at the end of this song when he screams,“Hallelujah/ I say it’s a miracle, thank you Jesus/ Hallelujah, I say/ — your faith, — your faith.”

Overall, Bring Me The Horizon has really outdone themselves with this album. It’s diverse, it’s heavy, and it’s all over the place. Sempiternal is their best and most mature album to date in all aspects. I’d give this album a solid 10/10.


Why Does an EDM Movie- Featuring Zac Efron- Exist?

imageI don’t know! But it does.

For those who don’t know, EDM is an acronym for electronic dance music.

The movie is called “We Are Your Friends” and is an awfully corny title, in my opinion. It will be directed by Max Joseph and will premiere on August 28th, 2015.

Check out the trailer below:

Now, as an actual DJ myself, my hopes for this movie are that music producers and DJs are properly represented and it showcases actual problems and situations we face.

I also hope the film doesn’t inspire people to start DJing if they only part they like is the social aspect. That would be just wrong.

Allegedly, to better understand his role, Zac Efron spent real time with actual big name DJs before the filming of the movie, but hopefully his script allows him to keep it as realistic as possible.

As a side note, in the the film Efron says 128 (beats per minute) is the ‘magic number’, meaning he’s going to be playing different kinds of house and techno music which is not something I can relate to because I play at 75-80 beats per minute. That is a different market altogether.

Here is a good example of what he might play in the film:

And an example of what I play (produced by yours truly):

Hopefully, this film showcases DJing as it really is.

10 Reasons You Should Get the Apple Watch

Older people think that there’s no point to having your phone on your wrist, but that’s because they’re old and don’t know anything. They can’t understand the laziness of this generation and how it’s hard to take your phone out of your pocket when you get a call or message. But many people would really like to have the Apple Watch– especially the lazy ones. So here’s ten reasons why old people should want the Apple Watch. (Because the younger ones already want one).


  1. If you’re in a meeting or somewhere where you can’t take out your phone or start texting or look through your mail, you can simply just look at your wrist and have everything right there.
  2. If you’re in bed taking a nap during the day and someone calls you but your phone is five feet away on your table, you can just answer the call from your watch.
  3. When shopping, you don’t have to go digging through your bag to get your credit card. You can simply pay through your watch thanks to Apple pay.
  4. If you’re a runner, you can have your watch track your daily exercise and see how much you’ve ran. The Apple Watch also tracks your heart rate.
  5. Old people want to be healthy, so the apple watch can tell you if you’ve been sitting for too long. So stand up, walk around and sit right back down in a minute or two.
  6. Send new live emojis that move. Send a thumbs, a smiley face, or a heart face emoji.
  7. Tap on your friends’ names and draw on your screen. Whatever you draw on your screen will appear on your friend’s Apple Watch. Draw a flower or heart to let them know you’re thinking of them.
  8. Share your heartbeat with someone special or even a friend. Tap on their name, then hold two fingers on your screen. Your heartbeat will appear on their screen.
  9. Don’t have time to text back? Leave a quick voice message and have your watch translate it into words or just send it as a recording.
  10. Have a question? Well now you can ask Siri anything right on your wrist. Just say “Hey Siri”.


There are common misconceptions that come to mind about the topic of feminism. Just like there are different opinions on most controversial ideas, feminism has its different points of views. America as a society has come a long way from its stereotypical gender roles.

For decades, people have suffered their fair share of being degraded and having their rights taken away. From the earliest of times, women would be the ones to bear children, cook, clean, and keep their husbands happy. So all of this ranting, and I think it’s fair to say that most people don’t know what feminism actually is. Feminism isn’t the hatred of men, feminism is the want to equal the standards and have the same opportunities as them. Men who state what they want and don’t let anyone stop them are seen as determined and head-strong, but when a woman acts like that she’s seen as stubborn and agressive. What prompts us to view people like this? Just because of our anatomy, it changes how we treat people?

Women’s right to vote wasn’t put into place until 1920. That’s only 95 years of “equality” for women. History is a huge part of how life is today. All over the world from the earliest of times, there have been standards that women had to strive to reach. We had to look pretty, act proper, speak well, and take care of our families. Being a women myself, I look up to so many female figures that are the epitome of power and breaking out of the restraints of society such as Jane Austen, Malala Yousafzai, and J.K. Rowling. All these strong inspirational women have stood up for what they believed in and broken boundaries of gender standards. Feminism is important to me because the idea gives me a sense of empowerment and pushes me to fight for other women in the world such as Saudi Arabia.

Overall, feminism is a beautiful thing that women should feel proud to be a part of. I’m proud to be a feminist and to be someone who recognizes the harsh realities of what certain people have gone through. No matter what gender, race, ethnicity, or sexuality, I believe that the rights we have as a human beings shouldn’t be any less acceptable just because of traits we can’t control. I am proud to be a feminist.

Drowsy Critic

Sleeplessness is a drug that a growing number of people continue to get hooked on. As the world gets more busy, sleep becomes a lot more difficult to follow up on, so many just supplement with caffeine. I’m here to bring to your attention a more than decent list of films that you should probably watch while you’re twiddling your thumbs on the edge of your bed, waiting for the clock’s hands to swing around. All of these titles are sure to keep you awake and reevaluating your life for a good couple days.

Now, I’m not going to front on you and act like these are just suggestions. No, these are the commandments of the Drowsy Critic, so you should probably listen.

  1. The Machinist – Dark and twisted, step into the sleepless mania of a man who doesn’t understand what’s happening to him.

    Nightmare Time

    Nightmare Time

  1. Se7en  – Two Investigators follow the case of a serial killer still at large who justifies his slaughtering of human life with the seven deadly sins. Brace yourself for the end though, it’s a killer.
  1. American Psycho – This film is a lot more enjoyable when it is treated and watched like a comedy. Although the plot is nothing to laugh at, if you take it too seriously, you might feel disgusted with the film by the end.
  1. Requiem For a Dream – Beautiful piece of work depicting the uncontrollable spiral that a couple of New York drug pushers fall into. A tragedy, the film will not fail to leave its mark on you.
  1. Oh you wanted to sleep tonight?

    Oh you wanted to sleep tonight?

    Shutter Island – The lost mind of a marshal visiting a facility for the criminally insane. Probably will mess with your mind on a level deeper than you wanted it to, so be prepared for that.

  1. Silence of the Lambs – Thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Detective employs the help of an incarcerated murderer to help her solve an ongoing investigation. The ending is very satisfying and you fall in love with Hannibal (murderer) by the conclusion, almost forgetting his animalistic tendencies.

* I am not responsible for any permanent trauma.  Juicy won’t be sorry son.

Are You Happy With This Meal?

imageAt the close of last year, there was a brand new change in one of America’s largest and oldest companies that is always booming with business. That’s right. McDonalds. Most people don’t know of this revolution, but McDonalds had chosen select restaurants to feature a “Build Your Burger” electronic tablet menu. Opinions have been split about whether or not this is a good idea. On one hand, the service gives the customer nearly endless choices, but on the other, it strays from McDonalds already perfected menu, so why tamper with it?

Everyone has had those moments, standing on line, finally asked to give your order, but then, you become unsure of yourself, blindsided by the copious amount of options.  So, you head into a black vortex of questioning every decision you’ve ever made- ever! Soon, the line piles up and a socially awkward, crippling disaster, has been created. You go home and don’t leave your room until you’ve grown one of those beards that are long enough to double as a comb over on the top of your head. You tell yourself that you’re just being one of those Tumblr people, but the truth is, you’ve forgotten what the outside of your house looks like. That is, until you look up yourself through Google maps and find a picture of yourself taking an outrageous mirror selfie. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. 

But I digress.

To me, the “Build Your Burger” device is, in a way, pointless. Yes, it’s a clever marketing ploy to invent the next “cool new thing”, but in reality, if a customer doesn’t want onions on his burger, he could just tell the cashier.

But, maybe you’re one of those individuals recovering from your socially crippling experience as detailed above, and have finally shaved your (“futuristic and functional”) beard. You go outside to McDonalds again after way too long and BAM!

Human confrontation. In that case, you’d much rather stare at a tablet menu than go through the trauma of all that again.

Feel free to comment if you’re for or against the “Build Your Burger” menu.