For many women, the pressure to have larger breasts can be overwhelming. Many women’s self consciousness lead them to turn to surgery. The desire to achieve bigger breasts has never been stronger thanks to breast augmentation, which some women believe is a harmless and permanent solution. Kimra Rogers, who was a happy and healthy 35 year old wife, and mother of three, got breast implants, completely unaware of the potential consequences. A year and a half before she was diagnosed, cancer cells began spreading from lymph nodes in her armpit up to her clavicle. Her skin started to turn dry and crack, her hair began falling out in handfuls, and she found an egg sized lump in her armpit. It was then she knew something was wrong and went to the doctor. Doctors could not see anything unusual in her blood work and x-rays. However, when they did an ultrasound, they saw six large hidden lumps in her breasts, which she had not been able to feel, because of her implants, doctors took a biopsy and sent it in for a CD30 test, which confirmed Kimra was one of the 359 women worldwide diagnosed with Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. After a year of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and testing, 15 years later at 50 years old, Kimra is still in remission. Kimra now has to deal with personal guilt and face daily chronic fatigue, “If I do something one day, like go to lunch with some girlfriends then get groceries, I know that the next day or two days I’m in bed,” Kimra says. Kimra hopes telling her story will make others aware of the risks she wishes she would have know before getting breast implants, “I want to get the word out to women, if you’re thinking about getting implants, think twice. Truly if they would have said, ‘Hey, there’s a possibility here you could get cancer,’ I would have taken that into consideration.” Fortunately, the FDA has recently issued a safety communication updating physicians and patients about a potential cancer risk associated with breast implants. Perhaps the “dream come true” surgery for many women needs to be put to an end- no cosmetic enhancement surgery is worth endangering one’s health.
I did a survey about pets with the purpose of finding out what is the Village School pet ownership status. I was able to survey 41 students out of the 46 students in total at our school. To start off with age group, I surveyed two 13 year olds, four 14 year olds, seven 15 year olds, ten 16 year olds, twelve 17 year olds, and eight 18 year olds. 50% of the 13 years olds owned one or more pet, 100% of the 14 year olds in our school owned one or more pet, 57% of the 15 year olds owned one or more pet, 58% of the 16 year olds owned one or more pet, 50% of 17 year olds owned one or more pet, and 38% of 18 year olds owned one or more pet. 14 year old students in our school are more likely to have a pet. Next, I asked about grade. I surveyed four 8th graders, three 9th graders, ten 10th graders, fourteen 11th graders, and twelve 12th graders. 50% of 8th graders owned one or more pet, 100% of 9th graders owned one or more pet, 40% of 10th graders owned one or more pet, 57% of 11th graders owned one or more pet, and 50% of 12th graders owned one or more pet. 9th graders in our school are more likely to have a pet. Next, I asked about gender. I surveyed 21 males and 21 females. 48% of males owned one or more pets, and 67% of females owned one or more pets. Females in our school are more likely to have a pet. To sum up the results, 14 year olds, 9th graders, and females in our school are more likely than their peers to have one or more pet.
Next, I asked a series of questions specifically for the 61% of students in our school who are pet owners. I began with asking how many pets each pet owner has. 40% of pet owners owned only one pet, 12% of pet owners owned two pets, 20% of pet owners owned three pets, and 28% of pet owners owned four or more pets. Most pet owners in our school have only one pet. Next, I asked what kind of pet each pet owner has. 92% of pet owners owned one or more dogs, 36% of pet owners owned one or more cats, 20% of pet owners owned one or more fish, and 32% of pet owners owned one or more pet in the “other” category (birds, guinea pigs, bunnies, lizards, frogs, ants, and hamsters). Most pet owners in our school own one or more dogs. Next, I asked each pet owner how long they have had their pet/s for. 24% of owners have owned some or all of their pets for less than a year, 32% of pet owners have owned some or all of their pets for a year, 28% of pet owners have owned some or all of their pets for two years, 28% of pet owners have owned some or all of their pets for three years, 24% of pet owners have owned some or all of their pets for four years, and 64% of pet owners have owned some or all of their pets for five or more years. Most pet owners in our school have owned some or all of their pets for five or more years. To sum up the results, pet owners at the Village School will most likely have only one pet, one or more dogs, and have owned some or all of their pets for five or more years.
For many, the fact that April Fools Day has just past is such a relief. This holiday comes once a year on the first day of every April, and is notorious for its pranks and cruel jokes. We have been living through this famous day for as long as we can remember, but do any of us truly know where the one day of year where nobody is safe comes from? Let’s look back at history. The origin of this day is slightly unclear, due to the fact that there are many theories regarding it. One of the most popular theories is the one including Pope George XIII, who ordered in the late 1500’s, possibly 1582, that Christian countries, particularly France, change their calendars to the Roman one. This would mean that the Julian calendar would have to be switched to the Gregorian calendar. With this alteration, the new year would be moved from its original date in the spring on April 1st to it’s new date in the winter on January 1st, which we have adopted as well for our celebration of New Year’s. Due to the fact that it was the 16th century, and there were many who resided in rural areas at the time, it took a while for news to spread that New Years had been moved. There were also those who simply refused to recognize the shift. Anyone who continued to celebrate the old New Year’s date was classified as “April Fools,” which is where we get the holiday’s name from. Spring celebrators were mocked, and had paper fish stuck onto their backs without their knowledge, which symbolized an “easy to catch fish,” or a gullible person, also called “Poisson D’Avril” in French. America is not the only country who has a day in the year specifically dedicated to silliness. India celebrates a spring festival called Holi, in which people play jokes and throw dyes at each other. Iran celebrates the holiday of Sizdah Bedar, in which pranks are also played on April 1st. According to the Museum of Hoaxes, “It’s more likely that April Fool’s Day resembles these other celebrations because they’re all manifestations of a deeper pattern of folk behavior — an instinct to respond to the arrival of spring with festive mischief and symbolic misrule,” and I couldn’t agree more with this statement.
March 21st marks the first day of the vernal equinox, also known as spring in the Northern Hemisphere. To Iranians, this begins Nowruz (Translation: New Day), also known as the new year. This holiday originates from the Zoroastrian religion, dating back to the early Persian empire, and is widely celebrated by Iranians of all faiths. As part of the Persian tradition during the new year, a table is set up called Haft Seen (Translation: 7 S’s). This table typically consists of foods, which start with the letter S in the persian language (sprouts, dried fruit, apples garlic, pudding, vinegar, crushed sumac berries), as well as goldfish put in a clear bowl. Each item placed on the table symbolizes one’s wishes for the new year, such as growth, love, beauty, health, fertility, patience, and wisdom. Goldfish in particular symbolize good luck, good fortune, and life.
On March 20th, Sam Mojabi went to a local Petco shop to purchase goldfish for the holiday. When he asked a sales associate for goldfish, his ethnicity was question. Once Mojabi mentioned he was of Persian descent, the sales associate systematically denied him the sale. Shocked, he asked why, and the only response he was provided was that it was a decision made by headquarters, even after mentioning that he had intentions of taking great care of the fish. Mojabi later found out that his sister Samira was also denied the sale at another Petco location during the same month. Outraged, they filed a lawsuit with their attorney Henrik Sardarbegian for civil rights violations and a violation of the state Business and Professions Code. “During this time, Petco stores specifically declined the sale of goldfish to Persians and those of Iranian background,” the suit alleges. Petco and its management “sent out memorandum commanding its retail staff to decline the sale of such fish to Persians,” the suit also alleges. Their attorney argued, “Petco’s refusal to sell goldfish to Persians may have arisen from a mistaken belief that people intend to kill the fish. They [Persians] absolutely do not harm the fish. People want the fish to live as long as possible, because the longer a family keeps the fish alive, the more fortune and life is brought to them during the year.” Their attorney also argued that people who were not Persian were not asked their intent before being allowed to buy goldfish, specifically saying, “Right now, a 15-year-old boy who wants to buy a goldfish to feed to his snake could go and buy one.” The only response provided by Petco was, “We [Petco] have a strong commitment to animal welfare and responsible pet ownership and we do not tolerate discrimination of any sort. While we do not comment on pending litigation, we are looking into the specifics, if any, of this claim.” The Mojabi’s attorney fired back, saying that Petco’s policy also has “tended to cause discontent, animosity, harm, resentment or envy among the various cultures, and is especially troubling, arbitrary and invidious at a time when our nation and its citizens are working harder than ever to mend racial and cultural divisions across the country.”
The lawsuit was settled on October 12th, with no further details released. Petco no longer has a store policy of denying the sale of goldfish to Persians on the first day of spring. Like attorney Sardarbegian said, denying those of Iranian and Persian background the right to buy goldfish for the celebration of the Iranian New Year is “illegal and repugnant,” and is just as bad as charging women and blacks higher prices for merchandise than men and whites, or as denying sales of items to gays that heterosexuals are allowed to buy. Although there are still animal rights organizations which have objected to the tradition, claiming the fish die after the celebration due to health problems or the shock of being turned loose into streams or ponds, thankfully the holiday and its traditions of more than 3000 years are still peacefully and safely celebrated.
On Tuesday, March 7th, the Statue of Liberty temporarily went dark from 10:00 PM to 11:30 PM. With her entire body and robe completely covered in darkness, only her crown and torch was left glowing on the New York Harbor. Ironically, the incident took place on International Women’s Day, making timing of Lady Liberty’s blackout appear all too coincidental to some. Although the official twitter account of the Statue of Liberty National Monument posted the morning after the incident, “Some lights on the Statue were temporarily off tonight. Likely related to new emergency generator/Hurricane Sandy recovery project work,” some viewed the glitch as intentional. Organizers of the Women’s March called on thousands to strike on “A Day Without a Woman.” Some believe that perhaps America’s most illustrious woman took the opportunity to be the very first to speak and protest on the special day. According to the Women’s March website, their group’s strike intended to acknowledge, “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system, while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity.” Lady Liberty making her presence known during the effort was not gone unrecognized by the group, and the official Twitter account of the Women’s March posted, “Thank you Lady Liberty for standing with the resistance and going dark for #DayWithoutAWoman.” Others who also saw deeper meaning in Lady Liberty’s break from her normal illuminating self also took advantage and went to Twitter to post their opinions. Raymond Braun posted, “CNN has just reported that the Statue of Liberty has gone dark tonight. Power failure or social commentary?” Aparna Nancherla posted, “Apparently the Statue of Liberty lights went out due to a power failure. But I would argue women are also protesting due to a power failure.” Unfortunately, the activists were shut down to the idea that the recent happenings were purposely caused. Jerry Willis from the National Parks Service provided an explanation as to why everything happened the way it did, “ The temporary, unplanned outage occurred after a lighting system controller was switched off to change out faulty lighting equipment. When the repair was completed, the lighting system controller wasn’t properly reset, leading to the outage.” Deeper meaning and symbolism can still be found, for everything does happen for a reason, and Lady Liberty could not have picked a more perfect time to draw attention to herself. Fortunately, she has now gone back to her usual, shining self.