Home Away From Home


My first semester in Richmond has allowed me to get to know the city better and really appreciate its’ aesthetic. Almost every street in Richmond has a different feel from the others, and with one simple turn you could feel as if you were in another city all together. Buildings for simple things such as shops, restaurants, homes, and religious buildings have so much character. The Catholic Church and Altria Theatre, which used to be a mosque, both have really interesting architecture and the students of VCU get to admire them each day on our way to class. Without traveling far Richmond can offer you so much, and these are few pictures that I see on an average day around campus.


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Controversial Clothing: How Much is Too Much?

The trends in fashion over the past ten or so years have taken a somewhat dark turn, and sometimes, extremely offensive. For some reason, tragedy is glorified and even after the offenses the fashion industry barely even apologizes for the controversies they portray and sell to the masses. It is true that controversy stirs up audiences and brings attention to the people behind them, so this may be why they are continually used in fashion, but is fashion enough reason to continue offending large amounts of people?

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These first sets of photos by Raj Shetye depict a woman who seems to be trying to defend herself from numerous men. These photos were released to the public after the December 2012 New Delhi gang rape, that left its’ victim dead after the assaults. Buss Feed News explained how “The men had not only gang raped her but also penetrated her with a metal rod and used their hands to tear out her inner organs.” Obviously this incident was not anything to depict or glamorize. When asked if the photos were related to the gang rape Shetye denied that that the two were related. He also explained how “the aim is to create art that will gather some reaction in society.” “The Wrong Turn” which is the name of the photos, proves that the photographer was in extremely bad taste with his concepts. The fact that the woman is in glamorous clothing proves that the intent was not to condemn the crimes, but instead to sell an innapropriate concept.Reactions and the desire to be noticed obviously outweigh respect and common sense in some cases.


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Here are a few more examples of ads that have glamorized violence or taking advantage of women.

Another questionable area is the over sexualized portrayal of children in the industry. Frankly, we all know that sex sells, but with children it takes a creepy turn for the worst. It seems that in every other aspect of society these issues are frowned upon, but for some reason countless photographers and fashion stylists are okay with the uncomfortable images they sell to their customers.


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In many ads today the sexual depiction of children has become popular in many ads that sell clothing as well. Over time the fashion industry has become seemingly okay with the fact that children are being styled in extremely inappropriate ways. Why does a child need to be sexy in order to sell clothes? Personally I am not sure what this accomplishes or how it benefits anyone promoting or buying the clothes, but there must be a reason because it keeps occurring.

The topics discussed in this post are only a few of many. It has also been a trend to glamorize death, massacres, and starvation in women. As someone who enjoys and appreciates tasteful fashion and clothing, I hope that these distasteful trends dwindle out as people become more aware of them. The best way to do so is to not support companies who depict child exploitation or violence in a glamorous way. Lots of times people in the fashion industry go for shock value, but it is never okay to express “art” as something that has caused harm to anyone unless it is raising awareness in a positive way.

Neuroenhancers: Do You Think They’re Acceptable? (Evolving Ideas)

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Performance enhancing drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have become the staples of many college campuses around the country. Due to the need for young people in schools to accomplish more than the average human is capable of on a day-to-day basis, these drugs are used and often abused in order to “get the job done”. Whether one approves of this trend or not, it is proven that these drugs have helped many accomplish their goals and finish school at a higher GPA than they could have achieved naturally on their own, thus producing more successful people in general.

Margaret Talbot, the author of this article, explores the college lifestyle of a young man she calls Alex, since he does not want his actual name to be used in this article. Alex discusses his list of over-achieving, and seemingly impossible, activities that compose his weekly schedule. These activities include dozens of college level papers, working at least forty hours per-week, and staying involved in many student led organizations on his campus (which is Harvard by the way). My first semester in college has included less than half of these activities and a level of stress that I didn’t think was possible. In comparison to Alex’s schedule, drugs seem to be the only possible way to complete all of these activities with success. Alex explained how the writings he completes while on Adderall produce a different paper than his regular mind does. He said that the drug causes him to do extensive research and he often includes too much information that can cloud his argument, but at the end of he day the worst he gets on his Adderall influenced papers is the grade of a B. Most are quick to judge this lifestyle since it often includes the use of other drugs like marijuana or even cocaine on a weekly basis, but Alex’s situation make you think: is the use of non-prescribed drugs really something to look down on?

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Personally I do not think it should be the norm to use drugs that your body does not need, and while they may seem great at one point in time, the effects of the abuse will show in your body either sooner or later. Dependence and cardiac problems are two of the main reasons why someone would not want to make it a habit of using these drugs. Many people who use Adderall cannot seem to function properly without it, therefore causing them to use the drug for activities they could certainly do on their own without drugs. In the same breath, what is to look down upon about a student who wants to be the best? The work force after college is so competitive that in some cases good enough just is not good enough, which leads over-achieving students looking for a way to become the best or often to just survive the heavy workloads at tough colleges. Having a very wise nurse for a mother, I would advise against the use of these drugs in people who care about their long-term health, but also I would not judge others for choosing to use these drugs to carry out advanced, demanding lifestyles.