Story by: Charmagne Abangan, Amber Murray, Brenna Sealy, Brian Scott and Mikaila Zvyak
The Winter Olympics are held every four years and alternate every two years with the Summer Olympics. From Feb. 9 to Feb. 25, the 2018 Winter Olympics were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Millions of people came together to watch the games with family and friends, either for entertainment or learning purposes.
“I watch it with my dad mostly. Since I was born, we’ve always watched hockey. He used to have parties for all the games, so [my favorite memory is] probably those parties of him having all his friends over and just sitting around the TV watching the games,” John Bondi (10) said.
The United State's Women's Hockey team placed first. Image Source: Harry How/Getty Images
Students who play winter sports watch the Olympics to gain information and learn new techniques to bring out on the rink. They acquire information by watching pros in action.
“It’s fun to watch and it shows me how the better players play, so I can learn from them. It helps me realize things that I do wrong [and] that I should do better when I play. I watch the specific position, the defensemen on the other teams work on the passing and where they’re looking to get the puck to,” Brett Bandstra (11).
Watching the Winter Olympics isn’t just to see how the pros play the sports. Some students have had the opportunity to train with Olympic team members, and watch in support of their peers. Competing in the ladies’ singles figure skating event, Alina Zagitova earned the gold medal for Russia.
“Watching Bradie Tennell in this past Olympics [was my favorite part] because I skate with her at my rink. It definitely motivates me having people around just knowing [the Olympics] are a goal,” Grace Marlow (9) said.
Bradie Tennell. Image Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
With 2,922 athletes representing 93 countries, each person competed in one of the 102 events. To a large sum of people, figure skating was viewed as one of the most thrilling to see. The United States achieved 23 medals, nine of which were gold.
“What makes it fun to watch is that there's so many different combinations. I’m a person who doesn’t like baseball because it’s all the same, while [in] ice skating you can do different jumps in different orders and different spins. There’s 26 different types of jumps that you could do,” Madisen Pivoney (10) said.
The Olympics are seen as a symbol of unity all throughout the world. Players come from all over America to compete on one united team, and history was made this year when North and South Korea were unified for the first time since the Korean War.
"It's patriotic, in a sense, because you have a team playing for you country and it's inspiring because I would want to play for my country someday," Noah Steepleton (11) said.
“I thought it was cool that a bunch of players from around the nation [could] come together and make this team to play other nations. It’s patriotic, in a sense, because you have a team playing for your country and it’s inspiring because I would want to play for my country someday,” Noah Steepleton (11) said.
The 2018 Opening Ceremony. Image Source: Francois-Xavier Marit/Getty Images
Crazy Rich Asians
Story by: Joshua Chen
Note: This essay was written for AP English Language and Composition class.
Director John Chu and the cast: Ken Jeong, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding pose for a photo for The New York Times. Crazy Rich Asians gained media attention for being the first major Hollywood movie to feature an all-Asian cast. Image Source: Rozette Rago
With flesh and blood
“Be a man. Men are supposed to lead the family,” my father tells me in English and Mandarin. “You Asians all have small d**ks,” one boy says in the lunchroom in seventh grade. “I’d never date an Asian,” someone comments under a YouTube video.
Throughout my 16 years of existence, I have heard and read comments like these thrown around everywhere, unsure of how to be and act "like a boy." That uncertainty only intensifies when I try to understand what being a Chinese boy means.
When I grow up watching television and movies that rarely feature Asian people, save the occasional nerdy sidekick or martial arts master, how should I think about myself? How am I expected to act and how should I? This issue of gender and expressions of masculinity and femininity becomes remarkably more complex in the context of race and media representation, especially in Western society.
Perhaps the most significant portrayal in the film, the women of Crazy Rich Asians occupy powerful and complex roles in a variety of ways, ways that include a much broader view of traditionally depicted Asian femininity. According to researcher Hanying Wang, character Rachel Chu subverts the traditional notion of a “a ‘China Doll’, a submissive image.” While in Singapore, she attempts to navigate a swarm of challenges--jealous socialites, cultural dissonance, and a staunchly disapproving family. When her boyfriend Nick faces the daunting decision of choosing between a relationship and life with Rachel and a life with his family in Singapore, Rachel chooses for him. Understanding the essential role that family occupies in Chinese culture and Singaporean society, Rachel gives Nick the opportunity to keep ties with his family and also eventually find love which his family will approve of. This act completely upends the stereotype and gender role of a submissive woman in a relationship; it lends power to an Asian woman on-screen and illustrates that Asian women can be resilient and completely capable. However, this contrasts with the portrayal of Eleanor Young, played by actress Michelle Yeoh. As the hardened protector of the Young family dynasty, Eleanor reflects the socially mandated gender role of maintaining the family structure in a wealthy family. Yet, Yeoh depicts Eleanor not merely as an antagonist who perpetuates gender roles but as a multidimensional loving mother, motivated by selfless love, personal insecurities, and age-old cultural values. Yeoh makes it clear how Eleanor’s hostility toward Rachel stems from her own concern for the family empire she has maintained for years.
Such a portrayal possessing nuance presents the various facets of traditional gender roles without attacking the existence of such roles, leading viewers to examine how broad the expression of femininity truly is. The film’s representation of femininity makes a powerful statement affirming the complexities of Asian femininity.
Similarly, the male characters of Crazy Rich Asians occupy diverse roles and behave in ways that are not defined by traditional representation of Asian men in Western culture. On a general level, American ideals of masculinity have been limited to a single set of characteristics and behavior, usually stoic, powerful, and unemotional, which writer Paul Theroux describes as similar to “having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one’s entire life.” That same limited perception of how men should act heightens on a race-specific level. Historically, Hollywood has emasculated Asian men, imputing them “with no sexual drive” and characterizing them “as brainy wimps, martial arts contenders, perpetual foreigners, or fatalistic, silent victims,” as described in "The Journal of Men's Studies."
Crazy Rich Asians shatters the stereotype of the emasculated Asian man; John Chu includes scenes lingering over shots of actors’ bodies, presenting characters who can be sexual and desirable.
Though this type of portrayal can reinforce conventional notions of macho masculinity, the film’s use of this challenges the problematic emasculation of Asian men in media. Furthermore, the movie’s plot revolves heavily around the situation of Nick Young. As the heir of his family dynasty, his family expects him to fill the role as head of the family business and structure. Nick’s navigation of cultural and gender expectations pose thoughtful questions over how men can be “masculine” and occupy “masculine” roles. His love for his family and its traditional values competes with his love for Rachel, and he exhibits thoughtfulness and deep respect through his conflict. Additional male characters encompass a wide group of behaviors, including a brash, rude frat boy, a narcissistic cousin, and a flamboyant, outgoing stylist.
This myriad of Asian masculine identities that the film presents reveals the fluid nature of masculinity, establishing the full humanity that Asian men can embody in media.
As a film released in Western society, Crazy Rich Asians makes a compelling affirmation of the existence of Asian women and men, depicting complex and humanized portrayals of Asian femininity and masculinity.
For the first time in 25 years, a major-release film illustrates Asian men and women as people who exhibit a spectrum of masculinity and femininity.
Asian people do not and should not subscribe to a singular depiction of gender expression. I can only imagine how the release of a film like Crazy Rich Asians would have affected my grade-school and middle-school self.
As Michelle Yeoh so definitively puts it, “We want to be included, not just as a token, but really with flesh and blood, with heart, with passion and with the storytelling that deserves to be told.”
Movie and Music Mania
Story by: Taylor Anderson, Mya Bell, Kaila Ormerod, Hailey Prasopoulos, Morgan Taylor and Julie Wasyliw
A variety of movies and music were released in 2018. From a new installment in the "Halloween" series to a long-awaited Travis Scott album, many new additions left some viewers obsessed and others not so much.