Students from this school will be making the news for real on 27 March 2014 as they take part in BBC News School Report. We aim to publish the news by 1600 GMT on the News Day, so please save this page as a favourite and return to it later. In the meantime, take a look at what our students produced last year!
It is no big of a secret that comic books were originally written by and for men; it was seen that women were not interested in comic books. However time has now changed; women are more interested in reading comic books, buying them and writing them though the industry is still not as interested in hiring female writers or illustrators, despite the protests of big name brands such as Marvel and DC who dispute this.
These predominantly male illustrators and the ludicrous poses that they place women in as a sign of “empowerment” is the motivation behind the launch of the ‘Hawkeye Initiative’. The movement was launched on the first of December 2012 by Noelle Stevenson. The aim of the initiative is to replace comic book women (whether they be heroes, villains or civilians) with the Marvel Avenger Clint Barton (AKA Hawkeye) when they have been placed in positions which are considered as impossible or sexually provocative. It is quoted that the site’s intent is to t” draw attention to how deformed, hyper sexualized, and unrealistically dressed women are drawn in comics”; the site also then goes on to point out about how these poses are often unnoticed by readers, and are considered to be ‘normal’.
The initiative initially received mixed reviews, whilst lots of people find the initiative to be a funny way to open people’s eyes to a controversial topic – the DC comics writer Gail Simone (one of few female writers in the industry) believes the initiative to be “the best thing in the history of historical anything ever in the universe or elsewhere”; others support the cause but often feel that the images are counterproductive to the websites initial purpose. These people claim that the images “miss the mark” because the images drawn have become too focused on being funny or sexy, rather than showing that this pose would cause serious injury to anyone who tried to perform it.
The total number of images submitted to The Hawkeye Initiative is now in its hundreds, and though many of them may be repeats of images it is still a shocking total to see as it raises the question of how poorly women are seen in the media – particularly the ‘geek’ culture, as women are seen as a weaker, more inferior character who would be only introduced into the storyline as a love interest for a male hero. Hopefully the writers and management in companies such as DC and Marvel, as well the lesser known comic book publishing industries, would change their style of their art and stop trying to push an idea of an impossibly ridiculous poses onto the public.
By Phoebe, Y10.
Often to emphasise a point we use statistics to show quite how bad a situation is: ‘1 in 10 people will suffer mental illness’ ‘7% of children admit to binge drinking’ both of these have been made up but the point remains that a statistic is hard to see as truthful. Often when looking at statistics of drug use the percentages are phrased using the words ‘admit’ or ‘say that’ both of which imply that this is based off of what someone says. The problem with this is that people lie. A lot. This combined with social pressures can often influence statistics as if you asked teenager if they had taken drugs several might lie and say they had to seem ‘cool’ to their friends. On the other hand some may lie to hide what is deemed bad behaviour so they come across as a better individual.
This means that when looking at statistics we must bear in mind the fact that what we see may not in fact be the truth. However lies are not the only factor that changes a statistic. In suicide statistics it is often stated that it is hard to confirm if a death is an accident or suicide. A road traffic accident is a good example as a person could have not been looking or have fallen but they may have also intentionally stepped in front of a car to end their life. This means that suicide percentages may be lower than they actually are or even higher.
Another issue with statistics is the way they can be twisted to show a certain picture. Often statistics are shown in relation to another statistic which can only give you a comparison and not an accurate view. If you were told that ‘men are twice as likely to get liver disease then women’ we must first look at the fact that this is a generalisation of gender which ignores age and other factors, secondly the fact that it is non-specific to which type of cancer as some forms are only able to occur in one gender. Finally this statistic does not tell us the individual statistics so both could either have been really high or really low but we do not know that, only that one is higher than the other.
Another way for statistics to be twisted is to show only he negative per cent for instance ‘28% of 12-18 year olds smoke’ although this seems like a large amount we must take into consideration that this means 72% of teenagers do not smoke. Most statistics show the negative to make it seem like a worse scenario. ‘72% of 12-18 year olds do not smoke’ sounds like there are not as many cases of smoking in teenagers than the statistic using ‘28%’
In conclusion; when reading a statistic take into consideration that it may not be accurate; too high, too low, missing data, anomalous results all factoring in. in an ideal world we’d have all the data required but humans are not perfect and nor are our statistics.
By Laina, Y10
Being from a girl’s school, this should be very important to us and we should want it to be changed. In new dramas like ‘Broadchurch’ we can clearly see that the female detective DS Ellie Miller is being overlooked, when the job she was promised was given to a man who was new to the area, even though she was just as qualified as him at the job.
This theme is also evident in films. Here at BBC School Report we believe that the woman’s place is everywhere and not just in the kitchen or the home. We think that modernisation has not changed a woman’s rights and the views perceived of women in films or television programmes. This theme is especially evident In American television programmes like ‘the real housewives of Orange County’ or ‘Bridezillas’.
Television changes the opinions of almost everyone and everything, although this is good, it can also be used for bad. It is not just things that we can see on a screen but also things that we see in magazines and papers. Notice how in this picture, when the process of photo shopping her is finished, all of her freckles have been brushed over and her lips, hair and eyes have all been made brighter, as well as changing the natural shape of her nose.. This can effect teenager’s minds and make them feel like they have to look like these models to be ‘perfect’.
Sexism has been happening for centuries and we all feel like modern technology has made it easier for the media to fool us and also change our minds about what we should act and look like.
One girl answered to the question ‘are women viewed as less important in media?’ with most of the time, especially in action movies when the man is the hero.
When asked her opinion on photo-shopping, she said it’s wrong because it creates a false reality of beauty, therefor causing many young girls to become insecure.
She also wants to be an actress when she is older but not a person who is on the side or a stereotypical woman.
By Megan, Y9
In 2011, according to the Office of National Statistics, there were overall 194 cases of death through suicide in the age group 15-19. 134 of these people were male, whereas the other 60 were female. These statistics may not even have been that reliable as some researchers believe that due to the nature of the coronal system what is and isn’t defined as a suicide, could lead to under reporting. In our society and societies across the world there is a general taboo that surrounds suicide – possibly generating from the time when suicide was a criminal offence. Similarly, it could be due to that the coroner believes that there is not enough evidence to prove that suicide was the cause of death. Whilst in the UK, this is being combated the total number of suicides per year will always be something elusive to researchers.
With the rates of suicide being so high, particularly in young people and adolescents, it is left for researches and psychologists to wonder; why? Some people believe that it is due to the fact that the media are constantly feeding children, adolescents and teenagers images showing how were are meant to look, sound and be, and led to believe that this is the foundation to happy life; when in reality happiness is subjective to people and can be found in many different places and ways. It is through the media and tradition that teenagers believed that happiness is attached to what they have and look like rather than what they do, or achieve.
However, it is also worth questioning: what are teenagers expected to achieve in their day to day activities? In our school, at the GCSE age, it is expected of us to spend at least 2-3 hours on homework a night, have eight hours of sleep, a healthy diet and a social life. Assuming that the average student gets home at about 4 o’clock, and goes to sleep at the latest of 11 o’clock in order to maintain a health eight hours of sleep, which leaves six hours in the evening to get everything done. Three of these hours, maximum, are spent on homework – as long as there are no distractions – at least one hour is spent trying to eat and bathing. It is also expected to have at least one extracurricular activity, which is another hour gone. This is a total of five hours, but again isn’t always accurate as harder subjects such as creative arts can be more stressful on a student, requiring more hours to be spent on working, and even worrying about their grades.
All of this mounting pressure is bound to cause issues amongst young people, who often succumb to depression and even self-harm as a way to express themselves and deal with this stress. Again in our school, the average expected grades is an A, which many girls feel is too high for them to achieve; whether this be to their own insecurities or consistently lower grades. These insecurities, if not dealt with in the correct manner can manifest into a total feeling of worthlessness. Though, it is sad that people then again do not also know how to correctly deal with depression and self-harm; it seems that some people do not even consider depression to be an illness and a lot of tactics then lead to even more guilt amongst the harmer.
Statistics say that 1 in 8 adolescents suffer from depression, and in 2011 31% of the total numbers of suicides that year were committed by 15 to 19 year olds. Most of this depression and suicidal behaviour is noticed by teachers, though often left unsaid due to the student feeling alone and not wishing to talk about their issues. It is often due to this secrecy, that the problem often gets worse; symptoms of clinical depression include: continuous low mood or sadness, feeling hopeless and helpless, having low self-esteem, feeling tearful, feeling guilt-ridden, feeling irritable and intolerant of others, having no motivation or interest in things, finding it difficult to make decisions, not getting any enjoyment out of life, feeling anxious or worried, having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself. Thus this limits the motivation children have to complete their homework, often meaning that they fall into more trouble and only make their depression worse as teachers may not be aware of personal emotional issues or how their words may affect students.
A way I think that as a school, teachers should work to be more observant of the noticeable signs of self-harm and depression, perhaps approaching students in private, hoping to understand them rather than jumping to conclusions and not necessarily alerting parents of issues that have been noticed, as often there is a reason why cases of depression in adolescents get unreported. Often teenagers feel reluctant to talk about their problems, even not wanting to admit there is a problem in the first place, or also not wanting to worry people – or having the feeling of being constantly checked on and watched, because though parents or adults may be worried, privacy is important to teenagers and it is a symbol of trust. It would also be productive to try and encourage students to speak out about their own emotions and feelings, because being depressed is something that you can deal with if only the issue is known about, and not bottled up inside.
By Phoebe, Y10
Dogs are now being trained to be able to detect cancer by smelling a person’s breath or skin. One charity ‘medical detection dogs ‘has been running since 2008. They are a charity that works with the NHS Trusts and Universities. They train dogs to smell out human diseases, and not only can the dogs detect cancer but they can also sniff out Addisionian crisis, pain seizures and also Narcolepsy.
Alena Hughes is one of the lucky people to have been given a life-saving companion. Alena is one of the youngest people in the UK to have been given one of these dogs, at only six years of age. This young and happy girl has type one diabetes and is far too young to know when she might collapse from high or low blood sugar levels. Her Labrador Maisie, can smell when they are too high or low and will nudge her until she can do something about it.
Over the past decades the number of people with mental illness has been on the increase with approximately 10% of the population suffering from some form of mental illness at any one time and an estimate of 180,000 children per year under the age of 12 having a mental illness. However despite this growing problem there still seems to be a highly negative view on mental illness. Many people are often harassed over their mental illness and in cases it can lead to the individuals becoming debilitated to the point where they are afraid to leave their homes. The statistics for this are hard to find because many cases of abuse go unreported either due to the stigma attached to mental illness or the victims aversion to report in case nothing happens about the problem or it becomes worse because of it.
In 2011 in the UK 6045 people committed suicide but it is unknown if this is the real statistic or not due to some cases being able to be classified as suicide. The statistic of suicide victims who suffered mental illness is hard to know because of this idea that having a mental illness is something to be ashamed of or to hide with many who are averse to seeking help for their disorders. This is a concept that has been around for many years and in the past suffers of mental illness would often be shamed and hidden by families or communities who thought of them as something disgraceful to them.
Two posters from a Canadian campaign against mental illness.
This taboo seems to still be quite influential to the lives of people with mental illness or those close to them. One of the main issues is this idea of people being blamed for their mental illness or having it treated like a physical illness. Many cartoons and campaigns have been created around this idea often emphasising how mental illness is used as an excuse or is something they can just get over. In Canada a campaign was started to create an awareness of the problem as these posters show phrasing that is applied to mental illness being used against a physical condition. These have a great impact because very few people would blame someone with cancer for having cancer or using it as an excuse. It is disturbing, however, to see that we would treat anyone with an illness like this. Seen or not, Physical or not, illness is illness and should be treated with equality and compassion.
I asked several teachers and students how they felt the approach to mental illness was today and that children as young as 10 committed suicide because of bullying due to mental illness:
‘I think people side-line them because they are different and strange’
‘…feel sometimes people don’t treat people with mental illness in the right way and that sometimes we treat them harshly and that it is their fault…we should let them speak in case it becomes too late.’
‘I don’t know how to react, it is horrific at that young.’
‘It makes me feel sick’
Some people can see that we treat people with mental illness as wrong and it leads to the question of ‘is it ignorance?’ should we educate people at a younger age about mental illness to try and prevent more of this occurring? But one thing is clear, this is a problem and it is preventable.
Report by Laina, Y10
Welcome to this blog showcasing the work of Mayfield Grammar School students taking part in the BBC School Report scheme! Check back often over the coming months as this page will be updated regularly with various interesting and informative news reports by different students!
Also, bookmark this page ahead of BBC News Day on 21st March 2013 – a special day where this blog will be updated all day long as students simulate the inner workings of a real newsroom, producing up-to-the-minute reports and working to tight deadlines.
Keep an eye on the BBC News website over the next few months as articles published here have every chance of appearing on the BBC News website too!