• Society

    Does loving Mean Girls make you a mean viewer?

    Like so many millennials, Jing Wang still remembers the first time she watched the movie Mean Girls.  She was in the seventh grade and hanging out with her god-sister. She ended up loving it so much that her god-sister lent Wang her copy—which she still has to this day.  “Watching it just brings me back to a previous period in my life,” she says. “I find comfort in the familiarity and nostalgia.”  Wang isn’t the only one. A study published by the Journal of Consumer Research found that re-consuming movies, TV shows and books can provide comfort and a boost of happiness. It’s the reason why movies like Mean Girls…

  • Society

    Data handling in the digital era

    Whether it be through accepting cookies on a website or agreeing to an app’s terms and services without reading any of the fine print, peoples’ personal data is being collected and stored online.  Tansin Rahman, a second-year student at the University of Toronto, is concerned about her data being tracked through third-party cookies. “I find it very unnerving because anytime I go on a website, there are these cookies that are tracking you and it doesn’t seem like a big deal,” she says. “I’m not really concerned about reading the terms and conditions of whatever cookies I’ve accepted. I think a lot of people don’t read that, so you don’t…

  • Society

    What it takes to form a generation

    Millennials and Generation Z (better known as Gen Z) are distinguished by the social, political and economic factors of their formative years, but defining these generations—or any generation, for that matter—is more difficult than just looking at those three factors.  Sali Tagliamonte, chair of the linguistics department at University of Toronto, outlines how the factors needed to define a generation vary because it depends on how quickly their culture is changing. While millennials were raised during the rise of the internet, Gen Z children born after 1997 had all of these technologies right from the start.  “What marks [this] generation depends on what’s going to mark the millennials,” says Tagliamonte.…

  • Society

    Should cancel culture be #cancelled?

    In the past decade, the media has not been easy on popular influencers and celebrities. Old mistakes or tweets that would have gone unnoticed 10 years ago are now resurfacing as evidence to ‘cancel’ people from social media or their careers. Critics of cancel culture denote these call outs to mob mentality, evoked by the “overly sensitive” Generation Z and millennials. In terms of politics, some critics address cancel culture as a censorship tactic to silence political enemies rather than an approach for healthy debate. As part of the older Generation Z population, Ciarra Ramsaywack does not think current youth are to blame for being overly sensitive. She says that…

  • Society

    The return to “normal”

    Lockdown restrictions are easing, more Canadians are becoming fully vaccinated, non-essential services are reopening and gradually, people are meeting each other in person after being isolated since March 2020. For the first time in a while, lockdown measures are not being extended by another two weeks. There is finally a sense of hope.  Recent University of Toronto graduate Nievana Judisthir is excited to start her life again and is already making plans to transition into post-pandemic life. Her main goals are to attend Centennial College’s human resources program and to travel to the United States. “I’m excited to get my life back on track. I want to meet new people…

  • Society

    Faith in the time of COVID-19

    “It is a time where everybody started questioning the validity of everything,” says Sahar Roy* about the outbreak of COVID-19. Roy is a fourth-year visual arts student at York University who grew up in Southern India, where she currently resides.  Roy is Muslim, but has a mixed race background as her father is British Indian. “My faith gives me a sense of direction, especially in a time of such unpredictability.”  In order to contain the virus last year, churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship were forced to close and transition to online platforms. Some virtual faith groups have had massive success amidst the pandemic. Alpha, a Christianity course…

  • forest
    Society

    Keeping the land: Sharing Indigenous stories of place

    Land and culture are interconnected and inseparable to Indigenous communities across Canada. These communities have worked to preserve Canada’s biodiversity along with ancient cultural sites and Indigenous history.  More and more, Canada is seeing this influence in its tourism industry, with some groups recognizing the sector’s potential for promoting Indigenous voices. Pimachiowin Aki (pronounced pim-MATCH-o-win a-KEH), is an area that covers 29,040 square kilometres in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018 and is the first in Canada to be inscribed for both natural and cultural values. In Pimachiowin Aki, culture and the natural world are inextricably linked for the Anishinaabeg. The…

  • Society

    The travel privilege we don’t talk about

    Travel privilege is generally viewed as the distinction between those who can afford to travel and those who can’t, but the true meaning of the term goes much deeper.  Travelling as a disabled person is often challenging and met with obstacles that most able-bodied people don’t need to worry about. Drew Cumpson, founder of Aksesib Consulting, has been an advocate for accessible travel since becoming quadripalegic in 2011 after a body surfing accident in Peru. Travel is now a carefully planned endeavour for Cumpson, who must consider the logistics of boarding planes, hotel accessibility and travelling with caretakers.  “I didn’t realize until I took my first trip five years after…

  • Society

    What you need to know if you’ve been sexually assaulted overseas

    TW: sexual assault, rape, trauma, PTSD Disclaimer: This article focuses on the lack of support from the Canadian government when dealing with sexual assault abroad. It could happen anywhere, so we have omitted the name of the country this incident took place in. It is also important to the survivor to note that while the people she interacted with dropped the ball, there are people who work around the world in consulates and embassies going above and beyond to provide support to Canadians abroad. Sexual assault happens everywhere, in every country. It happens here, in Canada — and at alarming rates. I am hoping that by writing this people travelling to…

  • Society

    Behind the selfie: Is your vanity worth the cost of an animal’s life?

    A selfie with a cute baby tiger is sure to get lots of likes on Instagram, and so is a picture of an elephant ride in Thailand. Wildlife tourism is not a new phenomenon, but the rise of social media platforms and the powerful influence of Instagram have given the industry some major visibility in the past decade. On the surface, it may seem like everything is fine, but animals are often trained to behave a certain way for human gratification. Beneath the perfectly timed animal selfie lies a mountain of unfair practices and conditions. Many tourists who post pictures with exotic animals are unaware of the cruelty that occurs…

  • Society

    The downsides of Airbnb

    Airbnb is increasingly becoming the accommodation of choice for would-be travellers, especially those looking for unique experiences. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, you could find two million people staying in Airbnb options worldwide on any given night. Of those people, 60 per cent were millennials. Most guests were looking for vacation options that allowed them to live like locals, and to learn about other communities and cultures. Airbnb’s mission statement, according to its website, is to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” Its business platform is simple: Airbnb provides a platform on its website and app that connects travellers with homeowners. This allows homeowners to rent out their homes—partially or fully—to travellers in…

  • voluntourism
    Society

    Why voluntourism is an issue and better ways you can help

    Travelling overseas to volunteer and take a vacation at the same time sounds like a great opportunity, but so-called “voluntourism” can have several negative impacts on foreign communities. In the 1990s, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came under scrutiny for the ways in which they were operating in other countries. Many of their methods perpetuated a white-saviour mentality and pushed ideas of colonialism into countries and communities that have already endured harm from these systems. Since then, many NGOs have taken the time to re-evaluate their operations to ensure that development work does not cause further harm. Susan MacGregor, the program coordinator for the International Development postgraduate program at Humber College,…

  • Society

    If not now, when?

    Homelessness in Canada is a major issue.  The Homeless Hub estimates a minimum of 35,000 individuals experience homelessness on any given night. At least 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness over the course of a year. In Toronto, it is estimated that roughly 8000 individuals are homeless on a given night. It wasn’t always like this Up until the 1980s, homelessness wasn’t much of an issue in Canada. In fact, the word ‘homeless’ was not used in public policy.  Instead, terms such as “transient” were used to describe people in insecure housing situations. This is because investment in social housing was much higher at the time, and so there was not a significant number…

  • Society

    Rising to the occasion: Learning how to become an activist

    The past few years have seen massive change in the area of activism. Young people from Generation Z have shown a passion and interest in getting involved in social and environmental issues, as well as many other prominent concerns in the world today. Here are some ways we can all learn and get involved in order to make the world a better place. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Education The first start to becoming an activist is learning. Education can come in many different forms: Reading up on subjects that you feel passionate about and want to know more about, speaking…

  • Society

    If you care about food, you should care about the people who feed you

    In the midst of COVID-19, we have seen farmers and supporters in India rise up. They have walked across the country, set up camp and have continued to bear the cold winter weather while demanding justice for laws that are affecting their livelihoods. Some of them have been arrested. Some have died. The protests turned violent in January, with the government initially rolling out military tanks and setting water bombs amongst the crowds in the cold winter. The government has also banned Internet access and shut off water and electricity in areas where there are ongoing protests. “War-like” barricades have also been set up by the government. And with the inability to meet on…

  • Society

    Aliénor Rougeot leads Ontario youth in the fight against climate change

    Aliénor Rougeot almost considered giving up. Rougeot says that after she saw the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, her fight for climate change legislation became an even more daunting task. “I almost thought, like, ‘Should I stop climate activism?’” she said. “Because [the pandemic] just set us back a whole lot in terms of pursuing environmental regulations, since [governments] have to put money elsewhere. This is just so big.” Rougeot, 21, has been a climate activist since she was a young child. She credits her mother for helping her get started. Growing up, Rougeout’s mother only allowed her to use the computer to read or watch educational content. “The…

  • Society

    Food insecurity is a symptom of poverty. Feed Ontario is here to end that

    The number of people who are experiencing food insecurity in Canada is increasing as a result of this pandemic.  According to a recent report by the non-profit Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), one in seven Canadians are experiencing food insecurity in the country. The CFCC de nes food insecurity as not being able to “afford adequate or secure access to food.” “Food insecurity is not simply about a lack of food. Its ripple effects are wide and far-reaching, affecting physical and mental health, social connection and community, employment and aspirations, family life and more,” penned CEO Nick Saul and Dr. Kwame McKenzie in their report.” Executive Director of Feed Ontario, Carolyn Stewart-Stockwell, expresses similar…

  • Society

    Not a moment but a movement: How youth are at the forefront of combating systemic racism

    By now, we all know of George Floyd. We know how he died. We know how one of the police officers, Derek Chauvin, had his knee pressed on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes during the arrest, as three other officers stood by and did nothing. We know Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe.” And we know the global impact Floyd’s death has made, with young people at the forefront of it. We’ve seen the protests and marches happening around the world, including here in Canada, a country built on systemic racism toward Black and Indigenous communities. The looming question begs: Now what? How can we, young people, keep…

  • Society

    Media toolkit on Black and Indigenous racism in Canada

    We cannot deny that racism has always been — and continues to be — prevalent in Canada. What we can do is act on it. Educating ourselves is a good starting point.  Here are forms of media (books, podcasts, social media accounts, websites) that highlight racism’s impact on Black and Indigenous communities in Canada. Books: The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson and Syrus Marcus Ware BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom by Rinaldo Walcott…

  • Society

    Living Hyphen helps multicultural Canadians explore their identities

    Growing up in Canada, Justine Abigail Yu is always exploring her identity.  “Being a Filipina-Canadian, [you feel] this sort of push and pull being in between these two places, these two cultures,” Yu said. Yu knew she wasn’t alone in this. Growing up in Markham, Yu was surrounded by a very diverse community. “Some of my best friends are Vietnamese, Chinese. I grew up with Italians, people from the Caribbean, all over the place,” she said. “And I know we all have so much in common. The more I spoke about my experiences with living in between cultures, I realized how a lot of these things are actually common.” As a result,…