This I Believe Draft: The Handshake Disparity

I come from a traditional middle class family, living on the east coast with parents from the midwest. While growing up, both my dad and my grandpa always stressed how important it is to have a good handshake. “Give a firm, strong handshake and make eye contact,” they would always say.  Then we would practice shaking hands to find the good intermediate between floppy and vice like grip. Every time i visited my grandpa,  the three of us would greet with a handshake and my grandpa and dad would expel their philosophy that a handshake reveals  a person’s character and views. This idea and the continual practice of the art of handshaking  prepared me for when I would be old enough to meet people and greet as an adult and as an equal. However, when I did reach this age I was left utterly disappointed. While introducing myself to men, I would extend my hand ready to give an assertive handshake, only to be met with a flimsy, relaxed grasp that barely passed as a handshake. At first I thought that maybe I was still perceived as a child and thus not treated as an equal during the handshake. Or I thought that maybe the standards for a handshake have changed from the good-ol-days that my grandpa and dad were raised in. But then soon I began to realize that this pathetic handshake was only reserved for men greeting women. This revelation left me observing all handshake interactions and I discovered a trend. When men greeted other men, my grandpa’s and my dad’s advice would manifest into a proper handshake. This made me feel that even though I was receiving the same treatment, a handshake, that I wasn’t truly seen as an equal. Inequality between handshakes is in everyday manifestation of the inequality between genders that persists in our society today. It only seems natural that all genders should see and treat all other genders as equals. The difference in handshakes, that I and most women have encountered, represent elements of our society where women don’t command the same respect and equality as men. The handshake is more than a social etiquette, it is a symbol of the respect and equity between people. I believe in the equality of handshakes.

Passion Blog, Civic Issues Blog, and This I Believe Ideas

My passion blog will be a continuance of my previous blog, traveling to various countries. I really love visiting new places and have an innate curiosity and desire to experience different countries and cultures. In each blog, I will talk about different attractions and things to do in that country while trying in significant cultural and historical elements to enrich each trip. There will be  a mix of blogs; some blogs will be documenting trips I have gone on and what made them fun and unique while the rest will explore future destinations for my travels.

For the civic issues blog, I really like the general topic of identities and rights. I want to explore this topic on a global scale to almost relate it to my passion blog. As for specific issues to examine, I am thinking of doing gender and human rights in different countries. I might tailor this more towards women’s rights in different countries or regions and how culture and religion can play a role. Anther idea would be to examine and compare women’s rights on specific topics, such as pay equality and access to birth control, between the U.S. and a foreign country.

This I Believe has been a bit more challenging in regards of choosing a story and belief. These are still fledgling ideas and need to be worked on. One idea is I believe in walking. This will not only relate to the fact that walking to places is better for the environment but is also better for the soul. I use walks to clear my head and think about things, in a way it is time taken to reflect each day. To me walking is time taken to meditate and stay healthy both mentally and physically. The other idea is that I believe in good handshakes. Growing up my grandpa and my dad always told me that a good hand shake was a firm one. It represents much of a persons character, yet when I grew old enough to greet people and shake their hands more often than not I got flimsy handshakes while my male companions received firm handshakes. I think I want to tie in feminism to handshakes and that overall I believe in equality.

TED Talk Outline: Housewives

Topic: Housewives

Purpose: To talk about the shift from the housewife in the 1950’s to today and to broaden the audience’s perspective of a house wife.

Thesis Statement: From the 1950’s to toady, the role and perception of a housewife has dramatically expanded as the role of the housewife grew to additionally encompass elements outside of the home mainly due to feminism and technology.

Attention Strategy/Orienting Material: I want to ask you guys for 2 seconds of blind trust, please close your eyes and picture a house wife. Did you see a woman in an apron cooking or cleaning (picture), a celebrity housewife (picture) , or perhaps your own mother? These woman along with other more diverse and different women fall under the modern definition of a house wife: A married woman in a family who is the main person responsible for cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the home and kids.

I. Main Idea – In the 1950’s the idea of the housewife was uniform and throughout the last 60 years, the idea of a house wife has grown to encompass stay-at-home moms to working women with full-time jobs.
A. The housewife in the 1950’s and was standard and uniform in a sense that they were perceived as being dependent on their husbands, intellectually inferior, and belong in the home. [it tends to exclude minorities in the stereotype]
1. use (“Marriage and Family.”)
2. use visual representations of housewives at the time.
B. Today there are still remnants of this traditional housewife stereotype but a plethora more of variations of the housewife.
1. The modern housewife can be a traditional housewife, or one with a full-time job, it also leaves open the recognition of various housewives of different ethnicity.

II. Main Idea –  This shift in the expansion of the housewife is primarily rooted with the advancement of feminism and technology.
A. Support: With the rise of the feminist movement in the 60’s and 70’s, women were no longer limited to just staying at home as a house wife. There were significant political legislative that was a result of this movement.  Use (“Women’s Lib.”)
B. Support: Technology has expanded society’s views of the housewife. The over glorified and frivolous celebrity housewives project a stereotype, but a majority of more traditional housewives and ones with jobs are separated by the influence of technology and media.

III. Main Idea – We need to be open to the variety of housewives all of which have certain values over other versions of housewives. This shift will continue to develop towards a type of gender-roll-less society where the term housewife is no longer applicable or politically correct.

Concluding Remark – So as we set of in this world after we graduate, lets keep an open mind about housewives, since some of us will surely represent the different faces of the modern housewife.

Paradigm Shift Outline: Housewives

My modern definition of Housewife: is a married woman in a family who is the main person responsible for cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the home and kids (can have a job outside of the home)

–component of world view: social and ideological

Timeframe: America from the 1900’s to today

Identify those affected:

  • Directly influences housewives and women, (maybe go into detail on different ethnicities in the us)
  • indirectly influences society as a whole: men and children

Characterize the ideology or worldview before:

  • Married women belong in the house as the ideal housewife … always cooks, cleans, does the laundry, raises the kids, believes everything her husband believes… she is essentially an element of him (once a housewife loses her independence)

Characterize the ideology after:

  •  Married women can have their own independence, live outside of the house have their own careers and could even be the bread winners … but still today have “stay-at-home-moms” but are still seen as their own person  (maybe include “trophy wives”)
  • Can have stay-at-home dads and there are excepted nontraditional families

What markers can you point to as evidence of the shift?

  •  the shift from the primary use of “housewives” to “stay-at-home-moms ” and “homemakers”
  • married women and mothers with careers
  • subtly, the new term “stay-at-home-dad”, the change in toys that depict women

What resistance is evident? Who is resisting the new ideology?

  • those who insist on the traditional role where all women stay at home as a housewife, traditional and conservative subgroups in society….. yet keeping the traditional model isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long they accept the various “modern versions of housewives”

What is the shift a response to?:

  •  a response to essentially the recognition and rights given to women that men already had both politically, economically, and socially

Who or what was key in moving the shift forward/ what conditions didn’t exist that came to existence that made the shift possible?

  • WWI and WWII and the need for women in the workforce
  • women voting rights
  • feminism
  • social media



Completing the Circle: A Dull Villian

According to The New York Times review, at the end of the novel, “Mae, then, is not a victim but  a dull villain.” And I quite agree. Throughout the novel, Mae has been subject to the Circle’s psychiatric conditioning and subsequently it has negatively affected her life outside of the Circle which makes her in a sense a victim. Towards the end of the novel, Mae’s parents ignore her and Mercer tries to cut Mae and the Circle out of his life completely. Later Mae, thinking as always that she is right and being involved in the Circle is the best thing for everyone, brings about Mercer death. This situation made apparent that Mae has become a dull villain. It is a villainous act to essensially drive someone to suicide, which could be considered murder.

But what is even more striking is not Mae’s change from being the victim to the villain but from being a bright, free thinking individual to a  dull Circle prototype. While Mae strived to embody all the ideal image of a Circler, Mae lost sight of her humanity that kept her grounded to her intuition and the people around her.

When you fast forward further to the end of the novel, Kalden/Ty informs Mae of the potential destruction the Circle will cause, much like the shark from the Mariana’s Trench foreshadowed. However Mae, already brainwashed, decides not to consider and thus not follow through with Kalden/Ty’s plan to dismantle the Circle to protect everybody’s right to anonymity on the internet. Mae thinks as any true Circler would and goes to Bailey and Strenton with the information. By acting as a loyal Circler, Mae has inevitably lost her sense of individualism and thus has become dull. The villainous aspect of Mae is apparent  first with Mercer’s death then with playing her part in eliminating people’s right to remain anonymous on the internet and creating the foundation for a totalitarian government that stems from the Circle.

In novelistic conventions, the main character of the novel is usually the one to, at the conclusion of the book, wrong all the rights and in a sense be the hero facing down the evil villain one last time. Just look at the Hunger Games or the Harry Potter Series for an example of novelistic conventions. Yet The Circle concluded with Mae giving into the perceived evil, The Circle, and the “villains,” Strenton and Bailey. To take it one step further, as The New York Times review stated, Mae had in fact become a villain. To simplify the novelistic conventions, the victim in the novel usually triumphs or hinders the villains. Mae was originally the free-thinking victim but became so entranced by the Circle that she became a mindless villain. Egger’s departure from these traditional, novelistic conventions, shock the reader because it is a rather anticlimactic ending which they were not necessarily expecting. This departure is Egger’s warning to the audience that sitting idly by as technology develops without checks, could result in a development as seen in the Circle.

The Circle Blog #4: Transparent Creatures

“From his trip to the Marianas Trench… Stenton had retrieved heretofore unknown jellyfish, seahorses, manta rays, all of them near-translucent, ethereal in their movements” (309).

This transparent, delicate beauty that was newly discovered from the dark unknown is a manifestation of the Circle’s Utopian quest to unite the world through transparency of life broadcast-ed through evolutionary social media and technology. Each of the three creatures, octopus, seahorse, and shark, represent various elements of the Circle’s push for transparency. The octopus represents the curiosity that drives the push for transparency and revolutionary technology, the seahorse represents the fragility and vulnerability that transparency and technology creates in society, while the shark embodies the destructive element of technology and transparency.

The octopus, it moves at incredible speeds, like the rise of new inventions and technology. Its fluctuating size shows the inconstant, changing status of social media and technology. When the octopus seeks out to experience everything about the tank: “the shape of the glass, the topography of the coral reef below, the feel of the water all around,” that is a direct metaphor for the desire of the Circle to know everything and to experience everything through the internet (311).

The seahorse illustrates the gap in those on board with technology and those who are removed: “But despite his fragility, somehow he had already reproduced, had given life to a hundred more like himself… he was apart from his progeny, as if having no clue where they came from, and no interest in what happened to them” (316). The delicate balance in society between the push for progress in the name of transparency where the circle is the progeny while there remains the few who live back, like Mercer, and have no interest in being involved with the technology the Circle is introducing is the seahorse.

With the shark, information and news is devoured by viewers and the transparent community. But soon that exciting, news is rapidly spit out, dull, uninteresting and forgotten. The rapid intake in dismissal of news shows the fickleness of society that is being produced from the technology produced by the Circle. Additionally, the shark embodies the destructive, almost cruel nature, of the culture surrounding transparency. When the lobster and fish were previously fed to the shark, everyone was just interested but when the Pacific sea turtle was fed to the shark, there was an outcry rooted in empathy and personal connection with the turtle. “Its eyes had beheld the predator below, and was now, with the slow energy it could harness, pushing its way to the back of the container. Feeding this kindly creature to the shark, no matter the necessity or scientific benefit, would not please many of Mae’s watchers”(319). The human element, of intelligence and emotion of the turtle reflect how the transparent technology of the Circle, or the shark, will devour and reduce to ash such a vital human trait. The cruelty of feeding a creature that can recognize the peril its in and show fear, to satisfy the shark displays the heartlessness and how removed human empathy can be when looking at life through the transparent Circle and a screen.

These mysterious and ethereal creatures display how the Circle’s push for total transparency is too Utopian and not necessarily what is best for the future of society.

The Circle: “Do You Realize How Incredibly Boring You’ve Become?”

Ever since becoming a Circler, Mae has been busy with new and exciting activities. In contrast to same old Mercer, Mae considers her life to be exponentially more interesting and worthwhile. Yet when Mercer asks, “Mae, do you realize how incredibly boring you’ve become?”, Mae is outraged (263). But this question triggered something inside of Mae who became overly defensive which illustrates that this statement rang true to a certain degree. In Mercer’s eyes, real life is completely separate from stimulated life, while as Mae becomes more invested in the Circle both as a company and community, her distinction between real and simulated life is beginning to blur. It blurs to the extent that she values the experience of life through a device over real life.

This becomes particularly apparent with the dinner situation and she becomes consumed by her phone and neglects the people around her. Obsessing over comments on a post while people around her were trying to give their own opinions signifies that the importance of anonymous  users and social media comes before interacting and conversing with her own family (258). These actions are Mae’s unspoken declaration that in that moment, stimulated life is more important.

Later, Mae realizes the truth in Mercer’s words. To prove to herself that Mercer’s words were not completely true and she had a life and interests beyond Parti Ranks, zings, and , Mae reverts back to something she used to love. Stealing the kayak and paddling out to the island without using any technology depicted that at Mae’s core she still valued real life the most since that experience was something no video, picture, or post could describe fully(266).

This dilemma is present in society today.

I have fallen trap to this phenomenon, having gone to countless concerts attempting to capture it and live through the videos I was taking on my phone instead of  living in the moment and soaking up the experience. And never once have I watched those videos again, yet at the time I felt as though I had to document it. Yet my story is reflected all across social media culture of today’s society.

This brings up another theme of the novel. Must an experience be documented to share with others to have value? I believe that these documentations only serve as a platform to promote stimulated life. While having no big implications on living real life.

Is there truly a difference between “real” and “stimulated” life?

They are both technically life and you are experiencing things, making memories, and connections to people. But I believe stimulated life can lack an element of personal humanity that is derived from physical interactions between people. As social animals, humans depend on body language and pheromones to have personal experiences face to face. However, when life is only stimulated through limited means, you lose a whole aspect of life. Climbing a mountain or kayaking cannot be truly experieced through a screen. You would miss the smell of the environment, the feel of the wind, the physical strain on your body, and countless other sensations that complete any real life experience.

In the end, stimulated life can aide real life but it can never replace it. And when stimulated life begins to suffocate real life, then a person becomes boring. Incredibly boring.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline


Go green. Become sustainable. Be  environmentally friendly. These ideologies, these mantras are all shared by an artifact unique to Penn State’s campus and an artifact that is globally recognized on April 22nd. The mobius campaign and Earth Day through the use of rhetoric inspire citizens to think and take responsibility for their waste and how their actions impact the environment.



  • growing environmental issues
  • mobius campaign created in 2014
  • Earth Day in the 1970’s
  •  now they bring attention to the growing concern and impact of these issues


  • mobius is consumed by Penn State Students and Faculty
  • Earth Day has a global audience


  • Penn State is renowned as an institution that strives to be sustainable
  • Earth Day has evolved into an organization and a day devoted to spreading awareness to issues and calling for change and support to combat these problems


  • Both the mobius campaign and Earth Day have been quantitatively successful in efforts to go green
  • introduce and compare statistics of each artifact


  • action from these artifacts are derived from the sense of pride they both raise in a community


  • this generation needs to go green, be environmentally friendly, and become sustainable
  • humans created this problem, its our moral responsiblitly to fix it
  • shared enterprise that we all live on the same planet; humanity on earth

Function Civically:

– the mobius campaign conditions students and faculty to reduce their waste and recycle

-Earth Day brings attention to the world of the environmental issues plaguing it and what needs to change

-compare the daily effectiveness of mobius to the overarching but only annual message of Earth Day

  • first world countries are the main producers of pollution and these environmental issues
  • first world feel less of these effects as opposed to poorer countries


The earth and our futures depend on our actions and what we choose to do with the environmental issues that we face now. The mobius campaign and Earth Day call and rally citizens to change their ways and thus improve the world we live in through the use of rhetoric.

Civic Artifact Speech Outline


  • Image of Möbius campaign
    • who here as seen it around campus?
  • It is posted around every trash, recycling, and compost bin in the Hub, the dining halls, the dorm, literally everywhere on campus.
  • Personalize/ interest
    • One feels obliged to properly sort your trash here on campus where at home you might not have had a second thought about throwing out that empty bottle in the trash.
    • Statistic on food waste and recycling materials


  • Became a campaign in 2014 by Penn State Waste Management and Sustainability
  • “closing the loop”
    • Reduce and recycle
  • Consumed by Students, Faculty, and anyone on the Penn State Campus
  • Need for it: climate change and limited resources are affecting us now and can severely impact future generations
    • Kairos


  • — “Are You Sure?” Image
    • Ethos— Penn State as an institution strives to be sustainable and environmentally friendly
    • Pathos— triggers guilt or embarrassment if not properly sorting trash and recycling
  • Ideologies/Commonplaces
    • We need to protect and save the environment
    • Going green (sustainability)

Function Civically:

  • Creates a standard and habit, that we will continue with after we graduate, it accustoms professors and faculty alike to actively think and be aware of how we can impact the environment both positively and negative with a simple action where we put our waste.
  • It’s our duties as citizens of not only this Penn State community to be responsible and do our civic duty to preserve the environment and protect our resources, but as citizens of the US and the world as a whole.


  • Through the use of commonplaces and other elements of rhetoric, the Möbius campaign make us as Penn Staters aware and responsible for our waste.
  • There are roughly 46,000 students here on campus and from this campaign that is roughly 46,000 ecological footprints that have just gotten smaller.
  • Thank you

The Circle Blog #2

The Circle thrives in a futuristic society that is on the verge of being a possibility due to our modern advancement of technology and social media. Delving into issues with advancing technology run deep in the novel, appearing as themes of data and experience. These themes develop an interesting interconnected relationship as Mae becomes more immersed in the company and the technology associated with and encouraged by the Circle.

The Circle as a company is thoroughly obsessed with collecting data. From the hidden cameras to collect and showcase situations around the world, to comparing the activity on social media (inner circle, outer circle, and zing), to tracking the health of all employees, to even recording their involvement outside of work hours on weekends around campus, there is practically no data that the Circle does not or is not trying to collect. But what is the purpose of collecting this data if not to analyse it?

Mae became so entrenched in the idea of analyzing so many aspects of her life through numbers. She spends two whole pages of the novel listing the statistics of  the things she knows: her average rating at work, the number of queries handled, the number of company events, the number of messages, the number of zings, the number of followers, friends and view, her step count just to name a few (194-195). This need to know data really exemplifies the desire of the Circle and its members to know and quantify all life’s experiences.

The Circle aims to capture all experiences via technology. Pictures, videos, and posts about any and all events or interest of a person are inherently essential to any Circler’s experience, not just on social media but in the company and life as well. In the Circle’s mindset, if a person did not document or review an experience, they are failing their civic duty to provide information and connect to others who have similar interests.

This theme created two instances where Mae’s actions, and in one case inaction, to collect data offended another colleagues.

Data from Mae’s cloud was scanned to find that she had been to Portugal and from this Allister invited her to a Portugal meeting to share her experience with people who shared this interest, to which she expressed willingness but failed to attend (108). The Circle creates a relationship where data  is used as the connecting bridge that branches out and connects people with similar interests thus allowing for new shared experiences between them.

Yet data and experience can also work in an inverse relationship to the previous one.

After Mae’s participation rank was low for being inactive on social media, members of HR approached Mae. In their conversation Mae mentioned an experience kayaking during the weekend but did not take any photos or make any posts about it. Their reaction to that was disappointment (187). To them and the Circle as an entity, failing to document an experience is an atrocious, selfish act.

These tie together into a cumulative philosophy and relationship in which if there is no data on an experience, than it was not an experience.  Furthermore, this links to the idea that data comes hand in hand to what it means to live in the world as a civic citizen by connecting to others through sharing the data of one’s experiences.

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