pop culture

5 Ad Campaigns That Legit Demonstrate #GirlPower

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Ads are legit everywhere and since we're CONSTANTLY bombarded by them, the messages they produce have a lasting impact. We really think the media has a responsibility to provide us with messaging that helps rather than harms, but sadly, that's not the way it works! The good news is that not all ads are created equal. In fact, we've even found a few that ACTUALLY aim to empower women. We're super obsessed with the crazy power that the media has over us and have been advocating for POSITIVE media messaging forever and ever and ever. Well, Rome wasn't built in a day, but at least we've found a few bricks and mortar. Check out our list of 5 ad campaigns that use their power for good instead of evil, and actually aim to empower and inspire women!

1. Always, “Like a Girl”

At the start of their ad, Always asks: “What does it mean to do something like a girl?” The response to this question is at first disheartening: girls of older ages mimic, based on learned stereotypes, what it means to them to “run like a girl”, “fight like a girl”, and “throw like a girl”. Plot twist: challenging these stereotypes adopted by older generations are younger girls, girls whose reactions to these questions are without influence from others; these younger girls simply demonstrate how to run and fight the way anyone would. These girls have the advantage of not yet being jaded by stereotypes and media that tell girls to be a certain way – we could learn a thing or two from them!  After breaking the news to the older girls about how the younger girls reacted to these questions, the older girls reflect upon their initial reactions and change their responses to reflect who they truly are. In fact, when asked if she would change her answer to the original question, one of the older girls responded with: “I would run like myself." We LOVE this campaign - love yourself for YOU, embrace yourself AS YOU, and don't let anyone tell you WHO YOU ARE!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs&t=97s[/embed]

2. Dove, “Choose Beautiful”

In Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” video, women are given two doorways to walk through, each labelled differently. One doorway is labelled “average” and the other doorway is labelled “beautiful”. The video shows most women walking through the “average” door and then captures their reasoning behind this choice. According to the women featured in the video, the reason they chose to walk through the “average” door was because they were constantly put down by others, by media which dictates what "beautiful" is SUPPOSED to be...so they simply didn't feel entitled to walk through that doorway labelled “beautiful”. The message of the video is simple: rather than choosing to listen to what others say about your beauty, it is important to define beauty for yourself; a woman should #choosebeautiful - we LOVE IT!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdM-4siaQw[/embed]

3. P&G, “Thank You Mom – Strong”

P&G’s “Thank You Mom – Strong” campaign, demonstrates the amazing amazing power of mothers. In a world where we often forget to recognize the power of our amazing moms, P&G highlights the importance of mothers in their child's lives! So often moms are portrayed as nagging, frantic women who can't seem to get it together - totally unfair and untrue! Alternating between flashbacks and current moments in athlete’s lives, this advertisement demonstrates the lasting impact that THEIR moms had on their super awesome lives. Showing a side of the mother-child relationship that isn't usually portrayed by mass media, this campaign praises mothers and challenges the stereotypes we have about the roles they play in our lives.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ3k6BFX2uw[/embed]

4. Always, “Girl Emojis”

By interviewing girls of all ages, Always uncovers a problem with emojis: they fail to truly represent women and the roles they play in society. Okay, let's face it - we all love a good Emoji, no argument there! But the representation of women in emojis fails to be diverse; female emojis lack representation in a variety of professions and most of the female emojis are wearing PINK - like really guys?! It may seem like a little thing, but it's just another way that stereotypes are reinforced LITERALLY at the tip of our fingers! The solution? Always asks girls what Emojis THEY would want to see. The answer to this question is super-empowering and brings a huge smile to our faces here at TMG. They want to see female cops, cyclists, lawyers, doctors...they want to see THEIR life dreams reflected on their phones, not the archaic dreams of he status quo. Plain and simple, this ad is awesome.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3BjUvjOUMc[/embed]

5. Dove, “Beauty on your own terms”

This awesome ad opens with women reciting the same old same old:

“how can she be a lawyer?” “only skinny girls can dress well” etc etc ugh

The messaging women have had to swallow their entire lives piles up and totally makes the viewer feel completely dejected and...gross! Just when it feels like this ad CAN'T possibly redeem itself, the tone completely changes. Instead of succumbing to the bombardment of insults they've received their whole lives, these women speak back and stand up about the injustices they have faced. Words of retaliation are sung, fists are raised, stands are taken. SUCH a kickass campaign - guaranteed to pump you up and change your mind about what we are all truly capable of!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XOa7zVqxA4[/embed]

Our advice after watching these advertisements? Talk and think about these videos! Share them with a friend, a family member, your network. What are they telling you about your belief system? What are they telling you about YOUR idea of what it means to be a girl? Finally, use your newfound wisdom to challenge the gender binary, challenge stereotypes, challenge others and most importantly - to challenge YOURSELF!

Guest Guru: Q & A with Mayim Bialik!

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Okay guys, this is a big one for us. Last year, one of OUR role models, Mayim Bialik, invited us to write a piece for her incredible and inspiring site, GrokNation. Today, she’s making a cameo on our blog as an ever-fab Guest Guru! Aside from being a kickass leading lady on The Big Bang Theory, she's one of the big players in the movement towards encouraging women to pursue #STEM. Mayim is an advocate that we totally look up to and wish we could hang out with on the daily - for real. We’re so pumped that she took the time to answer some of our burning questions! Q: Let's start with this: what is the absolute coolest thing about math and/or science?

A: Well, it's hard to pick one thing! I think the coolest thing about math is that it is a completely arbitrary set of names and labels we have given to a system that literally runs the universe. Instead of calling things one, six, and 500, we could also call them polkadot, badger, and violin. Math would still be math because it just IS and we find ways to explain what it is with words and symbols and labels.

Q: Why should high school kids stick with math and science instead of dropping them at the earliest opportunity?

A: The majority of jobs available to young people in the future will require some background in math and science. In addition, some of the higher paid jobs and jobs in the fastest growing most exciting markets require math and science. Plus, understanding math and science sets you up for understanding the world in a whole different way even if you don't choose to go into those for your career. It can help you plan for your life including finances, buying a house, and general decision-making. Also, it gives you an appreciation of the universe that can really change your perspective on life in great ways.

Q: I love love love that you're passionate about finding ways to encourage young women to enter STEM - that's what I'm all about! What are three things that you think we all could be doing that we're not?

A: More positive role models, more mentorship programs, and more funding from the government please!

Q: Girls often develop the belief that they're inherently bad at math much more frequently than boys do. Why do you think that is?

A: Girls and boys brains do tend to work differently, and this means that sometimes the female brain appreciates being taught in ways that have typically been designed to teach male brains.  Sometimes, girls need to be able to picture themselves as a mathematician or a scientist in order to be able to understand why the skills are even important to put in effort to learn. Also, girls tend to be more social, more verbally sophisticated, and more interested in different kinds of activities than these classes sometimes lend themselves to. Creative teachers and more funding for math and science in schools would help this a lot.

Q: I really really believe that a huge part of why girls aren't inspired to pursue STEM is due to the fact that popular media doesn't exactly paint STEM as inspiring or welcoming for girls. What do you think?

A: I think we definitely see a lot of stereotypes of females in the media when we think about women in science. In addition, our culture in general reveres youth and beauty over praising and understanding the kind of people who pursue a life in math and science. So I don't know that I would blame the media, but I think the media is part of a larger problem we have in our culture with what we value and how.

Q: Do you think that your character in Big Bang is finally a step in the right direction for popular media and representations of women in STEM? Have any young women reached out to you about our character?

A: A lot of people think the characters on the Big Bang theory are stereotypes and possibly negative stereotypes of nerds and geeks. I personally know people like all of the characters!  and while Bernadette is a microbiologist who wears more attractive clothing and cute headbands and Amy is more of a modest dresser, we are showing two different kinds of females in science and I love being a part of that.  Also, all of the characters on the Big Bang theory who are scientists enjoy their lives, enjoy the way their life is structured and have friends and successful relationships. I think that is very important to show on television.

Q: Lack of confidence is a major issue when it comes to girls pursuing STEM. What advice do you have for parents of young girls who develop a fear of math in elementary school?

A: Reinforcing that boy and girl brains alike can and should learn math is very important. There are a lot of programs online that parents can be involved with alongside their children to encourage them to build positive skills especially in the math department.

Q: How do you feel about the word 'nerd'? Yes or no and why?

A: I fall under the category of nerd and geek so I say yes!  I have been called a nerd a lot in my life by people who were being mean, but now the culture has shifted, I kind of like being called a nerd. I love all sorts of nerdy and geeky things and enjoy my life a lot because of those things.

Q: Is there hope? Seriously - do you think things have improved in terms of female participation in STEM fields, and do you see them continuing to improve?

A: I think there is definitely hope. You and the work you do give me hope!

For more info on Mayim and the amazing work she does to encourage young women to pursue STEM, check out her full-on website or visit Groknation! LOVE her SO MUCH!

Can you think of someone who you would love for us to feature as a Guest Guru? Holler at us: info@themathguru.ca!

Photo Cred: James Banasiak

 

5 Reasons to Watch Hidden Figures

Oscar season is just around the corner and thanks to Oscar-nominated movie Hidden Figures, TMG is buzzing with excitement about this year’s red carpet. Telling the story of three African-American women who are BOTH mathematicians and scientists at NASA, this movie is extremely empowering. TMG is OBSESSED with the fact that this movie showcases the incredible abilities of women in STEM – we LOVE girl power! As if watching women crush and crunch numbers like total BOSSES wasn’t reason enough to see this movie, we are providing you with 5 MORE reasons to go and watch Hidden Figures. 1. Math and Science are Relevant

Showing you that math and science have USEFUL applications outside of the classroom, Hidden Figures makes you realize that what you’re currently learning is relevant to not only a potential future career but also relevant to your understanding of what kind of theoretical work is applied to NASA’s space missions.

2. Math and Science are Cool

Hollywood is cool, right?! And sexy, sparkly, glamorous, Hollywood is talking about a movie that features math and science. Therefore, Hollywood is making math and science cool. SO, be cool and get in on the Hollywood buzz!

3. Learn About History

Want to sound knowledgeable about American history? Go and watch Hidden Figures! Because this movie is based on a true story, you will come out of this movie knowing SO much more about an important (yet underrepresented) part of American history.

4. Strong Acting

Featuring fierce and fiery performances by Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Taraji P, this trio of women is one that will keep you riveted from beginning to end. With Oscar nominations to prove the star-quality of their performances, the acting in Hidden Figures will NOT disappoint.

5. Feel-Good Story

A lot of movies currently in theatres are super-heavy tear jerkers that have you leaving the theatre in a bit of a slump. If you want to be picked up, enlightened and empowered, this movie is the one to watch. Hidden Figures will make you laugh and cheer loudly for these amazing women, you will feel GOOD after leaving the theatre.

If you think about it, we have really given you 6 reasons to go and see Hidden Figures. So, get off of Netflix and get into a theatre to watch this empowering, inspiring and educational piece of highly talked about art that ACTUALLY features STEM!!!

 

 

 

5 Solid Songs to Study To

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Need to spice up your studying? Who doesn't. We're not normally a fan of distractions, but music can actually help you get into the study groove...IF you choose the right song. Try listening to music! Although listening to music can be extremely beneficial to some, for others it proves to be quite the distraction. If you want to experiment, we've got a few songs that might float your study boat. Check 'em! 1. Skinny Love, Bon Iver

Whether you’re having a freak-out about schoolwork and need to calm down or you’re simply looking to chill out while studying, Bon Iver’s Skinny Love is the perfect song to add to your study playlist. Soft and whimsical Indie folk, Skinny Love is a TMG favourite.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssdgFoHLwnk[/embed]

2. Four Seasons, Vivaldi

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is a CLASSIC. Get it? It’s old-school classical music. Ready to put you in the study zone, this lyricless masterpiece will help you crank up your concentration.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxofEmo3HA[/embed]

3. Starboy, The Weekend

Need a bit of encouragement while you study? A little pep talk maybe? Get a pump-up pep talk from The Weekend by listening to the smash-hit Starboy. Worried you might get distracted by The Weekend’s lyrics? Don’t worry, you can barely understand what they are so you’ll most likely be paying attention to the background beat.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Na4j8AVgA[/embed]

4. Closer, The Chainsmokers

The light and airy beat of The Chainsmoker’s Closer will make you want to shimmy in your seat while studying. If you’re looking to make studying fun, The Chainsmoker’s Closer is one that will totally give you good vibes while hitting the books.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT2_F-1esPk[/embed]

5. Let it Go, James Bay

James Bay’s beautifully smooth voice will make you want to listen to this song on repeat. Feeling like getting a little cozy with your math textbook? This song is DEFINITELY the song to do that to!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsPq9mzFNGY[/embed]

Now it’s time to download these songs (legally, please), grab your headphones and hit the books! Good luck everyone!

Math & Memes & Talk Shows, OH MY!

It’s the second week of June and we know that can only mean one of two things - you are either in the thick of exams or soooo close to the finish line you can almost taste it. There are of course a couple of you lucky ducks that are already out for the summer and (whom we are totally jealous of). Whatever your current situation, we thought we’d brighten your Thursday with some math related (but totally awesome) content.    If you’re one of those people who thinks that math and science are reserved strictly for textbooks and classrooms, think again! We’ve scoured the internet to find you some of the most hilarious articles and videos that combine our favourite things: academics and pop culture.

 

  1. This article from U.K. Complex that worked out how Reddit used calculated how much money Joey owes Chandler (plus many more pop culture math problems). 

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2. These videos from Jimmy Fallon where he explains “popular mathematics”. Definitely not the most accurate source for educational resources, but we give Jimmy credit shining a spotlight on the concept of math, and giving the subject a prime time TV spot! (We’ve linked two of them below, but Jimmy’s made several of them!)

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s_BU2qkHyc[/embed]

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZXyJXrG8C8[/embed]

 

3. This math meme ft. Lady Gaga that will totally help you remember how to deal with polynomials. BEST.

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4. The PBS Math Club just about knocks our socks off. This collection of Youtube videos riffs off of well-known movies to explain mathematical concepts. Videos range from a Wes Anderson style satire that explains how to multiply positive and negative numbers to a Mean Girls/Darth Vader collab that lays out adding negative numbers. We’re OBSESSED.                        

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[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmarTb7wXro[/embed]

The Top 5 Study Snacks For Exam Time

If you’ve ever been to one of the Math Guru’s EXAM JAMS (a.k.a. exam review sessions that are kind of like a house party but way cooler) than you’ll know that we are all about having plenty of snacks. Not only is having a snack the perfect excuse to take a quick study break, but getting the right nutrients is essential for ensuring you are powering your brain with the fuel it needs! Below, we’ve listed some easy peasy recipes you can make and munch on while you’re studying! Heirloom-Tomatoes-Burrata-Basil

Avocado Toast

Probably the most intagrammed food ever, there’s a reason this food is so popular. It’s super easy to make, and is a more filling option that’s perfect for lunch. Avocados are high in healthy fats that lower blood pressure, and promote good blood flow. A healthy blood flow in turn contributes to healthy brain function. This article from Pop Sugar gives tons of ideas on how to prepare it, but if you want to keep it simple we suggest: a slice of multigrain bread, half an avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and some garlic salt!  

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Energy Balls

We’ve featured these before, but energy balls are one of the easiest and most delicious things to whip up. Not only can you make a bunch at once to have on hand while you study, but this recipe has chocolate chips, and will seriously satisfy your sweet tooth. Pack your energy balls with nuts and seeds to really reap some brain power benefits. They are high in Vitamin E, which is known to boost cognitive abilities.

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Smoothies

We know it can suck that final exams happen right when the weather gets warm. Beat the heat with a refreshing smoothie that will also recharge and rejuvenate you with all the energy you’ll need to finish those practice questions! This Buzzfeed article lists eight different recipes that all use only 3 ingredients each - showing you just how simple it is to create endless varieties that taste amazing!! Pro tip: We recommend #7 (Blue Magic) since it uses Almond Butter (nuts = Vitamin E) and Blueberries (which are thought to improve learning capacity!).

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Overnight Oats

Oats are a great way to get your glucose, which is the primary fuel your brain uses to power itself. Glucose comes from carbohydrates, (*spoiler alert: the right carbs aren’t bad for you!!) and oats are made up of carbs. But the carbs in whole-grain foods like oats get broken down by the body at a very slow pace, so it helps keep you full and focused for much longer than a something like a piece of white bread. Make these oats the night before a long day at the library, and bring them with you to eat if hunger strikes.

2015-06-01-Sweet-Tea-Recipe-17Freshly Brewed Tea

It’s no secret that over TMG we have a slight obsession (ok fine, a HUGE obsession). Although most wouldn’t technically consider it a “snack”, a cup of tea can sometimes be all you need for a little pick me up! Plus it’s great to have with you since you can sip away while studying and stay focused. Tea has less caffeine than coffee, so a cup won’t leave you feeling jittery, but will still stimulate your brain and boost your energy. What’s more, a cup of tea has lots of antioxidants, which are also known to improve blood flow.

Mathflix and Chill

The countdown to summer is ON. We know that for the next few weeks, most of you will have your heads buried in your textbooks and class notes, but we promise, the end is near. Studying hard now will pay off, and you know that all the effort is only temporary- in a short while you’ll be able to chill out and relax for 3 whole months! Although we don’t recommend you spend your entire summer on a couch in front of the TV, we know it’s bound to happen on on a rainy weekend or at the end of a busy day. Instead of watching mind-numbing reality TV shows, or whatever over-hyped summer blockbuster is out, check out the Math Guru’s favourite movies instead. Each one has some relation to math/science, but it won’t feel like you’re sitting in your 9:00am functions class. We promise, it is possible to learn and get a little inspired while still Netflix and chillin. 2014, THE IMITATION GAME

The Imitation Game

This historical drama is based on the life of Alan Turing, a mathematician who was basically one of the first computer coders. He helped fight the Nazis in World War II by deciphering the messages sent over the Enigma machine (the tool the Nazis used to secretly communicate their radio signals). Obviously, the story has been “Hollywoodized” but one thing is made clear, Turing’s work was essential in giving us modern day computer science and artificial intelligence.  

anigif_enhanced-2069-1441191175-2_previewMean Girls

An all time classic, so many people forget that the main character Cady Heron (a.k.a. Lindsey Lohan) is actually a huge math nerd. Though we don’t approve of Cady’s attempt to at first hide the fact that she is a complete math genius, she redeems herself in the end when she competes with the Mathletes and ends up winning the competition for her school. If there’s one thing we can learn from Cady, it’s that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive and you should always own it!!

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Good Will Hunting  

This is probably one of the most #inspirational films listed here. Starring Matt Damon (so you can’t complain), this drama is about a delinquent who works as a janitor at MIT. When he happens upon a difficult math problem left on a chalkboard, he’s able to solve it correctly. What follows is a series of dramatic/emotional events, but the film is rooted in Will’s newly revealed genius. Bonus trivia: University of Toronto Prof. Patrick O’Donnell served as a mathematics advisor for the movie. He also made a cameo as the character “Marty” and it’s his handwriting that appears on all the blackboards throughout the movie.

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Moneyball

For the sports fans (and/or Brad Pitt enthusiasts), Moneyball combines both plus a whole lot of math vibes. The movie is based on the true story of Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season. It follows how the General Manager and Assistant General Manager draft a team using a “Sabermetric” approach- which is the fancy term for analyzing baseball based on empirical evidence (a.k.a STATISTICS). Didn’t think math and sports could co-exist? Think again.

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The Theory of Everything

Ok, don’t expect to finish watching the Theory of Everything and understand quantum physics. Less educational and more biographical, this film follows the personal life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Though the movie does portray some of his his work it does focus more on his disability and family life. Pick the Theory of Everything if you’re being tempted by a sappy rom-com, but want to go for something that’ll make you feel a little more cultured.

 

MMMVAs (Much Music Math Video Awards)

Sometimes the internet just blows us away. Between the thousands of memes, Buzzfeed lists, and those quick speed cooking videos all over our Facebook feeds, it’s never a dull moment. YouTube in particular is home to some pretty sweet content, including these HILARIOUS math parody music videos. Today, in our own version of the Much Music Video Awards, we’ve rounded up our favourites. If you’re in need of a little pre-homework pump up, get into the zone with one of these videos. We promise they’ll have you calculating to the beat. “It’s Just Math” - Frozen Let It Go Parody

Yes, Anna and Elsa love math. This song has an emphasis on geometry, which makes perfect sense, since Elsa’s frozen castle was basically constructed out of ICEsoceles triangles. (Pun, very much intended).

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9bbM9_36zw[/embed]

“Teach Me How to Factor” - Teach Me How to Dougie Parody 

What’s better than catchy rap? How about a catchy MATH rap. This parody of “Teach Me How to Dougie” will actually teach you how to factor. So if you’re tired of staring at your notes from class, drop this beat in the background while you’re doing your homework and you’ll be a factoring pro in no time.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFSrINhfNsQ[/embed]

“All I Do is Solve” - All I Do is Win Parody

Ok huge shoutout to the WSHS math department for killing it with these videos. The same school who put together “Teach Me How to Factor” also has this gem of a song. “All I Do is Solve” focuses on solving equations, and it even goes through the three different methods, graphing, elimination and substitution!

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qHTmxlaZWQ[/embed]

“Slope” - Hello Parody

Ok so maybe this one is significantly cheesier than our other picks, but if you’re trying to learn slope, this parody of Adele’s “Hello” is pretty bang on. Also props to this teacher who clearly just really wanted to sing about mx + b.

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeY8uoS8ULw[/embed]

Uptown Factors - Uptown Funk Parody

We’ll finish up on an upbeat note! This is another video about factoring, but this time featuring a slightly more recent chart topper with this parody of Uptown Funk. We’re obsessed with everything about this video - from the dance moves, to the outfits to the informative equations that pop up throughout! You won’t be able to help but sing along!

[embed]http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhSjD5nLkjY[/embed]