“Does this black match?” -Daria

Fashion is one of those things that has been around for a while—ever since clothes were a thing, really. Sometimes people wear band merchandise to show that they like that band. Others dress in bright, lively colors or in black and gray.  
Many teens use their wardrobe as a way to show how they feel. I know I do that sometimes. I just throw on some black leggings, a black shirt and black Vans and call it a day. Or, I’ll wear a cute wine-colored shirt with some mustard pants and be fine with it, but like I said, it all depends on how I feel.  
While expressing yourself through fashion becomes harder when you enter the workplace and need to look professional or even wear a uniform, many professionals will use different accessories, shoes and sometimes even their hair to express themselves. I talked to Lali Armijo, a professional in the beauty industry, about how she uses fashion to express herself.  
 
How do you meet professional work expectations while still having a little “you” in your outfit? 
It's really just understanding the criteria of what is professional and what it means. I think that as you get into the working world, there are a lot of commonalities as to what professionalism is. I think it's also something you learn in school. I personally like to wear scarves, earrings, and any sort of jewelry and that to me is kind of a way I express myself while still making sure I’m meeting the professional criteria. That’s my way of spicing up a “boring” outfit. 
 
How important is what you wear to you? 
It's very important! I mean what you wear is what people see you in, right? Unfortunately, we live in a judgmental society, so being professional is a way in which people judge you in the workplace, so it has to be very important because you want people to take you seriously. 
 
When did you really find an interest in fashion?  
I’ve always had an interest; once you start working and you start getting paychecks and you learn how to budget you start to think, “Where can I buy clothes that aren’t too expensive but still look good?” From there, you start to mix and match outfits and it just becomes fun. 
 
Does your mood ever affect what you wear?  
Yes, for sure. I think that if I’m feeling energetic that morning and ready for work, I’ll definitely put more time and energy into that outfit. But if I’m running behind schedule or I’m stressed, then I’m definitely just going to throw something on and not necessarily not think what I’m going to wear.  
 
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Every day, teens check their phones for social media, use their laptops and desktops for work, and watch Netflix for entertainment. Children watch TV and play on tablets. However, staring at screens all day can lead to digital eye strain. Even if you do not know what that means, I bet you’ve experienced it.   
Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort that you feel when you look at TVs, phones, tablets, computers, or other screens for more than two hours at a time, according to Lenscrafters. If you use electronics for more than two hours a time, you probably have experienced digital eye strain at some point. It can cause many symptoms such as sore, tired, burning or itching eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, or feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open. While researchers are still studying digital eye strain, many think it can potentially cause permanent damage and ruin your eyesight.  
Some researchers believe that digital eye strain can also lead to you needing glasses, which can cost up to hundreds of dollars. Every hour you spend on your phone could result in worse eyesight and more money gone.  
However, most people don’t even know they have digital eye strain, and the ones that do don’t think it's a big deal. 
“I normally keep my screen at low brightness so I don't have that problem,” Ciara Warner, a 7th grade student at John D. O’Bryant, said.  
“I know students use the Internet, But I don’t know if it’s a problem or not,” said Ms. Yara Cardoso-Barbosa, a teacher at O’Bryant. “As a parent, I want to be able to limit the average time people use technology so nothing bad happens.” 
The hard question is why do people use technology even though they probably know it'll be bad for their eyes? The truth is, the Internet is so connected to our lives that we have no choice but to use it.  
“YouTube is the most interesting thing about the internet because it is a very wide video sharing platform that has a wide variety of videos to choose from  and watch,” said a student at O’Bryant. “And technology is good because a lot of people use it for school. The Internet makes learning a lot easier.” 
If you feel like you’re suffering from digital eye strain, here are some tips. Lower the brightness on any screens you use. When your phone or laptop has low battery, don’t charge it to encourage yourself to use it less. Blink your eyes often. Consider getting computer glasses from a company like Foster Grant or Felix Grey so screens will be less painful to you. And follow the 20/20/20 rule, take a 20 second break from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. 
“I see students using phones every day,”  An O’Bryant nurse, Debbie Kerr, said. “Technology's all over the place.”  
It is, and if you think you have digital eye strain, be sure to get your eyes checked.
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Dora the Explorer is iconic. A brown, bilingual character who got through situations with her brain, magic mochila and monkey best friend? She was the realest role model for a little Latina like me. But, as I got older, I saw more of another Latina on my screen—the ones with curves that made me feel inadequate and an accent that was bait for laughs—the spicy Latina. If you’re drawing a blank, think Gloria on “Modern Family.”  
Although representation of Latinas on screens has improved in recent years with shows such as “Jane the Virgin,” “Orange is the New Black,” and  “One Day at a Time,” the number of characters who bridge the gap between Dora and Gloria have been few and far between. Many may view the spicy Latina stereotype as a mere inconvenience, but here’s why it actually matters: we turn to media to see ourselves, because of the lack of representation of Latinas in the government and positions of power. Thus, the spicy Latina stereotype actually hurts all of us and hinders Latinas from improving the future for all Americans. 
A common misconception is that it’s a compliment to be portrayed as a spicy Latina. At first glance, it does seem like Latinas are portrayed positively. We’re seen as attractive, passionate women who can whip up a delicious storm in the kitchen and an even better one on the dance floor. But in reality, this stereotype negatively impact how the rest of the world views us.  
A study from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California released in 2016 found that 39.5 percent of Latinas in film and TV were dressed in sexualized attire, and 35.5 percent in some form of nudity. And this is when audiences see us on screen at all. According to a 2018 Glamour article, although one in five American women identify as Latina, we only make up 7 percent of speaking roles on television. How can Latinas be expected to have big career aspirations when we’re continually objectified in the mainstream media? 
For instance, how many Latinas can you name that are in positions of power in our government? In the entire history of the United States, only 19 Latinas have served in Congress to date. Today, Latinas make up only 3.5 percent of Congress even though Latinxs make up 18 percent of the U.S. population!  
According to the Washington Post, in 2016, Mexican-American Catherine Cortez-Masto became the first Latina in history elected to the U.S. Senate. In an interview with CNN, Cortez-Masto says she knows young Latinas look at her and say, “Oh my gosh, if she can do it, I can do it too.” 
We can also find hope in Texas, who elected its first two Latinas representatives to the House, and with New York sending Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman to serve in Congress, among others. 13 Latinas are currently fighting our fight in Congress, which could result in unprecedented improvement for Latinos’, and all Americans’, rights and quality of life.  
Additionally, in 2013, the Center For American Progress found that Latinas make up less than 3 percent of all STEM fields. The spicy Latina’s impact on this is amplified by research conducted by Common Sense Media in 2017 which found that girls who saw more female stereotypes on TV were less interested in STEM careers than those who saw footage featuring female scientists. That is why Latinas must see more stories like Laura Gomez’s to help them break free of stereotypical expectations. Gomez, originally from Mexico, is an entrepreneur and diversity advocate. According to USA Today, she is part of the 1 percent of Latino tech start-up founders. Gomez worked at YouTube and Google before founding her own company, Atipica.  
Hollywood writers and producers have the power to influence how media-consuming Americans see Latinas, which is why accurate representation matters. We need real, complex Latina characters who know their roots, but are not placed in a mold. Once we see more diverse portrayals of Latinas on our screens, I believe more Latinas will dream bigger than they ever thought possible and hopefully find themselves in a wide variety of real-life roles, whether they be in the government or Silicon Valley. 
As for what we can do, it’s actually easier than we think. Through various social media apps, simply liking or sharing a Latinx’s story can expand awareness. We can look at Gina Rodriguez’ #MovementMondays for inspiration. Created by Rodriguez in 2016 in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, she uses the hashtag to highlight and celebrate Latinx actors and their work every Monday on her Instagram, increasing Latinx visibility. We can also make an effort to support shows, films and other media content made by Latinxs. I recommend starting with wearemitú.com for some great content on the diverse Latinx experiences in America.  
Latinas should not need to continually prove their Latinidad by conforming to a stereotype. Rodriguez said it best in an interview with HuffPost Live, “I don’t actually sit in a definition (of a Latina). I walk in my world, happily and confidently.”  
So, can we please reserve the use of the word “spicy” to food only? I am not a jalapeño.
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The noisy gym cheered for 25-year-old Alex Georgiadis as she won a championship with her co-ed volleyball team. They worked hard for this moment. While their team wasn’t part of a professional league, their win symbolizes the benefits of playing on a co-ed team, or a team with both males and females. 
Professional co-ed teams could have victories similar to Georgiadis’. If women were allowed to play on professional sports teams with men, the combination of their skills would make the team better, and it would help motivate other women to join the sport.  
Women have been fighting for a place in sports for many years. During the 20th century, women were finally allowed to participate in the Olympics. This gave them the chance to earn gold medals and have their name imprinted in history. There was Gertrude Ederle, who won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay in the 1924 Olympics. In 1945 Babe Didrikson Zaharias became the first woman to make the 36-hole cut to qualify to play against men in a PGA Tour. Wilma Rudolph was the first woman to win three gold medals in track and field in 1960 Olympics.  
In 1972, Title IX changed the game for women. Title IX is a “federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.” Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of gender is not allowed. Now, we have women’s teams for sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, track and soccer at high school and college levels. There are also some professional women’s sports teams, like the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association. 
However, co-ed sports are nowhere to be found in the world of professional sports. Even though women can technically participate in professional sports leagues like the NFL and the MLB, there is a strong social stigma that stops them from playing. An article in ESPN tells the story of Okiima Pickett, a running back on a D.C women’s football team. She dreamed of playing on the Redskins, but never made it close to the NFL because she was prevented from playing on her high school football team in Charlottesville, VA. Her coach told her he didn't want to see her get hurt, demonstrating the social stigma against women in sports typically played by men only. 
Fans are ready to see something new for a change. “I think it’d be interesting if females and males played on the same team,” my uncle, a Boston Celtics fan, said. 
If professional teams were co-ed it would lift the social stigma and encourage girls to play. Georgiadis stated that she would like to see more females playing in professional sports, and she would like to encourage others to do so as well. Since men’s professional teams are very popular, females playing on those teams would catch the attention of many other women.  
Maybe these teams believe that they’re fine without women in their league. Maybe they don’t want the way their league runs to change if women are added. Maybe they believe that they’ll be criticized by fellow fans if they add females to their teams.  
However, that shouldn’t be true. If the MLB, NFL, and NBA refuse to change, there should be new professional leagues made for co-ed teams. Maybe someday there’ll be a professional co-ed league for volleyball, just like Georgiadis’. Maybe, because of their skill, these professional teams will have a lot of wins, just as Georgiadis’ team won. Maybe someday, the professional sports world will realize that women can benefit their teams.
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Once, when Boston resident Jeff Paddock was a teenager, he saved up all of his money. He had about $250. He was saving to buy a leather jacket that he liked. About two weeks after buying his jacket, his friends got tickets to a concert. He wanted to go so badly that he asked his mom for money to buy a ticket, but she said no and his next paycheck didn’t come for another few weeks. Paddock learned a lesson from this whole experience.  
Now, Paddock is the financial empowerment coordinator at Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, a nonprofit organization located in the South End. Here are his tips on how teens can better manage and budget their money.  
 
Make sure you have money set aside for emergencies.  
You never know what’s going to happen—if you lose your bus pass, need to buy necessities, or realize you forgot to buy something for school at the last minute—you want to make sure you have money to cover it. “It is important to spend less than you make,” Paddock said. If you have leftover cash, try putting it in a special pocket in your wallet or a different place to make sure you don’t spend it and have it nearby in case of an emergency. 
 
A good way to learn how to make a budget is to draw it out on a piece of paper, so you can see how much you have and how much you spend. 
If you realize you spend too much money, here is a good way to make sure you can manage your money! First, make sure you have paper and three different colored markers. I suggest using red, green and black markers. Use the red to draw how much you are spending. Use the green for how much you have. Use black to draw what you want to buy. With this you can see how much you spend. Make sure you always have money left over. 
 
Don’t let technology fool you: if you click “buy” too many times on a website, you might buy your item more than once.  
Lots of teens have access to Amazon and other online shopping sites. If you want to purchase something and you click “buy” three times, you might end up buying that item three times and spending three times the money. When you click buy once, wait for it to say that you bought the item instead of clicking buy again. Technology requires patience.  
 
Spend less than you make. 
This is important. You always want to keep this in mind while you're shopping or trying to budget. It is always good to spend less than you make because when you get a job you will get paychecks and if you have money left over you can add that onto your budget from your next paycheck. Or, if you have an allowance you can add on to your extra money with your allowance.
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