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Galentine’s Day - mesh needed

What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. And now your female sims can celebrate it too in these anti-Valentine’s Day long shirts. Single or not, treat your sim ladies to an amazing day by getting them together this February 13th. Mesh is by Sentate and is NOT INCLUDED! Get it HERE.

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Uglies

Genre: YA Dystopia

Summary:

When everyone is beautiful, the world seems to get along so much better. A teen’s 16th birthday is the day where it begins, since it’s the day they finally get the operation to turn pretty. Once pretty, they get to join their friends in New Pretty Town across the river and party all day. Tally can’t wait. Being pretty is something she’s dreamed about all her life. But unfortunately for Tally, she’s one of the youngest of her year and nearly all her friends have turned pretty without her, leaving her alone. Until she meets Shay, another ugly with a late-summer birthday. Shay has some weird ideas about being pretty, but she crosses the line when she tells Tally that she wants to leave the city and stay ugly all her life. When Shay runs away, the authorities of the city aren’t happy, and they force Tally to make a choice: find and turn in her friend, or stay ugly forever.

Uglies begins with an interesting premise: when people no longer argue over physical appearance, the world can finally get along. In the city where Tally lives, it’s not just a theory—it’s put into act, and it works. Westerfeld does a wonderful job setting up and explaining the futuristic world through action and dialogue, with its own ideals, language, and culture. It’s especially interesting to watch this world through Tally’s eyes, who has a much different perspective than a 21st century reader. This is part of what made Tally’s character so interesting to me: Westerfeld wasn’t afraid to give her a twisted view of the world. In fact, she wasn’t always the “good” character that we often see in protagonists, and she would have stayed happily ignorant all her life if not for Shay. The relationship between Shay and Tally moved at a good pace and felt natural, but in my opinion the romance between Tally and David felt a bit sudden and weird from the start. In all honesty, this was a YA book where I felt a romance was not entirely necessary, especially when the intended love interest was not introduced until nearly half-way through the book. However it was not poor enough to ruin the book for me, I just didn’t have strong feelings about that relationship. Overall, Uglies had a fast-moving plot and enough action to please a YA reader. I would recommend it to readers with an interest for futuristic worlds with a dystopic twist.

Creative Writing Analysis: Writing Female Characters

There are many things I could point out about Westerfeld’s creative choices, so it was hard to decide on this one. But I think it’s important. In one semester of my creative writing class, I made a tally chart of all my classmates’ genders and compared it to the genders of their main character. This only totaled to about 36 stories (18 students, 2 stories each), but the trend was undeniably obvious. The girls in my class were about 50/50 in male versus female protagonists. As for the boys, only ONE chose to write about a female lead (and he did a great job of it, by the way). Trying to find a reason for this trend is not as easy, since it could be a few things. Do men feel they can’t relate to a female lead? Are they not interested in a female lead? Are they afraid to write a female lead? I’ve also heard claims that a male protagonist better represents mankind and the human experience, so maybe they think a female lead won’t make the deeper meaning of their story applicable on a universal level. Which is all nonsense, in my opinion.

Even though Scott Westerfeld is a man, he choose to have a female protagonist and a female best friend. The two most important characters in the book, Tally and Shay, are girls. In fact, for the first half of the book, we mainly only see girls. I’ve read a lot of books with male authors who somehow do a dreadful job with their female characters (flat, stereotyped, and a weird obsession with mentioning boobs, typically), so it was actually really enjoyable for me to see female characters done right. It is possible for men to write women correctly. In addition to reading books about women, by women, I think men can learn to write these characters in a well-rounded way simply by taking them seriously as a main character. Westerfeld also accepted that his female characters can make mistakes, be flawed, and wrong about things. They can have a distorted point of view, they can be heroes or villains. They’re honestly not much different than male characters. When you get it in your head that women are mysterious creatures and no one will ever understand them, then you’re already starting down that path to failure.

Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. Simon Pulse. 2005. 425 p. 0-689-86538-4

First female Army Ranger recalls training experience
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Army Ranger School is described as the Army’s premier combat leadership course. Last April, 381 men and 20 women challenged themselves to the grueling process but only 96 graduated.

First Lieutenant Shaye Haver was among the few accepted into the first gender integrated training program and by the end she was the first woman to ever earn the prestigious black and gold…

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