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Published by Rio Hondo College, 2019-05-15 13:58:46

Rio Hondo Assemblages 2018

Rio Hondo Assemblages 2018



WRC Assemblages:
An Academic Writing Conference 2018

Table of Contents

Eva “Who Knew Social Media Was Bad?” 2
Reyes 7
“A Requiem for a Nation” 13
Jose 20
Basulto “Standing for Something” 24
Tony “Yarnell Fire” 39
Bati 46
“Decriminalization of Indoor Prostitution” 51
Farias “Homelessness in Los Angeles:
A Field Study”
Madison “Field Experiment on Attractiveness
Fisher of Women who use Cosmetics”
“Cedar Fire”
Cervantes “Mann Gulch Fire”




Who Knew Social Media Was Bad?
by Eva Reyes

In this day and age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. It has
created a platform for people to share information instantly and communicate with people
all around the world. Almost all of the social networking sites seem to measure, at least to
some extent, the popularity level or status of its users. Depending on how many followers
or likes a person has, they are either popular and pretty or lame and unnoticed. Pew
Research Center says “78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use snapchat, and a sizeable majority
of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day” (Smith and Anderson).
While social media can be a wonderful tool, people risk overexposure with social
comparison, which can later lead to negative effects such as body shaming themselves,
disconnection from reality, and portraying a lifestyle that isn’t real.

Many teenagers turn to social media to keep them updated on what is the new
trend and what looks best nowadays. Social media has a pattern of showing off super
skinny models and making it seem like that is the only way a girl can be pretty.
Teenagers, being so young and vulnerable, think that those skinny bodies are the “perfect
body” for all women and they believe that if they don’t fit the images that social media
puts out, they are worthless and incapable of being as beautiful. Professionals at Illinois
Valley Community Hospital state that “showing thin bodies makes viewers feel less
satisfied with their own body thus leading to unhealthy weight control and the message of
pro-ana, which promotes behaviors related to the eating disorder anorexia nervosa”
(Selfies of Super-Skinny Bodies are Common on Social Media, A New Study Finds”).
Teenage girls often times have this misleading idea that being skinny and ultra-thin is the
way to fit in to the “norm” of being a pretty, young lady in this generation due to all the

commercials and advertisements showing only one body type. For example,
advertisements for Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, Adidas, and Nike all have models
claiming they keep their figure by eating healthy meals and exercising daily; however,
“studies show that up to 40-50 percent of fashion models have eating disorders and
eighty-one percent of models reported BMIs that were classified as underweight”
(Orenstein). Some girls decide that going bulimic is the only way to get skinnier faster.
They go on to eat a big meal and then they throw up everything that is in their stomach
just to make sure they won’t gain weight. Social media doesn’t show how being any other
size, besides skinny, is perfectly okay.

Social media is defined as a platform that helps a user to connect with other users
through simple internet access. Now that phones, iPads, and computers have made it
easier for people to communicate from anywhere in the world, it’s as if face to face
communication isn’t alive anymore. Many people are so engaged in their phones,
whether it’s listening to music while walking or watching a video while waiting in line,
that they miss out on what is really in front of them. Human connection has evolved into
only communicating online or through technology. Real human connection is what keeps
our population from feeling less lonely; however, social media is ruining that simple face
to face connection. Addiction to social media, like always posting and constantly
obsessing about keeping up with Instagram and Snapchat, can cause an unhealthy
mindset such as disconnecting from in-person relationships and having a feeling of
loneliness. According to a study done by American Journal of Preventive Medicine
“People who visit social media platforms most frequently, 58 visits per week or more,
have more than three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited

fewer than nine times per week” (Hobson). Social isolation isn’t the only thing social
media brings to the table, loneliness increases levels of stress hormones in the body and
leads to poor sleep, a compromised immune system, and some cognitive decline which
can harm a student’s way of learning and focusing in school. By only engaging in social
media it not only ruins in-person relationships, but it also takes a toll on one’s mental
health and their environment.

Behind a screen there is a face of a human that is trying to prove to the online
world that they are more than what they seem to be. Oftentimes people on social media
portray a lifestyle that they are not really living just so that they can seem interesting and
likeable. People often post pictures of themselves being happy or having fun or going out
and partying all night long, but how many of those are real? For example, in an Elite
Daily article it explains how “Social media is a world. We live through our screens, and
many of us feel the need to pretend to do and have whatever we want and wish for
because that is how society wants us to show our lives. It’s the only place we can escape
the realities we portray to our friends and family” (Alwahaidi). Social media is a place in
which anyone can judge you by whatever you post. Many people post to please and get
many “likes” and when those “likes” aren’t enough, they feel the need to lie about what is
really going on in their life. Social media is so big on needing attention and feeling the
need to make it seem like they are always having fun. Everyone and anyone who has a
phone or social media access is more or less likely to have lied about being somewhere
they have never been or looking a certain way with the help of photoshop. Social media
has become a place where people post to please their audience.

While social media can be a wonderful tool, people risk overexposure with social
comparison, which can later lead to negative effects such as body shaming themselves,
disconnection from reality, and portraying a lifestyle that isn’t real. When young teens
are exposed to images of super skinny models and advertisements saying only those
women are beautiful, they get the wrong idea in thinking that any other body type is ugly
which makes them feel as if getting thinner is the way to go. Being on social media for
too long or too often can not only have an effect on a person’s mentality but also on their
real-life environment. Social isolation has become a huge problem when it comes down
to social media addiction. With social isolation comes other factors such as stress and
sleep deprivation. Last but not least, social media gives room for people to lie about their
life just to entertain and please the audience watching them. Social media has its ups and
downs when it comes to encouraging or discouraging someone’s self-esteem. It just
depends on how people use it.

Works Cited
Alwahaidi, Keena. “Two-Faced: How Social Media is Turning Us into a Fake

Generation.” Elite Daily, Elite Daily, 20 June 2018. 16 October
Hobson, Katherine. “Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why.”
NPR, NPR, 6 Mar. 2017.
much-time-on-social-media-may-be-why. 15 October 2018

Orenstein, Hannah. “New Study Finds 62 Percent of Models Have Been Told by
Agencies to Lose Weight.” Seventeen, Seventeen, 15 July 2017. 15 November

“Selfies of Super-Skinny Bodies Are Common on Social Media, a New Study Finds.”
Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Scorpion Healthcare Internet Marketing,
Nov. 2017,
skinny-bodies-are-common-on-soc/. 14 October 2018.

Smith, Aaron, and Monica Anderson. “Social Media Use 2018: Demographics and
Statistics | Pew Research Center.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science &
Tech, Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 19 Sept. 14 October

A Requiem for a Nation
by Jose Basulto

There is a war raging in the Republic of Gilead of the former United States.
Although, in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, the sectarian war is portrayed as
being a distant conflict fought by the Angels of the Republic, but it is anything but that.
In fact, the war is right at home, but this war is one for the heart, mind, and soul of the
men and women of Gilead. At first it seems as if the utopian model of the Republic of
Gilead is a solution for the ills that have plagued the Republic, but ultimately it is a
cleverly masked totalitarian regime bent on the control and oppression of its citizens.
Like all of these regimes from the past and present, they share a certain degree of
commonalities that are implemented for the sole purpose of monopolizing political and
social power. These include the control of the education system, and the repression of
political and social opposition combined with the use of an all-encompassing propaganda
campaign that is disseminated through the state-controlled mass media. Margaret Atwood
uses historical precedent from the former socialist East German state, the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, and other examples from other fascist regimes as a cautionary
declaration of the dystopian future that awaits when totalitarianism triumphs.

The indoctrination of the masses through education is one of the important facets
utilized by totalitarian regimes in their quests for absolute obedience. The Republic of
Gilead uses a two-pronged approach in regards to this process. First, it uses heavily
guarded, former educational facilities to imbue the newly minted Handmaids with the
sectarian views needed to accomplish its goals. Offred's description of the proctors, as
well as the facility and its guards, gives an insight to its oppressive nature, “we tried to

sleep, in the Army cots […] we could not talk […] Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth
patrolled; they had electric cattle prods […] The guns were for the guards […] we weren't
allowed out […] enclosed now by a chain-linked fence topped with barbed wire”
(Atwood 4). The proctors of these indoctrination camps, known as the Aunts, would
subjugate the Handmaids to lessons in submission and subservience. Specifically, they
implemented a narrow interpretation of the word freedom, which implored the
Handmaids to feel a sense of security in their new society. Offred recollects this message
while walking down the heavily patrolled, and pristinely preserved streets of the Republic
of Gilead, “no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us […] There is more
than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of
anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it”
(Atwood 24). Eventually the Handmaids are assigned to a communal home where the
indoctrination is expanded further. At home, the Christian based religious doctrine
described in The Handmaid's Tale uses carefully manipulated bible interpretations and
strictly enforces its message to justify it as a means to an end. For instance, the
Commander reads specific passages from the Bible to the handmaids, which were
described by Offred as, “the usual stories. God to Abraham. God to Noah. Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth […] behold my maid Bilah. She shall bear upon my
knees, that I may also have children by her” (Atwood 88). This message of procreation
by the copulation of multiple partners by the patriarch is one that has been manipulated
from past traditions and became a fundamental belief in the Republic of Gilead. In
comparison, the socialist East German education program is likened to that of the Nazi
Third Reich. It was “calculated to develop allegiance and loyalty to Marxism” (Lottich

209). Additionally, secular ceremonies known as Jugendweihe or Youth Consecration
ceremonies replaced traditional religious events that ultimately resulted in a reduction of
Catholic confirmations in the German youth by 70 percent (Lottich 209). Margaret
Atwood witnessed the forced subjugation of political doctrine and religious suppression
of the East German people and referenced it in The Handmaid's Tale as an opportunity to
warn of the dangers of the Soviet socialist indoctrination techniques.

The repression of social and political opposition is another trademark of cynical
totalitarianism. In The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood introduces an important
symbolic landmark known as The Wall, which has many parallels to the actual Berlin
Wall that separated the East and West for nearly 30 years ( In the novel,
Offred describes a horrific scene as she walks by The Republic of Gilead’s Wall, “there
are six more bodies hanging, by the necks, their hands tied in front of them, their heads in
white bags […] Each has a placard hung around his neck to show why he has been
executed: a drawing of a human fetus. They were doctors” (Atwood 32). The message
sent by The Republic of Gilead is clear; women do not have any reproductive rights, the
healthcare system has been socialized, and the enemy of the state is anyone who comes
between the ultimate goal of conceiving children. Another example of the Republic of
Gilead's brutality extended into religious freedoms and individual civil rights. Again
Offered describes the horrific scene; “There are three new bodies on the Wall. One is a
priest […] The two others have purple placards hung around their necks: Gender
Treachery” (Atwood 43). Although the Republic of Gilead's Wall was meant to provide a
sense of security for its population and strike fear to any dissident or enemy, ultimately
its true purpose was containment. Margaret Atwood referenced the Berlin Wall with the

knowledge of its ominous official purpose which was: “To keep Western influence from
entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the
objective of stemming mass defections from East to West” ( The Berlin
Wall stood tall as the symbol of the Cold War and Margaret Atwood's utilized it to
expose a dystopian world behind the steel curtain.

The state controlled media of totalitarian states is a strategic weapon that creates a
monopoly on the truth and suppresses public oversight of the government thus facilitating
political corruption. Margaret Atwood addresses this notion of the Republic of Gilead
both suppressing the airwaves and manufacturing events in order to influence and expand
its political and social power. While waiting for the Commander to make his presence,
Serena and the handmaid’s gather around the television set. Here, Offred notices the
suppression of certain channels, “Serena clicks the channel changer. Waves, colored
zigzags, a garble of sound: it’s the Montreal satellite station being blocked” (Atwood 82).
The absolute control of the media suggests that there exists an external world aside from
the Republic of Gilead that is being shielded from the handmaids. Offred keenly notices
the existence of a state manipulated media, and even notes to herself while watching the
news, “who knows if any of it is true? It could be old clips, it could be faked” (Atwood
82). Nonetheless she watches, starved for any information from the outside. The Republic
of Gilead also facilitates its population with images of terror and war that aim to conjure
up thoughts of fear and sense of relief that they are safe within the Republic. “First, the
front lines […] the war seems to be going on in many places […] The Appalachian
Highlands, where the Angles of the Apocalypse are smoking out a pocket of Baptist
guerillas […] below them, a clump of trees explodes […] Now a close shot of a prisoner,

with a stubbled and dirty face […] He knows the camera is on him: is the grin a show of
defiance, or is it submission? They show us only the victories, never defeats” (Atwood
83). Mass media has become very influential in forming public opinion both in the
Gilead's totalitarian regime as it is in other authoritarian states. As an author, who
witnessed the censorship of the Cold War era journalists first hand, Margaret Atwood
knows the importance of a free democratic press. For instance, a news article describing
the reaction from the East German communist state-controlled media tells a glaringly
erroneous version of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of 1986: “Three days after the
meltdown, a small article on page five of the communist party newspaper Neues
Deutschland (New Germany) reported about an 'accident in the Chernobyl nuclear power
plant' in which a reactor had been 'damaged.' No mention of the cloud that passed over
Europe and brought radioactive rain which also fell on East Germany. No word, not even
in the following days, of contaminated cows and vegetables” (Schroder). There was a
censorship on fear, the glossing over of facts, and outright lies from the media. This was
strategy of the communist state when dealing with the biggest nuclear accident of all time
(Schroder). Margaret Atwood tells us that in the face of a totalitarian propaganda
machine, truth will never prevail.

Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale uses historical precedent of past
socialist, communist, and fascist regimes as a cautionary declaration of the dystopian
future that awaits when totalitarianism triumphs. Currently the United States is in its
242nd year since declaring its independence from an oppressive monarchy. The question
remains to be answered if this nation will continue to evolve into a more tolerant,
inclusive, and free democratic society, or will it become just another footnote of failure in

the books of history. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from
history are doomed to repeat it”.

Works Cited

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. Pp. XIII-311.New York: Anchor Books. April
1998. Print. “The Berlin Wall”. A&E television Networks, LLC. 2018. Accessed 16 September 2018. Web.

Lottich, Kenneth V. “Extracurricular Indoctrination in East Germany”. Comparative
Education Review Volume 6 Number 3. February 1963. P. 209. 10. 1086/444937. Accessed 16
September 2018. Web.

Schroder, Miriam. “The Censorship of Fear”. Spiegel Online. 21 April 2006. De/international/east-germany-and-chernobyl-the-censorship-
of-fear-a-412211.html. Accessed 19 September 2018. Web.

Standing for Something
by Tony Bati

In 2016, as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played throughout Qualcomm Stadium on
an early September night in San Diego, all but two in attendance stood on their feet.
Colin Kaepernick, originator of the anthem protests, in uniform knelt on one knee; to his
right, injured San Francisco 49er teammate Eric Reid not in uniform, knelt as well; to the
left of Kaepernick, in jeans and a t-shirt stood Army veteran and NFL free agent Nate
Boyer with his hand over his heart. See Figure 1 below. Kaepernick and Reid continued
to kneel side by side before every game that season, which was Kaepernick’s last season
in the NFL. For the duration of these protests, Nike stuck by Kaepernick’s side and
continued to do so with a large show of support by selecting the unemployed quarterback

to become the
face of Nike’s
latest ad: an ad
that changed the
way corporations
approach activism
in ads; and caused
Figure 1: Colin Kaepernick and 49er teammate Eric Reid kneeling next to Army changes in bottom

veteran Nate Boyer

lines due to fluctuations in support and resentment. Nike’s support of Kaepernick and his
cause have given the most prominent activist in the sports world his biggest stage yet, to
shed more light on the racial injustices in this country. Moving forward, other brands may
want to support a cause for consumers to believe in, as Nike has done.

Colin Kaepernick burst onto the scene in 2011 as a backup quarterback who
eventually turned full-time starter. Upon becoming the lead quarterback, Kaepernick
quickly put together an impressive resume. He is the record holder for most rushing yards
by a quarterback in an NFL game. That historic performance against the Green Bay
Packers led to a win and a Super Bowl appearance. Although the San Francisco 49ers lost
Super Bowl XLVII, Kaepernick’s name is not associated with that loss nor is he credited
for any of the other games he has played. In fact, the name Colin Kaepernick is
synonymous with protest, due to his kneeling during the national anthem beginning with
the 2016 preseason. The article “Just Do It: Take a Side . . .” analyzes Nike’s latest ad
and its commercial approach. “Just Do It” explains this protest history: “Kaepernick was
clear from the get-go that he wasn’t protesting the flag or the anthem, or kneeling to
disrespect his country or its military. He wanted to use his prominence to call attention to
the ‘oppressed’ and to racial justice” (1). Originally, the protest consisted of Kaepernick
sitting on the bench during the playing of the national anthem. Eventually, a conversation
with U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer led to Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem.

Recently, Nike celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its Just Do It catchphrase.
While the anniversary was an anticipated event for those interested in Nike, the ad
released on celebration day caught the attention of many people-- Nike fans or not. The
infamous ad is a black and white close-up of Colin Kaepernick, with this text captioned
over his face: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike truly
put their money where their corporate mouth is by paying the inactive Kaepernick as
much as the top active NFL players during the company’s fall campaign.

Athletes and commercial products were not always synonymous. Seeing athletes
advertising a wide variety of products from soda to athletic apparel and everything in
between was far from the pattern consumers see now. In his article “Winning Formula
Found,” Richard Bache explains the history of athletes with commercial product
endorsements. Bache chronicles how in 1890 when WG Grace, a cricketer, was paid to
advertise Colman’s Mustard, he became the first sports star paid to endorse general
commercial products. Over the next 125 years or so, ad campaigns featuring athletes
avoided activism. Even Michael Jordan, one of the most famous and influential athletes
of all time stated in 1990 that “Republicans buy sneakers too” (qtd in Bache 3). Avoiding
activism lasted over two more decades until 2014, when notable NBA players such as
LeBron James, Derrick Rose, and Jeremy Lin appeared on sports news networks such as
ESPN and NBA TV wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm ups. The three star
players wore shirts with this phrase to support Eric Garner and his family after Garner
was suffocated in a chokehold by a New York police officer. “I can’t breathe” were the
last words he was able to say before his death. Although the t-shirts were not from any
brand or sponsorship, this event became the foundation of later movements. If we fast-
forward to September 2018, we see that Nike’s controversial ad starring Colin
Kaepernick took note of previous smaller-scale activism and displayed it on its largest
stage thus far.

Initial reactions to the Just Do It ad expressed concerns about Nike’s stocks and
favorability. In her article “Enough Politics, Just Let Us Shop,” Megan McArdle outlines
the financial impacts companies face when choosing a political side. McArdle highlights
a nearly fifty percent decline in Nike’s favorability after this latest ad among 8,000

interviewed Americans (1). McArdle continues by stating that both Republicans and

Democrats showed a decrease in Nike shoe purchases; Republicans fell from fifty-one

percent to twenty-eight percent, claiming they were not likely to buy Nike shoes, while

Democrats dropped by only five percentage points (1). Early responses to the Nike

campaign show an overall discontent amongst the public. In his article “Nike, Far from

Burned,” Phil Rosenthal discusses the state of Nike’s stock value post-Kaepernick ad.

Rosenthal explains how, although Nike’s online shares dropped from $82.20 on the

Friday before the ad to $79.92 the initial day after the ad, by Thursday September 13

shares closed at an all-time high of $83.47. This uptick is all part of a trend lifting Nike's

share price more than thirty percent in 2018 and fifty-six percent over the last fifty-two

weeks (1). See Figure 2 below. Bache explains that “Kaepernick’s deal with Nike was

set to expire, but

[the contract]

was reportedly

renegotiated into

a multiyear

agreement to

make him the

Figure 2: Nike stock from September 2017 to September 2018. face of Nike’s

30th anniversary Just Do It anniversary campaign” (Bache). Bache goes on to explain

that the new deal puts Kaepernick in the top bracket of NFL players endorsed by Nike

(4). “Twenty-nine percent of young men - and nineteen percent of the public overall -

said they intend to buy even more Nike products than before” (qtd. in Rosenthal 2). Nike

elevated itself to a value the company has never had before, a goal each company would
like to achieve, a goal accomplished by airing the controversial ad. Whether or not Nike
continues to create and use controversial ads, or whether other brands will join this trend,
remains to be seen.

Although the ad has produced positive results for Nike, not all who saw the ad
have supported it. From cutting the swoosh logo off socks to burning already-paid-for
Nike gear, social media exhibits many anti-Nike protests. Even President Donald Trump
was among those caught off guard by the ad. The Commander in Chief tweeted “Nike is
getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts” (qtd in Bache 3). President Trump,
who has previously been on record in 2016 saying, “Players should be fired or suspended
for taking a knee” also took to Twitter to ask “What was Nike thinking?” (qtd in
DiMeglio 1). Angry tweets and burning shoes are not the only ways boycotts are taking
place. In her article “Nike Boycotters Miss Point of Peaceful Protest,” Lana Heltzel
examines the boycotts offline. Heltzel explains that police agencies and town councils
have resolved to stop purchasing Nike products, due to perceived disrespect of law
enforcement. Each person who saw the ad is entitled to protest or support the ad in
whatever law- abiding way they deem fit, yet the fact remains that Colin Kaepernick
kneeling during the anthem is a more peaceful and less disruptive protest than the
malicious burning of sneakers.

Whether the infamous ad was well received or not, Nike chose to publicly take a
stand to support Colin Kaepernick and his cause. Originally Kaepernick sat on the bench
for the national anthem. It was not until a conversation with an Army veteran that
Kaepernick knelt for the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Nike celebrated Kaepernick and his

sacrifice by making him the face of the thirtieth anniversary of Just Do It. WG Grace and
a mustard company shocked the world in 1890 when the cricketer became the first athlete
with a commercial sponsorship. Now in 2018 Colin Kaepernick and Nike “Believe in
something even if it means sacrificing everything.” Although Nike’s stocks dropped on
the days following the ad, that trend quickly reversed, resulting in Nike’s shares reaching
an all-time high. Now almost six weeks after the ad first aired, the question of Nike’s
financial outcomes are answered: the ad has been an overwhelming success. On top of
the monetary impact the ad had for Nike, the company’s bold decision provides
unquantifiable hope for many Americans who see value added.

Works Cited

Bache, Richard. “Winning Formula Found When WG Cut the Mustard in Commercial
World.”Western Daily Press. 8 September 2018. ProQuest 1-4. Web. 12 March

Bloomberg LP. “Nike Stock at its All-Time High.” 13 September 2018. Graph.

DiMeglio, Steve. “Tiger Woods Says Nike’s Ad Campaign Featuring Colin Kaepernick
is ‘Beautiful.’” USA Today. 8 September 2018. ProQuest 1-2. Web. 12 September

Edwards, Drew. “The Sweaty Smell of Rebellion, AKA Peer Pressure.” Waterloo Region
Record. 8 September 2018. ProQuest 1-2. Web. 12 September 2018.

“Just Do It: Take A Side and Stick to It.” Sunday Star-Times. 9 September 2018.
ProQuest 1-2. Web. 12 September 2018.

“Kneeling: Kaepernick Just Does It.” University Wire Carlsbad. 12 September 2018.
ProQuest 1-2. Web 18 September 2018.

McArdle, Megan. “Enough Politics, Just Let Us Shop.” The Washington Post. 8
September 2018. ProQuest 1-2. Web. 12 September 2018.

Rosenthal, Phil. “Nike, Far From Burned by Colin Kaepernick Ad, Sees Share Price Hit
All-time High.” TCA Regional News. 14 September 2018. ProQuest 1-2. Web. 18
September 2018.

Zagares, Michael. “Colin Kaepernick Kneeling with Teammate Next to Nate Boyer.” 1

September 2016. Photograph. 1536490800.

Yarnell Fire
by Miguel Farias
Duty and Ethical Integrity are values that some individuals don’t understand and
are also principles that some of us are unfamiliar with. Every individual needs to
understand that they are a reflection of how they were trained. Your own agency or the
department where you come from show itself based off of what you learned. Your only as
good as your training, as they say. Integrity is an operation that some leaders are not
competent in. Communicating, assessing situations, making choices and motivating
others is absolutely imperative in a line of work where humans lives are at risk. Wildland
fires pose huge risks because of its dynamic structure. So how does a group with all their
skills and qualifications put themselves in this position?
The potential for entrapments and burnovers are all important discussions still
made from the Yarnell Fire that occured on June 30, 2013. Our weather system is so
dynamic that it creates its own weather and fire behavior. Fires can be unpredictable if
weather poses challenges to them. Temperatures were in the mid 90s during the week of
the incident. For more than 40 years, Yarnell has been known for having extreme
droughts. Relative humidity was a perfect ingredient for the cause of this tragedy.
Relative Humidity or RH was as low as 12% from early morning to late afternoon. When
this happens, all of the fuels and foliage become even drier and more combustible.
There’s no moisture to go because of the low atmosphere moisture. The less moisture in
the air, the drier the fuels.
There’s many types of fuels that were impacted with the atmospheric moisture.
Mahogany and Sonoran Scrub Oak were just some of the examples of dry fuels. The

Sonoran Oaks don’t only grow in the desert areas in Arizona, but can grow in any place
where drought may contribute. California is also known to have these particular
vegetations. Alderleaf Mountain Mahogany measured from 8-20 feet, looks like a
shrub/tree. Although these two are known to grow after a fire, it is still a classification of
fine fuels. In this case, this wouldn’t give an indication that this played a factor but going
back to the intensity of the fire. The head fire scorched everything in its path regardless
of its moderate amount of live dead fuel moisture content. Strong winds and high gusts
are part of a negative chain that influences the fire behavior. Fires will behave erraticly
when all of these factors come in to play together. This was a huge issue for the crew
working during theses conditions. Dense brush, weather, and topography affect the ability
to work mobily, effectively and efficiently. That being said, the aspect of the ridgetop
where the GMIHC was working and having lunch had rugged steep slopes, narrow/box
canyons on their west side. Dense brush covered much of this area, which goes hand in
hand with our three ways of how heat is transferred.

Radiation, convection, and conduction play in every concept of the fire incident.
The cured grass in this area was dense measuring from 4-8 feet, which was enough to
make the fire behave more aggressively. The head originally had a heading of NE but a
thunderstorm from that direction created outflow winds to cause it to shift 180 degrees.
Head fire will have a greater rate of spread due to how steep the slope is. The steeper it is,
the faster it will ignite due to preheating of the fuels above it. That’s exactly what
happened in this incident. Drought has become part of the norm for this city for the last
40 years. Potential for wildfires during this time of year is very high and requires every
part of the fire service to be in shape, not just physically but mentally. The GMIHC

continued to work through all the fuels and press on with their objective unbeknownst to
them that a fire made a sudden shift heading straight in the crews direction. After having
lunch from their safe spot that they were in, winds began to pick up and were measured at
10-15 MPH with gusts up to 40-50 MPH. Winds with these characteristics are going to
have a dramatic effect on fire behavior because it carries fires at a faster rate and will
cause spot fires or an area of ignition. Flame lengths and sizes reached up to 20 feet in
height. Flame heights measure how far from the surface to the vertical direction they
carry but flame lengths are defined as how far out the fire can extend. Thunderstorms
particularly have their own weather system. They can take in air like a vacuum and make
their storm more extreme and dangerous. This storm made a shift in the wind due the
outflow winds mentioned earlier. These types of winds are created by atmospheric
instability. These winds were making a jump at the bottom of the canyon where the crew
was heading. Luckily, they were out of that area before it happened, but winds will take
the path of least resistance. The crew were already briefed on this situation of the fire and
the mission so they headed for their safety zone at Boulder Springs Ranch. They lost a
valuable lookout, so they weren’t completely informed on how the fire was progressing
towards them. Eventually, they headed off a rock outcropping with no visual of the fire
and at the time found themselves being flanked off from their EAST and WEST flank.
The smoke column, the weather, and the moving head are things that are absolutely
imperative to get frequent readings of when your dealing with dangerous tactics. If they
knew they had a lookout throughout the end mission, they quite possibly would have all
survived. Missions and objectives are never going to be perfect, but can we help future
firefighters prevent themselves from getting injured. It starts where your training begins.

Integrity is everything in this line of work. Being aware of your LACES, following the 10
standard fire orders and 18 WATCHOUTS. DUTY and INTEGRITY are values and
principles are things that we have to live for not only for ourselves but for our crew
members next to us on the line. All we can do to learn from these things is take it one day
at a time, get back on the fireline and embed these things as a lifestyle in ourselves. If we
can know how to better predict how we can see what the weather might do to our fires,
then we’ll be better off. Always remember that the fire will follow whatever direction the
wind blows. Society will write about “HOTSHOTS” living up to their name. We must
understand the risks versus benefits. If the risk is high then its not worth the benefit. This
goes back to Integrity. These men knew how the situation might affect the outcome but
even in the most innocent looking fires can turn ugly in a flash second. Seek to be better
and improve so that the younger generation of upcoming firefighters can learn; to see
how its better to do the right thing always and save a life then gamble and risk the lives of

Works Cited
Arizona Divisons of Occupational Safety and Health. Arizona State Forestry

Division, Nov. 2013.
Litzenberg, Erik, Santa Fe (N.M.) Fire Department. “Yarnell Hill Fire Report

Released.” Fire Rescue, 1 Dec. 2013,
“Yarnell Report Wildland Fire Associates.” Granite Mountain IHC Entrapment and
Burnover Investigation.

Decriminalization of Indoor Prostitution
by Madison Fisher

Prostitution throughout the years has always been looked down upon and seen as
distasteful, and the idea of paying for sex is considered dirty and desperate. There has
always been a heated discussion over prostitution and whether or not the profession
should be legalized or decriminalized. Those against it harshly look down upon these
women and believe that working in the sex industry is immoral, and they see women as
harlots who are a cause of infidelity. Another argument against decriminalization is the
idea that prostitution will potentially lead to the increase of Human Sex Trafficking,
which is defined as “modern-day slavery [which] involves the use of force, fraud, or
coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act” (Campaign). Although there
are people morally opposed to the idea, there are positive reasons to the decriminalization
of prostitution including protecting the rights of women, lowering crime, and the increase
of safe sex practices. Putting yourself in their shoes, imagine the world these women are
living in. Some women may not have a choice but to take on this profession because of a
prior conviction, or find it to be the easiest way to make money to feed their children.
When prostitution is criminalized it takes away from a profession that can be considered
reputable, but because of moral standards it is discarded from society. Criminalizing
prostitution creates a world where women are reprimanded for a profession that is used to
make a living. If decriminalized, prostitution would allow women to be in better physical
health, receive less victimization in the workplace, and provide stable protection from
law enforcement. Therefore, decriminalizing prostitution leads women to be safe in a
dangerous profession and creates a place where crime is decreased.

Physical health including drug use and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
are something that can be regulated if indoor prostitution were to be decriminalized
allowing crime to decrease in surrounding neighborhoods. Not allowing the
decriminalization of indoor prostitution forces women to walk the streets in search of
different clientele. This type of “outdoor” prostitution leads to unsafe sex practices
causing a rise in STI’s as well as bringing unsafe people into neighborhoods that are
already ridden with poverty and drug use. In a study by Scott Cunningham and Manisha
Shah, it is noted that decriminalization leads women to be better protected from STI’s.
This idea is further assessed in the study by following the trend of gonorrhea in Rhode
Island between 2003-2009 stating that, “Decriminalization likely caused gonorrhea to
decrease by diluting the ‘core group’ through the selection of lower risk sex workers into
the network […] and by reducing risky sex among indoor sex workers” (19). This “core
group” that is being referred to are women who are considered to be low risk, are
practicing safe sex indoors, and not infected with STI’s to begin with. They alone will
allow the indoor market to be seen as a safer working environment and educate outside
sources to show that women have the knowledge to continue safe sex practicing. This is
important because a study done by Tamara O’Doherty revealed that “the criminal laws
indirectly prohibit sex workers from receiving appropriate information or training about
safe-sex practices” (232). Criminalization does not allow women to be trained because it
is considered to be illegal, and if they were to give or receive training it could potentially
expose them to the authorities. O’Doherty’s study further explains this as “such training
could easily be used as evidence against the establishment for charging individuals under
either the bawdy-house provisions or the procuring provisions” (232). If we

decriminalized prostitution it would move the profession indoors and off of the streets
thus allowing women to be low risk and keeping them safe from STI’s. This also
decreases the number of prostitutes that are being arrested for their profession, which
lowers the crime rate in the surrounding area. Allowing this indoor move creates a
welcoming environment to neighborhoods where prostitutes are not walking or selling
their services on the street but rather in an establishment. According to a New York Times
article about the bid to decriminalize prostitution in Berkeley, California people were
concerned with the potential rise in crime if the measure were to pass “[believing] the
measure would encourage crime, with pimps and prostitutes taking over the
neighborhood” (Marshall). This stigma that surrounds prostitution outweighs what really
could happen if prostitution were able to move indoors. Women would not have to “take
over the neighborhood” and in fact it would create a place for “women [to] be their own
boss, […] In a perfect world, there is no reason women can't set up shop and run their
own businesses the same way a therapist would” (Marshall). Women that are able to be
their own boss are able to set boundaries and rules in the businesses that they run.

When prostitution is decriminalized it allows women to form an open
communication that will reduce the threat of violence therefore causing lower rates in
crimes of abuse. When there is open communication between worker and client it creates
a space where sex workers are able to relay information to their customers without being
reprimanded by the law for their actions. Commercial sex is defined as anything of value
that is given in exchange for sexual favors including gifts or money. When it is
criminalized, prostitutes are not allowed to discuss any business or allude to any
exchange of sex because it is breaking the law of illegal commercial sex. Criminalization

leads to more victimizations occurring because the act of booking a worker from an
agency is not considered illegal, but actual communication between the worker and client
is. This creates a space where agencies are promising acts to clients that women are not
entirely comfortable with, and this environment has “Conflicts [with] the terms of the
transaction [and it] prove[s] to be the most frequent cause of violence against the sex
workers […]. [these] disagreements over price and specific acts to be performed were
identified as the root cause of victimization” (O’Doherty 227). Women who have found
themselves in this position are challenged with a hard decision because the law does not
recognize their profession as credible, and they must either suffer the consequences of
their clientele/employer or be taken into custody by law enforcement. In Tamara
O’Doherty’s study, she discusses progression within the workplace noting how “Some
individuals [have taken] it upon themselves to disseminate information about violence or
sexual health or instruct women on specific safe ways of operating a business. However,
all of the participants ex-pressed frustration at their inability to communicate openly
about the industry for fear that such communication would be used against them in future
legal proceedings” (228). When we are able to decriminalize prostitution, the threat of
crime and violence decreases in the workplace because women can now be protected.
Decriminalized workers would now be able to report any threat of violence or acts of
violence without having to worry about law enforcement taking them into custody thus
lowering the rate of arrests brought by prostitution. Also, men who are considered the
client in this situation will now be held accountable for their actions, which is important
because it will give them a chance to think of the consequences before they act. Instead
of treating a woman as an object that they are able to toss around and treat unfairly, they

will view her as a worker who is protected by the law and has rights just as any other

When brothels and massage parlors are able to report a crime after a heinous act is
carried out against them it ensures proper working conditions for the women, and it gives
police space to focus attention on other crime activity. Lawmakers considered
decriminalizing indoor prostitution, and it was their hope that it would decrease the
number of outside prostitutes or “street prostitution.” This was found to be true, but it led
to an increase of outdoor prostitutes who now began working in brothels, massage
parlors, and as escorts. This was a rise for concern because even though it got girls off of
the street, it was still being practiced behind closed doors, and without decriminalization
the owners of these establishments were constantly working to avoid any suspicious
activity. Always diverting from law enforcement is not ideal for a brothel owner and it
would be more efficient to provide protection if in turn they were able to be protected
themselves. Scott Cunningham showed that “Decriminalization […] increases the return
on capital by providing well-defined property rights to owners. Firms can use additional
revenue to invest in locks, security cameras and security personnel to reduce the
opportunity of premeditated client violence” (Cunningham and Manisha 14). If
businesses were protected by authorities, they would be able to flourish and provide
better environments to the women and their clients. When brothels and massage parlors
have police constantly trying to carry out sting operations on their establishments it takes
a toll on these businesses and takes police away from other crimes that are happening
throughout the city. In the same study by Cunningham and Manisha, they note that the
“decriminalization of indoor prostitution could allow police resources to be reallocated

away from indoor arrests toward other crimes” (14). Brothels and massage parlors
becoming decriminalized is like being given the “OK” by police to practice the trade, and
it would allow those officers to crack down on more important issues such as gun
violence or even illegal drug use. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian and moral
philosopher is quoted by Cunningham and Manisha to further show the decrease in crime
by stating that “The proposed hypothesis is that men on the margin between rape and
prostitution may choose prostitution since it becomes cheaper and more easily available
post-decriminalization” (15). Access to these brothels and being able to legally pay for
sex could reduce the rate of men who are on the prowl for a victim thus lowering the
crime rate on rape and saving people who may have been potential victims. This idea
shows yet another positive side to decriminalizing prostitution and explains that it helps
reduce crime across a wide variety of issues.

However, there is a lot of opposition to decriminalizing prostitution. We usually
see it being for moral reasons or because it is against one’s religion, but another reason
for opposition is Human Sex Trafficking. Sex trafficking is against one’s will and is
considered to be modern-day slavery. In Karen Abbott’s book Sin in the Second City
Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul, she describes this
trafficking as “white slavery.” She explains that they usually were “gullible young girls
aged thirteen to seventeen. [the girls were] locked […] in a room with sex professional
rapists. Once ‘broken in,’ the girls were sold to other madams for $50-$300 dollars each,
depending on age and appearance” (12). In her novel, she discusses prostitution in the
early 1900’s following two sisters who were pioneers of the profession during their time.
These “white slaves” were the type of girl that the Everly Sisters would try to stay away

from because they believed that “if you treated girls well, they would come begging for
admittance” (Abbott 12). The Everly sisters only allowed admittance into their brothel if
they were able to prove their age and were able to give their consent. To be sold against
your will and thrown into a world that forces you to have sex for money is an awful and
terrible life to live and without the option of being able to escape, many were stuck until
they were killed or committed suicide. In an article regarding Rhode Island’s accidental
loophole, when Indoor Prostitution was decriminalized, many government officials were
afraid that it had become the basis for a growing sex trafficking trade. They state, “many
of the women who work in the Rhode Island sex shops are coerced victims of human
trafficking. Without a stronger prostitution law, police lack the tools to intervene”
(Associated Press). They thought that without stricter laws they were unable to save the
victims that they believed were unseen and unheard. What if we were to take note of
what the Everly Sisters were doing in the early 1900’s? If we are able to decriminalize
prostitution, it would allow more regulation and governmental supervision rather than
limitation. Authorities would then be able to stop sex trafficking before it begins.
Although in the early 1900’s when the Everly Sisters were considered to be ahead of their
time, they believed that by ensuring women good health and protection, they would want
to continue in a profession where they were able to sufficiently support themselves and
their families. If this was happening in the early 1900’s, why would it not be able to
apply to today’s standards?

In a world where women are reprimanded for working a profession dating back as
far as biblical times it should only be fair that we decriminalize prostitution. By doing so
we would be able to create a safer environment where women would benefit in better

physical health, not be subjected to violence in the workplace, and would be able to
report crime and receive protection from law enforcement without being ousted for it. By
decriminalizing prostitution, we create a place where crime decreases in multiple
platforms provides better protection for women who are currently working in the
profession. Not only would we be decreasing crime and creating safer environments for
workers and neighborhoods, but we potentially could create a business that can generate
revenue for bigger and better things. The only thing that stops lawmakers from
decriminalizing prostitution are their morals and the belief that prostitution is wrong, but
if they took a chance in an attempt to make it safer and create rules and regulations it
could become greater than we ever imagined.

Work Cited

Abbott, Karen. Sin in the Second City Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for

America’s Soul. Random House, 2007.

Associated Press. “R.I. tries to Outlaw Indoor Prostitution – again.” NBC
NBC Universal, 18 June 2009.
21 Nov 2018.

Campaign, Blue. “What Is Human Trafficking?” Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security.
28 Nov 2018.

Cunningham Scott, and Shah Manisha. “Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution:
Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health.” Sep 2017. 19
Nov 2018.

Marshall, Carolyn. “Bid to Decriminalize Prostitution in Berkeley.” The New York Times.
14 Sept, 2004. Nov, 2018.

O’Doherty, Tamara. “Criminalization and Off-Street Sex work in Canada” Canadian
Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, vol. 53, no. 2, Apr 2011, pp. 217-
?vid=5&sid=d3353391-a3f4-448d-9689-064066435651%40sdc-v-sessmgr01 20
Nov 2018.

Homelessness in Los Angeles: A Field Study
Arturo Cervantes

Many organizations contribute to the effort of reducing homelessness, but why is
the number increasing exponentially? Over the course of my Spring semester, I had the
opportunity to research homeless individuals within the East San Gabriel Valley
Coalition for the Homeless, a winter shelter I worked for. To conduct my research, I
used three different techniques to research this issue affecting over 57,000 people:
interviews, surveys, and textual analysis (LA Times). Within the homeless community,
some themes were discovered such as social hierarchies, Sexually Transmitted Infections
(STI’s) found running rampant among many people, and a lack of information passed
among individuals regarding various programs. If so many programs exist, and
opportunities are available to them, why does the amount of homelessness continue to
increase exponentially?

Many of the clients I worked with ranged from women, men, and transgendered,
coming in as young as 18. People came from as far as Las Vegas, after being evicted, in
search of programs to help reintegrate them back into society. Though many programs
exist, the cycle of homelessness still affects thousands of people within Los Angeles
County. After the first few weeks, many clients never returned, and after asking around,
I came to find out that many chose to sleep out in the cold and be free rather than be
warm and abide by someone else’s heavily restricting rules. Families slept apart,
significant others placed in different areas, unable to see one another until morning.
People recommended that shelters have some rules, but not be as limiting such as

restricting families from seeing each other at night, or being able to sleep with significant
others, and be allowed more freedom to move about at night. Many of the ideas and
suggestions individuals had were swaying, but the opposing side was just as powerful,
such as not wanting any sexual activities going on throughout the night among intimate
partners, and regulating who comes in and out of the shelters at night, potentially creating
dangerous situations. The workers and clients constantly clashed due to one side wanting
more freedom, and the other wanting to take more away to ensure they run an efficient,
and safe environment. For there to be a safe environment for both clients and workers,
rules and regulations must be put in place, and enforced so as not to allow for any violent
or sexual activities to rise.

When asked about the story of how they became homeless, many people reported
illegal evictions, loss of jobs, a cycle of homelessness, and aging out of foster homes or
their actual homes. In contrast to what the media says about the homeless and their “drug
addictions” and being mentally disabled, only a handful of individuals reported drug use
was the reason for their current state. Approximately one-third of homeless individuals
suffer from mental disabilities, and of the people I interviewed, that same number proved
true (LA Times). The other individuals were affected by landlords illegally evicting
residents behind their backs, getting caught in a cycle of homelessness, where they were
born into poverty, and other people were evicted or kicked out of homes at the age of 18.
Three-fourths of the homeless and housed families’ income rests below the poverty line,
often leading to backlogs of bill payments, which are too high in cost to afford (Wood).
Approximately 1/5 of the people I interviewed reported a myriad of abuse within their
lifetimes, causing them to lose their path towards a better life. In response to various

mental, physical, or emotional abuse or illnesses, the shelter provided experts in different
fields to help better these people.

The people at the shelter were offered various services such as food, shelter, and
clothing along with services from the Department of Mental Health and case workers
from different areas in Los Angeles. Through the case managers, they were able to
receive help in creating resumes for their job search, and they were given work/volunteer
opportunities through the shelter. Many took advantage of these services to escape this
deadly cycle and live a better life. Of the 1,250 people admitted into the Winter Shelter
program, close to 1/3 of the people received some form of payments from the
government, whether that be through disability, or GR, or VOA. Of that group of people,
one fourth of individuals decided to abstain from seeking help and decided to continue
shifting from shelters and continue to accept checks from the government. Through a
handful of interviews, the overall theme was the notion that they had no place in society,
or they are not wanted because of the severity of their disabilities. Education was also an
obstacle many faced, due to having to drop out of school to work for their families, or
work to survive after having been kicked out at the age of 18. Even with an education,
people faced the challenge of not having reliable transportation, or constantly being late
because of a lack of transportation.

Among the services offered such as assistance from the Department of Mental
Health, case workers, and nurses available to the residents, they were also given access to
dentists, barbers, and masseuses. Hygienics went a long way for many residents,
changing their views of themselves, allowing for more confidence. With some new
residents, I asked them how they felt after being able to take a hot shower and get a

haircut, and many responded that by having been giving an opportunity to feel normal for
a moment, they were grateful. Things taken for granted by so many, can be something of
great importance to someone else.

In an act to help stop homelessness and the spread of infectious diseases like TB,
Hepatitis, and AIDS, residents of LA County decided to tax themselves more, to raise
billions to spend on treatments, services, and housing services to low income people. (LA
Times) Steps are being taken to reduce an ever-increasing rate of homelessness. Citizens
voted twice, once in November 2016 and second in March 2017 to increase tax rates and
enact a 10-year program of housing and services for the homeless. The fight against
homelessness is not only being fought by those being primarily affected, but by others
who want to put an end to the unfortunate circumstances many people suffer from (LA
Times). Even with as much help programs obtain from tax payers, setbacks lurk around
the corner. A report of the annual funding for the homelessness program set to enact a 10-
year housing and services plan fell short $73 million, which can triple due to an
underestimation of funds it takes for housing demands. Currently the housing demands
could "reach $200 million, adding on to the current costs to reach more than $270
million” (Pacific Standard). Housing costs rise, year after year, each increasing the
homeless population, and making it more difficult to provide housing for them.

People are resilient and stronger than most give credit, and that misconception is
far from the actual truth. One thing I found most interesting was found while
interviewing various individuals in the shelter, I discovered some were from
encampments found throughout the valley. People were forming communities with a
social hierarchy. This struck me as peculiar because humans need stability, and rules to

keep the peace, and from that social hierarchy, they were able to decide what is “legal”
and “illegal” according to their world view. Entire societies are constructed with
different people doing specific jobs, such as a leader, or “mayor” figure, and someone to
search for anything edible, and someone as security. Societies are built by people, and
forms of government that give good and bad sanctions can be found throughout the

The notion that homeless people are mentally ill, or all drug abusers is far from
the actual truth found while conducting my research with them for over 4 months. Over
the time I worked with them. Many that were affected by homelessness were no different
than you or I. Often, some individuals looked “clean”, and “normal” according to
society’s standards, which is the opposite of the depiction perceived by many. Programs
and opportunities lie waiting for people, and much more help is on the way by people
around the county, and world. Whether dealt “bad hands” or were put there by someone
else, they are still people and not something lesser than that.

Works Cited
Eunjung, Min. Reading the Homeless: The Media’s Image of Homeless Culture. Praeger,

The Times Editorial Board. “Homelessness Crisis is a National Disgrace.” The LA Times,

18 February 2018.
crisis- overview-20180225-htmlstory.html.
Wood, D., R B Valdez, T Hayashi, and A Shen. “Homeless and Housed Families in Los
Angeles: a Study Comparing Demographic, Economic, and Family Function

Characteristics.” American Journal for Public Health, 7 October 2011.

Field Experiment on Attractiveness of Women who use Cosmetics

By Veyra Medina

Opening Statement
This topic is important to research because attractiveness can help us determine
future mating interactions. Finding out how cosmetics such as makeup affect people's
attitudes towards attractiveness can help us understand the ideal standard of beauty.
This research is beneficial to help ensure that we have future generations to come.

Predictors of Women’s Cosmetic Use
Wagstaff (2018) conducted a survey to find the predictors of women’s makeup
use. The IV was mating strategies, social factors and personality and the DV was
women’s cosmetic use. The hypothesis was that mating strategies, social processes and
personality affect frequency and quantity of makeup use. The main finding was that
women wear makeup more frequently when restricted in their sociosexual orientation
but wear higher quantities of makeup when unrestricted in their sociosexual orientation.
Women’s frequent use of cosmetics likely serves to increase mate value, while women’s
quantity of cosmetics use likely serves as a self-promotional tactic. Women’s makeup
use was unrelated to social processes, implying that women’s cosmetic consumption is
not due to social pressures to conform to idealistic beauty standards.

Cosmetic Surgery Effects on Girls Body Image
Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2014) investigated attitudes towards cosmetic
surgery reality TV shows. The IV was divided into three different levels; one TV show
mentioned risks associated with surgery, the second one did not mention any risks, and
the third one was a control condition, which was a home makeover show. The DV were
the girl’s attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. The main finding was that cosmetic
surgery reality TV can be damaging to adolescent girl’s body image and that there is a
need for research to consider factors that may affect how girls respond to such shows.

Mating, Spending, and the Lipstick Effect
Hill, Rodeheffer, Griskevicius, Durante, and White (2012) studied how and why
economic recessions influence women’s consumer behavior. The IV was looking at
previous economic recessions and the DV were women’s desire for products such as
makeup. The main finding was that recessionary cues consistently increased women's
desire for products that increase attractiveness to mates.

Impression Management and Health Risk

This article by Leary, Tchividijian, and Kraxberger (1994) reviewed evidence that
self-presentational motives play a role in several health problems. The IV were health
relevant behaviors and the DV was risk of illness that included HIV infection; skin
cancer; malnutrition and eating disorders; alcohol, tobacco, and drug use; injuries and
accidental death; failure to exercise; and acne. Their main finding was that several
patterns of behavior that increase the risk of illness and injury arise form people’s
concerns with how they are regarded by others.

Body Image and Attitudes Towards Cosmetic Surgery
Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2017) studied how the exposure of cosmetic
surgery affected the attitudes towards it. The IV were the advertisements shown and the
DV were the attitudes towards body positivity. The results exemplify that exposure to
advertising for cosmetic surgery resulted in increased dissatisfaction with both
bodyweight and appearance.

There is no difference in attitudes towards women’s attractiveness between those
who looked at the picture with makeup and those who did not.


Participants and Design
I interviewed 42 RHC college students, approximately 18 to 40, primarily

Hispanic. I sampled by convenience. I did not collect identity information. Incentives
included helping a fellow student.

I used a Likert-type scale with endpoints: 1 being Strongly Disagree and 10 being

Strongly Agree. The statement said, “Rate her on her attractiveness.”

I approached a person inside the RHC debate practice room and asked, “Are you

a current student at Rio Hondo?” After confirming, I then showed them a picture of a
blonde blue-eyed girl that had makeup on. I asked them to pick a number between 1 to
10 rating her on how attractive she seemed. I thanked them and left. After showing 21
people the picture with the girl that had makeup on I surveyed 21 more people and
showed them a picture of the same girl with no makeup on her face. I gave them the
survey, thanked them and left.

Data Handling

I took all the data I collected and calculated the mean, median, mode, response
rate, standard deviation, and variance scores of all 42 participants. Attractiveness was
measured by numbers on the Likert scale. There were no missing data.

Response Rate
Of the 42 who could have provided usable data, 42 did so for a response rate of


Descriptive Statistics: Makeup Group
The mean was 6.00, sd = 1.55. The typical student agreed between moderately

and high attitude on the survey. The range was from 2 to 8 and N = 21. The mode was 7,
and the median response was 6. See Table 1.

Table 1: Frequency Distribution of RHC Student’s Attitudes on the Attractiveness

of Women with Makeup

Scores Frequency








Descriptive Statistics: No Makeup Group
The mean was 4.09, sd =1.80. The typical student agreed between low and

moderate attitude on the survey. The range was from 1 to 8 and N=13. The mode was 4
and the median response was 4. See Table 2.

Table 2: Frequency Distribution of RHC Student’s Attitudes on the Attractiveness
of Women without Makeup

Score Frequency







Inferential Statistics
Analysis of variance revealed significant difference between makeup and no

makeup, F (1; 40) = 13.38, p< .01. The critical value for F for 1 and 40 degrees of freedom
at p = .05, is 4.08; the critical value for p = .01 is 7.31. Our F did exceed this critical value,
and therefore is significant. See Table 3 for Anova Summary Table. See Appendix C for
Anova Calculations.

Table 3: Analysis of Variance Summary Table

Source of Sum of df Mean F Eta
Variance .50
Squares Squared
38.09 1 38.09 13.38
113.81 40 2.84
151.9 41 40.93

The hypothesis was not supported; there is a difference between the groups. The null
hypothesis is rejected.

Criticisms of This Research
Research could have been improved if the sample size were bigger and broader

by observing male and female students from other colleges. The experimenter was

Practical Applications
This topic is important to research because it can help us understand future

mating behavior. By finding out how people’s makeup influences their perceived
attractiveness, we will have a better understanding of the beauty industry.
Directions for Further Research

Future research should collect data in many locations with broader participants,
do a double-blind experiment, provide a sufficient training program for the
experimenter, and test if the gender of the experimenter influences the participant’s
average rate.

How Do My Findings Relate to my Literature Review
Comparison of Methods

I used a Likert-type scale, while Wagstaff (2018) used a survey. Ashikali, Dittmar, and
Ayers (2014) also used a survey; Hill, Rodeheffer, Griskevicius, Durante, and White
(2012) used a survey. Leary, Tchividijian, and Kraxberger (1994) conducted a survey and
Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2017) used a survey.

Comparison of Participants
I surveyed male and female community college students, while Wagstaff (2018) looked
at 119 female participants. Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2014) surveyed girls aged 15 to
18; Hill, Rodeheffer, Griskevicius, Durante, and White (2012) examined previous
historical spending data. Leary, Tchividijian, and Kraxberger (1994) also reviewed
historical data and Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2017) observed 145 women.

Comparison of Independent Variables
I compared perceived attractiveness of a women with makeup and without makeup.
Wagstaff (2018) looked at mating strategies, social factors and personality. Ashikali,
Dittmar, and Ayers (2014) divided into three different levels: one tv show mentioned
risks associated with surgery, the second one did not mention any risks, and the third
one was a control condition which was a home makeover show. Hill, Rodeheffer,
Griskevicius, Durante, and White (2012) examined previous economic recessions. Leary,
Tchividijian, and Kraxberger (1994) looked at health relevant behaviors and Ashikali,
Dittmar, and Ayers (2017) looked at cosmetic advertisements.

Comparison of Dependent
I used a Likert-type scale, whereas Wagstaff (2018) examined women’s cosmetic use.
Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers (2014) looked at girls’ attitudes towards cosmetic surgery;
Hill, Rodeheffer, Griskevicius, Durante, and White (2012) measured women’s disability
for cosmetics. Leary, Tchividijian, and Kraxberger (1994) observed the risk of illness that
included HIV infection; skin cancer; malnutrition and eating disorders; alcohol, tobacco,
and drug use; injuries and accidental death; failure to exercise; and acne. Ashikali,
Dittmar, and Ayers (2017) observed attitudes towards body positivity.

Ashikali, E., Dittmar, H., & Ayers, S. (2017). The impact of cosmetic surgery advertising

on women’s body image and attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. Psychology
of Popular Media Culture, 6(3), 255-273.

Ashikali, E., Dittmar, H., & Ayers, S. (2014). The effect of cosmetic surgery reality tv
shows on adolescent girls’ body image. Psychology of Popular Media Culture,
3(3), 141-153.

Hill, S. E., Rodeheffer, C. D., Griskevicius, V., Durante, K., & White, A. E. (2012).
Boosting beauty in an economic decline: Mating, spending, and the lipstick effect.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 275-291.

Leary, M. R., Tchividijian, L. R., & Kraxberger, B. E. (1994). Self-presentation can be
hazardous to your health: Impression management and health risk. Health
Psychology, 13(6), 461-470.

Wagstaff, D. L. (2018). Comparing mating motivations, social processes, and personality
as predictors of Women’s cosmetics use. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences,

Appendix A: Makeup Group 1

Appendix A: No Makeup Group 2

Cedar Fire
by Sergio Velasquez

The Cedar fire was one of many incidents contributing to California's largest
mobilizations of firefighting resources. Extreme fire behavior, weather, and ready to burn
fuels led to the death of thirteen residents and one firefighter. There was much that
contributed to the onset of one of the largest fires experienced in California, from the
Santa Ana winds to the dismissal of resident’s fire reports. Unfortunately, there was very
little within human control to prevent it.

The Cedar fire, which was located in a wildland urban interface, meaning
wildland and urban residential neighborhoods intertwined, started in San Diego County
due to dry conditions.

From 1998 to 2003, the area was unusually dry for Southern California, and with only
fifty to seventy-five percent of regular rainfall in 2003, it was one of the driest years in a
108-year span. A contributing factor to the dry conditions were the Santa Ana winds.
Santa Ana winds are extremely dry, downslope winds that originated inland and effect
coastal Southern California. These winds originate in the great basin and often come with
low relative humidity creating critical fire weather conditions. There were many fuels for
the fire dried up and ready to burn; these included: sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodlands,
oak forests, and in higher elevations there were pine forests--all of these were deemed
critically dry.

On October 24th, relative humidity was around ten percent, and on the 25th it
plummeted to four percent. Along with Santa Ana winds and dry fuels, conditions
favored extreme fire behavior. The fire was reported to have been started by a 33-year-
old male hunter who had been separated from his group and was more knowledgeable of
the area. In attempt to be rescued, he started a signal fire. A rescue helicopter was sent to
the area where he was last seen. There the pilot was able to locate smoke from the signal
fire. Local residents called 911 to report the fire. Not aware it was a signal fire, they were
told that the department was aware and it was not a hazard. I believe brushing off the
reports of a fire was one of many mistakes that lead to injury, death, and loss of property.
A common denominator of fire behavior of tragedy fires is the lack of urgency due to the
deception of relatively small fires or quiet areas of a larger fire. Regardless of how
contained or minimal they thought the fire was, calls from residents should not have been
dismissed. A proper initial attack had the capability of preventing the signal fire from
becoming erratic and out of control.

Another factor was the lack of evacuation plans for many neighborhoods in the
wildland urban interface. Residents were not aware of what to do and where to go, a lack
of preparation that contributed to the fourteen civilian fatalities. San Diego county fire
officials had been on heightened alert all week, knowing that conditions were optimal for
wildfire. The county’s sixty-five fire departments had shipped out nearly one fifth of their
361 engines to work in San Bernardino and Camp Pendleton, where fires had been
burning for days. Previous to this tragedy, the county had 700 wildfires a year, nearly all

successfully contained and controlled before exceeding ten acres. This deficit in
firefighting resources combined with their expectations, due to their history of wildfires,
affected their overall readiness to fight fires at full capabilities in their own jurisdiction.

U.S. forest service took the initial command of the Cedar fire after it began
October 25th, 2003 at approximately 1740 hours. As the fire continued to burn it
eventually got into state jurisdiction and the California Department of Forestry Monte
Vista Ranger Unit took over command of the fire. They eventually passed the command
to the California Department of Forestry’s Management Team 5, on October 27th, 2003 at
0700 hours. The fire was divided into two branches with several divisions, each given
their own task to assist in the containment of the overall fire. Although resources were
limited they were able to complete the objective of holding the fire to the north of
highway 52, east of I-805, and south of Pomerado road. The Miramar Marine Corps Air
Station fire department collaborated with city departments by looking out for oncoming
fires and communicating it to strike team leaders allowing them to position strike teams
between the fire and Scripps ranch. Although these measures were taken, structure loss
began at approximately 0835 hours on October 26th in Scripps ranch and continued
through the day as north-eastern winds pushed the fire through the city of San Diego.

Wind speeds up to 60 mph pushed the fire violently through the area. At least ten
of the residents who fell victim to the fire were trapped in their vehicles while attempting
to evacuate. On October 29th, while on duty, an engine crew was burned by the fire.
Three firefighters were able to take shelter in a house and one firefighter who was the

engineer suffered a fatal injury--a tragedy that may have been avoided with more
effective communication and evacuation plans. Creating plans before tragic events occur
such as evacuation plans and wildfire precautions for residents in the wildland urban
interface areas should be standard to help mitigate tragedies like this.

Overall the Cedar fire burned through 273,246 total acres of land burning around
3600 acres per hour. There were tremendous amounts of property damage destroying
2,820 buildings with 2,232 of those being homes. The wild fire was not able to be
contained until November 4, 2003. Although it was contained, hot spots remained
burning around the perimeter of the fire until December 5, 2003 when the fire was
completely contained and controlled. To this day the Cedar fire was one of the worst
wildfires in California state history. The fatalities and property damage reminds us of
how dangerous and unpredictable these forces of nature truly are. We continue to learn
from tragedies like this one and should strive to not make these mistakes in the future.
Proper preparation and planning could help prevent amounts of damage of this scale.
There are tools out there and information for firefighters and residents to be informed on
dangers of wildfires and what to do in dangerous situations.

“Cedar Fire (2003).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Aug. 2018
“City of San Diego Fire Rescue Department Cedar Fire 2003 after Action Report” Jeff

Bowman fire chief June. 2004.

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