Media Disaster


A woman crosses a street of rubble in Haiti.


Day after day, year after year, newspapers, daily news stations, radio stations and online news pages cover tragedies and disasters from around the world. The media’s job is to convey information in whatever way the media moguls deem most interesting or eye-catching–whatever will make the best story. Sometimes, this means showing intense and disturbing images of destruction, war, and violence. Some might say these images are unnecessary, but many others would argue that seeing the full picture is what keeps them the most connected to current events as well as the people who experience them first hand.

However, the media often times wildly exaggerates the truth. When a natural disaster occurs, a similar picture is painted in the media each time. Often times exaggerated information, images, and interviews are all repeated on a continuous loop. Such repetition can grow dull, and cause the viewer to become numb to the information. When a serious threat actually occurs, such as predictions for violent hurricanes and tornadoes, viewers take in the warnings and process them as they would process other information like it, which is why sometimes serious threats aren’t taken as seriously as they should be.

When the story is no longer new, and no longer interesting to viewers, the media will drop the story in question and move on to the next one. Even though the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and more recently the aftermath of the tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri, is still visible, the media chooses to not cover it because viewers have lost interest.

It is because of over-dramatized and under-covered tragedies in the media that viewers have a harder time understanding, assessing, and empathizing in moments of true disaster.





Hijabs in Fashion

RK Hijab Fashion

The history of Muslim women covering their bodies can find origins in the Qur-an, which can be seen in the following verses from the Qur-an:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimār over their breasts and not display their beauty except to their husband, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. (Quran 24:31)

When one considers societies that require women to cover themselves by law, the hijab is considered oppressive of women, and there are groups around the world that are trying to change the way women are viewed in these societies.

When a garment of clothing is so often associated with oppression, those that freely choose to wear the hijab as a personal choice or as a part of their traditional culture are too considered somewhat oppressed and perhaps even fearful. This, however, is not always the case.

Hijabs have been inserted into the pop-culture and fashion industry in both eastern and western cultures, even making appearances in pop icon’s music videos and every-day wear. When this dissociation of the garment with traditional culture or oppressive behavior and re-association as a garment that the wearer can be viewed as fashionable or well-to-do occurs, the garment becomes less of a symbol of women’s inequality and instead becomes a symbol of women’s rights and women’s choice to wear the garment freely.

If a garment such as this saturates the fashion industry, those cultures which use the garment as a symbol of oppression are forced to reevaluate the traditional use of the garment.

Much like Native American garments and headdresses have become disassociated with being savage or uncivilized, their saturation in fashion has transformed the garments into symbols of the wearer’s closeness to nature and freedom.

While some may believe the use of traditional cultural garments in fashion may be inappropriate and culturally insensitive, fashion and pop culture can also be harnessed as powerful tools in changing how the world will view something as simple as a piece of cloth.

Chaim Machlev

Intricate and pristine designs by the German artist

Intricate and pristine designs by the German artist from Berlin

With the demand for tattoos going into overdrive, people search far and wide for the most world renowned tattoo artists. There are year-long waiting lists just for one session with a talented tattoo artist. Why are people suddenly caring so much about who does their tattoo? It seems that less people want a random person to create a permanent image on their body; it’s not significant enough. People want to be a part of a work of art.

Chaim Machlev, a highly-sought after tattoo artist from Berlin, Germany, creates stark-black ink tattoos that demonstrate a highly intricate sense of geometry, while also having a crisp, pristine quality. Machlev’s process is no less significant than that of any other artist. In fact, compared to a painter, a sculptor, or any other fine artist, the art of tattooing is a highly complicated process. Since the canvases are human skin, the standards for quality and care skyrocket above other art.

Imagine being able to say you are the proud owner of a Picasso. Now imagine being able to say your body is a Picasso. Same concept. Among other tattoo artists, Machlev is the type of skilled artisan whose work people crave to be a part of–a mass collection of highly-detailed works that are always moving and literally alive.

Not only is Machlev’s work visually stunning, but it’s also highly emotional. In an interview with SkinDeep223 magazine, Machlev described the experience of getting a tattoo: “I cannot put my finger on it now, but something meaningful happened and I realised how strong the effect of putting your trust into someone you just met, to let them change your body, when all you have as a reference is some work of theirs you’ve seen before, or some recommendation. I see it as leaving your ego behind and going through something very deep; a process of self-healing using art.”

With a desire for this type of artwork running ever-deeper in modern cultures around the globe, it is hard to imagine why these beautiful pieces are still frowned upon in the professional workplace. Living art with personal meaning and personal experiences is an art form that will continue to grow and evolve throughout history.


SkinDeep interview:

Process of tattoo:

More highly sought-after artists: