Peer Review by Karen Umeora (United States)

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Cailíní: The Struggles of Girls in S.T.E.M.

By: annaocxo

Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be an actress. Every day since my first day of drama class, I dreamed of making it to Hollywood. But recently, my thoughts on my dreams have changed. Recently, I’ve been questioning the reality of them and I know the same can be said for many other girls like me. The innocent way I once viewed this world has undergone a disturbing metamorphosis. This difference came about in 2017 when actresses began speaking out about Harvey Weinstein on various accounts of sexual assault. 

Many of these women were role models for young girls like me, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow for example. These allegations have been spoken about by many different groups of people, but there is one voice that has not been heard; the voice of young aspiring actresses and models that have been left reeling by this awful scandal. Young girls like me, who once dreamed of making it to Hollywood but whose rose tinted dreams have now turned darker. Young girls who saw their idols names on a list. A list of Hollywood women who were taken advantage of by Hollywood men. A list of women that bravely confronted the dark side of the entertainment industry, that stood up and said, “Me Too.” 

Those young girls watched the news with a sinking feeling, a realisation dawning on them. They were faced with the reality that their dreams were not as shiny as they thought. Their dreams were now tainted with a black spot of doubt, a drop of worry. And with each name added to that list, that black spot started to evolve and grow bigger, that drop of worry turned into a vast and furious ocean. They were met with the world altering realisation that being a girl in Hollywood was not ‘all that.’ 

I am not trying to take away from the real problem here. The things that happened to those women are beyond unspeakable. But in the spirit of speaking out, someone needs to address the impact that these allegations have on young girls like me. We should not have to abandon our dreams for fear of Hollywood men. We should not have to make ourselves feel small to make them feel big. We deserve the chance to follow our dreams and to chase our goals without fearing reaching them.
We are a group rarely spoken about but it needs to be made known that this affects us, too. It makes us fear our future and question if being an actress is even worth it. We no longer only need to think if we can take the fame but if we can take the hardships, too. Hardships that no one should ever have to endure. We may be one step closer to ending the abuse but we still have a thousand more to go. It is not only us that is affected. It is every girl who looks at their idols and sees the way they are treated by men. They see this and subconsciously, may soon see it as the norm. This is damaging and it makes me afraid. 

But there is one shining light in all of this darkness. The #MeToo campaign has shown girls that they have a voice and that they can speak out when they are being mistreated. That they can stand up, raise their voices and that they will be heard. And now, after so much time has passed since the movement catapulted to the world stage, young girls like me are left reeling by the events of it. We cannot ignore the effects of what happened, even now that the hashtag is no longer in use and it’s not oh-so trendy to post about it anymore. We cannot let the fire die out. We ignited a spark and now we must let it burn until it brings the entire culture of sexual assault down in bright, burning flames until it exists no longer. We cannot let it die until young girls are free to live out their dreams without being afraid.

I am a young aspiring actress.
Disappointed? Me too.
Upset? Me too.
Angry? Me too.
Afraid? Me too.

It may be a long time since the MeToo movement was at the forefront of the media's attention. But that doesn't mean it's any less important. I wrote this article in 2018 but decided to pull it back out because of the recent Harvey Weinstein coverage. 

Peer Review

Your piece started off with a 5-year-old with big dreams and hopes for the future. I believe that is what drew me in and will draw in a lot of readers too. Everyone likes to see and hear about a 5-year-old seeing the best in the world and dreaming big. No one wants to be the person to shatter their precious minds. You used that ideology and drew in readers to keep reading through an enticing and urgent topic happening today. I know for a fact that your first paragraph hook is amazing. You did extraordinarily! Good job!

Although the #MeToo movement isn't, quote on quote, "trendy" anymore, the problem that it's trying to get out is still present, especially in the Hollywood industry.

Your writing was skillfully seasoned with figurative language and relatable scenarios. Mostly, that is what kept me reading apart from the passion that oozed from every single word you wrote. I can tell that you believe in the topic you wrote about. That much passion makes me want to stand up and get people to realize the monstrosities happening. Good job! I'm sure that the passion in your words infected other readers of this piece as well! I love how you mixed facts, passion, and figurative language to brew such an amazing and inspiring piece.

But how does this affect the average girl who doesn't have any dream of going to Hollywood? How does the #MeToo movement touch people away from the cameras? How do you get them to start helping too? In your piece, you mostly talked about how the #MeToo movement is something important happening in Hollywood. You talked about that topic beautifully and brilliantly with colorful words that kept me reading. However, the keywords I'm pointing out is, "in Hollywood." Maybe you're OP-ED is meant to shine a light on the physical violations going on just in Hollywood. However, I would really like to see you use maybe just 1 or 2 paragraphs to expand past Hollywood and talk about the #MeToo movement generally as well.

Your. Piece. Is. Remarkable.

Instead of doing one of the stereotypical and "trendy" issues (not that those topics don't matter), you decided to walk down the street of an almost forgotten present issue. I admire you for doing that. As I've mentioned before, you have such a strong, prodigious, and passionate voice. Voice is a very important element in writing, and you've mastered it. With your writing skills, I feel like you can go very far and help spread awareness. Op-eds seem to be your niche :)

Even though I don't personally know you, your writing makes me proud :)

Reviewer Comments

I've said this a million times throughout this review. You're writing is stunning with almost no flaws. The only thing I want to mention is your paragraph separation. For example, the last sentence of the Introduction Paragraph would fit better in the 2nd paragraph. I like to look at paragraphs as mini-essays. A paragraph should be able to make sense and act on its own in some sense. I suggest trying looking at each paragraph as if they were an essay on its own and figuring out if the point for that paragraph still makes sense.

Thank you for writing this piece. I'm so glad that I stumbled across it. Of course, if you have any questions just leave a comment. I'll get to it as soon as I see it :)

Keep on Writing! It would be sad for the writing world to lose a passionate fire of a writer like you.