Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

#ALSIceBucketChallenge views from someone affected by ALS

Courtesy of prweb.com

Courtesy of prweb.com


A few years ago, my second cousin was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is more commonly known by its abbreviation “ALS.” He was projected to live several years with the terminal disease, but passed away months before his time. His dream house, a final project of his, was not completely built at the time of his death. No one saw premature loss coming, or rather, no one wanted to.

Lou Gehrig’s disease was never really widely spoken about – it is a rough battle that is not only practically incurable, but unable to be diagnosed accurately. Even though I had only met my second cousin once, I felt affected by the loss and noticed the toll it took on our family, particularly my dad, who saw my second cousin as one of his childhood pals. Whenever we would mention my second cousin the household would squirm a little, simply because terminal disease is scary and haunting. It can affect you at any moment, and there is no stopping it.

In an attempt to ameliorate our loss, I began writing a novel about befriending someone inflicted with a terminal disease. I will always feel disturbed by ALS and mourn the loss of a man who my father was so close to. I had also been wanting to write a book for quite some time, but everything I wrote seemed superficial and less than spectacular. This was an opportunity to not only write something of merit, but perhaps, to bring light to a disease that can take away the brightest, the funniest, and the most humble people in a matter of months.

Just 20,000 words into my novel, a 10 second video clip appeared on my Facebook feed.

The #ALSIceBucketChallenge.


These videos spread like a virus across my computer. Every band I had ever liked and every restaurant I had ever been to enlisted staff members, performers, camera people, friends, family, and strangers to dump ice water on their heads. And I can’t say I love it.

People have had their qualms with the ice bucket challenge – it’s too trendy, it’s a chain letter, the foundation funds research that they disagree with, and that people are mindlessly dumping ice on their heads and without learning anything about the disease. I am sure, to an extent, that all of these statements are valid and worth saying. Not all hashtags are effective, and no amount of tweets or Instagram videos is going to educate the masses about ALS or help others grieve untimely death. However, the chain letter effect of these videos has led to a significant increase in donations to the foundation, even though the money would need to exist in a constant stream for years to significantly fund research and produce notable results.

That means the Ice Bucket Challenge would need to happen more than once, to become a tradition, not a fad, for the ALS Association to make strides in ALS treatment, let alone research.

If you want to contribute more, donate more, donate more regularly, or seek to educate, not just to get the attention of others. Is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge a great marketing technique? Sure. Is it improving mass knowledge of ALS or assisting in the grieving process? I am not so convinced.

What do you think of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? There seem to be mixed reviews. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!


My new perspective on feminism

About 4 months ago I wrote a post about the socially-scary “f” word… you know, feminism. 

Perhaps I was a naive 16-year-old when I wrote about wanting equality for women, only because I praised the “f” word and encouraged people to use it more often. Somehow, I do not think that would answer society’s beef with females. In fact, the word “feminism” itself might be the pristine hamburger patty of beef, disguised as an innocent and delicious sandwich.

When we say “feminist” and “feminism” and “right to choose” and “patriarchy,”  we preach to the choir. These phrases have become so mainstream that men and women alike have heard the qualms of the modern feminist. So, to cease the arguments, companies and politicians address these hot buttons with everything from media campaigns to women-oriented press releases solely about female issues. The right to choose is discussed in a girly way more than taxes, budget cuts, security, border control, and online privacy.

Breaking news!

Women care about these issues too.

But when we preach a desire for feminism, we state that the main issues that are important to us are problems that directly affect primarily females. Private and government industry matters directly impact us, yet women are encouraged to follow a one-track mindset. For example, getting girls involved in STEM, an issue I wrote about only a few weeks ago, is a problem. Yet isn’t it an anti-feminist notion to single out a woman’s contribution to STEM, when all contributions are important regardless of sex? It only makes a woman in the sciences seem to be more of a rarity, which I doubt is anyone’s intention.

Sorry all, but maybe talking about “feminism” is not giving everyone the best advice; it certainly doesn’t always work out as intended. Then again, maybe it is a difficult issue to work with.

But enough of the heavy stuff, girls and boys, let’s end on a happy note: dancing kittens.


Where was my invite?

Where was my invite? Found at cheezburger.com