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Polar Bear Blues

Breakfast with newspapers and all their early morning inky glory has long been a staple within my household. A usual Wednesday and Sunday morning consists of setting the kettle to boil and trotting down the driveway to grab the latest issue of the Chicago Tribune. Hopefully, by the time we kick off our boots and complain about how darn cold it is out there, the water may be ready for coffee. A few mornings ago, within the Arts + Entertainment section of the Chicago Tribune’s Wednesday paper, I found an article regarding the Lincoln Park Zoo’s newest addition as part of their polar bear breeding program- a possible new momma bear named Talini shall now call Chicago her home sweet home. Now, I am all for increasing conservation efforts for polar bears and other arctic animals whose species have long been infamously endangered, and I love walking down Fullerton towards the Zoo on a warm spring day; however, a certain joke cracked in the middle of the page was just plain ignorant.

With all due respect, writing that, “…Some mating behavior might not play too well in this time of #MeToo,” is a tasteless, cheap shot at the millions of sexual abuse survivors that call Chicagoland home. The epically empowering, transnational movement created by Tarana Burke should never be the butt of a silly joke. Just a few months ago, women across the globe answered the call to action for a second January in a row and marched within the centers of dozens of cities and towns for their rights, their dignity, and their safety. Last December, TIME Magazine called “The Silence Breakers,” those who helped electrify the #MeToo movement, their 2017 persons of the year. Countless stars have walked down the red carpet in head to toe black to showcase how diminishing and damaging sexism has come to be upon our society, and Oprah restored faith in humanity with the greatest speech we have ever seen. Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in jail due to the testimony and efforts of over 160 survivors. So, I have no idea how this painfully crude crack got past the editor(s). Seriously, you couldn’t think of a better joke about polar bears?          

Now, I know, I know. I’m overreacting. Possibly even ovary-acting. Boys will be boys! But, actually, “boys will be boys” is the lamest, most self incriminating excuse imaginable, because by saying so, you are basically admitting that the method in which you use the washroom indicates your level of human decency, which by this measurement, means that you are falling quite short of respectability. Oops. Moreover, the columnist who wrote this piece is an adult with decades of experience; he has been a journalist for longer than I have been alive.

Oh, dear.

Now, I have been taught to always remember that wasting brain cells on frivolous matters should be avoided, always; however, I was also instilled to believe that I should see the chaos in life and organize it; take my broken heart, and turn it into art; see basic ingredients, and bake them into cake.     

This article is my cake. It tastes like common sense, respect, and has a nice hint of feminism. Enjoy.

Marta Leshyk

DePaul '20

Aspiring high school English teacher who hopes to help students learn to love and value themselves the way an old friend once helped her. Loves cats immensely, and enjoys iced coffee in the dead of winter. Is the proud daughter of immigrants, and learned English from Elmo, the ultimate PBS scholar. 
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