in the mahabharata her story is told by vaishampayana in response to a question by king janamejaya about his remote ancestors. the women who people our epics are shaktis: each one of them is endowed with power, sure of herself, sure of the choices she makes, sure in her speech, protective, passionate, loving, giving, hungry for life, filled with adventurousness, a fearless wanderer in life’s vast fields.
she inherits her soul from our vedic women: independent, assertive, strong winners, who took responsibility for themselves. authentic women who participated in all fields of life as men’s equals. they debated on the meaning of life with the best of philosophers. they explored the mysteries of existence just as the men of their times did. they composed poems, sacred and mundane, poems of the soul and of the flesh, singing of spiritual ecstasy and sexual longing, that survive to this day.
the changes kalidasa makes in shakuntala tells us much about the changes that took place in women’s status, her role in a man’s life and societal and familial expectations from her by the time we leave behind epic times and reach what modern historians call the golden period of indian history. vyasa’s shakuntala is strong. she is shakti, bold and fearless. in the case of kalidasa’s shakuntala, her strength lies in her weakness, in her helplessness. she is an abala: an infantilized woman whose strength is her capacity to invoke protectiveness in us.
frailty is a health problem that increases the probability of developing adverse health outcomes in the elderly. a frequently used way to operationalize frailty is the construction of a frailty index, which is built from the addition of several health deficits that describe biological aging. however, there is no consensus about the number of health deficits for building a frailty index and about which deficits must be chosen. this lack of a standardized frailty index is assumed to be an obstacle for the advancement of research on frailty. the focus of the present article is to propose a theoretically plausible alternative way of operationalizing frailty by means of frailty indexes composed of deficits selected at a local level. these deficits would therefore be different for each given population. this "anthropological approach" is on the opposite side from current trends in frailty research, which is characterized by the search for a standardized operational definition of frailty. the anthropological approach would generate more reliable data by taking into account the specificity of the population to be studied for selecting frailty deficits. in this approach, emotions, motives, and beliefs are as important to determine individuals' health vulnerability as chronic diseases and physical function. physiological anthropologists are well positioned to contribute to research on frailty by carrying out studies on the selection of the best deficits to operationalize frailty in different populations, with different socio-cultural determinants of health, and living in different environmental life spaces.
the role of media is bigger than it has ever been. the best part is that media is still growing and influencing our lives as the days go by. the media plays a central role in informing the public about what happens in the world. people rely on media such as television, the press and online to get news and updates. anyone can now find out almost anything they want to know by the click of a button on their smartphone or tablet. however, with how intoxicating the media is today, it does tend to have the power to shape public opinion, especially over major topics such as education and religion.
the role of the media is to transmit the reality and uncover the underlying facts of things. changing the mentality of the people through media to be more permissive, understanding and educative is a very difficult task. audiences form their beliefs and attitudes, either by themselves or with others, in response to media messages. the level of influence of media varies, however, and messages from the media are not received uniformly by all audiences.
direct experience, knowledge from other sources and logic are a few factors that contribute to the degree to which audiences accept or reject messages from the media. the media has a massive responsibility in providing factual coverage that does not perpetuate myths or stereotypes, encourage generalizations or spread misinformation.
the agenda-setting theory is the primary emphasis on shaping public opinion. pertaining to the news, there has been a phenomenal nationwide decrease in local news networks and papers and an increase in national news networks and papers. if a news item is covered more frequently, especially on national news, the audience will regard the issue as more important.
according to lumen learning, “two basic assumptions underlie most research on agenda-setting: one, that the press and the media do not reflect reality, they filter and shape it; and two, that media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues.” agenda-setting occurs through a cognitive process known as “accessibility.”
accessibility implies that the more frequently and prominently the news media cover an issue, the more instances that issue becomes accessible in the audience’s memories. mass media coverage in general and agenda-setting in particular have a powerful impact on what individuals think other people are thinking as well.
the agenda-setting theory has a huge effect on shaping public education because a majority of parents have very strong opinions about where their child gets their education. parents will pick schools for their children based on a number of factors: sports, religion, theater, teachers, reputation, etc.
pertaining to public versus private school, parents also tend to favor one over the other depending on where they themselves went to school. if they hear bad news about one school or about an outbreak of sickness on some national news media, parents will be quick to form their opinions about certain schools. especially since everything is online now, parents can see anything positive or negative about a school.
for example, with this flu outbreak i spoke to a number of parents about what they think of it, and a lot of parents were very mad and concerned. they started calling public schools unclean and dirty, even though the outbreak is all over, not just in schools.
some parents only send their kids to public schools if they cannot afford a private education or do not have any religious beliefs. public school generally has a reputation for not being as good as private schools; however, private and public schools are in fact very similar. public school parents tend to believe they are judged for sending their child to a public school, like they are somehow doing less for their child. private schools have the reputation of being academically superior and increasing the child’s chances of getting into a great college.
however, these are reputations and stereotypes that parents are feeding into. both types of education have their ups and downs; therefore, parents should do their research on schools instead of automatically assuming a school is terrible or amazing. it could actually be the complete opposite of what they thought.
religion is still a very controversial topic. in 1925, the tennessee legislature passed the butler act, which made it a misdemeanor to teach the evolution of only one species—mankind—in the public schools. john scopes was caught teaching the evolution of mankind, which is how “the monkey trial,” also known as the state of tennessee vs. john scopes, came about. this was extremely controversial because religion and science collided.