Final Essay- Nathalie Bernal- IDS3309

Nathalie Bernal

Professor Lauren Christos

See comments in email.



April 23, 2019

Google and Apple are willing to abdicate their commitment to human rights when it comes to Absher, a mobile app that allows men to surveille and restrict women’s movements in the Middle East. Although this form of control is completely legal in places like Saudi Arabia, the companies are being scrutinized for facilitating gender discrimination. 

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Absher, a Saudi Arabian mobile app used to control women’s movements, has recently stirred up controversy in America. Although the app launched back in 2015, it was in February 2019 when Senator Ron Wyden spoke out against it. Saudi Arabia is a country which has always repressed its female citizens through their longstanding guardianship laws. Senator Wyden wrote letters to Apple and Google in efforts to pull Absher from both app stores, but they have yet to do so. 

The point of view in the U.S. is very pessimistic in comparison to how the app is seen in the Middle East. In America, we read biased articles about how Absher is meant to repress women and control their activities. The New York Times and the Washington Post both released articles on this subject, and both were rich in pathos, tugging at our passions about equality and freedom. Arab News, a Middle Eastern newspaper, published an article with a completely different point of view. 

Rawan Radwan, a Saudi female journalist, wrote that the e-services app was an efficient tool that relieved the burden of bureaucracy. Essentially, she and many other Saudis see the app from a logos standpoint. This app is a time saver for them and in the article, it is also noted that many women have access to the app allowing them to “control their own fate.” Muna Abu Sulayman, award-winning strategy advisor, conducted a twitter survey asking how many women have access to Absher. The results she received were that most women have full control of the app because their husbands don’t believe in domineering them. This significant increase of women participating in their own decision making is a step in the direction of equality.

“My son is 23 years old and has to come all the way from the Eastern Province to give me permission to leave the country,” said Fatma A., a 40 year old Saudi woman living in Riyadh (Deif 2). This was written in April of 2008, 7 years before the release of Absher. Today, Fatma would not have this issue because her son would be able to grant permission through the click of a button. This facilitation is where the U.S. sees its differences with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi people see this as convenience whilst the American people see this as enabling misogyny. 

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It is understandable that the American populace would take such a standpoint on this subject. We live in a country where all genders are seen as equals. We are exposed to many movements that empower women or encourage them to speak up about any injustice, such as the Me-Too movement. The news we are exposed to is biased and only provides the opinions of other U.S. citizens, excluding the thoughts and viewpoints of the Saudi people. Reading a headline that states, “Google and Apple are letting men surveil women in Saudi Arabia,” can be a very alarming thing. This was the headline by the Washington Post, a newspaper Americans confide in.

On the other hand, Saudis are accustomed to living in a place where the basic fundamental right of making decisions for oneself are denied to over half the population. This has become a normality for them, and norms are subjective. Our norms are built upon our cultures and the societies we live in. In the Middle East, women have been repressed in many aspects, including but not limited to the right to employment, the right to education, the right to equality in marriage, and the right to equality before the law. In more recent years, since Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has taken the throne, more optimism has shone upon women’s rights. He has lifted restrictions now allowing women to drive, play sports, work in male dominated fields, and attend public events. The talk of whether male guardianship laws will be abolished is still touchy and uncertain, but his work has given the women of his country something most people probably never thought possible. 

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The biggest argument that the U.S. and human rights groups are bringing up against this app is the fact that Google and Apple and partaking in its distribution. Senator Wyden believes that American companies should not be enabling this sort of behavior, whether or not it is the law in their country, because it reflects badly on American beliefs and values. Last month, the New York Times reported that a Saudi man was keeping his American ex-wife trapped in the country by letting her residency expire and not giving her authorization to leave.  Like all things, there are positives and negatives. The application’s purpose is not solely to control women; there are a range of different things that can be completed through it. It is an online portal available to both men and women that can also be used to pay traffic citations, apply for a new I.D. card, and even report wanted persons or financial corruption.  

Perhaps Google and Apple are enabling an app that controls the permissions of women in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing. It is expected that Westerners will be upset at the thought of gender inequality, but eradicating Absher will conceivably make life more difficult for both men and women the same. Succeeding at removing an app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store will not change the laws in Saudi Arabia. The ideals of the country will remain the same and without the app, women will have less control of their own lives. Without Absher, women like Fatma will have to wait for their male guardian to meet with Saudi authorities to fill out paperwork in order for them to travel. If the media were to communicate this gen to the U.S. population, it’s likely that they would come to understand how it can be beneficial. 

Regardless of what people perceive this app to be, Google and Apple are businesses, not advocacy groups. Google reviewed the app after receiving scrutiny and determined that it did not violate any terms of service. To this day, both platforms still offer the app for download. 

A screenshot of a cell phone

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A screenshot of a cell phone

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A screenshot of a cell phone

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Julia Thomas – Team 17 Final Essay

I emailed you the Final Essay.


Julia Thoms – Team 17 Final

Read essay in email – comments there.

From November 30th – December 2nd, pop star Nick Jonas and global Indian actress, Priyanka Chopra got married in a festive cultural weekend which was talked about on many media platforms globally.  This event challenges critical perspective by the arrangement of two cultures coming together to celebrate love, despite the fact that secrecy was enforced at the wedding.

Jonas, starting his career with the Jonas Brothers during 2005, was adored by many gaining him loyal fans from all over the world. Chopra also started her career at a young age and is loved by many, especially fans from India after being crowned Miss World in 2000. Also, an Indian woman recognized by Time and UNICEF who shutdown stereotypes of Indian men being superior  – a traditional status of Indian women for centuries. Two big celebrities in their perspective countries getting married calls for an inevitable media frenzy party.

Unlike other couples, this couple uses Instagram to communicate their relationship with their fans. From the start of their romance, both Jonas and Chopra teased their fans of millions by commenting on each other’s post flirtatiously.


Their romance continues on with both posting videos and pictures of each other – making their relationship official. This establishes ethos as they both take it to their personal accounts to address dating rumors to maintain their trust between fans and to end all speculations to provide credibility to their relationship.
When director, Ali Abbas Zafar, ex-director of Chopra`s Bollywood comeback film used suspicious puns in his Twitter post explaining to Chopra`s fans why she isn’t signed onto the film, he grabbed people’s attention to now having them gossip on what’s stirring.

August 2018, both Jonas and Chopra take it to Instagram to publicly announce their engagement. This sends fans globally into a juxtaposition of happiness, heartbreak, and jealousy.

Within these comments, it is visible that their public image reaches at a global level as comments are also written in Spanish and Portuguese, making this post of information travel globally regardless if it is a negative comment.
This also brought awareness to their relationship as celebrities like Kate Upton and Lilly Singh were commenting their congratulatory message; this comment is now visible to Chopra`s, and Jonas`s fans as well as Singh`s and Upton`s many followers on their Instagram accounts. The pathos displayed in the engagement post exuded emotions of love and passion causing fans and friends anticipation for the big day and being invested in the couple every step of the way.

As “Nickyanka” starts trending as their couple name, the couple challenges bound of debate as people were criticizing that every event leading up to their wedding and the wedding itself was for publicity and financial opportunity. Writer at Rolling Stone says, “ When most A -list celebrities start dating, they tend to avoid publicly broadcasting their relationship milestones if they can help it, citing a desire for privacy.” Nickyanka were criticized for sponsored content on their Instagram as they took social media to effortlessly promote brands like Tiffany & Co., LimeBike, Elit Vodka, and Amazon when posting about their prewedding parties. Even Chopra`s custom Ralph Lauren wedding gown with a train of 75 foot was seen as publicity logos stunt. As these claims were spreading, people were being influenced by this manipulative news affecting how some people view this couple. “They love each other. They also love brands”.


Chopra and Jonas both coming from different cultures and religions, Chopra; Indian and Hindu, Jonas; American and Christian celebrated their love by celebrating both cultures in their wedding.

For their pre-wedding ceremonies that included the sangeet and mehendi – two traditional Hindu events before the wedding got many congratulatory messages on their Instagram from a  variety of people who have their own demographics of followers.

As these diverse influencers like Alia Bhatt, Michelle B Jordan, and Michelle Lee post their congratulatory comments, this allows people of different ethnicities to be aware of the ceremony and how different cultures coming together in marriage is acceptable. This also educates both Indian society about American traditions and vice versa,  American communities learning about the Indian traditions, all in the betterment of society to help end racists comments and ignorance at a global level.

Indian culture is traditionally known to marry within your own culture, and if you don’t you are looked down upon society. According to IMDiversity, 92% of Indian women marry within the Indian culture, so to see a prominent figure of India marry outside will show fellow Indians how their idol is accepting which can influence their actions and be more openminded as for other cultures with the same mindset.


The wedding of Chopra and Nick challenges assumptions of two different cultures being able to come together despite religious differences, age and being able to exchange cultures.  Chopra already being  10 years older than Jonas and was the talk of the town, but both couples also marrying outside of their culture into different religions is a taboo concept that society has a hard time digesting. Though, Nickyanka brings all those assumptions to a norm by publicizing their wedding and sharing about each other’s traditions during interview shows and using Instagram as their source of global communication. Nickyanka`s’ wedding brings light to controversial topics of religious differences, age just being a number and cultural remarks. Jonas Talking about the traditional wedding ceremony on Jimmy Fallon Chopra on Ellen sharing about the three – day wedding to Nick Jonas

Chopra talks about keeping their ceremony private and secretive to cherish beautiful moments with the family and each other. In terms of secrecy, Chopra said, at the wedding phones were taken away. Regardless of this action, images of the ceremony were still circulating the internet as Jonas and Chopra were in the limelight of eager fans and common people to just see how the wedding was going to take place in terms of critical perspective.

Here is a glimpse of the wedding covered by People Magazine.




















FAKE News Assignment – Team 17



Pop star Ariana Grande was found unresponsive Monday night in her Hollywood house.  Grande’s publicist visited the singer’s house late that night in hopes to uplift her spirits after the heartbreaking loss of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and the recent break from ex-fiancé Pete Davidson. Paramedics confirmed the cause of death was an overdose of sleeping pills.

She cared to comment the following, “I was in disbelief and unstable, to say the least, I’d never thought Ariana was one to go to these extremes. With everything she was dealing with she seemed to be okay but we all knew she was struggling for quite some time. For the time being this is all I can really put into words”.

Ariana Grande was known for her charismatic attitude and glowing personality. A star since the beginning of her early teens, she was born to make it in the industry. The world never thought the industry she grew to love would be the one to break her.

Ariana Grande was someone with great talent from the start. She grew up around musicians and always stole the show. From the time her family could remember, she would sing at family parties and always loved being the center of attention. She got her first big break in 2010 at the start of her Nickelodeon career where she became famous for her red hair and stunning voice. From there, her career blew up.

Her mother, Joan Grande, released a statement briefly after news broke about the singer’s suicide “As a mother, you plan to be there for your kids and want them to be okay. I’m confused and hurt to know my little girl was suffering internally and I wasn’t there to help her” Grande says.

The singer’s team admitted Ariana recently had trouble sleeping. They mentioned she became very anxious and paranoid of the people around her. She quickly turned fragile and sensitive upon the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. The pair dated for over three years and admitted their relationship was the first serious relationship they’ve been in.

For the past weeks, Ariana had been publishing posts related to Mac Miller in her Instagram, including a story with part of the lyrics of her song The Way, song she made in collaboration of Miller back in 2013.

Shortly after her break up with Miller, she began dating comedian Pete Davidson and got engaged weeks later. In previous articles, Ariana mentioned she felt as if she didn’t take time for herself and struggled with a lot of anxiety. Tabloids also released that her relationship with Pete wasn’t all that perfect and they struggled immensely behind closed doors.

To aid the singer’s sleeplessness and anxiety, she was prescribed trazodone by her physician. According to forensic analysis, they concluded she had taken a small dose of trazodone enough to control her anxiety and later that night might’ve taken a larger dose leaving her unresponsive.

Ariana’s mother Joan and family are currently arranging funeral arrangements and have yet to discuss details. Ex-fiancé Pete Davidson has rejected commenting on the subject and has canceled his appearances on SNL for the time being.

Fans and other celebrities have commented on Ariana’s most recent Instagram posts leaving heartwarming messages and paying their respects to the singer’s sudden death.

Her family, friends and fandom are devastated.

On Top! Magazines gives condolence and words of encouragement to all those affected.


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Image result for ariana grande and pete davidson


We decided to write this article because celebrity fake news seems to be what attracts the most attention. In these current times with social media, audiences practically know every detail of a celebrities life whether that person likes it or not. Most of the time a story like this one, real or fake, spread throughout the world in a matter of hours. The article appeals to pathos the most because it makes an emotional connection with the audience. Anyone who reads this article and is a fan of Ariana Grande, Mac Miller, or Pete Davidson will likely feel some sense of sadness. This also captures people who are not a fan of hers because in pop music she is currently dominating with her back to back hits; so regardless if you`re a fan or not, most people know who she is or remember her from her Nickelodeon days and would be curious to know what happened.

The intended audience were fans of Ariana Grande and even include fans of Miller and Davidson because keeping up to date with either of these celebrities involves something about all of them.

The hook for this article was the sudden and unexpected death of Ariana Grande and even the mystery as to why exactly she might have done it, whether it was the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller or the separation from her now ex-fiance Pete Davidson. We maintained credibility by using real facts and events surrounding the lives of the celebrities. The story was meant to grab attention and likely would on a global scale if published on various social media platforms.

Nathalie Bernal

Michael Eure

Adjany Kappen

Maria De Los Angeles

Krystal Montoya

Julia Thomas


Excellent work Team!  Great images, good writing and incorporating concepts from assignments.  Very impressive!

Montoya, Krystal Team 17

Excellent work Krystal, just add images or video and insert them in the places that best support the text. 

Third-wave Feminism is on the rise; however, many third world countries have taken to it differently than other countries. Ethiopia was a country that for many years had taken Feminism into their own hands, adapting it based on their own culture. Only recently has Ethiopia started looking towards equal rights of the genders; due to having a primarily conservative culture, it has taken them longer to get there. It’s small steps like these that can make a change in the country. The election of Meaza Ashenafi as the new president of the Ethiopian Supreme Court was caused by the uprising of feminist movements across the world and launched Ethiopia into its own Feminist revolution.

            The media coverage of this event has been very minimal in the United States, primarily due to the fact that it does not directly relate to us or any of our allies. The only people that fully comprehend the magnitude of this event are the people that are globally aware. This means that many of our news broadcasts can manipulate the information in any way they want to fit their own political views. For example, a primarily conservative news channel such as FOX News could manipulate the event in a way to make their audience support the conservative side more. The audience would not be able to receive the information in a fully unbiased manner. One of the sources that I used to get more information on this specific event was The Washington Post. This primarily left-leaning news channel controls the way that the news is presented to their audience to fit left-leaning viewpoints. However, despite any bias The Washington Post may have, this was one of the few, if not the only, American website to report on this story.

Globally, many other news sites can be doing the same, implementing their bias into their stories and affecting the way their readers view the event itself. Most news sites nowadays are all biased, leaning towards a specific side of the political spectrum. They all either lean towards the conservative side or they lean towards the more liberal side. It is rare to find a site that is a mix of both because society has split itself into two different points of view. So, the public look towards the websites that they relate to the most because it confirms their beliefs. Conservatives look at conservative websites because it confirms their beliefs and makes them feel that it is correct. This is a form of the Echo Chamber Effect. The only information we absorb are seen our own perspective, further validating our beliefs instead of challenging them.

However, locally in Ethiopia, they have been slowly getting used to a Feminist reformation that was catapulted by the election of Meaza Ashenafi. The local news has made Ashenafi a household name, so she was able to gather a following. One local newspaper even detailed why Ashenafi was the best fit for the position, showing the growth that the country has made towards gender equality. Many other sectors of politics in Ethiopia have also been taken over by women, including the presidency. News sites are the primary source of information in any country, so the fact that a local newspaper detailed why Ashenafi deserved her position can help sway anyone that was skeptical of her background. It can affect people differently hearing it from someone in their own country, especially since the reporters and the news sites take the culture into consideration when it comes to reporting.

            On a global level, this event and the coverage that it has received forces the event to only be a local event. This event is something that should make international news because it shows the growth that a country is making; however, the coverage is very minimal due to the fact that Ethiopia is a smaller country. It doesn’t have a high standing globally in any sense either politically or economically, causing news like this to get brushed under the rug compared to the news in bigger countries such as the United States or France. However, the news sites that did report on this event focused on the fact that this is a major step for the country towards gender equality. They utilized ethos to show that she was more deserving of her position than her male counterparts. In many African countries, roles of power are often saved just for the men; so, the fact that Ashenafi was elected by a male to fill this position swayed many people to being more accepting of what women can do outside of homemaking.

            Along with that, many other countries in the same political and economic situation as Ethiopia have begun their own Feminist revolutions as well. This can create pressure for Ethiopia to catch up with everyone else and become more accepting of women in power. This proves itself to be incredibly important because some countries may not be as willing to do any sort of business with them if they do not share similar beliefs. It has been proven time-and-time again that countries with differing beliefs tend to have some sort of conflict. At some point, Ethiopia had to conform to what was becoming the new norm for that region.

            The election of Meaza Ashenafi as the new president of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia was a result of Feminist revolutions in the neighboring countries that pressured Ethiopia to adapt. This pressure created a desirable change for the country, possibly inspiring other countries that are in similar situations. Sometimes it only takes one country to inspire a change for its allies. The coverage for this event in local news has made this decision seem more positive than negative and putting change in a positive light can draw more countries in to make the change. Ultimately, it all comes down to the news channels and the way that they report on events to create a chain reaction of change for other countries.

Montoya, Krystal Team 17

Well-done Krystal, good sources and good annotations. I look forward to reading your essay too!

Thesis: The election of Meaza Ashenafi as the new president of the Ethiopian Supreme Court was caused by the uprising of feminist movements across the world and launched Ethiopia into its own Feminist revolution.

  1. Alemayehu, Samrawit. “The Setaweet Way: An Articulation of Ethiopian Feminism.” SURFACE, Syracuse University, May 2018,

In this scholarly journal, Alemayehu discusses how Ethiopians react to Feminism and how it is expressed in their own culture. This provided me with some perspective because the election of Ashenafi is a big deal for the country. Overall, this article discusses the necessity of Feminism in Ethiopia.

  • Jayawardena, Kumari. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World. Verso, 2016.

         This book discusses Feminism in third world countries, specifically African countries. Jayawardena focuses each chapter on a different country and how Feminism revolutionized it. This book was especially helpful for me because it discussed countries in similar situations as Ethiopia in terms of economics and social structure.

  • “Ethiopia Appoints Meaza Ashenafi as First Woman Federal Supreme Court President.” This Is Africa, 1 Nov. 2018,

This article was published in an Ethopian Newspaper website. It details everything about the event, even explaining why the country reacted in the way that they did. Along with that, the article explains why Ashenafi was the most fit for the position.

This article published by the Washington Post details the impact this event had on the world. Whenever a new country makes a step towards equal rights, it is something that should be known worldwide. This gives a global perspective to the event, due to the fact that it was written by a non-Ethiopian website.

I decided upon this article because it shows the overall growth that Ethiopia is making towards equal gender rights. It gives the perspective that Feminism is what helped Ashenafi get the recognition she deserved for her position.

Annotated Bibliography – Michael Eure – Team 17

Hi Michael, Good sources, good annotations too!  Your thesis is approved but with some minor suggestions.  Remove “I” no first person, I think I responded to an email you sent me the other day. Do you need further help, just let me know.  Well-done, I look forward to reading your essay as well.

Annotated Bibliography

Thesis: (awaiting approval) Recent uproar about the Nicaraguan governmental state has brought attention to the country. Protests in Madrid on January 12 and Costa Rica on March 6 of this year have allowed the people to speak voice their opinions without facing the backlash many in the country have been dealing with. Using the critical perspective, I will be able to learn and understand just how the spreading of news from inside the country to parts all over the world have put pressure to end the atrocious and unexplainable violence the Nicaraguan government is enacting upon its citizens.


  1. VAN OMMEN, ,ELINE. “Nicaragua: Navigating the Politics of Democracy.” Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 49, no. 4, 2017, pp. 990-991. ProQuest,, doi:

This book by Eline Van Ommen touches one all the biggest points in Nicaragua’s where democracy was tested and mainly how the spread of news in one country can lead to revolution and the growth of democracy. Ommen speaks a lot about the current president, Daniel Ortega, and how he led a revolution to then become the first elected president. In current times Ortega is seen as a dictator and this book tells of how he transitioned in Nicaraguan government. The source is published by Lynne Rienner Publishers, a scholarly and textbook publishing company based out of Colorado. This was found on ProQuest

2. Thaler, Kai M. “NICARAGUA: A RETURN TO CAUDILLISMO.” Journal of Democracy, vol. 28, no. 2, 2017, pp. 157-169. ProQuest,, doi:

This article written by Kai Thaler was published in the scholarly journal, “Journal of Democracy” in 2012. The article goes into deeper into the idea of the erosion of democracy in Nicaragua because of Ortega’s urge for power after democracy did not fall in his favor. He was the first to install democracy in Nicaragua and when it didn’t help him in future elections he decided to take a different approach that led to many of the problems facing Nicaragua now. This was found on ProQuest.

3. Al Jazeera. “Nicaragua’s Ortega Calls for Negotiations to End Crisis.” GCC News | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 22 Feb. 2019,

This article published by the highly popular Al Jazeera news magazine speaks about the recent events taking place in Mexico and some reactions of what is happening there. Ortega, the current president/dictator, is looking to engage in conversations to end the problems happening in Nicaragua under his control. This comes after the murder and arrest of many protestors that oppose his political power. Many of the people killed in protests were young college students and many arrested have been kept under the allegations of “terrorist” actions. This article speaks on what Ortega now wants to do after all this. This was found on

4. Mendieta, Emiliano Chamorro. “Gobierno De Ortega Revela Su Agenda De Diálogo y Convoca a La OEA.” La Prensa, 9 Mar. 2019,

This article is from a local newspaper in Managua, Nicaragua called La Prensa. This local newspaper covers all news in the country. This article is about what the government under Ortega’s rule is planning on doing now as the 2021 elections are coming up in a couple of years. The article speaks on how Ortega does not want to recognize the political prisoners he has imprisoned and that he does not plan on negotiating with many outside organizations trying to help people being held as prisoners and others who are advocating that he leaves office. This was found on

5. “Carlos Fernando Chamorro: Nicaraguan Journalist Flees Citing Threats.” BBC News, BBC, 21 Jan. 2019,

This article was published by one of the biggest news and media companies, BBC. It speaks about a Nicaraguan journalist who comes from a very influential family in the country. They have known the ins and outs of political war in Nicaragua and he can speak from very personal experiences what it is like to deal and live in times like those. The article speaks of his fleeing of Nicaragua after receiving multiple threats because of his writing that opposes Ortega’s government. This was found on

6. i Puig, Salvador M. “The Adaptation of the FSLN: Daniel Ortega’s Leadership and Democracy in Nicaragua.” Latin American Politics and Society, vol. 52, no. 4, 2010, pp. 79-IV. ProQuest,, doi:

This article was published by Cambridge University Press and is a scholarly journal about the Sandinista party in Nicaragua. The article goes into a bit of Nicaragua’s history with the rise of the Sandinista party that brought Democracy along with it, its falls during elections and its no most current rise up with Ortega being the president for a decade now. The articles main focus is undisputed leadership of Daniel Ortega and how he his political views to propel himself into a powerfully corruptive role of leadership. This was found on ProQuest.