February 18, 2021 | 34st.com
BRIDGING THE DISCIPLINE DIVIDE I’m a pre–med and studying English. That’s not a contradiction.
TABLE OF CONTENTS EG O
3 WORD ON THE STREET When Stories Grow Claws
Letter from the Editor On Taylor Swift, my first kiss, and becoming a curmudgeon
4 EGO OF THE WEEK Julie Chen
LOL 6 FILM & TV
Speaking with the Cast of Judas and the Black Messiah
Taylor Swift & Re-Recording Her Old Albums
Bridging the Discipline Divide
The Benefits of Art Therapy
LOL 22 UNDER THE BUTTON
hadn’t thought about Taylor Swift’s Fearless since the fall of my first year at Penn when I had a crush on a boy who shared the name—but not the spelling—of track four. I’d play it as I was doing my calculus homework in the Van Pelt reading room or as I was folding laundry in my shoebox dorm room. Then he didn’t reciprocate in the way I wanted, and I graduated onto the rest of the Swiftian canon where she sang about things far more relatable to my liminal college experience, like falling in love with new cities and eventually with someone who ends up becoming your best friend. Then, she announced she was rerecording her first Grammy–winning album in a bid to regain agency over her catalog after Scooter Braun bought and sold her masters to a private equity firm. The first single—a recorded version of “Love Story” dubbed "Taylor’s version"—leveled me in the way I imagine only looking at your wedding band after a divorce could. I cried, not because the song still twinkles, but because it wasn’t something that felt relatable anymore. When “Love Story,” first came out, it was my gold–standard of romance. If my first kiss didn’t feel like the crescendo of twangy strings before the bridge, I didn’t want it. In reality, my first kiss didn’t feel anything like that. None of my relationships have, as a matter of fact, and that’s because, in real life, love creeps up on you. It’s a lot less dramatic than Shakespearian allusions and orchestral melodies. Listening to “Love Story” in 2021 felt like I was trespassing. And as sad as that might sound, it's a good thing. It means that I’ve stopped comparing my experiences to the specter of Hollywood where everything is loud and spectacular and
Beatrice Forman, Editor–in–Chief Chelsey Zhu, Campus Editor Mehek Boparai, Culture Editor Karin Hananel, Assignments Editor Lily Stein, Features Editor Denali Sagner, Features Editor Julia Esposito, Word on the Street Editor Hannah Lonser, Special Issues Editor Kyle Whiting, Music Editor Peyton Toups, Deputy Music Editor Kaliyah Dorsey, Focus Editor Emily White, Style Editor Eva Ingber, Ego Editor Aakruti Ganeshan, Arts Editor Harshita Gupta, Film & TV Editor Isabel Liang, Design Editor Alice Heyeh, Street Design Editor Mia Kim, Deputy Design Editor Jesse Zhang, Street Multimedia Editor Caylen David, Street Audience Engagement Editor Features Staff Writers: Sejal Sangani, Angela Shen, Lindsey Perlman, Mira Sydow, Amy Xiang, Pranav
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hyperbolic. It means that I like the mundanity of my life. In the most basic sense, it means I’m growing up. This edition of Street is about revisiting our expectations and realizing that, as high as they were, they come up short of the real thing. We have personal essays about accepting our fault in breakups and fumbling through sex, even if romantic comedies tell us otherwise. We have a feature about the realization that medicine takes empathy and cross–cultural understanding, something that’s left out of Grey’s Anatomy’s winding plot lines. Mostly, our writers are reminding you that it’s okay to hate the things you once loved. It’s okay to change.
Illustration by Alice Heyeh SSSF,
Mishra Focus Beat Writers: Rema Bhat, Kira Wang, Jean Paik, Gabs Raffetto Style Beat Writers: Tara O'Brien, Naomi Kim, Matthew Sheeler, Ego Beat Writers: Maddie Muldoon, Nick Plante, Fernanda Brizuela, Saranya Dash Sharma, Lily Suh Music Beat Writers: Emily Moon, Allison Stillman, Nora Youn, Evan Qiang Arts Beat Writers: Jessa Glassman, Avneet Randhawa Film & TV Beat Writer: Arielle Stanger Staff Writers: Meg Gladieux, Aidah Qureshi, Jillian Lombardi, Kathryn Zhu, Alice Heyeh, Phuong Ngo, Aria Vyas Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophie Dai, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep Bhargava, Liwa Sun, Sukhmani Kaur, Alexandra Morgan Audience Engagement Associates: Kira Wang, Samara Kleiman, Shana Ahemode, Stephanie Nam, Yamila Frej Design Associates: Gillian Diebold, Felicity Yick, Sudeep Bhargava
Copy Editor: Brittany Darrow Cover Design by Alice Heyeh Contacting 34th Street Magazine: If you have questions, comments, complaints or letters to the editor, email Bea Forman, Editor-In-Chief, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us at (215) 422–4640. www.34st.com
©2021 34th Street Magazine, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. No part may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express, written consent of the editors (but I bet we will give you the a–okay.) All rights reserved. 34th Street Magazine is published by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc., 4015 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19104, every Wednesday.
"from n*des to business just like that"
WORD ON THE STREET
When Stories Grow Claws I was the victim in my story, the villain in his. Part of growing up is acknowledging the harm I’ve caused. Illustration by Alice Heyeh
ou would think a lifetime of watching rom– coms and reading paperback romance novels would have prepared me for my first heartbreak. It didn’t even come close. I guess it’s because those stories usually have a happy ending, or at least the kind where the two people grow from the pain, move on, reflect fondly over their time spent together, and all that other flowery shit. (I’m looking at you, La La Land). But when I went through my first breakup, it felt like I’d reached the end of a cliff—there was nothing beyond but rock bottom. We’d been friends since we were 11 and started dating when we were 14. For three and a half years of high school, my days went like this: Wake up and text him good morning. Drive to school half an hour early to hang out with him before first period. Spend the handful of classes we shared holding hands under the table. Wander the halls after school sneaking kisses and laughing about nothing. Text him every five minutes until bed. Repeat. Yes, we were gross, but I was in love. He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first everything, and he knew me better than anyone. He knew I sometimes slept with my closet light on, got irrationally nervous ordering food at restaurants, and wished my parents would get divorced. I knew he hated bacon, was legally blind without his glasses, and still wished his parents hadn’t gotten divorced. I didn’t know who I was without him. That’s why I panicked when we started drifting apart during our senior year of high school. The more he pulled away, the tighter I held on, wondering what I was doing wrong. Still, I was shocked when he broke up with me while we sat in his car in our high school parking lot. He avoided my eyes as he told me he wanted to focus on himself before college. (“It’s not you, it’s me”). The months that followed were, and still are, the worst months of my life. We saw each other multiple times a day, every day, in classes. I was constantly on the verge of tears. Everyone we knew took sides in the breakup, and I lost one of my closest friends in the process. Just
two months later, he started dating someone else, and his words about focusing on himself played on repeat in my head whenever I saw them together. Yeah, bullshit. My family didn’t know how to help me. My parents put me in therapy, then took me out after two sessions because it was “just a breakup.” I became a regular at my guidance counselor’s door. I still came to school early— but instead of seeing my ex, I sat crying in my band director’s office as he awkwardly (but kindly) told me that heartbreak doesn’t last forever. I didn’t believe him. It felt like my best friend had died, and a stranger with his face had replaced him. The worst part was that I didn’t understand why things went downhill. If the person who knew me best in the world didn’t want to be with me, what did that say about me? The above version of the story was the one I told myself over and over. It’s the one I really believed, but it’s not the truth. Or not the full one, anyway. It took me months to figure it out. In the meantime, I was hurt and confused. I scoured internet forums looking for answers. Why did he break up with me? Was I not good enough? Was there something wrong with me? I found the subreddit r/relationship_advice, a forum for people to post about their relationship issues. I recognized bits and pieces of myself in other people’s stories. Someone would post about having a clingy, emotional partner, and my stomach would sink as the commenters clamored for a breakup. I read post after post about people doing hurtful things that I knew I’d done. The comments were decisive: It was manipulation and emotional abuse. The parts of myself that I saw on the subreddit were honest and ugly. I hadn’t consciously acknowledged them because they didn’t fit into the story I’d told myself about the breakup: We had the perfect relationship, he sabotaged it out of nowhere, and he didn’t even care that I was hurting. The following is another version of the story that includes everything I didn’t want to admit: I tied my self–worth to him and our relationship. Whenever we had an argument, I felt like it was an at-
tack on me. I guilted him by saying that I didn’t deserve him and that I hated myself, forcing him to forget the argument and comfort me instead. I was suspicious and jealous of his friends, and I became passive aggressive when he chose to talk to them instead of me. I wanted all of his time and attention. After we broke up, I still texted him every day, hoping that we would get back together. I’d tell him that I was lonely, I was depressed, I was suicidal. I manipulated him into supporting me. Finally, when he decided to date someone else, I blew up our friend group by lashing out at anyone who stayed in contact with him. I didn’t lose my friends—I pushed them away. I was insecure, controlling, and emotionally abusive. I had painted myself as the victim in my own narrative, but in reality, I was the villain. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I knew it was the truth. Though I eventually moved on from the pain of the breakup, the realization that I had such a lack of self–awareness clawed at me. At that time in high school, it was easy to wave away any doubts about my actions. I thought I was just saying what I felt. How could expressing my emotions be manipulative? I learned through Reddit that using words and feelings to control another person is the foundation of emotional abuse. It’s a form of abuse that can be difficult to recognize because the tell–tale signs—which include irrational jealousy, guilt–tripping, and intentionally withholding affection—are often subtle. They might initially appear like the run–of–the–mill arguments that all couples have. In my own relationship, I never thought I was doing anything wrong. Looking back, it’s because I used my emotions as an excuse to completely ignore his. It’s three years later and I still think about him. Not because I miss him—the perfect relationship I thought we had wasn’t real. It’s because I’m still afraid that I might be lying to myself about my actions. It’s my obligation to carry my fear so I’ll never act that way again. It took me years to come to terms with my role as an abuser, but I was able to change my narrative—by destroying it and starting again. F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E
EGO OF THE WEEK
HOMETOWN: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania MAJOR: Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology (M&T), Computer Science, and Operations, Information, and Decisions (OID)
BY MADDIE MULDOON
JULIE CHEN 34th Street Magazine: What activities at Penn are you most passionate about? Julie Chen: I think every year I've gone through phases and worn many different hats. Right now it’s probably Contrary, which is an early stage venture capital firm that invests up to $500,000 in student–founded startups. My job is the coolest thing in the world. I get to talk to founders at Penn who are building really interesting companies and startups, and I basically go through the entire investing process and see if we want to invest $500,000. It’s been really fun to do the investing stuff, but also to get to know some of the smartest people on campus and put on really fun events. We do founder happy hours and community building things, we bring in really cool speakers, and we had a pitch competition last semester. A lot of startup ecosystem stuff at Penn has been my recent most important thing. STREET: How did you become involved with Contrary? JC: I kind of fell into it. At the end of my high school senior year, I founded a nonprofit startup called Peerlift. It’s an ed–tech startup that helps low–income, first–generation high school students find resources for college. We incorporated as a company, we had a whole team, and we had people at 92 high schools as our representatives across the country. That was kind of how I entered this startup 4
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ecosystem at Penn. Because I had Peerlift, I was pitching to all of the people who were giving out money, and I was applying for all of the programs, and getting all of these Penn mentors. So then, when I was really involved, I realized that the other side of startups is the people who give you the money. At first, I was the one asking for money, but then I realized that I would love to be on the helpful side, where I can help young founders and direct people to the right resources. So then I found Contrary. Contrary is awesome because it is still a startup within itself. Contrary is only five years old, and I was really excited by the prospect of being able to build Contrary at Penn. So I found Contrary and started investing with them, and I have been for the past three years now. When the pandemic hit, I realized that classes were just useless for me. I wasn't getting anything out of virtual classes—I hated it—and I was super unmotivated and under–stimulated. I realized that I was getting so much more out of [Contrary], and so I pass/failed all my classes. For the past three semesters, I’ve been working full–time for Contrary, and it’s been so fun. I get to build Contrary nationally at 40 schools, and it's been the best learning experience that I have had in college. STREET: What is your role on the 2021 Class Board? JC: I have been the vice president of external affairs for the past four years, which is crazy to say because it makes me feel very old. Class
ACTIVITES: 2021 Class Board, M&T Student Board, Contrary, Hack4Impact, Chi Omega Beta Alpha Sorority, Friars Senior Society, Bell Senior Society, and Hexagon Senior Society
Board was probably the first club that I was interested in in college. I ran my [first] year and I won, and every year after that I’ve just been continuing to run and planning really fun events for the class. Class Board really taps into the huge school and community side of me. I really love bringing people together and putting on traditions—things that people will remember in ten years—and that’s just so special to me. I never thought I would do it, but I have been on Class Board for the past four years, and I think it’s the biggest impact [on traditions] that I’ve made at Penn. STREET: How would you describe your involvement with M&T? JC: M&T is also one of my favorite communities because it is so small, and it feels like a little home within the larger Penn [community]. Every class of M&T is around 50 people, so there’s 200 people total in M&T. I've kind of been involved in different ways. I’ve been formally involved on the M&T Board. I was the vice president of social [committee], so I put on social events and formals and everything, which is what I like to do. I love doing that and bringing people together. But I also think broadly, I was always in the M&T office, and I’m super active in terms of getting to know underclassmen and upperclassmen. The people older than me in M&T are my biggest role models. I turn to them with every question I have—from classes to jobs to relationships. They pretty much raised me at Penn, and I’m so grateful for them, so I’m trying to pay it forward to the underclassmen in M&T. I love how everyone in M&T is so self–motivated to do something. Some people are really motivated
E G O OEF GTOH E W E E K
in their clubs, or their own startups, or their classes, or their research, and everyone just pushes me to be a better version of myself because they’re so inspirational to me. STREET: What's next for you after Penn? JC: I don't know what I'm going to do after graduation. I’m a senior, and I had an existential crisis of sorts last fall when I was deciding what I wanted to do full–time. I actually ended up turning down my full–time offer from my internship last summer, from Bessemer Venture Partners, which is an amazing, awesome venture capital firm. I really loved the work I did there, but I kind of just had this two–week period where I was doing a lot of soul–searching, which is scary to think about at the age of 21. But I was doing a lot of soul–searching because I realized that I had taken such an easy path in college, where I was applying to things a year in advance, getting an internship or a job, taking that internship or job, and then just taking all these steps to do so. I never really stopped and thought about what I loved doing, or what I was passionate and curious about. So for the first time ever, I said no to an easy option. I am currently looking to work for a startup in New York. I haven’t started my job search yet because the startup timeline is really weird, but all I know for sure is that a year from now, I will be living in New York with two of my best friends. I have no idea what I’m going to be doing, but I’m excited about it.
LIGHTNING ROUND STREET: Last song you listened to? JC: "Painkillers" by Rainbow Kitten Surprise. STREET: What’s something that people wouldn’t guess about you? JC: I hate first dates. I’m a very extroverted, outgoing person, but I really hate first dates. STREET: If you were a building on campus, which one would you be and why? JC: The M&T office right by the LOVE statue, just because I spent all of my waking hours on campus in that building, and it’s where I’ve made most of my M&T friends. STREET: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? JC: I always say stopping time because I would love to just take a nap anytime that I wanted, and to take a few deep breaths at any given moment. STREET: There are two types of people at Penn… JC: People who wake up at 5 a.m., and people who go to bed at 5 a.m. STREET: And you are...?
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FILM & TV
SPEAKING WITH THE CAST OF
Judas and the Black Messiah The film everyone needs to watch during Black History Month | ARIELLE STANGER
ebruary is Black History Month, and in the wake of recent protests and riots against police brutality, it’s vital that we honor it by educating ourselves and each other. When high school history classes reach the Civil Rights Era, textbooks feature figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes Malcolm X, but gloss over hundreds of other Black pioneers and heroes. Most of us don't even learn about the Black Panther Party, which made strides forward for its communities but was vilified by the American government. Director Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, which was released in mid–February, highlights the overlooked pieces of Black history. The film tells the story of Fred Hampton, who was chairman of the Illinois chapter of the 6
Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, until his assassination by the United States government in 1969. Street had the opportunity to attend a roundtable with the cast, including stars Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, and Dominique Fishback, as well as Algee Smith, Darrell Britt–Gibson, and Dominique Thorne. Every actor spoke with the cadence and passion of a poet, leaving the attendees feeling empowered and in awe—even over Zoom. The film begins with real historical footage of civil rights speeches, protests, and headlines, which set the scene for the audience: Chicago, 1968. Though Hampton, an ardent revolutionary played by the talented Kaluuya, draws the audience's attention whenever he's on screen, Judas and the Black Messiah centers its narrative on the
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man responsible for his death: William O'Neal, played by Stanfield. Arrested for impersonating an FBI official, the real and fictional versions of O'Neal were threatened with jail time but presented with a deal: infiltrate the Black Panthers as an FBI informant and report back on a regular basis. Using O'Neal's information, the Chicago police raided Hampton's home and murdered him in his sleep. He was only 21. Stanfield built his character by watching an hour–long, uncut version of the only interview O'Neal ever gave. The actor revealed that he didn't like his character at first, but he eventually noticed cracks in O'Neal's seemingly confident demeanor. Stanfield wanted to play up the character's insecurities. Rather than presenting O'Neal as a two–dimensional villain, he approached the
character with empathy. In the film, William O'Neal is an anxious, self–centered young man facing a moral dilemma, making a series of wrong choices when backed into a corner, and digging himself deeper into the pit of deceit and discomfort. Fishback, who played Hampton's partner Deborah Johnson, discussed how the cast consulted and tried to do right by Hampton's living family members. Akua Njeri (formerly Deborah Johnson) and their son Fred Hampton Jr. advised the actors through frequent set visits. Their involvement added a personal layer of authenticity to the cinematic story of Hampton's life. Judas and the Black Messiah portrays Hampton as the multi–faceted person he was. In the film, he is both a passionate orator who incited revolutionary change, and a man who fell in love with a poet and was expecting to become a father. In one heart– wrenching scene, Johnson reads a poem about motherhood to Hampton—Fishback revealed that she wrote the poem herself, and that it was the trust she had with Kaluuya that enabled both to
act with vulnerability. Reflecting on balancing the different aspects of Hampton's character, as well as the responsibility of portraying a major leader of the civil rights movement, Kaluuya shared a saying about his acting methodology: "Show up, tell the truth, go home." Having the guidance of Hampton's family allowed Kaluuya to fully embody his character. Once that feeling possessed him, he revealed he couldn't portray the character any other way. The cast harbors a deep connection with their roles and the story they tell together onscreen. They didn't just act the part—they became it, resulting in a performance and film that was both respectful to history and deeply impactful on its audience. Kaluuya recognized that there are elements of every character within all of us. We all want to love and be loved, and often it's the people we surround ourselves with that shape us. Kaluuya wants audiences to know that Hampton was the "mouthpiece of a larger body," and without the body, there's no need for a mouthpiece. Anyone can make a difference. It's about creating a commu-
FILM & TV
nity with a sense of "oneness in terms of values and priorities," thus building a strong foundation from which voices will naturally flow. Much of the cast revealed that they ultimately wanted the film to inspire conversation and change the future by telling a story from the past. Judas and the Black Messiah is a mirror in which we can see reflections of ourselves and our world. Just like Hampton, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home, showing that, despite decades passing, we are grappling with the same tragedies and systemic issues now as we were in the late '60s. The American government, and by extension law enforcement officers, still inflict violence on Black people every day. Smith pointed out the blatant dehumanization of Black victims. In the film,
Smith plays Jake Winters, a young Panther who dies in a violent police shootout. Winter's mother wants him to be remembered as the man he was, not just as a criminal. However, over 50 years later, the media still amplifies the flaws of Black victims rather than mourning the unjust loss. The film shines a harsh spotlight on all the work we still have to do. Hampton's speeches reflect how progressive his ideas were decades ago. He discussed race inequality, classism, socialism, universal health care, and women's rights. Smith, Britt–Gibson, and Thorne related the work of the Black Panthers to the youth they hope will watch the film: a generation of students with the potential to make a similar impact. They stressed the importance of educating yourself
about civil rights leaders who are overlooked by the educational curriculum, as well as
to throw ourselves into an "ocean of uncomfortable conversations ... because that's
Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers about modern–day injustices. Britt–Gibson wants to know what the conversation around social equity will look like a year, two years, even ten years after the release of Judas and the Black Messiah. Though the film may be difficult to watch at times, he urges us
where real change happens." Even O'Neal, though he made immoral choices, can give us food for thought. Stanfield hinted that audience members may find themselves relating to O'Neal far more than they would like to. O'Neal took the route
of self–preservation, but Hampton was the man of the people willing to put his life on the line for the communities he empowered—the titular Black Messiah. Thorne warned that choosing to be apolitical, as O'Neal tried to do, equates to being complicit in injustice. Black History Month is about more than just celebrating and commemorating the past. It is about educating yourself on the violence and cruelty of past injustices and then applying that knowledge to better the world. Judas and the Black Messiah, with its compelling narrative, its balance of inevitable tragedy and inspirational hope, and its brilliant cast, doesn't only brings Hampton's story to life. It inspires audiences to share his tragically short–lived revolutionary fire and seek effective change.
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Matt Klitscher | Amazon Studios
FILM & TV
The Wilds IS THE BEST SHOW YOU’RE NOT WATCHING
It’s so much more than a gender–swapped 'Lord of the Flies.' | MEG GLADIEUX The following contains mild thematic spoilers for 'The Wilds.'
hat’s more traumatic; being stranded on a deserted island with eight strangers and no promise of rescue, or navigating the torment of late adolescence? That’s the question that The Wilds poses to its audience, rather brazenly. “What was so fucking great about the lives we left behind?” says Leah, who serves as the narrator for the first episode. She’s being interviewed by two men who introduce themselves as a social worker and investigative agent; Leah is tasked with recounting the trauma 8
of a plane crash that left her stranded on a deserted island with eight other teenage girls, the circumstances of which are still a mystery. “Yeah there was trauma, but being a teenage girl in normal–ass America—that was the real living hell." Amazon pitches The Wilds as “part survival drama, part [dystopian] slumber party.” All of the girls have gaps in their memories after their plane crashes on the way to “Dawn of Eve,” an all–inclusive girl–power retreat in Hawaii. The show hops between three timelines—the lives of each of the girls before embarking for the retreat, their survival on the island, and finally the present, where each girl is interviewed
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and trapped in some nondescript facility, “quarantined” from one another and forbidden from speaking to anyone but the two interviewers. The twisted story unfolds only through the girls’ collective memories. At ten episodes, each just under an hour, the show is a temporal and emotional commitment—but one that is certainly worthwhile. At the outset of The Wilds, the audience is pulled through a supercut of the lives of nine teenage girls from different walks of life. An angsty writer grieving the end of a relationship. Black, biracial twin sisters—one an all–star athlete, the other a bookworm. A bubbly nerd who gabs about her
long hours working at her parents’ restaurant and her love for P!nk. A Native American girl with a passion for dancing, and her best friend who’s bounced in and out of foster homes for her whole life. A vanity–obsessed, God–loving Texas pageant queen. An edgy outcast with serious survival skills. A cello–prodigy party girl breaking from her Pakistani parents’ conservatism. The island becomes a microcosm of class, and privilege, and religion, and sexuality—all of the girls holding each other under a microscope. But if that level of diversity and representation feels forced to you, you’re right. In real life, a group of girls this
FILM & TV
‘perfectly diverse’ wouldn’t end up on a plane together. But then you realize—that’s the point. At the end of the first episode, we’re brought into a huge conference room centered around a massive screen with multiple camera angles of the girls on the island. Nothing about this—not the crash, not the unnatural diversity of experiences, not even the fact that all of the girls know CPR—is coincidental. It’s all one big psychological experiment. These young women are meant to represent some perfect sample of the teenage girl experience, all in the name of some crooked science. It's a meta–commentary on film and TV’s colorblind casting, à la Hamilton and Bridgerton, and a revealing picture of the impossible American ideal of picture– perfect diversity, the kind you see on brochures for schools and on the backs of cereal boxes. Everything about The Wilds’ casting is deeply intentional— and it comments on on the need for complex representation as opposed to the tendency to cast for the sake of diversity, which has been the television industry’s half–hearted response to criticisms pointed at the lack of representation in entertainment. On paper, it sounds like an ABC Family teen drama with way too many storylines, attempting to provide commentary on every possible teenage trauma. It jumps to and from myriad themes: lust for an older man, internalized homophobia, eating disorders,
pedophilia, the foster care system, grief, loss, heartbreak. Yet unlike those teen dramas of yesteryear, The Wilds pulls all of it off with nuance, care, and bravado, covering a multitude of experiences without making it feel forced, or prescribing some solution to the issues. There’s the discomfort and insecurity of suddenly being thrown into a room full of fellow teenage girls, knowing all too well their judgmental nature. It helps, too, that the cast has incredible chemistry. Though all the actresses are relatively unknown, each of their portrayals feels like a breakout role, shining both individually and as an ensemble. The girls are certainly troubled, but The Wilds isn’t attempting to impart life lessons on its audience from their trauma. The Wilds illustrates a certain reclamation of the melodrama of being a teenage girl. While the dialogue feels slightly dated and uninformed—calling someone "agro" is hardly an accurate representation of the American Gen Z lexicon—the writing as a whole perfectly captures the contemporary teenage experience: the trauma of being a teenage girl, the obsession, the lust, the intensity of every interaction, the over– analysis of every conversation and text message. Even on the island, as they fight to survive, each girl is haunted not by the fear of what comes next, but by the angsty memories of the issues they left behind. None of them want to admit it, but as desperate as they are to be
rescued, none are particularly eager to return to the lives they’ve been stranded from. All of it perfectly captures the intense confusion and trauma of being in your late teens, on the precipice of independence, but feeling in control of nothing—filled with the paranoia that whoever is piloting your plane is going to crash; whoever is feeding you false narratives of safety and security is really lying to you; whoever you’re trusting to protect and care for you is actually the one holding you hostage. They starve, they fight, they build fires; they build a sex doll out of a washed–up mannequin, get high on weed gummies, and drink too much vodka. It’s a twisted, nightmarish depiction of the strange dynamic of teenage friendships—the passive aggression, the calculated remarks, the condescension— but also the intense emotional bond, hyper empathy, and fragility of being a young and traumatized woman. The cadre of a participant–based psychological experiment is the perfect metaphor for the facade of control and ultimate powerlessness of late adolescence. Don’t worry though—this show isn’t all feminist, girl– power propaganda. In fact, it’s a direct critique of that tired, white–feminist, heteronormative “Future is Female” motto. The functional villain of the show, Gretchen, a debauched psychological researcher behind the “Dawn of Eve” experiment is a stereotypical pantsuit– wearing ‘girlboss.’ She’s been
exiled from the field for her radical and boundary–pushing experiments. Though a complex character herself, she’s easy to hate and becomes the show’s primary antagonist, a biting commentary on corporate feminism and the banal girl– power narrative of the female empowerment she preaches. It’s a feminist show that rejects mainstream feminism, taking a close look at each of the girls on the island and their personal struggles of creating their own versions of feminism as they come into themselves. Each version is imperfect and fraught, yet unique to each of their individual experiences. Some have compared it to a gender–swapped Lord of the Flies, but that analogy fundamentally ignores The Wilds’s premise: these are teenage girls being intentionally held in exile by a high–powered she–boss that claims to care for them. It takes after Lost in its flashbacks to the characters’ experiences and the intrigue of the mysterious circumstances of the power that holds them in exile. Though unlike Lost’s evasive twists and mysteries, The Wilds lets its audience know from the beginning that everything is not as it seems. It’s as much a story of late adolescence as it is about survival and exile. And after a climactic finale that raises a slew of new questions and a renewal for a second season, The Wilds is still leaving its viewers feeling a little lost. But with a strong cast and promising reception, it seems to know where it’s taking us.
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Why is Taylor Swift Re–Recording her Old Albums? “Love Story” is the first of many. But why is Swift re–recording her music in the first place? | EMILY MOON
e were both young when I first saw you” is a fitting beginning to Taylor Swift’s journey of re–recording her old catalog of music, from debut album Taylor Swift to reputation. Last week, in a surprise announcement on Good Morning America, Swift revealed she had finished recording her second studio album, Fearless, and would be releasing it “soon.” Midnight of that day, Swift dropped “Love Story (Taylor’s version),” featuring new album art that fits more appropriately into her folklore and evermore era. Swift also announced that she'd include six never–before–released songs from the 2008 album's sessions. Swift’s return to a 13–year–old album brings us back to the height of 2008 pop culture with classics like “You Belong With Me” and “The Way I Loved You.” It’s the album that placed Swift on the precipice of becoming one of the most influential stars of our generation, kickstarting a long and illustrious genre–bending career. But why is she re–recording her early discography in the first place? Swift began her career in 2006 after signing with Scott Borchetta’s independent label Big Machine Records. During her 12 years with Borchetta, her music made up almost 35% of the label’s market share. When she decided to leave Big Machine Records to sign with Universal Music Group in 2018, Big Machine Records held onto the rights for all master recordings up to her sixth studio album, reputation. The legal situation forced Swift to relinquish her life's work into the hands of her old label, perhaps explaining why she made ownership of master recordings a prerequisite with her new contract under UMG. Lover, Swift’s first self–owned album, stands out from all six of its predecessors with the omission of her name on the album cover—there was no need to place a claim on something that was already hers. Even though Swift held the rights to all future music created after signing to UMG, she still didn’t fully own her earlier albums. To make matters worse, 10 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21
Borchetta sold Big Machine Records to Scooter Braun’s company, Ithaca Holdings, just a year after she left the label. Braun—former manager for Swift’s longtime rival Kanye West—owning her lifetime work was her “worst case scenario.” She released an impassioned statement on Tumblr explaining she had “pleaded for a chance to own [her] work” for years, but Borchetta instead offered a contractual opportunity to sign back to Big Machine Records and “earn one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.” She then details how she knew that once she signed that proposed contract, Borchetta would sell the label, and, with it, her and all of her future work. After refusing chance to return to Big Machine Records, Swift faced the disappointment of watching her personal music fall into the hands of someone who had played a part in orchestrating one of the "lowest points" in her career. Borchetta responded to Swift’s Tumblr post with a defensive statement, denying that he and Braun blindsided Swift or worked with malicious intent. He also denied Swift’s claim that they both prevented her from performing her old music in any recorded music events. While he wrote that “Scooter [Braun] was never anything but positive about Taylor,” Braun clearly took a stance against Swift during the Kanye West drama in 2016. Braun, smiling in a FaceTime screenshot with Kanye West and Justin Bieber, appeared on Bieber’s Instagram with a taunting caption “Taylor swift what up” following a recorded phone conversation between West and Swift. Swift's eighth studio album, folklore, seems to address the complicated legal situation with Braun and Borchetta through mature songs that completely contrast her bubblegum pop sound in Lover. In "my tears ricochet," she references Borchetta's bid to get her to stay with Big Machine Record Label with, "And if I'm dead to you, why are you at the wake? / Cursing my name, wishing I stayed / Look at how my tears ricochet." Swift also crafts a story of a
Illustration by Sylvia Zhao scorned woman in "mad woman" that doubles as an illustration of the frustration that came with battling Braun both in the court of public opinion in 2016 as well as for legal control of her early work years later. "I'm taking my time, taking my time / 'Cause you took everything from me" reads like a promise. Since Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine Record Label in 2019, Swift’s early music has once again changed hands without her knowledge. Braun sold Swift’s Big Machine–released masters for over $300 million to Shamrock Holdings in 2020, which Swift addressed in a tweet. While she initially considered a partnership with Shamrock, learning that Braun would continue to profit off her work for the foreseeable future under their terms was a “non–starter.” Then, she announced she had begun re–recording her music in order to produce new master recordings similar to the originals. By creating these recordings, Swift is essentially devaluing the old masters and taking back the legal ability to license her own music to third parties such as TV shows, movies, and commercials. Swift has already flexed her newfound autonomy over her new masters by licensing the use of “Love Story (Taylor’s version)” in Ryan Reynolds’ Match.com commercial. In recreating her old music, Swift is in the unique position of revisiting her past under a new lens. She's also taking all of her fans back throughout her evolution as an artist, a journey that millions of people have joined her for. Her music has been a part of my life since I first watched the original “Love Story” music video at eight years old, stars in my eyes as she sported that iconic princess dress. She has held my hand and sung to me as I grew up, warned me about boys I hadn't met yet, and gave me music to blast in the car with some of my best friends. Now, over a decade later, I get to watch her return to some of her earliest work, now weathered by legal battles, publicized humiliation and heartbreak, and 13 more years of life experience. It's nostalgic, it's admirable, and it's fearless.
Weezer's Quirks Shine Through On OK Human Though Weezer may never return to the heights of Pinkerton, their latest record is authentic in its simplicity. | ALLISON STILLMAN
Image Courtesy of Atlantic (2021)
eezer’s music is known for being saturated in satirical nuances. Rivers Cuomo, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the infamous rock band, has the incredible ability to intertwine desolate emotion with an exuberant backbeat and catchy melody. We’ve seen it in the popular hit “Island in the Sun,” a song about running away from the bleakness of reality into an exultant paradise. Again, throughout their 1996 album Pinkerton, Weezer weaves a depressing tale in songs like “Long Time Sunshine” and “Across the Sea” against an electrifying rock beat. OK Human, released on Jan. 29, does just the same; the album is starkly realistic, providing insight into the emotion of isolation during COVID–19, while maintaining an unforgettable instrumental structure. OK Human, a play on Radiohead’s OK Computer, is wholeheartedly authentic and showcases a new face of Weezer’s music. Cuomo stripped away the many layers of ironic subtleties that typically permeate his lyrical style and created a passionate masterpiece. The
emotion and cynicism of this album reflect the reality of being human, as the name bluntly suggests. The album feels outlandishly straightforward. Throughout the 12 tracks, Weezer emphasizes the emotional and physical toll of being alone, a remarkably relevant topic following the dreadful months of quarantine and lockdown orders. Perhaps this in itself is what makes this album so unforgettable. The album opens with “All My Favorite Songs,” the preliminary single released on Jan. 21. The song unfolds from a dulcet flute into an orchestral showpiece, with simplistic lyrics that express complex anxieties. Cuomo describes the song as an “opportunity to just sing about whatever I was feeling in the moment, and explore my anxieties.” His lyrical objectives are executed flawlessly. In moments of explicit overthinking, Cuomo sings, “I love parties, but I don’t go / Then I feel bad when I stay home” and “Sometimes I wish I was on an island / But then I’d miss the sound of sirens.” These paradoxical themes of an internal battle be-
tween anxiety and reality introduce references to Simon & Garfunkel’s song “I Am a Rock” and “The Sound of Silence,” as well as Weezer’s own “Island in the Sun.” “All My Favorite Songs” masterfully weaves together the mixed sentiments of being alone: a feeling somewhere between solace and isolation. The transition between “All My Favorite Songs” and “Aloo Gobi” is effortless. The lyrics describe the mundanities of life: “They say that life gets sweet as years go by / But mine has lost its flavor like this chai.” The song pays homage to an Indian dish that Cuomo would eat often with his wife, an extended metaphor to describe how life was taken for granted prior to lockdown. This theme continues in “Grapes Of Wrath,” which discusses the simple act of listening to the Steinbeck novel on Audible. Then, on “Playing my Piano,” Cuomo delves into the notion of escapism and how it can become a dangerous game. His complete abandonment of personal responsibility (“I haven’t washed my hair in three weeks / I should get back to these Zoom interviews”) and withdrawal from reality (“Kim Jong–un could blow up my city, I’d never know”) seem ironically realistic. The relevance of these songs, discussing the ways in which isolation can make us feel insignificant, is overtly straightforward compared to previous Weezer albums—drenched in ironic innuendos—and casts a new light on Cuomo’s songwriting. These elementary ideas that Weezer masterfully utilizes as a disguise for OK Human’s pessimistic core are furthered throughout the album in songs like “Screens” and “Here Comes The Rain.” “Screens” is quite literally about the dissipation of human interaction due to online internet services, unfolding a tale of Cuomo witnessing his daughter sink into a virtual reality. “Here Comes the Rain,” a melancholic play on The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” has a colorful backbeat with a repetitive chorus discussing mainstream media and internet trolls. Again, Weezer maintains simplicity and unequivocal reality. Despite most of the album maintaining a positive aura, Weezer dexterously peppers in a few songs that are both heartbreaking and beautiful. A personal favorite on the album is “Bird with a Broken Wing.” This song is so emotionally raw, with Cuomo belting “I still have a song to sing.” The lyrics are both sorrowful and sweet, providing insight into the depths of his insecurities and regrets. “Dead Roses” is another desolate orchestral song about being trapped and alone; “Numbers” is all about self–consciously picking out our own flaws. These topics are dually sensitive and pregnable, executed in a refined rock orchestra. Weezer’s 14th studio album, OK Human, is a culmination of Cuomo’s songwriting artistry and steadfast fanbase. The album’s raw emotion is unrestricted and free, serving as a preview to Weezer’s 15th studio album Van Weezer which is set to come out later this year. Fans can expect this album to center around heavy guitars and bass, rather than OK Human’s emphasis on orchestral instruments.
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Illustration by Alice Heyeh
BRIDGING THE DISCIPLINE DIVIDE I’m a pre–med studying English. That’s not a contradiction. | EVA INGBER
h a d n e ver been awake inside an operating room before, but that changed the summer before my senior year of high school. I spent hours blinking under the fluorescent lights, the smell of antiseptic tickling my nose, as I watched surgeons cut, staple, drill, and suture bodies on the operating table. Inspired by my professional aspirations and encouragement from friends and family (as well as a residual middle school obsession with Grey’s Anatomy), I had applied to a program to shadow doctors and surgeons at Hahnemann University Hospital. I hoped that the experience would help me determine if I was ready to begin the long, arduous—yet worthwhile—journey to becoming a doctor. I still remember my first day of the program. I changed into full surgical garb and went into the operating room to witness a colorectal surgery on a patient with cancer. The operating surgeon told me he was removing the patient’s colon and rectum, performing a J–pouch procedure to attach the small intestine to the anus and, in doing so, essentially create a new rectum.
“We can have all of these theories and discoveries, which are great, but if you’re not able to communicate them, then it’s not valuable to anyone else.” — Adrian Ke (C’23)
“There is something internally wrong, something structurally wrong within our systems that will not be fixed from a sole statistical or scientific lens." — Miles Meline (C’22) 11
The surgeon was warm and kind, smiling often at me and the nurses. He fastidiously pointed out each cut and cauterization so we could follow along. Upon removing the colon and rectum, the surgeon looked at me. “Here,” he said softly. “Want to hold it?” He gingerly placed the mangled, bloody flesh into my gloved hands. It was still warm. I often think back to that moment, to the jumbled concoction of emotions that I felt all at once: shock that I was holding a part of the human body, sadness for the patient who just lost an organ, but also reverence for the ingenuity of medicine. I’ve considered a career in medicine since I was a child, admiring the selflessness and altruism I’d witnessed from doctors throughout my life. Now, spring 2021 is my fourth semester on the pre–med track. It’s also the semester that I’ve officially declared my major—one that seems, at first glance, incongruous with my current professional aspiration. As much as I’m interested in the prospect of being a doctor right now, I’m also awed by the beauty and power of language. I’m pre–med, but I’m also a proud English major. Humanities majors within the pre–med community are a rare breed. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only about 1,700 out of 53,000 medical school applicants and matriculants in the 2020–2021 school year majored in a humanities discipline. STEM disciplines like biology, chemistry, and neuroscience are most commonly chosen by aspiring doctors. But what happens if you don’t fit the mold? What if you’re interested in medicine, but also fascinated by something else—a discipline that seems unconventional or unrelated to your profes-
sional dream? Can you become a doctor—and a good one at that—without living, breathing, and sleeping science? Adrian Ke (C ’23) is a pre–med sophomore studying history. Though she loves medicine and grew up with doctors for parents, she says that she’s never been much of a “science girl.” When she arrived at Penn, Adrian was immediately drawn to the History Department. Most would peg her as a 'non–traditional' pre–med student, but she argues that history is more related to medicine than people might think. “There’s something comforting about studying the facts [in history], just like you’re studying the facts in the hard sciences,” Adrian says. “It’s a matter of how you see patterns in those facts that just turn into these stories—ways of understanding that, I think, are really valuable.” Adrian believes that, by studying history, she is also setting herself up to become a better doctor. “History is really valuable—American history, especially—for understanding the systems of inequality that have been built up, and how those have affected the health of a lot of Americans, specifically racial minorities,” she says. Adrian points to historic cases that highlight how medical professionals have taken advantage of marginalized communities and infringed on individuals’ rights under the guise of ‘the greater good.’ Black communities in particular have been victims of this abuse of power. In 1932, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study planned to monitor the progression of the venereal disease by studying 600 Black men, none of whom were given effective treatment even as their symptoms led to devastating health consequences—and sometimes death. Penn’s hands aren’t clean either: The legacy of Albert Kligman, a Penn dermatologist who experimented on hundreds of incarcerated Black men at Holmesburg Prison, is a painful reminder of how medicine can hurt instead of help. Adrian’s studies have also taught her the importance of communication. “I feel like there’s just so much value to being able to articulate yourself and to understand more deeply the cultural context in which medicine exists and in which the sciences exist,” Adrian says. “We can have all of these theories and discoveries, which are great, but if you’re not able to communicate them, then it’s not valuable to anyone else.” Miles Meline (C ’22) shares a similar experience. The college junior is majoring in both biology and philosophy while balancing the pre–med track. Like Adrian, Miles explains that, though he has always loved science, he’s never been interested in “exploring hardcore research.” He’d originally planned to be just a pre–med biology major, but after starting college, he felt something was missing. “Coming to Penn and first being introduced to the pre–med pressures and pre–med environment, it dissuaded me a lot,” Miles explains. “Being pre–med while also doing [a science major] started making science less meaningful because it just turned into me doing science for the sake of being pre–med.”
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After some introspection, Miles began to seek more interdisciplinary outlets. He stumbled upon a bioethics class, and something clicked: “What became really salient to me is how pre–med and medicine have so many problems that are rooted in flawed ethics, and flawed philosophies, and abused power, institutionalization, and westernization.” Throughout his undergraduate journey, Miles has reflected on how philosophy changed his approach to medicine. “I think it makes me doubtful in a way,” he says. “Medicine, the sciences, or any STEM field that’s really empirical has a lot of social power because people consider it to be more important than anything else. Philosophy is making me question the status quo of science and medicine.” J’Aun Johnson (C ’22), a pre–med junior studying romance languages with a concentration in French and Hispanic studies, also feels that his atypical educational path has shifted his perspective on medicine. After entering Penn with minimal proficiency in French and Spanish, J’Aun has since worked to become fluent in both languages. “If you’re pre–med, there is no such thing as a major you have to have. You can major in anything,” he says. “[Studying romance languages] has definitely opened up my eyes to how health care works in other countries. I can see there are some disparities in how the American health care system works. [I feel like I’m gaining] a general worldly mindset, understanding that there is more than one kind of medicine.” J’Aun’s studies have revealed how a focus on hard science can pigeonhole medicine, especially when it comes to bridging cross–cultural barriers. According to a 2012 study conducted by the United States Census Bureau, the Latinx community was the least likely racial or ethnic group to seek medical attention, yet is twice as likely to suffer complications from issues like Type 2 diabetes. The answer to this conundrum has less to do with access to health care, and more to do with heritage: Latinx households are more likely to use homeopathic or natural remedies than Western medicine to treat everything from the common cold to COVID–19, especially as rising COVID–19 cases in Mexico made families fear hospitals. It takes a “worldly mindset,” J’Aun believes, to understand the trust—or lack thereof—different communities have in health care and how that trust can affect their likelihood to seek treatment. The mindset J’Aun describes is something that Penn professor Jonathan Moreno embodies. Moreno is a professor in the Penn Integrates Knowledge program, which brings together "renowned scholars whose work draws from two or more academic disciplines and whose achievements demonstrate a rare ability to thrive at the intersection of multiple fields.” As a professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, History and Sociology of Science, and Philosophy, Moreno has always been fascinated with trying to “connect the dots” between different fields. “All of these areas, to me, are really answering the same basic question: What’s it about? As John Dewey said, ‘Life doesn’t confront us with disciplines—it confronts us with problems.’ Each discipline has something to contribute,” explains Moreno. “You don’t have to be an English major or a philosophy major [to be a good doctor], but you can’t help but think that it sensitizes you to a different way of seeing things.” Though Adrian, Miles, J’Aun, and I all have different humanities majors, we share a common goal: the hope that our studies will indeed “sensitize” us and help us to become more empathic doctors and human beings. If we’ve learned anything from the current pandemic, it’s that there is more to medicine than just hard science. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ethnic and racial minorities are at a higher risk of being severely impact-
ed by COVID–19 because of a variety of non–health related reasons: crowded living conditions that prevent proper distancing, low–income jobs that have more contact risk, lack of insurance, wealth gaps, and chronic stress from discrimination. And because of a legacy of neglect and mistreatment, people of color distrust the treatments offered by medical institutions, exacerbating unequal health outcomes. In one survey conducted in partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), only 34% of Latinx Americans and 14% of Black Americans “mostly or completely trust” the COVID–19 vaccine’s safety. 40% and 18%, respectively, believe the vaccine is effective. Addressing and fixing these foundational problems in health care, says Moreno, will require “[a variety] of disciplines to make it work.” Adrian, Miles, and J’Aun all say that the pandemic has reinforced their untraditional routes. Like many others, Adrian believes that the impact of COVID–19 has exposed dangerous structural inequalities, such as a lack of medical infrastructure and resources for minority communities. Miles and J’Aun echo these sentiments, emphasizing how this pandemic has given them time to take a step back and reflect on the changes that need to be made. “There is something internally wrong, something structurally wrong within our systems that will not be fixed from a sole statistical or scientific lens,” says Miles. “There needs to be other people in there to help informing how we can change. [People] that have backgrounds in psychology, or sociology, or philosophy, or history, or English, or anything. There needs to be not [just] science views.” Yet having one foot in the humanities and another in STEM has also made me experience firsthand a frustrating societal belief that many Penn students subscribe to: the notion that studying humanities is inferior to studying sciences. “Why do people look down on humanities majors? I think because we worship at the idol of quantification,” says Moreno. “Not every experience can be reduced to numerical metrics. Obviously, for many reasons, you want to be able to quantify. But there are some parts of the human experience that you can’t. The metaphor of the ‘hard’ sciences and ‘soft’ disciplines is really not helpful.” The humanities and sciences are often pitted against each other. Education has been broken down into limiting categories that are reflected in this seemingly harmless question: Are you a humanities or a STEM person? The pre–med track does require taking an English class—but Miles says this is often perceived by pre–med students as an obligation instead of an opportunity. “There is a pedagogy established for being pre–med, a norm where you only do humanities for the requirement,” he says. “I think one reason why pre–med STEM people are dissuaded by exploring the humanities is because they are predisposed to view it only as one step further to finishing pre–med, instead of viewing it as something that can inform their pre–med journey.” As I held the cancerous, swollen colon in my hands that first day of my summer program, I had a lightbulb moment. I thought to myself, "So, this is medicine— facts, flesh, skin, and bone." But really, health care is about much more than what happens in the operating room. At its core, medicine is about helping, healing, fixing, thinking, and caring for others. Being an English major helps me remember that.
"Not every experience can be reduced to numerical metrics. Obviously, for many reasons, you want to be able to quantify. But there are some parts of the human experience that you can’t." — Dr. Jonathan Moreno
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69th Street: How Sex Un–Education Fails to Prepare Us for Intimacy In this edition, Focus writer Gabs Raffetto discusses how a lack of sex education in high school left her overly reliant on television for advice. | GABS RAFFETTO
nyone else feel like they got the majority of their sex education from Netflix? You’re not alone if you do. The deeper our sensationalized consumer culture delves into streaming services and the flash fiction of social media, the more the teenage experience is put on display—most prominently, teenage sex. But how accurate are these portrayals of high school on Hulu and HBO? How honest are the social media influencers and bloggers that we subscribe to? My very limited sex education in middle school involved juvenile iMovie presentations on STDs, spontaneous classroom rounds of applause in reference to gonorrhea’s street name, and a BuzzFeed exposition on period–proof underwear. Worse was my high school sex education: It didn't even exist. New Jersey schools supposedly have some of the heaviest course loads when it comes to sex education. Yet, my public high school got away with never once hosting the dreaded 'sex talk.' Considering the discrepancy between my own educational experiences and the law, I’m not surprised to learn that my high school wasn’t alone in providing an insufficient sex education. Emiliano Castillo (C '24) says that in his high school sex ed classes, “they tried really hard to skirt around the topic of actual sex,” providing “little to no talk of forms of protection, and definitely no talk of anything outside the norm, like different sexualities.” Perhaps even more concerning than what high schools omit is what they actually teach students. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 17 states in the United States mandate that sex education instruction be “medically accurate,” six states mandate that only “negative information be provided on homosexuality,” and 29 states require
that abstinence be stressed. The last requirement reminds me of something stand–up comedian Taylor Tomilson once joked: “They used to tell us, ‘The safest sex is no sex,’ which is a lot like saying, ‘The safest travel is books.’” Meanwhile, Generation Z finds itself immersed in a digital age that has a very different approach to sex education: porn. I’m not talking about the sketchy internet searches that might give your computer a virus if you click on the wrong icon. I’m talking about my Game of Thrones fanatics, Bridgerton bingers, Gossip Girl indulgers, and Cosmopolitan lovers. Since streaming has become available to the masses, TV watching has become a much more intimate experience available anywhere on nearly any device. Streaming services now make it possible to put explicit content in shows and movies that would normally be banned from mainstream television. Now, it seems like almost all the hit shows available are too erotic to watch in the living room with your family. The idea of a 'family movie night' is almost impossible when you’re anxiously awaiting the cringe–worthy sex scene that will spoil the evening. But more important than the decrease of family TV time is how hypersexualized entertainment impacts our generation. Binge–worthy Netflix shows like One Tree Hill, Elite, and Riverdale portray overly sensationalized versions of high school teens played by 20— and 30–year–old actors—almost all of whom are incredibly sexually active. And though sexuality should be taken into account when depicting adolescence, many young people feel disconnected from the worlds that supposedly represent their intimate experiences. “[Sex is] presented as something that will just naturally occur in high school,” says Emiliano. “It
sets up this expectation that suggests anyone who doesn’t have sex in high school is late.” Compounded with the insecurities that spawn from these inaccurate representations of adolescence, Emiliano also noted that such content pressures young people to “go the extra mile” in their relationships “even if they’re not comfortable.” Nonconsensual encounters are one of the major issues stemming from a lack of formal sex education and an overinfluence of media and television. Even when provided with access to protection, young people are still at high risk of sexual violence and rape. Our education systems are failing young generations by not having honest conversations about sex, which puts adolescents at greater risk of sexual misconduct and assault. College campuses are notorious environments for sexual violence. Shipping girls off to school with whistles and pepper spray might be enough to ward off an unwanted perv on Locust Walk, but we’d be fooling ourselves by believing these tactics are sufficient to address the very real threats for students at Penn. In a 2019 study, over 25% of female undergraduates reported having experienced unwanted sexual contact since starting college. Braced with this fact, it seems even our current education system prefers to turn a blind eye to the needs of students when confronted with the pressing issues of sex education. So what’s the right balance? How much sexual content is too much? How much censorship is denying our youth access to truth? Perhaps we should try to find a middle ground between the hypersexualized media and erotophobic parental guidance features. But no matter what, the best way to earn your sex education degree is by having an honest conversation with another human being, not with your cellphone. F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 5
A Pandemic Within the Pandemic: The Rise of Digital Abuse During COVID–19 How the virtual era has worsened online forms of harm, and what Penn should be doing to address it.
| EMILY WHITE
Content warning: This piece describes examples of digital abuse, sexual violence, relationship violence, and institutional reporting, which can be disturbing and/ or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
espite its societal history long before lockdowns began, reports of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence have skyrocketed during the past year as individuals have been required to stay home. A double–edged sword, it has also become more difficult for those experiencing intimate partner violence to tell anyone about it, given that their partner could be listening in on their virtual conversations. Even pre–pandemic, the rates of abuse were extremely high among college students. The National Domestic Violence Hotline published statistics on sexual and relationship violence stating that “43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal, or other controlling abuse.” This parallels the results from the 2019 Association of American Universities' Campus Climate Survey at Penn, which found that “41.2% of students indicated that they had experienced at least one type of harassing behavior since entering school.” Missing from many of these discussions is an acknowledgement that our increasingly virtual lives also make us more vulnerable to online abuse. When everything we do happens over Zoom, intrusions into private spaces, such as Zoom bombing, become more frequent. As the use of texting and video calls for dating has grown in response to social distancing guidelines, it's opened up more opportunities for sexual images and recordings to be sent past the intended recipient(s). The BBC reported that one government–funded helpline in the United Kingdom witnessed a 22% increase in reports of nonconsensual pornography (colloquially called revenge porn) during the first few months of lockdowns. Al Jazeera reported that similar trends emerged all over the world, where women were particularly likely to experience cyber–harassment of a sexual nature, and receive threatening messages. Although the problem of online sexual harassment 16 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21
Illustration by Tyler Kliem might be the most familiar to a wide audience, there are a variety of other actions that also constitute digital abuse. Sophie Maddocks, a second–year Ph.D. student at the Annenberg School for Communications who specializes in the topic, encourages people to think of it as a set of corollaries to traditional abuse categories: “A lot of people have a pretty good understanding of what abuse is. It can be emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, financial—and it can be all of these different things happening at once,” Sophie says. “Digital abuse takes on all of those categories, and kind of adds another manifestation to them.” So while you typically might think of financial abuse as an abuser restricting their partner’s access to money by hiding bills or stealing cash from them, digital financial abuse could be a phishing scam, or changing the password to a shared online bank account. And while you might think of sexual abuse as nonconsensual physical contact, digital sexual abuse might look something like sharing intimate images without permission, or sending unsolicited sexual messages and photos.
To be clear, the recent increase in these forms of violence doesn’t mean that online harm didn’t occur before the pandemic. Malik Washington, the director of Penn Violence Prevention (PVP), notes that “even pre– pandemic, a lot of [abusive] behaviors happened digitally, whether that be via text message, or whether that be online and on social media.” In fact, it is overwhelmingly more common for digital abuse to occur simultaneously with physical and emotional abuse rather than as an isolated event. The most important factor to remember when discussing this topic is that no matter what the circumstances are, digital abuse is still abuse. Just because it happens online doesn’t make it any less harmful or violent, and shaming someone for their online activity—taking and sending nudes, posting a bikini picture on social media—is just as wrong when discussing online violence as it is when discussing physical violence. Cautionary statements such as “Don’t show your face in nudes” might seem like harm reduction on the surface, but require a robust critique of
the person who subsequently decided to distribute the photo without permission. Otherwise, these suggestions can feel more like victim–blaming than helpful advice. “It's like a rape victim who wears a miniskirt. You don't want to blame her for wearing a miniskirt—you want to blame the rapist,” Sophie says. “It's exactly the same in digital abuse. You should be able to take nudes, you should be able to employ your sexuality, you should be able to make an OnlyFans account, you should be able to engage in any type of safe sexual behavior that you deem appropriate for you. But somebody taking that and using it against your will or posting it in a different location, or somebody posting your personal address—all of those things are a completely unprovoked, unnecessary attack that is rooted in power and control.” Thankfully, search engines and social media platforms took measures to limit the spread of such harmful content and the sites that host it. They “de–index” intimate images posted without consent from their search functions, ensuring that it cannot be found by searching for the content’s title or the victim’s name through their sites. Many social media sites also have community guidelines that prohibit hate speech or harassment, and users are able to report accounts that engage in such activity. Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook were among the earliest to adopt such policies in early 2015, and Instagram, Yahoo, Bing, and Google were not far behind. By the end of 2015, even Pornhub, one of the most popular hosts of pornographic content online, had followed suit. It’s significant to acknowledge that this decision didn’t just happen—activists have been dedicating massive amounts of time and energy towards progress. “The reason things have changed is because an army of victims have come forward and said, 'We're not going to deal with this,'” Sophie says. “The real story that we take from this is that people who have experienced this harm have become lawyers so that they can fight back, they have changed their doctoral thesis [so] that they can write research that tackles revenge porn, they have gone onto social networks and demanded to be heard.” Although this isn’t a perfect solution, websites’ newfound willingness to respond to digital abuse is celebrated as a huge win in violence prevention circles. As long as the content remains confined to mainstream websites and doesn’t trickle into the dark web, takedown notices can be filed and are usually complied with. Until the federal government revises Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to allow for litigation against the sites themselves rather than just those who post on it, it’s the best case scenario for now. But for all of the advances that have been made in the field of violence prevention, there are still numerous barriers and risk factors that have yet to be addressed— including at Penn. A grave point of consideration is that Penn keeps a semi–public repository of student information. Anyone with valid PennKey login information can access a complete database of students’ emails, phone numbers, and addresses. While this is sometimes useful—you might be able to get in contact with a classmate for a
group project or speak to alumni working in a field of interest—it can also leave students vulnerable to cyberstalking and harassment. Even worse, it’s likely that the vast majority of students have no idea their information is so readily available. The responsibility should not be on students to go out of their way to keep themselves safe. Instead, Penn should make the system opt–in rather than opt–out, especially for high–risk information like addresses. Unfortunately, this is just one of many ways that Penn both enables abuse and violence while also washing their hands of it. The Daily Pennsylvanian reported last semester that under new federal Title IX guidelines, the University is no longer responsible for off–campus reports of sexual harassment unless “the locations are being used by an officially recognized organization, like a University–recognized fraternity or sorority.” Given that the majority of upperclassmen choose to live off campus in non–University–affiliated housing, there are now thousands of students with limited access to the Title IX office if they experience violence. Penn’s policy on digital abuse is even worse—it’s nonexistent. In their policy on sexual misconduct, Penn lists a number of things that fall under their jurisdiction—sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, and even stalking. But if you search for the term “digital abuse,” there are no results. The Title IX office did not respond to a request for comment. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that there are absolutely no options. Washington explains that even though “there is no explicit or specific piece of the [Title IX] policy that's talking about digital abuse, the things that are covered in harassment policies are still [applicable] whether it's happening digitally or in person.” It is comforting to know that there is at least some level of protection afforded by the current policy. But if forms of digital abuse are lumped in with sexual harassment in the University’s policy, and the legal and institutional responses to sexual harassment happening off campus are limited by federal Title IX regulations, then the same issues that exist with reporting sexual harassment also exist for reporting digital abuse. This isn’t an uncommon problem; Sophie notes that in her research she hasn’t found any universities with a particularly comprehensive policy on digital abuse, and Penn’s nonspecific language is not an outlier. However, it does mean that students who experience this type of harm at Penn can feel like they have nowhere to turn. The fact that it takes hours of research and an interview to learn that online harm can be reported at all is evidence enough that this policy needs to be more explicit. It is also crucial for students to be equipped with non–punitive options for responding to violence and abuse. One such resource is Penn Violence Prevention, which offers confidential resources and support to any student who has experienced harm—regardless of whether they file a formal complaint with the University. “I never want a student to feel deterred from even just speaking to us because they don't see specific language in
a policy,” says Reema Malhotra, the associate director for graduate and professional students at PVP. “We will still support folks, regardless of where the incident occurred, when the incident occurred, regardless of anything.” Bystander intervention is another key component of responding to harm that we can all do in our communities. A common misconception is that you have to directly confront the abuser in order to truly ‘intervene,’ but Malhotra disputes this. “When folks think about bystander intervention, they picture, you know, someone wearing a red cape, and they have to jump in and stop an assault from happening in front of them,” she says. “But that is not always what it looks like . . . I think that is what scares people from being an active and engaged bystander.” Instead, take some time to check in with people around you. If you notice someone leaving a Zoom call abruptly, or if they seem really distant and detached when they’re normally really bubbly and engaged, send them a quick message to make sure they’re okay. It’s not overstepping— it can be the difference between someone getting the support they need and continuing to silently endure harm. Although the problem of digital abuse is a difficult one to tackle, it is not impossible. Between using our voices to demand institutional change and taking steps to better support one another in our own communities, we have enormous power to change our campus culture for the better.
Campus Resources: The HELP Line: 215–898–HELP: A 24– hour–a–day phone number for members of the Penn community who seek help in navigating Penn's resources for health and wellness. Counseling and Psychological Services: 215–898–7021 (active 24/7): The counseling center for the University of Pennsylvania. They have a dedicated Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention (STTOP) Team to provide support specifically related to sexual violence and abuse. Student Health Service: 215–746–3535: Student Health Service can provide medical evaluations and treatment to victims/survivors of sexual violence, regardless of whether they make an official report or seek additional resources. Reach–A–Peer Hotline: 215–573–2727 (every day from 9 pm to 1 am, texting available 24/7): A peer hotline to provide peer support, information, and referrals to Penn students.
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Fashion and Confidence: To Wear or Not to Wear? Four Penn students on how fashion affects their confidence—and how each found a unique sense of style | NAOMI KIM
aught between a dress and the new distressed denim jacket I bought, I'm constantly struggling with how to find a style that best represents me. During quarantine, I've been sticking to comfortable sweatpants, hoodies, and fuzzy slippers. But when I do occasionally go out to grab groceries or support local restaurants, I find myself reaching for chic boots, casual dresses, and faux fur coats. I dress up more than I used to because it gives me a confidence boost. I interviewed a few Penn undergraduates with a knack for fashion about how they've found confidence through their clothes, despite quarantine canceling many fashion–worthy occasions. Regardless of whether you've adopted a sweat suit uniform, or you're wearing ball gowns to the grocery store, you're sure to find some nuggets of wisdom from these fashion–forward students.
Christina Irmen (C '21) Fifties style dresses are something that makes me feel confident. I think they're so fun and classy with full skirts. For a while, though, I was apprehensive about what I love. I used to get a lot of weird looks on the street. People tend to assume that when you're not dressing [in] a way that's typical, that it can be over the top, even if I personally think my outfit is okay. So I see people give me looks, and many ask me questions like, "Where are you going dressed like that?" But as time went on, I began to focus less on that and more on the positive aspects. Because when you stand out like that, you also get more compliments from random people because they also recognize that you're different. I think clothes are one of the only ways in which we are immediately projecting something to the world. We are telling a story to people. So this plays the biggest role to me in confidence, as I am very introverted and not very vocal. I'm not going to talk to strangers, but I am giving a clear message to people by what I'm wearing that says who I am and [the] things that I like, without me having to actually tell them. This then sometimes sparks a conversation if they want to reach out to me because I am probably not going to be able to initiate any conversations. My style reassures me that I'm still putting something about myself out to the world without actually saying, "This is who I am," and I think there is a lot of power in others knowing who you are as an individual without you having to say it.
Courtesy of Christina Irmen
Caroline Chin (C '22) I feel like my sense of fashion has changed because I'm not leaving my house, so I'm mainly wearing loungewear. But I've noticed that my style has been changing to also be more like the ones you see on TikTok with Jean Paul [Gaultier]. I've also been buying fewer clothes than usual. I've always been more conscious of my clothing consumption, so I'm not really into fast fashion. For my personal style, I am definitely into corset tops. I have been buying more of those really big pants, like Dickies, and they're really cheap and very straight. I've also been really into a mix of super baggy clothing. I feel like the more I dress like a boy, the more confident I am. Especially with baggy clothes becoming more of a trend nowadays, I feel that now, more than ever, I'm much more confident. I think fashion definitely plays a role in confidence too. When I wear what I like, that day I feel better. I can even notice a difference in my attitude. Courtesy of Caroline Chin 1 8 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21
Annie Ma (C '23)
Courtesy of Annie Ma
I'm a big proponent of a dramatic coat. I think they make me feel very confident, and I like thrifting them. I love fashion pieces that give a sense of drama. My fashion is fairly informed by the books and movies that I like—especially books—so I tend to get fashion pieces that are inspired by the literature that I enjoy. I find coats [are] a really easy way to do that. I think there's an escapist kind of element to wearing them. I just like walking down the street and having the coat billowing. So I definitely like long tailored coats with lots of detail and craftsmanship. Kind of like the dark academia vibe, which I've been going for for a while. Coats have that sort of timeless quality, and there's a lot of character. I have a skin disease called vitiligo, which is very much a cosmetic thing, where my melanin cells pretty much get attacked by my immune system. So I have white patches on my skin, but I only have it on one leg. But when I was younger—I developed this when I was in middle school—it was really, really tough for me in terms of body image. I think fashion was my number one way I decided to cope with that—by being able to dress well and take pride in how I wore clothes, and just very much like how I looked on a daily basis. Being able to put effort into that made me more confident in how I look. I think it helped me a lot with self–love.
Tara Mehta (W, C '21) In my personal life, I am quite risk averse. But what I love about fashion, and also makeup, and hair, and just getting ready is that I can take risks and try something new every day. And then when I come home, I can just take it all off. Every day I can put on whatever I want. No one else can tell me what I can put on or have expectations on what I need to wear. It is very open ended, and there are no limits when it comes to clothing. It's so personal that I think once you find something that makes you feel good— maybe a piece of clothing that makes you feel like you are expressing yourself the way you want to—it is a very powerful feeling, and that can instill confidence in you. I dress up because it makes me feel good, confident, motivated, and ready to tackle the day. I will take any excuse to dress up. With quarantine, I feel like I can take more risks in what I'm wearing because no one will see me. It's more liberating because no one can say anything, and I'm just having fun. My biggest piece of advice is to not fall prey to trends that come and go. Sure, it's fun to play into them and buy a new piece sometimes because it's trendy. But I found that—because I find my fashion to be so closely tied to who I am—your sense of self will get lost if you're constantly dressing up to be like someone else, or try to dress based on what other people or society think is trendy right now. Find a style, or source of inspiration, or piece of clothing that makes you feel good, and own it. If you wear what makes you feel good, you will look good. Courtesy of Tara Mehta
Our personal style can influence how we feel about ourselves in deep ways. Rocking an intricately bejeweled skirt or color–coordinating shoes and layers are ways of showing the world who we are. Quarantine is a good opportunity to reflect on the self you want to show the world. The fact that these students wear what they want—regardless of what others have to say about it—should be a sign to all of us to start wearing the things that make us happy, even if we're the only ones who get to see them. F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 9
A Kardashian Post–Mortem: Looking Back on 12 Years of Influential Fame A reflection on the family that revolutionized fame | AIDAH QURESHI Illustration by Alice Heyeh
efore Kim Kardashian broke the internet, before Kendall Jenner became the highest–paid model in the world, and well before the world was obsessed with Kylie Jenner’s lips, the Kardashian–Jenner clan were just a wealthy family living in Calabasas, Calif. Keeping Up With The Kardashians first aired in 2007 with just under a million people tuning into the pilot. The premise of the show was simple: an all–access reality TV show following the lives of matriarch Kris Jenner and her then–partner Caitlyn, an Olympian athlete turned motivational speaker. Along with the happy couple, the show focused on their children Kendall and Kylie, who were just 12 and 10 years old at the premiere, as well as Kris’ children from her previous marriage to O.J. Simpson’s defense attorney, Robert Kardashian Sr.: Rob Jr., Kourtney, Khloé, and of course Kim Kardashian. After over a decade of KUWTK, the Kardashians announced on Jan. 8th, 2021 via Instagram that they had filmed their last episode. No one expected the show to take off, but after 14 years, 20 seasons, ten births, three on–screen marriages and way too many spin–off shows to mention, the Kardashians have come a long way since their 2000s beginnings. As the show grew in popularity in the 2010s, they were part of a cultural reset. The Kardashians revolutionized what it means to be a celebrity and have undoubtedly impacted many of our lives in ways we might not even realize.
The Age of Reality TV Given the success of KUWTK, it’s no surprise that countless other reality TV shows tried to emulate the show with similar formats. This includes shows such as Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise and VH1’s Love & Hip Hop franchise—but none of these shows have even come close to its success. Even KUWTK’s own spin–offs such as Rob & Chyna and Life of Kylie struggled to compete, and both were quickly canceled. Although the show is now on its final season, viewing figures remain healthy—2.4 million tuned in to watch the Khloé and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal unfold throughout season 16.
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The OG Influencers
the Kardashians. Kim and Kylie’s iconic backsides When Instagram first launched in October have caused a significant increase in the demand 2010, the early influencers posted blurry photos for Brazilian butt lifts, which transfers fat from of sunsets and breakfasts. When Kim Kardashian the body and pushes it into the butt to create an joined the app in February 2012, she had already hourglass figure. The sisters even launched mulbeen sharing intimate details of her life via KU- tiple businesses capitalizing on the desire to get the WTK for a couple of years, so posting a candid Kardashian look such as Kylie Cosmetics, KKW photo of herself in her pajamas wasn’t exactly off Beauty, and Skims. According to Lyst, in Septembrand for her. In the years that followed, Kim and ber 2019, following the launch of Kim’s shapewear the rest of the Kardashian clan quickly became the brand Skims, there was a 45% increase in online searches for compression garments. queens of Instagram. Of the top 20 most–liked Instagram posts of all time, eight of them are Kylie’s, who has the most Using Your Platform followers out of all six sisters at a massive 215 milWith success and influence inevitably comes lion followers. In May 2015, when Kylie admit- controversy—and the Kardashians are not exempt ted to using lip fillers to achieve her iconic pout, from this. Over the past ten years, the family has lip filler demand increased by 70%. In February made more than its fair share of faux–pas, particularly 2018, after tweeting about not using Snapchat in the scope of movements such as Black Lives Matter anymore, the company’s market value decreased by and Me Too. We all remember Kendall’s tone–deaf Pepsi $1.3 billion. ad in 2017, their continual promotion of appetite supSome of the most viral Instagram moments of pressants and diet teas on social media, as well as multhe last decade include Kim’s ‘break–the–internet' tiple accusations of cultural appropriation, just to name cover of Paper Magazine in November 2014, Ken- a few. dall’s record–breaking Instagram post of her hair However in 2020, the Kardashians overwhelmingly in the shape of a heart, and of course Kylie’s sur- used their platform and influence to cast light on soprise birth announcement which previously held cial and political issues. Kim Kardashian in particular the title of the most–liked picture on Instagram has used her platform to speak up on the subject of the of all time. wrongful imprisonment of many Black Americans. Her White House meeting with Donald Trump even helped secure clemency for Alice Johnson, who was sentenced The Faces of Fashion and Beauty to life in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. The KarNobody has been as influential in the fashion dashians have also been very vocal about the Armenian world over the last decade as the Kardashians, Genocide, bringing more awareness to an issue that confrom infiltrating high–fashion powerhouses like tinues to be unacknowledged by many. Fendi and Balmain to fast–fashion brands PretKUWTK and the Kardashians have changed reality tyLittleThing and Fashion Nova. Throughout the TV and celebrity culture as we know it and fans of the 2010s, the Kardashian–Jenner influence on what show will sorely miss it. However, even though this may was currently trendy was unavoidable; after all, be the end of KUWTK, this is not the last time we will they managed to make latex dresses, chunky sneak- see the famous family on our screens. They recently ers, and cycling shorts the pinnacle of fashion. signed on to an exclusive content production deal In the 2000s, the beauty standard was blonde with Hulu. What that means, we don’t know, but and skinny (think Paris Hilton and Nicole Rich- it’s safe to say that this isn’t the end for the scandalie). But in the 2010s, this shifted partially due to ous and influential Kardashian–Jenner family.
Creativity Cures: An Insight into Art Therapy What is art therapy and how is it making a difference? | JESSA GLASSMAN
Illustration by Mia Kim
t’s not about the destination, but rather the journey. It turns out that this mantra, as trite as it sounds, actually holds some truth when it comes to art. Many artists find that painting, sketching, and sculpting offer an emotional release, making the process of artistic creation just as important as the final product. It doesn’t matter if someone is a master of light and shadow, or if they can freehand a straight line—art may still have health benefits. For these reasons, art therapy has amassed massive amounts of popularity in recent years. While using an adult coloring book or painting by numbers may be therapeutic, neither of these are actual examples of traditional art therapy. As an established field with credentialed professionals, art therapists employ specific methods with strategies suited to the psychotherapeutic needs of individual patients. Defined by the American Art Therapy Association as an “integrative mental
health and human services profession,” art therapy attempts to “improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions, foster self–esteem and self–awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.” The field may seem unfamiliar, but art therapists are actually more widespread than you might assume. While many art therapists operate their own private practices, they also can be found in hospitals, veterans' clinics, senior homes, forensic locations, and more. Art therapists in these locations use creation to help people process trauma, heal from mental or physical illness, and improve their general well–being. The mode of therapy has been used in treatment for a myriad of conditions such as PTSD, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Many take pleasure in dragging a brush across or splattering paint on a canvas, but the main goal of art therapy is to help the patient release and communicate their pent up emotions. Art therapists capitalize on the field's ability to communicate experiences and sentiments that are otherwise difficult to verbalize. By giving patients the tools to use visual language as a medium of expression, these therapists facilitate a sense of comfort with their clients. Using color, symbols, technique, and subject matter as sites of analysis, an art therapist may find clues that help them better understand a patient’s state of mind—ultimately enabling them to move forward with a treatment plan. The list of different types of therapy available in our contemporary society is extensive and continues to grow. Art therapy is a unique form that harnesses the power of creativity toward healing, making it one of the most impactful in the field.
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UNDER THE BUTTON
My Mom Wants Everyone to Know That This Season of 'Outlander' Has Way Less Sex in It I have an important message for all the students out there who have wondered why there are so many moans coming from the show your mom is bingeing. CLAUDIA HOGAN
Despite Student Body Twitter Presence, High Schoolers Still Think Penn Is Cool It doesn't matter if @homewrecker69 Tweets "P*nn sucks because it's so elitist," seniors will keep applying. ALICIA LOPEZ
Everyone on Twitter knows about the Penn student body's hatred for Penn. On any given day, one can search "p*nn" and come face to face with dozens of Tweets from current attendees bashing the school. Yet even with this widely available knowledge, for an unknown reason, high schoolers still think that Penn is cool and continue to apply. This
When thinking of the greatest fantasy TV shows of the past decade, your mind is likely to go one of two places: Game of Thrones and Outlander. These two incredible, thought-provoking shows of equal cultural impact have brought joy to the hearts of millions. Surely, you have experienced that same sudden rush of excitement when you hear the "Game of Thrones Main Title" (DA da DA DA da da) as you do with the "Skye Boat Song" (“sing me the song of a lad that is gone”). There is a small but possible chance that your reaction upon reading this is: Outlander? "Skye Boat Song"? Who is this gone lad, and what can I do to keep him from coming back? However, if you are a mother
year, Penn had its largest applicant pool yet forcing students to consider one key question: why? Some students speculate it's Penn's high prestige that drives high schoolers to apply. To this I respond, have you ever talked to a Penn student? Is there anything prestigious about a swarm of high school burnouts? Let's face it, most of us peaked in high school, and those of us who didn't lost all will to do anything within weeks of setting foot on campus. PSA: If you all stop applying, the acceptance rate will go up. Then is it the location that brings people to Penn? Again I ask, have you ever been to Philadelphia? There's a reason David Lynch's Eraserhead was inspired by this curse of a city. From smoking grates and strange SEPTA noises to rusted
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reading this article because your child is a writer for Under the Button (which is a beautiful and touching show of support), then you know what I’m talking about. I have an important message for all the students out there who have wondered why there are so many moans coming from the show your mom is bingeing. From my mother to yours, this new season of Outlander has way less sex in it, so don’t bother. Yes, like Game of Thrones before it, Outlander has toned down the sex. Similarly, like Game of Thrones, the show is a lot better when it doesn’t include anything related to Bran Stark and the ThreeEyed Raven. Bran Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven never
show up in Outlander at all, as they are the property of the Game of Thrones creators, and Outlander is all the stronger for it. However, for whatever reason, the Outlander writers’ room has decided to eschew copious sex in favor of aging their characters up to a whopping 50 years old. If there was ever a sign that you are watching a show designed for horny moms, that should be it. It is time to pick up and move to greener, sexier pastures or, more likely, rewatch the Game of Thrones scene with Jon and Ygritte in the cave. Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, none of this is lame or pathetic. It is the best we can do.
Screenshots by Alicia Lopez / The Daily Pennsylvanian
buildings and chain-link fences, this city is a disaster. PSA: don't come here. There's one final possibility. The one thing that causes high schoolers to flock to Penn despite Twitter's never-ceasing warnings against it is Penn's overwhelming sense of school spirit. From full-stadium sport-
ing events to pep rallies and school cheer on Engagement Days, Penn really has a lot to offer. I guess we can understand what's driving the high schoolers to Penn: the community. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if @homewrecker69 Tweets "P*nn sucks because it's so elitist," seniors will keep applying.
UNDER THE BUTTON
A N O I N V TIV E!
This Introduction to Biology Class Will Be Making Cuts Each Lecture Until One Person Remains This impressive score is thanks, in part, to Bernstein's innovative strategy to make the class as difficult and stressful as possible: He will be making cuts each week, until just one student remains. SAMMY GORDON
BREAKING: The Rodin Tent Under All That Snow
As of late Tuesday morning, the high rise field testing tent’s structure was reported to be “under more stress than I am,” said a second-semester senior who still needs to get into three more sector classes. BECKY WEISBERG
That’s right — your last inkling of childhood wasn’t the only thing destroyed when Penn announced two consecutive snow days without cancelling a single class. As of late Tuesday morning, the high rise field testing tent’s structure was reported to be “under more stress than I am,” said a second-semester senior who still needs to get into three more sector classes. Only moments later, one of the Rabbis at Hillel reported that the roof “collapsed faster than most freshmen’s commitment to religion after they attend their first NSO darty.” When asked to comment on the incident, one of Penn’s four mechanical engineering students told UTB that he “honestly wasn’t so surprised. I mean, think of it this way: The tent is a Jewish freshman. The snow is the numerous doctors in their immediate and extended families. The pressure is nearly unbearable.“ He also provided this graph to further clarify the physics involved in the collapse:
Photo, with edits by Sammy Gordon, by University of Salford / CC BY 2.0 Professor Brian Bernstein's Introduction to Biology class might cover the most basic fundamentals of the discipline, but it is rated as the hardest available course at Penn. This impressive score is thanks, in part, to Bernstein's innovative strategy to make the class as difficult and stressful as possible: He will be making cuts each week, until just one student remains. "It's important to weed out students who want
to become biology majors. I also think it's important to destroy any sense of hope they might have. Introduction to biology courses, we all know, are gateway drugs into pre-med. And if there's anything the world doesn't need more of right now, it's doctors." Students in the class vary in their responses to this strategy, from normal first years who hate the system to freaks who are obsessed with competition.
Penn assured students that the tent would be restored to normal by Wednesday evening at the latest. However, the University did warn that the testing center might close again if some really strong wind is forecasted, squirrels begin to burrow underneath it, a jogger on Locust breathes too hard, or admin decides that they don’t want to know about any more positive test results. F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 2 3
24 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E F E B RUA RY 18 , 2 0 21