April 29, 2021 | 34st.com
Isolation's Darkest Side EffecT
COVID–19 triggered a surge in eating disorders. For many college students, this meant returning home—and returning to old habits.
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Letter from the Editor 3 WORD ON THE STREET Lying as an Escape
5 EGO OF THE WEEK Meet Tamsyn Brann, former Editor-in-Chief
Art Heists in the Media
Eating Disorders in Lockdown
LOL 22 UNDER THE BUTTON
On change, boybands, and seeing the glass half full
o quote a little Big Time Rush, “We’re halfway there,” and despite most of these letters ending up as diatribes on my anxiety and loneliness, I’m going to do something different. To mark the first finish line of my term as editor– in–chief, I am going to end with optimism. Being a “glass–half–full” person is hard—like, really fucking difficult—which is likely why I’ve never tried to define myself as one. It involves seeing things that aren’t there, or haven’t yet manifested, in the people, places, and things that are mostly bound to disappoint us. In the most basic sense, it means seeing best friend potential in the guy that broke your heart or that less–than–stellar essay grade as a chance to try a new major next semester. But in the more meta sense, it means seeing the potential in yourself—and remembering that potential in moments that feel like dead ends. I know most of us don’t need this sentiment reiterated anymore, but we did the unthinkable: We completed a year at an institution hell–bent on burning us out during a pandemic, a coup, and innumerable incidents of racial violence. We started businesses, mobilized community organizing efforts, and reminded our campus administration to do better every single day. Even more radically, we learned how to rest. We took mental health days, set boundaries, and learned to languish in the beauty of a long walk. In other words, we began prioritizing ourselves and our passions. And as we look toward a new academic year that will likely feel a whole lot more like Penn normally does, we need to keep doing that—even as the pressure to do more looms over Locust Walk. At Penn, seeing the glass half full doesn’t necessarily equate to always seeing the good in things. At Penn, being an optimist is a lot more practical. At Penn, seeing the glass half full means acknowledging the wrongness of things and finding a way to make them better, or at least tolerable. Sure, this isn’t a romantic way of thinking, but it’s an effective one. It ushered in more expansive pass/fail, a commitment to net–zero greenhouse gas emissions by
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 Hannah Lonser, Special Issues Editor Julia Esposito, Word on the Street 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
3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
2050 (however lackluster), and COVID–19 testing for our dining workers. Sure, we understand how to see the glass half full in our activism. But why has it been so hard to do the same in our personal lives? So, as we begin to scramble for fall semester classes and last– minute internships, I implore us to be “glass–half–full” people. I implore us to take more naps, allocate more time to mindless hobbies, to actually grab coffee with our friends. I implore us to keep trying to find ways to depressurize this campus, even if it means spending a little less time in the library or on LinkedIn.
Illustration by Rebekah Lee SSSF,
Features Staff Writers: Sejal Sangani, Angela Shen, Lindsey Perlman, Mira Sydow, Amy Xiang, Pranav Mishra Focus Beat Writers: Rema Bhat, Kira Wang, Jean Paik, Gabriella Raffetto Style Beat Writers: Naomi Kim, Matthew Sheeler Ego Beat Writers: Maddie Muldoon, Nick Plante, Fernanda Brizuela, Saranya Das Sharma, Lily Suh Music Beat Writers: Emily Moon, Allison Stillman, Nora Youn, Evan Qiang, Walden Green Arts Beat Writers: Jessa Glassman and Avneet Randhawa Film & TV Beat Writer: Arielle Stanger Staff Writers: Meg Gladieux, Aidah Qureshi, Jillian Lombardi, Kathryn Xu, Alice Heyeh, Phuong Ngo, Aria Vyas Multimedia Associates: Dhivya Arasappan, Sage Levine, Sophia Dai, Sophie Huang, Samantha Turner, Sudeep Bhargava, Sukhmani Kaur, Alexandra Morgan Lindo Audience Engagement Associates: Kira Wang, Samara Kleiman, Stephanie Nam, Yamila Frej
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 forman@34st. com. 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 Thursday.
this one's for u, tamsyn. happy grad!
WORD ON THE STREET
Lying Isn't a Part of My Personality—It's an Escape From It Growing up means evolving past the desire to live a picturesque story. | MEHEK BOPARAI Illustration by Alice Heyeh
love to lie. It’s an undeniable truth. Slipping into the stitches of fraud, I wear dishonesty like it's a greater identity than my own. Perhaps that’s the reality of it all—I feel out of place in my frame and need the support of fabricated ones to keep me grounded. Or maybe it's to keep me interested because I am so dissatisfied with the monotony of the everyday. What’s more enticing than layering your life in brightly colored lights, over and over again, until it’s unrecognizable? There's a misconception that lying requires a lot of diligence and premeditated planning to execute it correctly. The opposite rings true: You only need a relaxed demeanor that enables you to glide in and out of honesty and dishonesty in everyday conversation. The best lies have no reason for existing besides the sheer pleasure of speaking them into existence, procuring their permanence into thin air. My mother calls me to ask what I’m doing. I respond that I’m walking to the grocery store as I lie in bed, the afternoon sun warming the skin of my crossed ankles. The boy who lives across the street sits on my porch and tells me he could see us getting married. I feel my stomach churn before smiling. Lying to myself—that’s the greatest circus act of all. When I catch my reflection under the warm light of the bathroom, I am met with cavernous under–eye circles and bruised nail beds that suggests perhaps I am not enjoying any identity, true or false. Yet I still manage to remind myself that I can escape into any daydream I want. I whisper that I can change my life any way I please as long as I have the words to do so. I talk myself out of taking online depression screening tests and in-
stead pick up a new novel, a new world to ascribe to. What a great accomplishment that is, convincing yourself that your world can be rewritten. On the morning of my 20th birthday, I woke up in a bed adorned with flecks of chunky silver glitter and miniature photo prints. This is the true image of the morning after: a girl stripping her bed of its linens and her body of its clothes to run a mountainous load of laundry. My quarters moving about in my pocket as I walked to the basement, I finally began thinking of the fact that I was not a teenager. There was no more coming of age; whatever I did the last few years of my life were fixed forever, and I am back at a blank canvas once more. But instead of thinking of all the ways that I should color over my canvas, I'm slowly uncovering that lying is not an integral part of my personality—it's an escape from it. I'm realizing that the pieces of my life I wish to conceal are not disappearing—they're just becoming more difficult to carry, and more difficult to recognize. I want to finally understand myself, a privilege I've been deprived of for the sake of something authentic. I want to indulge in my everyday life and feel fulfilled by it. Truth, I am learning, is the acceptance that this is it. You can change your life to fit your vision of fulfillment, but you must do so earnestly, using the foundation that you already have in front of you. I have dreams, ones so close to me that they’re nearly tangible, and I subvert them for something instant instead of working towards them for something sustainable. Instead of denying the feelings I have about myself and my life, I can address them. I can figure out what makes me genuinely happy, the peo-
ple who have changed my life for the better, the person I want to be in ten years. Instead of lying to get to who I want to be, I can face the truth to understand why I want to be her. Wanting to be great is not an excuse to stop holding yourself accountable; I can enjoy fiction without becoming a fictional character.
I'm realizing that the pieces of my life I wish to conceal are not disappearing— they're just becoming more difficult to carry, and more difficult to recognize. Even now, after settling into 20 for several weeks, I've enjoyed toying with the idea of living a life in truth instead of making a better one up. Maybe I’m going to turn out to be the type of adult who wakes up every morning at seven and makes a fresh pot of espresso on the stove—even though it's been difficult to get out of bed before ten, I am hopeful. Maybe I will buy long dresses and brown marble clips to pin my hair back—I always wish to look more studious than I actually am. A lot of 'maybes' have colored my life, but now they harbor the greatest relationship of all, that which lies between truth and effort. Lying has become easy, but living takes work, and great work at that. I still want to live in layers of brightly colored lights, and I plan on it. Only now I choose to slip into the stitches of authenticity, and I look forward to seeing how it changes my life. A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E
Shrestha Singh Wrote Her Story for HuffPost. Now, She's Telling It to Street The Penn alumna, spiritual director, storyteller, and therapist–in–training reflects on her viral call to action. | MADDIE MULDOON
hrestha Singh (C ’12) loves her husband Eric's family, and they love her. But this love is complicated: Shrestha is the Indian American daughter of immigrants, and she married into a family of Trump supporters. Since childhood, Shrestha has believed in the power of storytelling and speaking one's truth: “I’m really grateful that I grew up in a family with a strong oral tradition of storytelling. Storytelling is really important to creating social change. If we don’t share our stories, it ends up not humanizing what people are struggling for and why we want change in the world.” This January, Shrestha told her own story. She wrote an article for HuffPost about Eric’s family titled, “I’m A First–Generation Indian American Woman. I Married Into A Family Of Trump Supporters.” She describes her love for them, but she also chronicles incidents in the past that left her feeling silenced and suffocated: the $2020 dollar bill with Donald Trump’s face on it that made an appearance at the Christmas gift exchange, the “Kaepernick” football jersey that his family tossed around and sneered at, and the heated arguments about Black Lives Matter that unfolded on social media. "How could they love me, a brown–skinned woman, if they believed lies that placed whiteness and the power of empire above all else?" she writes in the 4
3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
article. "Could they love me without truly seeing me, in all my identities?" Shrestha is proud of her identity and her family's history. A month before Shrestha was born, her pregnant mother and older sister flew to the United States from India in search of a new life. Her father was studying computer science and engineering at the University of Maryland at the time. Soon after, the young family moved to Fremont, California, where Shrestha grew up. Fremont is one of the most religiously diverse places in the country and part of the only Asian– majority congressional district in the United States. “I grew up surrounded by folks of all different cultures. On my street we were Hindu, my next door neighbor was Sikh, the family across the street was Christian, and down the street there was a Buddhist family," she says. When Shrestha arrived at Penn, she saw for the first time what she’d only been told before: Whiteness is the majority. “When I was younger, I knew I was the child of immigrants. I knew I was different—it’s not like I had no idea that I didn’t belong. But most of my classmates growing up were also children of immigrants, and most of my friends were, too, which was unique, and I didn’t really realize that before coming to Penn,” she says.
After graduation, she briefly worked at a children’s crisis and trauma center in North Philadelphia, moved back to California to work on an urban farm for a year, and later attended Harvard Divinity School. She worked as a university chaplain at Wellesley College and Brandeis University in Massachusetts before moving to Northern Illinois. Today, Shrestha is an aspiring trauma therapist—she's pursuing her Master of Social Work degree at Loyola University Chicago. Shrestha and Eric met in divinity school, and since then, he has been an essential part of her journey. She smiles wistfully as she reflects upon the early days of their relationship. The two were in a class together on religion and immigration, which took them on a trip to the U.S.–Mexico border. They were seated next to each other on the plane, leading them to become friends and eventually date. As Eric told Shrestha about his small–town, Midwestern, Trump–supporting family, she was caught off guard. “I was really astounded, mostly just by how Eric turned out the way he is. He is super concerned about social justice and helping those who are more marginalized than himself. And I was ignorant, had never been to the Midwest, and had stereotypes about what it was like.” She laughs as she explains that before visiting Eric’s family for the first time, she asked him if there was Wi–Fi in Wisconsin. Shrestha also believed stereotypes about what Eric’s
Illustration by Isabel Liang
family might be like: “Folks from the Midwest who are conservative are often portrayed in the news media as uneducated, perhaps not so friendly, and maybe kind of aggressive. So when I met them, I was really surprised. They were this really sweet, kind, wonderful, loving family who has really deeply different political beliefs than I do.” Eric’s family took Shrestha in with open arms. As a child, she yearned for a large family—aside from her sister and parents, all of her relatives were in India. As time passed, she became increasingly close with her in–laws. Her deep and lasting affection for them is evident. At Eric and Shrestha’s 2019 wedding in Wisconsin, his family sported traditional lehengas and saris, and did so with excitement. However, Shrestha’s love for Eric’s family doesn't negate the blatant racism and white supremacy that they have demonstrated in the past. “People can be kind and affectionate, and also do and say things that are deeply harmful, oppressive, and death–dealing to people,” she says. Shrestha reflects upon how, during the Jim Crow era, it was ordinary white citizens and community leaders—people considered "respectable"—who encouraged extreme racial violence. “Respectable people, or so–called respectable people, can do really atrocious things. We as a country live in very binary terms. You’re either good or bad,
supporting this or not supporting this," she explains. "But good people can do bad things, and bad people, whatever that means, can do good things. These binaries keep us from looking at the deeper roots of issues, when it comes to race especially.” In January, Shrestha decided to speak up. She wrote about her experiences in the HuffPost article, hoping to inspire people to have difficult conversations about white supremacy with their own families and communities. “If it had been the case that I could’ve sat down and had a rational, loving conversation with his family, I wouldn’t have felt the need to write an article,” she says. “It’s the intersection of family dysfunction, trauma, and differing political beliefs, which makes it such a perfect storm. And makes it so hard for someone like me, the only brown person in the family, to speak up.” Though Shrestha was hesitant to publish the article, Eric was and still is completely supportive of her choice. Shrestha can't say the same about Eric’s family, many of whom haven’t spoken to Shrestha or Eric since the article was published. Shrestha believes a time will come when she can start an open dialogue with them. But she also acknowledges that they have to put in the work. If they’re not willing to, or if they want things to go back to the way they were, then she and Eric aren’t willing to have a relationship with them.
After Shrestha’s article was published, hundreds of people wrote to her to share their own stories about how Trump’s presidency and political polarization have damaged their own relationships. “We’re at this point in our country and societally where all of the wounds that have been festering for so long are being brought into the open. This has led to an opportunity for us," Shrestha says. "Are we going to heal these wounds, or are we going to let them rot? Are we going to let them infect the whole body? Some people say that those wounds have been there, so we don’t need to address them. Others say that those wounds have been there, and they’re killing us all." Shrestha’s message to the Penn community: Real change comes from changing our intimate relationships. “Sometimes when we think about making a change, we think about being the leaders of movements or heads of organizations. But really, it’s thinking about the everyday spaces that you’re a part of: your friend groups, families, classrooms, and student organizations," she says. "It’s thinking about where you see certain things being said or certain things being the status quo that don’t sit well with you and bringing them up. Students have much more power than they think they do."
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E
EGO OF THE WEEK
TAMSYN BRANN HOMETOWN: MAJOR: ACTIVITES:
Ardsley, N.Y. Science, technology, and society Former editor–in–chief of Street and design editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian; marketing director for Gryphon Honor Society; clarinetist for the Penn Band.
Meet Street’s former editor–in–chief, who doubles as a science writer and dedicated David Bowie stan. | BEATRICE FORMAN
The first time I really met Tamsyn Brann (re: the first time we weren’t talking about work) was 12 days after our first work conversation. I had just broken up with my ex–boyfriend for the second time in two weeks, and relatively friendless, I called her, desperate for someone to keep me company. She was on my couch within ten minutes, and we drank wine and ate popcorn and talked about distinctly Tamsyn things: David Bowie, where to buy mini skirts, and the notion that change is okay. That’s the most remarkable thing about Tamsyn—she’s so earnest and easy to talk to that she’ll become your best friend in minutes. If BEATRICE FORMAN: You’ve been involved at The DP, either as a graphic designer or my boss, for over three years. What drew you to 4015 Walnut St. in the first place? TAMSYN BRANN: I came to The DP info sessions and open houses as a first year without really wanting to join as a writer, even though that was technically what I was supposed to be good at. I did end up applying for three departments—but I failed the copy department's test and ghosted the news editors, so my start at Street and The DP was actually with design. My favorite step in editing my high school’s newspaper had always been formatting the layout, so that was the job The DP gave me almost four years ago: putting together the print edition. The design culture really did slurp me right up. I felt as comfortable as any new Penn student could ever hope to be in a scary and huge and new community. I began as a design associate in the fall semester of 2017. At that point, I had no conception of where I’d end up at Penn or The DP or Street, but I guess the rest of that story is history now. BF: How has leading Street changed you for the better? And more introspectively, for the worse? 6
3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
there’s anything Tamsyn has taught me about this job, it’s that though Street deals in the business of words, it’s a business built on people, so you need to be nice before you need to be good at anything else. Tamsyn did an awfully better job than I do at that, and every day, she inspires me to be good at the small things, like answering my text messages. To her, the small things are what make a difference. I had the pleasure of sitting down with my predecessor (and for transparency’s sake, one of my best friends) to talk about what she learned at the silly little magazine that brought us together.
TB: Leadership taught me how to think on my feet. That’s probably the best and most concise way to put it. No amount of shadowing or training can adequately prepare you for the entirety of the year–long adventure that is a Street editor–in– chief ’s tenure. You need to learn, know, and make the ropes at the same time. For the worse, on the other hand, I’d say that this job also takes a bit of a toll on your sense of reality. I spent a lot of time working on Street, and it became a bit too fundamental to my identity. You learn a lot, like I said, and I guess I’m still learning, now, to live without it. BF: So, what do you do with your newfound free time? TB: I go on very long walks and take very long showers. I’ve developed a fondness for items with cheetah print and scented candles. I do coursework, but that’s a boring answer. I watch Cosmos, the original Carl Sagan one. I write to–do lists of inane tasks on printer paper with brightly colored felt–tip pens—it makes me feel productive without the pressure. I also adopted four plants: three succulents and one bromeliad. BF: You led Street through the start of the
COVID–19 pandemic (very diligently, I might add). What was the most challenging part of leading a magazine while being a student during a pandemic? Do you have any tips for managing burnout? TB: It always was part of my job to field the kinds of tasks that fell through the cracks, but the gaps really widened between communications and deadlines by late March 2020. I spiraled pretty hard for a bit. I languished; I thought I wasn’t doing enough, that I was making the wrong choices or defending the wrong ideas. I thought Street was dying and that it was my fault. I think I owe a lot to therapy, honestly, and I feel silly giving advice beyond paying really, really close attention to mental health and to ignore the social stigma surrounding a lot of the symptoms. Take care of yourself. Eventually, March turned into summer, and by that time, things had changed. I think I wrote about that in one of my letters from the editor. What I didn’t write was that Street wasn’t dead, it wasn’t dying, and I needed to stop privately worrying that I’d killed it. Other stuff was going on. Street had to step up as a publication. We
EGO OF THE WEEK
needed to actively commit to anti–racism to faithfully cover the Black Lives Matter protests in Philly, as well as everything that would come after. That needed to extend past my time at Street, so the situation didn’t just concern me and my paranoia anymore. I had a wonderful, dedicated, strong staff, too, who persevered and remained committed to Street through the initial pandemic madness. They rose to the occasion again and again throughout 2020. BF: What’s a product you’re proud of from your time as editor–in–chief? TB: This probably sounds too cheesy, but I’m really proud of my Street executive board successors. So much of what was done at Street in 2020 was a team effort, and to be entirely candid, the products of 'my' time as editor–in–chief are really just the most successfully implemented brainchildren of anyone with a solid suggestion—I can’t fully take credit. On a personal level, though, I have some firsthand knowledge of the difficulties inherent to transitions of power at Street and The DP, so I wanted to make the process as painless as possible for the new candidates running for positions last fall. They were qualified, visionary, and cohesive, and I wanted to preserve that energy as they entered their new positions. BF: Who are the people that made this experience for you, and why? TB: I want to first thank Annabelle Williams, Nick Joyner, Orly Greenberg, and every one of my predecessors who built this wonderful magazine that I was so privileged to steward for a whole year. Next, my executive board: Eliana Doft, architect of countless Street friendships and the angel on my shoulder, who was never more than a Slack away; Sam Mitchell, for having my precise sense of humor; and Bea Forman, my campus–renowned successor, who inspired me with her faith in Street—in its legacy, limitless future, and potential to always be more insightful,
more meaningful, more inclusive, and more just. I want to thank the Design department, although it’s likely I can’t ever do that enough: Isabel Liang and Ava Cruz, thank you, thank you, a million times over. Thank you, Gillian Diebold, Lucy Ferry, Alice Heyeh, Alec Druggan, and the rest of the 135th board, who taught me nearly everything I know about the Adobe Suite, digital media at Street and The DP, print production, and genuine camaraderie. I also want to specifically thank Sarah Fortinsky from the 135 for leading by example for as long as I’ve known her, and, along with Annabelle, for seeing the editor–in–chief in me far longer than I ever saw her in myself. And, finally, the not–so–new–anymore 137 Strexec— Karin Hananel, Chelsey Zhu, Mehek Boparai, and Bea—I thank them for the new, true direction they have given Street. I know I said this already, but I’m proud of them every day. BF: Favorite memory from our brief time in the office? TB: We really weren’t there for that long, were we? I’m not even sure what month this was, but I called an emergency private executive board meeting in our office to get feedback on when I was supposed to tell my (at the time) semi– new boyfriend that I loved him. Half of us were cuffed, long–term, so I assumed that they’d both gone through the exact same thought process as I had at one point in their relationships. The unanimous—and very supportive—response was that I should just tell him already, so I did. It was a good idea. BF: Outside of writing a lot about Bowie and comedians on campus, you’re quite the science writer and write a lot about space. What drew you to the topic? TB: I was one of those kids who always said they wanted to be an astronaut when they grew up. Space was a great place for your imagination to really go crazy, which I think is appealing
when you’re an artsy kid. There’s still a drawing I made of the solar system in my parents’ kitchen, a scientifically accurate crayon drawing with all the orbits and asteroid belts in the right places. Maybe it’s because the more I learned about space, the more interesting it got. Not everything is like that. BF: If you could identify as any scientific phenomenon, which one would you be and why? TB: The Yarkovsky effect. I had to learn about it during my second summer interning at NASA while I was doing research to write a press kit for the OSIRIS–REx mission. It describes how sunlight can exert a tiny—but real—push on any small rotating celestial body, like a comet or the asteroid being sampled by OSIRIS–REx. Literally just sunlight can nudge stuff out of orbit over the course of millions or billions of years. I think I identify with it because it’s a bit unexpected, but no less significant for it. I read recently that a super precise measurement of the Yarkovsky effect on a near–Earth asteroid actually helped humans project its path so accurately that we now know it won’t hit our planet in the near future. Thank God. BF: If you could give any advice to an incoming first year, what would it be and why? TB: That’s a scary question! I don’t feel old or wise enough to give advice about anything, really, but I often do anyway, so here it goes—allow for change, I guess? Events are supposed to happen in certain ways, and sometimes they do that, but if my Penn experience has taught me anything, it’s that things will change, permanently and forever, in a moment. It’s hard to be okay with that, with things suddenly going haywire in a way that you can’t control, but the sooner you come to terms with the new challenges instead of being stunned into stagnation, the better you’ll end up. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
LIGHTNING ROUND BF: Last song that you listened to? TB: “Blackout” by David Bowie, live in London, 1978. BF: If you were a building on campus, which would you be and why? TB: Claudia Cohen Hall, probably due to Stockholm syndrome. BF: Favorite color you've dyed your hair? TB: I liked when I had orange–pink bangs. You can replicate them at home with bleach. BF: There are two types of people at Penn… TB: People who think they know everything and people who think they know nothing. That’s gently plagiarized from Oscar Wilde.. BF: And which one are you? TB: I think I know everything.
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E
FILM & TV
c i t o 'Shiva Baby' a En c a p s u l a t e s C h s t n e v Jew E ish Famil y Six degrees of separation? In the Jewish world, it's more like two.
Graphic by Isabel Liang
B Y A R I E L L E S TA N G E R
ou know you're at a Jewish family gathering when overbearing relatives ask you about your weight, your grades, and your love life as if they’re asking about the weather. Bubbies bicker with zaydes, nosy aunts gossip in the corner, and you often find yourself wondering, “Wait ... how am I related to that guy again?” Oh, right. He’s your uncle’s wife’s mother’s cousin’s son. In her debut feature, Shiva Baby, writer and producer Emma Seligman throws an ex–girlfriend and sugar daddy in the mix to complete the party. In the film, Seligman expertly captures the increasingly claustrophobic nature of these gatherings, and, oy vey—it’s an experience. Spoiler alert: For best results and optimal schvitzing, watch the film before you continue reading. Shiva Baby begins with protagonist Danielle, played by Rachel Sennott, a Columbia senior studying gender and feminism, finishing up a session with her sugar daddy, Max, played by Danny Deferrari. Danielle leaves
3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
in a hurry in order to meet her parents at a “shiva”—a Jewish mourning ritual—for a distant relative. An already awkward situation turns even more tense when her ex–girlfriend Maya, played by Molly Gordon, flaunts her acceptance to law school and her sugar daddy makes an appearance at the shiva. When you think things can’t get worse, they do—sugar daddy Max is married, much to Danielle's surprise. To a non–Jew. With a baby. The music playing in the background of the film as Danielle wanders aimlessly around the house is reminiscent of an A24 horror film—and the plot doesn't stray far from one either. You watch with bated breath as Danielle’s sanity unravels, shit repeatedly hitting the fan. You’re not necessarily rooting for her—she’s not the most likable protagonist— but her lack of self confidence engenders audience sympathy. Danielle may exert a great deal of chutzpah, but you’re begging for her to just get out of the house so you can have a sigh of relief. Dramatic irony also plays a role, as only the audience knows Danielle's secret, and her constant slip–ups add to the
suspense. Seligman manages to craft a script so natural, it reads like a realistic nightmare. Her close friendship with Sennott contributes to the arresting tone of the film. The two met as students at New York University, where Seligman actually submitted a short version of Shiva Baby, also starring Sennott, as her thesis film in the spring of 2017. Sennott was so encouraging about the short on set that Seligman continually sent her drafts as she worked on the full–length feature. The masterful execution of the film is not a result of time and money—but rather a lack of both. According to Seligman, the process was both creative and logistical. The amateur crew scrambled to find funding, and Seligman cites the experience as one of the hardest things she’ll ever do. She ultimately chose to shoot in one location and limit the story to an afternoon for the sake of budget, and much of the staging was developed to accommodate actors’ busy schedules. On set, producers pieced the puzzle together: “Okay, well, we don’t have Molly [Gordon] that day, so we can’t see into that room because technically she should be in that room. So you’re going to have to change the angle.” Seligman also shared that the film created a collaborative environment, with cast and crew working together to brainstorm and troubleshoot. Seligman and Sennott developed Danielle’s character alongside the producers and cinematographers, amplifying the dynamic anxiety that keeps viewers engaged throughout. The authenticity of the film comes from the fact that both Seligman and Sennott relate to the story. Seligman defines herself, as she defines Danielle, as “messy women,” and Sennott’s digital footprint does the same. Plus, any Jewish teen or young adult will tell you that the suffocating feeling of the film is far too real: It’s impossible to avoid anyone at a Jewish gathering, whether it’s a shiva or a simcha. The stress is ever–present even without a sexy, secret love triangle. Sennott says she’s glad Shiva Baby gave viewers a stress attack. That’s the point. It's an adrenaline trip from start to finish, and Seligman's scrappy resourcefulness lends itself to this masterpiece.
FILM & TV
HBO Max's 'Made For Love' Explores A New Side of Relationships
The following article contains spoilers for 'Made For Love.'
f you’ve ever wished that Black Mirror had comic relief to break up its tone of sharp unease and paranoia, then consider HBO Max’s new series Made For Love, its funnier and more palatable cousin. Based on the novel by executive producer Alissa Nutting, the series is a case study in love and loneliness presented through the lens of dark comedy and science fiction. Developed three– dimensional characters and a mind–boggling plot are brought to life by witty performances—leaving viewers wanting more. Cristin Milioti and Billy Magnussen play the series' main characters, the husband–wife duo Hazel Green and Byron Gogol. On the surface, Hazel lives in the picturesque utopia with everything she could ever want: days basking poolside in the sun, an exotic pet dolphin named Zelda, and a husband who always goes down on her and never asks her to return the favor—although she does have to provide an in–depth rating of each orgasm for feedback purposes. But the facade quickly melts away to reveal a true Orwellian dystopia where Big Brother is indeed always watching. Byron is a tech billionaire who lives in what’s essentially a virtual reality box known as “the Hub.” The night he met Hazel, a struggling college student, he took her to Italy—within the Hub of course—for dinner, and they were married almost immediately. At the moment we’re introduced to the couple, Hazel hasn’t set foot outside the Hub for an entire decade, and the Gogol team is celebrating the launch of Byron’s newest invention. Named “Made for Love,” it is a pair of chips meant to be implanted in couples’ brains—similar to those BFF necklaces we all wore in middle school, except these matching accessories track, monitor, and share emotional data. This is also the night that Hazel learns she is “User One.” Without Hazel’s knowledge or consent, Byron has already planted the chip inside her brain, “a surveillance tool dressed up as a dream of perfect union.” She’s furious, understandably, and escapes the Hub with the help of her dolphin Zelda, who points her toward an exit within the pool. The truth is, Byron's patented “Made For Love” removes the barriers of the human mind that actually allow us to open up and form healthy relationships. He might be giving
her head and a home, but he withholds vulnerability, honesty, and trust. Made for Love takes the effort to highlight why its flawed, complicated characters act the way they do in their respective relationships. We learn that Byron had a traumatic childhood, which comes as no surprise given his excessive need for control. Hazel’s father Herbert, played by Ray Romano, serves as a parallel
What would happen if 'Toxic' by Britney Spears was the soundtrack to '1984' by George Orwell? B Y A R I E L L E S TA N G E R
Hazel isn’t in the clear, though. She agreed to marry a man she just met, albeit a wealthy and charming one, to escape her drab, unfulfilling world. Upon escaping the Hub and reuniting with her estranged father, she begins to rebuild her relationship with him— and build a relationship with Diane. However, when Byron reveals that Herbert has pancreatic cancer and only his technology can cure it, Hazel does unto her
Graphic by Isabel Liang to Byron with a tad more humor. Herbert—unfortunately nicknamed “Herb the perv”—is in a committed relationship with a sex doll named Diane, although he’d prefer if everyone viewed her as a “synthetic partner.” At first it’s a bit funny, then a bit sad, and then a bit sweet. Just like Byron, Herbert fears letting anyone in. He lost his wife to cancer and his daughter to a sociopathic billionaire. In this lonesome, vulnerable state, who could bear another heartbreak? The ultimate difference between these two men in Hazel's life is that Herbert doesn’t have to consider his plastic partner’s feelings, but he does anyway, while Byron physically and psychologically manipulates a real person to fit into his self–constructed safe haven. He lacks baseline empathy, and embodies the ultimate possessive patriarchal power. Only when he literally sees life through Hazel's eyes can he start getting to know her.
father what Byron did to her. The final sequence of the first season reveals that Hazel sacrifices herself to Byron's control for her father's life. They recreate a version of his house in the Hub, where he’d never know the difference between the virtual reality and his past life. Is her decision right or wrong? Milioti hopes that viewers have different opinions and debate with one another. Based on Hazel’s impulsive actions in the past, it’s possible that she wants to save her father to preserve the only true love she has left in this world. Or maybe she really is selfless, finally realizing that Herbert deserves a long happy life with Diane, even if it means sentencing herself to Byron's control for eternity. If there’s a season two on the way, we might get a definitive answer—but until then, there’s still much to discuss, which is the hallmark of a successfully mind–boggling show.
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E
Binged This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist? Check Out These Recommendations
How to satisfy your art–crime craving after finishing the groundbreaking limited series | JESSA GLASSMAN Illustration by Isabel Liang
n perhaps the most paramount 81 minutes the art world has ever experienced, March 18, 1990 became much more than the aftermath of a boozy St. Patrick’s day in Boston. With two fake police officer costumes, some duct tape, and a whole lot of mobster– related mystery, 13 internationally treasured works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—including a Vermeer and the only Rembrandt seascape. This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist details the story of the theft and its enigmatic aftermath that continues to leave sleuths dumbfounded. The enthralling limited series makes for a roughly four–hour Sunday afternoon binge, leaving art–crime aficionados wanting more. Still looking to satiate your art–crime craving? Here is a range of recommendations, from books to shows to movies, that you’re bound to enjoy if you loved Netflix’s investigation of the Gardner Museum robbery. Watch Lupin This Netflix Original follows Assane Diop (Omar Sy) as he embodies his fictional hero, Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief and master of disguise from Maurice LeBlanc’s 17–book espionage series of the same name. Motivated by injustices plaguing his past, Diop kicks off the series by stealing a very extravagant necklace from the Louvre. What comes next will have viewers on the edge of their seats for the rest of his journey through 10 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
season one. The show’s Parisian charm (yes, that means subtitles) and fast–paced, imaginative drama makes it a must–see for those craving high–stakes adventure in their ordinary lives. If that glowing recommendation isn’t enough, the data speaks for itself—Lupin is Netflix’s most popular French show to date. Read The Goldfinch Donna Tartt shows her hand as a master of compelling and emotional imagery in this novel, making it obvious why she won the Pulitzer Prize for it. It's best classified as a coming–of–age story, with a hint of art crime tossed in the mix. The plot follows a young boy named Theo as he survives a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that kills his mother, and he snatches a small, Dutch painting called “The Goldfinch” while stumbling through the debris. The tragedy radically alters his life, forcing him to grapple with maternal loss, change, and incessant pain. He seeks solace in the painting; he uses it to remember his mother and to cope with the absurdity of life. While the film adaptation, despite having an impressive cast that included Ansel Elgort and Sarah Paulson, fell short according to critics, the original novel is hard to put down and hard to keep a dry eye while reading. Read The Art Thief Three stolen pieces, three cities, and three investigations, each with similarities that lay deep beyond the
surface in this book about seemingly disconnected art robberies in Paris, Rome, and London. A riddle–like plot, historical art references, and witty conversations can be found on each and every page of this admittedly challenging, involved read. Rife with twists and turns, the novel is an unexpected deep dive into the mysteries of the art world—from galleries to auction houses and everything in between. The Art Thief is just as educational as it is enigmatic, exploring art theft, forgery, and over–paintings in a way that, while thorough, is still spellbinding. Watch Woman in Gold While many of us tend to think art crime consists of one–off events, the Third Reich demonstrated that it could also be systematic. The film stars Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, a Jewish escapee of Austria, as she mounts a legal battle to reclaim art stolen from her family during World War II. Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch–Bauer I”—the painting in question—in its gold and glittering glory, frames the fight for retribution, giving viewers an inside look at art–law dynamics during the time. The gripping true story combines historical accuracy with a dramatic plot and compelling acting, making for fantastic conversation as the credits roll. And for more WWII–era art–crime intrigue, check out The Rape of Europa, a documentary that dives deeper into stories like Altmann’s alongside more historical details of the Nazi’s artistic plunder.
F E AT U R E
Isolation's Darkest Side Effect The COVID–19 pandemic triggered a surge in eating disorders. For many college students, this meant returning home—and returning to old habits. | LILY STEIN Content Warning: The following feature describes eating disorders, disordered eating behaviors, and mental illness, which can be disturbing or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
ia* can remember precisely the first time she threw up after a meal—her family went to a restaurant right before she left for college. “I had lost a lot of weight. I just started freaking out like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve eaten something. This is going to throw my plan off entirely.’ And so I threw up,” says Gia. “Honestly, I want to say that I felt bad afterwards, but I just felt relieved.” Gia approached her purging systematically. Throwing up was a response appropriate only to eating “an especially heavy meal.” She never imagined that she would soon be throwing up once a day, then multiple times a day, then after every meal she ate. Her eating
disorder has ebbed and flowed over the last several years, but by the time she logged into online classes for the first time in her bedroom on a quiet, spring night in India, she was back in the throes of bulimia. Going home to New Delhi after the University shut down in March 2020 meant adapting to a new timezone. Gia—a triple major—had to abruptly transition to a new schedule. She would wake up in the evening as her family went to bed, attend her many Zoom classes throughout the night, then go to sleep in the early morning. “My schedule was quite literally just eating and then studying. I was so tired by the end of classes that I didn’t have time to FaceTime my friends because my sleep cycle was completely off schedule. I did not have much human contact. I wasn’t even getting sunlight. I really treat sunlight as a luxury now,” she says. Suddenly, Gia was spending all of her meals alone, with no family or friends to keep an eye on her eating
patterns. Isolated and stressed out, her eating disorder worsened. “The first three months of the pandemic were really, really bad … That is when I developed my most unhealthy relationship with food,” she says. Quarantine offered us something novel: limitless time in a limited space. Suddenly, we had all the time in the world to analyze our bodies in the mirror, to inspect our faces on Zoom, to track our daily caloric intakes, to journal our thoughts, to fixate on our daily routines. For some, the pressure to use that time effectively made diamonds. People made habits out of going on daily walks and cooking meals. But for many others, the pressure overwhelmed them. A recent survey published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that around 62%
“I’d be scared that my parents would hear me over the calls, which made life a lot harder. Being on campus and getting help is a lot easier than being at home." –Gia*
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 1
F E AT U R E
of respondents with a history of anorexia nervosa in the United States reported that the pandemic exacerbated their illness, with increases in food restriction and heightened fears about gaining weight during quarantine. Binge eating increased by 30%. When asked to rate their levels of anxiety for various COVID–19–related stressors, respondents with prior eating disorders cited barriers to exercise, concern over the lack of structure in their lifestyles, and inability to access food consistent with their diet plans the highest. And it’s not just those with a history. The National Eating Disorders Association reports that calls to its hotline have increased by a margin of 70–80% during the past year. Eating disorders are ranked as the second deadliest mental illness. Almost a third of people with eating disorders attempt suicide in their lifetime. Others have lifelong health complications, some of which can be fatal. Yet the progression of an eating disorder is far less clean–cut than teen dramas portray it to be. A mere 6% of people with eating disorders qualify as “clinically underweight,” and many people don’t ever fit into any diagnostic criteria. So when does keeping a strict keto diet and doing daily abs exercises become maladaptive? At what point can these behaviors be called an eating disorder? What is clear among these blurred boundaries is that the pandemic provides a breeding ground for eating disorder tendencies, plaguing those with a history of eating disorders and those without.
It becomes a coping mechanism for other things going on in your life. It's a cyclical thing where it just makes everything worse, but it provides temporary comfort in the way you've been conditioned to seek comfort. –Emma Van Zandt soon as that happened, I started getting worried that, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to put on weight again,’” says Gia. “I kind of went down a spiral.” As a clinical psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Alix Timko works with patients suffering from eating disorders every day. She is an assistant professor of Psychiatry in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the director of psychiatric and behavioral health research in the Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program at CHOP. Dr. Timko estimates that the hospital experienced a consistent 50% increase in new eating disorder cases calling the hospital and requesting treatment each month in the past year. Dr. Timko explains that the line between eating healthier and restricting or getting fit and over exercising is incredibly thin. For many, reaching a caloric deficit and seeing weight loss can trigger the development of an eating disorder. And with the pressure to ‘glow up’ during quarantine constantly looming, “[this] scenario [is] playing out over, and over, and over again.” She adds that inpatient treatment programs across the country currently have waiting lists upwards of six to eight weeks, which is an unprecedented figure in the world of eating disorder treatment. Many of these facilities have had to decrease their number of beds due to COVID–19 regulations. As clinicians across the country have had to meet an increased need for their services, they’ve had to do so through a screen. Telehealth visits have become standard practice, and they come with their own set of challenges. “Anywhere from about one–third to one–half of individuals have reported difficulties accessing care … Not everybody has access to the technologies for telehealth. Not everyone likes using telehealth or being on video cameras,” says Dr. Timko. Another complication: Every U.S. state has different laws regarding whether or not clinical psychologists can practice telehealth across state lines. “If I’m working with a family who has a child with an eating disorder and that family lives in New Jersey, they would typically drive to Philadelphia to see me. In the pandemic, that wouldn't happen. But I’m not licensed to practice psychology in New Jersey,” says Dr. Timko. Initially, this meant that she may not have been able to treat those patients. Some licensing laws changed rapidly in response. New Jersey instituted an emergency order so psychologists could apply for temporary permission to practice telehealth in the state if they lived outside of it. Similar emergency orders were implemented across the country.
Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) also shifted abruptly to telehealth when students dispersed across the world last March. Dr. Valeriya Spektor, a staff psychologist at CAPS, says that the department transitioned quickly to a secure video–conferencing platform and phone sessions for students. Dr. Spektor is a member of the Eating Concerns Team, an interdisciplinary division of CAPS made up of doctors, psychologists, and nutritionists dedicated to holistically treating eating disorders in Penn students. Through this team, CAPS provides students with medical evaluations, nutritional counseling, group therapy, individual therapy, and recently, a support group for students struggling with body image concerns. Gia was one of those students. She calls CAPS “her safe space.” Yet doing therapy sessions from her room in New Delhi presented a host of problems. For one, there was the obvious time difference. More importantly, there was little privacy. “I’d be scared that my parents would hear me over the calls, which made life a lot harder. Being on campus and getting help is a lot easier than being at home, particularly when you don’t think your parents would really understand that you need help for something,” she says. When Emma Van Zandt (C ’22) swapped her apartment at Penn for her childhood bedroom in Alexandria, Va., she was in the midst of what she calls “SOS Emergency Protocol.” Emma first developed disordered eating in the sixth grade. In eighth grade, she lost so much weight that she had to be admitted into an inpatient care facility, where she was diagnosed with anorexia. After steadily gaining back the weight throughout high school, her anorexia was re–labeled as EDNOS, a catch–all term for people who don’t meet the stringent criteria for a specific disorder. When she came to Penn in the summer of 2018, she made the decision to stop her treatment altogether. She relapsed a few months in. “I just wouldn’t eat,” she says. But there’s a narrative that lingers underneath that simple statement. Starving herself in anticipation of going out and binge drinking. Drinking on an empty stomach and getting sick. Watching her friends not eat all day to fit into dresses for date nights. Missing the scheduled dining hours at Hill House and using it as an excuse to skip dinner. Feeling freedom from the lack of supervision, and feeling out of control from that freedom. In a sea of uncertainty, Emma says she clung to her eating disorder. “It becomes a coping mechanism for other things going on in your life. It's a cyclical thing where it just makes everything worse,
I would just love for people who haven't struggled with a diagnosed eating disorder to be a little more conscious about the type of language that they're using. You never know what people are going through. –Emma Van Zandt
but it provides temporary comfort in the way you’ve been conditioned to seek comfort … getting smaller, restricting your food, having control over something,” Emma says. During her sophomore year, Emma found a treatment facility in Philadelphia and resumed the progress she was making in high school. Right before the onset of the pandemic, she was in what she refers to as the “management phase.” Emma will be the first to say that there is no absolute recovery from eating disorders, only “quasi–recovery.” Her lifestyle is by design: a system of strict protocols and routines that protect against fixation and restriction. She describes going home with the same pain in her voice as she describes her first year of college. Just as she had in her Quad dorm room, she sat in her childhood bedroom at a crossroads of whether to move forward in recovery or slide backwards into the familiar comfort that counting calories and skipping meals gave her. And if Penn was a shock to her mental health, the pandemic was a full–on collision. “I really, really, really wanted to relapse and go back, Emma says. “You know mentally that you want to recover—you want to be eating three meals a day and doing what your therapist says— but everything about it goes against what your mind wants to do, which is to restrict and go back to that comfort. I felt myself sliding back into relapse, and that's why my therapist and I went very full–force into recovery mode. But it ended up feeling just so bad.” Recovery mode at home began with a forced breakfast. Even if she wasn’t hungry, a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee were non–negotiables. She ate lunch during class, and then dinner with her family. She made a routine out of eating, relying on the consistency of it to move her forward. “I shouldn’t have to go to that super intense, super regimented schedule just to live normally and not relapse. That’s a thing that I haven’t had to do for years,” Emma says. When asked why she thinks eating disorders have risen so dramatically during the pandemic, Emma asks if I’ve heard of Chloe Ting. It’s not just the fitness YouTuber, but the at–home exercise craze that propped her up—the pressure to use quarantine to sculpt our bodies and emerge looking like Victoria’s Secret models. Even in Emma’s group chat with her friends, there was a daily suggestion for a quick way to get fitter, or at the very least, to avoid gaining the Quarantine 15. “I would just love for people who haven’t struggled with a diagnosed eating disorder to be a little more conscious about the type of language that they’re using,” says Emma. “You never know what people are going through. It can be so detrimental … And it's so much harder if you do relapse to come out of it because of the situation that we’re in.” Being at home also meant navigating the generational differences around eating that she sees between her and her parents. Her parents grew up in an era of “low–carb and South Beach diets,” a culture that she says doesn't align with modern understandings of nutrition. Their mindsets clash with Emma’s learned practice of intuitive eating, a theory of eating disorder treatment that encourages you to eat when you’re hungry instead of at restricted mealtimes and focuses on maintaining your body’s natural set weight. “They grew up with these cycles of fad diets and demonizing fats. Suddenly, fats are good, and carbs are bad,” she says. “For someone that doesn’t struggle, it probably wouldn’t really affect them. But for someone who does, it’s more problematic.” Her mother also suffered from bulimia when she was young and 13
When asked to describe the development of her eating disorder leading up to the pandemic, Gia quotes her mother: “You need to get a little thinner and look a little prettier.” “Have you not been taking care of yourself?” “You put on too much weight.” “You’ve lost weight—you look great.” Her mother doesn’t know about her bulimia. Gia doesn’t blame her for her eating disorder. Rather, she sees the criticism her mother doles out as a product of her upbringing. “I think South Asian culture is very body–centric, especially for women. My mom constantly told me to lose weight. I don’t want to vilify her; she did it because she clearly loved me a lot,” she says. “But I think what ended up happening, for me, is that I started developing a really bad relationship with food. I’ll end up eating too much or even eating a normal amount of food, then feel guilty about consuming it.” Gia put on weight prior to Penn’s closing—a side–effect of a stressful course load of upper–level computer science and math classes—and she worried how her mother would respond. She had developed a routine of losing a couple pounds in the weeks before she returned home from college. This time, she didn’t prepare. “I went home, and my mom kind of freaked out ... She basically just told me, ‘You put on weight, and I think that you need to make healthier choices.’ I think for me, the funniest thing was that I was at a point where I felt the most confident in myself. I was maybe a few pounds heavier, but I just felt good about myself,” Gia says. Gia took her mother’s claims seriously and went on a strict diet. Her family complimented her on her weight loss. Yet with rigorous classes and a nocturnal sleep schedule that prevented any social interaction, Gia couldn’t maintain the diet, and that’s when bulimia came back into her life. “I had been really good about not throwing up after eating, but as
F E AT U R E
1 2 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 3
F E AT U R E
still exhibits a disordered relationship with food. Emma speaks about her mother’s shortcomings delicately and without judgment, seeing her own success as a testament to how far eating disorder treatment has advanced in recent years. “She’s not as keenly aware of the way she views things as I would be, because I’ve gone through therapy. My therapist will say, ‘You’re not responsible for what she eats, and that doesn’t affect what you eat.’ You kind of pick and choose your battles—when do you say something because it really is affecting your mindset, and you’re not able to move past it,’” says Emma. Emma stayed in Alexandria until fall 2020. “As I’ve come back to Penn and gotten some semblance of normalcy back, things have definitely improved, and they’re slowly getting back up to the place that they would have been otherwise," she says. Marley* doesn’t binge eat. She just purges. She meets most of the criteria for bulimia but doesn’t fit perfectly into the tight corners of the DSM–5. She first threw up while working as a counselor at a summer camp when she was 17 years old. That summer, it was every meal that she ate. Her eating disorder has taken on different shapes in the years since, but it has always remained a consistent part of her life. “It got really bad again when I went to college. I was making a push to improve it before the pandemic started. I was making strides to move in the correct direction—I had told a few friends and was getting a lot of support from them … Then everything was just super overwhelming and it wasn’t going to happen,” says Marley. When she returned to her family home in Long Island, N.Y. in March, her mind was on strategy, not recovery. Worried that her parents would hear her throwing up, new behaviors cropped up in her life in place of purging: compulsive exercising, meticulous food and drink journaling, calorie counting, and weighing herself on a scale twice a day. “My parents don’t know, and I’m very conscious of them finding out … I have one very salient memory of my mom thinking that she had heard me purging and being really upset outside the door, and that drives me to not let that happen again,” says Marley. “I would say that was often a barrier to me [purging], but I don’t think it really helped with the root cause. It just made
14 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
me frustrated that I couldn’t.” Some days, she would go on a long bike ride with her friend, followed by a run on her own, and then a workout video with her sister. Most days, her only meal— aside from a “meal–ish snack”—was dinner with her family. But it wasn’t just her parents' watchful eye that stopped her from purging while at home. The health complications from regularly throwing up for the past several years have been beyond what Marley had ever anticipated. She has acid reflux and constant stomach aches. Her throat burns after meals. Her teeth have yellowed. When she purges now, which she still does sometimes, she often dry heaves and has memory blackouts. “I don’t think I ever completely understood what making yourself throw up for three and a half years can do until it was three and a half years later,” says Marley. “This is not what I signed up for.” For the past 50 years, rates of anorexia in the United States have increased in girls aged 15 to 24. It’s probably not a coincidence that the primary demographic of social media users matches this statistic perfectly, with the majority of people on apps like Snapchat and TikTok being high school– and college–aged girls. The advent of social media has fed eating disorders in the last half–century, particularly in young–adult women who are more exposed to media and susceptible to body dissatisfaction. The pandemic exacerbated this already alarming trend, as our main means of connection with the outer world occurs through a screen. For many, this social isolation can bring about more than just boredom. “Eating disorders are by their nature very isolating illnesses," Dr. Timko says. "As the pandemic has continued, we’ve seen across the board a decrease in social interaction, so you have people that are struggling against this illness that tends to isolate you now being faced with even greater social isolation.” The lack of human contact has created a vicious cycle: people turn to Instagram to feel connected, but the app is a trigger for relapse in itself; they can’t access the same quality of in–person treatment to break the cycle; they’re burdened by a national pressure to get fit, get smarter, pick up a language, learn a new instrument; they continue to scroll through Instagram, only digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole; they relapse. This pattern is not novel. The term "Quarantine 15"
might become obsolete as the world returns to normal, but its implications won’t go away. The pressure to be thin, to be beautiful, to be better than we are has always been lingering under the surface. COVID–19 hasn’t created the problem. It’s just given it a narrative. Gia has since returned to Philadelphia. She’s thrown up twice since she moved back in with her friends. Cooking makes her less likely to purge—it’s something about the effort that goes into the food. She no longer thinks that you can look healthy. You have to feel it. Her weight is secondary to her mood, her energy, her happiness. “I spoke to my friends about my eating disorder. They’ve been really good about making me feel like I look good as I am, and I think that plays a really big part in me not struggling as much,” she says. “We tend to think we’re the only people going through massive self–perception issues, but we’re not. At least in my friend group, talking about it opened up a dialogue about struggles that other people are going through.” Gia knows she's not fine, but she also knows she’s not alone. * Some names have been changed for anonymity. RESOURCES: National Eating Disorders Association: 1-800-931-2237: A 24-hour-a-day helpline for those with disordered eating habits to seek treatment and get screened for eating disorders. 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. Student Health Service: 215-746-3535: Student Health Service can provide medical evaluations and treatment to victims/survivors of eating disorders, regardless of whether they make a report or seek additional resources. Project HEAL: Penn’s chapter of Project HEAL, a national organization that can provide financial assistance to individuals struggling with eating disorders and unable to pay for treatment.
A Dialogue on Grieving Anti–Asian Violence Kingsley Song and Sudeep Bhargava, the chair and vice chair of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, reflect on grieving and the ongoing violence towards the Asian community.
Illustration by Sudeep Bhargava Content warning: This piece contains references to gun violence, death, murder, police brutality, and hate crimes that can be disturbing or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
udeep Bhargava: The world is falling apart again. I witness this destruction right as I’m at the edge of everything, and nothing at all. How strange it feels to make myself seem so important only to be rendered useless as I watch people thousands of miles away being attacked; as lives are erased, made either invisible or pointedly hyper–visible; as grief once again takes hold of my communities. I suppose I was foolish to take a restful moment for granted. Kingsley Song: The week after the shooting, I spiraled into grief upon being bombarded by social media, interview requests, the slow release of victims’ names and new information, and the empty words of both our university and the Biden administration. In the span of hours, days, weeks, I have watched with that same horror as their lives have been minimized, co–opted, and abstracted beyond recognition. What does it mean when these lives are reduced to a news
spectacle? What does it mean when we lose sight of their humanity and the many others who have been subjected to the longstanding legacy of violence that has led us to this current moment? A month has passed since eight people were murdered in Atlanta—and less than two weeks since eight more were killed in Indianapolis—and I am still frozen in the same horror and numbness that I found myself in the night the news broke: sitting in front of a blank document, detached from my body in the early hours of the morning. What cruel irony there is in trying to find words when I had not even known the victims’ names. Sixteen people with families, loved ones, communities—and more importantly lives—were killed. What does a statement matter when I can predict half of a recycled, corporate response before reading it? What do condemnations and condolences matter when people, specifically Asian, female massage parlor workers and Sikh community members, were just killed? SB: I wonder whether “destruction” is an act or a state of being. I have been made aware of the underlying technologies that constrain my actions: racism, xenophobia, colonialism. The congruence of Atlanta and Indianapolis’ body counts haunts me. Perhaps
the outcry after the first was not enough; perhaps a body count and a couple posts aren’t enough to end this violence. Throughout the month of March, a building in Philadelphia shined in bright LEDs, “#StopAsianHate,” and I thought about all the ways violence can be repackaged and resold. Eight people’s lives were lost, and their tragedies were reduced to a three–word plea: “Stop Asian Hate.” Hashtags come and go, but racism is as ingrained as my own last name—which is to say that it existed before me, and will continue even after this body expires. This isn’t to say that there is nothing to be done, or that any attempt to “#StopAsianHate” is futile. Rather, it is to acknowledge that all individuals have limits, and the role of grief is located both within and without the body. KS: I am left with more questions than answers. I am heavy with grief and the weight of expectations. What is there to say when 33 Vietnamese community members were deported in the same week? When the police killed 19–year–old Christian Hall in the same state we attend school? When eight people were killed because they were deemed a “temptation to be eliminated”? When this blip of visibility in the A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 5
public sphere is contingent upon a literal massacre of our communities? SB: I embody a state of constant apologies. I am assigned a minority identity to share with folks who have less access than me. As the violence that rips through Asian American communities is broadcasted, I’m called to interrogate the term itself. Of the people who have been silenced or displaced, I share neither cultural nor geographical roots. I live comfortably as a student at an elite institution; comfortably as a masculine–presenting South Asian American with access to wealth and knowledge otherwise denied to much of my historical lineage. In middle school, I was once asked why I came to this country. I didn’t have the proper language to respond to it at the time, but I know there was nothing I could say that would rid me of the lingering otherness I felt. KS: As I write this, I am still struggling to navigate all of the contradictions that make me question every word I write. As an Ivy League student, an East Asian person with access to wealth and resources in the suburbs of the Bay Area, I am reminded that I am only a representative in name, and not in experience. I will never know the lives of these women, much less the specificity and depth of violence against massage parlor workers, low–income families, elders, immigrants, and so many more. I name these limitations not to shirk responsibility, but to call attention to those who are marginalized within the “Asian American” community. Who is not in the room? Who are our people? SB: The world has always been in the process of unraveling. There are times I feel it more strongly, and others when I hardly feel
16 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
it at all. Those latter moments are the ones I am most ashamed of. They indicate times when I have focused so strongly on my own well–being that I forget about all the pain, all the grief. And yet, I am no stranger to either of those feelings; grief has held space within me since the day I was brought into this world. The margins to which my body, history, and culture are delegated to are the spaces I share with others. I have mourned countless times, and I mourn today as well. KS: I do not have the answers, but I am slowly learning that I do not need to have them. Amid tragedy, I bear witness to the seeds of radical love, resilience, and interdependence being sown in our communities. If I have learned anything this past year, it is that when we pair our imagination with action, our communities provide the creative solutions we need. From walking programs with elders, to mutual aid efforts, to community processing circles, I am reminded that another, better world is possible. SB: The act of grieving is ultimately an act of love. I watch myself come apart and my communities come together. Where there is destruction, there is also love—the thing that remains once everything else ceases to exist. It is our anger, our frustration; we do not call to love the oppressor or the oppressive system, but to turn that energy inwards and recognize our inherent value and power in organizing. Our ability to love makes us eternal. Love is intention. Love is justice. And above all, love is what binds us to each other.
Resources: Asian Americans United: (215) 9251538: Works in Asian American and multiracial coalitions around education, youth leadership, anti-Asian violence, immigrant rights, neighborhood development, and folk arts and cultural maintenance. Asian Arts Initiative: (215) 557-0455: Multidisciplinary arts center offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API PA): Coordinates political, electoral, and legislative work and engages in competent and accessible voter contact. Philly Asian Queer: Volunteer social organization that strives to engage queer, API folx through advocacy, social and supportive programming. Red Umbrella Alliance: Provides services and relief funds to sex workers, especially amidst COVID-19 pandemic. SEAMAAC: (215) 467-0690: Supports and serves immigrants and refugees and other politically, socially and economically marginalized communities. Vietlead: (267) 457-2851: Serves Vietnamese and Southeast Asian communities in the form of direct services, education, advocacy, and organizing.
Illustration by Alice Heyeh
The Songs We Can't Wait to Hear in Clubs Here are Street's top bangers to blast once clubs open up again.
he pandemic took many things from 2020. Chief among them are formative experiences, including music and the context in which it's heard. "WAP" just doesn't hit the same coming from shoddy laptop speakers when you're missing the thrills of a night out at the club. In lieu of collective body heat and close brushes against others, now alien in the time of perpetual social distancing, you're met with the echo of your room. With that in mind, Street reminisces about the time when we could let it all out on the floor. Here are the top songs we would want to hear once doors open up again. — Peyton Toups, Deputy Music Editor
SAVE A KISS — Jessie Ware Everybody will come back to the dance floor for different reasons: community, romance, or just a place to move our bodies in rhythm. Personally, I’m on the hunt for some of all three. Hence: Jessie Ware’s “Save A Kiss,” an outlier on her 2020 album What’s Your Pleasure? because it’s more indebted to Robyn’s emotive floor–fillers than classic disco. Ostensibly, the song is a plea for a lover to “save a little bit of your love,” but that’s not what it’s really about. The track's true meaning is in the way every instrument mimics the beat of an anxious heart, like the “high anticipation” of walking into a room that’s been empty and is suddenly full of living, breathing, sweating people. The meaning is in those rapturous backing vocals, sung in unison when audio delays make it impossible to harmonize together. The best dance pop released this past year conjured club scenes that were only fantasy. But “Save A Kiss” can bring a little bit of that fantasy into reality. — Walden Green, Music Beat A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 2 1 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 17
IMMATERIAL — SOPHIE As someone who rarely frequents clubs to begin with, the pandemic has given me even more reason to avoid those crowded spaces. Only a song of immense magnitude can pull me onto the floor. And that song is the late producer and transgender innovator SOPHIE’s rapturous “Immaterial,” taken from her monumental debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN–INSIDES. Infectious, bubblegum–sweet, and impossible to resist, the track channels (gender) euphoria into a potent shot of pink elixir. Stretching to both extremes of her voice on the unforgettable bridge, singer Cecile Believe gives the song an earth– quaking physicality and surprisingly universal appeal few pop songs in recent memory can claim. Under neon lights and writhing among other queer bodies, one finds liberation from the oppressive structures of the patriarchy, chanting along “Im– ma–ma–material.” - Peyton Toups, Deputy Music Editor
EXPERIENCE — Victoria Monét (With Khalid & SG Lewis) There was a surge of '80s–inspired music released in 2020, but no other song captures the carefree and laid–back attitudes of the time as well as Victoria Monét’s disco–pop single “Experience.” Dancing to the beat is almost irresistible given the groovy combination of synths and trumpets, as well as Monét and Khalid’s silky vocal chemistry. Referencing an ex–lover in the chorus, Monét hopes that “experience can get you to change,” not afraid of being unapologetic and confident. I can imagine “Experience” being played just as the party’s starting with its contagious liveliness sure to energize the dance floor, making the track the perfect song to begin a night of vibrant fun. — Evan Qiang, Music Beat
CLAWS — Charli XCX At the beginning of the COVID–19 pandemic, Charli XCX released her fourth studio album how i'm feeling now as a way to grapple with the depressive isolation of quarantine. Despite its relatively quick production process—the entire album was created in a few weeks—it contains some of Charli's most abrasive, exciting, and ebullient bangers yet. "claws," featuring production from 100 gecs' Dylan Brady, is a clear standout from the record. It's propelled along by Brady's clanging snares, explosions of synths, and Charli's infectiously simple hook: "I like, I like, I like / everything about you." Honestly? It's a bit rude that Charli dropped a track that goes so hard when we aren't able to let loose in the limitless space of a sweaty club. — Kyle Whiting, Music Editor
DISCO TITS — Tove Lo Fittingly, the last concert I attended before a night out meant dancing around my bedroom was Tove Lo at the Fillmore. It was also the last time I felt that electric kind of lightness, when going out on a Tuesday night was sexy and fun and not a moral quandary. “disco tits” has always been intoxicating. From the future pop baseline to the irreverent mentions of hard nipples, this Tove Lo track is a mix of subtle camp and polished production. Yes, “disco tits” is admittedly three minutes and 44 seconds of meaningless pre–game background music. But after a year and then some that’s been overflowing with complicated meaning, haven’t we earned something mindless to get fucked up to? — Bea Forman, 34th Street Editor–In–Chief
1 8 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
Photo courtesy of PerfectTed
PerfectTed: "MATCHA SO PURE THAT YOU COULD BATHE IN IT" These three Penn grads are revolutionizing on–the–go matcha while prioritizing sustainability and transparency. | EMILY WHITE
f you’ve ever tried to make matcha at home, you might have started with a store–bought mix. It was probably a yellow–green color and contained additives and sweeteners. If it didn’t have sugar in it already, you probably wanted to add a few spoonfuls to mask the grassy flavor. Unfortunately, this is pretty common in lower–grade matcha—it can be incredibly bitter in its natural state. PerfectTed—whose name is a play on a co–founder’s name and a reference to the effort the company puts into its products—wants to change this. Its mission is to deliver “plant–based, functional ingredients” in the form of matcha powder, tea, and lattes, while also emphasizing ethical and sustainable business practices. The London–based company launched its Kickstarter campaign on April 13, and by the next day, it had already surpassed its $13,900 goal. The three co–founders and roommates, Marisa Poster (C ’19), Teddie Levenfiche (C ’19), and Levi Levenfiche (C ’17), developed a “morning matcha ritual” to get their daily dose of caffeine. They quickly realized that the steady energy, stress relief, and health benefits matcha offered—thanks to the L–Theanine, amino acids, and antioxidants in green tea leaves—made it a superior source of caffeine when compared to most other coffees and teas. Despite coming from fields like consulting and finance, the three friends wanted to do something that would have a real social impact, even if it was out of their comfort zones. “A lot of people, when they graduate from Penn, they're like, ‘Oh, I'll do investment banking or consulting or jobs I'm not happy with for two years,’ but two years is a really long time in your life,” Teddie says. “And it was longer than I wanted to spend doing something that I wasn't passionate about.” Brothers Teddie and Levi originally began their foray into beverage making early in the pandemic, in an effort to support local health care workers. They bought a juice press and sold drinks from a stand in their neighborhood in London, which made them realize the importance of building a business that also has a social impact. “There was a period of lockdown where the weather in London was truly amazing, but you couldn't speak to anyone, and you couldn't do anything but go for an
hour–long walk,” Levi says. “So people kind of came together around this idea of picking up a juice with their family, supporting the NHS [National Health Service], and tackling the weather with fresh fruit.” This business model wasn’t exactly a long term plan—it’s a bit hard to scale when you’ve only got one juicer. Instead, the three friends decided to make matcha after realizing that most prepackaged options tasted either bitter or artificially sweet. After outlining their core values—transparency, sustainability, and simple but innovative ingredients—the team began their search for the perfect matcha. Since the quality of matcha depends directly on the growing conditions, the PerfectTed founders spent months testing samples to find the highest quality product. To them, this meant matcha that not only tasted good, but was grown without pesticides and tested for radiation. Ultimately, they landed on an organic ceremonial grade matcha that was “so pure that you could bathe in it," according to the Kickstarter page. After finding the perfect matcha, the last thing they wanted to do was add a bunch of preservatives and sweeteners to create their on–the–go option. Thankfully, they were able to find a treatment that allows them to make shelf–stable tea and lattes with only three items each—water, matcha, and agave for tea or oat milk for lattes. The technique is called ultra high temperature processing, and it’s similar to the pasteurization process that dairy undergoes to make it safe for consumption. In the case of PerfectTed’s matcha drinks, Marisa explains that the liquids are “heated up to a high temperature very rapidly and cooled just as quickly, ” creating a sterile and aseptic environment that allows the drinks to stay good for nine months. Most brands don’t use this process because it’s far more expensive. “It's much cheaper to use lower–quality ingredients, and use additives to change the flavor and make it more palatable,” Teddie explains. But after going through all the effort to find high– quality matcha, adding unnecessary ingredients was a non–starter for PerfectTed. “If we were using additives and preservatives, we wouldn't be doing anything that innovative,” Teddie says. “There are other companies out there that have cut corners to take the easy way
out.” On top of focusing on simple ingredients, PerfectTed also prioritizes transparency and sustainability in its business model—starting with its supply chain. Typically, a café would buy matcha from a domestic wholesaler, who had bought the product from a wholesaler in Japan. This multi–step chain often means less money for the farmer who originally grew the tea leaves, and it creates a disconnect between the business and suppliers that makes it difficult to verify ingredient quality. PerfectTed wanted to go directly to the source. Buying directly from farmers in Uji, Japan, allows the company to maintain a closer relationship with its suppliers and avoid the inflated prices that come with going through multiple wholesalers. It also helps the founders ensure that farmers are compensated fairly and that the products are grown in the best conditions. “We’re very conscious of understanding exactly where our matcha comes from and where the rest of our ingredients come from,” Teddie says. “So our oats mostly come from Belgium, [and] our agave entirely comes from Mexico. And we're in constant communication with suppliers to understand what they are doing to make sure farmers are treated well and what more we can do to ensure that that protection is just kept in place.” Part of their commitment to supply chain transparency also includes being Rainforest Alliance–certified, which means that independent third parties audited their supply chain and determined that the product was produced according to “the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental," as the Alliance's website states. As the business grows past the startup phase, the PerfectTed founders hope to give back more to the communities they source ingredients from by investing in local infrastructure and farmers’ programs. They also want to offset carbon emissions through tree–planting programs. Expanding the availability of their tea and latte products in America is also on the agenda, since right now only their powder and toolkit can be shipped across the ocean. In the meantime, you can check out their Kickstarter page, website, or Instagram to stay up to date on when their products will become available.
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 1 9
34TH STREET MAGAZINE PRESENTS:
issue out 5/14 nominate members of the class of 2021! https://forms.gle/vNGCrKaxFhR7cdCw7 2 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
Will the Black Market Be the End of Luxury Fashion? The black market and how it degrades luxury brands | PHUONG NGO
rom Louis Vuitton handbags, to red–bottomed Louboutin heels, to a basic outfit accessorized with a flashy Gucci logo belt, luxury goods are everywhere. However, the ubiquity of these items prompts questions about their authenticity. Retail platforms such as The RealReal and Depop have expanded the second– hand luxury goods market. However, the exchange of these expensive items through various vendors, and online vendors especially, allows for the black market of luxury goods to be much more prevalent. These online vendors, despite claiming to have a strict authentication process, occasionally sell their customers fake luxury goods, which are only discovered after suspicious customers sent these pieces to external authenticators. In order to detect counterfeits, authenticators examine various details in the product such as the craftsmanship and quality. The make of a handbag, for example, is often determined through details such as the stitching, logo, and leather edges. But as the black market grows so much that counterfeits look practically identical to the real thing, what is the incentive to purchase an authentic accessory, especially at its steep price? Z. John Zhang, professor of Marketing at the Wharton School, shared his thoughts on the future of luxury fashion in the context of the expanding black market. To explain the mentality behind purchasing luxury goods, he uses the analogy of burning money in public to show off wealth. Zhang compares the purchase of fake luxury goods to burning fake money. If these counterfeit goods are so high quality that you can barely tell the difference, “you can imagine that the luxury goods do lose their role as a
signal [of wealth],” he says. Zhang describes two possible reactions in wealthy consumers to the growth of the black market and the prevalence of luxury goods. One result is that consumers will purchase more luxury goods to continue to stand out. On the other hand, consumers could also respond by buying less goods. Zhang explains that seeing more false luxury goods could encourage wealthy consumers to spend more on less. He emphasizes that consumers can just replace the purchase of widespread luxury goods with more exclusive and expensive pieces. These two reactions to the black market, despite their polarity, show just exactly how big it has become and its influence on the luxury goods market. If the black market has become so good at producing counterfeits that the difference cannot be detected by most, what is the point in purchasing the real thing? This question is especially pertinent when the production of many luxury goods have been transferred overseas to countries such as China, where most counterfeit goods are also made. However, some say that the black market has done some good for luxury brands, with counterfeit goods making the idea of luxury more accessible to those who wish to don the Louis Vuitton monogram and Chanel quilted pattern, whether they're authentic or not. The result is that more people are walking around with perceived luxury, giving brands more public visibility, and thus, advertising. Luxury fashion will continue to be a significant indication of wealth, and consumers will continue to want it. When pondering the future of luxury brands with the growth of the luxury black market, it’s clear that the two can and will continue to coexist.
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 21
UNDER THE BUTTON
Gay Son or HSOC Daughter? Penn Students Answer. SIMON OROS
A student’s sociology final project is making waves in the Penn community. Mike Pelanti, a senior studying sociology and concentrating in LGBTQ Studies, recently conducted a survey where he asked Penn undergraduates across all four schools one simple question: would you rather have a gay son or a daughter studying history and sociology of science? Immediately, some Penn students were concerned about the premise of Pelanti’s question. Lisa Vanderwall, a material science Engineering sophomore, expressed her frustration during a post survey interview: “Why are you asking me to choose between a child with serious issues and a child who is perfectly nor-
mal? Of course I would rather choose to have a gay son.” Such sentiment is reflected in the
of HSOC students did not want a daughter who decided to be an HSOC major. We asked one such
Simon Oros results of the survey. Almost 97% of Penn students responded that they would rather have a gay son. Surprisingly, an overwhelming 98%
Introducing EAST & UP: My Flight Back to China This Summer LIWA SUN
2 2 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
respondent why she was a traitor to her own major. “Premeds are the most hardworking, unhappy people I’ve ever met. HSOC students are just
Coming soon this summer, the hottest new thing on the East Coast – heatedly anticipated by both my father and my mother, as well as my two (2) friends back home: EAST & UP, my flight back to China this summer. Do you like a confined space with no privacy full of people you don’t know? Do you enjoy sitting in one place for 12+ hours straight until your ass becomes a cold slab of playdough? Do you enjoy listening to Britney Spears’ groundbreaking single “Toxic” (2003) on repeat while eyeing the older man sitting next to you? Well, my friend, if you answered yes to any of these questions, EAST & UP is the place for you.
simply unhappy. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” says Christina Trainer, an HSOC sophomore. Despite the bashing of those who are simply interested in public health, this research has positive implications for the gay community at Penn. Amy Gutmann, in yet another email which celebrates the accelerating work done to end discrimination on campus, summarizes implications of the survey: “Penn students are now less inclined to discriminate against homosexuals because they are preoccupied by discriminating against HSOC students. We applaud the work Mike Pelanti has done in identifying that Penn’s commitment to antidiscrimination is working.”
This 13–hour premium exclusive experience is set to unveil early June. 10,000 feet (or 3 km, as they say in China) up in the air, you will be regaled to ice–cold orange juice and an irresistible collection of entertainment, including Becoming (Audio Book Version) and three random ass episodes from Season three of Parks and Recreation. Even after the 13–hour experience is up, the jouissance of EAST & UP is far from over. Get ready for the E & the U: an Eternity at the baggage conveyer, and your Unhappy parents who have saved 18 months’ worth of body–shaming to unleash on you. Glad to be home.
UNDER THE BUTTON
Freshman With Commitment Issues Skips Advance Registration AMJAD HAMZA
AMY GUTMANN VOWS TO ACHIEVE NET-ZERO SALARY INCREASE BY
2050 KEVIN XU
Amjad Hamza Advance Registration is currently happening, but not for flaky freshman Steve Buckwell. Steve decided not to register in advance for any classes because he struggles with commitment. “I didn’t want to be tied down with these 4.5 credits for that long, you know?” Steve continued, “My longest relationship was two months but Penn wants me to pick classes four months in advance, crazy.” Said relationship apparently culminated in hand-holding over Zoom. For most people, Advance Registration is a chance to lock in classes they know they want to take next semester but Steve isn’t ready for that kind of emotional investment: “Are URBS 078 and I really that tight? I don’t think so.” He plans to finalize his entire schedule the day before the add deadline in September to keep his options as open as possible. When UTB pointed out Steve would be free to drop classes even if he registered for them in advance Steve visibly flinched at the thought of such psychological scarring.
In a brilliant display of leadership and selflessness, Amy Gutmann has announced a net-zero salary increase goal for herself by the end of 2050. After years of taking on larger and larger paychecks, Gutmann has decided that she is ready to begin the process by stepping back from her role as top breadwinner on campus. The stress of handling and transferring such massive amounts of money into her bank accounts have begun to take a toll on her mental health and her ability to act as a campus leader when the students need her. As a result, she will be seeking to find other ways to spread this saved money to other programs on campus that need it. One such long-term project will be the construction of a campus monument built to resemble our current
president and offer comfort to students who find themselves wondering where their family’s hard-earned money is going. “At the end of the day, I’m not doing this as a meaningless gesture. I’m not doing this because people have constantly asked me why I’ve refused to take pay-freezes or pay-cuts. I’m doing this because I want to show the students of Penn that sometimes, you have to be selfless and give back to your community,” remarked Gutmann as she boarded a helicopter headed to her second beach home. "I also want to reiterate to everyone the importance of starting small. If we take a big problem and tackle it little by little, in 29 years, we really may achieve something truly special."
A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E 2 3
Senior Shoutouts Send a message to your graduating friends and classmates for free or include a picture for an additional fee. Text Only: Free
includes PDF copy of the paper
Text & Picture: $25
includes color and two mailed print editions Ally,
40Creepteen lives on! Can’t wait for NYC with you guys! Gabby
Submit yours at: theDP.com/SeniorShoutouts Deadline: Friday, May 7th at midnight Issue will be mailed week of May 16th
24 3 4 T H S T R E E T M AG A Z I N E A P R I L 2 9 , 2 0 21
I’m going to miss you so much! Who else am I supposed to eat entire pizzas with?