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metamorphosis 2021 Vol. 3 Issue 3







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the align up 1 My Mother is Yours

29 Outsmarting the Cycle

3 Oregon Wildlife

31 Violent Arrival of the Transformed Self

5 Spring Cleaning to New Beginnings

33 9-5 Transitions

7 Metamorphtok

37 Hair Metamorphosis

9 Duel

39 Church vs. Spirituality

11 Locavore

43 Witches & Feminism

13 Change is a Beautiful Thing

45 A New Age of Femininity

15 Tatttooing 19 Returning to “Normal” 21 I don’t Know My Own View 25 What does Music Mean to You? 27 Unmasking Personas

47 Upcycling Clothes 50 Coming Home 51 We Will Fall 53 Albums of my Adolescence 55 Bimbofication 59 Don’t Freak

letter from a graduating editor Hello Lovely Readers, Well, we’ve made it to summer! Which means I hope you’re reading this in a beautiful park somewhere, soaking up some sun and living idyllically. It’s not enough to say we’ve made it to summer because we’ve made it through one hell of a year. It’s been turbulent, it’s been tough, but it’s also been incredibly transformative. When deciding what our summer issue would be, my staff and I felt there was no better theme to capture the change we’ve seen in ourselves and the change we’ve experienced around us than Metamorphosis. This year was a year of many firsts for Align. Getting funding, reaching over 200 staff members, and interviewing not just one, but two celebrities. Align has come so far and none of it would have been possible without our incredibly talented staff and their unwavering support. Their resilience is unmatched and I truly believe each and every one of us have ended the year stronger than before. While we’ve had our uphill battles, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished and the work that has forever changed this publication. Our Metamorphosis issue is about celebrating transformation and growth (whether it’s internal or external), overcoming the odds, finding our voices and most importantly, celebrating ourselves. As a graduating senior, Metamorphosis was the most emotional issue for me. Cleaning out my house last month I found a letter from my highschool-self intended for me to open my freshman year of college. I have no idea how it was unopened for so long but after reading it, I’m not ashamed to say I started crying. I’ve gone through so many changes since then, made so many lifelong friends and made so many memories to last a lifetime and I have Align to thank for that. It hasn’t hit me quite yet, all the wonderful things and people I’m leaving behind, but I’m so incredibly excited to see all the amazing things my team will accomplish in years to come. Moving forward, my only wish is that Align continues to be a space for diverse creatives to have fun, be themselves, and to push artistic boundaries. I hope this issue inspires you to live happily and to embrace change, not fear it. With that being said, it’s with great pride and privilege that I introduce to you our 2021 summer issue, Metamorphosis. Love & Hugs, Gillian Arthur


MOTHER yours is

Oftentimes the women that raise us are the people we will soon become. For a long time this train of thought terrified me but as I have gotten older, I see my mother in a much gentler light. She makes mistakes, but I do too, so who am I to expect nothing but perfection from her? Us women are constantly comparing ourselves and this begins with our mothers. We have been passed along generational trauma from our great grandmothers to our grandmas, to our mothers and eventually, to us. So, how can you reject that trauma without rejecting your mother? I have always felt both resentful and grateful for my relationship with my mother, but as I get older the resentment seems to fade away and gratitude is all I feel. I see how complicated my mother’s relationship with her mother is and in witnessing that, I now understand how hard she has tried to not inflict the same trauma on me. I see the sacrifices my mother has made for me and it makes me respect her even more, regardless of the mistakes, pain and projections of my childhood. After leaving for college, I have been mending my relationship with my mother and I see so many other women my age doing the same. There is a sense of empowerment that occurs when you leave your home, but with that power comes a sense of fear and discomfort, which I feel pushed me closer to my mother. I wanted to feel safe and protected again--a sensation that I had forgotten. When men hurt and traumatized me, it was my mother who made me feel better--she made me feel worthy of good things. In


reclaiming my mother’s love, I have learned to love myself. I believe that my complex relationship with my mother is a reflection of my relationship with myself, which forces me to reevaluate my perception of myself and of her. As they say, you are a product of your environment and my home was built by my mother. While reexamining my view of motherhood, I decided to ask other women about their mother and daughter relationships. I was encapsulated by the unique stories that defined these women. Some were close confidants with their mothers while others were learning to claim independence from theirs. Many of these women expressed an immense amount of care for their mother or daughter. For example, Terri Strauss disclosed how her daughter Genna “can be her own worst critic and I wanted to take the pressure off her because I was always hard on myself.” In fact, many of the mothers I spoke to expressed fears for their daughters making the same mistakes they made. They did not want their child to hurt or struggle in the same way, especially if they could prevent it. When I think of those mothers’ fears, I can begin to understand why my own mother acted the way she did, through comments or controlling behavior to prevent any future pain. I cannot even begin to understand the trials and tribulations that come with being a mother, but I often come from a place of judgment towards mine. It is easy to see your parent, a person you grew up idolizing, as

a messy person purely because their actions did not meet your expectations. As Sage Kosmala said, “It’s okay to not think your mom is perfect,” and she is entirely correct. Mothers aren’t perfect, and they don’t have to be. When I spoke to Ilse StacklieVoght, she expressed how her own internalized misogyny made her hold her mother to a much different standard than her father. After hearing her express that, I identified that same behavior in almost all of the women in my life. Our mothers have to do everything and in doing that, there is more room for mistakes. I even see us women applying that standard to ourselves, which is a heartbreaking manifestation of generational trauma. When hearing women describe their relationships with their mothers, I was fascinated by how similar they were to their parent. I asked every woman if they saw their mother in themselves and if so, did it ignite a sense of fear or comfort? Almost every

woman expressed that as they have aged they have begun to see their mother in the way they look, act, talk, and carry themselves. In noticing those similarities, many approached it with a loving sense of comfort. They were reminded of home and their childhood. Listening to these women and their stories has made me see my own relationship with my mother differently. When I look in the mirror, I see a reflection of my mother and when I look at my mother’s face, I see a reflection of myself. She embodies me, she made me, and she is a part of me.




OREGON wildlife What We Can Learn from Plants and Animals It is no secret that Oregon is home to some of the most lush and green landscapes that Earth has to offer. But, it is not only the forest that makes Oregon so beautiful: it is the individuality of each and every plant and animal that comprise it. All beings play a valuable role in creating the harmonious ecosystem that is unique to Oregon. There is a wide array of wildlife and native plant varieties that call the forests and valleys of Oregon their home. All plants and animals that reside in the natural world embody valuable qualities such as resilience, abundance and growth. This harmonious coexistence can teach human beings how to live better lives. Nature doesn’t get caught up in the nonsense that life throws at it. It adapts and flows with change. Many of the plants and animals that are central to Oregon’s ecosystem remind me of ways people can live better lives through building a closer relationship to the Earth. All of nature is interconnected and every aspect relies on one another to thrive. Humans can benefit greatly from this simple, but crucial, life lesson: we need each other. Humans, in their efforts to get by in modern society, look out for themselves. We have become disconnected from one another – and from the natural world. In nature, trees, plants and animals work in unison. Understanding nature can help us unlock valuable life philosophies. Take the example of Anna’s Hummingbird. This species is the most common hummingbird living along the Pacific Coast of Oregon, and they are the only hummingbirds that spend their winters in Northern climates. When the temperatures drop, their breathing and heart rates slow, only to return to normal

as temperatures begin to rise. This adaptability allows the Anna’s Hummingbird to slow their metabolic rate, conserving energy in order to keep their bodies alive during challenging conditions. This synchronicity with the environment offers humans an opportunity to appreciate the mystery and beauty of the natural world. To stop and watch a hummingbird in flight is a rare and magnificent thing. They move quickly. Their wings flap so fast they are hardly visible. Hummingbirds can even fly backwards! Like the hummingbird, life moves quickly; and that brief glimpse of something beautiful and seemingly small, is something to be cherished. The abundance and beauty of Oregon’s wild places is a symbolic reminder to embrace both the good and bad things in life. The marionberry is one of the most prevalent species of blackberries that originated in Marion County, Oregon. It has adapted well to the climate that is unique to the state. It is marketed as the “Cabernet of Blackberries” because of its strong flavor compared to other relatives of the blackberry. While the marionberry is described as sour, it has a sweet, soft, center spot that offers robust flavor and is revered for its “goodness.” The marionberry is a deeply resilient vine. Marionberry has vigorous stems that produce roots which allow it to grow rapidly in areas where it might be unwanted. The marionberry has painful thorns, which make them difficult to harvest and challenging to remove, but the fruit offers a perfect balance of flavors. Marionberries are ideal for jams, pie fillings or plucked straight off the vine. These uniquely Oregon berries teach us that we can put up thorny walls, but our authentic selves will always have a sweet spot. Oregonian plants and animals do not hurt their home. They strive to strengthen it by being resilient, harmonious and flexible. Nature works together in order to maintain an intrinsically balanced ecosystem. These examples can offer lessons on ways we can reduce our negative impact on the Earth. They also remind us to connect more deeply with each other, and to flow with the way of nature.



WRITTEN BY KAELEIGH JAMES DESIGNER ALLYSSA OGAARD The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term “spring-cleaning” as “the act of cleaning all of a place, especially your house, very well, including parts you do not often clean.” While this still applies in 2021, I’d argue the cleaning we’re doing this spring goes a bit deeper. The spring cleaning frenzy that occurs every year right around daylight saving time is like the human version of waking up from hibernation. You’ve been trapped inside for countless months, passing the many dark hours in a fog of fatigue that when the sun starts to show a bit longer each day, an instinct inside you is triggered. All of a sudden you’re cleaning your bathroom, orga-


MODELS JAMIE YEUNG & KENNY PARK nizing your pantry, getting rid of old clothes, and hanging those pictures on the wall that have been lying on your floor waiting for you to pick up some tape for, well...we won’t get into how long. Life starts to look a little brighter, in more ways than one. If you look back to Spring 2020, the world started to shut down right when our instinct to spring clean typically kicks in. I’d argue it came on even more aggressive than usual with people stuck at home day in and day out. The hours of staring at the confines and contents of our homes became maddening, and led to things being thrown out at incredible rates, often left at the ends of driveways with dingy “free” signs unceremoniously taped to them.



To New Beginnings When the pandemic didn’t let up and people couldn’t transition to their summer routine, spring cleaning turned to making banana bread and learning how to sew. Now, here we are in Spring of 2021 with one essential difference from last year, the arrival of our dear friends Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. With the vaccine rollout, going out and socializing is becoming more of a reality again. But after more than a year at home, it won’t be a smooth transition for all. The thought of reentering a new post-COVID society can be scary which is why this year, we’ve got to turn our spring cleaning inward too. You’ve had one year to reconnect with yourself, and now it’s time to figure out whom you want to be to everyone else. Now, while you clean out and color code your closet for the 5th time in the past 12 months, here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare to walk out your front door and into a new

reality: 1. I am deserving of love and respect from all I encounter. Which relationships in my life are serving me and worth offering my energy? 2. Who and what deserves my presence, skills and everything I offer the world? 3. What do I need more of in my life and what do I need less of? 4. What parts of myself am I willing and prepared to offer to my surroundings, and what do I need to protect for myself and my wellbeing? 5. What are my intentions, needs, and goals as I prepare to re-integrate into the outside world? Am I prepared to defend them as needed? The pre-pandemic you is gone, as you brace yourself to reenter the world, I ask you to consider, who are you now?


Metamorphtok A 21st century metamorphosis



“Oh yes. Oh fuck yes,” Franny said upon waking up. She had just awoken from a stress dream to find that she had transformed into a strange creature overnight, with dozens of little legs and a smooth, hard back. The bone-deep existential terror she might have felt in response to this physical change was overshadowed by only one thing: her exhilarating relief that she did not have to go to work. “This is literally the best excuse of all time,” she thought.


“Who can expect anything of you when you don’t even have hands?” By this time in the morning, Franny would have just picked up her mobile order at Starbucks and boarded the blue line to get to the office by eight. Five days a week, fifty weeks out of the year, Franny spent hours at her desk managing a dozen brands’ social media accounts. Her roommates were aware that she was supposed to be downtown right now, attempting to conceive a way to get a bi-monthly organic dog food sub-

scription box to go viral. Out of genuine concern, but also a lack of boundaries, her roommate Daniela knocked and threw the door open seconds later. Daniela was now screaming, so Franny felt it necessary to finally attempt to get up and address the situation. There was no way that Daniela wasn’t already halfway down the block in utter shock right now, Franny thought. She took her time rocking herself out of bed, finally landing softly on her pink shag rug. She scurried up to her floor-length mirror to take a look. “Well, I think I’ve felt worse about myself,” Franny thought. Though that may have been true, Franny was starting to feel pretty freaked out by her brown, leathery exterior. Trying not to freak out, Franny recalled a quote she recently posted on behalf of a new body-positive swimwear brand: “Your body is not what’s trapping you, it’s mind. Expand your imagination to understand your body as housing what is your true worth.” It kind of made her feel better, but only for a second. She descended into a thought spiral. “What IS my value? Now that I can’t work, who am I? What worth did I offer to the world before I became a big ass cockroach? Was it anything beyond the capital I made for my employers?” Franny’s impending anxiety attack was interrupted by a screech from behind her. Franny turned around as quickly as she could (which wasn’t very fast at all, with all her legs and such) expecting to see Daniela wielding a weapon to defend herself with. To Franny’s surprise, Daniela was holding nothing but her phone. “Is this bitch seriously filming a TikTok right now?” Franny thought. Daniela filmed with two hands, shaking violently. Franny could almost hear Daniela’s heart pounding from across the room. Daniela was nervous-laughing, but the kind where you could tell by her tone that she was terrified. “Guys, I think my roommate turned into a GIANT BUG? Or it ate her? Holy shit. Holy shit. What the fuck am I supposed to do right now?” She paused and her face changed. “Okay, um, okay. If you are Franny, then turn around and look in the mirror again.” Franny followed instructions and turned 180 degrees to face her wretched appearance in the mirror. In the reflection, she saw Daniela drop her phone and speed out of the room.

Twenty seconds later, Daniela cracked the door just enough to snatch her phone and slam the door shut again. The next day, Franny overheard Daniela and their other roommate, Charlotte, talking about the situation. “Yeah, so that video got 4 million views in less than 24 hours. People are literally begging for an explanation,” said Daniela. “Shit, dude. I mean like, she’s probably going to need food and water and for her room to be cleaned and all that. Maybe we could turn that into content? Because we need to help her, but also we need to cover her portion of the rent. So we have to figure something out,” said Charlotte. “And she probably wants to hang out with us right?” So Daniela and Charlotte began to make daily trips into Franny’s room to visit, provide food, and film content. They were both visibly terrified and disgusted to be in the same room as her, but at the same time, Franny could tell that they were trying to engage with her. The TikTok content started with a storytime, though there wasn’t a lot to say. Daily videos addressed different topics, like Franny’s feeding routine, the cleaning routine, and Q&As about Franny’s life. Franny didn’t mind this, at first. It was fun to be around her friends, even though she felt like more of an observer of their friendship. It was strangely affirming to be the object of interest to thousands of strangers. One day she overheard Charlotte say that #roachtok was trending. Franny thought that was funny. Eventually though, the visits became less about engaging with Franny and more about engaging with the audience. Charlotte and Daniela no longer knew how to speak with Franny; they had no idea if anything they said mattered to her. And it didn’t, really. Visits became shorter and less frequent. The two girls used to film every day, but after a few months the visits were just to service Franny’s needs. Charlotte and Daniela didn’t want Franny to think so, but the TikTok account was still alive and well. Franny could hear them in the other room, hanging out with their audience on livestreams and editing their first Youtube video together. Franny was happy that they found success, though she often found herself critiquing the way they branded themselves. “Really? You guys are reminding people to like and subscribe in the video intro? Don’t they know that’s tacky?” Maybe Franny did miss her job.



My shadow is the only living thing to be seen over there. Ah, I thought very likely you wouldn’t recognize me. You never expected to see me in such fine condition. Don’t you recognize your old shadow? Look how snug it is sitting among the flowers And the door is standing ajar. Now if only the Shadow was sharp enough to go in and look about And then come and tell me what it saw! Yes, you’d be some use then. She was light, but she was lighter, and such a partner she had never had. Of this the Shadow was well aware, For she gazed at her as if she would see through her. Yet once again they danced together, And she was on the point of speaking out. But she was careful. *Lines adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s book The Shadow

m o e c a e B

Locavore in R E u g e n e, O

We hear that eating local supports the environment, local economies and community members. But, when it comes to the true value of consuming local foods, one thing is unclear: How do you define local? Local is defined differently by different people. Although there is no distinct definition of what “local food” means, locavores define eating local as eating foods that are grown within a hundred-mile radius of your home. Others define local as the specialty organic foods sold at community farmer’s markets. Eating locally is the same as eating seasonal. Have you ever felt weird enjoying pineapple in the dead of winter? Chances are that pineapple has traveled thousands of miles, burning unnecessary amounts of fossil fuels to get to you. A study done by the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture highlights how, on average, meals in the United States travel about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your plate. It is estimated that for every one


kcal energy we get from food, we put 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy into the food system. Not only are you protecting the environment by eating locally, but you are also uplifting your community. Local foods stimulate your community’s economy. Looking at Eugene, specifically for the manufacturing of goods, there are a few brands that stand out when compared to others. Let’s compare Dave’s Killer Bread from Whole Foods and locally grown sourdough bread from Big River Breads. Dave’s Killer Bread retails at Whole Foods for $5.29, compared to Big River Breads that I purchased for $5.99. Having bought Dave’s Killer Bread in the past, I was shocked to see that the local version is not that much more expensive. The motto of Dave’s Killer Bread is “Fuel Up with Whole Grains;” In contrast, the motto of Big River Breads is to do what is right for their customers and their community. Big River Bread is a company based out of Corvallis, Oregon. It also has a restaurant that is most well-known for their delicious bread and pastries. According to Big River Breads’ website, one of their values is to be sustainable. They donate their leftover food and bread to local homeless shelters and duck farmers in the surrounding area. When eating Big River Breads, you are feeding yourself something made from pure ingredients and supporting the Eugene community.

The popular dairy-free brand So Delicious is manufactured in Eugene, Oregon. All of their products are sourced organically, vegan and GMO Project certified. So Delicious also uses plantbased plastics and sustainably sourced recycled cardboard for their packaging. In particular, although the source of the coconuts for the coconut milk is not stated online, coconut-based products at So Delicious contain 70-95% organically grown ingredients. Consuming dairy-free products do not support the harmful inorganic large-scale dairy farming culture in the United States. In contrast, Yoplait is owned by one of the “big ten”, General Mills. The “big ten” represents the ten leading companies that own almost every other brand in the grocery store. Disassociating from one brand is difficult because it is likely that the smaller brand is owned by the same larger company. Powerful companies like General Mills, Pepsi and Unilever control the food and beverage industry in most countries. Another important consideration for supporting local businesses is many young adults are unaware of their purchase power when it comes to food shopping. How and where you chose to spend money can have a direct correlation with whether or not you support large-scale agriculture and farming. If sourcing your groceries is not realistic for you, there are many other ways that you can support eating local in the Eugene area. As a student at the University of Oregon, you have a great resource at your disposal: the Urban Farm. The Urban Farm is located just off of Franklin Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway. In operation since 1976, the Urban Farm has been used as an outdoor classroom where students learn how to cultivate organic produce, take care of protected land and build a strong sense of community. Urban Farm classes include LA 390: Urban Farm, LA 410/510: Civic Agriculture and the first year interest group Food & the Garden. The Urban Farm is a sanctuary where students can get their hands dirty and learn in a nontraditional way.

Another incredible resource for eating local in Eugene is the Lane County Farmers Market. Operating from February to December, the Lane County Farmers Market is the largest in Eugene, providing food from and uplifting over 85 farmers and food artisans. The LCFM is also very accessible, accepting LCFM Market Tokens, WIC checks, Senior Farm Direct vouchers and SNAP/EBT cards. If cooking is not your forte or don’t have access to a kitchen, you can eat locally by supporting farm-to-table restaurants in your area. Farm-to-table restaurants source their food mainly from local farms where the produce is picked at peak freshness and jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients. The restaurant, farmer and customer often have a symbiotic relationship where they all benefit from each other. The restaurant gets to sell high-end, fresh food while the farmer feels recognized and supported by the restaurant. The consumer gets access to delicious and healthy seasonal meals. Local farm-to-table spots to check out in Eugene: Cornucopia Restaurant on 17th and Lincoln: a friendly neighborhood spot featuring natural burgers and fun happy hour special. 5th Street Public Market on 296 E 5th Ave: Marché & Le Bar & Provisions Market Hall both source food locally. Café 440 on 440 Coburg Rd: a more high-end spot with carefully selected seasonal plates. Whatever the reason, buying locally grown food is an incredible way to uplift your community and the people in it. Many find solace in knowing exactly where their food comes from and how it was grown. Others eat locally to help benefit the environment. As the farm-to-table movement continues to grow, consumers grow increasingly concerned with where and how their food is made. Having the choice to purchase and learn about locally grown food is empowering. If you only take one thing from this article, I want you to be more aware regarding where your food comes from. Take the time to read food labels. Do some research online. Oftentimes, knowledge stems from just asking questions.



is a Beautiful Thing

Growing up is a part of life. Many of our experiences while growing up are what molded us into who we are today. But now, no longer do we have the days as kids where we could play all day and not have a care in the world. We have responsibilities and consequences to our poor actions. Now I don’t mean to upset you; growing up was an emotional experience, but it’s also an eye-opening journey. Little did I know I’d be a future journalism and English major today, yet; from the start, literature was there to help me learn about the world. From a girl who wrote love letters to all the boys she’s loved before to dystopian societies where people fought to the death and one girl famously said “I volunteer as tribute,” literature manages to explore a multitude of genres, lifestories, and resolutions. However, there’s one commonality between them all: we can always find a way to relate to a character. Throughout a story and character’s development, we learn from them how they solve problems and move through obstacles and it inspires us to move through our obstacles in life. A huge proponent of this inspirational flow is due to coming-of-age in literature. Defined as a genre of literature or film that focuses on the mental and physical growth of the protagonist, coming-of-age books help us understand that change can be difficult, but it can be done. And I’m here to help you get started! I love coming-of-age books because they help me reflect on my own experiences, but also the experiences I could have. For example, books I’ve read have helped me understand the dynamic of independence and codependence as well as how the shift from home to college life is impactful for many people. Here’s a few book recommendations to get you started. I hope these get you inspired to embrace your metamorphosis. Happy reading!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Chbosky’s stunning novel follows 15-year-old narrator Charlie who has just entered high school. As declared by the title, Charlie is the epitome of a wallflower: quiet and distant. Shortly afterward, Charlie gets noticed by his English teacher for his


talent in writing and befriends Patrick and Sam. As the school year continues, Charlie, being observant, learns more about the complicated high school world as more events and secrets unfold and are revealed. I love this book because of the way it’s written. Each scene is written like a letter to an anonymous friend and signed by Charlie. This unique feature adds a touching element to the book that makes it all the more relatable. The spectacular quotes that come from the novel also add a touch of relatableness as well as prove my point even further: it’s truly a comingof-age novel. Charlie’s development in the book is simply truly inspiring. The themes of happiness, sadness, grief and acceptance really shine through with Charlie’s narration, making it all the more a must read.

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton Written through journal entries, Walton’s debut novel follows Adam Petrezelli and his journey through his schizophrenia diagnosis. After an episode at his old school, Adam transfers to Saint Agatha’s where he starts a new medication called ToZaPrex and befriends Maya and Dwight. After his fresh start and new opportunities, his friendship with Maya eventually blooms into romance and, due to his relationship and newfound genuine friendship, his hallucinations become a thing of the past. The more ecstatic Adam gets about this, the more he tries to hold on to it. But will it last forever? It’s not uncommon that novels whose stories progress through journal entries are deemed coming-of-age. This book successfully manages to discuss real issues like mental illness in a realistic and empathetic way. I love the book because we read Adam’s thoughts as he goes through his journey and gradually discovers himself and his mental illness. The book’s exploration behind stigmas related to mental illness also provides insight into what it’s like suffering with schizophrenia while also breaks down stereotypes. With themes of family, loyalty, friendship, and understanding, Words on Bathroom Walls is a coming-of-age title that will forever be on my bookshelf.






The Most Underrated and Transformative Artform I’ve always had an appreciation for tattoos. It’s a longstanding artistic tradition that continues to evolve over the years, which is ironic because the point of the artwork is that it stays. People choose to get tattoos for a multitude of reasons, but mine are simple. I moved around a lot until I came to Oregon and learned to expect constant and dramatic change. I became enamored with the concept of something permanent because of this. The fact that tattoos are permanent seems to scare a lot of people, but it was my primary selling point for wanting a tattoo. Well, that and an angsty teenage act of rebellion. I was technically only 16-years-old, since it was the day before my 17th birthday. At the end of my junior year of high school, a friend came over to my mom’s house to give me a stick-andpoke tattoo. I’d like to clarify that – while she is one of the only people from my high school I genuinely wish well – we were only acquaintances from AP classes. I saw the stick-andpokes she gave herself, and one day during math analysis, we made a plan for her to give me one. The first and only time she and I hung out outside of school was for her to sit on my upstairs couch and give me a bomb stick-and-poke arrow (that one of my future tattoo artists said “Wait, that’s a stick-andpoke?” about). And then, in an angsty teenage manner, we climbed into our town’s graffitied sewer and later sat in a park for a bit. A universal judgement about getting tattoos is that people feel different after, and I couldn’t agree more. Tattoos don’t just change your body; they change your mentality. My first tattoo helped me gain a sense of what permanence meant. It showed me that permanence existed. In my experience, this

difference can be seen through a shift in confidence, self-empowerment and an elevated self-image. My latest tattoo is a realistically shaded lion on the inside of my right forearm. (No, I’m not a Leo; I’m just a Gemini with curly hair and an attitude.) The effects of my newest (and biggest) tattoo were pretty radical as far as sense-of-self was concerned. Tattooing is an artform that creates a special bond between the artist and the buyer. The hours I’ve spent getting to know different tattoo artists over the years have sparked the most interesting, genuine conversations; and I haven’t met a tattoo artist who doesn’t have a unique story to share. Jimmy Singleton, a tattoo artist from Illinois who works at The Parlour, has been tattooing for about 26 years. He told me “It takes two of us to make it look good.” By this, he meant to emphasize the collaborative effort between the artist and the person receiving the tattoo. “I’m trying to live by: I’m only as good as my last tattoo. Even if it’s something simple, I try to push myself,” Singleton said. “For me, it might be something I’ve done five or six or 20 or 100 times. But, for that person, that’s special. I try to do everyone’s tattoo with as much honor and justice as I can – as if it’s my last tattoo.” Singleton also mentioned that every tattoo tells a story. “It could be a simple story like Jack and Jill or it could be this epic like War and Peace,” he said. In this understanding, Singleton simplifies the very common misconception that not every tattoo has a reason. Whether or not a tattoo’s meaning is obvious or personal, each piece


tells a story – and, therefore, adopts a meaning. Some people may spend months or years thinking about a particular concept before deciding to get it tattooed. But, some people’s reason for getting a tattoo is a nonchalant “Because I wanted to and why not have a thigh tattoo of Red Forman?” (This is a real example; I did, in fact, get tattooed by a man who had Red Forman on his thigh and I honestly miss his energy.) Either way, every tattoo has a story behind it, and I think that’s beautiful. By looking at an itty-bitty, one-inch arrow on my wrist, you wouldn’t know the meaning behind it anyway. This need for tattoos to have meanings is part of what permits the stigmatization of tattoos in our society. UO junior Haylee Frame got her first tattoo, a carnation on her arm, on April 2 at The Parlour. She said she has always struggled with body image issues – specifically with her upper body – and this tattoo has helped. “After getting it on my arm, I feel more confident to wear sleeves and tank tops because it’s really pretty and I want to show it off,” she said. Additionally, while permanence was not a factor that led Frame to want a tattoo, it doesn’t scare her. “On ‘Ink Master’ they’re always like, ‘You’re going to have this on you for the rest of your life. What’s it going to look like 50 years down the line?’ And, for me, I don’t care what I look like when I’m 70,” Frame said. “I’m going to be a wrinkly bag of bones anyway, so I might as well have something cool.”





The transition to normalcy has been strange. For starters, fewer sweatpants, more jeans and maybe even trying to do something with my hair before leaving the house. For the most part, I’ve genuinely enjoyed this experience and am taking any and every opportunity to wear colored eyeshadow and look a little extra for the average night out; but I’d be lying if I said it’s been a perfectly smooth transition. A feeling of anxiety, one I haven’t felt in a while, takes over before almost every outing with friends. Even going out to dinner sends a ripple of panic through me. Can I post on social media? Is it irresponsible? What if someone is sick? What if I accidentally spread something to someone else? Admittedly, sometimes the anxiety alone makes it not worth going. For myself and others, it seems that the adjustment back to a sense of normalcy is almost as difficult as the first major shift in quarantine. And, looking at the time frame, having a lifestyle entirely uprooted and then slowly set back in a single year is pretty overwhelming. Psychology has proven time and time again that routine and a perceived sense of control are extremely comforting and make us feel stable – even amidst uncertainty.

quarantine and made it a successful career. Others discovered a new passion, finally worked on unfinished products or mended personal relationships. But what happens if all I did was go through the motions? I’m finding myself scrambling to come up with a miraculous invention or start a revolutionary blog. The quarantine transformation pressure is at an all-time high as people begin emerging from their cocoons, and I know that, at least for myself, this pressure is overwhelming. But, I read something recently that changed my perspective. Yes, this pandemic has shown us that a single strain of disease can take the lives of millions, devastate world economies and tear people apart. But it has also brought people together – as cliche as that is. And, in another oddly comforting train of thought, the fact that the world could shift at any moment again is a reminder that we are more human than we think. We are not immune to the cards that the world deals us. This is why it is even more important to live every day from this point on to the fullest. Tell people you love them, and don’t forget to love yourself while you’re at it. Anxieties in this new age will be common, but trust your body and mind to adapt and change accordingly. This new normal may be strange and daunting, but embracing it makes it exciting and freeing.

It makes sense that the lack of control throughout the whole pandemic is particularly anxiety-inducing – and yet, once we adjusted, could somehow be oddly comforting. Will I miss the absence of FOMO, every night being a movie night and the TikTok quarantine recipes? Maybe a little. Or maybe I’m romanticizing a time when I finally felt in control since the country first shut down. Not to mention the added layer of productivity guilt that came with over a year in quarantine. Some people, like the founders of the up and coming Hangover Hoodies, started a business in


“I was raised in a patriarchal family structure”


I DON’T KNOW MY OWN VIEW WRITTEN BY QUAYE MEADOW NEGRO DESIGNER SOPHIE SARGEANT I have consistently struggled to know myself as an individual and it has only been in the last few years that I have begun to understand why that is. I was raised in a patriarchal family structure and the world we live in fully embodies that. My life is literally defined by how men perceive me, meaning that my own perception of myself is tainted. Women have consistently been depicted and perceived by men in a singular light. As young girls, we are conditioned to value certain parts of ourselves, whether that be our beauty, our soft-spoken behavior, or our palpable personalities. These attributes were enforced through certain phrases. For instance, I was always told that I was “too much” in the way I spoke, in the way I dressed, and in the way I carried myself. I was so free of the pressures of society until other people decided to push those limitations on me. Public shaming, humiliation, and guilt are just a few of our culture’s tools to make women into what the patriarchy wants: a perfect and amiable wife, mother, and sex object. But I never really realized how far away I was from my own self until I asked myself a specific question: who am I when I erase everything I have done for the men in my life? My answer was simply, “I don’t know.” That lack of recognition of myself was heartbreaking. I claimed to be an independent woman, but I never even knew myself as a grown woman, and neither do most women. It is the feeling of not knowing myself that makes me question what I want--what I really want--from life. I recognize my eagerness for male attention, but I cannot decipher why that is. Do I truly want men to like me? Or am I just conditioned to base my entire self-worth on male approval? I have even noticed my own internalized male gaze when I am alone at home. I feel a need to be performative in how I dress, act, and communicate as if I am putting on a show. In fact, most of my life I have been putting on a show. I act like a different person for my father, for my brothers, for my male peers, and for the men I have

been both romantic and sexual with. The patriarchy, which is a system upheld by those men, has become so deeply embedded within every aspect of my life that I don’t even know what I like. It has only been in the past two years that I was able to recognize my queer identity, but I still carry so much doubt, hesitation, and internalized homophobia solely because I still feel the need to make men like me. Knowing that I act for the men in my life, I have even begun to question my performative femininity. Do I enjoy stereotypical feminine things because I actually like them, or am I just feeding into the stereotypes of women being only feminine? On the other hand, is a rejection of feminine things authentic, or is it just me wanting to be the cool girl? Either way, I feel like I am betraying my womanhood and giving into what men have told me being a woman means when I explore both options. Through a constant examination of myself and my selfexpression, I have finally begun to see myself. I do not need to feel guilty for being “too much” or for conveying my femininity, masculinity, and androgyny. Instead, I have decided to actively combat my internalized male gaze. The most prevalent way I have been able to do that is through no longer explaining or justifying myself and my actions, especially to men. I have always felt this pressure to prove why my existence matters, especially to the patriarchal system. But, with time I have begun to realize that I do not have to prove my worth to anyone except myself. Men do not get to determine whether I am pretty or interesting enough to stick around and to be honest, I won’t give them that power anymore. I know I am enough. I know I am worthwhile. I know I am worthy of love, especially from myself. But, I think it is also important to not dismiss those feelings of inadequacy. Figuring out why you feel unimportant or confused about who you are is not due to a lack of self, but rather, it is due to a rejection of self which is encouraged by the male-centered culture we exist within. I am not to blame, but they are.





too much? 24 ALIGN

what does music mean to you? I think most people can say that music plays a significant role in their day-to-day lives. It can be used as a form of escape from reality, work as a backing track to your daily routine, and change your mood depending on what you choose to listen to. As a self-proclaimed music-obsessed gal, I could list off millions of ways that music helps me and everyone I know live their lives. The realization of the impact music has on all of us got me thinking, “What does music mean to you?” So I decided to ask. The beauty of this question is how open-ended it is. I had zero expectations for what people would say, and zero requirements for their answers. Responses could range from emotions, physical feelings, specific memories from moments in our lives, or just general opinions on music as a concept. I find the effect that music has on individuals’ lives so unique and exciting because everyone has their own story to tell. By asking this question, I wanted to dive into the true depth of music’s influence on the people who love it. The first answer to my question came from a very emotional space. Ria Bhatt, who works on the playlist team here at Align, said to her, music means “feeling like I am not alone when I think the world hates me.” I find this answer to be such a relatable feeling because music can be something we rely on when we have nothing else. The lyrics of the songs don’t change, the music doesn’t change, it’s consistent, and the emotions can be powerful. One of the most common activities among friends of mine is to make playlists catered to certain emotions. Most people I know have a sad playlist, a happy playlist, and other very specific mood-based playlists that are personalized to them. There is so much beauty in the fact that we can build safe spaces for ourselves in the music and the songs that we love. Another wonderful thing about music is how it brings people together. I got a response from Noah Villanueva, also a contributor on Align’s Playlist Team, who said music to


him means “Connection. A universal bond to transcend all barriers.” Thinking back to pre-COVID, when concerts and music festivals were still very much a thing, the variety of people who went to shows and festivals was unlike anything else. Music has no bias, which means anyone and everyone can listen to all different artists and genres. Your polar opposite could potentially be listening to your favorite artist right now. Music has such a strong ability to create friendships. I couldn’t count on my fingers and toes how many amazing people I have met from shows or concerts I’ve been to. Even just posting a song that I am listening to on my social media stories works as an invitation for someone who is also a fan to reply and start a conversation. There is nothing like witnessing the way music creates unity between people. Having music shared with you and being able to share it with others is how that unity forms. So take some time and make your best friend a playlist! Swap some songs with your siblings or take it upon yourself to dig up some cool oldies that your parents always play in the car. Music flows through friendships, generations, stories, and struggles, and it is such an honor to keep it alive and moving. So with that, I encourage you to think about what role music really plays in your life and what life would be like without it. Don’t take the tunes for granted, and maybe even broaden your musical horizons by talking to people about their favorite songs and artists. Music has so much potential to be a positive element in our lives, and hearing people’s own experiences with it is a great way to broaden your own views and keep that musical positivity growing. P.S. If you ever want to swap playlists you know who to ask!! :) WRITTEN BY AYDEN MEYER ILLUSTRATED BY ELSA DOUGLASS DESIGNER KAELEIGH JAMES

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WRITTEN & DESIGNED BY DEAN GRIFFIN ART DIRECTED & PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARITA AHMAD MODEL LUCY LAJTHA In our current world, we all have masks we chose to wear, whether those be literal or figurative. With most of our time spent on Zoom nowadays, it can be difficult to make meaningful connections with others and can be easy to just make assumptions of one through their social media or the limited interactions we may have with them. But once we are able to dig beneath the surface with others and see what makes them the person they are, it can be easier to find connections to one another and “unmask” the true personas and lives of one another. Nathan Solivan, a sophomore at UO, spends his days mainly studying and working at Whole Foods. He is also an avid athlete, and loves to spend time working out or playing games like soccer or frisbee with friends. However, one part of him that most people might not know is his love for photography. Solivan first got involved with photography as a freshman in high school. He initially wanted to take a ceramics class to get his art requirement out of the way, but there were no spots left so he settled on photography. Little did he know he actually had a hidden talent. “My teacher was telling me how I’ve improved, and I realized that I actually am pretty good at it, so that’s where my love for photography came from since I had skill without realizing before taking the class,” Solivan said. From this point on, he realized he could take photography and apply it to different areas of his life. He started taking photos for family and friend’s graduations, birthdays and other kinds of celebration. Yet still, it is a part of his identity that most people might not know right off the bat. “For me, I don’t associate photography with how others see myself, but I would say it’s something that I admire, so I would mention it if I was really getting to know someone,” he said.

For some, a hobby like photography is behind their metaphorical “mask.” But for others, it may be a club or organization they’re a part of. Megan Weissman, a junior at UO, is very involved with Camp Kesem, a non profit organization that hosts a summer camp every year for kids whose families are impacted by cancer. For her, it was a great community to find after being a camper at another camp for 11 years. “I had been going to camp my entire life, so looking for that group of people was something I wanted in college because I just think camp people are the best kind of people, and everyone was so welcoming,” Weissman said. Additionally, it was an especially comforting group to join because of her similar experiences to some of the campers. “My father had been diagnosed with cancer, so that was a connection that really worked for me because it combined camp and cancer, which I think is something that is really difficult for kids to go through. Fortunately my dad made it out fine, but some of these kids have situations that don’t go as well, so being able to provide a camp for them to escape to and have a week away from their lives that are very difficult is something I knew I really wanted to do,” Weissman said. As a director on the coordinator team, Weissman is in charge of overseeing the camp’s board and assisting them with their positions. Her specific job is being in charge of the treasurers, the alumni marketing and PR team and the development team. When most of the camp has become virtual it can feel like a lot of work, but she says that once she is with the campers, it makes it all worth it. “When I log onto a zoom with the kids it feels so welcoming and amazing, it makes all of the behind the scenes work worth it,” said Weissman.




s people celebrated Earth Day this year, photos of the planet flooded social media. My feed was filled with captivating pictures of remote and serene forests, lakes, lookouts and sunsets. The annual message imposed on this day every year is a necessary one: protect the planet. But, while we continue to remind ourselves and each other to protect our environment and to preserve biodiversity, our actions as humans are counterintuitive. Mass consumption of products contributes to increasing levels of pollution and climate change. One of the biggest threats to Earth’s ecosystems, and to the health of humans, is a material used within products that we see every day: plastic. Single-use plastics are everywhere – from grocery store bags, to shipping packaging, to utensils and disposable kitchenware. It is predicted that by 2040, 710 million more tons of plastic will be dumped into the environment. This not only threatens oceans and ecosystems, but our health as humans as well. Although there are currently plastic-conscious trends such as #SaveTheTurtles and metal straws, there are still many unknowns when it comes to the risks of plastic. A growing issue that scientists are continuing to study are microplastics. Microplastics are broken down from larger plastic pieces and manufactured microbeads; they are found in various beauty products and are meant to be an exfoliant. Microplastics are dangerous and difficult to detect as a result of their size. They can also carry toxins and pollutants. Some are able to pass through filtration systems undetected and are consumed by humans and animals – particularly marine life. One study from the scientific journal “Environmental Science & Technology” said the average American citizen will consume more than 74,000 particles of microplastic every year. Because microplastics are a developing study, we still don’t know all of the various ways we are affected by them.

seafood. According to University of Michigan professor and Partnerships for Environmental Public Health researcher John Meeker, it is unknown how our bodies process and metabolize the small plastic particles. Researchers still do not know whether or not the particles are able to disrupt certain systems of the body. There are many remaining questions relating to how much plastic is actually accumulating on the planet. It is difficult for researchers to understand the levels of plastic that exist within the ocean. But, as new evidence and knowledge becomes more apparent, predictions are becoming more accurate. Furthermore, many nations are taking the steps to ban certain plastics. Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 to prohibit the manufacturing and distribution of cosmetic products that contain microbeads. Other nations including the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have similar bans. While this is a start, more government action must be taken to reduce the levels of plastic entering the environment. Some ways to avoid microplastic consumption and single-use plastics are not drinking out of plastic water bottles and not eating foods packaged in plastic. Additionally, aim to store your leftovers in glass containers – not plastic containers or wrapped in plastic wrap, bring a reusable bag to avoid single-use plastic bags from the store and cook more often to avoid take-out containers. It’s also important to support legislation that aims to limit plastic pollution. In March of 2021, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 was reintroduced to Congress. The act aims to break the cycle plastic begins with, and shifts responsibility onto the industries that produce the material.

Though small acts to limit plastic use seem ineffective in the When microbeads are washed down drains, they are released grand scheme of things, they do make a difference. Additionally, into rivers, lakes and oceans. After the commercial fishing you can protect your own health by staying educated about process, these plastics then circulate back to us by consuming microplastics and microbeads.




violent arrival of the

transformed self


a poem about the realities of change and growth

i woke up today itching scratching and wishing for a more comfortable body sulking, i appear in the mirror and now face a fear realized: my body has taken a form that i cannot comprehend nor mend its skin is sloughing away flaking and floating down to the ground

like a pretty puppet, i lift its limbs and dance with my body’s daunting reflection

a marvelous marble statue chipping and changing dances in the mirror the face morphs and melts as welts grow on the face of my body am i melting too? and then, in an alka-seltzer sizzle, my fear fizzles, dissolved in the new bold blood of this form i have brilliantly become 32 ALIGN

95 TO




Last Monday, I stepped out of the sunshine and into a fluorescent-lit office. Overwhelmed by the smell of newspapers and black coffee, I nervously introduced myself to the editors and writers. I sat down on a squeaky rolling chair, quite similar to the ones I used to spin around on in OfficeMax. I’d get too dizzy if I did that now. Every fall, my mom would take me to OfficeMax for new school supplies. The location we frequented has been out of business for years. But I remember the butterflies I’d get in my stomach when picking out Lisa Frank folders like it was yesterday. I loved how every small decision I made during those shopping trips directly impacted my entire persona for the next 9 months. That annual transition into school always signified a fresh start and a feeling of growth that never failed to thrill me.

I could become anyone I wanted to be. On the first day of my internship, however, I couldn’t seem to grasp that familiar feeling of excitement. In my cubicle, I took a break from my first assignment of addressing postcards to untwist my braids. My ankles felt cold and the brightness of my clothing made me feel like a fish out of water. I was two months away from graduating with my master’s degree and one step closer to the stability that school prepares us for. My life was changing more than ever before. But I’d never felt more stuck. As the next eight hours passed by, my thoughts became deluded with wistful daydreams and visions of previous versions of myself, who I suddenly felt far away from. From 9-5, joys I’d taken for granted during my childhood, teenage and college years floated around in my mind.


9:48 am: playing kickball during morning recess / filling up my coffee mug

1:01 pm: registering for next semester’s classes / outlining articles for next week’s paper

10:11 am: holding mom’s hand at the pumpkin patch / sitting in an all-staff meeting

2:16 pm: dressing cute for a first date at an obscure coffee shop / combing my hair in the office bathroom

11:56 am: laughing in the parking lot with my freckle-faced friend, Sam / coming up with story ideas

12:27 pm: having a spontaneous picnic, strawberries & lemonade / eating alone in my car

3:33 pm: trying not to laugh out loud in the library / rubbing my eyes beneath blue light glasses

4:07 pm: eating a PB&J with a side of Cheetos, watching High School Musical / checking the clock

When the clock struck 5:00 p.m, it sunk in that I would never again have access to those weekday freedoms. I was no longer a child, who could spend mornings on the playground and afternoons with Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez. Nor was I a teenager, who would get asked to homecoming in algebra class or scream Taylor Swift songs with friends in school bathrooms. I was still in college, but my new onthe-clock lifestyle took me away from midday drives to the beach with cute boys and gossiping over lunch with my spunky neighbor, Grace. I was somewhere beyond all of those phases, trying to understand where the years had gone. But on my drive home, I realized that even though this transition would take some getting used to, this stage of life could be beautiful as well, whether I’m working a 9-5 job or not. I thought of a quote from Ling Ma’s book, Severance: “To live in a city is to take part in and propagate its impossible systems. To wake up. To go to work in the morning. It is also to take pleasure in those systems because, otherwise, who would repeat the same routines, year in, year out?” Her words comforted me in the way that High School Musical used to. It was then, when I turned onto 18th Street, that I realized I was finally becoming the kind of woman I’d always wanted to be: wise, independent and confident in my own skin. I entered my studio apartment, feeling accomplished and dare I say… excited for the future. Just because I’d spent my day in an office didn’t mean my life was becoming boring. I loved to write and was getting the opportunity to do so for a living. All of my classes, field trips and hours spent in the library had led me to this. Right then and there, at 5:42 p.m., I treated myself to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And for the first time, I cherished my past memories instead of wishing I could relive them.




hair metamorphasis





identity going up gut feelings coming down

baby spriggles blond and brand new molasses stuck strands to my scalp like glue

glowing when i’m happy thinning when i’m sad

summer of ‘17 long like Les Mis back when his fingers pulled it and washed it with his shampoo falling out after i saw her name unsure, i cut it off and he never looked at me the same an accidental bleach caused panic attacks on my pillow split ends and unforgiving knots left me weak and little but my luminous waves from mom’s french braids let the dimple in my left cheek shine like an iridescent butterfly fresh layers sprouting into everchanging lengths moving forward and letting go of hands they’ll never know returning to myself as inches extend past my shoulders and down my back alive again we’re going to change my hair and i through thick and thin

Church vs.




he idea of religion and spirituality has always been an important aspect of my life. I grew up going to a Catholic school and attending Mass every Friday with my class, but I always found that I had a different outlook on religion compared to my peers. My mother, who is Catholic as well, always raised me and my sisters with a more spiritual outlook on religion. She saw the teachings of the Bible as symbolic messages that we interpret to our own lives rather than to be taken literally. The Bible was written thousands of years ago, but many teachings still have the same universal truths we see in our lives today. It is about how you decide to apply it to your life and what it means to you. I was raised a Presbyterian, a branch of Christianity before I became Catholic in the second grade. When I was younger I went to Sunday school, while my parents were at Church. We did art projects and watched shows such as Veggie Tales, which made learning about God and religion fun. As I got older and went to Catholic school, I began to learn things about the Bible I didn’t know before. It became more about rules and wrong versus right, rather than how you

can apply the teachings to your life. Religion class was about memorizing prayers and Bible passages without understanding why. Why are these prayers important to learn and what is the significance of it all? My relationship with God and spirituality did not become what it is today without difficulties. I never questioned God until I was in high school and began to think about the real purpose of religion. My mom, who is very religious and spiritual, was diagnosed with colon cancer in my senior year of high school and it made me question everything. Many people have this “moment” where they question why God lets these things happen and His purpose. Why would God let this happen to someone so kind and devoted to others? I felt angry with God but continued to pray every night to find some guidance. Once my mom got better and was officially cancer-free, I began to change my outlook on a lot of things in life. I thought more about what I was giving back to the world around me and what my actual purpose was. Religion and spirituality are both rooted in trying to understand the meaning of life and how a relationship with higher power


may influence that meaning. However, I find that one’s spirituality is more focused on the individual and what you as a singular person believe.

beings having a human experience.” The spirit is pure, the spirit is holy, the spirit can be understood as God. Can religion and the Church claim the same?

The Church on the other hand has more structure in finding meaning. Even with so many rules, people find solace and safety in the order and structure. Organized religion and spirituality can go hand in hand. You can find spirituality within religion by interpreting what you deem to be your own truths. Spirituality is a universal, personalized experience, and everyone’s experience is unique. One may describe a spiritual experience as being sacred or transcendent similar to how religion can be.

I am religious and believe in God, but I do not agree with everything the Church teaches. The Church is based on the teachings of Jesus and God, but it is manmade, composed of rules and structure meant to organize a group of people around a set of beliefs. Religion is also designed to require people to donate money because after all, it is a business. Without donations from congregants, religious organizations would not be able to exist because leaders of the church need to be paid, and typically a church building has expenses.

For some, God can only be accessed within the walls of the church, with religion being synonymous with spirituality. In the Catholic church, the sacramental life is closely tied to the church and some find it quite spiritual to take part in the sacraments. Mass or Church can be a beautiful meditation with call and response, prayers, and music. Living a religious life can be very meaningful if the intention is to draw closer to God and others rather than the rules designed by the Church. As human beings, we are wired for love and for spiritual experiences which some seek out through religion. Philosopher and French priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “We are not humans having a spiritual experience, but spiritual


I found a universal truth in both religion and spirituality that I think links the two together; That is to be kind to one another. This truth has been said in many different ways throughout time. In the Bible, Jesus says, “a new commandment I give you, love your neighbor as thyself.” In Buddhism, the Tripitaka also mentions this truth saying, “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Regardless if someone is more spiritual than religious the universal truths we live by and how we treat others are more important. What you give to others and put out into the universe is what ignites our spiritual experience.



Historically, witches and witchcraft have had notoriously negative connotations as a source of evil or malevolence. Women, in particular, have been persecuted for the practice or alleged practice of witchcraft or sorcery which includes — but is not limited to — spellcasting, necromancy and demonology. As is true for many socio-political and cultural events throughout history, witch hunts emboldened and rationalized perverse violence against women. Most know of the Salem Witch Trials, but the expulsion of women accused of practicing witchcraft was intercultural. Similar witch hunts occurred across cultures in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. A majority of these witch hunts occurred in tandem with the social shifts of power between the ruling and ruled individuals within society. Witch hunts served dual purposes: mediating social tensions and preventing changes in the balance of power. Both served to maintain the ruling hegemony. Although witch hunts — in the historical sense — are much less prevalent in 2021, the phrase ‘witch hunt’ has been propagating in American politics. Most recently, the term has been used by men in politics as a response to criticism. You’ll see the term ‘witch hunt’ used in most modern contexts by politicians or other individuals in hegemonic positions who have been identified in a scandal, resulting in some degree of damage to their public image. Damage to public image can be dangerous: positive public relations are critical if they wish to maintain legitimate authority. If it is truly a democratic society that Americans exist within,

it is the public that allows these individuals to maintain their positions of power. It is the collective power of the majority that grants their legitimate authority. Negative publicity could cause the public to withdraw their support, effectively delegitimizing any individual in a position of power. Therefore, it is critical for those in said hegemonic positions to upkeep positive public relations. Despite the power society holds as a majority, these men in politics have a few tricks of their own to sufficiently maintain their authority. One of these tricks is the appropriation of the term ‘witch hunt’ which allows them to effectively divert criticism and maintain a positive public image. By relating criticism to historical witch hunts, politicians or other individuals in hegemonic positions assert that they are being unfairly victimized like the individuals who were violently persecuted for the practice or alleged practice of witchcraft throughout history. These men seek to present themselves as the blameless victim — victims like the many individuals, most of whom were women, who throughout history were unjustly persecuted for the practice of witchcraft. They compare their of whom were women, who throughout history were unjustly persecuted for the practice of witchcraft. They compare their asserted plight to that of women who endured sadistic violence by men for the sake of preserving the hegemonic patriarchy. It’s a perverse irony. While the term ‘witch hunt’ has no longer come to mean the expulsion of witches and witchcraft, the effects of its use remain the same: mediating social tensions and preventing changes in the balance of power. These men who have had the balance of power tipped in their favor throughout all of history, now utilize the violence and discrimination that is inherent in the meaining of ‘witch hunt’ to maintain the prospects of themselves and the white man, just as their ancestors did all those years ago.





FEMININITY A concept that, in theory, is the most applicable concept to any given situation. However, it is evident that leveling the playing field of sex has grown to be a lot more complicated than equality. FEMINIST POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: IN SUM Feminist political philosophy is the basis for feminism in many historical concepts, yet, the developments of political philosophy have not melded seamlessly into societal standards. The first wave of feminism is one that is rather drab: between the 1840s-1920s, feminist political philosophy was merely the pursuit of leveraging more rights for middle-class women in economics, education, and the political system. Political philosophy in this case mainly aimed to separate women from their social and biological personas. From this, anthropologist Gayle Rubin developed the “sex/gender” system, which painted gender as a social construct. Modern feminism: media This, of course, was a valiant effort by philosophers, yet it was rather ineffective. The reason for this was systemic sexism, so ingrained in society that women aren’t even properly acknowledged in the American constitution. From here, feminist philosophers created many different types of theory, all of which are rooted in the presence of women in a social setting. Women were socially defined by their biological capabilities: mother, caregiver, domestic goddess, or whatever a man wanted to label her. The 1970s, in particular, were an exciting time in terms of feminist political theory. The development of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was quite taboo; for what reason? I frankly don’t know. The content of the ERA seems like the bare minimum that the American political system could owe women. The ERA states: “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. Simple, right? Well not according to the majority of states in America. The ERA would gain 37 of 38 states to pass the amendment by the 1982 deadline, and it wouldn’t be until 2020 until Virginia approved the amendment (Britannica). Now, as if getting the amendment approved wasn’t arduous enough, it is up to Congress to officially rescind the 1982 deadline for ERA ratification.


It is imperative to note that the ERA, and feminism in general, is not just for women! Intersectionality is essentially the political overlap of individuals with multiple socially constructed identities. This concept may seem complex, however, it is actually quite easy to understand. Intersectionality opens the gates of feminism for all people. This is also immensely helpful for members of the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that their rights are federally protected. Any sort of discrimination on the basis of gender identification would be considered a violation of the US Constitution. A huge win for everyone! INTERSECTIONALITY Intersectionality has become a much more inclusive concept that should be more normalized. Modern feminist philosophers endorse intersectionality, and it seems to be a bit more accepted in modern Americana. Yet, it seems as if there is still a persistent battle women must fight. So, how can you be a more inclusive member of society? Acknowledge the female experience! The modern female experience is tainted; having to carry pepper spray, being hyper-conscious about your surroundings, needing to protect your identity, and being forced to accept cat-calls out of fear that retaliation could cost your life, are just a few disgusting aspects of the modern female experience. On top of acknowledging the female experience, it is important to debunk subtle sexism, educate yourself, and listen to women (they are the only people that can accurately capture their experience)! The past is the past, however, it cannot be forgotten. Systemic sexism is greatly why women are discriminated against. The future, on the other hand, has tremendous potential.

Sources: Chandler, L. (2020, July 02). What is intersectionality, and what does it have to do with me? Retrieved May 02, 2021, from Equal rights amendment. (2021, March 26). Retrieved May 02, 2021, from McAfee, N., & Howard, K. (2018, October 12). Feminist political philosophy. Retrieved May 02, 2021, from Padmini Vaidyanathan, A. (2020, May 12). Anyone can be a feminist: A guide to feminism for everyone. Retrieved May 02, 2021, from

as sustainable

self-expression WRITTEN BY ELLA NORTON ILLUSTRATED BY CECILIA PALMER DESIGNER ZOE HARDISTER Anna Bassman, a sophomore at UO, flipped through clothes at Buffalo Exchange until she found a plaid dress that she thought held potential. She bought it for $10and transformed it into a two-piece set. She believes Cher from “Clueless” would wear it if she lived in today’s world. “I definitely never have an idea of what I want to do when I walk into a store,” Bassman said. “I kind of look at something and am like ‘Oh, this would be a cute skirt,’ or ‘This would be a cute set… And then I’ll kind of stare at it for a little bit [to] figure out if it’s a good enough quality to be tampered with, because thrifting is up in the air.”

stronger, since I’ve gotten older,” Bassman said. “Seeing how you can incorporate your own personality into your clothing, I feel like it’s super important for self-expression.” Bassman thinks the recent fashion trends from celebrities such as Harry Styles and Billie Eilish have encouraged people to become more bold in what they’re wearing, which can encourage them to try upcycling. “I know when I first started people weren’t super open to it,” Bassman said. “My parents were like ‘That looks kind of weird,’ and I was like ‘No, on the right person it would look really good.’”

Bassman started upcycling her junior year of high school. She was inspired by other students, who made their own clothes, and her love of fashion. Bassman began thrifting to find bases for clothing she could transform and make her own.

Similarly to Bassman, Eliana Kertzner, a freshman at UO, has been upcycling for nine years since she taught herself to sew from her grandmother’s sewing machine. For Kertzner, upcycling means transforming a piece of clothing.

“My sense of style has definitely developed, and gotten

“[It can be] anywhere from taking a piece of clothing and


changing it in a minor way, like adding ruffles or something, to completely cutting up pieces of clothing to use the fabric for something else,” Kertzner said. Kertzner utilizes upcycling to create her sustainable business, Eliana Makes Clothes, @elianamakesclothes on Instagram. Over the years she’s made corsets, dresses from bed sheets and patchwork pants. She hopes to make business overcoats in the future. “I’m in product design and my goal is sustainability; and I think upcycling is a really cool way to do that,” Kertzner said. “[Making] material takes so many resources, especially when you’re talking about things like denim, and, so, to use stuff that has already been made and, to make it into something else like that, I’m really excited about that.”

that the upcycling trend will continue in the future – especially if people become more aware of the environmental impacts of fast fashion. Like Cafarelli, Shay Meltzer, a freshman at UO, began by repurposing her own clothing during quarantine after seeing the trend on TikTok. “I started with really basic stuff just like learning how to crop and hem shirts and things like that,” Meltzer said. “I have very short legs so [I’m going] through my closet, and I’ve been fixing a lot of my pants and skirts that I have.”

Kertzner believes that the pandemic has inspired more people to try creative pursuits, and she hopes the trend continues.

Meltzer said she enjoys upcycling because it’s a good way to pass time and be sustainable. However, she does say we need to be careful not to cross a line.

“I hope that it becomes much more common to buy upcycled clothing as opposed to clothing that’s new,” Kertzner said. “I hope it becomes more affordable because I think what is happening now is a lot of people will do something very simple, but then rack up the price.”

“You have these people that can afford to have nicer clothing, but they go to thrift stores and take these supplies that people need. I wouldn’t support or condone that,” Meltzer said. “Or you have people buying clothes that are really big to turn into something that is really small to fit them – but then the people who need the clothes don’t have access to them. I think it’s just important that people educate themselves and are aware. Yes, it’s great to upcycle, but you might be taking away from people who need it.”

Kaitlyn Cafarelli, a freshman at UO, also began upcycling as a way to be sustainable with fashion. She also upcycles furniture from TV sets to side tables. “Initially, when I started it, I was kind of just doing it because it gave me more freedom with my art,” Cafarelli said. “Also, for the environmental aspect. I started researching a lot into that, and I started to find new ways to upcycle my own old clothing that I didn’t wear anymore.” Cafarelli describes her style as 70s designs and some streetwear. She searches estate sales and thrift store bins for fabric – like Kertzner and Bassman. Cafarelli hopes

Meltzer believes that many people want to upcycle but they aren’t really sure where to begin, to which she recommends just messing around. “I think the easiest thing to do is watch some videos, get some inspiration [and] see what interests you,” Metlzer said. “I would assume that most people have something in the back of their closet that they can mess with and learn on.”





The feeling of being home: it’s a different feeling for everyone and it’s a different place for each person. Some don’t have a happy family life, so the feeling of home comes from somewhere outside of that. For some, it is exactly that place where they came from. What remains the same is that we all know that feeling, the feeling of being home, wherever that may be – that warm, comfortable and familiar feeling. Last year, I spent my first year of college on the opposite side of the country from where I grew up. Moving from Portland, Oregon, to upstate New York is no small change. It was an experience, for sure, and a big learning one (as I am sure all of our college experiences have been). The whole school year, I was trying to find a way to make this new place feel like a space that could one day feel like a “home” of sorts, somewhere that felt more like a landing ground than the temporary state I found it to feel like. It never came. I felt like I was just waiting to come back to my real home the whole time I was there; I was just waiting to come back to Oregon. So, when I eventually did, I decided to stay and transfer from somewhere that felt so unnecessarily far away to somewhere a bit closer to home: the University of Oregon.

I was so excited upon making this new decision because this felt right. It felt like there would be no way to fail if I was closer to things that were familiar and more me, right? I didn’t anticipate that sometimes when you come home, it doesn’t really feel like home anymore. At least, not in the ways it once did. I think that’s something many of us can relate to; after leaving for college, your hometown will simply never be the same as it was during, say, high school. The people that made it the way it once was are often gone, new buildings are built and others are shut down, streets change and the tone inevitably shifts over time. It’s familiar, it’s technically home, but it’s not quite the same. This realization became apparent to me a month or two into the pandemic; I realized that the itch to come home changed again into


the itch to leave again. I guess the grass is always greener, right? And so a change happened: I drove the one hour and forty minutes that it takes to get from Portland to Eugene. And that felt good. That felt right. I was able to leave home, and yet still be somewhere I assumed I would be able to fit into, unlike my last attempt. Or so I thought. I’ve found that a nagging sense of being “behind” has followed me throughout this first year here. I am somewhere that I feel like I should be fitting into, and yet, the sense of loneliness that was incredibly present last year remains lingering. Oh, the life of a transfer student. Of course, being in the middle of a pandemic hasn’t done me any favors in that realm. So here I am, in the middle of spring term of my sophomore year of college, and I don’t feel as though I have come too much further than where I started out as a freshman. I’m sure that with the state of the world lately, I am not the only one that feels this way – so I think it’s important to realize that while this may feel like the case for many of us, it might not necessarily be so. Whether we feel like we’ve accomplished much, or nothing at all, we are still moving forward through time no matter what, and I’m sure you have done something during this time. So do I feel like I’m “home,” or that I even know where that feeling exists for me currently? No. But that’s okay. From moving around, I have realized what things I really do want, and what things I don’t need; I have made my goals clearer and have figured out what is working best for me. I think that right now is a point in our lives where we aren’t supposed to feel comfortable. We are supposed to try everything out. Without doing so, it would be impossible to see what we really want with any clarity. So, if you’re able to, I urge you to be uncomfortable for a while – as unpleasant as it may be. I think that even though I’m still in the middle of whatever this journey is shaping up to be, it’s teaching me a lot – and that is one of the most valuable things in any experience. Go home, or don’t. Home, or whatever comfort you are looking for, is where you make it.





WE WI L L FAL L Taking it back to 1969 with the release of The Stooges debut album and its hand in fostering a new world of music-making Who said a fall from grace was such a bad thing? In the year 1969, music lived its days in the sunshine, prompting hoards of dropouts to fly about with flowers in their hair. While the year is memorialized by two fingers in the shape of a peace sign, the tail end of the Summer of Love gave us an album that was better symbolized by a giant middle finger. On August 5th, 1969, The Stooges made their debut with a self-titled album so primal it proved to be the cardinal sign of what would become punk rock. Before Iggy was the Pop, he was simply James Newall Ostenberg, a kid born to a struggling family in a suburban town in Michigan. He was first a drummer for a band he formed in the early sixties called The Iguanas and after letting the project go, he adopted the name Iggy as his newfound title. By 1967, things would start happening for Iggy. At a homecoming dance at the University of Michigan, four of LA’s golden boys showed up to play a set and struck a chord deep within Ostenberg — he was itching to start a riot just like the frontman he saw before him. The band was none other than The Doors who had just released their second album Strange Days the month prior following their absolutely detonated debut. The stage commander he admired was, of course, Jim Morrison. Iggy jumped in on the project of brothers Scott and Ron Asheton and their jam buddy Dave Alexander which was initially called The Psychedelic Stooges, and when later shorted, The Stooges were born. Iggy yearned to ooze the audacity Morrison carried with him and he didn’t fall short. At the Stooges debut show on Halloween night

of 1967, Iggy propped a blender and a vacuum cleaner up to the mic to taunt the audience. The audience had no idea who this hellion of humble stature was but grew increasingly intrigued. This was only a minuscule tap into his antics in the years to follow, from rolling around in glass at the Whisky-A-Go-Go during a set and bleeding so badly that even Alice Cooper winced enough to take him to the hospital, to spewing chunks on his audience and getting a Lewinsky on stage, Iggy was a beast of a man and a god for it. This was the precursor to punk rock, the music took a second seat. Barley even a band yet, The Stooges were quickly signed with LA label, Elektra, the very same label who cashed in on The Doors. With signage meant a new record and a new record meant killer production to get it off the ground. There was one man for the job that immediately came to mind, ex Velvet Underground bassist and avant-garde demi-god, John Cale. He was an obvious choice and his ability to see the appeal in the ugly and execute a primitive sound in a way that translated on record just as unhinged as it did face to face was unmatched. This early in the game, The Stooges only had five songs on their roster. They lied to Cale and said they had eight, and polished off the last three tracks in the span of one sleepless night. In Cale’s own words, the intent with the album was the capture the evil in Iggy’s voice. He mixed the whole thing low to capture the haunting drone in contrast to the uncivil spit in the lyrics. With ebbs and flows that all resulted in raw angst, this was the Stooges. As the story goes, the big-wigs at Elektra didn’t share Cales’s same sentiment. Upon hearing the final product, the CEO of Elektra, Jac Holzman, fired Cale immediately. Holzman wanted The Doors 2.0 and Cale refused. With this switch up, Holzman remixed the album to feel less sinister and more commercial, and the original tapes were lost. Though the intent was cleaning it up for commercial reception, The Stooges was a flop when handed to the public. It clashed hard with what was topping charts and its abrasiveness wasn’t ready to be accepted. Ironic that an album known for being too irreverent to sell was actually the second draft that had been smoothened around the edges. A commercial failure maybe, but this album was hardly forgotten. The whole process of putting out this debut served as the perfect metaphor for the start of punk. The Stooges wasn’t intended to be a best-selling record, it was meant to find the people who related to it and understood it.




Albums of my

Adolescence The soundtrack in my brain.

Music has always been a gauge of identity for me; a lot of my personality and much of my adolescence has been shaped by an ever-evolving music repertoire. For this reason, I’ve selected some albums that have truly resonated with me. Whether I was listening to John Denver driving through the beautiful pacific northwest, dancing frivolously to The Talking Heads, or busy being moody and unbothered with Pink Floyd, these are just a few albums that I will always turn to.

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) The Velvet Underground was an imperative contributor to American rock music. This album, in particular, juxtaposes Lou Reed’s raspy vocals with Nico’s dreamy vocals, adding the most beautiful feminine energy into a rock album. For this reason, this album breaks the status quo established by other early rock and roll albums. The Velvet Underground and Nico is a quintessential classic!

Ladies of the Canyon by Joni Mitchell (1970) For me, this album represents the early stages of my adolescence. I credit my love for this album to Mitchell’s wavering and powerful voice, which beautifully tells stories through the music. This album is so wholesome and really allows me to appreciate my personal growth. When I listen to this album, I am immediately transported back to the dry Arizona desert decorated with grand saguaros.

Maggot Brain by Funkadelic (1971) This album is straight-up gnarly. Funkadelic, a funk-rock band led by George Clinton, has the most perceptive and deep sound in all of funk-rock. Upon first hearing the title track, “Maggot Brain”, I knew this album would quickly become one of my favorites. The guitar is so communicative it seems as if the music is speaking volumes with and without lyrical structure. This album was a major stepping stone in culturing my music taste.

Animals by Pink Floyd (1977) Pink Floyd, of course, is one of the most polarizing bands in the music industry. Animals is my personal favorite album, mainly because of the symbolism. It is loosely based around George Orwell’s Animal Farm. However, I’ve found that the album is more of a critique of capitalism and modern materialism rather than Orwell’s allegory for Stalinism. Each time I listen to this album, I notice something new that adds to the narrative. I also highly recommend listening to this album in one sitting!

Remain in Light by Talking Heads (1980) David Byrne is a true creative visionary, and I absolutely love this album for its wacky sound. Byrne took a lot of inspiration from West African music, and it is clear in this album. The way the album grooves along with fiery lyrics is exquisite.

Zaba by Glass Animals (2014) I found a lot of comfort in this album throughout my adolescence. From the first note, the listener is immediately transported into a lush rainforest. The album was produced by Dave Bayley as a result of insomnia, which I related to. Night after night, I would relish in manic restlessness to this album. Which, honestly, is not that bad when the album is this good.

The End of Comedy by Drugdealer (2016) Drugdealer is a band that has an iconic sound. Their album, The End of Comedy, combines sounds of wonder with a melancholic undertone, creating the perfect soundtrack for a moody, rainy, Oregon day. Working with other talented musicians such as Weyes Blood, Ariel Pink, Danny James, and Sheer Agony, Drugdealer has composed an album worthy of high praise.


C I A F T O I B O M N I : B more than just an aesthetic WRITTEN BY OLIVIA STEIN The term “bimbo” has always carried a negative connotation. It is by definition, “a slang term for a conventionally attractive, sexualized, and unintelligent woman.” And society sends mixed messages. Women are expected to be attractive but not provocative, to be smart but not smarter than men, to wear make-up but not try too hard, to be pure but not a prude. On top of that, women are pressured to meet a nearly impossible standard of beauty and when they do, they are condemned for it. On screen, bimbos are perceived as almost entirely negative and can be spotted by their breathy voice and hyperfeminine, sexy appearance. Bimbos are depicted as shallow, stupid and superficial, and are mocked by society —especially by other women— for their appearance. The stereotypical bimbo has an even balance of being beneath other women in terms of her intelligence but above other women in regard to her sex appeal. The media’s depiction of these women has led society to not only envy bimbos, but to feel disdain for them, further exposing society’s inherent misogynistic views. Because the word is deeply rooted in sexism, the traditionally derogatory term has also been used to silence women. It has been used to imply that women with pretty faces don’t have opinions or voices, and even if they do, nobody


DESIGNER JENNA BOERLIN wants to hear what they have to say anyway. Pop culture has denied bimbos of their own humanity by belittling them for openly embracing their looks and sexuality, and diminishing their identity down to only that. In 2003, the Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks), an all-female country western band, criticized George Bush and the long, drawn-out Iraq war. Angering their mostly right-wing fan base, the Chicks received heavy backlash. In the Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana,” details of this story are further discussed, including the media’s reaction to the “scandal.” In a video clip, political conservative Pat Buchanan says, “I think they are the ‘Dixie Twits.’ These are the dumbest, dumbest bimbos, with due respect, I have seen.” The Chicks were told over and over again to “shut up and sing,” and were dismissed as uneducated. The documentary goes on to explain how the country music industry has pushed the message that nobody wants to hear the thoughts and opinions of attractive female entertainers. In the film, Taylor Swift decides that her voice does matter, and she will not be silent. With this revelation, she concludes that smart and pretty are not mutually exclusive;


“I want to love glitter and also stand up to the double standards that exist in our society. I want to wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics, and I don’t think that those things have to cancel each other out,” says Swift.

Women like Elle, both on and off-screen, who are quickly dismissed as bimbos often have positive attributes that go unrecognized and underappreciated. The bimbo has a fun and upbeat personality, a zest for life, and a desire to help others. She also chooses to embrace her hotness and reject the common

Many aspects of society, especially the media, have cast a negative light on bimbos. While these characters are typically depicted as air-headed and shallow with very few redeeming qualities, they often carry themselves with confidence and come across as empowered. Not only are on-screen bimbos unafraid to be themselves, but they are also comedic geniuses, and they look damn good doing it. Take Elle Woods, the beloved character played by Reese Witherspoon, in Legally Blonde. She fits the caricature of bimbo: she is blonde, buxom and bold. Throughout the movie, Woods tackles issues with a unique perspective that only a bimbo could have. She does not fit the “smart girl” stereotype of a Harvard Law student, so her approach to life, school and her chosen profession is unconventional. And make no mistake, Elle may be a bimbo, but she is ambitious and knows how to get what she wants. In the movie, people make assumptions about Elle because of her appearance, and she is often overlooked and underestimated. But Elle surprises people. She wasn’t expected to go to Harvard Law School, to get the internship, or to win a big case, but she did it on her own terms and gave her haters a run for their money.


societal view that she should have to turn down her attractiveness, positive attitude and sexuality in order to be respected or viewed as smart and valuable. Today, the movement to reclaim the Bimbo increasingly respects a woman and her choices to be whoever she wants. On TikTok, where bimbo culture is thriving, the term is aimed at reclaiming hyper-femininity outside the male gaze and re-orienting the bimbo as a more socially conscious woman. In today’s terms, the bimbo isn’t just feminine and sexy, she is pro-choice, proLGBTQ and pro-Black Lives Matter. And as Gen Z takes back the word, they are recreating the new-age bimbo as an inclusive construct, one that is not just for cis-gendered heterosexual women. The modern bimbo is intersectional and transcendent of

gender; they embrace their hotness regardless of what society has to say about it. Whether you’re a Ph.D. holder, a single-mom, a sex worker or a drag queen, the new bimbo culture embraces a person’s right to enhance and play up their looks, to have an opinion – or not— and rejects the idea that you are only valuable if you have marketable skills and a hefty resume. Ultimately, today’s bimbo moves beyond the stereotypes of a sexy, frivolous and less than intelligent woman. The intersectionality of the movement suggests that even if you are, your value does not change. This newfound agency takes back a term that has been historically used to judge and degrade others and turns it on its head. Being a bimbo is a choice, so go ahead and embrace it!

Being a bimbo is a choice, so go ahead and embrace it!


“Today’s bimbo moves beyond the stereotypes of a sexy, frivolous and less than intelligent woman.”


N ’ T O D A E K R F

Career and life lessons from Brooklyn 99’s Joel McKinnon Miller. WRITTEN BY GILLIAN ARTHUR DESIGNER JENNA BOERLIN Like most people on the planet, I’ve never had the chance to sit down with a celebrity and talk about their career. With that being said I have absolutely no idea how to act like a normal person around celebrities, no matter their level of fame. So it comes as no surprise that when I landed an interview with Joel Miller, who currently plays detective Norm Scully on Brooklyn 99, I was as equal parts nervous as I was stoked. As a longtime fan of the comedy series, I couldn’t help but freak when I heard the news (and yes, I did proudly tell all my friends and family). It’s not like I have zero sense of etiquette in these situations. I have good social skills and know enough to keep my cool but every moment before our interview was filled with “please be cool, please be cool.” After all, getting to meet the 99’s wildly hilarious, opera singing detective is now my most prestigious honor as Align’s editor in chief.

of the lecture hall was a grand piano. Filling the stage were students in gym clothes. There, on that stage, he saw something incredible. Joel remembers, “This wonderful pianist was playing and one of the students in the class was being slowly dragged on the floor. The students would all lift him in the air. The whole time he’s singing an aria - not missing a beat. It was an exercise in focus and being prepared for anything when performing. I just looked at my dad and said, ‘I want to do that.’ So I applied and went to school there.”

Like his character, Joel is full of surprises and sage wisdom. Not only can Joel actually sing opera, he studied it at the University of Minnesota Duluth before delving into television and film. Something of a surprise when talking to Joel as I assumed Scully’s opera talent was a comedic bit. As it turns out, it was something Andy Samburg specifically wrote into the show after the two spoke off set.

During his time at Duluth, the theater department asked Joel to audition for their summer theater. Something he didn’t exactly want to do at the time. But after a little convincing, he ended up having four main roles. “Every night I was playing a different character,” he says. “I got incredible training that summer and then I ended up getting into a company. I left college early and I went to Minneapolis and was with the Minnesota Opera and the Children’s Theater.” In the summer theater, Joel met his wife and ended up getting married just before going on tour. According to Joel, his wife’s parents didn’t want them living on a tour bus together unless they were married. So just like that, Joel and his wife spent the first three years of marriage on a bus.

When I asked Joel where his love of opera started, he told me he remembers his father driving him from Minneapolis to Duluth to tour the university’s opera department. On the stage

Every day on tour was a grind. Doing a different Shakespeare play every night, Joel says, “They sent me to Juillard in the morning of our rehearsal when we were putting our first show


together and I was getting a cram session with the voice and diction person at Julliard to work on Shakespeare poetry and have that flow trippingly off the tongue. Like you really know what you’re talking about. Because as an actor when you’re doing a Shakespeare or something like that, that’s kind of hard to follow. If you believe and totally understand what it is that you’re saying and communicating, then the audiences will easily follow your intentions. But if you’re having trouble with the language and you aren’t clear, you’re going to lose your audience. I learned an awful lot and now I’m a Shakespeare actor.”

Eventually Joel found a bread and butter job waiting tables at an Irish pub while trying to get auditions and really loved it. Not long after, Joel’s agent opened an office in LA and encouraged him to come out. But with his wife and newborn baby he couldn’t leave them to find work on the opposite side of the country. But when his wife’s job ended they used her severance money to start a life in LA. Much like his experience in New York, Joel would bartend at night until 2am in between auditions to make ends meet for about 5 years. It wasn’t too long until Joel’s bread and butter became commercials. Unlike other acting jobs, he was way more involved on the directing side: he got to sit next to the director, talk about lenses and look at the monitor between takes. “It was an incredible experience to learn that way where I had no film or television classes and I





Now with acclaimed series such as Brooklyn 99 and Big Love under his belt, Joel is helping other actors find their paths and assuring struggling students like myself that life will surely sort itself out. As a matter of fact, mere minutes before my interview with Joel I received yet another rejection email in my inbox. On top of being particularly drained that day, reading the rejection email had me breakdown in tears. I felt hopeless; that no one would hire me and that I was never good enough. No matter how much my parents consoled me I felt flustered and unprepared. I remember thinking “of course this would happen” and worrying how I’d keep it together during the interview. But within minutes of talking, it was like Joel knew exactly what I had gone through minutes prior. He talked about despite the ups and downs of his career, everything will be OK. A fact I needed to hear from someone other than my parents.


Going through many iterations of his career, Joel told me about his struggles as an actor, “I thought I was going to be an opera singer, then I did musical theater in college and then I thought I’d do straight plays then I went to Minneapolis and did a bit of musical theater and opera and then ended up with the acting company for three years doing Shakespeare and all the classics. I thought I was going to be a regional theater actor and work at the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis and places like that. Then we stayed in New York and I was getting unemployment after three years on the road. [When having an acting gig] I thought this was the life of an actor, like ‘Wow you get a paycheck and a per diem? This is fantastic!’ But then reality hit and I’m waiting for the phone to ring and I’m trying to audition here and there.”

was kind of just winging it,” he says.

At the end of our call I explained what had happened and what a crazy coincidence it was. Never have I ever felt so optimistic after such disappointment and I have Joel to thank for that.

Joel’s advice? He says, “Don’t freak out. You’ll figure it out. Sometimes it just takes a little longer. Don’t ever stop doing the things that interest you because they might end up being the job you do or the thing you love. I feel very fortunate. When I came out here my goal was to do something that I love to do. I didn’t need to have a mansion. I didn’t need expensive cars. I didn’t need expensive stuff. I didn’t even need to be recognized. I just wanted to make a living and take care of my family. I think that’s a good way to approach just about everything. Try to do your best and go for whatever you love to do. Don’t ever stop doing it. You might not be able to make money right away but if you keep at it on the side, you’ll get there.” Life is full of change. Some good, some bad. But in any event, just remember this: you’ll be ok. Life will be ok. Focus on the things you love, the things that make you happy, and in due time the rest will follow suit.

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Articles inside

Don’t Freak

pages 64-68


pages 60-63

Albums of my Adolescence

pages 58-59

Coming Home

page 55

Upcycling Clothes

pages 52-54

Outsmarting the Cycle

pages 34-35

A New Age of Femininity

pages 50-51

Church vs. Spirituality

pages 44-47

9-5 Transitions

pages 38-41

Unmasking Personas

pages 32-33

What does Music Mean to You?

pages 30-31

Witches & Feminism

pages 48-49

I don’t Know My Own View

pages 26-29

Change is a Beautiful Thing

pages 18-19


pages 16-17

Returning to “Normal”

pages 24-25


pages 12-13

Spring Cleaning to New Beginnings

pages 10-11

My Mother is Yours

pages 6-7


pages 20-23

Oregon Wildlife

pages 8-9
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