the offbeat issue 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
06. farewell letter 10. campus 34. health 52. globe 72. style 86. city 102. closing
Letter from the Editor 6 Letter from the Creative Director 8
The Ultimate Performance For the First Time Emerson Comdedy Gossip Girl
12 16 20 28
The Shadow of Youth 36 The Power Within 42 On Health and Money 48
Shaping Ethnicity Paisley and Pastels Everlasting Mythology Ethical Tourism
54 62 58 66
Youthquake 74 Depop and Identity Gentrification 80
Boston’s Film Student Havens 88 White Picket Fence 92 Boston Food Scene 98
Thank You’s and Closing 102 How to get involved with our blog 104
WHO WE Executive Staff
Editor in Chief
Managing Editor / Assistant to the Editor in Chief Photography Director / Assistant to the Creative Director Online Director
Design & Illustration Director
Style & Production Director
Style Editor Campus Editor Globe Editor City Editor Health Editor Head Copyeditor Social Media Director
Anna Moon & Kaitlyn Joyner Jess Ferguson Erin Renzi Anna Moon & Kaitlyn Joyner Matigan Holloway Charlotte Drummond Rebecca Calvar
Erin Renzi Stella Drews-Sheldon Elisa Davidson Annalisa Hansford Sadie Frankel Ellye Sevier Kaitlyn Joyner Christina Horacio Victoria Rein Erin Norton Karenna Umscheid Lauren Pies Ana Luque Claire Fairtlough Kathleen Nolan Ashley Ferrer Ava Bratt Emma Shacochis Marissa Vilanova Christine Chin Anne Douma
Rosamond Chung Thaler Bishop Liz Farias Taliyah Gordon Hanlin (Nancy) Yuan
Designers / Illustrators
Chloe Williams Moe Wang Alex Pucillo-Dunphy Stella Drews-Sheldon
Style & Production
Hair & Makeup
Chloe Yang Emma Albright Sydney Schiller Timothy Yi Stella Drews-Sheldon
from the editor
very year spring always brings with it blooming flowers, sunshine, and eternal hope. It’s a sign of new beginnings and a fresh start. For many of us, it is the end of the “best years of our lives,” and it is where our lives start to pivot into what we call “adulthood.” And of course, with every spring, is a new issue of Atlas. This semester, our theme for the issue is “Offbeat,” a word that we felt encapsulated Emerson and the community within it.
It’s no surprise that to attend Emeron, you have to be that type of person. Expressive, creative, loud, and just a little offbeat. With each passing year, we grow into ourselves a little more and become more comfortable with those parts of ourselves to the point where it’s no longer considered offbeat, but instead it is just us. Through visuals and writing, Atlas aims to reach far and wide into what it really means to be offbeat. We’ve had very high highs and very low lows over these past few years. But together, as we slowly start to embrace the offbeat parts of ourselves, squeezing them so tightly until it and we become one, we can emerge as the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be. That is Emerson, that is Atlas, and that is the Offbeat Issue. While my four years with Atlas is coming to an end, this is only just the beginning. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for all of us! With Love, Anna Moon Editor-in-Chief
his spring has felt so strange. It’s strange how fast the time seems to be going, it feels strange finding the psychological balance between the existential anxiety of geopolitical conflict and my own life. It feels strange navigating college in this perpetual pseudo-post pandemic world, and it feels so strange that this is the last issue I will be working on. As you probably know by now, Anna and I are both graduating in May. We wanted our last issue to be representative of Atlas, our creatives and the Emerson body as a whole and we came up with one word: offbeat. This semester, we chose the “Offbeat Issue” not only as a diversion from our loud and bold previous themes, but as an ode to all of us at Emerson who proudly adhere to that descriptor, and a celebration of the quirks, flaws and idiosyncrasies that define our individuality. Visually, we wanted to bring in a bright palette, since that felt appropriate for springtime. We have done a lot of softer and dreamier aesthetics in the past, so for design and illustration, we aimed for something that was playful yet bold– surreal yet deliberate. Our photographers this semester designed concepts around the intangible experiences of fun and whimsicality, with an emphasis on the model’s personality and unique style. Our designers took inspiration from Scandinavian design principles and quirky, modern aesthetics. We wanted the issue to remain visually cohesive throughout every section, and did so by employing some consistent color blocking and geometric motifs. It feels bizarre that my time with Atlas is coming to a close, as it has felt sort of like my “labor of love” since the first semester of my freshman year. I am, however, so excited to welcome our current Photography Director, Rosamond Chung, into the role of Creative Director. It feels bittersweet leaving something that has become such a large part of my life over the last four years, but I can’t wait to see what the team creates next. With Love, Stella Drews-Sheldon Creative Director
from the creative director
campus Photographed by Liz Farias Design by Stella Drews-Sheldon Makeup by Sam Silvera Modeled by Lily Mayo Breazy Rowlands
THE ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE: Hookups on Campus by Claire Fairtlough
ollege students aren’t having more sex than previous generations. Instead, college students are enamored less with love, and more with the phenomenon of “hookup culture” present in almost every American college campus.
Emerson is no different. In a poll that I posted on my Instagram account, 25 percent of the Emerson students who responded were in relationships. The rest of the students who answered were single. But being single doesn’t mean that you’re completely alone. I received a multitude of responses from students who prefer to be single and have casual hookups and flings instead of being in committed relationships. “I think the most frustrating, but also alluring, part of hookup culture is the performance of it all,” one interviewee who prefers to stay anonymous responded to me. After a few Instagram messages, we met in person to discuss in more detail how hookup culture dominates so many college students’ lives. When asked what she meant by “performance,” she digressed to make a more philosophical point about one-night stands. “Have you ever read the short story “Cat Person” in The New Yorker? I think that that story sums up the experience of a 20-year-old straight girl perfectly, and the pressure that we put on ourselves to ‘enjoy the college experience,’” she said. The main character is a young college student who hooks up with an older man. It’s an interesting story about the performance so many young women go through during sex, and the power dynamics that are at play between older men and younger women. This story resonated deeply with people during the height of the #MeToo movement and went viral. “What turns [the main character] on, and what I think what many straight girls think turns them on, is thinking about how well you’re doing in relation to the man’s pleasure,” she said. “So much of hookup culture has nothing to do with the pleasure that you receive yourself, but instead the pleasure of thinking that the guy you’re hooking up with is desiring you. It’s a weird feeling when watching someone else desire you makes you think you feel desire yourself.”
I’ve come to understand that the negative aspects of hookup culture have nothing to do with the increase of having casual sex. Instead, it has to do with the pressure to have casual sex in order to have a “normal” college experience. Many students choose to go to Emerson because they want something different from a traditional university. Our clubs, our majors, and our students are an eclectic bunch. But even at this school, many people find the desire to hook up with others to be more compulsory than actually desirable. Within straight relationships, it seems like hookup culture is more valuable to the man than to the woman. Even though it’s likely that many women have great hookups and feel autonomous in their decisions, many college girls leave their situationship feeling unfilled — yet they aren’t sure why. Graysen Winchester, a junior visual media arts major, believes she has an outside perspective on why many girls feel this way. “Since I don’t really participate in hookup culture, I feel like my perspective is entirely observational. In fact, I think it’s a lot like how we deal with social media,” she said. Winchester connects hookup culture with the rush that we get when we gain a lot of followers on TikTok or get a lot of likes and comments on Instagram.“I think we’re all scrambling to be worthy of love but have no interest in love itself. We want people to desire us enough to fuck us and follow us on Instagram, even though we don’t really gain any real connection from it,” she said. “It’s more of a feeling of being worthy of love instead of having genuine love. I don’t think many people in college are in the mindset for long-term relationships right now.” Winchester believes there is a performance aspect of hookup culture, but what it really boils down to is control.
“We’re all wounded in a way, and we aren’t given the tools in our culture to heal from these wounds. So instead, we turn to what makes us feel good in the short term.” We agree that this can be empowering, but it also can be damaging when one gets confused between actual autonomy and the illusion of being in control. “There’s a controlled version of yourself online, the ‘performance’ version of ourselves,” she continued. The instant gratification that comes with the combination of control and performance in hookup culture doesn’t exist in the same way in long-term relationships. That’s what makes long-term relationships more risky and therefore, less desirable. Winchester ended our conversation with wise words on how hookup culture can be productive or dangerous based on how healed we are within ourselves. “I don’t think that people who aren’t healed are willing to risk being wounded again. In short-term interactions, we control the way that we are perceived,” she said. “We never get to actually be seen for our authentic selves, and that feels way safer when the authentic selves have been hurt before. It’s a defense mechanism.”
“IT’S ESSENTIAL FOR ALL PEOPLE TO LOOK INSIDE THEMSELVES AND ASK WHAT THEY WANT FROM SEX”
If hookup culture is just a brief phase in our college life, why should anyone care? What most people don’t realize is how impactful these experiences can be on women for the rest of their lives. No matter who you’re hooking up with or how you identify, your sexual experiences in early adulthood will shape how you view relationships in the future. It’s essential for all people to look inside themselves and ask what they want from sex. Are you being pleasured, or are you only focused on pleasuring others? This is easier said than done, but it’s important to recognize the power dynamics that exist in all of our relationships, and to ensure that we get back what we put into our relationships — casual or otherwise.
ollege marks a new chapter in most people’s lives where they feel and experience things for the first time. As an ode to the first edition of Atlas, I asked various students about one of the “firsts” they had once they came to college. Their experiences ranged from dating to experiencing new seasons to meeting lifelong friends. One of the many things students experience for the first time once they come to college is dating and romantic relationships. Thanks to the availability of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, people can go on dates and meet new people outside their typical circle. Sometimes, dating apps allow people to explore what they like, both sexually and romantically. Erin Renzi, a junior journalism major, told us about the first time she used dating apps as a freshman. “Being on Tinder led to a lot of great sex, experiences and funny stories that I still laugh about today as a junior,” Renzi said. “I actually met my boyfriend on Tinder, and we have been dating for almost two years. I honestly made my Tinder profile with little to no expectations, but ended up meeting my best friend.” Others have experienced new romantic encounters at college, including first-year communication studies major Ciel Antoine, who tells the story of how she experienced her first kiss in college. “It was really romantic with all of the Christmas lights on the trees in the Boston Common. It was a very memorable and sweet time in my life,” she said.
FOR THE FIRST TIME by Ana Luque
While many students formed romantic relationships, others formed long-lasting platonic ones. Various students said that these bonds were formed with their roommates and people who lived in their residential building. Mariana Caro, a freshman journalism major, talked about the first time she met her roommate, freshman Gaby Delgado, and how that bloomed into a close-knit friendship. “We are both from Puerto Rico, meaning we share the same values,” Caro said. “I hadn’t met her before; she just simply texted me and said she wanted to meet up. We got to know each other, and to this day we get along amazingly. More than being my roommate, she’s my family now.” Meggie Phan, a freshman journalism major, also had a similar experience with her roommate as she told us how college was the first time she had to live with a roommate. “[My] first time living with a roommate was honestly a life-changing experience,” Phan said. “[It] taught me how to share and co-exist with other people. [I’m] so grateful to have had her as a roommate.” For others, college was the first time they were far away from close friends and family, but that didn’t stop them from branching out and forming strong relationships with their new classmates. “One of my college firsts was being apart from my best friend for a long period of time. It’s been pretty hard, but we find times to call and we text every day,” said visual media arts freshman Anya Perel-Arkin. “Luckily, being apart from him has encouraged me to find some amazing friends here at school. I’m so grateful to have a group of attentive, loving friends — I know I’ll miss them too when we’re apart in the summer.”
Kyoko Itoh, a visual media arts freshman, said that living by herself was the first big challenge she’d ever faced, but over time she was able to overcome it. “I’ve always depended on my parents and was in the comfort of knowing that I had a home I felt comfortable being in,” Itoh said. “So when I first got here, adjusting to a new environment and living on my own with new people was definitely a challenge. It took time for me to feel comfortable in my new home, but meeting new friends and making this new environment my space was a huge step in my life.”
rible at navigation, so this was really important for me to tackle,” Perlmutter said. “I set aside a few hours one day to give myself time to figure it out on my own. I’m not a master of the T by any means; however, it does not get in the way of me going on fun adventures and exploring the city on my own anymore.”
Like Itoh and Perel-Arkin, some found themselves living in a different environment than they were used to at home. To many, that meant new types of food, new weather conditions, and new methods of transportation.
“I was like a cartoon character [the first time I tripped on ice]. My leg was up in the air, and my butt was on the ground,” Lopez said. “Before I even registered what had happened, laughter was bubbling out of my mouth while my friend was freaking out. I’ve fallen a total of four times on the ice now, and every time, I run back home to tell my East Coast friends like it’s an accomplishment.”
Krusha Mehta, a freshman visual media arts major, said that she tried boba for the first time once she came to Boston, which has now become one of her favorite drinks. “In India, boba isn’t really a big thing. In fact, if you ask someone, most of them won’t really know boba,” Mehta said. “I tried the actual boba with the original dark brown sugar flavor. At this point, I am so obsessed with it that I can’t go more than three days without it.” Mehta was not the only student that tried new things. For sophomore visual media arts major Rachel Perlmutter, coming to Boston was her first time navigating public transit by herself. “I am not used to public transportation, and I’m exceptionally hor-
Transportation and food are not the only new things many experience. Sophomore communication studies major Daniella Lopez explains that back home in Hawai’i it is usually warm and that they have never experienced ice on the street until they came to Boston.
Surprisingly, many students experienced similar firsts with the weather, like Lopez. A Theater and Performance freshman student who has decided to stay anonymous expressed that the first time she walked on a frozen body of water was here in Boston. “Where I’m from, it doesn’t get much cooler than 60 degrees, so I had never seen frozen water before,” she said. “I was so excited when I went to the pond in the Garden and saw that it was frozen solid. I went running to the pond and then immediately stood on top of it. I had so much fun playing that day; I will never forget it.” Although many firsts are different, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a lot of life-changing and exciting firsts happen once students arrive at college. For me, college has brought a lot of firsts. Being from Honduras, college was the first time I saw snow and the first time I lived far away from home. It was also the first time I met friends from such different backgrounds and countries, and it has been truly amazing. A lot of my firsts mirrored many experiences of the students I talked to — maybe some of them mirror yours, too. So, what are your college “firsts”?
EMERSON COMEDY: the Good, the Bad, W and the Funny by Kathleen Nolan
hether you heard it on a campus tour, on Emerson’s website or straight from a comedic arts major, you probably know that Emerson is one of the only schools in the country that offers a degree in comedy. With legendary alumni like Norman Lear, Henry Winkler, Jennifer Coolidge and Jay Leno to look up to, it is unsurprising that today’s Emersonians want to follow in their footsteps. Our school is undeniably a hub for the world’s future late night hosts and Netflix comedy special stars. For students who live and breathe comedy, Emerson offers both a comedic arts major and a Comedy Writing and Performance minor. Alongside their normal liberal arts requirements, students in these programs take classes like Evolution of Comedy, Performing Improv and Comedy Writing for Late Night. Obviously, these courses are unconventional, even for art school.
Even if you’re not in the comedy major or minor, there are tons of opportunities to get involved. While many colleges and universities have a comedy troupe or two, Emerson students have more than 10 to choose from. Some troupes focus on specific areas of comedy such as stand-up, improv, sketch comedy or even musical comedy, while others blend them together. No matter what your comedic niche is, Emerson probably has a troupe for it. But for many, the comedy scene can come off as intimidating. If you’ve never tried out comedy before, how can you compete with people who are getting a degree in it? When everyone is a class clown, how do you stand out? Kat Mondor, a junior comedic arts major, said that it takes time for everyone to find their own comedic style and where it fits on campus. “In the comedy program, the first year at least, everyone is trying to one-up each other. You couldn’t say something without someone else adding on, and that made some of the comedy classes unbearable,” she admitted. Mondor has found that people within her major are overwhelmingly supportive and push one another to succeed. But, as most Emerson students can attest to, there is an added pressure when your classmates are also your competition. “Since we’re all competing for the same opportunities, it’s like, ‘I’m happy so-and-so is doing this… but that means I can’t do it,’” she explained.
“It’s a give-and-take of supporting your peers and networking.” However, Jackie Cotter, a junior comedic arts major, noted that once everyone finds their comedic strengths, the sense of competition becomes less intense. “Once we all found our niches, it didn’t feel as competitive anymore,” she said. “We’re all in class, we’re all trying out for the same troupes, we’ve all seen each other’s work and we’re all learning together and being vulnerable.” As president of the Emerson sketch comedy group Chocolate Cake City, Cotter pointed out that being a great comedian is not just about being funny but also about being a reliable teammate and friend. When students audition for the troupe, they have to demonstrate that they work well with other members, in addition to their skill in performing and writing sketches. Another member of Chocolate Cake City, junior comedic arts major Sophie Bellone, said that while it can be nerve-racking, the audition process is essential to finding people who are there for the group and not just themselves. “Everyone has to build each other up. So if there’s someone stealing a scene or if I ask a question like ‘What does it take to be a good scene partner?’ and they say, ‘Be really funny,’ that’s not what we’re looking for,” she said. “We want team players who can work together.” Cotter and Bellone agreed that while it is difficult to tell people no, it is essential to building a troupe that will have each other’s backs. “For some people who audition, if they did theater all through high school or something, this is the first time they’ll ever hear the word no,” Bellone said. “But you can always tell the people who are doing it because they love the feeling of doing it, and the people who are doing it because they’re getting attention. The comedy audition process is the easiest way to figure out who’s doing it because they actually like it.” If memorizing lines and writing sketches aren’t your forte, there are also a variety of improv troupes for students who prefer comedy on the fly. One of these groups is Stroopwafel, led by Robbie Doty, a senior comedic arts major. Doty explained that while improv requires some different skills than sketchwork does, it always comes down to the same thing: “There are so many
talented people. But what we really look for are people who are supportive, who are good scene partners and people who bring a new perspective.” If you’re interested in comedy, but auditioning makes you nervous, there are several groups that you can join without an audition. In fact, the stand-up comedy group Stand Up in the Park doesn’t even require members to perform. On EmConnect, Stand Up in the Park is described as a “low-stakes/supportive environment for Emerson students to practice writing and performing stand-up comedy at any skill level.” Charlotte Hunter, a sophomore with a minor in Comedic Writing and Performance, admitted that she was nervous when she joined Stand Up in the Park as a freshman. Although Hunter had experience being in front of an audience, she did not know how they would react to her stand-up routine. “I was scared of not being funny,” she recalled. “I was so scared that people weren’t going to laugh at me, which is weird because that’s kind of backwards.” However, after her performance, she was met with nothing but encouragement from her fellow group members. “Everyone was really welcoming. They were like, ‘You did so great,’ and patted me on the back, and that felt good,” she said. While stand-up may seem daunting because it is a solo act, Stand Up in the Park strives to make the process as smooth as possible for students. Anyone is welcome to join their weekly writing workshops or just attend shows as an audience member.
Members can participate in shows as often or as little as they want. “If you want to perform that day, you’ll get to perform that day,” Hunter explained. “Some people go every week, but I only do it about once a month, and that’s totally fine.” In fact, junior Koby Polaski’s first performance with Stand Up in the Park was totally impromptu. Last year, with no prior knowledge of the org, he went to watch a show to support a friend who was performing. When the scheduled emcee didn’t show up, Polaski’s friend asked if he wanted to fill in for the night. As a theatre and performance major, Polaski had experience onstage, but emceeing for Stand Up in the Park sparked his interest in comedy. He joined the group immediately afterward. Like Hunter, Polaski found the Stand Up in the Park community to be incredibly welcoming. He noted that it is a great environment to experiment, try new things and learn what works. “I know that sometimes I’m going to go up there and I might not get a reaction, and that’s totally fine,” he said. “I’m just going to go up, try my best, lean on the people who are there to support me and go from there.” Additionally, since the group performs in the Boston Common instead of an auditorium, there is a more relaxed feel to their shows. “It’s a little more freeing because stages are artificial and can be limiting,” Polaski explained. “There’s a limited capacity and a limited amount of time. But with Stand Up, you come and go as you please. It’s a really welcoming and casual experience.”
It is no secret that the voices of marginalized groups are often stifled in the world of comedy. As many Emerson students pursue careers in comedic writing and performance, women, nonbinary folks and BIPOC face the added challenges of navigating an industry dominated by white men. Flawed Comedy is a troupe working to tackle these issues on campus. As a department of Flawless Brown, an artistic collective for female and nonbinary students of color, Flawed Comedy is centered on making comedy more inclusive. Junior Monica Keipp explained that in Flawed Comedy, they feel comfortable being creative and putting themself out there. “[Flawed Comedy] is for people who aren’t often heard in comedy and aren’t often centered. There’s usually, like, one of us, and that’s it,” she pointed out. “Knowing that there was a space there, I knew I was going to do it and go full in.” Like Stand Up in the Park, Flawed Comedy does not require members to audition. When Keipp joined the group last spring, they were unable to do live performances because of COVID-19 restrictions. But Keipp was still able to write a sketch, film it on her own and share it with the group. As a Comedy Writing and Performance minor, Keipp was thrilled to find a community where their talents were highlighted and celebrated. Keipp also emphasized that Flawed Comedy is all about collaboration. If someone comes to a workshop with a joke or an idea for a sketch, everyone is eager to help flesh it out and bring it to life. “They’re awesome, and I love them all dearly,” Keipp said about her fellow group members. “It’s very collaborative, but you also get your time to shine.”
Keipp noted that while everyone comes to the group with different backgrounds and styles of comedy, they are all able to bond over their shared experiences and love for making people laugh. “We come in with unique perspectives, but also a mutual understanding that in this group, we are not a minority, we are not marginalized — we are the stars. We are the majority here,” Keipp said. There is a place at Emerson for everyone who wants to do comedy, no matter how experienced or inexperienced a person might be. Cotter said it best: “I am so grateful that when I’m weird, there will be people who are twice as weird. It’s really fun to feel comfortable enough to throw out your craziest ideas into a group of people, and they’ll add onto it. I feel almost fearless, like I can do whatever I want, and there will be people who get it.” Despite the competitive aspects of the program, ultimately, everyone is there to help and support one another. “I have friends in just about every troupe, and we all support each others’ shows and promote them on Instagram,” Doty explained. “If you go to a show, you’ll probably see five or more people from other troupes there in the audience.” Mondor added that while Comedic Arts may be an unconventional trade to study, she knows that it has pushed her to become a better writer and performer. “It’s brought me out of my shell in a way that I never anticipated and never knew that I needed. I could just go to normal college and study normal things and become a normal person, but here I am, being batshit crazy,” she said, laughing. The Center for Comedic Arts is special because it is not just a major or a collection of clubs, but a community. There is a space for everyone, whether you have been the class clown your whole life or are just starting out. And if you don’t get the callback? If a joke doesn’t land quite the way you hoped? There will always be people to laugh it off with you.
GOSSIP GIRL: Emerson Edition by Ashley Ferrer
ithout a quad or other common spaces where one can go to engage with other students, the social scene of a college without a campus can sometimes be difficult to maneuver. But Emersonians are aware of another way students can interact with peers they may have never come across otherwise: virtually. With the growing sensation of social media, students have launched Instagram profiles dedicated to engaging with their fellow Emersonians in a variety of creative ways. Many of these accounts were created during this school year, but @emersonbathroomreviews, which reviews the quality and cleanliness of the bathrooms across Emerson’s Boston campus, dates back to before Emerson’s transition to full in-person learning. The creator of @ emersonbathroomreviews attributed the birth of the account to March of 2021, when the school was practicing hybrid learning and “the Instagram parody fad was in full swing on campus …” Although the account is primarily comedic, it also aims to call attention to maintenance at the school. “It’s also a nice way to try and hold the Emerson students and staff accountable for maintaining these spaces appropriately and not cutting corners in stupid ways,” the creator said. Similarly, @emersonchocolatemilk prioritizes the comedic aspect of the account while staying true to documenting the quality of the dining center’s choc-
olate milk every day. “I don’t imagine my chocolate milk reviews are changing anyone’s lives, but I do think the account serves as a sort of inside joke for Emerson students,” the account admin said. “I’ve genuinely overheard people talking about the account while walking to class, and someone even made an Instagram account dedicated to uncovering my identity. Overall, it’s just an amusing thing that entertains people and hopefully bonds the Emerson community just a little bit.” The @emersonmissedconnections account is essentially Emerson’s own version of “Gossip Girl,” an anonymous blog in the 2007 show “Gossip Girl” which spreads information about the lives of wealthy teenagers in Manhattan. The account welcomes anonymous submissions for anyone who would like to address the student body for a variety of reasons, ranging from wanting to know someone’s Instagram account or complaining about people being loud on a certain floor on campus. Like the fictional gossip blog, the drama-filled account’s administration has shifted multiple times throughout its existence, and there are many imitation accounts attempting to serve the same purpose. The current rendition of the account is @ec.missedconnections. “The account can be something good and bad. I mean, some of the things I have read are pretty surprising,” a previous admin of Missed Connections said. “If you really have this big of an issue with this person, why don’t you just go confront them about it? But people would rather submit a post to an account about who they hate or what room they wish would shut the fuck up.”
Nevertheless, the ex-admin also believes the account can channel positivity across the community. “Sometimes there is fun in some of the submissions,” they said. “I get submissions about people thanking someone for making their day or extending a compliment. Because the whole account is about a ‘missed connection,’ it’s basically all some form of drama, good or bad.” Along with the lighthearted sentiments shared via @ec.missedconnections, the account often receives serious submissions regarding a person’s mental health struggles or concern for their safety or the safety of others. In situations like this, the former admin urged students to refrain from sending submissions and instead contact the appropriate resources if they are in need of any sort of help. The Instagram account @emersonaffirmations was started by a first-year student and is a place where students can submit relatable affirmations specific to peers at Emerson, such as, “The Lion’s Den being closed for the next two days will NOT be the end of the world,” and, “The walk to Paramount IS only five minutes.”
“THE ACCOUNTS HAVE CREATED A SPACE WHERE THEY CAN COMFORTABLY some Emerson-oriINTERACT WITH While ented accounts aim to promote engagement and school among students, the ONE ANOTHER spirit owner of the @emersonaf-
firmations account doesn’t consider this relevant to the account’s purpose. “I don’t think this page does or should contribute to school spirit. This is an outlet for all of the stupid things we already think. Sometimes existing so actively in an institution like Emerson is hard, so it’s nice to have a way to make fun of it,” the owner said. According to some students, the accounts have created a space where they can comfortably interact with one another and incorporate a take on Emerson culture into their Instagram feed. “It’s really funny to see people be creative with different things that happen here at Emerson and Emerson life online because social media is such a big part of my life, and I love meme culture,” said first-year Creative Writing student Vara Giannakopoulos, who follows both @ec.missedconnections and @emersonaffirmations. “So having that related to my school, and specific to only things that people who live here would understand, is really funny and enjoyable.”
However, when asked about whether these Emerson-related accounts help build the community or harm the connection between students, first-year journalism student Lauren Smith said they mainly cause harm. “I feel like there are some positives, and while it can strengthen student engagement, I think it just adds to division between students and reinstates cliquey-type friend groups,” Smith said. On the other hand, first-year journalism student Brooke Harrison thinks that it is up to each individual student to decide the impact of these accounts for themselves. “At the end of the day, if you want to read deeper into it, that’s kind of on you, and if you want to take it at face value, you can do that,” Harrison said. “I don’t think there’s any right way to interpret these accounts.” Although these unaffiliated accounts share a variety of content within Emerson’s community, they all aid in connecting students across the school — students who ordinarily might never cross paths throughout their time at Emerson.
health Photographed by Hanlin (Nancy) Yuan Design by Stella Drews-Sheldon and Chloe Williams Modeled by Lauren Ishikawa Sara Kelley Blu Xu
THE SHADOW OF YOUTH
H S E H T UTH O Y OF W O D by Kaitlyn Joyner
still can’t pinpoint when I first stopped seeing myself as a child. It was somewhere between falling asleep to classical music and stirring hose water with pebbles in the woods behind my house. Our twenties feel raw with the realization that we occupy a space in which we are expected to fold inward instead of expanding. Childhood becomes a second shadow, moving with our bodies in and out of the light. Always behind us, shifting with the sun of our adult egos and whims.
It’s odd to know that I spend my life chasing that feeling I had when I was maybe seven or eight. I remember swimming in the bend of a mountain stream in Tennessee. Every time I dove off a cliff, I felt like I was growing new bones and breaking the old ones. I think I might have been braver then than I am now; no cliff seemed too daunting, and the cold felt new instead of numbing. I find myself envying her for the newness of the space she carved in the world like initials on a tree. Every memory I hold with me from my youth is partially a matter of pure chance. I think the other half of it is that I believed in magic without knowing it.
W O D A H THE S H H OUT Y F O O OW D But the truth is, I still had worries then. I was afraid of my swimsuit falling off when I made big jumps, and I feared how my own body felt so distinct from me, like a floating hand. Like many of us as children, I was eager to fill the shape of adulthood. I pictured it as a new level of autonomy drawn in the glimmering, naive colors of imagined spontaneity and ensured self-sufficiency. Little did I know that I already had the freedom I desired in a different manifestation, or that adulthood would feel like nothing more than a performance where I was a perpetual imposter.
As the clock turns on our birthdays, we aren’t imparted with any new wisdom; we become adults with the roots of a child. Yet, we are expected to have left our youth locked in a drawer as we step into a binding relationship with society: time in exchange for money and money in exchange for moments of reprieve. It can feel like there’s little room for uninhibited joy, for play, for ease; even in careers centered around creativity, it can become difficult to avoid the pressure of the world’s expectations surrounding our art. Senior photographer and creative writing major Chloé Nanian shares her view of how adulthood has been framed in the modern day. “I feel like adulthood is kind of a heavy thing,” she says. For many people, adulthood feels like it takes on a different tempo than childhood, demanding constant productivity and progress towards money, career and connections. When asked how she channels her inner child into healing in her adult life, Nanian explains, “I give myself time to breathe — I feel like as a child you have so much time to do that, and you take it for granted.” From walks in her neighborhood to doodling and photography, Nanian uses downtime to honor her inner child’s needs. It can become exhausting to constantly uphold these expectations of maturity, productivity, and creation — which is why it is important to find moments to simply be. To sit and allow our imaginations to hold us, the way we did when we were children.
“WE ARE PROUD, REMINISCENT BEINGS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE” But there are also ways to morph adulthood beyond its societal limits, to bend it into a form that resembles what we long for. Sometimes, it’s easier to think of our younger selves when learning how to make our adult selves happy. What enthralled our child selves most: staying up late, new stuffed animals, coloring, dancing, singing, playing dress-up, running at recess, making wishes on dandelions? Everything lies in how we can recreate those moments now while still using our adult privileges to pursue life in a way the child versions of us couldn’t. “I’m able to be an authentic version of myself that little me wasn’t able to be,” Nanian continues. As we navigate the world and unearth more about ourselves and what possibilities surround us, it’s easier to embody the kind of people our younger selves admired from afar; in that sense, we are more authentically our child selves than ever as young adults. Though it can be easy to neglect the many histories our bodies contain, navigating the space between our past and present selves is something that can allow for catharsis and growth. Writing, literature and publishing major Gabriella Perez has recently begun to reconnect with her inner child, allowing what she calls her “Inner Gab” to blossom in her adult life. Perez keeps her inner child in mind daily by dabbling purple and bejeweled items throughout her life, like an ode to the self she had always dreamed of being.
She describes her bittersweet childhood experience as a dedicated ballerina, from her initial dreams of being a professional to falling out of touch during high school. After happening upon her old ballet shoes while back home during a college break, she found herself moved by the image she found in the mirror. “I ended up just putting on an old pair of tights I had, a leotard, and a skirt. I tried to pin my hair up into a bun as best as I could, and I threw on my pointe shoes,” she says. “ I looked at myself in the mirror and just started bawling…Something with my inner [child] was just so happy but also shocked to see myself there again. I couldn’t recognize myself. In those years, I had worked so hard on myself to completely forget who I was because I was so deeply embarrassed by it all.” She fondly described how she has recently resurfaced many childhood memories as a form of healing, becoming reacquainted with herself through little rituals like using a purple pen with a poof on the end. Her moment in her childhood bedroom is what so many of us desire: to see ourselves in double, to reach out and merge with them. The differences become beautiful aches, ones that our little minds always longed for. We are proud, reminiscent beings before anything else. Like Perez, I have oftentimes resurrected my own youth in defiance of my own body, letting my inner child show through in my bouncing walk, the stuffed animals on my bed, the way I see colors, clouds and soft things. I still drink green berry tea, sometimes with vanilla cream, the same thing my grandmother would make me in my miniature yellow teapot before afternoon kindergarten. Gently, forgivingly, I make room for the 2012 bedroom pop and bad fantasy books my teenage self adored. She was a child, too — a changeling who wanted nothing more than to be older. I’m making up for her lost time.
I got a tattoo of a fairy on my inner arm after turning 21. She sits on a hooked flower, palm to her face and a dainty tear on her cheek; she wears a blossom as a hat, and her dress winds around the stem of the flower she perches upon. Every time I look at her, I think of my seven-year-old body peering into hollowed tree stumps and checking for fairy mushroom rings in the fields I grew up next to, and I am reminded of where I have grown from. I wanted to hold that wonder in my limbs forever, alongside the ache that made me reach for that wonder again. The inked fairy on my skin is too precious and too undefined, so I can’t bring myself to name her. We are often taught that growing up is a permanent thing, that age is something that happens to us rather than something that belongs to us once we have lived it. I know that I could not possibly hold things so dearly then as I do now. A table with miniature boats and canals full of clear, cold water; my grandmother French braiding my hair before afternoon kindergarten; holding pond frogs in my bare hands. I still crave people touching my hair, and I hold any creature I can without harming them. Adulthood is becoming a vessel for the memories you love more than ever now, as you look over your shoulder; living is the sacred process of reinventing them over and over again. I am a living locket. I open myself up to see fields of wildflowers, rainy skylights, a cracked lavender sled on a snowy hill, my brother swinging high above me in our backyard, the smell of summer heat against wood, strawberries with sugar on my grandparent’s porch, and small, shaky hands belonging to a girl too scared to write down her stories. I close the locket and run towards those things in my twenty-one-yearold body, letting the alignment of reality with memories simmer beneath my little beloved shadow.
THE POWER WITHIN by Christina Horacio
ecause of the pandemic, the need for mental health services has greatly increased. Although therapy can certainly be an invaluable resource, it can also prove to be inaccessible — whether it be an issue of cost, insurance, or just a lack of facilities. Personally, relocating from California to Massachusetts for school made finding a new therapist under the school’s insurance quite difficult. Because of this, I was on the search for other remedies for anxiety and depression. Meditation has always been something I have been told to try, but my anxious mind could never quite settle down enough to do so appropriately. However, I have found that alternate spiritual remedies, such as tarot and Reiki, are effective for myself and many other Emerson students. My initial introduction to these “alternate” methods was tarot. Tarot is essentially a means of “fortune-telling” or divination through the use of a deck of cards — each having their own symbol and meaning. As someone who grew up in a Catholic household, anything within the realm of “witchcraft” was thoroughly discouraged. I was told that delving into the future and trying to unveil God’s plan was certainly a sin. But when a general tarot reading popped up on my YouTube recommended page, I couldn’t help but click. I ultimately figured that since I wasn’t going into some palm reading storefront, it didn’t count. I didn’t expect much, but somehow everything this reader said seemed to resonate deeply and bring me clarity on my situation. Despite my initial apprehension, tarot became an invaluable resource to me. It became less about an obsession with telling the future and more about staying calm and present. Even if some higher force isn’t controlling what cards will fall, reading tarot is still a means of problem-solving. It allows me to think through any situation that is causing me pain or anxiety by having to interpret the situation according to the cards rather than just my limited perspective. Just sitting down, lighting a candle, playing music, and shuffling the cards has served to be a successful substitute for “standard” meditation.
Here at Emerson, there is an entire community of individuals that also share an interest in tarot. Emerson’s Mystic, a college-affiliated org, actually covers all things “metaphysical and witchy,” including tarot. They meet every Friday from 5-7 p.m.. Mystic member and freshman student, Abigail Anderson, said, “I didn’t really know anything about [tarot] until I joined Mystic. I didn’t really believe that it actually meant anything to me, but then I did my first reading at Mystic, and I just immediately fell in love with it. I just met a lot of fun people who gave me a lot of tips about it as well.” Anderson equated tarot with remaining present as well. “It helps with being more aware of where you are in life. Being aware of your connections, relationships, and just how you approach people, and how you’re going to go about your day,” said Anderson. Students can receive readings and learn how to conduct their own within Mystic. According to Anderson, “Mystic is a good starting step if someone really wants to go deeper into [tarot], and just other different forms of divination as well.” In addition to tarot, I have found that the practice of Reiki can also be an effective alternative remedy. I spoke to El Levinson, a junior who is certified in Reiki.
“REIKI IS MAGIC”
“It’s a Japanese technique of energy healing. The word Reiki is made up of two Japanese words. There’s Rei, which is translated [as] the higher power of God’s wisdom, and Ki, which is life force. Put together, it’s a spiritually guided life force energy.” Levinson explained that this energy work is essentially used to “promote relaxation [and] stress reduction,” and can be performed hands-on or from a distance. In regards to performing Reiki on others, Levinson said, “the body has energy sectors, and any trauma shows up as a block in the energy center. And so what Reiki does is it goes through the energy center and it makes it flow through, and clears it, [allowing] the energy center to be centered again.” They received two certifications under Julie Taberman, a Reiki master based in Jamaica Plain. “[Through] using reiki, I have been able to kind of step into myself more confidently and feel more safe.” Beyond making Levinson a “significantly happier person,” Reiki has helped them, physically, with everyday life. “I’m a musical theater major, [so] I’m a pretty active human. If I know that I will be sore the next morning, I will set the intention; please release any soreness from my body. And most of the time, I wake up less sore than I would have if I hadn’t set the intention,” Levinson said.
I was able to experience Reiki for the first time, by booking a 20-minute Zoom session with them. They were able to do this through Zoom, because the energy can be channeled and sent to the receiver, regardless of distance — which is perfect for those who are worried about COVID-19. What I found was that Levinson was right in saying Reiki is “magic.” I was able to feel the warm energy that they had passed through — something I was skeptical about beforehand. They also gave me the option to express which areas, physical or mental, that I would like to focus on. I notified them that I had been feeling more depressed than usual, and set the intention to alleviate that. I ended up resonating deeply with the messages that Levinson had channeled. They were able to identify the main issues I was dealing with at the time, with one being the blockage in my throat. This impressed me because it directly correlated with my inability to express my emotions at the time. Consequently, I left the session feeling positive, and much lighter in my chest than before. With that said, Reiki is definitely an effective method of alternative healing that I want to delve further into. Those who are interested in exploring these alternate methods of healing can book a free Reiki session — and optional tarot reading with Levinson over Zoom by reaching out through Instagram (@el.levinson) or email (email@example.com). Alternatively, they can be found on the wellness app, InsightTimer, by searching “El L.” InsightTimer is a free platform in which users can further engage with various types of meditations, readings, and Reiki sessions. Anyone can benefit from the practices of Reiki and tarot. I highly recommend even just researching through YouTube videos and other articles on the subject. Moreover, there isn’t a need for a specific reason in mind, such as anxiety or depression, before seeking out these remedies. Both practices can generally just be a great way to better understand yourself and your surroundings.
ON HEALTH AND MONEY: Compensated Studies as an Intersection by Victoria Rein
he sky looks to be one all-encompassing cloud; it’s darker than it should be at 3:00 p.m., even in the winter, and I’m sitting on the cold leather seats of some car driven by a person I’ll likely never see again. The Uber rides to the clinic have become almost routine at this point, though I’m not going for a check-up. I’m one of the participants in a study on the effectiveness of anti-anxiety medication. Anxiety — the social kind, to be precise — has soured my days ever since I can remember. A debilitating fear of being judged by others rules over every action I take and word I utter (and those I don’t). These disturbances in daily living are not what drew me to apply for participation in such a study (though that seems to be the understanding of the psychologist I meet with each visit). It feels wrong to tell her I’m doing this solely for the money and that any alleviation of anxiety symptoms that accompanies it is simply an added bonus. Make no mistake, the compensation is worth the two to three hour block of my day comprised of Uber rides, blood draws, deeply personal questionings, and EKG cable placements on my chest that almost make me regret the decision to stop wearing bras. With one visit to the clinic, I make more than I would in a six-hour shift at my restaurant hosting job, even before taxes.
This introduces moments of profound reflection for me — why does it take such extreme measures to get by in this financial climate? Should I really have to sign off on putting foreign substances in my body just to have some money to spend on groceries?
Maybe describing those measures as “extreme” is a bit dramatic, but there’s certainly a fine line to tow in valuing my body enough to care about what I put in it and being realistic enough about the risks of the study to not worry too much about it. I signed a consent form that spanned 17 pages on my first visit after they confirmed I was eligible, and while the temptation to just skim over it was there, I figured I’d regret it if I didn’t read every word. Nothing seemed too extreme, so I agreed and permanently planted my name at the bottom of that last page.
“THE NOTION OF COMPENSATION MAKES IT HURT LESS “
The appointments I have at the clinic, though manageable, are emotionally and physically draining, to say the least. When they sit me down to draw blood, I always look away thanks to the issues I have with needles and veins. I instead study the fluorescent light rods on the ceiling flanked by those white, speckled panels until I could conjure the image in a dream. After more routine tests measuring my height, weight, and heartbeats per minute, I’m sent to the psychologist’s office downstairs where I’m asked a series of questions about my mental state and anxiety levels over the past week. This is always the hardest part. While I certainly don’t enjoy being left with what resembles track marks and bruises on my arm from the blood draws, I dislike even more constant reminders of how poor my mental health has become again. Though it stings to quantify my depleting mental state on a scale of one to three, I remind myself that each answer is, say, a dollar, and the notion of compensation makes it hurt less. Maybe that’s messed up, but I can’t be the only one who rationalizes the process like that.
One article, by WCG IRB, discussed the concept of “undue influence,” or when someone agrees to take unreasonable risks due to the influence of other considerations (such as money). The Institutional Review Board (IRB) has to approve the risks of a potential study, confirming that they are reasonable in relation to the benefits, before the study is approved. This introduces another question, though: how much is enough? What if the benefits aren’t enough to outweigh potential risks? The article mentioned that in an attempt to reduce situations where undue influence is exerted, though already rare, the research community encourages relatively low payments, which, in turn, raises concerns about exploitation. The average payment is somewhere between $50 and $300 each day of the study. The problem: even this amount is considered a lot for people in lower-income brackets, so the possibility for exploitation skyrockets when this is considered. In 2016, six Phase 1 drug trial participants were left hospitalized in France, one even pronounced brain-dead. Though this doesn’t happen often, it’s still a sobering, impossible-to-forget picture of the worstcase scenario. A New York Times article about this incident quoted Carl Elliott, a University of Minnesota bioethicist, as saying, “‘Many Phase 1 trial volunteers are poor and unemployed, and they volunteer for trials like this because they are desperate for money. This means they are easily exploited.’” That being said, I don’t personally think I’m being exploited in the study I’m participating in whatsoever. Reading through the list of side effects that accompany what I’m taking didn’t make my stomach turn, and the worst symptom I’ve had is a bit of a headache. Still, I wonder how low I would go to procure money. It’s an almost invaluable asset, especially right now while prices of quite literally everything are increasing almost beyond reason (shoutout inflation). I’m basically the archetype of a “broke college student,” so you do the math. I’ll likely think about this on my next Uber ride to the clinic, but I have a funny feeling my worries will dissipate once the researchers reload that money onto the debit card they gave me.
globe Photographed by Taliyah Gordon Design by Anna Moon Styling & Production by Ciel Antoine Makeup by Ciel Antoine & Elise Guzman Modeled by Joei Chan, Amalia Sandine Elise Guzman
SHAPING ETHNICITY by Sadie Frankel
or me, ethnicity has always been fairly straightforward. I never gave it too much thought: why should it matter to me if my family came from other countries, when I live in America? I never realized that that is privilege speaking. For others — as well as for me, later in life — ethnicity is a topic that requires much more thought and weight internally. Ethnicity is a complicated subject, made even more complicated by the fact that many people don’t understand the concept. Often, it is used interchangeably with race, which is a common misconception. While race is often linked with physical characteristics such as skin color, ethnicity is one’s identity that is defined by groups with common cultural attributes or backgrounds. Both are social constructs, created to categorize populations of people. With these terms come positive and negative repercussions: people have their own personal identities, but various groups often fall subject to discrimination. For different people, ethnicity means different things. Some people readily accept their ethnicity, acknowledging and celebrating the various places of origin for them or their families. Others are unaware of their ethnicities, either because it does not mean a lot to them or they just do not know about their background. For many, ethnicity is something that requires a personal journey, as it is often difficult to come to terms with. It requires self-reflection and is not something that many can understand, even within themselves. I, a white woman with backgrounds from England, Norway, Austria, Canada, and Judaism can never know the difficulty BIPOC face when it comes to understanding and identifying with one’s background. For the past few years, however, I have, to some extent, tried to understand how Judaism plays a role in my life. I know that my family comes from a Jewish background, with my grandfather on my dad’s side being Jewish, but how does that affect me? I have recently tried to educate myself on Judaism, giving myself an insight into the culture that accompanies it and what it means to my family and to others. For Sofia Attaway, a first-year writing, literature, and publishing major, her journey toward understanding and accepting her ethnicity has been complicated, as she grew up feeling as though she had to prove her identity to others.
“Mainly, ethnicity-wise, I identify as Colombian,” Attaway said. “I guess I’ve worded myself as being half-Colombian, half-white, which is not particularly true biologically, but my dad’s side is kind of a jumble of Americans and English people that I don’t particularly connect with because of my Colombian-ness.” Growing up, Attaway felt separated from others and as though she didn’t quite fit in, particularly due to her mixed identity. “I guess identity-wise I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite have anybody I related to except for my brother because he’s literally biologically just like me,” she said. These challenges made it difficult for her to reconcile with the way that she was perceived and with the way that she saw herself. From a young age, when Attaway told people she was Hispanic, they did not believe her. “At the moment it was really jarring,” she said. For Charlize Tungol, a freshman journalism major, her relationship with her ethnicity has been complicated. As a quarter Mexican and three-quarters Filipino woman, Tungol has attempted to connect with both sides of her family heritage. “I feel like I’ve always tried to become more intertwined with my Hispanic culture since I know that it wasn’t really enforced as a child,” she said. “My family was pretty white-washed as I was growing up and even more so now…So it was really a personal responsibility if I wanted to become closer with my ethnic identity.”
“I STARTED TO REPRESS THAT PART OF MYSELF. I WOULD NOT TELL PEOPLE THAT I WAS ASIAN OR HISPANIC FOR MANY YEARS” Despite trying to be comfortable and connected with her ethnic identity, Tungol still felt uncomfortable with the way people viewed her. “I feel like, as an Asian woman, I was still kind of fetishized and it’s like, you kind of fall under this category that makes you feel belittled but it confuses you because…you feel like you’re not totally a part of that group yourself,” she explained. The fetishization of Asian women has troubled Tungol greatly, making her feel less comfortable with her AAPI identity and more inclined to identify with her Hispanic culture, as she feels it makes her more accepted. This is not an isolated incident in growing up ethnically diverse. First-year visual media arts major Anya Perel-Arkin, also struggled with outward versus inward identity. Being a quarter Japanese, a quarter Mexican, and half Russian-Jewish, Perel-Arkin felt confused as she tried to come to terms with how these three identities represented her. In middle school, she found herself being lumped in with all Asian ethnicities, being told that she had “Chinese eyes” and that she looked like other people who were also Asian. Because of this, Perel-Arkin had a hard time finding pride in her identity. “I started to repress that part of myself. I would not tell people that I was Asian or Hispanic for many years,” she said. This lack of acceptance toward herself led to her trying to come across as whiter, neglecting her heritage and even feeling negatively toward her own identity.
Judaism has also played an important, if complicated, role in Perel-Arkin’s life. Being Asian and Mexican, people would not believe that she could also be Jewish. She said that she has been told countless times that she does not look Jewish, and therefore cannot be. Jake Shafran, a freshman visual media arts major and a Jewish man, has also experienced difficulties with his ethnicity. As Judaism is an ethnicity, he has felt othered by the way that people view him and his religion. Jews are often the victims of white supremacists’ actions, but are also white, making their position in society complicated. “If I wear a Jewish star, I am a potential target of hate, or if I go to a temple, I’m a potential target of hate, but if I don’t, then I’m not,” Shafran said when trying to explain the confusing way that Jews are and also are not accepted into society. Charlie Williams, a first-year writing, literature, and publishing major who is also Jewish, has found it somewhat difficult to understand his ethnicity and the role that it plays in his life. Being more culturally Jewish than religiously, Williams has not always felt “a huge sense of kinship to the corporate Jewish community, the one that kind of dictates how Judaism is perceived,” because of his individual views.
Both Shafran and Williams attributed a lot of their upbringing to Judaism and to what they have learned because of the community, explaining that even though they have felt othered at points in their lives, they have also had comfort in their ethnicity and the people who surround them. Ethnicity can be complicated for most people. Trying to understand where one comes from and what culture they feel close to is a journey; however, it is important to keep working toward self-acceptance, a sentiment that is shared by all of those interviewed. Perel-Arkin explained that she has decided to not allow others to take away or manipulate her identity. “Fuck everyone, I am a salad, I’m awesome, and I really want to highlight this part of myself more,” she said. She has since been more open about her ethnicity, no longer hiding who she is and where she comes from. Attaway also has become more comfortable with the way that she is perceived and the way that she identifies. “I feel like being Colombian isn’t something I need to fight for anymore,” she said. “It can be part of me, as it has always been, without me having to wrestle for it, because I own it and I know that I own it and that’s what matters.”
PAISLEY AND PASTELS by Elisa Davidson
inding beauty in your life has gotten a lot easier thanks to this new life hack: aesthetics. They dominate Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards, line the walls of clothing stores and take over people’s bedrooms. Many of us love the colors and unique styles they present, which bring a sense of brightness to our lives. But why Gen Z’s sudden obsession with aesthetics? This question can be answered by looking at the coinage of the term. The definition of modern aesthetics was researched by Dr. Yuriko Saito, who wrote, “Everyday aesthetics continues this trajectory of widening scope by including objects, events and activities that constitute people’s daily life.” Things as simple as going on a picnic can now contribute to the aesthetic life of your dreams: spread out a plaid picnic blanket and eat elaborate cakes, forgetting about life’s responsibilities. “For me, songs and media are so powerful in how they world-build that I try to seek out these aesthetics in my life and my own world. They make me feel a positive form of escapism and that the world I see every day isn’t limited. Aesthetics are beautiful and I love to immerse them in my real life,” says sophomore Jess Adair. Living aesthetically has become a trend, and there is so much to learn about it. Not just in American culture; around the world, new aesthetics continue to surface, each completely different from the next. Aesthetics inspire avant-garde fashion trends, further tying together the concepts of art and life. Adding more creativity to your life has never been more accessible, as exemplified by the thousands of pictures on Instagram with perfect backgrounds to perpetuate different styles. Aesthetics have become a way of living, a way of finding more excitement and color in the ordinary.
Light academia has found its place in pop culture, stressing a European, literary, philosophical and academically-positive view of the world. “It’s not always easy to replicate Insta posts, but literally just picking a cute preppy outfit and going to class, you already feel like you’re living those aesthetic college-girl vibes,” says junior theater and performance major Sophia Inez. After incorporating an aesthetic into your daily life, going to class is exciting; listening to classical music feels like a power move; even doing homework plays into the light academia lifestyle. Some trends, like the Vaporwave aesthetic, take inspiration from musical styles, and then meld this style with more visual cues that have gained steady popularity. The gentle blues, greens, and pinks of this aesthetic do a lot more than look pretty. Providing nostalgic images, bold Japanese prints, and ’70s to ’90s 3D graphics, Vaporwave attempts to critique the nature of capitalism in more modern society, depicting the old and the new simultaneously. Unusually, this aesthetic gained a great deal of traction globally through online communities like 4chan and Soundcloud, and slowly spread to gain popularity in more mainstream culture in the 2020s.
“THEY MAKE ME FEEL A POSITIVE FORM OF ESCAPISM AND THAT THE WORLD I SEE EVERY DAY ISN’T LIMITED”
Afrofuturism has also made a splash in recent media, becoming more widespread after the release of the movie “Black Panther.” This aesthetic makes use of a rich color palette and traditional African styles tied together with a technological look. Afrofuturism has taken on a more cultural significance in literature, clothing, and music than most aesthetics do, becoming more popular in media not just for younger generations. While commonly used in
the film and music industries, this aesthetic has become a more ubiquitous cultural phenomenon than previously seen. Most examples of Afrofuturism are popular in the U.S., but it is also growing steadily in Africa as well, as artists begin to experiment with it in their craft. Photographers like Osborne Macharia have begun to utilize Afrofuturistic themes in their art. Macharia, who is from Nairobi, Kenya, published many photographic works melding Maasai traditional practices with science fiction. A rise in Afrofuturist presence in fashion has also been seen, as Black designers have begun incorporating these styles into avant-garde pieces and showcasing this mix of tradition and modernity on the runway. As this aesthetic gains popularity, it also develops thousands of subgenres and variations where people add their own unique twist or flourish to the style. Cottagecore takes on a much different role, focusing more on a plant-loving, farmer’s lifestyle. This aesthetic focuses on caring for others, plants, animals, and people. This is very inspired by other nature-based aesthetics, which emphasize living comfortably with plants in a quiet sort of place. This aesthetic typically favors a romantic style and hyperfeminine clothing, portraying a more soothing vibe. “There’s something very comforting about slow living and farm life for me that cottagecore provides, so I try to keep that energy about me by surrounding myself with things that remind me of it,” says Karina Jha, a sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major. All of these aesthetics play a role in our lives now, making them more fun, exciting, and bearable; not only that, but they make us more connected. As we all try to add our own twists to these aesthetics and make them our own, we also show the world how colorful we can be. So as you get up in the morning, don’t forget to add a bit of a sparkle to your life. Remember: anything can be part of the aesthetic!
EVERLASTING MYTHOLOGY by Annalisa Hansford
ythology comes from the Greek words “mythos,” meaning myth, and “logos,” meaning speech, literally forming the meaning “speech of the myth.” Myths have been passed down orally by word of mouth from generation to generation and from parent to child, and is the reason they are still present in our lives today. A myth can comfort an audience, inform the reader about a culture’s values, relay an experience and can help the audience make sense of the world. I recently read a poem by Stephanie Chang titled, “Ghazal for Moon Maiden,” published in the literary journal “COUNTERCLOCK,” which reimagines the Chinese myth of Chang’e and Hou Yi. The legend starts off with Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, living in heaven among mortals. She is banished to live on earth when she accidentally breaks a delicate porcelain jar. While on earth, she became friends with a hunter from another village named Hou Yi. One day ten suns rose in the sky and he shot down nine of them, in an attempt to save the earth. Hou Yi became king and eventually, he and Chang’e got married. The Gods gave Hou Yi an elixir that would make him immortal, but Chang’e took it for herself. She jumped out a window to escape from her husband but started to float towards the moon. My favorite line from Chang’s poem which encapsulates this myth so beautifully is, “My voice silvers into a thousand wind-chimes: An omen / I failed to foresee, as Hou Yi hunts a theater of suns, savors / all nine screams.” I love how Chang writes from the perspective of the moon goddess Chang’e. Chang’e takes the pill that will make her immortal, but it means that her lover will remain a mortal on Earth while she’s immortal in heaven. It begs the question: Is immortality worth being alone, without your lover? This poem exemplifies how today’s art is constantly inspired by myths from hundreds of years ago. Books popular on Tiktok and YouTube are often reimaginings of Greek mythology. Madeline Miller, the author of “The Song of Achilles” and “Circe,” retells “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” using the perspectives of different characters. By using ancient myths in our art, we continue the tradition of passing down legends so that people hundreds of years from now will be familiar with them. We can learn a lot about a culture’s values and beliefs through its mythology, but mythology can also be a way of critiquing the society of a specific time period. Another myth I find intriguing is about Thessaloniki the mermaid, which comes from Greek mythology. There are many variations of this myth, but all versions begin with her stepbrother, Alexander the Great, searching for the Fountain of Youth, which is water that makes a person become immortal. There is one version where he brings back the water and washes his sister’s hair with it; in another version, Thessaloniki drinks the water before her brother can so he curses her by turning her into a mermaid. Despite these variations, the tale always ends the same way. When ships pass by, Thessaloniki asks the sailors whether or not her brother is alive. She lets the sailors pass by safely if they answer that he is alive. If they answer that he isn’t, she becomes so overcome with grief that her tears form a sea storm.
“MY GRANDMOTHER USED TO TELL ME TURKISH STORIES THAT SHE REMEMBERED BY MEMORY BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T HAVE ACCESS TO TURKISH BOOKS IN THE STATES “
I came familiar with this myth after reading Gaia Rajan’s poem, “Self-Portrait as Mermaid or Dead Girl,” published in the literary journal Hobart. One line from this poem that effortlessly embodies this timeless myth is, “so she walked into the sea, breathed in / so much water she grew gills, drowned / in so much shadow she sprouted scales.” It intertwines the myth of Thessaloniki and the grief she experienced when her brother died with Rajan’s own experience with mourning loved ones. The story of Thessaloniki and the myth of Chang’e and Hou Yi both explore similar themes: love and mortality. Thessaloniki, an immortal, mourns the death of her mortal brother, raising the question: Is immortality worth the loneliness and grief? What I find interesting about this myth is how many versions exist. When people pass down myths orally for generations, someone is bound to alter or change the story in some way. Folklore and mythology play a large role in our upbringings and can vary based on culture or religion. Camila Perez Herrera, a first-year media studies major, said that her mom used to tell her that “when there was thunder, that meant God was moving his furniture around.” Libby Wilkins, also a freshman media studies major, told me she heard a slightly different variation of that myth. “I used to be scared of thunderstorms as a kid so my mom told me God was bowling when it thundered,” she said. Although these aren’t as elaborate or detailed as some of the other myths discussed, it is interesting how these myths came about. “My mom honestly probably made that up just to make me feel better as a kid,” Wilkins said. While some myths are passed down with the goal of relaying an important message, some are told as a means of comfort. When I asked Marissa Vilanova, a first-year writing, literature, and publishing major, what myths she grew up hearing, she told me she couldn’t remember the exact tales. “My grandmother used to tell me Turkish stories that she remembered by memory because she didn’t have access to Turkish books in the States,” Vilanova said. “The stories were told in Turkish so I don’t remember them anymore. I think there was one about a witch, an apple, and maybe a bear?”
If you’re looking for mythology-based pieces of literature to consume, I would recommend the literary journal Corvid Queen. They refer to themselves as a “journal of feminist fairy tales, folklore, & myths.” The journal publishes fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, reinventing ancient myths, and aims to publish “stories that represent a wide range of cultures, identities, and viewpoints.” I would also recommend Stephanie Chang’s poetry because a lot of her work is inspired by Chinese mythology. One poem in particular I recommend is “Haunt,” published in the Hobart, inspired by the Chinese goddess of forgetfulness, Meng Po. And if you’re looking for a piece of long-form literature to consume, check out “The Secret History” by Donna Tart, which is inspired by mythology and has references to the classics. Myths from centuries ago continue to be passed down and talked about today. Many forms of art are inspired by or based upon these ancient stories which keeps them alive in our current society. I encourage you to read a myth from a culture you’re unfamiliar with. Create a piece of art inspired by a piece of mythology you know well. Or make up your own myth! Mythology is an intricate form of storytelling that encapsulates all aspects of the human condition, and we must ensure that it never dies out.
ETHICAL TOURISM: by Ellye Sevier Is It Possible?
Tourism has a lot of power, positive power, and it also has the ability to destroy like nothing else when it’s not done right,” says Lebawitt Lily Girma, global travel reporter for Skift online magazine. This is more important than ever to remember.
For many, the stress of the pandemic has only increased feelings of wanderlust, with our “new normal” prompting the need to escape. Along with the leveling COVID-19 risks, vaccines, and booster shots, many of us want to return to leisure travel. But before we do, it’s important to take this time to reflect on the tourism industry and our role as tourists. The tourism industry has always been steeped in white supremist and colonialist practices and attitudes, a white savior mentality, and racist ‘othering,’ not to mention issues of environmental harm and unsustainability. These practices thrive under increasingly globalized capitalism, something that puts marginalized communities and communities in the global South at particular risk.
The terms “global South” and “global North” refer loosely to the separate hemispheres and are simple terms used to talk about different geopolitical areas, global politics and colonialism. “The global South tends to be places that were colonized by places in the global North,” said Bani Amor, freelance travel writer and lecturer. Amor describes the global South as therefore typically having less political and economic power and resources, which perpetuates a colonialist relationship of global North power dominance over the global South. This results in the global South’s lack of power and sovereignty, particularly of local and indigenous populations, Amor said. Most popular tourist destinations like the Carribean, Africa, Hawaii, and South America are a part of the global South. These power dynamics beg the question: can travel be ethical?
Before tackling this question, we have to distinguish the difference between the tourism industry, travel, and travel culture, Amor points out. “[Tourism is] the industry of selling tours and having hotels, all the itineraries and the business aspect of it,” Amor said. “However, travel culture includes travel media, the history of the ways that we engage in travel history of migration.” They also pointed out that all of our lives are shaped by travel and colonialism, and that people have always moved around the world throughout history. It is important to remember that the term “travel” also includes migration and immigration, not just the default assumption of leisure travel for pleasure. For the purposes of this article, the critique of “travel” will be referring to leisure travel and travel culture. Before we can begin discussing the possibility of a future with ethical travel, we first have to acknowledge the harm that the tourism industry perpetuates against communities worldwide — especially in the global South — and the history of harm, violence, and oppression of colonialism that it stems from. The history of colonialism began largely with the Age of Discovery with global North countries traveling south and violently stealing land from indigenous peoples, committing genocide, and often times enslaving, or forcefulling Westernizing, survivors. Justine Abigail Yu, the marketing and communications director for Wanderful, a global lifestyle brand and online community focusing on uplifting and supporting women through travel and connection, has focused a large amount of her work on discussions of decolonizing travel through storytelling, educating, and community-building. She is an advocate for equity and anti-oppression, her mission being “to stir the conscience and spur social change.” Yu applies her 3DR approach to all of her work, which means to “decolonize,” “disrupt,” “dismantle,” and “rebuild.”
She says that this approach is important to apply to the tourism industry and individual tourists’ approach to their own travel. “For me, decolonizing is always the first, and probably the most difficult step because it requires an honest assessment of yourself, which can be really hard,” Yu said. “It’s easy to criticize other structures, other people, but to really look inwards and understand how you yourself may carry these privileges, how you yourself may perpetuate systems of oppression, can be a hard thing to do.” She says that, on an individual level, it is crucial for travelers to begin to decolonize their mindsets through the process of unlearning internal biases and ways of thought perpetuated by historically colonial structures. For many travelers from the global North, like American tourists that make up 11.3 percent of all annual global tourism, their identities provide privilege in the most popular tourist destinations in the global South, like the Caribbean, Hawaii, or Africa. This is especially true for white travelers, whose privilege is steeped in the violent history of colonialism and still remains through global oppressive power structures. Rwothomio Gabriel Kabandole, team member of No White Saviors, an advocacy campaign focusing on anti-racism and equity directed work and dismantling the white savior mentality, explains these colonial structures and mindsets create the “white savior mentality” among many tourists, especially those who are white. Kabandole uses conservation efforts and climate change in Africa as examples of how white saviorism operates in tourism. The majority of these conservationist groups, he says, are white. He says they come to Africa to be a “voice for the voiceless” and to “save the animals,” when in reality, indigenous peoples in Africa have been living in balance with the native animals and land for thousands of years. The same goes for climate change. “When you look at climate change, for example, the African continent is literally the lowest emitter of greenhouse gasses,” Kabandole said. Yet local communities and local ecosystems in Africa are going to be some of the worst affected by climate change. This, he says, is something rarely addressed by white saviors in conservation work. It is also largely ignored by the tourism industry, which is responsible for 8 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions according to Sustainable Travel International.
“THE MAJORITY OF THIS WORK STARTS WITHIN. IT STARTS WITH SELFEDUCATING, UNLEARNING INTERNAL BIASES, QUESTIONING THE EXISTING POWER STRUCTURES”
Lebawit Lily Girma, global travel reporter for Skift, an online magazine, has focused a large part of her career on sustainable travel. She agrees that global North driven sustainability efforts often ignore the deeply sustainable prac-
tices that indigenous peoples in the global South have been doing for centuries. “Sustainability is an elitist discipline,” Girma said. From her experience working in the Caribbean, she sees how tourism sustainability efforts, such as certifications for sustainable hotels, tours, and organizations, often overlook indigenous owned tourism operations. The certifications are also too expensive to be made accessible to locally owned businesses. This, she says, exposes how Western driven ideas of sustainability, especially in the tourism industry, discredit indigenous voices and practices. Tourism also harms indigenous communities through the commodification of their culture. Girma explains that tour companies often sell indigenous cultures that are not their own as an experience. “It not only dilutes the culture, but it also takes income away from those who really are from that indigenous culture,” Girma said. She calls this tourist-washing, or white-washing, and notes it is extremely harmful. As a travel writer of color, Girma observed inclusivity issues of the travel writing and tourism industries first-hand. She says that most tourism boards in the Caribbean are primarily white, and that the boards and the governments favor white journalists. This skews the narrative, perpetuating cycles of white power and dominance in colonized communitties even through storytelling. While she acknowledges that these spaces are becoming more diverse, there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of content. By uplifting local voices in the industry, Girma believes it will help better inform travelers. “I think that consumers really are not malicious people, they want to travel, but they don’t necessarily know what’s going on in that place,” she said. “They need somebody to really tell them how to have fun and a great time while at the same same time keeping in mind the impact they’re having on the environment and the destination.” In terms of how you can help support the undoing of these complicated and oppressive systems and structures, that is where it gets really complicated. But never underestimate the power of one person. “I’ll tell you that I have more faith in the individual, being able to change and be informed than corporations,” Girma said. “My faith is in the consumer, and my faith is in educating the consumer to do better.”
You may wish for a “how-to” list with manageable bullet points on “how to become an ethical traveler” and how to do your part in decolonizing tourism. Unfortunately, a step-by-step guide is not possible. The majority of this work starts within. It starts with self-educating, unlearning internal biases, relearning global histories, questioning the existing power structures, observing how they help or hinder our lives, what privileges we have, and what impact that has on others. That is the beginning of decolonizing this narrative of travel culture, moving towards decolonizing travel and rebuilding a more ethical kind of tourism. When considering the pandemic, Girma poses the question: “How do we tap into the lessons of the last two years to make sure that we’re not going back to the same sort of superficial narratives that are driven by the West?” Individually, this may mean tapping into the learnings from Black Lives Matter, Land Back, Stop Asian Hate, and many other movements that rose to prominence within the last several years. Especially for white travelers, this means a continued critical examination of our own identities and the ways that we move through the world and what ways that can be, even inadvertently, causing harm to Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities. The typical narratives of ethical travel often include buying from and supporting local business and buying from Blackowned businesses while abroad. Girma agrees that this is important, suggesting also to source locals for your tours and experiences for a more ethical and authentic travel experience. Kebandole also suggests buying and reading books from Black authors in your journey of self-education. While these examples may seem like simple fixes in creating ethical travel, this is hardly the case. Amor points out that these narratives are problematic and can perpetuate colonialism by keeping tourist-heavy places tourism dependent, and keeping locals and Indigenous and Black communities in a perpetual servitude role to the primarily white tourist. Decolonization is not top-down, Amor says, instead it should be a grassroots movement beginning with empowerment of the local communities, which goes beyond buying local. While people are thinking about engaging in more ethical travel, Amor urges people to first apply their learning at home because these issues are relevant everywhere, including our own backyards. This includes learning and practicing anti-racism all the time, learning about Indigenous communities whose land you may live on, examining your and your community’s internal biases and privileges, and more. This process is ongoing. “Start learning and start having conversations, especially before you decide to travel next,” Amor said. “I think that’s going to inform how we move through the world, and how we have these conversations.”
style Photographed by Rosamond Chung Design by Moe Wang Modeled by Charlize Tungol Gabi Popa Anthony Jakobs
YOUTHQUAKE by Erin Renzi
en Zers are known for their drive to create change — scroll through social media or walk on any college campus and you will hear conversations surrounding our current political climate and social justice movements. Unique and expressive fashion trends go hand in hand with these movements, supporting the goals of the world’s youth. As seen with Gen Z, self- expression and comfortability in one’s self often prompts outward political expression. The intersection of these ideals have prompted a “youthquake” in recent years. Youthquake is defined as a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people. While the history of the word takes root in a fashion movement of the 1960s, many would argue that in 2022, we are in the midst of a youthquake.
In 2017, Oxford Dictionary proclaimed youthquake the word of the year. With all of the political and social movements occuring in 2017, this is fitting. 2017 marked the year of the #MeToo campaign and the start of Trump’s presidency, which prompted The Women’s March to demand gender equality and other civil rights issues. Protestors wore pink pussy hats and T-shirts with feminist slogans.
In 1965, Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland coined the term youthquake. According to Vanity Fair, Vreeland invented the word to describe “Swinging London” in the 1960s, which was a youth-driven cultural revolution in the United Kingdom during the age of the British Invasion and World War II. At the movement’s center stood the ideas of modernity and fun-loving hedonism, which is a series of theories that all value pleasure. The rejection of traditional ideals of femininity during the ‘50s as a result of women’s newfound economic, sexual, and social indepenence is also thought to have put Youthquake into motion. Complimentary to the movement, London’s youth engaged in Beatlemania and wore miniskirts, which were included in luxury designer’s spring lines. Designers incorporated industrial plastics, metallic fibers, and jumpsuits as an homage to the Space Age trend A-line silhouettes and bold colors were all the rage. Youthquake also influenced the rise of boutiques, where couture houses carried pieces influenced by these new trends that were mass produced for lower prices. The popularity of boutiques also contributed to the closing of several couture houses, such as Balenciaga.
In 2022, we are in the midst of another youthquake, or rather, still in the era of the youthquake that began in 2017. The 2020 presidential election inspired Gen Z to call for change in the current government administration. With Gen Z rooting for Biden and the dismantling of conspiracy theories spread by right-wing subcultures concerning mail-in ballots and voting, there was significant pushback from America’s youth when the capitol was stormed on January 6th, 2020 as well as around COVID-19 misinformation perpetrated by our nation’s leaders.
According to “7 Fashion Trends That Will Be Big in 2022,” an article published by Elle, youthquake trends that were popular in the ‘60s will dominate this year, including the miniskirt in low-rise and high-rise styles and bold and sparkly fabrics. At the time of the original youthquake, these trends were considered subversive because they challenged the status quo and what was currently seen as “in fashion.” Today, popular retailers incorporate youthquake ideals directly into their lines. Free People’s “We The Free” collection includes bold essential pieces like the “Youthquake Crop Flare Jeans,” a high rise pant that is tight in the thighs and bells out at the knees. Fashion pieces that align with youthquake ideals aren’t limited to eccentric patterns and unique silhouettes. Today’s youth incorporate important social causes as part of their fashion statements. Dylan Scott, a junior visual media arts major, demonstrates queer empowerment through supporting clothing brand Lockwood51. The company is queer owned and operated, and Scott creates promotional videos for the brand. Both he and his boyfriend own several t-shirts and hoodies from the brand, their favorite being one that says “Destroy racism / destroy sexism / destroy homophobia / destroy transphobia” in a bold font.
“It’s not corporate pride stuff like Target and all those companies that make stuff to profit off and slap a rainbow on so people will buy it, and then don’t actually do anything for the community,” Scott said. Sustainable fashion is another important aspect of the current youthquake era. As Vogue highlights in their recent project “Youthquake,” where they looked at 41 Gen Z creators from 24 countries, youthquake fashion trends can range from handmade knit pieces to sustainable workwear. During the first youthquake in the ‘60s, sustainable fashion wasn’t at the forefront of the movement. Mass production of clothing sold in boutiques led to poor working conditions and manufacturing processes that were not environmentally conscious. This is ironic considering that youthquakes stem from subversive intentions.
In the past few years, thrifting has become an integral part of Gen Z culture and fashion. Social media has helped with popularizing shopping second hand. Those who are on “Thrift Tok,” the side of TikTok where creators film videos shopping at local thrift stores and hauls of items they have bought, have been influenced to shop sustainably. While trend cycles rotate quickly, thrifting is one that has stuck with the Gen Z crowd. “Even if something is ethically sourced, just buying secondhand and just consuming less in general is the best thing you can do for the environment,” Scott said. He loves to go thrift shopping for jeans, and buy band t-shirts and other unique pieces from secondhand online stores like Depop. Elements of pop culture also help Gen Z step into their own styles and unique fashion choices. Season two of HBO’s television series “Euphoria” inspires many of the eccentric fashion trends youth love today, including strappy clothing, iridescent glitter, and rhinestones incorporated into eye makeup looks. Seeing popular actors and actresses sport bold looks helps viewers feel more empowered to express themselves through their own fashion choices. As an avid lover of fashion and “Euphoria” I was fascinated by the character Cassie Howard, played by Sydney Sweeney, and the evolution of her style. Cassie felt as though she had lost all control and desperately saught validation from Nate Jacobs. In effort to get Nate to notice her, Cassie woke up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to get ready. One day, she dressed like Jules, half of her blonde hair in two high ponytails and bright pink triangular eyeshadow. Another day, she dressed just like Maddy, hair in a high ponytail, rhinestone eyeliner, and a outfit that was almost identical to her supposed best friend’s.
“DURING A TIME WHEN THE WORLD IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND NORMAL CEASES TO EXIST, YOUTHQUAKE IS MORE PROMINENT THAN EVER. “ When one feels as though they have lost all power, trying to regain that power through fashion can make it feel as though you are once again in control. This is seen time and time again with Gen Z as we navigate our current world and the youthquake we have insinuated. Climate change is too big an issue to solve alone, and so we shop sustainably. The government is trying to control women’s reproductive rights, so we wear pink vulvas on T-shirts and dress provocatively. The rights of the LGBTQ+ community are in jeopardy, so we wear clothing that symbolizes queer impowerment. Youthquake and the social movements and trends that come with it aren’t going where. During a time when the world is constantly changing and normal ceases to exist, youthquake is more prominent than ever.
DEPOP & IDENTITY GENTRIFICATION AND IDENTITY by Stella Drews-Sheldon GENTRIFICATION by Stella Drews-Sheldon
America’s culture of disposability with fashion is largely a product of the last two centuries. The industrial revolution and mass production led to a shift in the view of clothing from a repurposable item of functionality to a disposable and fluid signifier of identity and social class. In the early 19th century, as more and more garments were being thrown away, pawn shops specializing in clothing began to emerge. Despite the negative social stigma associated with buying resold clothes, a number of Christian ministries saw the business as a lucrative opportunity to fund mission trips. This is when organizations like Salvation Army and Goodwill were introduced, utilizing an implied quality of social altruism to their advantage. The rise of e-commerce and the online marketplace has since made thrift stores into a $14 billion industry. Enter: Depop. Depop, and a number of other online outlets like it, are far more reminiscent of the nineteenth-century pawn shop model than the for-profit religious institutional one that Salvation Army popularized. Rather than selling secondhand clothing for a discounted price, these sites allow users to directly sell their own clothing to other users.
Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark were all introduced in the early 2010s; however, Depop has managed to not only eat up the majority of the market share but have arguably the most poignant social impact. One explanation for Depop’s popularity is that it combines aspects of both traditional online stores and social media platforms. Items can receive likes and comments, while popular items can be featured on the landing page. Sellers have a displayed follower count and can even receive the classic “blue checkmark” verification based on popularity or celebrity status. Another explanation is their concise and effective branding as a sustainable, individualistic, and inclusive alternative to traditional methods of garment shopping. I use Depop. A lot. I have switched to almost exclusively buying my clothes from the app, partly because I find it easier to find specific items that I have in mind and partly because I feel like buying fast fashion or leather secondhand absolves me of the guilt I would have from buying it otherwise. Last semester, I used Depop to sell half of my wardrobe because I needed the money, and I was tired of the blow to the ego I got from receiving a $13 coupon for donating a trash bag full of clothes to Buffalo Exchange. So, clearly, I get the appeal, and I do believe that there are a lot of benefits to normalizing repurposed material. However, I think that it’s important to examine the ways in which Depop falls short of its mission and which ways this emerging “thrift influencer” culture damages the greater secondhand landscape.
Let’s start with Depop’s promise of sustainability. Environmentally, the platform delivers…kind of. An issue that emerges when thrift buying and selling is the incentive to maximize profit. This is only exemplified when the site functions like social media because sellers become more marketable based on reputation and clout than direct quality of product. This is why there are many Depop shops with thousands of followers that merely purchase en masse from drop-shipped fast fashion websites, remove identifiable tags, and sell them at a much higher price. It also is what leads to the most prevalent consideration of Depop, which is the newer phenomena of wealthy twenty-something college students sweeping through Goodwills in low-income areas, purchasing many clothes at a low price and then posting them to the site at a very high price, attaching tags like “rare” and “vintage” seemingly arbitrarily. This kind of reverse-Robin Hood method of entrepreneurship slides a little below the morally gray area. Depop also consistently advertises their commitment to diversity. And yes, their ads do tend to feature a relatively diverse cross-section of the attractive, below-30 community, but the concept seems to dematerialize within their algorithm. The vast majority of models on the trending page are very thin, young white women. This points not only to issues within social media (that we know exist) but to issues within fashion as an industry (that we know exist).
The problems with Depop really aren’t linked to anything the company is at least consciously doing. The problem is, overall, the existence of any marketplace of identity. Social media, funneled through the net of post-capitalism, has altered our narrative on identity from the perceptions of ourselves and the perceptions of those around us to the perception of everyone and its congruity with insidious social structures. Bypassing the culture of identity-seeking through brand loyalty, we enter a landscape where everyone becomes the brand (i.e., Look how cool this girl is, and look how many followers she has. I can take my share of that identity by purchasing her sweater vest). I don’t really know how to feel about using Depop as much as I do. A part of me feels like I am still, morally speaking, chasing the preferable path as opposed to buying even the most seemingly-altruistic brands that are still a little cagey about their manufacturing practices. Part of me feels like a chump for buying into yet another entrapping network that largely runs on subjugating practices and dogma. Thrifting is indeed a relic of an era preceding the disposability of personal possessions, but its existence within capitalism has always molded an industry that nonetheless profits from oppression. I think all any Depop user can really do at the end of the day is be conscientious of the social and environmental impact of their activities within the app and aim to empower those whose image and brand are so often drowned out by the sea of Goodwill-combers and drop-shippers.
city Photographed by Thaler Bishop Design by Alex Pucillo-Dunphy Modeled by Liza Kaminski
THE FILM STUDENT HAVENS OF BOSTON by Karenna Umscheid
oston is a city of distinct areas, specific niches, and characters to pass on the T and on the streets. A large part of the population at Emerson College inhabits the cinematic niche of Boston. The movie theaters of the area, large and small, blockbuster and independent, allow film-obsessed residents to live deliciously. The film scene of the metropolis at large mainly encompasses two places: The Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, and the Brattle Theater in Cambridge. The Coolidge, which was originally built as a church in 1906, was renovated to be an Art Deco movie palace in 1933 and has remained that way ever since. They host monthly midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and various midnight film show Boston is a city of distinct areas, specific niches, and characters to pass on the T and on the streets. A large part of the population at Emerson College inhabits the cinematic niche of Boston. The movie theaters of the area, large and small, blockbuster and independent, allow film-obsessed residents to live deliciously. The film scene of the metropolis at large mainly encompasses two places: The Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, and the Brattle Theater in Cambridge. The Coolidge, which was originally built as a church in 1906, was renovated to be an Art Deco movie palace in 1933 and has remained that way ever since. They host monthly midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and various midnight film showings in general. The Brattle Theater has been showing movies since 1953 specializing in classic, cutting-edge, foreign, and arthouse films. They host the Independent Film Festival of Boston, which hosts new festival films before their theatrical runs.
“MIDNIGHT FILM SCREENINGS FEEL LIKE A FORM OF WORSHIP”
A convenient two-minute walk from campus is the AMC Boston Common. Rife with every blockbuster release in IMAX, the theater also premieres strange and independent movies. Owen Larkin, a senior visual media arts major who relocated to Emerson Los Angeles, reflects on the AMC and says that an AMC A-List subscription should be included in Emerson’s tuition.
Larkin says that, in Boston, the film scene is composed of a “very small, very passionate group of people.” If you routinely attend special screenings at either or both the Coolidge and Brattle, you’ll likely start to see the same faces over and over again. Matt Pifko, a recent Emerson graduate, explains that visits to these two theaters were just as much a part of his film school education as attending Emerson film classes. Pifko reminisces on the midnight screenings at the Coolidge. He recalls seeing “Audition” there after leaving a party because of his overwhelming desire to see the movie. “I felt like I had been punched in the face in the best way possible.” He also recalls attending a soldout screening of “Lost in Translation” on Valentine’s Day in 2019 and calls it one of the best experiences of his life. Meanwhile, Larkin recalls attending the 12-hour Halloween horror film marathon at the Coolidge Corner Theater. He was surprised by the number of people in attendance, impressed by everyone who was able to stay awake for the entire thing. The Coolidge hosts various niche film events, such as monthly screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” where they invite attendants and provide space to dance in the aisles as well as near the stage. Pifko recalls seeing a midnight screening of “Eraserhead,” describing the sound as enveloping and immersive in the large theater. He emphasized that midnight film screenings felt like a form of worship to him, an experience verging on religious. He says, “my defenses are lowered, I’m a little tired and willing to totally succumb to the theatrical experience.”
The Brattle Theater, though smaller in space than the Coolidge, offers a more niche array of films and events. Pifko talks about the square screen on top of a stage, and how the Brattle often feels like it wasn’t meant to be a movie theater. Yet, he says, the atmosphere of the audience and people who work there really bring you into the movie, creating a very “focused and intense experience.” They also host Boston’s Independent Film Festival. Larkin recalls a fond memory at the Boston showing of the acclaimed film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” He describes a reveal at the end of the film that caused the whole crowd to gasp collectively. He recalls the moment saying “anyone who was there will remember it, it was an ‘oh my god’ moment, really something special.” The accessibility of the city allows for film students to explore, expand their tastes and dive into the niche. Though Boston is quite big, its cinematic subgroups are small and wildly passionate. It’s no Los Angeles or New York City for filmmakers, but it is lovely in its uniqueness. ings in general. The Brattle Theater has been showing movies since 1953 specializing in classic, cutting-edge, foreign, and arthouse films. They host the Independent Film Festival of Boston, which hosts new festival films before their theatrical runs. A convenient two-minute walk from campus is the AMC Boston Common. Rife with every blockbuster release in IMAX, the theater also premieres strange and independent movies. Owen Larkin, a senior VMA major who has relocated to Emerson Los Angeles, reflects on the AMC and says that an AMC A-List subscription should be included in Emerson’s tuition.
“CINEMATIC SUBGROUPS ARE SMALL AND WILDLY PASSIONATE”
WHITE PICKET FENCE by Erin Norton
grew up in a home that had a white picket fence in the front yard. It matched nicely with the lush greenness of Vermont, but I always thought about its irony. My family was so far from what a “white picket fence” symbolizes. The white picket fence has always been the golden example of what a perfect life should look like. It’s plastered all over the media. When I think of a white picket fence, I think of the old black and white movies with the perfect portrait of a nuclear family standing behind it. They wave at the camera with their big smiles flashing, but there is something behind their grins and bright eyes that is a bit darker. There is clearly something much bigger going on behind the scenes. The white picket fence symbol can be derived from the idea of the American Dream. The term was coined in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams in his bestselling book “Epic of America.” He describes the American dream as “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” However, the idea has been in existence for much longer than that. Our understanding of American history is so heavily based on and influenced by the concept of the American dream. Even before its fabrication, America — essentially the idea of a free country — enthralled people so much that they decided to come live in this country because opportunities, happiness, and freedom were promised upon arrival. The US acted as the shining beacon of hope in the eyes of people looking to better their lives in a multitude of ways, whether it be through a permanent home, a well-paying job, or a place to be free of harsh dictation. But sadly, these dreams were taken advantage of. Suddenly there was no white picket fence in sight anymore.
There is a disconnect between the idea of the American dream and how it actually works. The American dream survives on the exploitation of anyone who isn’t a person in power. It silences the stories of largely BIPOC and amplifies only the stories of those who are the model of the American dream. This is especially true today due to border tensions at the U.S.-Mexico border, a massive spike in xenophobia, and blantant racism. Those customs and beliefs upheld by the American dream negatively affect the people who have legitimate dreams they want to follow. They further isolate and marginalize those who come to America in search of a better life. Furthermore, the ideology behind the American dream makes simply living difficult since this concept and capitalism are intrinsically linked. Due to these values perpetuated by bigots, especially those with access to power, these dreams have become nearly impossible to obtain in the modern era. Over the past decades, those with authority have scrambled to super glue the pieces back together — but we can see through the cracks. Even though all the king’s horsemen and all the king’s men couldn’t put the American dream back together again, it still remains a very prominent part of our culture.
Luckily, the toxic idea of the American dream is beginning to phase out. This is an important realization because people have the power to break out of this narrative — and they have before. While taking the massive leap to not follow in the footprints outlined by ideas of the White Picket Fence and the American dream in its entirety was not something that was done often in the past, we’re now at a point in time where breaking out of the confines of the American dream is seen as possible and acceptable. This is thanks to the people in newer generations who realize the issues that the American dream poses to people, particularly working class individuals. They understand how the idea of the white picket fence encourages conformity. It has become a literal yet metaphorical fence with the ability to contain, limit, and trap. But that notion no longer has a place in our culture, especially as our generation grows older. This is how the American dream can change.
“A FUTURE CAN BE UNIQUE WHILE STILL ALSO BEING SUCESSFUL”
I had the ability to share a conversation with those close to me on this topic. This is actually a topic we discuss often as a group of friends, as we are all college students who are trying to make a future for ourselves. Libby Wilkins, Marissa Villanova, and I discussed specifically the American dream, what it is, and how it impacted us growing up and continues to do so while we are in higher education. We were all on the same page about how we felt about this belief system, particularly when it came to the attainability of the American dream. Both of them agreed that the American dream that “we learn in school is not obtainable.” While it once was for a very specific group of people, it’s slowly becoming an idea that is slowly rotting away. They talked about why this might be for a couple of reasons. One being that it “goes by the standard of 1940s contemporary society” and that it simply is “not realistic.” One of the most important points brought up in the discussion was that the idea of the American dream no longer fits the careers that this generation and new ones strive for. Wilkins acknowledged that “society is becoming a lot more open to the thought of people going after things that don’t seem obtainable back in the time of when the American dream was very present,” which especially relates to the fact that lots of people at Emerson are actively pursuing art related careers. If one thing can be gleaned from this conversation, it would be that the best possible way to fight back against the American dream is to embrace the idea that it is purely individual and that our dreams shouldn’t be governed by those in power. Living in a college town helps drive this point home. Most college students, especially those at Emerson, have their own specific dreams and the ability to be surrounded by those who always encourage them to continue following their aspirations. Here in Boston, there are so many talented and driven people who all see different and equally amazing lives for themselves. It’s important to embrace the fact that life can be so much more than the lies that the American dream poses. More and more people, especially those from Gen Z and later generations, are beginning to understand that a future can be unique while also still being successful. Not every future looks the same, nor should they. What’s the fun of life and adulthood if everyone’s lives mirrored each other? A quality life that brings unending joy comes from variety and it’s time to fully acknowledge that by actively stifling ideas that are an active threat to individuality! Living life to its fullest in our most unique and authentic ways is the perfect rebellion against the American dream. It’s about time that we tore down the white picket fences that are standing in our way.
BRANCHING OUT INTO THE BOSTON FOOD SCENE
by Lauren Pies
f you are a creature of habit, having a routine and sticking to the familiar feels great — until you realize that you are missing out on exploring the new city you get to live in while at college. It seems like everyone else has found those cool picture-worthy spots throughout Boston, but I keep going to the same few places: Panera, Bubor Cha Cha and El Jefe’s Taqueria. No matter how much I love the food, eating the same things over and over again can get repetitive; I always want to branch out, but I never do. So, as any reasonable person does in a crisis, I turned to Instagram and asked people for their favorite “hidden gem” restaurant in or around Boston. I got some unique and interesting responses (including some awesome vegan options)! My Thai Vegan Cafe As the name suggests, this place serves Thai cuisine, but with veggie “chicken”, tofu, or plain veggie options instead of the more traditional meat options. Located in Chinatown, this cafe has over 150 menu items to choose from, which makes it kind of overwhelming to order, but this does mean there is something for almost everyone. They also have bubble tea here! I got the mango with tapioca pearls. It was very good, but had more of a smoothie consistency. Veggie Galaxy Sticking with the vegan theme, Cambridge has a vegan diner. According to their website, they have “traditional diner comfort food made from scratch” that is completely vegetarian and can be made vegan upon request. They have many things from omelets and french toast to nachos, poutine, cakes, and frappes — along with weekly specials. They also have an on-site bakery that is fully vegan. The diner and bakery are located at 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.
New Republik Bar This is a communist-themed bar restaurant located in Cambridge! This place is a revamping of People’s Republik Bar, which closed in early 2021 due to business complications from COVID-19. The owners of the restaurant had worked at People’s Republik Bar for several years and committed to keeping a similar vibe at the new location. Inside, the decorations are overwhelmingly red and yellow, complete with Soviet decor and dart games. On the menu, they have items like burgers, sandwiches, and quesadillas, along with veggie and vegan options. In terms of drinks, they have over 20 beers on tap in addition to cocktails and coffee. Jonquils Café & Bakery This place serves desserts and drinks that look like they jumped straight out of a Pinterest board. Jonquils, located at 125 Newbury Street, offers several artistic and geometric desserts such as mango and passion fruit flavored sphere cakes. With vibrantly colored desserts and luxurious floral teas, you will be amazed by the aesthetics of the café. The beauty radiates to the interior design, which includes a wall of luscious leaves. It is a wonderful place to both dine and document your experience with many photos perfect for your Instagram feed.
Zinneken’s Last on the list, there is a build-your-own Belgian waffle café in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. This one was recommended to me by a fellow Emersonian and I have been thinking about it nonstop ever since. With toppings such as crumbled Oreos, berries, and cookie butter, there are several different ways to enjoy the “best waffles outside Belgium,” as said by the owners. If you’re indecisive, they also have a list of ten fan-favorite waffle combinations to choose from, including The Chocolate, The Whipped Cream, The Gourmand, and Strawberry Glamour. There are countless restaurants in and around Boston to explore during our time here at Emerson, so why not start exploring sooner rather than later? Branching out to new places can feel overwhelming, but it is important to try things outside your comfort zone. When I get stuck in the same routine, I feel like I lose myself in the monotony. Trying new things, like going to a few cool restaurants, can be a fun experience with some friends or even by yourself. It is a powerful way to strengthen your friendships and practice self-care by finding new favorites after a stretch of mundane sameness. If you ever find yourself feeling out of place in Boston, venturing out and broadening your horizons can help you to build a stronger connection with the city and the beauty within it.
that’s a wrap To close out, all of us at Altas would like to thank all of the models and helping hands that made this issue possible. We would like to give a special thanks to our academic advisor, Kyanna Sutton! Without you, Atlas would cease to exist. Thanks for joining the team. We appreciate you and look forward to working with you in the next coming years!
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Atlas Magazine Spring 2022