Volume 8 Issue 1 February 2019
VA L E R I A , 2 1
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StafF The Yard
Cheyenne Abrams - Editor-in-Chief Raija Haughn - Managing Editor Tia Dye - Creative Director Alec Abraham - Campus and City News Editor Judith Arendall - Features Editor Callista Milligan - Music Editor Shannon Murray - Opinions Editor Sean Pedernales - Sports Editor Hannah Broder - Head of Photography Donovan Bailey - Head of Videography Courtney Hicks - Public Relations Manager Grace Lowe - Assistant Public Relations Manager Jacob Glass - Sales Manager Madison Crockett - Graduate Assistant Whitney Brown - CisternYard Media Advisor
News: Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Stern 201
CisternYard Media (CYM) is staffed with stu-
Radio: Every other Thursday at 7 p.m. in Stern 207
dents who are free to select and create the ma-
Video: Mondays at 5 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m. in Rita 102
terials to be published. The College of Charleston provides editorial freedom to the student
Miscellany: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Stern members of CYM. The views expressed in work 207 created by CYM may not reflect the views of Sales: Fridays at 12 p.m. in Stern 408 The College. February 19
The Women's Issue.
Table of Contents
6 10 14 17 30 35
7 11 15 23 31 37
9 13 16 26 33 39
100 Years of Herstory
Music for Music’s Sake
Curl Power: Collegiate Curls Two Years Later
Attire, Autonomy, Acceptance:
A Marvelous Glow Up
She Got the Pynk
Inspiration That Transcends Time
Dr. Rachel McKinnon: Blazing More Trails Than One
Progress STEMs From Us
You Can’t Read This
Homelessness in the Holy City
Beyond The Kitchen
Who Run The House? Girls.
She Got The Beat
That’s What She Said
Women in Fashion
She’s Got Game
[editor's note] even years ago I
sat in my high school journalism class and made a decision to become a journalist. The idea that I could give a voice to the voiceless was moving and important to me. My freshman year of college I took a journalism course at my previous university. Our first assignment was to write a paper on the importance of journalism to our democracy. We all threw out ideas, chatted, debated and agreed that journalism is important in a democracy for three reasons: without journalism people aren’t informed about significant events, we give a voice to those who do not have one and we serve as a watchdog to the government. As time has gone on, I have realized how important my role in journalism could actually be. My responsibility as Editor in Chief of CisternYard News is to supply a platform for College of Charleston students to use their voices. Right now our voices matter more than ever. Use this platform, grow with it, contribute to it, but most importantly — don’t just stop with CisternYard. Be persistent in your beliefs and advocate for them. When I first received an email from the College unveiling the Year of Women, I instantly knew that it would make a great issue for The Yard. I envisioned a publication embracing growth, women empowerment and success at the College and in Charleston. Use the stories, interviews and all of the beautiful things that have been combined in 44 pages as inspiration what you are capable of doing. Use the Collegiate Curls story for inspiration on bringing together a group of students in times of despair. Take the feature on Dr. Rachel Mckinnon as inspiration to put yourself out there no matter how much backlash you may receive. It’s time for us to step up and be our own voice, be our own inspiration. Let this issue be the beginning of what is to come.
Cheyenne Abrams the yard
100 years of herstory
by: Gabi Loue
It’s hard to imagine that a college that once boasted about it’s lack of women is now home to a class of over 65 percent females and counting. A distinction that once classified an institution of excellence is now nothing more than a stain on the College’s history. Women have been accepted into the College of Charleston for the past 100 years, and they only continue to prove their successes.. Their dedication and intelligence have put the College of Charleston at the top of the rankings for business, art and more. But how did we get here? How did we go from an institution that once degraded women so much they put up a door to stop them, to one that now accepts and applauds them? The College of Charleston was founded in the year 1770, making it the 13th oldest educational institution in the country. The first class was, obviously, completely male and consisted of only six. By 1870, the class size had tripled, yet still boasted it’s all-male status. In fact, architect William Strickland even created the library door (a building that now houses the Alumni Center) so small that women with big hoop skirts couldn’t physically enter. However, that all changed in 1917 when Carrie Pollitzer makes a pitch for an “Extension Course of the College” to include females, and the first class of women was officially inducted in 1918. As the years went on, the female presence on campus increased with the first cheerleading team established in 1920 and the
first sorority, Zeta Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, committed to campus in 1928. The first woman faculty member, Maggie Pennington, wasn’t employed until 1962. Five years later, the first black women, Carrie Nesbitt Gibb ’72 and Angela Brown Gilchrist ’72, enrolled at the College of Charleston. Notable women alumni of the College include Arlinda Locklear ’73, the first Native American to appear in front of the Supreme Court; Linda Dingle Gadson ‘72, who runs the non-profit Rural Mission; Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), and many more. Throughout history, College of Charleston women have also played significant roles in major world events. Some were selected to transcribe code at the Charleston Naval Yard for the US Coast Guard (1943), others were on a golf team that took the CAA championship 3 years in a row, and one, Jasmine Twitty ’10, was even the youngest judge in South Carolina ever appointed. Today, the College of Charleston is home to over 7,000 female students, and that total is made even higher by the increased number of female faculty members continuing to appear across campus. Women have made an impact in almost every major at the College, including Business, an MBA program that is now ranked Number 8 in the country with the highest percentage of women according to the College of Charleston’s Year of Women timeline, Biology, Visual and Performing Arts and Psychology. There are now even a significant number of clubs founded by and/or run by women here at the College, including Collegiate Curls, the National Organization for Women: the Network of Enlightened Women, PRISM, CofC Democrats and numerous club sports, are among the many organizations that have women leaders. If you enter a College of Charleston classroom now, you will most certainly see the ratio of women to men exhibited in full, with people of both genders engaging and discussing coursework that, 100 years ago, was only available to a select few. Women of all capabilities, races, sexualities and gender expression can be found here, and the population is only growing. In looking at all the accomplishments these women have made in just the past 100 years, it will come as no surprise when women continue to shape and reform the College of Charleston for many years to come.
She’s Got Game
Many intramural sports are offered at The College. This gives students the chance to make new friends and hang out with current ones while playing the sports they lovxe. Unlike NCAA or club sports, intramural sports at the College, intramural sports offer a fun and laid back environment with a much lower time commitment for all kinds of students. Tatjana Washington, a senior biology major joined the team when she was approached by the assistant director, Freddie. “It’s been really fun,” said Washington, “it’s been challenging enough for me since I’m a beginner,” she continued, “it’s a good environment. It’s safe and friendly.” Even though the College is comprised of 70 percent women, many don’t participate in the women’s intramural basketball league. While the league has actually experienced a decline in female participation, that hasn’t stopped these ladies from balling like there’s no tomorrow. Cameron Davis, a freshman computer information systems major recommends joining an intramural team to meet new people and make new friends. “I just wanted to find something to do,” said Davis. “And I wanted to play basketball so I was trying to figure out where I can do that and do it at a compet-
By Bryce Warner Photos by Denzel Wright
itive level, then I found out about intramurals.” While intramural sports don’t participate on the same level that college leagues do, they still offer a competitive environment. “[It’s] definitely very competitive. Still fun, everyone wants to win that free t-shirt. But I really love it, I enjoy it,” Said Amber Lally, sophomore computing in the arts major. Lally played basketball in high school and was happy to continue playing in college. Freddie Lipata, the assistant director of campus recreation services is worried about the lack of participation. While unsure of what has changed, they managed to put together four teams for the semester, and plan to host a pick up game during the spring semester. Basketball is just one of the many intramural sports you can choose to play at the College. The College also offers volleyball, softball, indoor soccer and much more. It is a great way to be involved on campus while also maintaining active.It can also be a stress relieving getaway from schoolwork. If you’re looking for a fun way to make friends, relieve some stress, and have a good time, intramural sports are the way to go.
in COMMAND by SHANNON MURRAY
ver since its establishment in 1842, The Citadel has been a male dominated operation. The school flipped upside down in 1995 when a federal court ruling allowed its admissions to accept its first female cadet, which was followed by death threats and sexist slurs. Fast forward 24 years to a slowly growing women’s minority movement, and we end up here. Last year in March, a small-town girl, triple-black belt and Citadel student Sarah Zorn became the school’s first female regimental commander. The regimental commander, for those who think the Citadel is a complete mystery, is the highest ranking cadet officer in command of the entire student Corps. The response of Zorn becoming regimental commander was far from tranquil. Citadel student, Sergeant Jeremy Ward said “students were either really for it, or really against it. Personally I saw a lot of people that weren’t really for it.” Naturally, change is difficult to see as reality, but Zorn has quickly gained her deserved respect. In an interview with CBS This Morning Zorn unexpectedly said, “I didn’t want to do it because I wanted to be this ‘shatterer of glass ceilings’ or things like that. I wanted to provide the best opportunity to leave the corps better for tomorrow.” Zorn is focused on her duties, and not necessarily devoted to pleasing feminists. This statement in and of itself displays Zorn’s exceptional commitment to her leadership position, as she did not want the position so she could ‘be the first.’ A woman who can break glass ceilings without demanding an emphasis on her accomplishment is how a real boss woman is being defined. The commander also said, “I always try to keep in the back of my mind that it’s not about what I am, it’s about what I do.” Since her new title, she has dealt with juggling her regimental commander responsibilities, school work and being a part of the Citadel’s biggest historical event. When asked if people doubt Commander Zorn, Sgt.Ward said, “I believe that there are some people that do doubt her ability, but I don’t think that’s a product of The Citadel. I think that’s more of a personal problem people have, and it normally comes from a place of ignorance.” Not only has the glass ceiling been completely shattered, but women at the Citadel are excelling astronomically. Studies show that women cadets have a higher grade point average and are more likely to graduate. This is a huge milestone because the Citadel is now switching the colloquial insult of ‘ladies’, a word slurred at boys who could not do push-ups fast enough, to its original respected reference to a regimental commander of over 2,000 cadets. Being a triple-black belt gives a new meaning to breaking glass ceilings.
: Playlist Girl Power Girls Need Love // Summer Walker Atoms // ABRA Focus // H.E.R. Why Don’t We Fall In Love // Amerie Tears Dry (Original Version) // Amy Winehouse When I’m with You // Best Coast (You’re Better) Than Ever // illuminati hotties Flawless (feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) // Beyoncé Move On // Charlotte Dos Santos Genesis // Dua Lipa As I Am // H.E.R. Feel Like a Fool // Kali Uchis Self Importance // Kilo Kish Falling Short // Låpsley I Used to Love Him (feat. Mary J. Blige) // Lauryn Hill Once // Maren Morris Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) // Nai Palm Make It Out Alive (feat. SiR) // Nao Ways // Niecy Blues Diddy Bop (feat. Raury & Cam O’bi) // Noname Closer (Ode 2 U) // Ravyn Lenae Countin’ Up // Rico Nasty Needed Me // Rihanna Leisure (feat. TWN) // Srä Broken Clocks // SZA Gonna Love Me // Teyana Taylor Stained // Tori Kelly Hands Down // The Greeting Committee Losing You // Solange I’ll Be Waiting // Adele
[Music For Music’s Sake[ by:
Callista Milligan & Keely Headrick
For decades, music critics, music snobs and friends at a In a commentary on Hill’s Gender, Metal and the Media: dinner table have debated what constitutes ‘real’ music. Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music, However, since before the days of Elvis and the Beatles, Sam Grant writes that, “[The] investigation into sexism female dominated fan bases have been stereotyped and in metal finds that it takes many forms, such as the used as a basis to delegitimize an artist or band. No treatment of women fans at hard rock and metal gigs; matter how successful, musicians can still be marked misogynistic imagery in artwork and lyrics; women by the prominent gender of their fan base, leading having to prove their fandom in order to be accepted by people to discredit their talent and creative work. While male fans and prejudice experienced by female metal this may not be unbearable for recent boy bands like musicians.” Hill finds that not only do female fans One Direction, for other musicians on the rise it can cause others to delegitimize a band, but female fans mean being dismissed by critics and losing major press themselves feel they must continually prove themselves opportunities. as true fans. In a Billboard interview, members “I think what people often fail to Sophomore Bailey Gibson elaborated on the of alternative band Hippo Campus see too is that a young woman’s ways in which she’s experienced this first commented on the way in which this relationship to her music is one hand. “It’s like a specific kind of person can dilemma has affected them: “It’s like of the most beautiful things. It’s only like a specific kind of music,” she says. there’s a law where it’s like, ‘We’re not so intense, it’s so personal. Very “It’s like, ‘Oh I can’t like Taylor Swift and Joy allowed to like a band whose fan base is Division or the Cure’, I can’t like things that vulnerable.” like 90 percent female’ or something like guys would like.” However, like Whitaker, that.” Gibson believes it doesn’t just come down It raises the question, why would the merit of any artist, to the fanbase. “Girls hate Taylor Swift just as much as from Hippo Campus to Taylor Swift be attacked on the guys do,” she says. “It’s so illegitimate. I try to question basis of the gender of their fanbase? people, like, ‘why do you look down on me for liking her, When asked this question in regards to one of her or what is your deal with disliking her?’ And they can favorite artists, Junior Alexandra Whitaker had a few never actually give me a real reason.” When it comes to ideas as to how sexism may play a part in an artist’s Taylor Swift, we’ve all heard someone make statements career. as to how they dislike Swift’s dating choices or her “Honestly, it’s kind of a shame that talented emotional songs. However, none of these reasons pertain artists like Billie Eilish aren’t more recognized as simply to her skills as an artist, and create a straw-man persona talented artists. It’s not like she doesn’t have the talent used for tearing her down. — I mean from the range of octaves in her voice to her The way people may look down on someone for and her brother’s songwriting abilities, she is insanely liking a female artist, with no real premise for disliking gifted, especially considering she started her career at them draws Whitaker’s and Gibson’s frustration. fourteen. I think the reason why she is considered a girly Ultimately, music is a matter of personal taste. Jake artist isn’t exactly because her fan base is mainly girls, Luppen, lead singer of Hippo Campus, told Billboard: “I but because guys are scared to admit they listen to “girly think what people often fail to see too is that a young music.” I don’t feel that girls are ridiculed for their music woman’s relationship to her music is one of the most as much as guys are socially made fun of for liking music beautiful things. It’s so intense, it’s so personal. Very that has a lead female vocalist.” vulnerable.” Fans in the midst of a female dominated Dr. Rosemary Lucy Hill, a scholar in the history of fan bases, or female musicians should not be ashamed of music, delved more into this topic. She began to study their self-expression through music. how the Metal and Hard Rock genre is affected by There can be many legitimate arguments for what makes different genders for both female artists and fans. By a musician good or bad. We should value women’s looking through the history of Metal and Hard Rock, opinions and feelings enough to not make a largely and interviewing female musicians in these genres, she female fan base or a female lead singer a reason to began to notice a pattern of bands with female lead dismiss an artist or band. singers having to prove their talent is genuine more often. Oddly enough, she has seen this pattern with female fans as well. February 19
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“During the womenswear seasons of fashion week, it is always the public perception of what it means to be a woman that is most at stake,” according to the founder of the fashion blog Man Repeller, Leandra Medine. If this is true, the runway shows of 2018 surely made fashion insiders question what it meant to be a woman in fashion. According to Medine, fashion tastemakers have previously been able to remove some of the politics from fashion, and take for granted the implications of feminism and empowerment in clothing designed for women. Medine credits a large part of this to the genius of Celine Creative Director Phoebe Philo. For ten years, Philo helmed the design house Celine and is applauded for her oversized silhouettes, sumptuous fabrics and easy-chic aesthetic. Philo is one of the first women designers who understood what it meant to be a modern woman. She designs clothes for other women to look beautiful, to be comfortable and to feel empowered. Philo’s laid-back aesthetic is so lauded that she is credited with single-handedly bringing Birkenstocks and Stan Smith sneakers back into the fashion mainstream.
Attire, Autonomy, Acceptance:
Women in Fashion by Zoe Murrie
However, Philo’s legacy came into question when it was announced last year that she would be leaving the design house. Fans were devastated when it was announced that Hedi Slimane would take over Celine. Slimane, the Creative Director, credited with saving the Yves Saint Laurent brand, is infamous for his darkly sexy clothing and dangerously thin models. Before his first collection premiered, fans of Celine held their breath to see if he would retain any semblance of Philo’s creation. As many feared, Slimane’s first collection for Celine this past fall looked like a repeat of his previous Yves Saint Laurent collections. Philo’s ugly-cool footwear, cozy sweaters and healthy looking models were replaced with teeny sequin mini dresses, skeletal models and bored expressions. With the exception of celebrities who were fans of Slimane’s previous work (Lady Gaga being chief among them), the online fashion community was in an uproar over Slimane’s showing. While people were upset that it looked nothing like the Celine brand, the bigger issue was that people felt like Slimane had regressed to an earlier era of fashion exempt from body positivity, feminist and diversity movements. (in addition to his other errors, there are only about seven models of color in a 150 piece collection). In a post-Me Too, Times Up era, Slimane’s egregiously anti-feminist collection felt like a slap in the face. For many women, clothing provides an essential part of identity and freedom in an often misogynistically controlling world. Many felt like some of that was taken away by Slimane’s new iteration of Celine. Despite the fumbles at Celine, 2018 was an iconic and important year for women in fashion. Between the blackout at last year’s Golden Globes, Serena Williams’ iconic looks on the tennis court, Janelle Monae’s vulva pants, countless brands integration of size and racial diversity and even Melania Trump’s “I really don’t care” jacket, we had to face fashion’s political implications and figure out what kind of sartorial landscape we wanted to exist in. Fashion is powerful and can be used as an affecting tool for change. As Leandra said, fashion shows us what it means to be a woman in our society. While celebrities and creative directors will surely continue to make bold statements with their clothes, it is time for all of us to hold designers accountable for creating fashion that is inclusive, political and progressive. While progress is always slow-moving, 2019 has already proven to be upending political norms. Right now we have the most women ever voted into Congress, a heavily womenpopulated Democratic running pool for the 2020 presidency and more women joining resistance movements. With all of the hurdles we’ve overcome, facilitating an intersectional feminist fashion landscape should be easy.
Curl Power Collegiate Curls Two Years Later
s social beings, we all deal with the struggles of feeling different because of the norms that society has, but as we’ve all heard, we share more similarities than differences. Collegiate Curls is an organization that is centered around the promotion of healthy, natural hair care, skin care and lifestyle practices for minority students. Collegiate Curls also empowers those who may deal with the struggles of expressing their true selves. “Collegiate Curls is my outlet of expression — my family,” said Tamazha Pilson, the National Vice President of Collegiate Curls Her position consists of administrative side of things which includes sector outreach, processing new sectors and provision of a system of support. Confidence, event planning skills and “some of the best people she’s met” are a few of the things that Pilson said she has received from Collegiate Curls. She isn’t the only one who feels at home within the organization. Zaylee Butler described Collegiate Curls as, “A body of awesome people who come together to celebrate each other and makes us all feel safe and at home.” Butler is the National Secretary for Collegiate Curls and is in charge of most of the communication that happens within the organization.. Butler has been a part of the organization since the beginning. She noted, “One of the biggest things that I’ve realized is how we all have insecurities but we come together and we turn those insecurities into something beautiful.”
Senior Courtney Hicks, a communications and African American studies double major, is the founder of this amazing organization. Hicks said that her inspiration to create this organization was drawn from the lack of connection between campus outreach and the minority population. The Mother Emanuel shooting in 2015 sparked an eruption of emotions for students of color on campus, and this safe space was necessary:“Through constant prayer and endless proposals and pitches, I created Collegiate Curls,” Hicks said. She describes her ability to delegate as the toughest obstacle she’s overcome so far. “ Collegiate Curls is my baby, it was sometimes hard for me to let go of certain aspects of the production, planning, and campus outreach,” Hicks said. She noticed and appreciated the talents of her executive board members, thus allowing her to take a few steps back. “I have an amazing executive board, and I’m so happy to see their skills grow as a result of me letting go.” The CofC sector of Collegiate Curls turned two years old on Oct. 25th 2018 and celebrated with a birthday party with several other local, minority run businesses. If you are interested in getting involved with Collegiate Curls head out to their events. They have a minimum of two every month, as well as opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community. To find out more about when these events are happening, follow them on social media @collegiatecurlscofc, check out their website or subscribe to their newsletter.
“ prettiest"" --Audrey Hepburn
The Marvel Cinematic Universe: A Glow Up by Chris Durant
Marvel movies. You love them, I love them, your grandma loves them. Sure she might say things like, ‘There’s too many things flying around,’ or, ‘back in my day there weren’t so many coloreds in the pictures,’ but we’re all still fans. However, there is one legitimate complaint she might have that would be pretty difficult to refute: a lack of female representation. Now that is, of course, not to say that there are not any good female characters in the Marvel movies. In fact, if I were to say that I think that the rabbid Black Widow, Shuri and Valkyrie fan bases would likely find a way to hack my computer and show up at my door. However, I feel that it’s a definite problem that out of the 22 movies that will have been out by the time Avengers Endgame wraps up, only one movie will have had a female lead and it will have been second to last. There is, of course, a reason for that. Progress is slow. Since the film industry began, the majority of major motion pictures have been lead by straight, white, male protagonists, and movie studios don’t like to chances. Before taking a chance with a movie with a woman or a minority as lead the Marvel Studios higher ups wanted to build a strong foundation with less risky movies with leads that fit the straight, white, male, mold. Once they had, it was possible for a movie like Black Panther to be made and the people behind it to be given the freedoms to take the risks in making it that lead to it having such critical and audience acclaim. Now thanks to its success and the continuing positive track record of the other movies in the franchise a Marvel movie with a female lead is finally coming out, and it having a good public reception is just as important as that of Black Panther. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” The struggle for anyone who more representation in films will be to fork over the $10.15 when Captain Marvel comes out and going to see it. Rather than skipping it in the theatres because they can watch it at home, and then complaining about how no new stories get made like so many do. You might think that superhero movies or movies in general aren’t worth all this attention. But for most, superhero movies are what we like, they give us something to believe in, something to look forward to. Movies are not just stories, they’re representations that people can can do anything, that they can affect some positive change in the world. All people need to see themselves represented in the art that they love. If the movie is terrible I’m not telling you to give it a five star review for the sake of diversity. What I am asking you to do is not to let the “meninists” online, harsh critics, or one bad trailer keep you from giving something a chance. Something that might not mean anything to you could help continue a trend of movies getting made that can directly inspire majorly underrepresented parts of the population.
By Judith Arendall & Gabi Loue
That’s What she said February 19
2018 has been an incredible year for women. A year that has showcased trials and moments of triumph, the publishing industry consisting of some of the best literary works. These works have traveled through the year with layers of personal essays, recipes, and book-to-movie adaption hits. Women now have the time and opportunity to wshow the skills that have always been with us, the ability to display empathy and the talent of honest story-telling. These women have used their platform to shout the realities that are facing our country and world. Let us take a look at this year’s most spectacular books published by women: Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay This collection of personal accounts had an enormous impact for 2018’s year of women. The collection is a contains a multitude of accounts which focus on women, but also spotlight on male and trans representation. It shared and illustrated some of the most poignant experiences of sexual assault that people have experienced; leaving the readers with nothing to do but to fully listen. Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon Hollywood’s classic southern bell whips up one of the most tasteful cookbooks that came out in 2018; written and created by one of the most prominent actresses in the Times Up movement. Witherspoon hits hard with her metaphorical meaning of sitting pretty with a teacup filled with the stiffest whiskey. Witherspoon presents to women everywhere that a woman is no dainty thing, but a force to be reckoned with. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas While most everyone who reads this novel is taken aback by it’s raw account of police violence, and is inspired by it’s call to justice for people of all races, Starr’s contribution as a strong, female role model can sometimes be overlooked. It is no stretch to say that through Starr’s courage and dedication, the novel’s events are shaped to be stories of strength, rather than stories of defeat. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly This exquisite novel tells the story of 3 women—one Polish, one German, and one American during their roles before, during, and after World War II. Their stories take them all across the world and through many trials and tribulations, including concentration camps and resistance movements. Yet through it all these women stay fierce and strong in their beliefs and humanity. Becoming by Michelle Obama Michelle Obama never fails to shock, especially in her latest publication that presents a life that is unmatched. Countless obstacles like issues of race have plagued many and those left no room to spare for the former first lady. Obama’s unyielding story has become the mass representation that any girl, no matter the color of their skin, or the gender they are labeled, can rise in the ranks by the unmatched magic they offer to the world.
inspiration that transcends time by: Megan Stover
The year 1967 was one of extraordinary change. It was not until this year that the College of Charleston was integrated, and the first African American students were accepted onto the campus. Of these first African American students, Carrie Nesbit Gibb ‘72 and Angela Brown Gilchrist ‘72 were the first female African American students on the College of Charleston campus. They were soon joined by Linda Dingle Gadson ‘72 and Audrey Dingle Cooper ‘72. These women not only had to adapt to a new environment, but they also had to create spaces for themselves in a place where they had not fit for almost two hundred years. Understanding the importance of these events is imperative to creating and maintaining an inclusive and diverse campus today. As we reflect on these triumphant moments in our history, we must also examine the parallels between those historical moments and the actions that are being made on our campus today. Programs such as the Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), Student Ambassadors (SA), and the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) strive to make our campus more inclusive as well as increase the retention rates of minority students. This is imperative, as only approximately 21.5% of our student body falls under the umbrella of being in a minority. Of that 21.5%, only 8% of the minority groups on this campus are African American. These statistics display the necessity for programs like these as well as student innovators to continue to initiate positive, progressive and inclusive change on this campus. Although women make up over two thirds of the student population, gender should not be the sole measurement for inclusion. The Black Feminist movement asserts that equality on all grounds (i.e. social, economic, and political) should transcend not only gender but also race, class, and any other divisible force that has been utilized by society in our history. By examining this, as well as the idea of intersectionality (a term coined by Kimberly Williams) which states that our many identities impact one another, we must make sure that our actions reflect and support all the identities that are present on this campus. As a College of Charleston student, it excites me to witness so many black female students, including myself, being supported and empowered in their endeavors to initiate positive change.
We are innovators. Courtney Hicks, senior, is a double major in Communications and African American Studies. She the founder of Collegiate Curls which was created not only to show us tips and tricks on ways to switch up our natural hair styles, but also as a platform to celebrate and empower multicultural students on our campus. Thomasena Thomas, junior, is a Political Science major with a concentration in Public Policy. Not only has she founded the company FairyCakessc, a cupcake and confectionery company, but she has also shown interest in uplifting her community. She displays this through her work as a Secretary of State for the South Carolina Student Legislature as well as student ambassador for the Save the Children Action Network. She is also a recent recipient of the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Student Leadership Award.
We are leaders. Ebony Venson is a recent graduate with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Crime, Law and Society and Urban Studies. Not only has she recently begun the Master in Public Administration program at the College, but she currently works as a Graduate Assistant with the Community Assistance Program and interns at the Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth, and families. Vanity Deterville, junior, is a Political Science major and an intern with the College of Charleston’s Office of Sustainability. Through the Office, she has been the lead intern for the Social Justice Coffee Hour events and is the current lead Intern for the Office’s official podcast. While working with these programs, Vanity pulls from her experience of research with the Joseph P. Riley Center at the College, as well as her activism through various platforms in the broader Charleston community. Both women are recent recipients of the Student Leadership Award from the College of Charleston Race and Social Justice Initiative
We are stewards. Tatjana Washington, senior, is a Biology major with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability studies. She is an intern with the College of Charleston’s Office of Sustainability and the student founder of the Stone Soup Collective which is a student led non-profit organization that allows all students to learn how to use fresh produce to make nutritious soup that is later distributed to the campus community for free. I am a senior with a double major in Public Health and Spanish. I am also an intern at the College of Charleston’s Office of Sustainability and the student founder of the College of Charleston’s Cougar Food Pantry. Along with the support of Student Life and many other departments and organizations, the Pantry was opened on September 5, 2018 and is accessible to all students to combat food insecurity on our campus. We are a small handful of all the girl bosses on this campus. Like Carrie Nesbitt Gibb and Angela Brown Gilchrist, we are all continuing to forge paths and make space for ourselves where it might not have been before. These efforts foster representation and unity within our student body. As I reflect Black History month, I recognize that we are crucial parts of black history and I hope that one day the efforts that we make now will inspire others to become innovators, leaders, and stewards as well.
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Tigress and the Silver Sea by Cheyenne Abrams
Lauren Chapman, a graduate from the University of South Carolina and emerging artist is currently showing her project “Tigress and The Silver Sea” From Tulsa Oklahoma, Chapman has had her work shown in 15 different exhibitions including International Center for Art Groups Show in Monte Castello, Italy to her most recent, Tigress and the Silver Sea in Salt City, South Carolina. “I am inspired by my personal experiences of being a female as well as the current #metoo & #timesup movements,” says Chapman, “I embrace the philosophy that in painting there are no rules, and anything goes.” Chapman has received the The Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key Award from the Yaghjian Studio arts scholarship at the University of South Carolina, and the 2018 Artfields Solo Award Exhibition at Jones-Carter Gallery. Her currently exhibition, Tigress and the Silver Sea, creates “challenging tropes” in mythological or “fairy tale” stories, allowing women to embrace themes that are deemed “dangerous to women.” “The narrative of the work promotes empowering females as the protagonist of their own stories creating a platform for imagination and self discovery,” says Chapman. Chapman has been recognized for many awards, with her most recent ones being Artfields Solo Award Exhibition at the Jones-Carter Gallery in 2018, First place in the 62nd Annual Juried Student Exhibition in 2017, and being a finalist for “Artist of the Year Award” in Jasper Magazine in 2016.
Dr. Rachel McKinnon Blazing More Trails Than One
In order to provoke real progress, to incite genuine change, people have to be willing to put themselves out there for their cause. Despite where they’re from or who they are, people must be willing to sit under the microscope day in and day out in service of what they believe. They must be able to shoulder the monumental amount of backlash they’ll inevitably receive as they walk the path toward reformation. In the case of transgender athletics, one of the most influential agents of change can be found right here at the College of Charleston, spreading her wealth of knowledge on the matter. Or, you may see her competing in the most rigorous women’s cycling races in the world, probably near the front of the pack. This particular activist is none other than Dr. Rachel McKinnon, College of Charleston philosophy professor by day and world champion cyclist by night. When given the unique opportunity to speak with Dr. McKinnon on her experience as an elite transgender cyclist, and how things have changed for her since becoming a world champion.
racing? Two years ago, I was still racing road. Had a really great winter, had a really great spring season of racing, I was hitting all my goals, I got 4th in a pro race, and that was the season I won a pro race in Georgia. Then I just had a really shit summer, the worst season of racing I’ve ever had. I was just so disillusioned, and was just so sick of the harrassment I was dealing with, that I sort of made this radical shift to track sprinting. I hired a new coach and completely changed how I trained. So for the past 2 years now, I’ve been full-time training as a track sprinter. To start, can you give a brief walkthrough of the early stages of your cycling career, and how it differs from a traditional career? Yeah, so, for women, my cycling career isn’t too unusual. I’ve been riding a bike since I was a kid, we rode bikes everywhere. I got my first road bike when I was 18, and I thought about racing, but never did. I sold it a couple years later because I wasn’t riding anymore. My athletic career is that I’ve done lots of competitive sports, but before I moved to Charleston I was an elite badminton athlete. So the reason I chose Calgary for my post-doc is precisely because its a badminton hot-bed for Canada. When I moved here, there’s no good badminton at all. Mostly the only club practices at the College of Charleston, and that gym is just not a badminton facility. So I needed a new sport, and I suck at running. I took some spin classes down by the College, fell in love with it, decided to buy a bike with a tax return, and 3 months later I was racing. So that’s at 31 - 32. A little bit late to bike racing, but not completely unusual. Most women competitive cyclists don’t enter as juniors, most typically, it’s in college or a little bit after. I think, four months after I started racing, I won my first state championship, which I was really proud of. And then, it took about 2 years before I got to category 1 racing (You start as a category 4 or 5 racer, and the highest you can be is category 1). On the road, I was racing nationally at the professional level, even though being a professional women’s cyclist in North America means… nothing. You’re not paid… we only make what we win. So, being a professional versus being a non-professional doesn’t really mean much. How big of a disparity is there between the earnings of male and females? Massive. At the world tour level, it’s just obscene. The UCI is just now starting to think about a minimum salary for women - even though there’s been a minimum for men for decades. Is that something you see kind of shifting in the right direction, or is it still a couple years out?
Over those two years, was there a moment where you were tested the most athletically? My first state championship, Fayetteville, NC. I was by far not the strongest person in the race, and so, for me, the race was about surviving and not getting dropped. I attacked with just under half a mile to go, and I held off the pack by a bike-throw, by a wheel. If the race were 5 meters longer, I would’ve lost. So that was my first lesson of how to survive a race where I wasn’t at my strongest. Was there one that tested you the most personally? There are two races I can think of as the most personally challenging, and they both happened two years ago. One was in Georgia, in March. So, it was a professional stage race, and I won the third stage. The very next stage was a mountain road stage, where I knew, I’m heavy, I’m a sprinter, we don’t go uphill very well. I was out in the back within a half a mile. It was 4 ½ hours alone, with lots and lots of going uphill. In fact, double the amount I’ve ever done in my life. Being alone and in pain, for that long, and needing to meet a time cutoff, based on the winner’s time. They were doing 35 minute laps, and I was doing 45 minute laps. My entire goal for that race was to not get lapped, which I achieved. Then I had to drive home 6 hours, which was terrible. The second worst was that same season, in June, up in Minneapolis in a pro-only stage race. Having my really bad summer, in the road race, I got dropped about 10 minutes in, which actually surprised me. It was hot, I didn’t have a team to get me enough water or food while I was out there, so I was just dying alone in the heat. I came in very well behind the pack, completely dehydrated. A cop sent me the wrong way, back down a hill that we had already done. So I realized I was going the wrong way and had to go back up the hill to fix it, and that was just the lowest I had ever been. You just have to keep going. I definitely wanted to quit, but, you know, you’ve got to make it back to your car anyways, so you might as well just finish the race.
Oh, like, a decade out. Cycling is, in a lot of ways, stuck in the 1950s in terms of its beliefs about gender. Its improving, but kicking and screaming. Can you talk about your path from road to track February 19
Since winning the UCI World Championship, how have things changed for you? After being thrust into the spotlight like that.
of people who oppose trans athletes and the media overwhelmingly gives them attention, but they are massively outnumbered by the supportive people.
I was already in the spotlight to some extent, but nothing like this. Certainly already on some people’s radar who really, really love to hate me, but everyone covered that championship. I mean, they didn’t cover the championship, they didn’t give a shit about the race. They just cared about me winning, and how that fit different people’s narratives.
Has that brought your academic life more success, or has it hindered what you actually wish to get across?
I think it was the Daily Caller who covered it first. And, the really funny thing about right-wing media when it comes to trans issues is they seem to think that just accurately reporting what we think seems... stupid? They think that just accurately reporting what I think about trans athlete rights just makes me look stupid, so the right-wing reporting is actually really accurate, which is surprising. So I sort of made alt-right BINGO, with the Daily Caller, FOX News, Alex Jones and Infowars and Breitbart. It’s a bit of an activist level up for Alex Jones to be screaming about you on his show, so that was hilarious, and Tucker Carlson had a whole ten-minute segment on me, which I didn’t watch, but someone told me. I was doing about ten hours of interviews a week for the first month, from all around the world: Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, England, Germany, Canada, the US, it was all over. So, the media attention was pretty amazing. There were some positives, I was asked a bunch of times to write. I did an op-ed for the Washington Post, I wrote for the CBC, which is like Canada’s NPR. So that was nice, it was a lot of positive exposure and opportunities to present what I work on, which I think surprised a lot of people. They didn’t know I was also an expert on these sorts of issues, so I think a lot of people just wanted to hear the athlete’s perspective, and then I give them a half-hour explanation of physiology.
So, the fact that the right wing, who use me as everything that’s wrong with the left, because they think it’s so stupid what we think, that they’re accurately reporting what I think, thats awesome. It’s such good exposure for them to accurately report it. The opportunity to write a Washington Post op-ed where I make the argument for why trans athletes have a right to compete, that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t won the world championship. It absolutely has boosted my career. We’re in talks right now for me to go over to Japan for a very well-paid speaking tour this summer, because of the 2020 Olympics coming up. So absolutely, this has given me opportunities to present what I do, what I work on. What advice would you leave a young athlete going through the same transitory stage and a lot of the same hate that you go through? What would be the best advice you would give them to kind of combat that, or ignore it? The most useful thing is to reach out to other athletes who have been there before. That’s certainly something that I did. Other elite trans athletes, when I was first starting to get good, I reached out to Christian Wordley, Michelle Dumaresq and a few others. Chris Mosier, for example, has been really helpful with how to handle the media attention recently, after the victory. But the best advice is to find a community, and if you can’t find one, make one. That’s what we did with Foxi Moxi racing. There’s this gap in terms of support for trans racing cyclists. So let’s make that gap thin.
So that’s been good, but of course, there’s the hundreds of thousands of hate messages and physical hate mail at the College, and that’s all the shitty stuff. Getting hate mail isn’t new for me, but the amount of it was like two or three orders of magnitude higher, that is what surprised me. Amongst your colleagues and competitors, at both the College and in cycling, do you find an abnormal amount of backlash? Or would you say they’re more acceptable places? I have heard next to nothing from people at the College. Well, positive or negative. Which is, I think, a little unfortunate. I would’ve hoped to have heard from more people. In terms of racing, there are a very small number
Progress STEMs From Us By Hannah Addis Photos by Missy McConnell Women scientists have always had to fight to be heard over their male colleagues. For most of history, science
in STEM careers.
was considered a male dominated field plagued with
Dr. Pamela Riggs-Gelasco:
sexism and implicit bias, which that still persist in some
As a teenager Dr. Riggs-Gelasco realized she wanted
circles. Today, the tides are slowly turning as more and
to be a scientists. In high school she decided to pursue
more women are pursuing careers in science, technology,
opportunities in chemistry. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco explained
engineering and math (STEM). Women are slowly infil-
that chemistry gives scientists an avenue to create some-
trating the male-dominated “hard sciences,” mathemat-
thing never before seen, which justified her interest in
ics, physics and computer science. Minority
the subject. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco described that in college,
women are represented less in science, making them fight for every opportunity. At the College female students
she was exposed to interesting problems including those “that affected human health or that were biologically related.” When Dr. Riggs-Ge-
lasco interviewed to
percent of the stu-
become the fourth
dent body, there exists a
female faculty in the
slightly higher ratio of women to men in STEM departments. According to data from the School of Science and Mathematics (SSM) Annual Report during the 2016-2017 academic year, the
chemistry department. She recalls thinking “three out of 16 was awesome. That’s where we were at that point.” Women compose about half the department. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco believes that the department no longer needs to “ac-
school’s faculty is 31 percent women and 10 percent
tively recruit women because the field has equilibrat-
minorities. In all departments except the biological
ed enough that half the candidates are good women.”
and biomedical sciences, whose national average is
Dr. Riggs-Gelasco described that her encounters
at roughly 50 percent. The College employs more than the national average of women in STEM
with discrimination are irregular and unexpected because she “rode the coattails of other women...
according to the Integrated Postsecondary Edu-
who broke up those barriers.” Dr. Riggs-Gelasco
cation Data System (IPEDS).
describes her encounters with discrimination
Two female professors, Dr. Pamela Riggs-Gelasco and Dr. Ashley Pagnotta both work in
times and had their own unique experiences as women
as “a slap in the face” which sometimes sparks “shock” and “outrage” within. The professor enjoys
STEM fields chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Dr.
that her job is dynamic, constantly changing between
Riggs-Gelasco chairs the Chemistry and Biochemistry De-
lab experiments and interactions with students. Dr.
partment, and Dr. Pagnotta is an assistant professor in the
Riggs-Gelasco explained that the most difficult part of
Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco
her career is balancing her home and work life. She does
and Dr. Pagnotta came to the College at very different
not believe this struggle is unique to careers in
STEM fields and is a dilemma many working people face. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco noted that being fully present
many female students. The hardest part about being a women in STEM for Dr.
and engaged with her family is sometimes difficult
Pagnotta is “always fighting against this pervading societal
“when you’re in a career because you love it and you
attitude that you’re not a scientist, that you shouldn’t
want to give it your all.” The Professor noted that
be a scientist.” Dr. Pagnotta says her encounters with
transitioning from traditional gender roles supported
discrimination are limited, but some men have assumed
career endeavors. Dr. Riggs-Gelasco can get work done that she was in the wrong place, when arriving at work. while her husband cooks and shops.
Dr. Pagnotta also recognizes that “there are still men in astronomy who give talks who say that women aren’t as
The Professor advises women interested in STEM “
good at astronomy and women shouldn’t be doing certain
to not sacrifice your personal life for your career.” Dr.
types of astronomy because it’s too hard for them.” Dr.
Riggs-Gelasco said someone once advised her that
Pagnotta explained that her relationships with female
“you can have a family, a career, and hobbies, and you
colleagues are a highlight of her job. She describes that
only get to choose two.” The Professor concluded, “If
her circles have a “stick together” attitude and that female
you have a supportive spouse, family and friends you
scientists and astronomists “fight for each other.”
can do those things right. It’s about having a good
Dr. Pagnotta advises young people to “find your people.
support network to respect and understand the type of Wherever you are, an undergrad or at grad school, find focus and commitment it takes to be successful.”
people that you can work together with and support each
Dr. Ashley Pagnotta:
other.” She continues to say “don’t do it on your own...
Dr. Pagnotta grew up in Houston, Texas in NASA’s
it doesn’t make you a better scientist.” Dr. Pagnotta
shadow. The agency’s presence in the area sparked Dr. enjoys teaching and wish she gave it “a try earlier.” The Pagnotta’s interest in space. As a child, Dr. Pagnotta
Professor distinguishes the importance of research but also
desired to be an astronaut. As a professor, she still
emphasizes that teaching the next generation is a priority
remains interested in traversing outer space. Dr.
as well because “it’s really important for the public to
Pagnotta claims she “never outgrew her three-year-
understand what we’re doing and how it benefits science in
old dream.” She credits “good physics teachers and
general and the public as a whole.”
some good math teachers” for sustaining her interest in physics. Dr. Pagnotta currently studies stars which have exploded into novas and supernovas “to measure distances throughout the universe” as an astrophysicist. Though Dr. Pagnotta is relatively new to The College she acknowledges that it is refreshing to be “in an environment that has on average more women than men in terms of students, which is not an environment she (sic) in often as a scientist.” Dr. Pagnotta realizes that the department still maintains a male majority but is glad that she works with other female colleagues and has the opportunity to teach February 19
We Got The Pynk by Sam Howiler
The last time I heard about a music artist’s 40-minute companion film to an album, it was Kanye West’s Runaway. The female lead is a model dressed as a phoenix with body paint and feathers whose only purpose in the film is listen to Kanye’s explanation of the world. Take this in contrast to Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer. The pop singer, actress and, now, producer’s film that accompanies her new album of the same name. Monae’s Dirty Computer is her third addition to her studio discography and first concept album. Her music overtly stresses individuality and acceptance of marginalized groups. It’s fitting that the setting for the album and the film is a world where a dystopian, ultra-conformist society rules. The plot of the film revolves around Monae’s character: Jane 57821. Jane is labelled a “dirty computer” for living a non-binary lifestyle and is forcibly brainwashed The erased memories become the window through which most of the record’s songs are viewed. In the beginning of the film, the music videos give insight into how Jane ended up being labeled a “dirty computer,” but over time the memories/videos become more stand-alone and oriented toward the songs themselves. Just because the album and film were released in conjunction does not mean that one is not good without the other. Tracks like “Screwed” with Zoe Kravitz express Monae’s hopeless cynicism towards the world events around her that many people of our age can identify with. “Django Jane” is perhaps the most well known song on the album, sporting its own single before the release of the EP. Being the only rap record on the tracklist, Monae chooses quality over quantity as she focuses in on the plight of women in her era, giving a surprisingly well-delivered verse for an artist mostly known for her vocals and pop-appeal. Those same vocals and pop-appeal
come out in force with “Make Me Feel,” a Prince-inspired piece with fantastic production. The accompanying music video turns heads, to say the least. The film does not possess the cinematic expertise of Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson, but the message behind the piece is positive and many of the music videos inside of the film are just as good as stand-alones. Kanye West’s Runaway surprisingly holds a similar theme of individuality in the face of societal backlash. But, typical to most projects by Kanye, the whole project is really meant just for Kanye. I may never forget the paper mache Michael Jackson head featured in the segment for “All of the Lights,” however, Runaway is simply an extension for Kanye’s personal power trip of an album. My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy is an absolute powerhouse of a record, but it speaks for nobody other than Mr. West. Exactly the opposite goal for Dirty Computer. This is not to say that Monae’s work has no personal attachment. Dirty Computer came out at a particular time for Monae. Last year, a hailstorm of media frenzy occured after a Rolling Stone interview where the artist brought up her bisexuality and some elements of pansexuality, though most headlines proclaimed Monae had come out as fully pansexual. This is nothing new for the 33 year-old, after years of attention for dressing in tuxes at red carpet events and social media posts supporting androgynous lifestyles, Monae revels in controversy and uses it to heighten her platform. With this in mind, it’s no wonder one of her major influences has been Prince. After the famous musician’s death, it’s exciting to see another black and non-binary presenting artist in popular culture, because acceptance comes from visibility, and in Dirty Computer Janelle Monae certainly knows how to put on a show.
YOU CAN’T READ THIS by KATIE HOPEWELL photos by HANNAH BRODER
One of the most overwhelming things to face as an incoming freshman at the College of Charleston is the staggering amount of General Education requirements, one of which is a ‘First Year Experience’ course (FYE) mandatory for all first year students. In an effort to consolidate credits, I registered for an FYE titled: ‘Banned Books’, as it satisfied my First Year Experience requirement in addition to an elective credit for my English major. As a course selection made out of pure necessity, I did not expect to be taught by someone so knowledgeable in such a distinct subject nor did I anticipate the enjoyment I would gain from taking this class. The subject of Banned Books was just what the name suggests. Our textbooks were two separate essay compilations, listing popularly and unpopularly banned works of literature. We were required to write journal entries responding to modern censorship, read essays regarding the bannings of certain novels and create presentations on specific instances of suppressed messages. Prior to all of those assignments, however, we were assigned to listen to a series of TED Talks regarding the First Amendment freedom of speech. Censorship and the First Amendment are an inharmonious couple, and while much of the semester was spent learning a list of censored works, the rest was used to reiterate the authority of free speech in the United States. This course was not simply about the books or the authors, but about the issues that motivated society at the time of these bannings – it was a history, politics and literature class, simultaneously. February 19
We read about the removal of Captain Underpants from elementary school libraries as well as the political state of China during the Chinese Communist Revolution. With every novel discussed, we were provided with extensive context surrounding its suppression. Banned Books, Professor Marjory Wentworth noted, “Is a window into other things going on in a culture...They said Harry Potter was the most banned book in the last fifty years. Well, that was also in a time when the evangelical Christian group had a lot of political power and a big voice.” As a course with a deceivingly specific title, the variety and societal relevance of the information taught surpassed all of my previous expectations. Professor Wentworth stated that her goal in teaching this course was “to get students to understand that when books are banned or censored, it usually has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.” Wentworth has taught this course previously and noted that my particular class was more quiet than she anticipated, “but I felt like when I read answers to questions on quizzes and homework and group presentations...the things I was trying to teach, you were getting it. And that’s what teaching is all about.” Ironically enough, as a professor of a course focused on censored writing, Wentworth is, in a sense, a banned author herself. As the Poet Laureate for South Carolina, she was tasked with writing a poem to be read at Governor Nikki Haley’s inauguration in January 2015, but it was ultimately left out of the ceremony. Although the declared basis for omitting her poem was a lack of time, she included lines about the Confederate Flag which was flown at the South Carolina State House during this time, leading many to believe that the controversial symbolism of that flag to be a more accurate reason for the poem’s exclusion. Wentworth said, “I sent the poem in and I didn’t hear anything. And then they said ‘We don’t have time for that.’”
One of our final grades in the class was a paper in which we were required to discuss one of three censored works: Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and explain the grounds on which they were suppressed and whether or not their suppression was justifiable. While writing my paper on The Hate U Give, a fairly new novel that has received significant backlash for its inclusion of police brutality in a time where that is a common occurrence, I recognized the truth in Professor Wentworth’s belief that censorship is not about the books, but rather about the prominent issues in society at the time of its censoring. Banned Books is not a course that merely lists off censored works of literature. It is one that teaches the significance of free speech and proves that censorship does not devalue writing. With a professor as dedicated to pushing these messages as Professor Wentworth, those with even the most remote of interest in literature or writing would benefit from this course.
Life in the Margins: Homelessness in the Holy City by Raija Haughn
It takes little more than a quick stroll down
awareness of Charleston’s homelessness prob-
King or Market Street to see that Charleston has
lem, particularly when it comes to students and
a homelessness problem. Ranked number one
other young people facing these struggles. Dr.
U.S. city by Travel + Leisure six years in a row,
Kahle is the head of the center’s YOUth Count, a
this charming southern oasis is not immune
research program designed to count and identify
to the downsides of booming tourism, name-
the needs and assets of young people experienc-
ly gentrification. As of 2017, Charleston is the
ing housing and food insecurity in Charleston.
fastest gentrifying city in the nation. Gentrifica-
The first part of the YOUth Count, published in
tion is the process wherein an influx of high-in-
the Spring of 2017, was a survey of students to
come people move to working- class areas, thus
determine how many were food and/or housing
increasing property values and cost of living to
insecure. The second part of the YOUth Count, to
a point unmanageable for many local residents.
be published on March 1st, compiles data from
As this cycle progresses and more people find
street canvassing and interviews of youth facing
themselves experiencing housing insecurity,
homelessness. “We completed 62 interviews with
food insecurity and homelessness, the situation
individuals that fit that specification: they’re
becomes increasingly dire for the most vulnera-
literally homeless, they’re 25 years or younger,
ble among them. Women, people on the LGBTQ
and they’re staying in a place not fit for human
spectrum, and gender nonconforming individu-
habitation,” said Kahle.
als experiencing homelessness face a unique set of obstacles and have needs that are not being met by local shelters. Among the challenges faced by young women experiencing homelessness, one can identify four primary problemschallenges: menstruation, limited resources during pregnancy, sexual abuse and a lack of access to healthcare. These last two challenges apply not only to cisgender women, but also those on the LGBTQ spectrum, who tend to be especially vulnerable to sexual coercion and abuse on the streets. FIn order for the community to adequatelyproperly address these and other needs, there must first be community awareness of the problem. Dr. Bob Kahle, director of research and planning and interim director of the College’s Riley Center, has made it his mission to increase
Of those interviews, they found that, “about 54 percent of the population that we encountered are male and about 34 percent report being female. That obviously doesn’t add up to 100 percent. We have 12 percent who are gender nonconforming — another term might be nonbinary — they don’t fit traditional male or female definitions, and we also have some who are transgender youth.” Nonbinary and transgender youth experiencing homelessness, according to Kahle, are most susceptible to sexual coercion and abuse. While the Riley Center does it’s best to bring awareness to the problem so that steps can be taken to address it, they are not a service provider. Local shelter One80 Place is equipped with one men’s dormitory that can house up to 100 and one family center that can accomodatehouse up to 60 women,
the population surveyed, 27 percent of
space. However, it is impossible
men, 55 percent of women, 75 percent
to deny the pressing need for a
of transgender youth and all nonbi-
shelter that accommodates the
nary youth on sample reported being
needs of women and LGBTQ
sexually coerced. They also found that, people experiencing homelessness. of the 22 young LGBTQ people on the
At the College of Charleston, there
sample, 82 percent saidreported that
are steps are being madetaken to
they had been sexually coerced. These
provide for students, but addition-
numbers speak to an increasingly
al steps need to be taken by local
pervasive human trafficking problem
government and the community at
in Charleston, whose damaging impact large. We should all be concerned hits hardest for our city’s most vulner-
with the needs of those experienc-
ing homelessness in our commu-
There is no question that Charleston’s nity, mainlyparticularly when they homelessness problem is a major crisis are not being met. We cannot truly for all those affected, not just women
thrive as a city or as a campus
or LGBTQ youth. Local shelters tend
until we address the suffering of
to allocate more space and resources
our most vulnerable members and
for single men simply because single
make it a mission to address their
men are the majority when it comes
to homelessness in Charleston and nationwide. This is a practicality in the midst of dwindling funds and limited
parents and children. This, along with My Sister’s House, for survivors of domestic abuse, and Florence Crittenton, a residential program for adolescent pregnant women, are the only shelters
Percentage of homeless people who have been sexually coerced
available for women in the Charleston area. These shelters do a great deal of good, but they are limited in scope. When asked what should be done, Kahle said his first goal would be to get the pregnant girls off of the street, deal with their [mental] health issues, and get them access to proper healthcare. “Most of these young people can’t get access to medications or immunizations even if they’ve been diagnosed at some point with a condition which requires medication,” said Kahle. Another major priority for Kahle and the Riley Center is addressing sexual abuse and coercion on the streets. Of 35
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Beyond The Kitchen by Connor Simonson
“another part of me
Over the past decade or two, Charleston has become one of the most important food cities in the country. A small town full of amazing food and drink, Charleston has its fair share of Rockstar female chefs. But in an industry plagues with sexual harassment and misogynistic behavior, these strong women face unique challenges to fulfill their dreams. The toxic macho-culture that prevails in restaurants is nothing new. The man who pulled back the curtains on the food and beverage industry, the late Anthony Bourdain, told CNN that his book Kitchen Confidential “validated the sort of work instincts of ‘meathead bro’ culture and certainly did not help women’s situation”. He went on to show his support for the #MeToo movement, and many in the industry followed his example. While women continued to bravely come out and share their stories of abuse, influential people in the service industry began to recognize the change that needed to happen. Many strong men and women of the food and beverage industry have spoken out in interviews and on social media to show their support. Cynthia Wong represents such a bright future for the Charleston food scene as the Chef/Owner of Life Raft Treats. Wong is best known for being a two-time semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards “Outstanding Pastry Chef,” an award that goes to the best pastry chef in the United States. After receiving two nominations while head pastry chef of Butcher and Bee, Wong set out to start her own ice-cream treats company in 2018, Life Raft Treats. I sat down with Chef Wong to talk about what it is like to be a small business owner, how women can break into male dominated fields, the #MeToo movement and the future she hopes for in the industry. Per her request, I met Cynthia on a brisk January morning at recently opened Babas on Cannon. Upon arrival Cynthia is busy chatting it up with the café’s owner as well as the pastry chef, giving praise to the petit European café.
is like... don’t take any sH*t.” Wong says, on advice on ow to break in to male-dominated fields. After a firm handshake and a quick introduction, Wong was eager to answer any questions. When asked what inspired her to start her own business, Wong spoke of wanting a “more direct relationship with the people that were eating (her) food”. It is easy to sense the passion that Wong has to serve food that “makes people happy and (is) about joy and surprise”. So many people dream of owning their own business. Wong says, “It’s great because I get to do whatever I want but then I have to learn about how to make it something that’s going to sell”. Like many first-time entrepreneurs, Wong is still working on balancing creativity with reality. Wong recalled a story of when Life Raft Treats first begun some customers were quite confused by her funky deserts, resulting in them asking “umm…do you have any chocolate?” While Wong can laugh at this now, she had to be adaptable to craft a more approachable menu. When asked about advice for women who are trying to break into male dominated fields, Wong couldn’t help but sigh, pondering “that’s such a tough question”, knowing all too well what it’s like. She claims that she’s lucky, recalling the time when she was “young and dumb”, not fully understanding the challenges women face until she started to climb up the ranks. Wong displayed split emotions, stating you should “put your head down and go to work” but that “another part of me is like don’t take any s**t.” While Wong praises toughness and perseverance, she also says that her best employees aren’t exactly the ones with the most experience, but the ones who are doing their homework outside of
and bars open up around town. She showed direct praise for Babas as we talked at their window seat counter, saying “places like this are what make Charleston really special.” The challenges women face in the workplace are nothing new and we have known about them for long enough. As society pushes for fair treatment of all genders, it’s the strong women like Cynthia Wong who are setting an example in their industries about what the future should hold. A pioneer in her field, and someone on the forefront of social change, Wong encourages everyone to take more time to think about the businesses we support. Before supporting a business, Wong hopes more people will take the time to ask if “it is owned by a person of integrity or not.” So while she and her colleagues do everything they can to change the industry, it is important to remember that customers can make a difference themselves. work and are “reading all the books”. Wong also encourages everybody to “find those people in the industry, male or female, who run the right kind of kitchen, have the right kind of business”. When asked about the rise of the #MeToo movement, Wong recalled an incident where a former male employee was harassing a female employee, and a visible cringe came across her face. Wong was able to confront the situation and say “absolutely not”, but all too often these issues get swept under the rug. Wong hopes to promote a culture where people “speak up more when they feel like they want to.” She also recognizes how uncomfortable of a subject sexual harassment is for many people, citing the “incredibly weird and creepy” backlash that can ensue after speaking out. After showing a clear desire for change in the food and beverage culture, Wong spoke about her hopes for the future of the industry to be more adaptable for parents. With the norms of the industry revolving around long hours and stiff schedules, Wong has firsthand experience of the challenges parents face that force them out of the restaurant industry and insists that the industry is missing out on employees that are “capable of juggling five-thousand things at once”. Wong hopes to see more small restaurants, cafés
She Got The Beat
by Ty Shelton Photos by Missy McConnell
This is Beware of Dog to the curious observer: Four girls with a youthful fiery passion for music and art, and most of all, sharing that passion with others. Their website, (bewareofdogproductions.com), is filled with the pastel pink of adolescence, photos of cigarettes and guitars covered with stickers– the header under their main photo reads: You’re Such A Bitch! In the ‘About’ section of their website, co-founder Meghan McConnell says “If the most we do is inspire people and plant seeds in them, I’m good. That’s more than enough for me.” Is Beware of Dog a band? A music management group? An art collective? All three? “That’s a good question,” co-founder Mia Al-Taher says. “Right now we mainly book shows in Charleston, the majority of them being DIY house shows. We strive to make them very inclusive and represent diverse artists on each lineup.” Just going to local shows around Charleston wasn’t enough for co-founders Meghan McConnell, Jamie Gray, Mia Al-Taher, and Caroline Poe– they aren’t observers, they’re doers. Valuing the community over the person, the four girls’ main goal is for others to achieve theirs. Feeling empowered by other confident women and artists around them, Beware of Dog was born out of a desire to starting doing and stop observing. So in the back of a minivan, Beware of Dog was born: “we really were just fed up with how much women get overlooked in the music scene simply because of the fact that we are females,” Mia Al-Taher says. “Instead of waiting for bands or labels or whoever to pick us for jobs and exciting things we want to do, we decided to just DO it.” A need for women to be not only visible but involved in the music scene is a main priority for Beware of Dog. When asked about their female artist influences, they found it hard to choose. Such artists as Phoebe Bridges, Snail Mail, and Sharon van Etten all serve as an influence for co-founder Meghan McConnell, “because of the strong sense of femininity they bring to the scene.” Co-founder and singer-songwriter Jamie Gray cites her influences as Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, Angel Olsen, and others. Local Charleston bands Babe Club, Daddy’s Beemer, and Cry Baby are all listed from McConnell and Gray as being local artists they listen to often, as well as South Carolina natives Apricot Blush. The members of Beware of Dog are always working on their February 19
own passions as well. For Al-Taher its helping make music videos and content creation for musicians. McConnell says “we all write our own music,” and love to “bring ideas to the group to develop into something bigger than us.” Along with their own personal projects (such as writing and recording for Gray), Beware of Dog is always booking new shows in the Charleston area that “hopefully get the community excited about the music scene,” Gray says. With all the excitement of paving out their own roads in the music scene in Charleston, Al-Taher says it can sometimes be hard to find balance between things. Part of what makes Beware of Dog so endearing is their capacity for the familiar adolescent-like need to always be doing more, that feeling that always comes when you’re young and doing something new and exciting for the first time. “Getting 40
caught up in what we could be doing, or doing better to grow always stumps me,” McConnell admits. “I never want to box us in and also never want to over commit.” Part of being a young musician,-or even a young person in general-is feeling that need to be involved and apart of something bigger than yourself, to want to be inspired and inspire at the same time– and Beware of Dog is no stranger to that feeling. When asked about any advice they might have for anyone wanting to get into their local music scene, their advice came from experience and gets right to the point: “Stop talking about what you want to do and start doing it. You will learn from doing, not from waiting until you know ‘everything.’” If there is an air of uncertainty about where to go next from here, or what to do next, Beware of Dog will handle it with as much passion and optimism for their own music community–as well their own belief and conviction in themselves– as they had when they started. Check out Beware of Dog at bewareofdogproductions. com or their instagram @bewareofdogpro for more info/show updates.
Who Runs The House?
by Alexander Abraham
Perhaps there is no more a significant sign of the “Year of Women” than women’s success in Con-
Senate than in 2016 and nearly double the amount
gress. Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but
of women posted in gubernatorial elections than in
the 2018 midterms made one thing especially clear:
2004. A record number of those women cleared their
Women in politics are here to stay and they are not
party nominations as well. Dr. Wofford thinks the
number of women may have future political implica-
In November 2018, The College’s Political Science
tions; she said, “I firmly believe if anyone is going to
Department hosted a panel discussion breaking
blur red and blue together to make purple, it is going
down the election which occurred the previous day.
to be females — both candidates and voters.”
The department agreed the country elected women in
Women did not just run for Congress, Governor-
record numbers across the United States. Dr. Claire
ships and local positions — they won too. There are
Wofford concurred, “This year, women said ‘I’m
102 congresswomen in the House of Representatives.
running.’” And they did. Women posted in 476 Con-
The body is the most gender diverse since its creation
gressional contests, an increase of 78 from the 2012
with 23.4 percent women.
general election. Thirteen more women ran for the
In addition to running in and winning elections, female politicians are offering a decisive voice to Americans. At only 29 years old, Freshman Congress-
woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has already become a phenomenon among young Americans. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez routinely harangues House Republicans and takes to social media to campaign on some of the most pressing issues facing our generation including sustainability issues, education and the wage gap. Insults and threats are often hurled at the Congresswoman (a claim is circulating that she is communist) but the youngest women ever elected to Congress shows no sign of slowing down. The first female speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi was elected to another term as speaker in November. As with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Speaker Pelosi is a force to be reckoned with. Shortly following her victory, the Speaker tactfully forced President Donald Trump to admit responsibility for the government shutdown in December 2018. In late January, Speaker Pelosi declined an invitation to the President to give the State of the Union address at the House until the shutdown resolved. The Speaker won a major battle against the President on Jan. 24 as he signaled that he would not give the address before a joint session of Congress until the shutdown was resolved. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has championed womenâ€™s rights for nearly her entire career. As a young lawyer, Justice Ginsburg worked diligently to close legal loopholes allowing gender discrimination and crimes against women. Justice Ginsburg is a powerful figure in Washington. As such, she has been the focus of several documentaries in the past few years and has gained a cult following far beyond the nationâ€™s capital. The 2018 midterm elections are only the beginning of a much larger phenomenon across the political spectrum. Four out of nine declared Democratic Presidential candidates are women. Senate Colleagues Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep.Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have announced their candidacy for President of the United States demonstrating that women are here to stay and they mean business. After all, it is women who will help turn this blue and red nation purple. February 19
photo by Missy McConnell
CisternYard Media February 2019 - Year of Women *Volume 7 Issue 2