Dirty Words Edited by Jessica Demarest
An ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal.
â€”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From the Editor Hello! And on behalf of the 23 unique voices featured within these pages, welcome. The small booklet you’ve just picked up is called a zine, short for magazine. This particular zine was conceived as my senior capstone project for the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College. Since then, it has grown to include and touch more people than I ever anticipated. Grrrl zines—the particular category of zine Jessica Demarest
which Dirty Words falls under—were an offshoot of the 1990s subcultural feminist punk rock movement known as Riot Grrrl. These zines were independently published by people around the world to give women, girls, LGBTQIA individuals, and other minorities a place for their voices to be heard in the male-dominated media landscape. Although grrrl zines were traditionally handmade, Dirty Words was created using Adobe InDesign and professionally printed. But the intent behind this zine stems from the same roots as many of those original grrrl zines: to provide a space for underrepresented voices to speak out on the things that matter to them. In the early stages, I struggled to feel qualified for a project like this; I’m a feminist, but I didn’t think I was “cool” enough to be inspired by something like Riot Grrrl. After all, I’m far from punk rock. I didn’t think I was edgy enough. I wasn’t the right kind of feminist. Then I remembered: feminism is for everyone. It’s that thinking that drove most of my decisions throughout this process. When I initially came up with the idea for this zine, I imagined it being a publication for women, by women. I quickly realized that if this were to be a truly intersectional feminist endeavor, that definition would be a little too narrow. What I was trying to do was create a
space dedicated to voices that often go unheard in our society, and that needed to include not only women’s voices, but also gender diverse voices. Furthermore, it needed to include the voices of as many different individuals as possible in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and religion. All of the stories and art you’ll see in this collection are here because they mean something to the person who created them. Because they say something about the female experience, however obvious or subtle that might be. Feminism isn’t about relegating the conversation to a narrow selection of topics and issues. It’s about understanding that every single one of us experiences the world differently, and that each of those experiences has equal value in the feminist movement. If anything, I hope that Dirty Words allows you to consider the world from a perspective that is not your own, even if only for a few minutes. I hope it reminds you—as it reminded me—that there is no right or wrong way to be a feminist. Most of all, I hope you enjoy reading these stories and experiencing this art as much as I did. It truly is exceptional. With love,
It Isn’t Funny Anymore • Kiera Hufford • 3 Untitled Drawing of a Girl • Molly Wood • 3 Assorted Poems • Lenny Farrell • 4 Kino • Nikki Pito • 5 An Unfondness • Abbie Stoner • 6 Femme • Montserrat (Luna) Guerra-Solano • 6 All Hail • Felisa Charles • 12 Lost Words • Angela DiLoreto • 13 “Sweet/Vicious” Makes Rape No Laughing Matter • Raven Yankee • 14 Female Power • Sarah Bellefeuille • 14 I am not what I have done, I am what I have overcome • Lisa Taras • 16 Save Her • Jessica Demarest • 17 America, Answer My Questions • Elnora Koonce • 20 Sangfroid • Laura Quick • 20 Montpelier Women’s March • Jessica Demarest • 22 Why I Marched • Raven Yankee • 23
Contents Assorted Photos • Laura Quick • 24 Feminist Tattoos: An Interview & Portraits • Jessica Demarest • 26 You Are Stronger Than What Ails You • Angela DiLoreto • 30 Sunday Morning • Charlotte Williams • 31 I’ll Keep an Ashtray by My Bed for You • Carolyn Cote • 32 Shadowed Perception • Molly Wood • 33 Nasty Woman’s Club • Alley Shubert • 34 Flora Female • Amanda Duane • 34 The Political is Personal • Sarah Wilkinson • 36 Planned Parenthood Ad Campaign • Jessica Taras-Setter • 37 Vagina • Sarah Bellefeuille • 38 For C— • Jana Pietrzyk • 40 3D Watercolor • Gabby Wales • 41 Dear Sisters • Jana Pietrzyk • 42 Different Cultures • Nikki Pito • 43 You Don’t Have to Be a Martyr • Caitlin Ludke • 44 Self Portrait • Nikki Pito • 44
It Isn’t Funny Anymore By Kiera Hufford It’s a funny thing sometimes, being a girl. As
the show. It isn’t funny how, in our society, a room
toddlers, we’re little and cute and our moms and
full of men can so easily dictate how our bodies
dads dress us in pink pants and pigtails. Most days,
operate and the choices we have. They sit in a room
all we have to worry about is whether the braid
and take actions that further absolve the male
Mom did will fall out or if we’ll get mud on our
population from responsibility and judgment.
clothes when we run on the playground. But it isn’t so funny when the boys start to pull
They think we need to be controlled—that way they don’t have to control themselves.
our hair and pick at what we wear. We don’t enjoy
I guess it’s funny that millions of women can
it—but “they just like us and don’t know how to
march for equality and rights to our bodies and a
show it.” So it’s okay if the hair-pulling hurts. It’s okay
good portion of society will laugh it off, saying we
if the teasing makes us cry.
have no reason to be upset. We have no reason to
And it isn’t so funny when we’re teenagers,
march because we’re so much further along than
trying to wear a tank-top on an 85° summer day
we used to be. But right now, it isn’t about where
to keep from overheating, and we get pulled out
we were or about being better off than we
of class or sent home because “we’ll distract the
used to be.
boys” and “hinder their education.” What about our
Just because things aren’t as bad as
education? But I guess it’s okay because those boys
they once were doesn’t mean we still
can learn how to become whatever they want, like
don’t have progress to make.
doctors or lawyers or politicians.
As little girls, we were molded,
And it definitely isn’t funny when we’re sexually
shaped to what society believed
assaulted and no one believes us because
we should be: prim, proper,
our attackers said we were lying. They’re star
soft-spoken, obedient. As
athletes and we’re quiet wallflowers, so everyone
women, when we try to take
thinks we’re just trying to ruin their reputations.
power, stand against the
Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, a male
patriarchy, and take control
judge decides that even though a woman was
of ourselves and our
unconscious and raped behind a dumpster, it was
rights, we’re labeled:
her fault because she was drunk. Besides, her
attacker is a great swimmer—a tough sentence
would ruin his future.
We’re told to calm
Then those boys who became politicians decide
down. Go home.
they have the right to control our bodies, and it isn’t
We’re told that
funny because our president is the one running
“Funny” continued on page 4. Molly Wood is a Psychology and Studio Art double major studying at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. She aspires to be an art therapist and enjoys writing poetry, drawing, and enjoying nature. She contributed two drawings (pg. 3 and pg. 33) to this publicaton.
all the rights that men have, but that’s not true. Men aren’t doubted in court. Men aren’t told they can’t wear certain clothes because their outfits may distract women. Men aren’t targeted for the amount they drink and are celebrated for how much sex they have. Above all, men aren’t told
what they can and can’t do with their penises. Men
is a game
can knock women up and walk away—there aren’t
laws against that. But if a woman gets knocked up accidentally, it’s because she wasn’t being responsible. She should have been more careful. A girl’s life is dictated and controlled by men
artist studying at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. She enjoys
from the beginning, in the smallest of ways at
creating art in a variety of
first. But it grows—it has grown—and it isn’t funny
mediums, both digital and
traditional. Her artwork is an Kiera Hufford is from the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY. Like her hometown, she is small, but she loves to explore and finds strength
in writing, friendship, and cats.
Everyone’s Bigger Somehow By Lenny Farrell growing up people teach you to feel small— compound that with panic disorder and some days you’re shrinking into a tight crumb or a mote of dust or a speck of pollen, about to be carried away by bees. it’s not an analogy that works well, nothing does but hydroxyzine feels like the beating of bug wings and lying in bed with rubbing alcohol in the lacerations between your thighs feels like cross-pollination. don’t ever become the flower. don’t ever allow yourself to advertise. to be bright, even when ruined. this is survival in sickness and smallness. this is antipsychosis. this is getting back to nature. this is visibility under a microscope.
extension of her love for yoga, music, nature, architecture, and the human form. Nikki contributed four drawings (pg. 5 and pgs. 43-44) to this publication.
Poem For A Girl In By Lenny Farrell Summertime
see this new world painted
in trembling brushstrokes, birthed by natureâ€™s great artist, summer.
Lenny Farrell is a writer and archivist from
see peach skin, glistening
the Pacific Northwest.
upper lips seeking fruit, overripe
Currently, she studies
we are two girls in august. see our green fingers; hands inexperience-soft, dangerous never knowing what is too much.
at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. She contributed three poems (pgs. 4-5)
see our bare legs, mottled with allergy
to this zine.
and always with poor aim colliding.
Nemain: Goddess Of The Havoc Of War i go out in the night often alone with talons bared imagining a hawkâ€™s head behind my rib cage in place of a human heart gnashing its bone-hard beak and tearing the flesh of men who come too close
By Lenny Farrell
I saw her in the dark.
The part of me that was still drunk said vampire,
At first she was barely a flicker in the moonlight.
murderer, rapist. The part of me that was beginning
I would learn later that to see her at all meant that someday, I would see her entirely. I didn’t think anything of it—of her—at first.
to sober up said you’re still drunk, dumbass. I made it home only 1.5 hours after curfew and with only 1.5 weeks of grounding.
I was mostly drunk and I had most definitely missed curfew almost an hour ago. I was doing my
I forgot about her. Seeing things when I was
damnedest to keep a hold on my sanity and hoped
drunk wasn’t that out of the ordinary. The dusky
that the late November air nipping at my face would
figure hadn’t seemed like anything remarkable—
sober me up. My parents were fond of very few
though apparently I was. She didn’t forget me, and
things, but breaking the rules was at the top of their
the next time I saw her she made sure we both
knew that I did.
As I hurried down the sidewalk, hoping that
I wasn’t even breaking curfew this time, nor was
I was doing more ambling than stumbling, I saw
I drunk, but I was bent on getting home. It was after
something move across the street in the dark sliver
nine on a Saturday when the moon was a crescent
of space between streetlights. But when I faltered
in the sky and I’d just broken up with my boyfriend
and took a second glance, there was nothing there.
for calling my best friend a skank. Again. I wasn’t
An Unfondness By Abbie Stoner
crying anymore and I could feel my phone, tucked
I felt like I was being watched. Followed.
inside the pocket of my jeans, vibrating against my
I swallowed hard. I was pretty sure having
thigh. If it was my ex-boyfriend, I didn’t want to see
your phone out only worked if you were on a call
what he had to say. If it was my best friend, who I
with someone, not texting, and I had a strict policy
texted as I was leaving his house, I would see what
against calling anyone besides my parents—and
she had to say when I was out of the darkness.
maybe the cops. I dropped my hand back to my side
There was a moment when, the wind curling
and looked up, ready to—
into the space between my hair and my neck and
Someone ran across the sidewalk right in front
sending a chill down my back, my fingers strayed
of me, making me scream so loud it echoed off the
toward my pocket as I considered responding to
white vinyl siding of the house I was passing.
whoever it was. I’d heard that if you had your phone
“Oh my god.” I put my hand to my chest,
out it would stave off any potential attackers, and
feeling my pulse slamming behind it, and turned to
since my parents wouldn’t give me a car until I was
whomever I had nearly barreled into. “I’m sorry, I
off to college in two years, it was the best option
didn’t see y—”
I could think of to quiet my nerves. The hair on my neck hadn’t yet settled back down, despite the breeze having tucked itself back between the leaves.
I spun all around, my words caught in my throat. No one was there. I was not a runner by any means, but I was only a block away from my house and I ran all the way home. I knew I couldn’t outrun fear, but as I shut my front door behind me and relished in the warmth of the foyer light washing over me, I was convinced I could outrun the dark. As it turns out, you can’t outrun the dark and so I couldn’t outrun her. The next time she found me was that very next weekend and I was hopped up on adrenaline from facing off with my ex who had shown up uninvited to my best friend’s party. I wasn’t drunk, but I was buzzed and I hadn’t missed curfew yet because I was supposed to be at her house until the next day. Still, after my definitely-drunk ex crashed the party—accusing me and my best friend of being lesbians, accusing me of cheating on him with her, accusing my best friend of having a “poisonous pussy” and being a “slutty cunt”—I couldn’t very well just let him be escorted politely from the premises. We had already heard her parents rustling about upstairs and since I knew they’d come down anyway to find him, I punched him. I punched him right in the face and told him, “Never talk to me again, never even look at my best friend again, and never treat my sexuality like a weapon again. Besides, if you’re going to go with ‘poisonous pussy’ at least keep the alliteration going with, like, “Unfondness” continued on page 8.
‘contemptible cunt,’ you despicable douchebag!” That was, of course, when her parents came
Her hand dropped back to her side just as slowly as it had risen. Her body swayed gently from
busting down the basement stairs and kicked me
side to side as if she couldn’t stand to be completely
out of their house along with him. Cursing topped
their unfond list.
She shook her head just slightly. “That’s
I didn’t care though, because he topped my unfond list and I was indescribably happy for having stood up to him, even if it did mean I was walking home alone in the dark at 11 p.m. My blood was pumping fast with adrenaline and the effort of carrying around the heavy bottles of alcohol in my backpack kept me warm enough. I was so warm and so distracted by just how unfond of that boy I had become, that I didn’t notice her until she was right in front of me. “Holy crap.” I stumbled back a step but immediately became captivated. She stood in the space between the glow of the street lamps, no more than a foot of sidewalk where only the light of the stars touched. Not even the moon was out that night. She was every inch made of darkness. Her skin
seemed woven from the shadow of the moon and her hair was a storm cloud angrier than any I’d ever seen. The slip of a dress clinging to her body and pooling at her feet seemed more a shadow
impossible.” I wanted to shut my eyes and fall into the sound
than any type of cloth, and her deep-set eyes,
of her voice like falling into a childhood memory
shadowed beneath her brow bone, were wide and
when lying in bed, hoping it would make itself into a
curious as she gazed at me.
dream. Instead, I said, “Uhm, okay.” Maybe she was
“Sorry,” I managed to say, unable to take my eyes off her. “I didn’t see you.” “But you can.” Her voice was the whisper of
crazy. Maybe I was. She leaned her head to one side, her eyes drawing themselves over my entire body. We
cicadas from my windows in the summer. She
stood like that: her swaying and staring, wide-eyed,
reached her hand up in front of her in a slow
and me in front of her, motionless. But I was only
sweeping motion. “You can see me.”
motionless on the outside; the longer we stood
I furrowed my brow and glanced for a moment
like that, the more something restless began to stir
at her hand where it hovered in front of my face,
itself up inside of me. My bones felt like they were
her fingers moving as if weaving through the air or
casting a spell on me. “Of course I can see you.” Why wouldn’t I be able to?
When her eyes were trained on my feet, I noticed that her eyelids were glimmering, like stars
Montserrat (Luna) Guerra-Solano is an award-winning filmmaker, published photographer, and writer from Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been featured in gallery shows, as well as online publications such as The Interlochen Review. Themes she generally explores include human connection, roles in society, and vulnerability. Montserrat contributed her six-photo series, “Femme,” (pgs. 6-7) to this publication.
of her very own were embedded in the delicate skin
shone onto a shadow. In her absence, I felt too
there, creating a galaxy. That was impossible.
solid. Like the Tin Man in need of oiling, it took all of
In an instant, her eyes snapped up to my face
my effort to move my cold, stiff limbs.
and she spoke again: “How can you see me?” “Because I can see?” My bones felt like they were
I tried to forget about her like I had the first times I’d seen her, but her voice was in my head and her midnight face was etched inside my eyelids. I found myself taking nightly walks, paying extra attention to the spaces between street lights and around the corners of houses where the light didn’t quite reach. But it was 1.5 weeks before I saw her again. Of course she saw me first. I had all but given up
on fire, like they were moving so fast they created
on seeing her again after a week of nothing, but
friction between them.
I’d become quite fond of my nightly walks, so I
She leaned forward, seeming to fade ever so
still went on them. My parents didn’t know—I’m
slightly as she inched closer to the pool of light I
sure their teenage daughter wandering around
stood in. “But can you touch me?”
the neighborhood at all hours would make it onto
I furrowed my brow again, deeper this time,
their unfond list. So when the hair on my neck rose
and wondered what this girl was on. But when she
and didn’t fall back down and something chilled
began to lift her hand toward me and it became
the blood in my chest, I stopped dead and turned
translucent, I wondered if maybe I was drunk after
all around, looking for any signs of movement,
any attackers lurking in the dark. My phone My fingers had only twitched, spurred forward
was clutched tightly in one hand and I began to
by my humming bones, when she snapped her
surreptitiously twist my house key around in the
hand back in the quickest motion she’d made that
other so that it was sticking out from between my
fingers like a claw.
“Never mind. I don’t want to know.” “Are you okay?” I took a small step forward and
When I had made a full three-sixty on the sidewalk, I nearly jumped out of my skin. There she
she stepped back with one foot, though something
was only a few feet in front of me, swaying in the
like a smile seemed to shine from her eyes.
darkness, carefully avoiding any beams of light.
“You’re a girl,” she said. “You shouldn’t be able to see me.” “I don’t—” The time it took me to blink was all the time it took for her to disappear, like a light
She blinked slowly, her eyes eclipsing the glimmer coming off of the lids, and raised her arms toward me, her fingers weaving through the night air.
“Unfondness” continued on page 10.
“What’s your name?” she asked. Wary, I glanced at her arms stretched lazily toward me before not answering. “Do you, uhm,
live around here?” Her eyebrows creased together and she drew her arms back until they were wrapped
around herself. “I asked you first. If you can see me, then I’d like to know you.” “Why wouldn’t I be able to see you?” Her grip on herself tightened. “I asked you first!” I took as quick of a survey of her as I could, noting her elfin appearance. “Sorry, but, it’s
the darkness, despite how well she blended into it
late, you know?” I tore my gaze away from her and
and despite the constellations on her eyelids.
checked for any other possible sources for the hair standing up on my neck. “I should really go.” Even though home was past her, I started to
I didn’t realize at first how her hand had faded into that of an apparition where it entered the beam of the streetlight in order to stop me. I couldn’t look
back away. I was intrigued by her, yes, and there
away from her face and the fearful determination
was a strange off-kilter beauty in her face that
that rested there.
matched the constant flowing movements of her
“Please,” she whispered, her lips as full as the
body; but I had been trained too well not to expect
waxing moon and nearly as motionless. “No one but
anything nice in the dark.
my sisters has seen me in years. But you do. You do
The speed at which her hand darted through the air, however, was unexpected. It moved so fast
see me—you have to save me.” Her grip on my wrist became taut, as if she was
I didn’t know she’d reached out for me until her
trying to pull me closer to her, but she wasn’t nearly
hand was already clasped around my wrist as gently
strong enough. Something like stardust was spilling
as if she was made of clouds, but as warm as the
from her eyes and I stepped closer to her, just a
morning sun. Suddenly she didn’t seem so suited to
“What do you mean
chest. I didn’t love this girl, but somehow I knew
that no one else can
that I would, if only to break her reliance on a boy
see you?” The warmth
deigning to gaze at her. That very notion was quite
disappeared from my wrist
and she swayed backward instead of side to side. “No one can except the one who will save us. It’s always a boy. Always.” I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to warm
“Do you love yourself?” I asked, edging close enough that the billow of her skirts brushed my fingers. “Of course I do.” She held her hands up, fingers twirling, and looked at one and then the other. “I can already see me.” “Then that is why I can see you. Not because I
my wrist which felt so bare
will love you, but because you already do.” I held
now. “Why do boys have to
my hand out to her and she jerked backward just
slightly, not enough to leave the sliver of darkness
“They can see us. So they love us. And then everyone can see us and we love them.”
she was standing in. “Step into the light.” “I can’t.” “You can. You’re not a shadow. You’re a light so bright that no one will look at you.” I stepped back
“You love everyone?”
into the light from the lamp towering over me, but
She shook her head, her body pausing in its
kept my hand outstretched to her. “My name is
swaying. “We love the boys who save us.” “Why?” She looked at me like she’d never thought to
Lilith.” She pressed her lips together and her entire body went still. Only when she put her hand in
ask. “They love us enough to see us—why wouldn’t
my mine did I exhale the tension from between
we love them?”
my ribs. As she stepped under the streetlight, she
I dropped my arms, no part of me feeling cold any more. I was fueled by something hot and angry, by the fear of being alone at night and of this girl
said, “I am Eve.” The light washed over her and I began to love her. I see her in the light.
loving a boy just because he can see her. “Because you can see yourself,” I said. “And you said your sisters can see you, too. Why do you need a boy to see you?” “So that we can be seen in the light!” She threw her hands in the air and then let them float slowly
Abbie Stoner, a professional bisexual, writes about girls, magic, and magical
down to her sides again. “So that we are not stuck
girls. Her work has been published
inside shadows. It’s so cold here. My sisters can see
in Crack the Spine and Slink Chunk
me, but what good is being seen by the shadows?” I didn’t love this girl. But I could see her, which she claimed only a boy who would love her could. I couldn’t find a single untruthful lilt in her voice or tilt of her head. I couldn’t help but believe her. “I don’t love you,” I told her. “But you deserve to be seen.” “Then find the boy who will love me.” It was the closest to anger I could imagine her voice getting and it pushed on the bones in front of my
Press and is forthcoming in Stonehenge II. When she’s not writing or talking about intersectional feminism, she can be found doing tarot readings and avoiding cilantro at all costs.
All Hail By Felisa Charles
she is a Queen that laughs in the face of death,
is a second year
her seductive style yields from a thousand years,
all hail the beauty of her skin is the golden sun that shines through the day and makes light in the darkest nights,
Digital Forensics major at Champlain College. Though she holds a passion
her eyes mesmerized with lies
for writing, this is her first
the deceit of the diaspora in her lifeless time lapse
publication. When she’s not
caught in a loop of unforgiving pain
writing or learning something
all hail, though her life may be in peril
new technology-based, she is at
all hail, though she sins like the serpent’s protégé
one of her many jobs.
all hail, though her sun-kissed skin glitters like a walking gold mine all hail, though she is hated by those not of her kind, and of her kind
all hail, though she is taught to not embrace her true beauty all hail, though she strives to be accepted all hail, for the pain that owns her life binds her to the unbreakable chains of a slave she is the dream of her ancestors to indulge and embrace her beauty that she is taught to hate she is the dream of a slave that wished she had a voice, a slave that dreamt of the day that her fellow sisters would rise and respect their true selves, decline the lies and the hate, rise because you’re a Queen, all hail, because she still seeks light all hail, because she chooses civil disobedience all hail, for she is a Queen, perfectly imperfect she is.
Angela DiLoreto, who hails from Saratoga Springs, NY, is a Graphic Design studentâ€”but first and foremost she is an artist. With a background in traditional arts, her work has been exhibited in several semi-formal gallery shows. She currently draws inspiration from the tactile and atmospheric qualities of everyday life. Also sheâ€™s kinda tall. Angela contributed two pieces (pg. 13 and pg. 30) to this publication.
“Sweet/Vicious” Makes Rape No Laughing Matter By Raven Yankee !
Content mentions rape, sexual assault.
“I think I’ll try defying gravity,” sing Jules and
when she skips sorority house meetings and goes all-out on a study session when Jules falls behind in her classes. But Jules is keeping a huge secret from
Ophelia, driving around the city with the body of a
Kennedy; Nate uses Jules’s desire to maintain her
rapist they recently murdered. They are the leads in
friendship with Kennedy to keep her quiet about the
MTV’s new show Sweet/Vicious, a refreshing view on
assault. Jules’s silence means that Nate is around a
the serious topic of sexual assault. It highlights the
lot, reminding Jules of the trauma she suffered every
nuances of dealing with trauma and is timely after
the case of Emily Doe—the woman who spurred
Despite her unwillingness to speak out, Jules
California to close its sexual assault loophole after
doesn’t fall into the perfect victim trope. Instead, she
she won her case against Brock Turner this past
is a flawed character finding her own way to process
the aftermath of her ordeal. Jules learns martial
While singing may seem absurd in this situation,
arts, dresses in burglar garb, and hunts rapists on
“Defying Gravity” couldn’t be more fitting. Set on a
her college campus. She is clever with a dry sense
college campus, the show comes as a cathartic relief
of humor and a deep commitment to justice which
when rapists are getting off easy in our society.
sometimes gets in the way of her friendships.
Jules, the main character, has been assaulted
Meanwhile, Ophelia is a sarcastic, trust-fund
by her best friend’s boyfriend, Nate. Jules’s bestie,
baby and pot-smoking hacker who seems to care
Kennedy, always has Jules’s back; she covers for her
only about herself. But after learning of Jules’s
Sarah Bellefeuille is majoring in graphic design with a minor in marketing at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. When she is not working on homework or in class, she can probably be found napping somewhere. She contributed two paintings (pg.14 and pg. 38) to this zine.
Looking for more empowering feminist TV shows?
Add Jessica Jones to your Netflix list.
Try Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt. It’s only one season, but it’s a good one.
15 activities, Ophelia can’t help but get involved. She, too, believes that rapists are getting off easy and is looking for a purpose in life. Jules and Ophelia form an unlikely friendship
the show and to sexual assault survivors. Overall, it’s heartening to see TV’s renewed use of genre storytelling to tell tales of female empowerment that are complicated, surprising,
as the show makes use of the crime-fighting duo
and seriously deal with the emotional lives of their
trope. Though the two are untrusting of the cops
characters—without falling into traps of smugness
and one another, they begin to reveal more about
or making them seem unrealistic.
themselves to each other as the season progresses. But as in any successful TV program, things don’t always go according to plan for Jules and Ophelia. At one point they attack the wrong guy and have a dead body in their car that is then impounded by the police—which is a problem as
Raven Yankee is a writer and social justice advocate in Burlington, VT. They hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication and are
the police continue to search for the missing body.
planning to attend grad school for Library Science
Their vigilante secret is also discovered by Ophelia’s
and Cultural Studies. In their free time, they enjoy
friend, Harris, and they must convince him not to
drinking coffee, reading, and browsing the internet.
reveal their identities.
Raven contributed two pieces (pgs. 14-15 and pg.
The obstacles Jules and Ophelia face and mistakes they make only make them more real. Dealing with sexual assault isn’t easy and there’s no one way to do it or a straightforward path. To imply otherwise would be a huge disservice to viewers of
23) to this publication.
Lisa Taras is the owner of LT Photography, LLC in Naples, FL. Her specialty is lifestyle portrait photography, but what she enjoys most are the volunteer photoshoots she does for cancer patients. Her goal is to tell as many stories and reach as many hearts as possible. In her free time, Lisa loves to travel and spend time with her family. She contributed her photo series, â€œI am not what I have done, I am what I have overcome,â€? (pgs. 16-19) to this publication.
Save Her By Jessica Demarest
The first time I can remember really being
to covertly slip tampons from my locker to the
conscious of my breasts, I was 12 years old.
sleeve of my shirt, and listened, wide-eyed,
My mother handed me the American Girl body
as my friends whisper-traded secrets about
book, The Care & Keeping of You, and left me on
sex and bra-sizes after the lights went out at
I think the writers of this book were trying
Over the years, I watched my breasts grow
to be comforting in the easy, casual way they
and change—albeit not by much—and largely,
told me, and millions of other little girls, that
I forgot about them.
every pair of breasts was different. Some were
They weren’t overtly large, drawing the
big; some were small. Some hung down low
attention of lewd high school boys, nor was I
and some sat up high. Some girls had lumpy
particularly flat-chested. Of average size and
breasts, and some had nipples that seemed
shape, my breasts didn’t give me much to
to point out in different directions. Sometimes
one breast was larger than the other. Some
I wasn’t immune to the turmoil breasts
sat squished together, and others were
could cause; I’d seen the TV shows where
spaced far apart, a shallow valley spread wide
young girls comedically stuffed their bras full
down the sternum.
of tissues, and I’d heard the complaints of big-
“Don’t worry,” the book seemed to be
breasted women who couldn’t wear this top or
saying. “This is normal. Your breasts are
that, or whose backs ached from the front-
nothing to be concerned about, at least not
heavy weight they carried with them. But my
own breasts seemed to sit complacently on my
But I was concerned. What little girl wouldn’t be? I needed to know if my breasts
chest, like sidekicks on my journey through life. The oldest daughter in my family, I’ve
were of the saggy or squished variety—
always had the smallest breasts. My younger
whether they were considered large or small
sister and cousin easily surpassed me in
or weird and abnormal.
cup-size, even by the time they were entering
I sat my book on the soft, tan carpet and looked down at my breasts, examining them for wayward lumps and too-pointy nipples.
middle school. My sister, at least, seems to get this from our mother. Mom’s breasts had always fallen on the
Was my right breast larger than my left? I
larger side, and as a girl I wondered why she
only ever seemed to buy the boring, white
As I got older, the body book collected dust on the top shelf of my closet. I learned
bras from the racks in the department store. I realize now that not all women have the luxury “Save Her” continued on page 18.
of making their breasts feel “pretty”—of adorning
raised me and protected me and loved me more
them with swaths of lace and brightly colored
fiercely than anyone else ever could.
patterns. There is no compromise between style
My own breasts, however, had to be perky
and support. If you need the latter, you’re relegated
and round—a symbol of my womanhood pinned
to three choices: a sturdy fabric in black, white, or
permanently to my chest. They had to lift upward
without the confines of a bra, defying gravity and
As a girl, I often rested my head against my
physics and a boatload of other scientific principles.
mother’s chest, curling into the comfort and safety
After all, that’s what the images I was surrounded by
of her. I think it’s safe to say that most children do
were telling me.
this; maybe it’s got something to do with instinct,
I’m not sure how this schism in my thinking
or maybe it’s just because of the breasts’ natural
came about, but I wonder now if it has something to
tendency to act as pillows. Either way, leaning up
do with our innate human tendency to be far harder
against my mother, I always felt safe.
on ourselves than we would be on anyone else.
Her breasts were never sexualized in my eyes—
Our friends? Oh, they’re beautiful. But ask one of us
not like the ones I so often saw on billboards and in
about our own body and prepare for a never-ending
magazine spreads touting frilly lingerie and selling
litany of faults.
some of the least sexual products imaginable, like hamburgers and snow tires. Instead, I saw Mom’s breasts for what they were: a part of her. A part of the woman who brought me into this world—who
We are at war with our bodies. What we often don’t expect though, is for our bodies to go to war with themselves. I was 17 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage III. Aggressive. She went in for a routine mammogram and everything showed up
fine. Five months later she felt a lump. It came on quickly, took us all by surprise. The following year brought with it months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and countless doctors. While I sat in my senior English class, surgeons sliced through my mother’s skin, searching for the malicious tissue. They’d decided on a double mastectomy— the removal of both breasts. It was their best bet for catching all of the cancer. Like most women, Mom opted for a reconstructive surgery after the mastectomy. Doctors would take skin from other places on her body and rebuild the breasts. Reconstructive surgery isn’t about creating a
functioning new breast. No. It’s a superficial surgery, meant to mimic what’s been lost. According to the body book, every breast matters. Each one is unique—perfect in its very own way. It doesn’t tell you what to do when your breasts
insists on wearing bulky scarves to disguise the size difference. Her shirts must have a neckline high enough to cover her scars. When she looks in the mirror she sees flaws. Imperfections and things to criticize. My mother has taught me that womanhood is not something you wear. You can’t find it in the
turn against you, when your life becomes more
supple curves of your chest or in the softness of
important than the symbolic tissue worn on your
chest. My mother’s reconstructive surgery didn’t work—not the way they thought. Her left breast
In her eyes, her femininity has been stripped away. In mine, it is stronger than ever.
looks largely like it did before the surgery. You wouldn’t know it’s made from skin taken from her tummy and back. The right breast though—the one where the cancer originated—didn’t take. The blood vessels clotted and my mother underwent 36 hours of surgery in just three days. Breast cancer awareness campaigns tell us to
Jessica Demarest is a professional writer and editor from Galway, NY—a small town home to more cows than people. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Black Fox Literary
“save the boobies.” But the doctors couldn’t save my
Magazine, EatingWell magazine, and the 3288
mother’s breasts; they chose to save her instead.
Review. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys practicing
Now my mother wears a prosthetic insert in the right side of her bra. The sizes don’t quite match up, leaving one side slightly larger than the other. The body book says this is normal, but Mom still
yoga, smashing the patriarchy, and eating peanut butter. She is the editor of this publication.
America, Answer My Questions By Elnora Koonce
Can you stand the rain that’s drenching our souls in our last hope for unity, Can you feel the pain of our ancestors and activists who died for equality, Can you deceive your brain into believing racism and white supremacy don’t remain, Can you protect us from those who are misguided and uneducated? Can you explain to me why I shouldn’t be devastated for not being accepted after all these years—
why billions of people were manipulated by one bully? Can you show our children how to properly defeat someone who takes pride in belittling one’s integrity, Can you become a leader, set an example, or will you wait until the damage is already too done to cancel? Can you please read the “Terms and Conditions” before pushing the button, Can you sincerely respect— that regardless of America’s decision— there are people hurt by the outcome of this election, Can you erase and bury the hate, Can you love and embrace my gender, race, and religion, Will you help me up when I fall, Or, like everyone else, laugh in my face? Can you accept my facts? All I want is to be successful and provide for my loved ones. Can you let go of your pride so the weight of the world can lift me up when I cry,
Elnora Koonce, a
Can you speak up for me if I die
Philadelphia native, is
and not sugarcoat why I was deprived,
a first-year Law student
Can you recognize the lies, because the more they’re told the more they blind your eyes, Can you wake up from your nightmare— the one where we’re taking over the world— It’s simply untrue. Is it so sickening that we’re as determined as you?
at Champlain College in Burlington, VT, and is destined to leave her mark. Inspired by her family, culture, and religion, Elnora has high hopes of creating change through empowering the next generation. A part of her vision is to design a clothing line called Only Visionaries Dream
Can you look into the eyes of your child
of Success (O.V.D.O.S) to inspire youth from
and tell them the reason why we can never be equal
all different walks of life by symbolizing
is because your pride and your fear prevent others’ success,
support and encouragement for achieving their dreams, goals, and aspirations
Can you stomach the fact that We the people are different genders, races, and religions,
regardless of their background.
Can you say it with me: Without the help of another, where I stand today, I wouldn’t be. Can you say no one deserves to be locked up or kicked out for wanting to be free—even illegally,
Can you speak in defense of our minorities who are of other genders, races, and religions, Can we stop the whole, “it’s not my business or my place” to say and address what’s actually right and wrong, Can you say, until this election that you took pride in the land of the brave, the home of the free, Can you tell me why justice and equality don’t apply to people that look like me? Can you say why that’s true Even though I wake up every morning and strive to provide—just like you, Can you tell me why we don’t deserve to be treated equally but you do, Can you answer any of these questions? Please let it sink in before simply saying, “I feel you!” On November 9, 2016 the heart of America stopped beating. You elected a man who, throughout his campaign
“America” continued on page 22.
bragged only about mistreating, Hard-working residents Clearly have the same blood in their veins that tells them to provide for their children by any means. We represent our parents when we leave our homes,
This is what democracy looks like!
And our president represents us when he deals with the world. Would we approve of how he’s been representing the United States of America? How would we feel if he ruined the family name, the legacy we’ve established? In this case, the surname is The U.S.A, the legacy is written in the Constitution. Are we satisfied that we supported him even though we knew it was wrong, Do we take responsibility for what we made a possibility— Ask yourself this question, the one for the years to come: Do we lack love and education?
Can we acknowledge that we do, or prove that we don’t?
My body, my choice! Her body, her choice!
Photos of the Women’s March in Montpelier, VT on January 21, 2017.
We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!
Why I Marched By Raven Yankee
Participating in the Women’s March on
I marched to say that
A woman’s place is in the resistance.
Washington in D.C. is one of my proudest
this isn’t normal and I will
accomplishments. It was an overwhelming
not accept people having
experience that I’m extremely grateful that I got
their human rights taken away—that I don’t support
to be a part of. Seeing and feeling 499,000 other
a president that insults and belittles people and acts
people support me and the things I believe in
like a playground bully who whines when he doesn’t
helped me to not feel so alone.
get his way.
After the election, I was heartbroken and deeply
The march was powerful because people called
troubled by the direction the country was headed. I
out these things in their signs and chants. A few
remember waking up around five a.m. on November
slogans I appreciated are feautured across this
9th and crying when a friend told me the results. Everyone I knew
spread. When we arrived, we stood
was in mourning. Shortly after,
around for nearly four hours,
another friend resigned from her
watching people speak and making
job rather than entertain racist
friends with fellow protestors.
and sexist ideas. This wasn’t okay.
After learning that we wouldn’t be
I knew I wanted to march as soon
marching due to the massive
as I saw events for it on social
turnout, we made our own
media. I bought my ticket over
Thanksgiving break and convinced people to go with me. I’m glad I did. I don’t feel alone anymore. There are three million
People poured out from all directions, marching along Constitution Avenue, the National Mall, and Pennsylvania Avenue.
people around the
I joined in and headed toward
world who stood up
the White House with my fellow
to the new administration and said,
marchers. People in office buildings came to the
“No, we won’t let you treat women
windows to cheer us on. Some marchers had set up
as second-class citizens—women’s
on part of the sidewalk and were playing songs of
rights are human rights.”
empowerment such as “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child.
Personally, I marched because
As I marched, I couldn’t help but be reminded of
sexism and rape culture still exist in
my privilege. I could stand and walk for long periods
our country and around the world,
of time. I’m white and am seen as a woman by most
because trans women of color are
people, so I appear non-threatening. There was very
killed at disproportionate numbers,
little police presence and I never felt like I might be
because my queer sisters just got
detained or tear-gassed.
the right to marry but not to fair
I’m glad I marched and stood up for what I
employment or housing, because I
believe in. I think it’s more important now than ever,
have a chronic illness and need the
especially when our president is attacking fellow
Affordable Care Act, and because
humans and spreading lies. This march was one for
more white women voted for Trump
the history books and I’m proud to be able to say
that I was there and that I spoke out.
Laura Quick graduated from Pratt Institute of Art in New York City, NY, having fallen in love, equally, with design and photography. She spent the next decade working as a designer on Madison Avenue while pursuing street and travel photography on the side. Her photos have been published in numerous magazines and books over the years and have been shown in several galleries. Laura started traveling annually upon graduation from Pratt, and has been fortunate to spend more than 30 years capturing the world through her lens. The images in this zine are from two recent trips—a 2015 trip through South and Southeast Asia (pg. 20) and a 2016 trip through Central America (pgs. 2425). Ever thankful for the internet that allows her to work and travel simultaneously,
when she’s not on the road, Laura can be found photographing chickens, turkeys, and peafowl on her Teeny Tiny Dinosaur Farm in Los Angeles, CA.
Their Feminist Tattoos Inspire Them to Keep Fighting By Jessica Demarest Like many of their peers, Sarah Wilkinson and Abbie Stoner awoke on the morning of November 9 th feeling defeated—disappointed with the previous day’s election results and scared for the future. But rather than allowing those feelings of dread to overcome them, the two friends opted for action. And it’s not necessarily the mobilization and protest action you might think—though they’re into that too. In this interview, Abbie and Sarah tell us how calling a tattoo shop became their way of resisting a rhetoric they didn’t believe in.
Can you tell me about your tattoos?
Abbie: We decided to get these tattoos after the recent election because the whole thing was very unsupportive of feminism in many ways. When I found out that Trump won—which is like a feminist nightmare—I was like let me just get a feminist tattoo because I’m mad and I like tattoos. I decided to get a lioness because the female lions not only do the childbearing, but also do the hunting for the pride. And they work together, so I felt that was representative of not only strong women but also of empowering women in a group to work together
it’s also representative of female empowerment and the idea that we’re often looked down on but we can fight back. My second feminist tattoo— the one I got after the election—is Georgia O’Keefe-inspired. She tried to create art that stood for female power and to her that meant representation of femininity through our body parts. A lot of her paintings include very subtle representations of vaginas and vulvas. What was it about getting feminist tattoos that was so important to you?
and support each other. It also says “Fight like a
S: A lot of the rhetoric in this past election,
GRRRL,” because fighting like a girl should be a
especially related to Hillary Clinton, was very
good thing. We can all fight like girls and be fucking
negative and there were a lot of double standards
badass and hunt for the pride and feed everyone
she had to deal with. And there was so much
and be awesome.
more heat on her for things, like her email scandal
Sarah: Okay, so I have two feminist tattoos. The one on my arm I got in Dublin, Ireland, and that one was drawn by my sister, so in some ways it kind of reflected women supporting other women. The message says “Don’t look down on me,” and it doubles as a quote from my favorite band, but
for example. But nobody was talking about the allegations that Trump sexually assaulted multiple women— A: Including a 13-year-old. S: Yeah, including a 13-year-old—a child. It just felt
very imbalanced. It felt wrong. And so when Trump got elected it felt personal. It felt like people had chosen violence against women and the oppression of women instead of supporting them. So this tattoo for me was a way to kind of push back against that and say, “No, women do matter and we’re not going to take this sexism sitting down.” A: I’m a feminist and something that’s really important to me is equality and empowering all people. This felt like a way to remind myself not to give up on that. I don’t know, I just had been wanting a tattoo and there was so much stuff coming out that was so anti-woman that this seemed like the perfect opportunity to take charge of my body and do something completely for me that nobody else had a say over. S: I like what you said there. About taking control of your body. It felt very out of control in the days after the election. Like everything was slipping away after all the “Tattoos” continued on page 28.
progress that we’ve made. These tattoos allowed
cover you?” And I thought about it for a minute and
us to take back control in a personal way. And
I was like, you know what, no, because I’m getting
when you regain control in that sense you can
a tattoo and I’m not ashamed of my body and I’m
help others find their footing too. And that’s how a
not ashamed of my butt. I don’t think it has to be
this hypersexualized thing that we’re making it out
Is there any significance to where on your bodies you decided to put your tattoos? S: The one on my arm I wanted to put somewhere it would be visible not just to me but to other people as well. Because it was a message that I was really supportive of and proud of. I wanted people to know that I was an ally and supported the betterment of women. But in regards to my most recent tattoo, I don’t even know how I really decided on the butt but I was like, “You know, I’m gonna get a tattoo on my butt because our bodies are hypersexualized and I’m going to reclaim part of that for myself.” And
I’ve always been somebody that really likes butts. I just think they’re a nice part of our body and we
should appreciate and love what they do for us. When I decided to put the tattoo on my butt it was also kind of this idea that this entire year with the election cycle had been such a pain in my ass. Everything about it—the discouragement and the awful rhetoric and the feeling of division that just hung over us like a fog. So I was like I might as well get some more actual pain in my ass, but the result of which will be something I will be able to cherish forever. How did it feel to have to show so much skin in the tattoo shop to this female tattoo artist that you didn’t know? S: I would say it was really empowering. At one point the male tattoo artist came over and she asked, “Do you want me to
to be. I’m comfortable sharing that part of myself. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And I encourage other women who feel comfortable to not shy away from situations like that. And to challenge yourself to redefine what your body means to you and what you can do with it.
This is your third tattoo for each of you—
with their body and I feel like my tattoos have been
what is it about body art that appeals to
a way to help me feel more comfortable in my skin.
I see myself and I’m not particularly thin. I’ve got
A: I just like art. And I don’t think that it should be limited to certain spaces. Obviously, I think you should have permission to use whatever space you’re using, but what better space to have complete permission to use than your own body? And if you like something and you want to express something on your body, then you should do it. S: I like getting tattoos because when I think back
lots of cellulite and curves and I’m not necessarily society’s idea of beauty, but I’ve kind of redefined what that beauty means for me and part of that was through my body art. And so when I see it I’m just inspired to love myself and accept myself the way that I am. Do you have anything else to say to readers? Anything you want women and
to young Sarah, it was something that I never
girls to know?
thought I would do. And I like breaking those
S: I would say to all of the young women, and older
boundaries that I had kind of created for myself,
women as well, who are out there, that when you
but also had been created for me. Like I don’t think
feel like you are not good enough, or that you are
tattoos—they’re definitely more accepted than
not doing enough or that you don’t matter, that all
they have been in previous years—but they’re still
of these messages are not genuine to you. They
something that you’re expected to cover up in the
have been created for you. These feelings are not
workplace. People can look down on you for it. So
the result of any failure of your own. It’s been a
I thought it would be a really interesting way and a
failure of society to value and love you.
really empowering way to kind of fight back against what’s expected of women.
A: The fight is never over. Even when you feel like there’s no hope left, there’s always hope
A: That’s true. I think also in a more personal sense, it is a scary experience getting a tattoo not only because it’s going to be on your body forever, but also because there is an element of pain to it. Especially last time, because it was the biggest one I’d gotten, when I got there I was panicking a little bit. But it’s kind of a way to face your fear and reempower yourself. When you look at your tattoos now, what do you see? A: I see it as a way to empower myself and to remind me to empower other women too. And even though it’s in a place that’s easily covered, I know if I saw it on somebody else it would be just one of those tiny daily reminders that I’m not in this alone. There’s somebody else out there supporting me. S: I always look at my tattoos anytime I get undressed. Because that’s when your body’s on display and I think all women go through insecurity
left and you can keep fighting.
Sunday Morning By Charlotte Williams
Sleepy eyes and sluggish feet
She sits back on arthritic knees,
struggle to stay awake at Sunday Mass.
nostalgic for her younger days.
Wooden pews and dusty hymnals
When mornings spent kneeling outside
house tired voices and sore backs.
Shoulders would much rather
still be resting on sheets. And cheeks caressing pillows. She’s dreaming of baseball and apple pie.
The approaching deadline does nothing to end the block in her head. She’s locked in her study,
She rolls over to face the sun.
eyes behind the screen,
Warm rays shine down
fingers hovering above the keys.
and she closes her eyes again.
What she wants most
She wiggles her toes
is to shove her face through the screen,
and fingers and stretches her spine.
drown in her words,
Sundays are for sleeping in.
and spend Sunday anywhere but here.
The wind stings her eyes
Creeping tip toes
and she blinks rapidly to oil her corneas.
and airplane pajamas,
She pumps her arms, harder and harder,
scurry down the hall
as she drives her feet forward.
to the big room in the corner.
She’d rather be in her pajamas,
Feet jump high to climb the mountain,
eating a warm breakfast across the kitchen table.
hands engulfed in the sea of blankets and ticklish feet.
Elbow deep in worms and beetles,
She yearns for chocolate chip pancakes.
she tugs at the ground, willing it to give way.
Charlotte Williams is a fiction writer who studies at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. She works with a team of editors on the Champlain College Publishing Initiative’s literary magazine, Willard & Maple, and writes for the Publishing Initiative’s blog. When she isn’t watching feel-good TV shows or daydreaming about her cats, she works on polishing her craft and expanding her horizons beyond fiction.
I’ll Keep an Ashtray by My Bed for You In Memory of a Father By Carolyn Cote I’ll keep an ashtray by my bed for you because I know you would have smoked all night. Camels—not Newports or Marlboros—you were never quite as finicky as my father. Worn, warped
seemed like you had drank enough liquor to fill the room and drown us all. No one could keep their head above water long enough to speak. They said you died of a sudden aneurysm, but
glass and a lit cigarette, I’ll fill the tray up with my
we knew the alcohol had just hired a hitman for
memories of you and let them twirl toward the
the occasion. I wanted to bring you something
ceiling in fingertip tendrils.
you would like, but Keystone and ashtrays aren’t
I’ll always think of you when I think of ashes—
gifts you can give to a person whose body you
think of you in every filtered nicotine fix that
don’t recognize in a charcoal suit. When did you
someone lights and wonder if when they turn
buy a suit? Did you purchase it for your future
people into ashes they’re reborn as cheap gas
daughter’s wedding? Hers or mine? I would have
had you walk me down the aisle instead of my
I remember the day that we scraped soot
father if I had thought it would make a difference.
from your siding because the wind was blowing
Maybe you bought it for a graduation—surely not
west when the mill caught fire and your house went
mine because we hadn’t spoken since I traded in
from faded robin’s egg to chimney smoke. They
my parents’ fighting for a one-way ticket. Maybe I’ll
couldn’t run the trains for days because they had to
mail you a copy of my senior project and leave off a
park the fire engines on the freight tracks, and we
return address so the postmaster can’t send it back
sat in the hot June sun, grey water dripping from
in the mail. It’ll find its way where it needs to go—we
deep red rags wondering if you could go deaf from
all do eventually.
so many sirens day and night.
But if I had been around these past four years,
I spent weeks that summer dreaming that I
maybe I would have known you grew a beard. God,
lost my hearing—sounds snuffed out as quickly as
how did I not know you had grown a beard and that
a light switched off—no slammed garage doors at
your hair color was much more red than it looked in
five a.m. on a Tuesday, no cries behind a bathroom
the sun? Ashes to ashes and dust to packed earth.
door after the shower stops running. I wondered if I
You didn’t want a eulogy at your funeral, but if
would miss it if it was gone, even the bad stuff. The
you had lived just one more day, I would have told
first day we heard the train whistle blow again was
like monarchs coming home and we watched its
You were the first real love of my life. Not like a
metal migration across town in wonder. I was glad I
girl loves a boy but like a little girl loves her daddy
couldn’t pray away my hearing then. Ashes to ashes
when he holds her hand—not any daddy, and
and dust to train smoke.
surely not mine, but a real father, and you were
I thought about all the things I could have put in
the best we had regardless of what that says about
your casket, but the only thing that I wanted to bring
life or small towns or adjusting to adversity. It’s all
you were a couple of cans of Keystone Light, and it
say the right thing but in the amount of times we sit and watch the train go by with the person we care about. It’s learning to swim in the deep end of an above ground pool that never gets above 55°. It’s writing your first letter that you’ll never send. Above all I would have told you how lucky I was to have known you. I would have told you that 17 people showed up for your funeral and everybody cried. I would have told you that you were one of the most loved men in the world by a group of kids who have seen three arrests and two overdoses and still need their dad to tell them what to do. Your son has a job now, you know, and I’m wondering if you’re proud of me for signing a lease on my own. Does God let you send smoke signals from heaven? Puff twice for yes. In the end, more than anything, more than an above all or an in conclusion, I just miss you. And I wish I knew then what I know now—that
Every day, every once in a while, maybe every
sometimes people in your life are hurting and they
couple of hours or months, I miss you. You
don’t know why and, hell, you don’t know why and
shouldn’t have left us so soon.
you’re not going to be able to fix them—no, not even you, little gap-toothed girl trying to save the world. They will continue to hurt and you will be glad you knew them. You just have to love them because we’re all a little broken. I wish I had taken the time, conquered the distance, to pick up a phone and call you these past
Carolyn Cote is a twentytwo-year-old writer, tweeter, and serial dater. She published her first poem
four years between continents and courses, but we
at 13 in a teen anthology and her work has
both know that a love like this can’t be diminished
appeared in Chivomengro. In her spare time,
by time or distance and that even if you were too
she travels to meet with other Abenaki women
drunk, too lost to remember that you had braided my hair at two in the afternoon while the biscuits baked in the oven, I would have sat with you in silence while the phone hummed in our ears. I would have told you and I would have told me that life isn’t measured in the amount of times we
and dreams of being a pow-wow dancer. She is currently working very slowly on a memoir of growing up tan in a sea of Irish Catholics.
Nasty Woman’s Club !
Content mentions rape, sexual assault.
By Alley Shubert
In the bathroom of our cheap hotel I sat on the
tequila and the guys all laughed and gave high fives
bottom of the tub to watch my blood swirl down
the drain as he chain-smoked a pack of Marlboro’s and laughed with the wind and I kicked at the water and clung to my skin wishing I could strip my bones clean.
I spat piss warm PBR on the graffiti floor and went back upstairs to hide in my coat and head for the door but one of the bros gripped his tiny hands around my throat and refused to let me exit
At 19 I blamed my bra straps, cleavage, and short
because a wandering drunk girl in the streets would
skirt for every unwanted touch and at 26 I still have
tip off the police
to think twice about what I wear and when I saw Donald Trump parade around survivors of sexual assault on stage to be used as a ploy in his pathetic political scheme, I shut the TV off. He reminded me of how I felt two years ago when
My friend, she is a Queen, and in full-force girl power she high-fived his back and he loosened his fingers and now I know why my dad whispers into the phone: Don’t forget to grab your Mace, and in the same breath Trump tells Billy Bush: Grab ‘em
my friends and I stood outside of a frat house in our winter jackets
shivering with sad smiles waiting to get in and we almost didn’t because we weren’t showing
enough bra straps, cleavage, and short skirts. Not enough skin. Inside we took our coats off to the smell of sticky, sweaty bodies stuck together like Laffy Taffy in a musty basement where the bros clinked their beer bottles together in perfect harmony while the girls chugged
Amanda Duane is an artist studying Creative Media at Champlain College in Burlington VT. When she isn’t trying to make art, she is probably binging another show on Netflix or crying over puppies on Instagram. She was inspired by a Beau Taplin quote (right) to create the drawing that appears in this zine (above).
by the pussy. You can do anything and instead of an
remember why women wear finger nail polish to
apology he says, It’s just locker room talk.
detect a date rape drug.
Locker room talk creates little boys like Brock Turner
When Trump tells women, “I go through the roof
who took an unconscious girl behind a dumpster
when I get home and dinner isn’t ready,” we must
and raped her over and over and he only served
resist and remember why women have protective
three months in jail because,
clothing designed to not rip off.
“It’s such a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of
Because we need to stop teaching women how to
not be raped and start teaching the Brock Turners
And I sat above my grandmother Rhoda to hear the leaves rustle below as she turned over in her grave to her own autobiography of 17-year-old her taken to a dingy bathroom to be raped by a blue-collared
of the world not to rape and whenever I see Trump, I see the man who made me want to shed my skin in the tub and let it dry on the coat rack. I am a woman.
married workingman and she bore his son nine
I am a feminist.
I am a human being first.
The only option back then was to not talk about
So if this is what it takes to be a bad feminist, a
“those kinds of things” and if this is what it means
naughty girl, unlady-like, or a nasty woman, then I
to Make America Great Again, I want out of those
will fight like hell. History will not repeat itself for my
alternative facts. They are as fake as the toupee
Trump brushes from his head but the reality is: Alley Shubert
History repeated in my family in a rundown
moved to Burlington,
bathroom from my grandmother to me and
VT, four years ago
statistically one out of six women and girls will
and has dedicated
become victims of sexual assault in their lifetime— their body a crime scene to be picked at with fine-
her time to activism, advocacy, and
writing since. She has helped on a
When Trump refers to a woman as a “young
number of legislative issues including
and beautiful piece of ass,” we must resist and
paid maternity and paternity leave
remember why women have apps on their phones to track them. When Trump tells women, “It must be a pretty sight. You dropping to your knees,” we must resist and
as well as raising the minimum wage to a livable wage for all Vermonters. In the future, the feminist in Alley hopes to work in women’s empowerment with sexual assault
survivors, and to educate our future generation by putting an end to violence against women.
Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be desecrated. Your body is a forest—
thick canopies of maples and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting under the wood. You will grow back over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.
— Beau Taplin
The Political is Personal By Sarah Wilkinson
After the first wave of feminism, which lasted
capitalism, decided that the best division of labor
from the 1830s to 1920, all American women had
would be for men to work outside the home, and
the right to vote under the 19th Amendment. They
for women to work inside it. Of course, working
could own property. They could attend college.
inside the home was never considered worthy of
They didn’t have to hand over their paychecks to
payment because it didn’t produce any capital.
their husbands. They could be doctors. They could
The invisible hands of women scrubbing pans
divorce their husbands.
and babies’ bottoms behind closed doors were at
Winning these freedoms wasn’t easy. Utah, for
least one version of the invisible hand that Smith
example, gave women the right to vote in 1870 but
theorized kept the whole economic system rolling,
took it away in 1887 under the Edmunds-Tucker Act,
even if he never formally recognized it.
which sought to eliminate polygamy, of all things.
Women in Utah regained their right to vote in 1895 after a sustained suffragette movement, and by 1920, all women in the U.S. could vote.
The mountain had been high, but together firstwavers succeeded in climbing it. Women were a step closer to equality. But they still had a long way to go. In 1920, it was legal for a man to rape his wife. It was legal for employers to fire women for being pregnant, or for getting married. Women couldn’t get a legal abortion. They couldn’t join the military or get an Ivy League degree. They couldn’t serve on a jury. They made 59 cents for every dollar that a man made. Most married young, had children young, and never entered the workforce. A woman’s place had been in the home since 1776, when Adam Smith, the founder of modern
Second-Wavers Forged Ahead Things began to shift leading up to and during World War II, when women steadily filled factory jobs that had been abandoned by men who went overseas to fight. When the war ended and the men came home, women were once again relegated to the sidelines, destined to remain housewives and mothers. Rumor had it that they weren’t capable of doing a man’s work—despite the fact that they had been doing it throughout the war. This forced return to domesticity was a driving force for the next wave of women’s rights activists. By 1960, the second wave of feminism had risen and the goals had changed. Debate opened up around issues of sexuality, reproductive rights, family dynamics, women in the workplace, “Political” continued on page 38.
Jessica Taras-Setter is a graphic designer located in Grand Rapids, MI, who graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design in December of 2015. Within the city she has worked in fields such as advertising, marketing, photography, photo editing, videography, and video editing. The Planned Parenthood advertisement included in this zine (right) is one of a series of three. The rest of the campaign can be found on her website at Behance.net/setterj. Of the design, Jessica says, “I respect the ability of people to find sanctuary in their church. However, you need to give me sanctuary over my own body.”
domestic violence, and other inequalities. First-
Women’s bodies and the issues pertaining to
wave feminism had succeeded in gaining women
them were successfully politicized as a result of
a handful of critical rights, but it didn’t successfully
second-wave feminism. It’s become increasingly
politicize women’s issues. Any problem that a
common for state and federal legislatures to openly
woman had was still considered a personal one
debate women’s rights as part of their agendas, and
that she alone was responsible for fixing, and
many liberal politicians include women’s rights as
second-wave feminism was determined to change
part of their platforms.
that misconception. In 1969, Carol Hanisch wrote a paper called, “The Personal is Political” which sought to make that very point: women’s issues at home and at work are political issues. They belonged in political debate
How Politicization Became Oppression While it’s true that the politicization of women’s issues has been critical in our move toward equality, this politicization
has also become
to oppress us.
efforts of second-
of women is
so is legislation
designed to force
women to finance
and host funerals
for their miscarried
even if they still
found themselves responsible for the bulk of all domestic work and child care, an imbalance that persists today. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made employment discrimination on the basis of sex illegal. Domestic abuse shelters opened their doors across the country. Women could legally use birth control. Social activism groups had exploded onto the scene. Women could obtain an abortion with the help of doctors rather than wire coat hangers. Single women couldn’t be discriminated against by creditors. Marital rape was slowly becoming illegal in all states. Title IX gave women equal access to federally funded educational programs, creating new opportunities in high school and college athletics and opening the door for increased protections against sexual harassment and assault. Women could be jurors. They could be pilots in the Air Force. They couldn’t be fired for becoming pregnant.
fetuses, as was recently proposed in Texas. Bringing women to the forefront of political discussion has opened doors for us, but it has also put many of our rights in perpetual limbo. Any win is a cautious one because we never know when it might be taken away from us again, even if temporarily. When state and federal legislators—whom are still predominately white men—debate women’s issues, they are debating our bodies and their value. When equal pay legislation is on the docket, the question is always, “Is a woman as valuable as a man?” The answer has, as of yet, been no. When a bill on abortion restrictions is introduced into a state legislature, it’s not a question of what is best for women and their equal participation in society. It’s about upholding traditional Christian values. It’s about protecting the status quo of male domination. If it was about being pro-life, these same congressmen would be working tirelessly to
end homelessness, violence against black people,
have realized that our voices are stronger together,
and the war in the Middle East. It’s about control.
and that when there’s room for discrimination
A surefire way to keep women from achieving the
against one group, there’s room for discrimination
same success as men is to restrict their ability to
against all of us.
prevent unwanted pregnancies. When asked why he
Our movement has become more expansive
thought women wanted access to abortions in the
and inclusive, but we are still fighting the same
first place, Ohio State Representative Jim Buchy said,
battles we’ve been fighting for decades, and that’s
“It’s a question I’ve never even thought about.”
because we have been politicized as bodies rather
Legislators and people in other positions
than human beings. It’s easier to take rights away
of power seem to forget that women are more
when you’re taking them from an object. It’s much
than just bodies. Our culture suffers from the
harder to take those same rights away from a
misconception that women’s bodies are somehow
human being who feels and suffers.
separate from their minds, and the latter is very
Carol Hanisch was the first to coin the phrase
much silenced even as our breasts are plastered all
“personal is political”, which became a rallying cry
over subways and magazines to sell anything from
for second-wavers. Together, they succeeded in
cheeseburgers to perfume. This separation of body
politicizing women’s bodies by underlining that
and mind was recently seen in Brock Turner’s court
the challenges and exclusion that women faced
case, when the focus of the court’s conversation
had political consequences. Our work now is to
shifted to how prison would harm Turner, not how
make it known that the political is personal, that
his sexual assault emotionally harmed his victim.
what happens in House and Senate chambers
If the judge had seen the young woman as more
has personal consequences not just for bodies,
than just a body, perhaps Turner would have served
but for human beings who deserve compassion.
more than three months in prison.
Women will never reach a place of true equality
While the debate has been about our bodies,
until we and every other marginalized group
it hasn’t been about us—women who have always
are recognized as having an essential value, not
been and always will be more than just bodies.
as bodies, but as people. And that can’t happen,
Make no mistake: the men in Congress and in other
for one, until a woman’s life is considered more
positions of power understand that by limiting
valuable than that of her unborn fetus.
access to family planning services, they are creating
Third-wave feminists: we have work to do.
more space at the top for men. They understand that eliminating barriers to firearms while limiting access to birth control reflects who has power in our society and who doesn’t. They understand that by refusing legislation to close the wage gap, they are cushioning white male success. They understand that having no paid family leave, or
Sarah Wilkinson has been
having only paid maternity leave without the same
published in several magazines
option for fathers, holds women back from a more
including Atticus Review,
inclusive participation in the economy. Our Work Isn’t Over Our voices have become louder. We are now an intersectional movement, understanding that the oppression of women is not isolated from the oppression of people of color, or those within the LGBTQIA community, or people with disabilities. We
Amarillo Bay, Lime Hawk, Litro, and others. She’s currently working on a collection of stories exploring all the ways in which the political gets personal.
By Jana Pietrzyk
Content references disorderly eating, water intoxication, vulnerability.
Look at us vulnerable
someone I didn’t even know
at us depending
was angry at me
on something other
this society I’m in has trained me to close the gap,
II. Sister, Sister, listen to me:
to close the difference
The space around you is for you
to take up.
for the situation
the space around you is for you
or another person;
to fill up.
I have been trained
the space around you
for my existence
to take it up.
and for your wrong. I used to drink water by the pitcher until my stomach hurt,
So take it up. Do not apologize for the situation, or another person.
until my brain hurt,
Do not apologize for your existence,
until I was flooded.
or someone else’s wrong.
And could rinse the discomfort from my system with discomfort
Do not apologize for your lightening fire, or your love and kindness, your here-to-fight sobbing,
I used to not eat
your belly-over laughing
Close the gap
and hours I still cannot eat around confrontation
but, do not apologize for living.
I still cannot eat
Close the difference
when I don’t feel safe
but, do not apologize for the space around
I cannot eat because look at us look at us here.
you being nothing without you.
Gabby Wales is an emerging artist, primarily working with digital video and fiber art. She currently studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and combines her technical background in film with a love for fine arts. She works with textiles and metal to explore the duality of materials in relation to each other. Her sculptures, “3D Watercolor” (pg. 41) and “Body” (cover) appear in this zine.
Dear Sisters, (Can I Call You Sister?) Yes All Sisters By Jana Pietrzyk Whoever you may be I will love you. You think like the first black bird to rest its feet on the soft thawing earth. Your heart is as curious as honey drizzled from a spoon over jam and toast.
You are bright light, arching over the mountains, you are howling dogs chins lifted towards the moon, I see you like I see the ocean like I see the sky, like I see Vermont looming in the distance, I know you are here. And when we band together, like a pack of wolves, we are merciless. And when we band together like stars in the sky we are kindness. And when we band together like sisters of the earth, we are the seam between the mountains and the sea the desert and the city, the forest and the prairie, we are a quilt keeping warm on a winterâ€™s night.
Jana Pietrzyk is a Gryffindor-Sorted, Ravenclaw-Chosen human being, who currently recommends bestsellers and classics at a bustling bookstore on the Connecticut shoreline. She is a Champlain College graduate, and is thoroughly in love with the moon. Two of her poems (pgs. 40-42) appear in this zine. This is her first publication.
Y-E-S. One syllable. Three letters. Yes. This simple word was learned early in life. We said “yes” if we wanted ice cream. We
By Caitlin Ludke
You Don’t Have to be a Martyr
As a people-pleaser, “yes” has become an overly familiar phrase. Saying “yes” to people makes me happy; I like being able to do things for others. However, I’m learning that saying “yes” should not
said “yes” if we wanted to go somewhere or do
mean giving up on your own happiness just to
something. But as we grew, “yes” became a complex
please—or rather, try to please—someone else. I
word with lots of baggage. It became a phrase that
want to be a woman who can say “no.”
women say all the time because we feel like we have to. We say “yes” to our bosses because we
“No” is a good word. I think we should all practice saying “no” in the
don’t want to disappoint them. We say “yes” to our
mirror so that when we have to say it, it doesn’t
significant others because we want to make them
sound so foreign. I’ve found that being able to tell
someone “no” does not mean you are weak. It does not mean you are incapable. What it does mean
is that you are making a choice for yourself. For young adults in particular, it is important to learn that putting your foot down is okay. It’s okay to walk away from something if it doesn’t make you happy. You don’t have to be a martyr. Life is too damn short for that.
Caitlin Ludke is a Psychology major with an interest in public relations studying at Champlain College. She has written blogs for A&S Beer and Champlain College Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In her spare time, she can be found scaling the walls at Petra Cliffs Climbing Center or playing with her fluffy cat.
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
— Senator Mitch McConnell after silencing Senator Elizabeth Warren when she attempted to read a 1986 letter from Corretta Scott King which criticized the February 2017 attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions. “She persisted,” became a rallying cry for women.
Cover image by Gabby Wales.
Proceeds from this publication benefit:
Dirty Words is a feminist zine created to explore the female experience through through the work of a diverse group of writers and artists....
Published on Apr 27, 2017
Dirty Words is a feminist zine created to explore the female experience through through the work of a diverse group of writers and artists....