Bare Beauty Issue
EQUALTIME Editor in Chief
Gabriela Julia @gabrielaajulia
EDITORIAL Health Editor Caitlin Johnston @caitlin_johnston_
DIGITAL & SOCIAL Beauty Editor Meaghanne Oâ€™Connell @meaghanneoconnell
Lifestyle Editor Liz Staruszkiewicz @lizlstar
Fashion Editor Sarah Felbin @sarah.felbin
Beauty Director Shannon Stubbs @shannstu
Culture Editor Blessing Emole @guac_emole
Beauty Editor Agaru Masters @agarumasters Features Editors Micah Castelo @mj_castelo Marissa Russo @rawrrissaa Fashion Editors Colton Madore @colton_madore Jo Allen @joemilyallen Staff Photographer Shuran Huang @shuranhuang Designers Dara Jin @daraj7 Dorothy Fang @_dorothyf Grace Lively @gracealively Jordan Schnitzer @jordanschnitzer Julia Lawrence @_julialawrence
Health Editor, Campus Life Editor Quinn Gawronski @quinngawronski Social Media Director Claire Mackman @claire_mackman Social Media Assistant Anna Morello @annammorello
PR Director of PR and Collabs Vanessa Rojas-Castillo @vanessaprc Assistant PR Directors Stevie Gonzalez @_steviewonder_ Olivia Ly @olivialy46
SPECIAL THANKS Harriet Brown & Fashion Association of Design Students
Equal Time is not responsible for the individual opinions expressed within. Equal Time is published twice an academic year at Syracuse University. All contents within are copyright of the respectful creators. No content may be reproduced without the written consent of the Equal Time editorial board.
s a teen heading into college, I was quiet, timid, and uncomfortable with the way I looked. I had cystic acne that covered my chin and forehead, and I had dry, chemically-processed hair that started to fall out. I became obsessed with my body image and developed an unhealthy relationship with food. Now, just days away from graduating, I feel relieved to say I’m 100 percent OK with the person I’ve become. I don’t walk around as this radiant ball of confidence, but I’ve stopped wishing I looked like and lived like someone else. That’s because I realize “perfect” doesn’t exist. As women, we’re constantly worried about how we’re perceived. Some of us try to hide our scars
(page 12) or wear wigs to cover up an absence of hair (page 30). And our physical appearance isn’t the only thing that makes us self conscious. We also hide what we feel are our deepest secrets, like having an eating disorder (page 6) or a mental illness we keep from our partners (page 22). This Equal Time issue is full of raw, uncensored stories from women our age. It’s dedicated to the women who’ve had a hard time coming to terms with their natural selves. It’s for the women who don’t fully accept what they were born with, but are making the effort to one day fall in love with themselves. This issue is for you. It’s for me. It’s for us. It’s a reminder that the bare you is beautiful.
Gabriela Julia @gabrielaajulia mag.syr.edu/equaltime | 1
SCHOOL V. HEALTH Here’s what happens when students can’t afford food
STORIES BEHIND SCARS
WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
These marks have hidden messages
Dating with a mental illness is not easy
LIVING WITH ALOPECIA How two women embrace their baldness
BREAKING THROUGH TRADITION Never forget, home is where the style is
3. Break a Sweat These workouts were made for you
9. My Skin Situation The healthy way to clear breakouts
24. The Scary Truth STDs are spreading like crazy. Are you safe?
28. No Such Standard How students from other countries define “beauty”
25. Survey Says See how often your peers get tested
32. Shout Your Abortion Women open up about this controversial topic
36. On a Gender Bender Men’s clothing has a place in your wardrobe
6. The Silent Disorder Let’s talk about binge eating 7. Peace and Quiet Take an hour a day to recharge over break 8. A Sustainable Cycle Pros & cons of eco-friendly menstrual products
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10. Your Hair, Your Choice Stop obsessing over body hair 14. Natural Glam on a Budget The healthy way to clear breakouts
26. Pain or Pleasure Sexperts answer questions you’re too afraid to ask
15. Quench Your Thirst Natural remedies for dry skin and hair
27. Let’s Get Comfortable What’s your favorite sex position?
16. Bye Bye, Boring Eyes Add a pop of color to your bare face
37. Bigger is Better How to layer oversized pieces the right way
Health & Fitness
If you can’t find a routine that will keep you in shape, follow this fitness flow chart to see which workout matches your personality. BY CAITLIN JOHNSTON
ARE YOU... Extroverted?
You’d rather explore your fitness journey on your own and the most practical workout is a good cardio session. Whether you’re at the gym or outdoors, a nice run or bike ride will get you on track.
HIKING, SWIMMING, BIKING
You’re totally OK with working out in the comfort of your home. You like to push yourself past your limit but you don’t need a fancy gym. Grab a yoga mat, download a workout app, or follow along to at-home workout videos on YouTube.
You’d benefit from quick, challenging workouts that leave you feeling stronger. High intensity interval training will push you harder than any other workout in the shortest amount of time.
You’re motivated and focused on your personal goals, but you don’t mind working out around other people. Whether you’re on a treadmill or hitting the weight machines, the gym is the perfect place for you to develop a routine.
GYM Looking for group fun?
You need a change of scenery every now and then to stay motivated. You don’t mind working out with other people, but you’d definitely prefer spending time alone. Take a hike, go for a swim, or take a nice bike ride to clear your thoughts while you get your sweat on.
GROUP WORKOUT CLASSES
You want to explore what your body has to offer and would much rather do it in a calm setting. You’re not too focused on breaking a sweat and prefer to focus on how your body and mind can work together.
You’re not one for the same gym routine every day, which is why signing up for different classes throughout the week will keep you excited. Try zumba, barre, or pilates. That way, you can bring a friend along and learn how to motivate each other.
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Young and Hungry Food insecurity affects college students across the country, but what are schools doing to help them? BY MICAH CASTELO ILLUSTRATION BY DOROTHY FANG
hloe Kim* lived off SpaghettiOs for two weeks last May. She didn’t have money to buy groceries because her paycheck was delayed that month, so she had to choose between buying food or missing her bill payments. Kim, a 20-year-old college student in Minnesota, found a cardboard box full of 20 SpaghettiOs cans left outside someone’s apartment after they moved out. She took them
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without question. Kim is embarrassed about her struggle, which is why she requested to exclude her true last name for this story. And while her story isn’t one she is proud of, it’s a story of food insecurity, which affects college students across the country. Food insecurity is the limited or uncertain availability or access to healthy and safe foods, according to the Department of Agriculture. Students are dealing with the burden of choosing between feeding themselves and paying for school, especially as financial aid fails to keep up with rising college costs, according to a report from the College Board. Students like Kim don’t always talk about food insecurity, even though half of undergraduate students in the United States experience the issue while pursuing their degrees, according to a 2018 report released by the Hope Center for College. A nationwide survey of 43,000 students conducted by Wisconsin HOPE Lab and Temple University also revealed 42 percent of community college students and 36 percent of university students had limited access to safe food. “We’ve heard stories of students who are skipping meals, going to class hungry, and not being able to focus because they can’t afford food,” says Sarah Madsen, a graduate apprentice for the Student Success Initia-
tives at Baylor University. The Student Success Initiatives is a program that houses on-campus food resources for college students, including fridges across campus, a food pantry, a mobile food pantry, and a free farmers market. Madsen says the initiative is continuing research, both qualitative and quantitative, to understand what students need. Since people often view Baylor as a selective and affluent institution, the organization had a difficult time convincing people food insecurity exists on campus, Madsen says. Tuition, books, and other school supplies may take away from the amount of money students have to buy food, she adds. “Many students also say they’re spending a lot of money on gas and rent, so sometimes, the food they can afford is only ramen and a two-liter soda for the week.” Food insecurity can also be shortterm. If students get sick and have to pay their doctors a $20 co-pay fee, that $20 might come from their food budget, Madsen says. Other students are unable to eat simply because they don’t have time to. “I’ve seen students work 40 hours a week,” she explains. “They take classes back to back just so they can work.” Back in Minnesota, Kim has faced food insecurity for eight months. She works as a resident assistant and receptionist at her university, clocking in 20 to 30 hours each week to pay tuition. The money she earns also goes toward food, but it’s not enough to keep her full because her income is below minimum wage for the metro area she lives in. She also lives in a food desert, which means she has limited access to affordable, nutritious food. “There are no grocery stores within a mile from my apartment—only small convenience stores where prices are jacked up or the selection is highly limited,”
Kim says. “Most of the food available is dining-out options which are unhealthy, and costs really add up.” In those two weeks of eating strictly SpaghettiOs, Kim says she felt lethargic and sick. Now, she often skips meals—even if she feels the adverse effects of not eating a well-balanced diet. “I would rather go hungry now and be able to make bill payments than buy groceries and be late on dues,” she says. When she does buy food, Kim is always conscious of her budget. To stay full, she drinks plenty of water and tea. And to save money, the most she eats is one meal a day, usually a variation of the same ingredients—rice, stock, eggs, and vegetables. But she wishes she could eat fresh meat and a decent selection of vegetables at an affordable price.
I would rather go hungry now and be able to make bill payments than buy groceries and be late on dues Colleges across the U.S. are trying to respond to these issues. At Syracuse University, Syeisha Byrd, director of the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry, is coming up with new ways to make sure the pantry is available to students during the year. She’s encouraging other university departments to sponsor and stock the pantry for one month. She also wants to teach students who use their pantry how to preserve and meal prep to save money. Michigan State University’s Student Food Bank—the first food pan-
try in the nation founded by students, for students—is also working to spread the word about their resources through promotional items. Nicole Edmonds, the director of MSU’s Student Food Bank, says the organization wants to combat the social stigma and help students who feel embarrassed or ashamed to use similar resources. “There’s this mentality that you’re supposed to struggle in college—that everybody is poor and people get by on ramen noodles,” she says. Kim says her university has resources available for students who are food insecure, but she doesn’t find them convenient. Her school offers a shuttle to transport students to affordable grocery stores, but the shuttle is only available for four hours on occasional Sundays. The university also has a food pantry for students, but it’s only set up once every semester in the student union. At times, she’s been able to rely on family members who sent groceries through an online delivery service. She says she didn’t get anything special, but it took her pantry beyond rice and eggs. “I almost cried at being able to make good-tasting food,” she says. While food insecurity has affected Kim’s health, she says it’s also hurt her social and academic life. She spends most of her time working to pay for school, which takes away from going out and spending time with friends. And on the days she skips meals, she has a hard time focusing during class. “I barely want to eat anymore because I’m stuck eating the same shit all the time,” Kim says. “It’s a hassle to even get the food and it’s expensive as hell when I do get it.”
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Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the country and two survivors explain why people often overlook it. BY CAITLIN JOHNSTON Jaclyn DeGregorio sat in the campus dining hall with her roomates and closest friends during her freshman year of college. They talked about the food they ate, the workouts they had planned, and the newest diet fads. These daily conversations eventually led DeGregorio to an eating disorder that took over her life. She was once content with her body, but this perception changed after gaining a couple of pounds. “I actually always wanted to gain weight as a kid. I was sort of made fun of for being really skinny so this is something in the past I would have honestly liked,” DiGregorio says. “But because of the constant talk [with friends] of not being skinny enough or thin enough, I thought ‘oh, no I need to go on a diet too.’ That is where it started.” DeGregorio, a binge eating disorder survivor, graduated from college and later founded CuspIt, a company that helps women develop a healthy relationship with food. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a life-threatening, but also treatable eating disorder that causes people to eat large portions of food until they feel discomfort, according to the National Eating Disorders website. This cycle of food restriction and overeating leads to weight fluctuation and doctors misdiagnosing heavier patients. More than 3 percent of women and 2 percent of men suffer from the disorder, making it three times more common
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than anorexia and bulimia combined. It’s the most common eating disorder in the United States, yet it’s often overlooked, DeGregorio says. Most underweight college-aged women are happier with their bodies than those in the normal or overweight range, which is why dieting, body dysmorphia, and justifying the food you eat is normalized in conversation, DeGregorio says. “As someone who didn’t have those issues before college, I really developed them in the dorm life. All my roommates and all the girls on my freshman floor talked about what they ate all the time.” As DeGregorio gained weight in college, her friends and family never realized she had an eating disorder. She restricted her food intake until her body forced her mind out of control. That’s when the bingeing started, followed by guilt. The food she restricted herself from eating, like added sugars and sweets, caused her to binge when she couldn’t control herself anymore. She’d then find a new diet and the cycle continued. “It is linked to depression and anxiety and really low feelings of selfworth,” DeGregorio says. “I started to feel really bad about myself and it impacted my grades and my social life and caused me to be a lot less of the person I was.” Some people with BED only notice the weight gain and ignore the unhealthy eating habits and emotional side effects. They’ll then look
to a health professional for a diet plan to help lower their weight, which only worsens BED. Chevese Turner, a BED survivor who started the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), created a community to educate people on proper treatment. “One of the biggest misconceptions about binge eating disorder is that bingeing is the only piece, when in fact restriction is also a key part,” Turner says. About 81 percent of people with the disorder are within the higher weight range, which is why health professionals often prescribe weight loss, she says. This stems from the misconception that heavier bodies are unhealthy. Turner has enrolled in diet, weight management, and eating disorder programs. She lived in a constant weight-gain-weight-loss cycle until she learned how to battle this disorder the correct way. She found experts on BED and talked with therapists to help handle the mental issues that intertwine with the disorder. Turner also worked on the relationships in her life to help build a support group. She says it’s important to know recovery is possible — it takes time and effort, but it is possible. “A big part of any eating disorder is the personal issues that you’re dealing with: mood disorders, family issues, other mental health issues that you may be struggling with,” she says. “Be gentle with yourself.”
UNWINDYOURMIND Feeling overwhelmed with holidays approaching? Treat yourself to some “me time.” BY MICAH CASTELO The sleepless nights, over-caffeinated mornings, and seemingly endless work you’ve gone through this semester is finally winding down. Winter break is right around the corner, which gives you a chance to recharge through a self-care routine. But what exactly is self-care? Ellen Bard, an independent consultant psychologist and self-care blogger based in Thailand, says, “It means looking after yourself emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually.” Bard, who recently wrote This is For You, a workbook filled with creative, evidence-based self-care exercises, says slowing down and making time for yourself is important because we live in a world of constant stimuli which can increase our stress levels. “But self-care is not the answer to all ills,” she adds. “It’s something that should be built into our daily lives.” Crystal Morrison-Joseph, a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland and author of Pound Cake and Private Practice, says making time for self-care can improve your worldview, maintain healthy boundaries with those around you, and boost your self-confidence. “Once you conquer putting yourself first, then the guilt and shame is dissolved—you’re better able to engage with those around you and you don’t feel selfish for taking time for yourself,” she says. Bard encourages people to make a list of five to 10 activities you enjoy and would like to experiment with. Not sure where to start? Here are some ways you can incorporate self-care into your week:
One of the immediate responses people have to self-care is “I’m too busy.” But sometimes, you have to make time. Morrison-Joseph suggests color-coding your activities by day or by hour using a calendar. Find the white spaces in your schedule and use those to pencil in some “me time.”
“Me time” is a subset of self-care that focuses on indulgence, Bard says. “It’s a way of telling your subconscious that you’re important, that you deserve to be looked after,” she says. Try going on a solo date—spend a quiet afternoon with a book, make a fancy homemade dinner, or even catch a movie on your own. Don’t feel inclined to splurge. The point is it’s all about you and what you want to do.
Break out your calendar
TUESDAY Tune it up
You don’t have to start off with something big—self-care can be as simple as making a playlist. Bard says she has one to make her feel positive and upbeat through the week. Use whatever music program you like— from Spotify to Apple Music—to curate your own playlist and dance like no one’s watching.
WEDNESDAY Room makeover
One way you can invest time in yourself is by making your space a more nourishing place, Bard explains. She suggests thinking about what aesthetically pleases you and brings you joy as you transform the space you use to recharge. If you’re the creative type, try making your own decor. If you don’t have money to splurge, rearrange and declutter your space to bring life to it.
The holiday season can be difficult for people who can’t visit their family for financial reasons. Morrison-Joseph suggests replicating rituals you’re used to doing with your family, whether that’s baking sugar cookies or blasting your favorite holiday jingles to feel like you’re back at home.
SATURDAY Draw the line
Going home for the holidays can put people on survival mode, Morrison-Joseph says. She explains that some people may be surrounded by family members they don’t get along with, so it’s important to set boundaries with them. You might have to practice saying “no” to requests or invitations and come up with boundary-setting phrases when things get heated at the dinner table.
Enjoy the little things
Although it’s easier said than done, it’s vital to find small moments of joy in your day. Bard says we often forget this when we’re always on the go and ruminate over things outside of ourselves. Take a step back and intentionally think about the little things in your life that bring you happiness—whether it’s drinking a cup of hot coffee on a chilly day or catching up with an old friend for half an hour. It’s true that finding the time to care for yourself can be difficult, but don’t be afraid to take on that challenge. At the end of the day, taking little steps towards self-care can give you new ways to cope with stress and recenter your life when it gets overwhelming.
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GREENHYGIENE Control your flow with these three sustainable menstrual products. BY GABRIELA JULIA I’m no expert when it comes to menstrual hygiene. I first got my period when I was 10 and for the past 13 years, I’ve continued the same, basic routine when my monthly friend arrives. For the first few hours, I crunch into a ball to alleviate the excruciating cramps while moaning like a cow ready to give birth. Once my 1,000 mg of Ibuprofen kicks in, the flow starts and I alternate between disposable pads and plastic tampons for five days. Once it’s
over, I thank God and enjoy the next three weeks of not having blood run between my legs. Pads and tampons have always been the most convenient products since you can find them in any drugstore. But last month, I came across a few numbers that made me rethink what I insert into my body. Plastic sanitary products require 500-800 years to decompose and can even fill dozens of acres of landfill in some countries,
according to Eco Femme, a menstrual health organization based in South India. Those convenient choices I made every month were destroying the globe. I did more research and purchased three menstrual products that not only help save the environment, but also help save the $170 I spend on pads, tampons, and panty liners a year. I’ve documented my experience and the pros and cons of each.
When I first learned these sponges come from the ocean, I questioned whether or not I was comfortable with putting a sea creature up my vagina. I decided to give it a chance since reviews said they are natural, absorbent, and last three to six hours. I ordered the small sponges, which are an inch and a half to two inches in diameter. I trimmed the sponge with clean scissors into the shape of a tampon and inserted it as usual. Pros: They are reusable, easy to clean with hand soap, and easy to insert. Cons: I found a bit of leakage—probably because I wore it on the first day of my period, which is the heaviest—so I recommend wearing a liner. They also don’t have a string for an easy pullout, so it’s a bit uncomfortable feeling around for it. Would I try again? Probably not. The sea creature thing still creeps me out. Price: $22 for two small sponges at Jade & Pearl.
The cups are pretty popular, but I always thought they’d cause a bloody mess. The DivaCup, which lasts up to 12 hours, has lots of positive reviews, so I figured it was worth trying. I wet the rim, folded it, and slid it inside. But when I took it out, I couldn’t believe how much blood comes from my body in half a day. Pros: The cup lasts very long, even through the night. You also won’t feel it sitting inside you, unlike the sponge and some tampons. But the best part is one cup can last up to 10 years. Cons: The first time I took it out, blood splattered all over the toilet seat and floor, so be careful. You also have to wash it before you insert it again, so you can only change it in a place where you have soap and water. Would I try again? Absolutely, they last forever. Price: $30 for the cup and $9 for the cleaner on Amazon.
I initially thought absorbent panties would look more like a diaper, so I was shocked to see they’re actually form-fitting and a little cheeky. I wore them to sleep like regular panties and felt no leakage since they absorb the same amount of blood as two tampons. The panties also last up to 24 hours, but I felt a bit uncomfortable leaving them on for an entire day and night. Pros: Extremely comfortable and can last up to two years with proper care. You also have a range of style options, from thongs to full-body unitards. Cons: Once you’re done, you’ll have to wash by hand before putting them in the washing machine. I wouldn’t recommend washing them with other clothes because there’s A LOT of blood, so one wash cycle for just one pair of underwear is inconvenient. Would I try again? Yes, especially on a day when comfort is key. Price: $24-$39 depending on the style from Thinx.
If my period diary inspired you to buy new products, be sure to speak with your doctor beforehand so you’re aware of possible side effects. 8 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
A comprehensive guide to healing your most stubborn breakouts BY SHANNON STUBBS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WENG CHEONG Two years ago, I had pimple-free and poreless skin. But after using one faulty product, this clear canvas completely changed. My forehead was littered with whiteheads and nodules. I couldn’t control myself from popping and prodding at blemishes. Deep acne scars and hyperpigmentation covered my face after multiple rounds of athome extractions. I had no idea how to treat breakouts and my self-esteem took a hit. I had to learn perfect skin doesn’t exist. I fell victim to the social stigma that tells women scars, acne, and rashes are ugly, and it took years to realize these blemishes are normal. I had to prioritize health over looks. I invested in products and a routine that healed the underlying layers of my skin, and stopped destroying the surface layer by picking pimples as a quick fix. The process was long, and I know these unexpected problems can affect any woman’s self esteem, so I created a comprehensive guide to starting a healthy skin journey. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH When your skin starts to change, you might ask the people closest to you for product recommendations. Don’t do this—Your friends might be a go-to resource for dating and fashion advice, but you shouldn’t take their word as gospel when it comes to healing a breakout. Everyone has different skin types, and what works for them could wreak havoc on your skin. Do you have sensitive skin? That physical exfoliant that your friend was raving about might do more harm than good. Are you acne prone? Do you have an oily T-zone? It’s important to know what steps you should take based on
your skin type. Those with oily or acne-prone skin should use cleansers that contain blemish-fighting salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, but those with dry skin only have to use a gentle gel or cream cleanser, according to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website. Sensitive skin types may have to take more precaution when using harsher acids (i.e. patch testing), while normal skin types are usually more resilient to these stronger ingredients. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT Consistency is key when you want to change any aspect of your life. Once you find the right products or methods for treating your skin, stick to them. Establish a daily routine, whether it’s made up of 10 steps or only three. You’ll never know a product’s potential if you only use it sporadically. When I first changed my skin routine, I switched out products when I didn’t see immediate results and it only led to the search for something new. Once I created a strict daily regimen, my skin started to heal. And the most important part of your routine is to always take off makeup and cleanse your face before bed—I had to learn this the hard way. SEE A DERMATOLOGIST IF ALL ELSE FAILS You might feel like you’ve tried everything and still see zero progress. If you’ve been committed to a routine that isn’t working, you may need to consult a professional. They may be able to detect a skin problem you don’t know you have and can prescribe treatments you won’t find in drugstores. If you can’t reach a derma-
tologist due to accessibility or affordability, you still have other resources. You can read dermatologists’ website or look for women online who have similar skin issues and skin types. BE PATIENT No matter what YouTube clickbait-y titles say, no product or treatment will change your skin overnight. The waiting game is the hardest part on the road to healing skin, but you’ll eventually find what works for you. If your skin responds well to a product, run with it and don’t get caught up in trying new items hoping they’ll work faster. Remember everyone deals with blemishes, but don’t get too caught up on the appearance when healthy skin is what’s important.
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Grow All Out
To shave or not to shave? Three women open up about their struggle with body hair. BY MARISSA RUSSO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WENG CHEONG
t 14 years old, Erica Russell was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This hormonal imbalance causes women to produce more testosterone than estrogen, which leads to body hair growth. Russell began shaving her body regularly, including her face, chest, and legs almost every day to get rid of dark, coarse hair. Russell, now 23, has learned to accept her body hair. Although she continues to shave, she no longer obsesses over getting rid of it. “It doesn’t matter what you look like. Be yourself,” Russell says, “That’s the most beautiful part about you. ” A women spends more than 58 hours shaving during her lifetime and invests about $10,207 in shaving equipment, according to the Lucy Peters Aesthetic Center in New York City, which specializes in hair removal. Russell understands this pressure to remove body hair, especially when she thinks back to being a teenager and speaking with other people her age who didn’t understand PCOS. As Russell got older, she slowly managed to accept her hair growth. A few years after being diagnosed with PCOS, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and meningitis. “Compared to everything else I’ve gone through, [body hair] is like a dot on the radar,” she says. But at times, excessive body hair is still difficult to deal with and she follows body-positive social media accounts to remind her she isn’t alone.
Lauren Millar, 23, and Sarah Montgomery, 21, understand the impact women have when they embrace body hair on social media. The couple from Northern Ireland decided individually to grow out their underarm hair, and dyed it different colors to “make it more fun.” They later decided to document this hair-growth journey and created an Instagram profile called A
It bothered me so much to see men walking around with their leg hair and no one would bat an eyelid, but if a woman dared to have a single hair on her leg, it was a big deal Body Hair Revolution (@BodyHairRevolution). “We always wanted to be those people separately, you know, who never shaved and had confidence in ourselves to do that,” Montgomery says. “But it wasn’t really until we started going out and gave each other the confidence and the push that we needed to stop shaving and support it 100 percent.”
Montgomery and Millar’s followers, mainly women, have responded positively to their platform. But the couple decided to take a step back from their account after receiving negative responses from men. Millar says male users have spammed the account with unsolicited private pictures and suggestive messages, while also leaving comments on photos calling the couple “disgusting.” These comments didn’t surprise Millar. Kids made fun of her in grade school because her dark body hair contrasted against her pale skin. She started waxing her legs at 11 years old and continued the routine for years before she realized shaving everyday was impractical. “It bothered me so much to see men walking around with their leg hair and no one would bat an eyelid, but if a woman dared to have a single hair on her leg, it was a big deal,” Millar says. “So we just kind of gave up and were like, ‘Why can’t I just be hairy?’” Montgomery believes embracing body hair as a woman reflects confidence and femininity. She also says owning your body and having pride in yourself is feminine. But above all, the couple agrees that men and women should be able to make the decision to either grow out their hair, or continue to shave like Russell. “I don’t think that every woman ever, or every man, should just be natural,” Millar says. “I think it should be a choice that should be appreciated either way.”
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Every scar has a story. BY WENG CHEONG | ILLUSTRATION BY GABRIELA JULIA JESSICA VONGXAY
Jessica Vongxay had two ACL surgeries on both knees. She vividly remembers the first time she felt the excruciating pain of her ligaments tearing and her legs giving out. She was playing soccer for a high school summer league. She had the ball. Running and dribbling, Vongxay was getting closer to the goal. Just as she was about to score, she stepped into a ditch on the field and her left leg pivoted. Instantly, she felt like her lower body was disconnected. Thinking it was just a sprain, Vongxay waited a few weeks to go to the hospital. Immediately after getting her X-ray results, she went into surgery. Her second ACL tear was less traumatic but too familiar, as she was trapping the ball with her legs up in the air. Her leg turned out and again, she landed wrong. Vongxay needed at least eight months of recovery time after both surgeries. While her friends went out on the weekends, she stayed home. After school, she’d go straight to intensive physical therapy sessions. Both surgeries left massive bruises that gradually turned into scars down the midline of her kneecaps. The redness faded and now it’s a blended color of her skin tone, but the scars are still noticeable. “I didn’t want people to see the marks. I didn’t want to wear shorts, but I had to because it’s the only way
my knee brace would fit,” she says. Vongxay’s scars changed the way she dressed. At high school and college functions, she was hesitant to wear sundresses. She still tries to pose at certain angles to avoid exposing her “awkward” knees. “For a long time, I was upset,” she says. “All those insecurities were in my head, but I was still upset. I felt like my injuries and scars could’ve been prevented.” This prompted Vongxay to do more research. She got tired of just listening to doctors. She wanted an explanation and began shadowing physical therapists her sophomore year in college. Soon, she learned she has excessive knocked knees, a medical condition where the knees are angled to touch each other and makes people more prone to ligament tears. Vongxay also explains that women are prone to ACL injuries because of the way their hips are set up. “Instead of blaming myself for so many years, I realized it’s not my fault,” she says. Vongxay’s injuries sparked her interest in pursuing a degree in physical therapy. She wants to work with kids and adults with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. And her scars are a reminder of what she feels she’s destined to accomplish in life: help her patients prevent those same injuries.
Emma Vielbig was a freshman college student when she underwent breast reduction surgery. Her parents took her to four different consultations, hoping Vielbig would find a plastic surgeon she felt comfortable with. Vielbig remembers walking into one particular surgeon’s clinic in Beverly Hills. She was stunned to find his walls plastered with graphic pornstar photos. On the lower right corner of each naked photo was the surgeon’s bold signature. “He didn’t sit me down and ask me what I really wanted,” Vielbig says. “He was showing pictures to sell. He was using the bodies as products. He was trying to create a perfect product, but I didn’t want that.” Vielbig still wanted the surgery. She never saw her breasts as an insecurity, but she started experiencing pain and discomfort once they got to an E/F cup size. Her health insurance covered the costs since breast reduction surgeries are seen as health conditions. After the surgery, she experienced lots of pain, but her breasts turned out exactly how she had wanted them. Vielbig was also prepared for the scars and now after the surgery, she sees her scar as her anchor. She’s comfortable wearing bikinis where they’re visible, and sometimes, she even lets people touch them. “I can’t hide for the rest of my life,” she says. “I don’t want to feel like I have to cater to what I wear because of my scar.”
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FRESH FACE UNDER Your go-to natural makeup look on a budget. BY AGARU MASTERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY WENG CHEONG
This season, you’ll want a natural glow that brings warmth to the coldest day. You can trade in the heavy, full-coverage makeup for neutral tones and smooth skin. We’ve compiled a list of must-have products for an effortless no-makeup makeup routine. And the best part? The entire look is under $50.
Prep the Skin
Set the Tone
Use a lightweight, silicone-free primer to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. Select either a matte or dewy cream that helps the foundation stay on your face throughout the day. Wet n Wild’s Photo Focus Face Primer prevents oil buildup and brightens your complexion for $4.99.
If you’re not comfortable showing scars or blemishes, use a concealer to lightly pack on coverage over red or dark spots. Makeup Revolution’s Conceal & Define Concealer is $7 and comes in 24 shades. When choosing a foundation, pick a buildable formula that allows your skin to breathe. For more coverage, you can slowly add layers until you have an even skin tone. L’Oreal’s True Match Super Blendable Makeup comes in at $7.69 and the fragrance-free formula is perfect for sensitive skin.
Prevent Oil Buildup
If you have oily skin, press a lightweight powder under your eye, on your forehead, and around the mouth and nose. This will reduce the look of pores and prevent oil buildup around the T-zone. e.l.f Cosmetics’ Beautifully Bare Finishing Powder is only $6.
Emphasize the Eyes Keep the eyes simple with a warm eyeshadow. Try flesh-tone palettes with both matte and shimmery shades. You can also use a matte shadow, similar to the color of your hair, to lightly fill in your eyebrows for a softer look. L.A. Girl’s Beauty Brick Eyeshadow is $7.99—much cheaper than the $54 cult-favorite Urban Decay Naked Palette.
Lay on a Lip When it comes to your lips, you can go for an iridescent gloss or a nude matte lipstick. The gloss will give a pouty, sultry look while the matte lipstick adds a natural edge. Be sure to keep both on hand so you can switch back and forth depending on your mood. Mally Beauty’s lip glosses have a hydrating feel for only $4.50 and Revlon’s Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor is a longwear formula for $5.99. 14 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
Add Warmth and Color Finish off the look with a satin blush on the apples of your cheeks. e.l.f Cosmetics’ Beautifully Bare Blush creates a soft rosy tint for $4. The universal formula can also be used on your lips and eyes for an added glow.
DIY your way to healthy skin and hair this winter. BY JO ALLEN | ILLUSTRATIONS BY DOROTHY FANG
f your skin and hair feel dry this winter, you might want to check your fridge before heading to the nearest beauty store. The spotted brown banana you thought about throwing away and the jar of honey sitting in the back of your cabinet can give you a hydrating boost. Dr. Joyce Farah, a dermatologist in
Syracuse, New York, says the food in our kitchen can help our outer body as well. Honey is an antibacterial that can heal wounds and clean skin. It also has antioxidants that help reverse sun damage, she says. Bananas have Vitamin C, which is a building block needed for collagen synthesis. Bananas also contain
Vitamin E, another good antioxidant. We’ve taken these two ingredients and incorporated them into three DIY beauty treatments. They’ve also been paired with natural oils that will help hydrate dry skin, chapped lips, and brittle hair.
¼ Avocado 1 teaspoon of honey 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil
1 overripe banana 1-½ tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of coconut oil 1 tablespoon of honey
These three ingredients work well for anyone with sensitive skin. Avocado acts as a natural coolant and mixes well with honey. Vitamin E oil moisturizes, reduces itching, and can help clear skin rashes such as eczema. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and apply to your face for 10 to 15 minutes.
Extra virgin olive oil acts as a natural conditioner and helps nourish dry hair. The bananas are rich in potassium, which heals damaged hair, and Vitamin A helps strengthen the hair follicle. Honey is the perfect final ingredient since it seals in moisture and leaves your hair soft, shiny, and smelling sweet. Blend all the ingredients together and apply to the length of your hair from your ears down. If you have a dry scalp, you can also apply this to your roots. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse well. Pro tip: Be sure to blend this mix, otherwise you’ll be pulling bananas out of your hair for a while.
Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory that helps with natural hydration. We all know the benefits of honey by now, so mix the two together for the perfect lip balm. Massage the mixture on and around your lips, and let it sit for five minutes.
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You can create a fun holiday look without a full face of heavy makeup. Just take your favorite shadow and swipe it across your eyes. PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHURAN HUANG
MODEL: SPARKLE WILLIAMS
MODEL: NALINI MARTIN
MODEL: AMANDA LEE
MODEL: QUINN GAWRONSKI
LOVESICK The reality of dating with a mental illness
BY MICAH CASTELO | ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA ANGLE
hree years ago, Demi York spent a night out with a friend at a campus bar. Her grandmother passed away two days before and she wanted to relieve her mind. At some point during the night, the 21-year-old junior at the University of Cincinnati lost sight of her friend before the night became a blur. The next morning, she woke up confused in a trashy house, and soon realized she had been drugged and raped by a guy whom she had four classes with. This night still haunts her and has led to diagnosed depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She gets night terrors, panic attacks, and has flashbacks if she gets a hint of a certain smell, like the mildewed couch at the house she woke up in. This trauma has also bled into her 22 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
social life, affecting her relationships with other people. “It’s taking me a really long time to be able to trust someone again,” she says. York is part of a large group of people learning to cope with trauma. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults are dealing with a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder, according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. Out of that estimated 44.7 million adults, nearly 22 percent identify as women and nearly 15 percent identify as men. People dealing with a mental illness are also challenged with dating or having romantic relationships, yet there is no concrete data showing how many people with a mental illness are in the dating scene or in a serious relationship. “The highs and lows of dating can
be stressful and potentially exacerbate mental health symptoms,” explains Dr. Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in Boca Raton, Florida. She adds that those symptoms, like excessive worrying or self-isolation, can vary significantly, depending on the diagnosis and its severity. For York, having PTSD, depression, and anxiety has affected previous romantic relationships. She’s had panic attacks while laying in bed with a partner. Sometimes, she would have to sleep on the floor or on the couch because she didn’t want them touching her. She’s not in a relationship right now and she says she feels anxious going on dates with new people. “I’ll drive there and be really excited, but then this overwhelming fear would hit
Lifestyle me,” she says. “I’ll just text them and be like, ‘oh my gosh, something came up and I can’t go anymore.’” York lives in Los Angeles and says the city has a strong dating app culture. But after her assault, she’s suspicious about meeting people—especially online. She doesn’t feel comfortable talking to someone who’s not active on social media because she can’t fully screen them before they meet up. Sarah Hawkins, a mental health worker from Bel Air, Maryland, understands the difficulty of communicating with men she meets on dating apps. Hawkins was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder when she was 11 years old. Now, at 22, she deals with it every day along with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. Similar to York, Hawkins isn’t in a relationship. When she meets a man online or at work who wants to get to know her, she has a hard time continuing a conversation, even if she’s interested. “I isolate myself a lot when I’m depressed, so I won’t answer text messages,” Hawkins explains. “It’s hard to say, oh yeah, sorry, I’m depressed and that was a depressive episode.” Hawkins also finds intimacy challenging and says she feels uncomfortable with her body due to her eating disorder. While once watching TV with a previous partner, all she could think about was the way her stomach stuck out. For people with a mental illness, it’s not always easy talking about negative thoughts and feelings. “Mental illness in and of itself is still stigmatizing,” Dr. Feuerman explains. Although it’s important for a person with a mental illness to talk about their condition with their partner—especially if the relationship has the potential to get serious—not everyone will be able to handle that news, she says. Hawkins has mentioned her mental illness to her most recent partner because she trusted him, but she found
herself playing it down. “I make it seem like it’s not a big deal, that it was in my past and now it’s not an issue,” she says. Meanwhile, York knows it’s hard watching someone with a mental illness, so she tries to talk about her conditions in a way that’s not too revealing, she says. She doesn’t want people to feel as if she’s dumping her emotional baggage on them.
I isolate myself a lot when I’m depressed, so I won’t answer text messages. It’s hard to say, oh yeah, sorry, I’m depressed and that was a depressive episode Dr. Feuerman says it’s important for partners to show concern, empathy, and compassion to each other if either one has a mental illness, but they shouldn’t slide into an over-helping or rescuing behavior. “There’s a fine line between helping and enabling,” she says. While helping is assisting someone with things they’re incapable of doing, enabling is trying to solve someone else’s problems rather than letting them work on it. Those in a serious relationship may benefit from private counseling to come up with proactive ideas to support each other, Dr. Feuerman adds. Katie Kovacik, a 35-year-old internal corporate sales worker in Baltimore, Maryland, understands the challenge of communicating those needs to a partner. Kovacik was diagnosed with anxiety disorder when she was 14 years old. She’s also dealing with postpartum depression after giving birth to her second child, causing
her to have intense panic attacks about dying. Meanwhile, her husband has depression—sometimes so serious he would have to take off from work. With the two of them living with mental health issues, Kovacik says they had to learn how to communicate with each other to understand what they’re going through, how they can cope with it, and how it might affect their marriage. It didn’t happen overnight, she says. She got in fights with her husband, especially when she was in college while juggling three jobs. On her busiest days, she’d only say “hi” and “bye” to her husband. Kovacik says after they recognized their mental illnesses were a biological dysfunction, they were able to communicate their needs. Rather than blaming each other for the symptoms that affect their moods, they now focus on how to treat each other when they’re having a bad mental health day. They stopped yelling at each other when they argue and they don’t call each other names, even jokingly. They’re also quick to apologize when something upsets them. “It’s taken a long time, but each one of us has to step outside of our own comfort zone to try to make the other one happy,” she says. Back in L.A., York hopes she’ll meet someone who’ll be understanding of the boundaries she’s created from her trauma. She also wants to feel comfortable enough to talk about her mental health issues, but says it feels like reopening a fresh wound. “I try to find the best in people still,” she says. “But you kind of get your heart broken before you get fully invested. It’s not your fault your vibrancy is gone, but it’s not their fault they don’t want to love you without it.”
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These STD horror stories should make you want to get tested immediately
aitlyn Cummings laid in her bed pantyless while adrenaline ran through her veins. She was silent, thinking about the man laying next to her and what he had just said. The two had been hooking up for the past year and she usually felt satisfied after sex. But this time was different. Right after they finished, he rolled over to break some unwanted news: He had chlamydia. Cummings was a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Maryland and recalls meeting an older guy who worked as a bouncer at the usual weekend spot. The two immediately hit it off and started having sex. While things moved fast, they were sure to use a condom. But it wasn’t long before the two got comfortable and stopped using protection. She then felt uncomfortable and suggested they use a condom again. “[Not using a condom] felt like a step towards commitment,” she says. “It was like we trusted each other so much, we decided not to use it. That’s the delusion I told myself in my young age.” Cummings was one of 3 million Americans who gets chlamydia—one of the most common STI’s among 14 to 24-year-olds—each year, says Hillary Warner, manager of outreach and education programs at Planned Parenthood. Chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea rates have increased for the fourth consecutive year in the United States with almost 2.3 million cases diagnosed last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Pre24 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
BY COLTON MADORE vention (CDC). And the scariest part is the most common symptom is no symptom at all, which is why one in two people will be exposed to an STI in their lifetime, Warner says. Cummings knew the bouncer had been hooking up with other women while they were having sex. Two weeks after getting the news, she headed home and told her mother she slept with someone who had chlamydia. Her mother insisted she go to the doctor right away, but instead, Cummings waited two months out of fear. During that time, she didn’t notice any symptoms. Once she gained the courage to see her doctor, she never disclosed the possibility of having chlamydia. Her doctor thought this visit was a regular check up—that was until her test came back positive. Cummings’ doctor prescribed a medication and told her chlamydia could take months to manifest before showing symptoms. “That was probably the scariest part. There was literally nothing, not even an itch,” she says. If chlamydia goes untreated, the infection can spread to a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes, causing permanent damage to the reproductive system, according to the CDC. Kaitlyn Cooper also understands this fear. She was an 18-year-old sophomore at a small Massachusetts college when her doctor called and said she tested positive for chlamydia. Stunned by the news, she rushed out of class and fell down the stone steps of the building she ran out of, break-
ing her ankle. But the worst wasn’t over yet. She was hooking up with three different men and after asking two of them if they had been tested, she narrowed the culprit down to the last one. Cooper remembers last time she hooked up with the man who gave her chlamydia. She had drunk sex while at a house party, and a few months after, she got tested at a routine OBGYN appointment. Like Cummings, Cooper was terrified she saw no symptoms. “You always read about people getting STD’s or STI’s and have the worst pain, itching and more, but I had nothing,” she says. Her doctor prescribed her a pill and in a few weeks, the STI was gone. Warner, from Planned Parenthood, wants people to know STD and STI tests are as simple as urinating in a cup or taking a swab test. People can also look into other preventatives such as PrEP or Truvada, a daily medication that prevents HIV. Students can also check to see if they’re eligible for STD and STI examinations at campus health services. But most importantly, Warner stresses the importance of communicating with your partner before having sex—something Cooper and Cummings wish they had done sooner. “I was reckless and scandalous,” Cooper says. “I could have caught a much worse STI considering I was hooking up with strangers. I’m so grateful that I never got HPV, herpes, or anything worse.”
‘So I have your test results...’ Equal Time surveyed 100 female college students between ages 18 and 24 to learn more about their (safe) sex life. Here’s what we found:
How many sexual partners have you had? 0: 13%
1–4: 32% 5–10: 32% 10-20: 16%
20+: 7% Are you in a monogamous relationship right now? 5% Yes Do you use condoms? Everytime: 13%
Most of the time: 31% Sometimes: 22%
Do you identify with LGBTQ?
Almost never: 14% Never: 5% I don’t have sex: 15%
How often do you get tested? Everytime: 2% Every 6 months: 16% Once a year: 38%
Once every few years: 12% Never: 32% 6% Yes
Do you feel comfortable asking your partner if he/ she has been tested?
94% No Have you ever contracted an STD?
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THE BUMPY ROAD TO CLIMAX Sexperts share tips on feeling confident and comfortable during sex. BY LIZ STARUSZKIEWICZ | ILLUSTRATION BY GABRIELA JULIA Most of us grow up watching Hollywood actresses look radiant and confident during their erotic sex scenes. These women are bold, sexy, and command attention. But once we enter into the sex and dating world ourselves, we quickly realize these scenes are definitely staged. Sex isn’t always pretty. Some women struggle with body image issues or feel awkward talking about intimacy with their partner. Other times, sex is just painful and unenjoyable. So what happens when you’re mid-way through college, still wondering what good sex feels like? Do you hold in those embarrassing, unanswered questions? Do you run through partners in hopes of finding the one who can actually find your spot? The answer is hell no. It’s time to fulfill your needs. We’ve done the awkward part for you and asked two sex experts for their advice on feeling confident during sex, alleviating pain, and starting those difficult conversations with your partner.
Q: Why is sex sometimes painful and
how do we talk to our partner if we’re experiencing pain or discomfort? A: Dr. Sandra Scantling, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Farmington, Connecticut: Many women experience discomfort during sexual touching. Talking about sex in general is challenging, and talking about sexual pain is even more challenging because it can lead to issues of blaming and shaming. One suggestion is to start the 26 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
conversation out of the bed before sex and not during foreplay. People often feel more comfortable talking about pain and discomfort in another setting. The person experiencing the pain must first have their pain evaluated by a professional. Once the diagnosis is made, you can refer to an AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) Certified Sex Therapist. Pain can be superficial or deep, generalized or specific, trauma related, or anxiety enhanced. You can feel pain with only one partner and not with others, or it may occur only during masturbation. Some women experience pain because of hormonal deficiencies, vaginal dryness, yeast infections, or simply because a partner doesn’t fit. It’s important to consult with a professional because some women may have a septate hymen, pelvic inflammatory condition, or vaginismus.
Q: What are different ways to make sex more enjoyable for people who suffer from vaginismus or other painful conditions? A: Dr. Scantling: Vaginismus is a condition that causes involuntary muscle spasms around the opening of the vagina. It is complex in its history and its presentation. It is often accompanied by a lack of sexual interest or desire, and an avoidance of sexual touching. Vaginal dilators should not be used as a first line approach. Doctors often give women a set of dilators, and insert the smallest size and proceed
upwards. In most cases, this does not improve the condition and can even discourage women more. In those cases, I recommend sex therapy designed specifically for that individual.
Q: As women, we
often feel body-conscious, especially when we’re naked. What are ways to feel confident in our bodies during sex? A: Dr. Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist in Los Angeles: Good lingerie is an amazing way to show off your best assets while also making sure you feel comfortable. Don’t point out your flaws or make self-deprecating “jokes” about your body, especially in front of your partner. It only hurts yourself and draws attention to things your partner probably wouldn’t have noticed on his or her own. Also, take care of your body, whether that is through physical activity or getting massages or facials. Your body deserves love and pampering.
Equal Time asked 100 female college students between ages 18 and 24 to name their favorite sex position. Here are some of their responses:
Girl on top because it makes my tits look awesome and my ass on fleek. Under the covers in the dark because I can hide my body. Doggy style. A little rough and no eye contact to make it weird. I can’t physically have penetrative sex (vaginismus and vestibulodynia), so they all feel uncomfortable to me. On my back, legs over my guy’s shoulders. It’s deeper and I can pull his head in for kisses. I feel most comfortable in missionary because I’m not twisting my body in any way and I feel like I can focus on my partner and not think about my body as much. On top. I get to control the speed and feel. Then he can mess with my boobs too. Oral sex on me because I think it is the most flattering angle of my body. Probably missionary for most comfortable because you’re laying down so less work. Your stomach looks flatter, you look pretty good overall. Sexy? Not sure. Being underneath my boyfriend because he can’t really see all of me if we are close to each other and it is honestly just comfortable in general. When he hits it from the back and it’s my ass’ time to shine. mag.syr.edu/equaltime | 27
Three Syracuse University students talk about how their perception of beauty changed after moving to the United States. BY WENG CHEONG | ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA ANGLE
28 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
Ines Cernuda from Spain
Georgie MacDonald from London
Michaela Greer from Caribbean Islands
Ines Cernuda remembers a time she decided to get a spray tan before going back home to Spain. Her friends were startled. Shocked. Their exact words were, “What were you thinking?” Cernuda, a Syracuse University sophomore, has lived in Madrid, Paris and Singapore, and says she changes the way she looks depending on which country she’s in. Spaniards often go for the natural look, so she went out to clubs with a bare face, she says. “Growing up in Europe, I just learned that I didn’t need any of that,” she says. “I like having the natural look because it’s who I am and everyone just has to accept it.” Before Cernuda moved to the U.S. at 17 years old, she knew nothing about eyelash extensions and eyebrow threading. She rarely did her nails. While in the U.S., she realized she was the first out of all her friends back home to start shaving her legs. Over time, she found herself paying more attention to the materialistic things. But she assures there’s nothing wrong with that either. “At the end of the day, whether you like to cake up on the foundation or not, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable with yourself,” she says.
If you ask Georgie MacDonald where she’s from, she’d say a plane. Having travelled to over 32 countries, she’s is always on the go. MacDonald was born and raised in South London and is sometimes confused by the way people dress in the U.S. She says she isn’t a big fan of the basketball shorts and striped rubber sliders that she calls “shower shoes,” and is struggling to understand the point of athleisure wear. In England, people either go for the grungy all-black vibe or the thrift store bohemian look. “I go goth back home,” MacDonald says. “I can’t really do that here.” The college senior also says a natural look is more appealing back home where people wear minimal foundation and dark eyebrows for a “dull-like” look.
Growing up in the Caribbean, people often praised Michaela Greer for her “butter skin.” Her sister’s skin tone was much darker and people often compared the two. “In the islands, there isn’t a lot of racial diversity,” she says. “We all kind of look alike. But if you’re lighter, you’re seen as somewhat better.” The SU graduate student explains celebrities and famous influencers in the Caribbean regularly bleach their skin and straighten their hair to get rid of the curls. As a young girl, Greer felt she was always defending her skin color. She’s always known her skin is beautiful, but it’s still hard at times. After coming to the U.S., she’s noticed a global shift in beauty standards, where different cultures are now emphasizing raw beauty. She says a lot of work still needs to be done, but she’s optimistic about the future for young women. “Now, I am able to say that I love my butt and I love my legs,” she said. “It reminds me of my mom. It gives me pride to know that this body is mine and it is all natural.”
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‘I Am Not My Hair’ Women with alopecia areata change beauty standards and embrace hair loss. WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY GABRIELA JULIA
wo years ago, Julissa Maloon sat in her doctor’s office and stared at a syringe needle inching toward her bald head. After 40 steroid injections to her scalp, she sat still as the doctor prepped her eyebrows for the same shots. She had spent 13 years searching for a hair-growth treatment. This was her last hope. Maloon, now 20 years old living in New Jersey, doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have alopecia. Her hair started falling out when she was a toddler. In every family photo, she wore a hat. She spent her childhood travelling across the country meeting dozens of dermatologists, which cost her parents thousands of dollars. At five years old, doctors rubbed a steroid cream on her head, but she couldn’t bare the burning sensation. “It got to a point where the cream hurt too bad and the doctors told my parents new treatments would cause more stress,” Maloon says. “I just accepted I had alopecia but I didn’t embrace it.” Maloon is one of 6.8 million people in the United States with alopecia areata, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation website. In simplest terms, alopecia is partial or complete absence of hair and it comes in many forms. Hair loss can be brought on by stress, pregnancy, tension from hairstyles, and more. Alopecia areata is most common in young people, says Dr. Joyce Farah, a dermatologist in Syracuse, New York. This autoimmune disease causes the body to destroy hair follicles and prevent hair growth. Most children with alopecia areata will see
30 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
their hair fall out in patches. Maloon has always had alopecia areata universalis, which means she has no body hair. In grade school, she started wearing wigs with bangs to cover up her absence of eyebrows. But this didn’t stop other kids from picking on her. “Growing up was so hard because I always knew I was different but there was nothing I could do about it,” she says.
Alopecia made me learn about self love and confidence. I’m less superficial and I work harder on who I am as a person instead of what I look like Coco Labbe can relate to this hopeless feeling since she was diagnosed with alopecia areata eight years ago. Her hair grew in and fell out in an emotionally draining cycle, so she started to rely on wigs to cover her bald patches. “I became an introvert and never wanted to be seen,” Labbe says. “I didn’t think my friends would accept me, I truly didn’t feel worthy of love.” Labbe, now 20 studying in Montreal, says she didn’t take medication or go through with treatment because
she was afraid of the painful shots and rubbing creams. The steroid shots and topical creams are the most common treatments because they decrease the immune response around hair follicles to give hair a chance to grow, Farah says. Once a patient starts treatment, they must continue the process or any new hair growth will fall out again. It’s a frustrating and anxious process that Maloon knew too well. During her senior year of high school, she decided the steroid shots would be the last attempt at finding treatment. For seven months, doctors gave her injections, but the pain eventually became too much to handle. Farah says once a patient has had enough, it’s time to stop treatment. “There is this stigma in society that women are more attractive with hair and for people who don’t have hair, they feel they have to put themselves through pain to get it,” she says. “If you want to embrace having alopecia, that’s amazing. But if you’re still struggling with it, we’re doing everything we can to find a safe cure.” Maloon was exhausted from spending her entire adolescence searching for this cure. In January 2018, she took time to visit her family in Puerto Rico. While on vacation, Maloon realized she ran out of double-sided tape—a waterproof adhesive that keeps her wig in place while swimming. She immediately called her mother in New Jersey and asked her to fly 1,500 miles to bring the tape. Without hesitation, her mother jumped on a plane. “My family
always knew how insecure I was and they did anything they could to make me feel better,” she says. While waiting for her mother to arrive, Maloon got ready in her grandfather’s home. But before she could adjust her wig, her grandfather stopped her and said nine words that changed her life: “You were born an original, don’t be a copy.” Maloon’s family never talked about her alopecia. They were afraid it would make her uncomfortable, but over the years, it only made her more insecure. Her grandfather was the first person who encouraged her to embrace alopecia and after a long conversation, she decided to leave her wig inside the house. “I realized it wasn’t that hard, I just had to do it,” Maloon says. While travelling home, Maloon chose to ignore the people staring at her bald head in the airport and the kids asking their parents why she’s bald. Over time, she made little changes that slowly built confidence, like pulling her hood down and going to the grocery store without her wig. She had fully embraced her alopecia when she post-
ed a photo of her bald head for the first time on Instagram. Labbe also used social media to promote alopecia awareness. Last year, her doctors informed her she had alopecia universalis after losing her eyebrows and body hair. “At that point I decided I didn’t want to
hold onto this heavy secret anymore,” Labbe says. She then posted her first photo on Instagram without a wig. “I felt relieved.” Both Maloon and Labbe received positive responses from their followers. Parents and young girls with alopecia even approach them on the street, saying they’re an inspiration. Labbe has also worked with Children’s Alopecia Project, an organization that provides support for children dealing with hair loss, and spoke to elementary school children around the country about her diagnosis. “Alopecia made me learn about self love and confidence,” Labbe says. “I’m less superficial and I work harder on who I am as a person instead of what I look like. I now know my purpose is to help other people learn to accept who they are.”
I had an abortion and hereâ€™s what happened... With feminist movements on the rise, women are using social media to share their abortion stories. BY MARISSA RUSSO
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unny* describes her parents as “textbook Jesus Freaks.” She grew up in a religious Roman Catholic household where she attended church every Sunday and participated in mass as an usher. Her family prayed before every meal and went to confession at least once a month. Her parents even pressured her into volunteering as a Sunday school teacher during her teenage years. But as she got older, she slowly distanced herself from her family’s religious practices. At 16, Sunny started dating her then-boyfriend. She didn’t know much about contraceptives because her parents preached abstinence. She started having unprotected sex with her boyfriend, and soon after, she found out she was pregnant. Sunny, now 24, looks back on the difficult decision she had to make. She knew she wasn’t ready for a baby, so an abortion was her only option. Knowing her parents would disagree with her choice, she turned to her boyfriend’s family for help. “It was very hushhush,” she says. “I went to his parents for all the help and after I made my decision, they kind of fell off the face of the earth. And then I had to go through it on my own.” Sunny made the same choice as 25 percent of other women in the United States. One in four women will have an abortion during their reproductive years, says Robin Chappelle-Golston, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, a New York state branch of Planned Parenthood. Chappelle-Golston says some people keep their abortion a secret from their closest family and friends since the conversation still remains controversial. Prior to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Case in 1973, abortion was illegal
or heavily restricted throughout parts of the United States. Women took extreme measures to procure their abortions by driving hundreds of miles to a doctor or having risky procedures that could lead to hemorrhaging, infection, and even death. Fast forward 45 years to feminist movements like #MeToo and the protests surrounding the 2018 Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation. Abortion rights and reproductive healthcare come up in daily political conversations with ease, but others are afraid to talk about their personal story in public. That’s why some women, like Sunny, feel anonymity gives them the courage to talk about their experience. And as more women open up, the Shout Your Abortion movement becomes stronger.
It was amazing to me to see all these people taking hold of their own story, and their own body, and their own narrative. After Congress’ attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in 2015, Amelia Bonow took to Facebook to share her abortion story. This started the #ShoutYourAbortion movement on Twitter, which has since grown into a unified network of women who hope to normalize the pro-choice decision. These women can take control of their own narratives by either publishing
their name or remaining anonymous while sharing their abortion experiences. Erin Jorgensen, a communications representative for Shout Your Abortion, says the movement gained momentum organically. Women became inspired by reading others’ stories and naturally felt more comfortable telling their own. These stories also encouraged Jorgensen to open up about the abortions she never talked about. “It was amazing to me to see all these people taking hold of their own story, and their own body, and their own narrative,” Jorgensen says. “And that really kind of allowed me to start thinking about my abortions and thinking about talking about abortion, which was a word I would never even say.” Jorgensen believes the movement changed her life. Chappelle-Golston hopes women will continue to be more open about sharing their abortion stories and use social media as a tool for self expression. “I think we can get there,” she says. “But I also think it’s up to the younger generation to really destigmatize it in a way that it’s not a big deal.” Sunny feels the movement could have helped her cope with her abortion eight years ago. Only her sister knew about her decision, which makes her think about how much more support she would have received from a network of women online. “If I had that at 16, it absolutely would have made me feel more comfortable with not only making the choice that I made, but also doing it alone,” she says. *Name has been changed to protect the source’s identity.
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These three women are redefining their style as they incorporate traditional pieces into contemporary looks. BY COLTON MADORE PHOTO COURTESY OF HALA ABDEL-JABER, EL PASO, TEXAS
mani Glee started wearing her naturally textured hair in 2012 after ditching straightening tools. She fell in love with head wraps as accessories, which she felt were beautiful pieces of her African roots. As a black American, these colorful, patterned cloths made her feel closer to her ancestors. She grew attached to these pieces of fabric, but her mother suggested she not wear them in a professional setting, saying they might be a distraction. “A big issue in the black community is what’s considered professional,” Glee says. “I had to think, ‘can I wear this at work? Can I express my style and my heritage at work?’” Glee and other women of color around the world sometimes feel the pressure to ditch cultural clothing in order to assimilate. And even though this pressure can come from family and close friends, it also inspires some women to embrace their ethnic and religious roots through fashion. “My appearance doesn’t determine my capabilities at work,” Glee says. “So, if someone had an issue, how does what I’m wearing on my head affect what I’m doing at work?” After graduating college in 2016, Glee worked several jobs from retail to an office position at a preschool. She made the conscious decision to wear head wraps to work and to her surprise, her coworkers and customers complimented her look. Since then,
she’s collected over 30 wraps that can be pinned, tucked, and poofed differently every time. Other women in the United States have also used head accessories as a form of self expression. Hala Abdel-Jaber, a 22-year-old Muslim woman from El Paso, Texas, modernizes her hijab and embraces the headscarf with no shame. “I don’t allow myself to feel restricted by any of my clothing because I just dress comfortably, and I dress in whatever I like,” she says. If she sees something in a store that she can turn into a hijab, she will buy it.
My appearance doesn’t determine my capabilities at work. But Abdel-Jaber’s hijab is more than a fashion piece—it’s reassured her not everyone in this country discriminates against Muslim people. As a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, she says she heard stories in the media about Greek life being harmful, but that didn’t stop her from joining a sorority. “Everyone saw past it. No one thought, ‘oh, there’s the girl with the hijab,’” she says. “ It was more like, ‘There’s one of our sorority sisters.” While Abdel-Jaber had a positive
college experience, she’s heard stranger’s discriminatory comments about her hijab in public. While walking in the mall, a random person told her to take “that” off and go home. Although these comments have never led to any physical altercations, she says they were still hurtful. Other women around the world grew up using their traditional clothing to their advantage. Overseas in London, Precious Peters draws vibrant colors and bold patterns from her Nigerian roots and incorporates them into her everyday style. “I feel like Nigerians generally are known as being really flamboyant,” she says. “I see on Nigerian style blogs that clothes are really big on structure, shapes and everything’s over the top. I love that.” She’s now 29 and known as Precious Lara, a fashion influencer and designer. She attended London College of Fashion and launched a custom evening and occasion wear brand called Lara Peters in 2013. Peters feels London is a fashion melting pot. She says she has access to other cultural fabrics because of the large number of Nigerians, Asians, and other ethnicities. She’s mixed these traditional looks with modern trends to create wedding garments and special orders from family and friends. “Nigerian style is much more than looking your best at a party,” she says. “It’s about your everyday look. That’s something I take pride in.” mag.syr.edu/equaltime | 35
Here’s what happens when a lady and a gent swap clothes PHOTOGRAPHY BY WENG CHEONG Gender-neutral fashion has no label. The past few years, designers have completely ditched “male” and “female” clothing and are consciously creating pieces anyone can wear. But in reality, all clothes and accessories can be gender neutral. All you have to do is find something you like and try on different sizes to see what fits your proportions. Our fashion editors Jo Allen and Colton Madore swapped clothes to prove items designed for the opposite gender can be part of your wardrobe.
On Her Colton’s oversized Forever 21 Men sweater, Hard Rock denim jacket and her Doc Martens.
On Him Jo’s American Eagle Jeggings, American Eagle sweater, H&M denim jacket, and his white vans.
Fluid Fashion 36 | EQUALTIME Fall 2018
Styled by Syracuse Fashion Association of Design Students PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAM BLOOM
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ADIANNA WILLIAMS SHIRT: COTTON ON JACKET: NASTYGAL PANTS: FOREVER 21 SHOES: SHOE DEPT.
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IZMAILIA SOUGOUFARA SKIRT AND SHIRT: FOREVER 21 JACKET: MISSGUIDED SHOES: MOON BOOT GLASSES: THRIFTED
AANYA SINGH SHIRT: FOREVER 21 JACKET: THRIFTED SHOES: FILA PANTS: I.AM.GIA GLASSES: AMAZON
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