Page 1

Volume 10 Issue 2

Winter 2018

OBSCURED EMPOWERMENT _ The story of life as a student, sugar baby and feminist


3 Farms, 3 Solutions

page 6

Seeking the Chinese Dream

page 38

Millennial Attraction to Animated Comed y

page 52


17 Ne das istance?Cal 541-737-5 92 Al performancesbeginat7:30pmatTheLaSel sStewartCenter,875SW26thSt,Corval is.18 SAC esents SAC Presents Presents

colleGe oF liBer al arts / school oF arts anD coMMunication colleGe oF liBer al arts / school oF arts anD coMMunication

colleGe oF liBeral arts / school oF arts anD coMMunication thePianist PianistofofWillesden Willesdenlane lane the saturday,Jan. Jan.27,27,2018 2018 saturday,

Body Bodyand andsoul: soul:a aFilm Film bybyoscar Micheaux oscar Micheaux Featuring a remixed score by

an anevening eveningwith with ira Glass: ira Glass: seven things i’ve learned

Food and beverage Food and beverage sales begin atat 6pm. sales begin 6pm. Childcare available Childcare available through OSU KidSpirit. through OSU KidSpirit.

Purchase tickets online at: liberal rts.oregonstate. du/sacpresents Featuring remixed score by Paul D. Miller (“D.J.aSpooky”) performed Paul Miller (“D.J. Spooky”) performed live byD. Miller with a stellar ensemble live by Miller with a stellar ensemble

Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 Friday, Feb. 2, 2018

seven things i’ve learned saturday, March 17, 2018 saturday, March 17, 2018

See website for details. See website for details.

Forac om odationsrelatingtoadisabil ty,ortorequest hisinformationinadifferentformat,pleasecontact he SACMarketingOfficeat541-737-5 92oremailSAC@oregonstate. du colin currie and the colin currie and the oregon symphony oregonensemble symphony string string ensemble Wednesday, april 4, 2018 Wednesday, april 4, 2018

Need assistance? Call 541-737-5592

Pink Martini Pinkapril Martini saturday, 28, 2018

saturday, april 28, 2018

AllNeed performances begin 7:30pm at The LaSells Stewart Center, 875 SW 26th St, Corvallis. assistance? Callat541-737-5592

Brooklyn rider with Brooklyn rider with kayhan kalhor: kayhan kalhor: silent city silent city thursday, May 24, 2018 thursday, May 24, 2018

All performances begin at 7:30pm at The LaSells Stewart Center, 875 SW 26th St, Corvallis.

Purchase tickets online at: liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/sacpresents 2 |accommodations ETHOS | Winter 2018 to a disability, or to request this information in a different format, please contact the For relating online at: liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/sacpresents SACPurchase Marketing Officetickets at 541-737-5592 or email SAC@oregonstate.edu For accommodations relating to a disability, or to request this information in a different format, please contact the SAC Marketing Office at 541-737-5592 or email SAC@oregonstate.edu


Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 3

CONTENTS Vol. 10 Issue 2



Farming that Restores 8 Homeland: One couple chooses restoration over profit 12 Wasteful: Sustainable dairying efforts in the Willamette Valley 14 Family Business: A local organization helps Latino families grow food and start businesses 18 Curative Cannabidiol: Medical cannabis for children in need



Farmers Jerry and Cherry Skiles stroll through an area of their property that’s fenced for their alpaca herd. The couple is part of the three sustainable farms featured in this issue. Pg. 8







22 Deva Grace, Roadkill Recycler: How one woman faces death head-on 24 Meet my Friend Series 26 Remembering Women’s Service: Springfield’s women veterans memorial 29 Healing Through Culture: Crystal Szczepanski recovers from alcoholism by creating artwork that embodies the spirit of the Grande Ronde Tribe 32 The Left Hand of Darkness: An adaptation of a beloved sci-fi writer's novel unpacks heavy concepts on stage

34 Obscuring Empowerment: Where sex work and feminism meet: one sugar baby's story 38 The Chinese Dream: Perspectives on the Chinese Dream in America 41 Diversifying the Greeks: Opening doors, breaking stereotypes

44 A Melting Pot: Exploring the diverse neighborhoods of Vietnam's most populous city. The residents of Ho Chi Minh offer a vibrant glimpse into life in urban Vietnam.

50 The Revival of a Dark Art: Film photography and the lure of the darkroom 52 Laughing at Our Sadness: The millennial attraction to animated comedy

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letter from the


We’re at a moment in history where it feels critically important to cover issues of female disempowerment. These stories ask hard questions and give nuanced answers. Our cover story, specifically, does just that. The story of a young sugar baby, sex positivity and the rebranding of feminism as a movement that uses sex to empower is all the more relevant since I last wrote a letter from the editor, some three months ago. As 2017 closed, it ended on a note of honesty and courage. Women in all walks of life have come forward to challenge a dominant, patriarchal narrative, and I argue that our cover story does the same. We’ve chosen to obscure her face and name, letting her story reveal and demonstratively comment on the world we live in. Admittedly, a letter from the editor is a daunting thing to write. How can I transcribe all of my inner feelings about this issue, this point in time, the world of journalism and how I see it, into one cohesive narrative? I can't. But I can express the feeling of hope that this magazine gives me. Our staffers own these stories with trust and confidence. They relentlessly report, take images in bedrooms, on the playground, in darkrooms and art studios. They sniff roadkill, sit through rehearsals, walk along farmsteads and the streets of Ho Chi Minh. And they bring it all back to Ethos. I hope within these pages you find something that compels you, gives you hope in the New Year, takes you somewhere you otherwise cannot go, lets you meet someone you otherwise cannot meet, or lets you feel something–something you have not felt before. I hope you can experience a change from this magazine and I hope it helps you better empathize and understand the world around you.



Ethos is a nationally recognized, award-winning independent studentrun publication. Since its inception as Korean Ducks Magazine in 2005, Ethos has worked hard to share a multicultural spirit with its readership. Ethos recieves support from the ASUO. All content is legal property of Ethos, except when noted. Permission is required to copy, reprint, or use any content in Ethos. All views and opinions expressed are strictly those of the respective author interviewee. Ethos is a publication of the Emerald Media Group. Ethos is printed on 70 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 5

FA RMIN G TH AT RE S TO RE S Three Farms, Three Solutions: pg 8 Homeland pg 12 Wasteful pg 14 Family Business This section features organizations that are innovating in community and sustainability. A restorative farm, a dairy farm and a community garden all operate within the Willamette Valley yet reach far beyond with their achievements. PHOTO BY ABIGAIL WINN

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HOMELAND One couple’s choice to farm for restoration instead of profit WORDS BY HETTA HANSEN | PHOTOS BY HETTA HANSEN & CHEYENNE THORPE

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quick turn off I-5 and short journey down a winding road sits Jerry and Cherry Skiles’s farm in Shedd, Oregon, sprawling beneath blushing clouds at the end of a sunny day in October. Established at the south end of the Willamette Valley, framed on the west by the freeway with Mary’s Peak mountain silhouetted just beyond, native Oregon wildflowers dry after a long summer. “We’re just gears in a cog keeping something bigger moving,” Jerry says, grabbing his wife’s hand, reflecting on their work as conservation farmers for the native Oregon wildlife ecosystem they have nourished. A walk through their forested property is speckled with sunlight and a visit from an alpaca herd that helps maintain unwanted weeds. The sounds of fall crunch in a refreshing way that mark the confluence of the seasons. The atmosphere is intoxicating, but that’s not exactly what makes the farm special. The love that binds Cherry and Jerry to each other and to doing good is palpable, and is reflected in their success in restorative farming. In 2003, after 40 years of missionary work in West Africa, the Skiles returned home to Oregon. However, their lives of service continued on 172 acres of upland prairie wetland as conservation farmers. The sounds of traffic on I-5 wash over the farm like tidal waves, emphasizing the reason behind their work: since European immigration to the United States, human intervention has been overpowering native wildlife in Oregon. Jerry and Cherry, who have been farmers and missionaries their whole lives, found a way to help. In tandem with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Resource Conservation Services, the Skiles have been coaxing native Oregon plants and animals back to a healthy status. Preserving native wildflowers, pollinators and grassland birds are the focus of the Skiles’s farm. The NRCS is the USDA’s effort to restore native plants and animals through farmland in partnership with farmers. In 1990, Congress created the Farm Bill to support conservation farming. In the Agricultural Act of 2014, that bill was converted into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Wetland Reserve Easement, which funds many farming, land and conservation interests. Through

the ACEP-WRE, farmers like the Skiles are essentially paid not to farm for crops, and instead convert their properties into the natural ecosystems they once were. About ten years ago, the Skiles were approved for the program (called the Wetlands Reserve Program at the time) and began the restorative process. Cherry, perched on the back of the family tractor, would plant pine trees as Jerry drove along, rotating whenever their hands got too cold from the winter temperatures. Now, rows of pine trees tower over the Calapooia River to shade and protect salmon activity, while a field of buttercups and lupines attract an ecosystem that supports bird, butterfly and bee activity. “Watching this place grow with the trees and the different things is really kind of neat,” Cherry says, gazing out her living room window that overlooks the field of wildflowers, which bloom in yellow and purple during their season. “Now we see yellow birds out in the fields.” According to Jarod Jebousek, a biologist in the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, forest, grassland and wetland areas have all been reduced and degraded since European settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Native grasslands and savannas, once the most extensive habitats in the Willamette Valley, have been reduced to an approximated one percent of their historic extent. Jebousek worries that what remains is under further threat from invasive species. “America has perfected productivity,” Jerry says, explaining his goal in farming for restorative purposes instead of profits. “But it’s come at a cost to our environment. Somewhere in there is a balance.” It is not an easy job to turn a once farmed property into a secure habitat that supports native wildlife and plants, according to Jerry. Teamwork is necessary for success, which is why biologists with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program like Jebousek often join forces with the farmers. For Jerry, developing friendships with the specialists has been the best part of his job. “Farmers know a lot about the land. They have been working it for a lot longer than biologists,” says Jebousek, who has a background

in farming himself. “They know best about what land makes the most sense to farm and what land makes the most sense to devote to conservation.” Ninety percent of the lower elevation of the Willamette Valley is privately owned, much of it by agricultural producers, according to Jebousek. This means that working with farmers is necessary to increase conservation efforts. According to Dannelle Aleshire, a basin wetland specialist for the USDA, the NRCS is important for restoring a decreasing number of pollinators. Through the established restorative farms, otherwise known as easements, coverage of native grasses such as milkweed encourage Monarch butterfly migration and their pollinating benefits. But these native flowers, like tarweed and sledge grasses, are important for protecting wetland ecosystems. Without the insects that the fields attract, resident and migratory birds have limited resources and begin to decrease in numbers. According to Aleshire, the Western Meadowlark, which is Oregon’s state bird, is nearly a threatened species. Now, after ten years of active restoration and nearing the end of the conversion process, the Skiles see a homecoming of Oregon wildlife. The farm is teeming with birds, deer, beavers, frogs and many other native species.

Jerry and Cherry stand in a forested portion of their property. The couple gets around their 172 acres in a Gator (a sturdy golf cart). Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 9

“Farmers know a lot about the land. They have been working it for a lot longer than biologists."

LEFT: In addition to the alpaca herd featured above, Cherry and Jerry have three llamas. RIGHT: Jerry and Cherry feed their alpaca herd with apples from the tree in front of their house. The alpacas, or “packies” as they call them, are used for grazing unwanted weeds.

“It doesn’t happen quick, but when you look back a decade, there’s a lot of change,” Jerry says. “When you create the habitat, the animals will find it.” However, in 2018, the Farm Bill is set to expire and must be readdressed by Congress. Aleshire is hopeful that 25 years of progress will ensure that the program continues, but it is not guaranteed. Nonetheless, the thousands of protected easements throughout the nation, like the Skiles’s, will remain whether they continue to receive funding or not. “With the demand of so many competing land uses, every bit of protected habitat benefits fish and wildlife,” Aleshire says. Still, the Skiles work hard to maintain the momentum they’ve built. Every day, Jerry and Cherry embark on a constant battle to fight out invasive plants. Many of these non-native species, like Himalayan Blackberries, are 10 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

unpredictable and fierce, only eradicated by a complicated mix of selective spraying and mowing. These methods are all approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Jebousek. Jerry keeps a watchful eye as he persuades his crop to return season after season. When they’re not working, the couple spends time spotting deer, admiring the birds as they dive in and out of the fields and taking a dip in their swimming hole on the Calapooia river on hot summer days. They also host family and friends for barbecues under the trees. A handful of times a year, the Skiles volunteer for the USAID Farmer to Farmer program, where they travel overseas to teach farming to those in need. Recently, the two arrived home on Thanksgiving from a trip to Mozambique where they helped farmers with

irrigation and farm planning. Despite having seen most of the world as well as the depths and heights of the human condition, Jerry and Cherry admit that they don’t know much, but are committed to giving everything they’ve got. After all these years, the two still find ways to use their talents to better the world. For Jerry, getting his hands dirty is key. As the fall leaves whistle in the last of the year’s sunny days, Jerry’s contagious laugh challenges the ominous presence of the freeway. Reclined in their living room, surrounded by trinkets from trips around the world, Jerry and Cherry share a knowing smile. “You choose a course, and if you stick with it long enough, you can see change,” Jerry says. “It takes time to see how your impact has affected change.”

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Rickreall Dairy reflects a statewide dedication to innovative renewable farming by recycling cow manure


t is a sunny, fall morning in Rickreall, Oregon and the smell of manure is in the air. Louie Kazemier pulls up in a three-ton pickup with a beaming smile. The cheerful moos of his 3,500 Holstein cows echo in response across the valley. Louie is a humble dairyman. When he brought his 700 cows to the Willamette Valley in 1991 from San Diego, he never expected Rickreall Dairy to grow into the operation it is now, producing 17,500 gallons of milk a day. He also never expected to receive a national dairy award recognizing his sustainability efforts. And he never expected his conservation efforts to lead the way in innovative sustainable dairying practices across the state. Rickreall Dairy is the story of many. This family-owned farm parallels the innovative work of dairies all over Oregon, many of which demonstrate sustainability by capitalizing on waste. Under the Confined Animal Feeding Operation program, dairies across Oregon have practiced sustainability for years to

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prevent any form of pollution on their farms. Louie explains that as dairymen under the CAFO Program, “we are not allowed to pollute. Period. Which means no material ever leaves our property unless we say it can leave.” The CAFO program is effective because it does not discriminate based on size or location. According to Wym Matthews, CAFO Program manager, Oregon is the only state with these stringent yet fluid regulations. The program requires dairies to minimize pollution, but it does not mandate how. The result is what Louie defines as the most unique part of the dairy industry. “You can have 100 dairymen in a room and 100 different ways to dairy.” “Oregon is a really beautiful place and it is widely variable,” Matthews says. “The vast majority of ag’ operations in the state ask themselves, ‘how do we maintain our operation without destroying what makes Oregon the unique place that it is?’” The nondiscriminatory nature of the CAFO program encourages dairymen to practice sustainability in ways that treat their variable environments with respect.

Rickreall Dairy’s sustainability efforts are rooted in manure. As Louie’s dairy continued to grow, so, too, did the amount of waste. The 1,000-acre farm produced so much waste that the dairy accumulated a manure lagoon. To make the most of this slurry, Louie began trading the manure as fertilizer to local grass seed farmers in exchange for food for his animals. Now, the farm makes more money from its fertilizer than its dairy, shipping around 35 to 50 million gallons of fertilizer every fall to farms in the surrounding community. To ensure Louie is not using more fertilizer than is necessary, he regularly consults an agronomist that determines nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels—key elements for soil retention—in the silage. “I have a Northwest ag’ consultant that makes recommendations for what’s in the soil versus what the crop needs,” Louie says. “Then we can fertilize correctly without over-applying.” The result is a fertilizer that is noticeably better for crops and allows Rickreall to make

LEFT: Cows at the Rickreall Dairy bask in the late morning sunshine within their enclosure. The Kazemier family creates fertilizer and animal bedding material out of the cows’ manure which they trade and sell to local farmers. ABOVE: A worker prepares the next round of cows to be milked. Rickreall Dairy’s herd is milked three times a day using suction-powered technology. Every cow’s udder and teats are cleaned before and after milking to prevent bacteria from spreading.

the most of its resources. “After 25 years of double cropping, [the land] should be tired and completely worn out,” Louie says. “But because we keep putting these nutrients on it and keep incorporating them into the ground, the soil is actually getting better instead of worse.” The nutrients have equally positive effects on the neighboring farms that contribute waste and receive fertilizer in return. Louie explained that he can drive through Polk County and see which farms are using his fertilizer based on how green the grass is. Rickreall’s most recent sustainability effort epitomizes the Kazemier family’s innovation in capitalizing on waste. This time, the initiative is led by Louie’s son, Nate. The farm is producing cow fiber, a nutrient-rich fertilizer and healthy animal bedding material. The complex process runs fresh waste through a series of conveyor belts and a large spinning tumbler, spitting out dry fertilizer at the end. “The manure gets heated up in this rotating cylinder so that bacteria gets killed,” Nate

says. The resulting bedding material prevents infections in freshly milked cows, further contributing to Rickreall’s dedication to healthy animals. Louie’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. This past summer, the farm was one of three operations in the US to receive the National Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award, issued by the Innovation Center for US Dairy. The award recognized the economic, environmental and community impact of the farm’s innovation. Rickreall is the first dairy west of the Mississippi to receive the award. However, Louie thinks that his story is not unique in the state of Oregon. “I think there’s a lot of dairymen in this state that deserve this award,” Louie says. “I’m not the only one doing what I’m doing.” In fact, just 30 minutes north of Rickreall Dairy, the Bansen family-owned Forest Glen Jerseys operation embodies sustainability in their use of methane digesters. By taking in manure and converting the organic energy

to methane, the digesters capitalize on waste by creating gas for the farm from manure. Although the Bansen family introduced digesters just a couple years ago, the effects have already proven economically viable, according to Jamie Bansen. Methane digesters work well for the size and surrounding moist environment of the Bansen farm, Bansen explained. At Rickreall, on the other hand, Louie says that digesters were too expensive, so he chose to practice sustainability in other ways. Each farm’s distinct method represents the beauty of the CAFO program, encouraging dairies to exhibit sustainability in a way that best fits their particular operation. Though widely variable, dairies across Oregon are exhibiting sustainability. Families like the Kazemiers and the Bansens parallel the innovation occurring at a statewide level. Astute, efficient and loving—this is what sustainability looks like in Oregon dairies.

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Lane County nonprofit Huerto de la Familia helps local Latino families cultivate their own gardens and businesses

LEFT: Margarito Palacios, the owner of the Small Farmers Project, reveals a fresh strawberry. Strawberries are one of the many crops grown on Palacios’s farm. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Small Farmers Project is located on the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon.


n the outskirts of Northwest Eugene, Oregon, a 6-acre farm sits nestled between neighborhoods. A narrow dirt road trails past fallow fields and trees adorned with brilliant yellow leaves. Near the back of the farm, the sun sheds golden light over young strawberry plants growing row after row. This farm, named Small Farmers’ Project, has belonged to Margarito Palacios and his family since 2008, with the help of nonprofits Huerto de la Familia and Heifer International. Palacios’s farm is considered the first success story for Huerto de la Familia’s Cambios program, which helps Latino families start small businesses. Huerto de la Familia, which translates to “the Family Garden,” is based in Lane County with a mission to increase nutrition, health and economic security for Latino families. It operates within two separate facets. One is Cambios, the other is an organic garden program which provides families with a 15-by-15-foot plot of land where they can plant, grow and harvest organic produce to take home and eat. The organization currently works with 85 families, all of whom live at 100 to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Huerto de la Familia helps realize a dream for Latino families that otherwise may have been impossible for those working low-wage jobs with little knowledge of how to run a business. Palacios immigrated to the United States from Chiapas, Mexico in 2001. He’s a round-faced man with dark skin and a solemn look in his eyes. He started gardening with Huerto de la Familia’s organic garden program when he moved to Eugene from California in 2005. His next step was to start this farm. Palacios uses the business as a way to prove his work ethic and refute negative stereotypes of Mexican immigrants. “With this project, I show them I came to work, not to do bad things,” he says. Small Farmers’ Project was the result of a brief partnership that formed in 2007 between Huerto de la Familia and Heifer International, a nonprofit organization that combats hunger and poverty worldwide, with the explicit intent of helping low-income Latino families start a farm business. At the time, ten families involved with Huerto de la Familia expressed interest in the project. Small Farmers’ Project was then granted funding from the partnership from 2008 to 2011. That same year, Small Farmers’ Project established itself as its own business. It functions as a “u-pick” strawberry and raspberry farm that charges nine dollars for a four-pound bag of produce and 13 dollars for a six-and-a-half-pound bag. To Palacios, the importance of the farm extends beyond his work ethic. It’s also a place for his family to spend time together. What was once ten families at the beginning of Small Farmers’ Project has dwindled down to two—

now Palacios’s family owns half the farm while Juan Hernandez, who is Palacios’s uncle-in-law, and his family owns the other half. Palacios, who lives in Springfield, says he takes his kids to the farm every day in the summer months and together they pick strawberries from the fields. Sometimes, he and his family take two inflatable air mattresses and a red and blue tent to the farm so they can spend the night. He also uses the farm as an essential teaching tool for his children, five-year-old Victoria and three-year-old Angel. Palacios says he works so his kids can have better lives, but he also wants to instill the values of working in agriculture and taking care of nature. Sometimes, Angel and Victoria throw things at the apple tree that grows on the farm and pull on the branches, but he teaches them that when they do that, it’s like someone pulling your hair. “I’m going to do the most I can for them to go to the university,” he says, “but my first responsibility is to show them this.” The executive director of Huerto de la Familia, Marissa Zarate, shares Palacios’s sentiments when it comes to the value of farming and gardening, but for different reasons. Zarate left the law firm she was working for in the Columbia Gorge to become Executive Director of the organization in 2015. Her passion for studying food systems began when she learned about government farm

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TOP: Palacios sits at the dinner table with his family at their Springfield, Oregon home. BOTTOM LEFT: Those involved with the Small Farmers Project can grow food for local Latino families in Lane County. Tomatoes are one of the hand-grown crops harvested by the many families who come to the farm. BOTTOM RIGHT: Margarito Palacios picks fresh strawberries at the Small Farmers Project.

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subsidies in college. According to Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and education organization focused on environmental and health issues, these subsidies are supposed to offset agricultural variables, such as weather and market prices, that can affect profits, yet are often skewed to five crops: corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice. “And then the food that we actually need—and that even lots of people want—becomes unaffordable and inaccessible to a lot of families,” Zarate says. “I just feel so strongly that families should be able to have healthy, real food. The chance to pursue that, and spend my career to further that, was worth leaving a beautiful place, even the Gorge.” She explains that Huerto de la Familia created Cambios and started small business training as a service to garden families who wanted to advance their skill set by starting restaurants or farms. She says it has now expanded to serve Latino families that want to start any type of business. It’s a 12-week class taught in Spanish by Alexandra Perez Urbina, the Cambios program manager. It includes one-on-one counseling with each participant to help them navigate the nuances of starting a business. “A big part of the program is bringing in community experts. If there’s somebody who has some sort of authority on the subject, they’re more likely to listen,” Urbina says of the program participants. These experts may include immigration attorneys and insurance agents. In addition to the organization’s Cambios program, Huerto de la Familia also operates the organic garden program, which largely acts to combat food insecurity.

Participants receive a plot of land, and they have the autonomy to grow whatever they want and visit the garden at any time. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as families “uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.” Zarate cites language barriers as a contributing factor of food insecurity for many Latino families. “If you don’t speak English then you don’t qualify for a lot of jobs that you have the skill set for,” she says. “We see that our families end up in positions that don’t pay as much, and just don’t have as much money to spend on food.” According to the USDA, the national average of food insecurity within households was 12.3 percent in 2016. However, Hispanic, black non-Hispanic, low-income families and households with children experienced it at a higher than average rate. Specifically, Hispanic households experience food insecurity at a national rate of 18.5 percent. On top of that, the Oregon Center for Public Policy found that Oregon had the sharpest increase of food insecurity in the country from 2013 to 2015, ranking sixth worst in the nation. There are five organic garden community plots in Eugene and one in Springfield, all with a lock or code, so only participants have access. Interested households contact Huerto de la Familia to obtain a plot of land. There is a contract that all members sign that includes agreements such as when someone must plant and how to prepare as well as maintain their garden. The organization operates on a “use it or lose it” policy, meaning if someone doesn’t plant

“With this project, I show them I came to work, not to do bad things." by a certain date, they lose their land and it’s given to someone else. The program has a 25-person waitlist in Springfield. Huerto de la Familia operates on funding from grants, donors and inkind donations such as using land on school and church properties for their garden spaces and seed and fertilizer donations. The biggest challenge for the organization is having sufficient funding to expand the program and hire more employees. It’s looking to purchase farmland so it can explore starting an incubator for farm businesses similar to Palacios’s. Zarate points to other groups doing farm business startups, like Rogue Farm Corps in Ashland, Oregon, that say these startups can’t be done in a small amount of time. Organizations that assist farm businesses in becoming established have to make a two to four year commitment to a farm. The challenges of a small business are multiplied by farming requirements such as owning land, operations and keeping track of finances and documentation, Zarate says. “Starting a small business is hard, and there’s not a high chance of success,” she says. “Our goal as a nonprofit is not to promise them that they’ll succeed, but to give them the best possible chance of success.”

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Cannabidiol A Eugene dispensary is helping provide medical cannabis treatment to children WORDS BY LAURA GROSHANS | PHOTOS BY TY BOESPFLUG

ABOVE: A cannabis plant at TJ’s Dispensary, which provides medication to help children in Eugene deal with a variety of illnesses like epilepsy. 18 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

LEFT: TJ’s CBD formula is a coconut oil-based tincture that is made from an ethanol-based extraction process. A single CBD plant can yield about 300,000 mg of cannabidiols, equivalent to over 100 years of medication for a single patient. RIGHT: Before dinner, Paige gives James his medicine in the form of a cannabis oil-filled capsule. James takes about 45 mg of CBD and THC/THCA oil throughout the day. The CBD helps reduce his seizures while the THC and THCA helps regulate his emotions and impulse control. “He is more able to recognize his own body and calm it down,” Paige says.


pringfield, Oregon mother Paige Hall starts each day by giving her six-year-old son James a dose of cannabis extracts to help combat his epilepsy. Paige distributes the extracts into a capsule while James rambunctiously chases his service dog Dave, a golden retriever. Paige and James Hall are one of 140 families in the Forrest Initiative program. The Forrest Initiative is a program at TJ’s, a Eugene cannabis dispensary, that provides CBD and THC extracts at no charge to families of children who meet certain medical criteria. James was diagnosed with autism at two, and epilepsy at three. He and his mother spent two years testing different medications prescribed by doctors to calm the seizures brought on by his epilepsy. During its peak, James was experiencing five to six extreme seizures an hour. According to Project CBD, a California nonprofit that specializes in Cannabidiol research, CBD is a cannabis compound that regenerates and repairs nervous system tissue and offers relief

from a variety of ailments. CBD does not have the psychoactive qualities associated with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it does not get the user high. CBD can also reportedly counteract the psychoactive qualities of THC when the two are used in unison. The compound has been found by medical marijuana advocates to reduce seizures, chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and other conditions without hindering mental clarity. Because of this, CBD is increasing in popularity among people with chronic illness and is used to treat and alleviate everyday ailments such as headaches, anxiety and pain. Despite this, CBD is recognized as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the federal government categorizes it as having no medical benefit. As a result, it can be difficult to acquire medical CBD because most testing and research of its benefits is federally illegal. The Philadelphia Children’s Hospital is currently conducting one of the first medical studies on CBD use, which could potentially help deschedule the drug and allow more people to access its Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 19

“I would commit felonies if that’s what it took to get my son’s medicine."

medical benefits. The study will include data from patients who are a part of the Forrest Initiative. The initiative first began in 2014 when TJ’s owner Travis Mackenzie met a client who made their own alcohol-based CBD extracts to treat chronic seizures. The homemade extracts were made incorrectly and inefficiently, Mackenzie says, so he formulated a new, more effective extract for the client. After Mackenzie prescribed her 6 mg of CBD per day, the client’s seizures reduced from up to 90 a month to almost none within the first few months of use. According to Mackenzie, just one outdoor cannabis plant has the potential to make over 137 years of medicine for one person. “When I realized how tiny that dose was, I realized it would be practically free for me to offer this to other people,” Mackenzie says. “My donation really is the labor and the raw materials.” Now, TJ’s dispensary accepts

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any families who qualify for the Forrest Initiative to receive free cannabis medicine. The main qualifications for the program are being under 18, having a medical cannabis card and living in Oregon or Washington. Paige is grateful to have found the Forrest Initiative to help her son. After many appointments and medication switches, Paige asked James’s neurologist about potentially using CBD as part of treatment for his epilepsy. The neurologist was not on board with the idea, but Paige went forward with the treatment anyway. CBD is rarely condoned by medical professionals because it is a Schedule 1 drug. In October of 2016, Paige got a medical card for James and signed up for the Forrest Initiative. “I would commit felonies if that’s what it took to get my son’s medicine,” Paige says. After just three days of the treatment, James’s seizures reduced from five to six an hour to five to six a day. Originally, his seizures were severe, consisting of extreme loss of muscle control and lasting up to an hour. James is still not completely pharmaceutical-free. He remains on a low dose of his former doctorprescribed treatment alongside the cannabis extracts. Through the Forrest Initiative, Paige also receives THC and THCA oils that, in combination with the CBD, keep James’s seizures to a minimum. James now has about three mild seizures a day, usually only a few seconds in length and with very little body movement. Paige says that sometimes she can only tell he is experiencing a seizure by the way his eyes are moving. She customizes James’s dosages based on how much stimulation he is likely to experience in a particular day.

“Unfortunately, the whole beast of epilepsy is that the brain gets used to medication,” Paige says. As the brain gets routinized with a certain dosage, the medicine can become less effective. After six months of experimenting with different ratios of the oils, Paige was able to vary the day-to-day dosage with an understanding of how the ratio will impact James’s behavior. Paige explained that even though the cannabis treatment was originally aimed at helping with his epilepsy, it has also benefited James’s autism in a number of ways. James has gradually developed a calmer temperament and is able to focus on tasks and communication with more purpose. Additionally, he is able to follow directions more closely and better understand games and toys. Paige also says that James has become more imaginative over the course of the treatment—he sometimes puts on her glasses and pretends to be her. This is special for Paige because a trademark of autism is not seeing the “function” of imagination and joking, and therefore not partaking in any communication that is not need-based. James is now a year into his cannabis treatment, and is able to live a much fuller and happier life. His service dog Dave helps him navigate the world, and makes him feel more comfortable and independent. Dave enables James to run around and play without always needing to be right next to his mother in case of an emergency. “Even when James is taking a bath, Dave will be sitting right next to the tub,” Paige says. “They’re best friends, they do everything together.”

TOP: James’s various cannabis extracts and traditional pharmaceutical prescriptions for his epilepsy sit atop the family’s microwave in the kitchen. While James still takes a low dose of pharmaceuticals, his seizures dramatically decreased when he began the cannabis treatment. BOTTOM: Paige, James and Dave enjoy a day at Skinner’s Butte Park in Eugene, Oregon. Paige, a single mom, works as an inventory manager and does production work at a local warehouse in order to support her family. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 21

Deva Grace:

Roadkill Recycler How one woman faces death head-on



eva Grace, 30, has a plan for when she dies. She hopes that her loved ones will process her body themselves. She has always had a respect and fascination for the ways of the past when family members of the deceased would process their bodies themselves. They would brush their hair, clip their nails, dress them, etc. “I really love that—nowadays, someone else does that and there’s no processing of the death,” Deva says. “I feel like it’s an acceptance thing.” It also happens that processing dead bodies is something she does regularly, both to respect death and cope with her own depression. Deva mummifies and makes art and jewelry out of roadkill and other dead animals. She calls herself a Roadkill Recycler. “It’s really all about honoring them and honoring death,” Deva says. In every corner of her home, Deva has pieces of dead animals. The molted skin of the snake 22 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

sits on the shelf below her pothos plant that grows up her window. The pelt of a fox sits near the entrance of her kitchen, flopped over the edge of a jewelry box surrounded by necklaces with vertebrae charms and accentuated by a blood-red tablecloth. Dried bugs, lungs, bones and tarantulas fill jars strewn about her living room. She has a story for each one. Deva’s holistic taxidermy presents itself differently from traditional taxidermy. Often, we see buck heads mounted on walls or bear skin rugs as prizes won after performing some kind of primal, masculine show of dominance over the animal. Or we may find their bodies respectfully on display at museums, being used for education. But Deva does taxidermy to revere death. She’s a tall woman with an almost military haircut and an eye-catching lip ring. She handles the corpses gently, tells you the name she’s given them and asks if you’d like to pet them. It’s easy to claim that Deva is obsessed with

all things morbid—but those who know her well might say she simply has a fascination and respect for life and its cycles. As a child, Deva and her mom visited graveyards and her mom read her obituaries. When she was 11, her pet lizard, Spike, died and she kept it in a jewelry box for a week. Eventually her mom asked her to do something about it. “I buried him,” Deva says, “but now I realize I could have mummified him or done something like that. I could still have him.” Her mom, Erin Grace, says she doesn’t remember this but that it sounds like something Deva would do. “It makes me really happy to know she’s doing something that is so unique,” Erin says, “It’s a reflection of who she is.” Deva would love to be able to process Erin’s body when she passes—and it’s a conversation they’ve had more than once. She thinks it’s silly not to plan something like that. “That’s the one promise in life: you’re going to

Deva, who makes jewelry using the bones of roadkill, displays the jawbone of a small rodent. Deva says that creating art from the bones helps her cope with death.

fucking die,” Deva says. She believes that processing a body can be healing, “It’s a really healthy letting-go process. A lot of people think it’s weird but I think it’s actually a really beautiful thing.” While Erin hasn’t given Deva explicit permission to process her body, she trusts Deva to make the right choice when the time comes. “If she wants to make jewelry out of my bones, that’s fine,” she says. Deva wears the vertebrae of a baby opossum on a necklace every day. It was the first dead animal she ever processed. Now, dead animals seem to be magnetized to her. From friends’ dead pets to deer heads and remains found in the neighborhood, Deva will always have a bucket of bones macerating in a mixture of Dawn soap, peroxide and water under her back porch. “Whatever my friends give me, if I didn’t find it myself, I make them something,” she says. “It might take me months or a year but eventually they’ll get some kind of jewelry or memento.” She feels that creating something with these bodies and honoring their

death even helps other people cope with life’s natural cycles. She calls it “death therapy.” Recently, her friend Diana hit a squirrel while driving and found herself feeling remorseful. Despite the fact she knew killing a squirrel with her car was inevitable, she couldn’t bring herself to just leave it in the road. “I called Deva because I didn’t know what to do,” Diana says. “I’m grateful that she does what she does because it is really nice to have somebody that honors the animal. It’s really important to have some recognition of life.” That awareness of and respect for mortality is a huge part of the “death therapy” that Deva uses to cope with depression. Processing the bodies of these animals is one major way she grounds herself in appreciation for life. “It just makes me realize that I’m alive still and I’m happy to be alive, I’m not ready to die yet,” Deva says. “I’m grateful to still be here and be able to do these things. You know, when you go into dark places it’s easy to forget that.”

Deva goes through a lengthy and multi-step process in making her roadkill art. One of the final steps involves soaking the bones of her roadkill specimen in a solution of dish soap, peroxide and water in order to separate any remaining tissues.

“If she wants to make jewelry out of my bones, that’s fine." Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 23

We asked our staff

to write about someone who changed college for them.

meet: kelsey



elsey was already locked out of our dorm room when I met her on movein day. She wasn’t bothered by it though. She passed the time exploring Walton North and saying hi to the people she would come to know as her best friends. I vividly remember her wearing a red patterned romper on that day, the same one she’s currently letting me borrow during her six-month long tour of South America. Kelsey has spent about one and a half years working, studying and vacationing abroad during her time as a college student. While I was writing this, she was in Uruguay—she says she’s falling in love with life more and more every day. Recently, Kelsey had an ethereal moment in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay. “I live right on the beach, and at five a.m., a friend and I sat

24 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

on the beach and silently watched one of the most incredible sunrises I have ever seen in my life,” she says. “It was a simple joy and a simple reminder of how much beauty there is in the world, and how lucky I am to be living and loving this life.” Kelsey has fallen so much in love with life abroad that she really can’t see herself living in America after she graduates. She finds herself completely uninterested in the stress of remaining productive that living in America requires. “I've found that abroad, and particularly in South America, life moves at a calmer pace,” she says. “I think that there is more time for happiness and love and deeper relationships. Learning how to let go of my attachment to good wifi, hot showers and a life tightly regimented


and organized by a schedule and routine down to the minute has taught me to live a calmer life.” Her adventures have also opened her up to new experiences and worldly lessons, mostly to let go. “Don't be afraid to eat rice and curry with your hands,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to let the stranger on the bus next to you try to give you an impromptu language lesson, and don't forget to smile and dance if you get caught in a monsoon.” Kelsey’s mom and her college roommate still vacation together every year and we plan on taking a page from their book. We’ll start with going to Joshua Tree, California next Fall. I hope she can be a life-long friend.

& P

meet: nagore


erhaps the most spectacular quality of Nagore Sedano is that she sees nothing spectacular about her journey at all. Nagore is a graduate employee and PhD candidate in the Spanish department and a Department of Women’s and Gender studies employee. I first came across her wicked fashion sense and contagious smile in a linguistics class. Two years later, her passionate words of growth and independence inspire me all the same. Nagore was born in the Basque country of Northern Spain, speaking Spanish at home and Basque at school. She was also deeply influenced by the Galician culture of her mother’s family. “My childhood was a bit of a triangle between three cultures, sometimes leaning more heavily to one corner,” she says. Nagore’s eyes light up as she speaks of her Spanish identity.

“You have within Spain another national identity based on region,” she explains. This cultural relationship with national identity constituted the foundation of Nagore’s travels. Her first experience in a foreign culture came at age 17. An element of her study abroad program, Nagore found herself teaching Spanish classes in England. She explains that her travels “were empowering experiences that unraveled a world of possibilities beyond national frontiers, traditional gender roles and capitalist life narratives.” When Nagore returned to the Basque country to graduate, she not only struggled to reconcile her newfound independence, but also to return to a rigid definition of her own identity. “I had grown up feeling a little torn apart by different political ideas in a society that was

so divided,” she says. “Identity politics were so important to me and there was a sense of liberation in going abroad.” For the next few years, Nagore’s studies were characterized by close relationships with the cultures in which she was immersed. From Australia to Switzerland to the United States, she maintained her Basque identity. Nagore bashfully apologizes for boring me, completely unaware that I have treasured her words. I remember the first time I encountered this incredible woman. To chronologically hear her story and parallel it with my own growth since that class freshman year, I do not know how to thank her enough. Nagore’s journey is one of revelation and bravery. Not even 30, she has defined her identity con fuerza.

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 25


WOMEN’S SERVICE The story of how one of the nation’s first Women’s Veteran Memorial was recently built in Springfield, Oregon


On Friday, Nov. 10, Shelley Corteville joined more than one hundred spectators at Springfield’s Willamalane Park to witness the unveiling of a new sculpture dedicated to female veterans. Surrounded by fellow veterans, Corteville reacted to the piece, featuring three lionesses, with pride: “This memorial is for each of us.”

26 | ETHOS | Winter 2018


sea of umbrellas forms in Springfield, Oregon at Willamalane Park. It’s Nov. 10, and this gathering does not just feature the standard outfits of an Oregon fall day—rain boots and Columbia jackets— but hats that read “Vietnam Veteran” and “Afghanistan Veteran” and shirts emblazoned with “This Is What a Woman Veteran Looks Like.” The unveiling of the Springfield Women Veterans’ Memorial commences with speeches from Springfield veterans Shelley Corteville and Ree McSween, as well as one of the artists who conceptualized the memorial, Alison Brown. A trumpet rendition of “Taps” follows, then 30 seconds of quiet in which the tapping of rain on pine needles is the only sound. After the moment of silence, the group moves from the grass to the cemented circle of a plaza. The paths leading into the park twine around the cast of a cannon on the street corner and a memorial for Vietnam veterans on a small plaza. The paths then lead to a statue wrapped in a black tarp, the Springfield Women Veterans’ Memorial, the only one in the state of Oregon and one of only a handful of such memorials in the nation. Female veterans often face genderspecific obstacles during their service in addition to being rendered invisible in ways male veterans are not. Three lionesses stand on the memorial’s base. One looks over her shoulder, the second looks skyward and the third snarls, paw raised. In turn, these felines represent women veterans’ past, future and present. Underneath their paws, objects represent the five branches of the United States military: the rock for the Army; the anchor for the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps; the falcon for the Air Force. Sprinkled around the lionesses’ paws, blue African violets symbolize hope. Memorial: Serving to help people remember events or persons; in memory. Shelley Corteville is a civically engaged citizen. She serves as director of local nonprofit Egan Warming Center. She is the chairperson of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace and the memorial grant co-writer. Corteville stood by the memorial as it was unveiled. She collaborated with the city’s Legislative and Public Affairs Manager, Niel Laudati, to bring about the memorial. Laudati approached her with the idea, and she wrote a letter to include in the grant proposal.

“This is our memorial,” Corteville says. The first meeting the committee held after receiving the grant turned contentious. Men from Veterans of Foreign Wars and other men’s veterans groups attended and began telling Corteville and the other female veterans in attendance about what their memorial should look like. But Corteville wanted to centralize women’s voices in the meeting. The memorial is for all female veterans, not just active duty women, which made her want the statue to have a timeless quality. Inclusivity proved complex. A statue of a woman in combat boots would not represent the women who served as nurses. Moreover, the women wanted no reference to family in the memorial due to the tendency to conflate women veterans with veterans’ wives, daughters and mothers. “It’s disparaging,” Corteville says. “Women veterans’ experience of life is far different from those of women who haven’t served. It’s not the same as being a wife. But we’ve all heard that it is, many times.” The women also did not want weapons depicted in the memorial. Corteville and many others became peace activists after their service. After deciding what they did not want, the women chose the qualities they wanted the memorial to embody. They wanted it to reflect fortitude, honor and pride. Corteville faced other challenges during her time on the committee. Some men did not understand why women needed their own memorial. But Corteville speaks of women veterans’ erasure. “Often people don’t even know who we are in the community.” On Veterans Day, veterans often receive free meals, drinks, coffee and other amenities. A friend of Corteville’s went to a restaurant, wearing all her insignia, and had to catch the server’s attention as they began offering the specials to male veterans, glossing over her. Once, Corteville walked into a Department of Veterans’ Affairs clinic with her husband at the time, also a veteran. The staff immediately ushered him over to receive a flu shot. He did not even have to show his veteran’s ID. Corteville stood there. She spoke up and asked for a flu shot. The staff replied, “Oh honey. We’re only giving those to the veterans.” They gave her a flu shot after she provided evidence that she was a veteran. The next year, she faced the same treatment. In the service, Corteville wore men’s

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 27

boots and men’s uniforms because the military did not make gear fitted for women’s bodies. “I hope this memorial will make them feel less invisible,” Corteville says of the women veterans who are often overlooked or forgotten about. Service: A contribution to the welfare of others. In early fall of 2017, Corteville lobbied about these issues in Washington, D.C., even discussing them with congresswomen. Women’s Action for New Directions sponsored her to go to their biannual conference and lobby. Corteville lobbied to improve truth in recruiting, ensuring that recruiters pitching to high school students are transparent about life in the military. The Army raised recruiters’ monthly quotas on Oct. 1. This places pressure on the recruiters, leading them to stretch the truth when recruiting at high schools. She reflected on sitting in a room and listening to a recruiter assure a teenager that he could be a medic and not face combat, when the recruiter could not be certain of that. “Had I had all the information, I might have made a different decision,” she says of her high school choice to join the military. Her recruiter claimed to be married to a woman in the Army and used that to reassure Corteville of women’s treatment. The recruiter then proceeded to come to her home and tried to convince Corteville’s mother to go out with him. Corteville joined the military after graduating from high school in Merced, California. During her four years of active duty, she was raped five times by fellow soldiers. In the years since, policy on

military sexual assault has not improved. The military’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office released a report in 2012 that documented a rise in military sexual assault as well as a drop in reporting. Between 2011 and 2012, incidents of sexual assault swelled by 36 percent, from 19,300 to 26,000. Rates of reporting dropped from 13.5 percent to 9.8 percent during that time. “These things are about power,” Corteville says. “And that’s why they need to be taken out of the command structure.” Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, trials unfold differently than in the civilian justice system. Victims must have military lawyers and cannot have civilian lawyers. Prosecution remains within the military. Active military personnel go before court martials, not judges. But having a trial at all depends on whether the officer to whom the rape is reported does anything. And even that depends on military personnel reporting. Men and women alike face ostracization for reporting. The fifth time she was raped, Corteville reported. And then a man pounded on her door one night and proceeded to yell at her. He was not the man she had named, but he had heard misinformation that she had reported him. The privacy of her reporting had been compromised. Her case never went any further. Pride: A reasonable or justifiable self-respect; a company of lions. Wherever she goes in town, Corteville always seems to know someone. On the steps of Springfield City Hall, she greets acquaintances who are walking into work. At a coffee shop in Eugene, she chats about lobbying

Corteville is a U.S. army veteran, the chairperson for the local chapter of Veterans for Peace and the memorial grant co-writer. 28 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

with a friend who walks into the shop shortly after Corteville ends a phone call about organizing the first Egan Warming Center activation of the season. Corteville has traveled around the country screening the award-winning investigative documentary “The Invisible War,” which showcases veterans’ narratives about their sexual assaults. She showed it 26 times and spoke 52 times. She has written letters to officials about these issues. After lobbying in D.C., she is toying with the idea of running for public office. Although she always intended the memorial to have an impact on others, she was surprised at the impact it had on her, more than any other piece of art she has seen. It allowed her to feel proud of her service, despite the traumas she faced. She joined out of an urge to serve her country and her community. Now, she sees the many ways she can serve beyond her time in the military. Since the unveiling, she has visited the memorial at least every other day. “In the memorial, I can see myself,” she says.

Crystal Szczepanski worked in mixed media to illustrate pages for Goodnight Grand Ronde. Places of cultural importance to the people of Grand Ronde fill the pages. The longhouse on the tribe’s reservation, depicted above, was one of Szczepanski’s favorite illustrations she created.

Healing Through Culture Crystal Szczepanski recovers from intergenerational trauma and alcoholism by creating artwork that embodies the Native American spirit, history and language of the Grande Ronde Tribe



enerations of handmade Native American regalia and decor fill the walls of Crystal Szczepanski’s home on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde reservation. Among them hangs a Pendleton and leather cradleboard crafted by relatives for Szczepanski after the birth of her daughter, Ravin. A carving of a wood canoe is displayed—a miniature replica of the twenty-person one used in the tribe’s annual canoe journey in the Pacific Northwest. Woven between framed photos of past family members lay Szczepanski’s mother’s delicate and meticulous beadwork. Amongst it all, Szczepanski sits at her dining table scattered with sketches, watercolor paintings and storyboard drawings. Next to her are plastic drawers filled to the brim with art supplies used to illustrate “Goodnight Grande Ronde,” the tribe’s first

children’s book. Based off the acclaimed bedtime story “Goodnight Moon”, “Goodnight Grande Ronde” is written in the tribe’s native language, Chinuk Wawa. A trade language, Chinuk Wawa developed at the mouth of the Columbia River and was used intermittently by Native American tribes and traders of the Pacific Northwest. The Grande Ronde community published the book in 2012 in an effort to help restore the tribe’s language. It was a significant and celebrative step for the community. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde reservation, one of the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, and their Spirit Mountain Casino are located 60 miles south of Portland and 30 miles west of Salem. Their efforts to revitalize their culture have contributed to the ongoing progression of Native American communities across the U.S. who are Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 29

Since her first exposure to art therapy in 2012, Szczepanski wanted to try a multitude of media. For one of her early art pieces, she weaved a small purse using colored thread and bits of recycled aluminum chip bags.

striving to counteract pervasive colonialism. For Crystal Szczepanksi, creating “Goodnight Grand Ronde” encompassed more than improving the development of her community and challenging her skills as an artist. She says that illustrating the book was her first healthy risk since recovery from alcoholism. “It was monumental,” Szczepanski says. Every facet of her life has been shaped by art and culture, including her own survival. Szczepansksi’s exposure to Native American art such as weaving, painting, beadwork, woodwork and scrimshaw art started from a young age. Her mother Eleanor Szczepanski attended the Santa Fe Indian School to study at their established “Studio School” for high school Native artists. In 1977 at age 17, Eleanor got pregnant and gave birth to Crystal, then moved back to her village of only 300 people in Holy Cross, Alaska. By the first grade, Szczepanski’s mother had met a new partner and their family moved from Holy Cross to Eugene, Oregon. Over the next 20 years, Szczepanski grew up enveloped in an atmosphere of art. Her mother and stepfather were both painters. In the home, they worked on collaborative pieces together and encouraged Szczepanski to take part. Additionally, she gained artistic skills in her art classes at North Eugene High School and through her experiences traveling the Pacific Coast to visit tribal communities and powwows as a traditional Native American dance performer. In 1998, Szczepanski moved to the Grand Ronde reservation. At the time, Szczepanski was in a relationship with the biological father of her soon to be daughter, Ravin. However, their relationship was toxic. Szczepanski’s partner’s gambling addiction permeated their home and relationship, causing her to always keep her guard up when he was around. “In very unhealthy ways, you learn how to fight,” she says. “It’s like throwing punches mentally.” On some nights, their fights would go on for hours. Their unhealthy relationship fed into the beginning of Szczepanski’s alcohol addiction. After the birth of her daughter in 2000, Szczepanski left the relationship for the sake of her daughter’s well being. Despite leaving the relationship and finding support in her current partner David Fullerton two years later, Szczepanski had developed the onset of an alcohol addiction. In 2002, when her daughter was two years old, Szczepanski tried to become a soley social drinker. Her attempt to consume alcohol only in social situations with friends backfired. Szczepanski’s alcoholism worsened, and over the course of 10 years, drinking was her coping mechanism. She compensated for overwhelming feelings of self loathing and past trauma with alcohol. In the three years leading up to 2012, drinking invaded every aspect of Szczepanski’s life. “I’m out on work nights, I’m not coming

home,” she says, describing her addiction throughout that time period. “Whatever it took for me to get numb and not feel anything.” Szczepanski became increasingly consumed until waking up one morning during the spring of 2012 in a hospital bed alone, afraid and feeling hopeless. “It’s like you’re out in the middle of a desert and you’re just a little speck and there is nothing around you, just loneliness,” she says. “I hit my rock bottom.” Szczepanski had no cell phone and no support. The only number she could remember was her partner’s, David Fullerton. Fullerton took Szczepanski to the home of her uncle, Joe Martineau, a spirit advisor and chemical dependency counselor at the Grand Ronde clinic. “A big issue for Crystal was her self-esteem,” Martineau says. “Her feelings of worthwhile were at an all time low. You could see it in her eyes. She had no life in her eyes.” In the living room of her uncle’s home, Szczepanski sunk into the couch, drowning out words of affection her loved ones spoke to her. “It was like time slowed down,” she says. A heaviness grew in her body and a numbness filled her mind. Szczepanski didn’t care if she lived or died. “I’d never felt like that, the lowest, darkest place I’d ever been,” she says. “Then I really understood—you either die from your addiction or you hit rock bottom.” But Szczepanski decided there was another course. Part of healing for Szczepanski was understanding the intergenerational trauma of the Native women before her. She attended a women’s workshop held by the White Bison organization, a non-profit comprised of Native American/Alaska Native sobriety leaders who use cultural knowledge to support addiction recovery. The wellness instructor hosting the event, Sharyl Whitehawk, began a session by asking for three volunteers. She gave the volunteers the roles of grandmother, mother and daughter. Each participant held a bag out in front of themselves, facing the other attendees. When she placed a stone in the grandmother’s bag, the instructor explained how the stone’s weight represented trauma the grandmother experienced when being taken from her home and forced into a boarding school. She placed another stone in the grandmother’s bag for her experiences of being sexually or physically abused while attending boarding school. The instructor passed the grandmother’s bag to the mother, representing the biological and physical passing of the grandmother’s trauma to the mother. She placed two more stones in the mother’s bag to represent the experiences of being raped and in an abusive relationship. The instructor then passed the bag of stones

to the daughter who, then carried the weight of trauma from both her mother and grandmother. Without knowing the impact intergenerational trauma can have on future generations, the daughter was unable to understand the heaviness of trauma and how it manifested itself into her lived experiences of feeling depressed and angered. From the workshop, Szczepanski started to see how past experiences of sexual and mental trauma affected the women in her family. After this experience, she could see the immediate value in working to restore her mental health.

“When I heal myself, I heal the generations of women before me,” Szczepanski says. “I have a positive impact that heals the future generations after me too.” Expressing herself through art provided Szczepanski with a new avenue to treat and heal her alcohol addiction. During her third experience in rehab at the Hazelden Treatment Center in Newberg, Oregon, she attended an art therapy clinic for the first time. The instructor asked her to draw a representation of her daughter, partner and herself. She picked up a pen and keenly drew a perfect circle. “It was pure and balanced,” Szczepanski says. “It was my daughter.” Then, she drew an oblique rectangle with sharp points of protection which represented Fullerton, her partner. At the time, she recalls, the sharp corners were directed in “a straight path, to protect himself and Ravin against my unhealthy behavior.” With charcoal, Szczepanski scribbled vigorously across the page and then crumpled it into a ball. She set it next to the perfect circle and protective rectangle. “That’s me,” Szczepanski said to the instructor. “Broken, ripped, disgusting, nasty, pitiful.” Seeing art as a new outlet, Szczepanski started to think constantly about creating. “I was hungry for anything I could learn,” Szczepanski says. “Whatever it was, I tried it.” She started basket weaving, and then moved into beadwork. She studied and practiced the rose designs of the Shoshone tribes, the geometric patterns of the Crow tribe and the floral design of the Lakes and Athabascan tribes in Alaska. She drowned out the voices from her alcoholism that would constantly gnaw at her mind. “It’s like you have a wound and you’re not taking care of yourself, and you open it up to clean it out,” she says. Each time Szczepanski took the time to create art, the voices and temptations got quieter.

Szczepanski found art as a way to express what words failed to do. “I started to heal through my culture,” she says. Healing herself and her surrounding community went hand in hand. As a language specialist for the Grand Ronde tribe and past teacher of the Chinuk Wawa language, Szczepanski was approached by Ali Holsclaw, a Chinuk Immersion teacher, to illustrate “Goodnight Grand Ronde”. Szczepanski greeted the task with a bit of apprehension. Although she spent much of her time using art as an outlet for addiction, Szczepanski did not consider herself an artist. Determined at least to try, she sought after the project as her first healthy risk since recovery. Szczepanski’s budget limited her access to materials. Problem solving, she quietly took Crayola pens and crayons, colored construction paper and Elmer's glue from her daughter’s classroom. “I took whatever resources I had,” Szczepanski says, “and made the best of it.” When choosing how to illustrate each page of the book, Szczepanski was left to use her own creativity. She wanted to incorporate familiarity and locations of significance to the people of Grand Ronde. In her illustrations she depicted places such as the Spirit Mountain, a sacred place of prayer, the cedar longhouse on the reservation and moments from Grande Ronde’s round dance ceremony each year. Since accepting the task of illustrating “Goodnight Grand Ronde”, Szczepanski has maintained her sobriety for the past five years. Martineau, Szczepanski’s uncle and spiritual advisor, says he has seen her heal since she began creating art. “Her culture and her art were hard to pick up when she was using because she didn’t think she was deserving of those things,” he says. Without the constant support of relatives and members of her community, Szczepanski believes she wouldn’t be where she is today as a recovered alcoholic and an addictions counselor for the tribe. “Through art, she finds some connection and identity,” Martineau says. “The art brings pride and worthiness. It enhances the rest of what she is accomplishing.” While the opportunity to express her art in “Goodnight Grand Ronde” helped Szczepanski heal, it wasn’t only about her. “It was for the language, for the kids, for the families and for the community,” she says. Revitalizing language was and continues to be a nourishment for Crystal Szczepanski and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. “We need an inspiration and a connection when we heal,” Martineau says. “Language and culture is as important to me as water and air,” Szczepanski says. “This language lives here, it’s the language of the community. This culture is a part of all of us.” Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 31

The Left Hand of



An adaptation of a beloved Oregon sci-fi writer's novel unpacks heavy concepts on Robinson stage


ith headphones on his* neck and purple Nikes on her feet, junior Silas Lobnibe and senior Manju Bangalore looked more like their undergraduate selves than aliens embroiled in political chaos. The third run-through rehearsal of "The Left Hand of Darkness" took place in UO’s Robinson Theater on October 19. The rehearsal featured Bangalore and Lobnibe crossing the stage, or the frozen wasteland of the planet Gethen, in order to be received at the kingdom city. After the rehearsal, director John Schmor ran through his pages of notes. Schmor turned from one actor to another. “You sounded less like a TED Talk this time,” Schmor said. “That moment lost its lyricism. Loved how you pounded the floor twice on ‘over rock and ice.’ Remember you have no idea this envoy is from another planet. Make them real questions instead of rhetorical questions.” The performance notes proved vital. From foretellers to pregnant kings, the play included many complex characters. Likewise, it featured lengthy monologues that can feel didactic given the amount of cultural and philosophical information they contain. *In the spirit of Schmor's work using gender neutral pronouns for all characters except Genly, Estraven will be referred to with they/them pronouns throughout the story. The actress who plays Estraven, Manju Bangalore, will be referred to with she/her pronouns.

32 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

University of Oregon professor and “The Left Hand of Darkness” Director John Schmor gives suggestions to his cast during a rehearsal.

In November 2017, the University of Oregon Robinson Theater ran a theatrical adaptation of the science fiction novel “The Left Hand of Darkness,” written by Ursula K. Le Guin, over the course of three weekends. A feminist science fiction titan, Le Guin holds a special tie to the Pacific Northwest. She has resided in Portland, Oregon for nearly 60 years. UO’s Special Collections archives her papers, including manuscripts of first drafts, family photos and correspondence with editors, writers and publishers, in addition to hand-drawn maps and artwork. Schmor, a University of Oregon professor of performance theory and practices, undertook adapting the novel for the stage. During the process, he received feedback from Le Guin herself. “I got a note from Ursula once saying that part of what inspired this novel was backpacking in the mountains and feeling time slow down and decompress,” he told the cast during their rehearsal. The ambiguity and fluidity of time and gender are common Le Guinian motifs. “I really like John’s directing because he knows what he wants,” said lead actor Silas Lobnibe.

Schmor adapted "The Left Hand of Darkness" in 2013 for the Portland Playhouse. In this second adaptation, Schmor hopes to make the play feel more epic, like the novel, which spoke to him as a young man. It was the first book he read that had two “he’s” who loved each other and contemplated sex with one another. “For a gay person, who didn’t have any literature to look at in the early 80s, that was kind of a marvelous thing,” Schmor said. The 1969 novel takes place on Gethen, a planet whose residents have no fixed gender. Rather, they are “ambisexual,” occupying a different gender each time they enter “kemmer”—a period of two or three days each month when they are intensely-sexed and able to reproduce. Because no one has a fixed gender, everyone has the potential for pregnancy. The story claims this is why Gethen has no concept of war, although rising political tensions suggest that they are about to “invent” warfare. Its plot follows Genly Ai, an ambassador of another planet, as he tries to navigate Gethen’s culture with ambisexual Estraven’s assistance. The two initially clash, especially when Genly tries to give Estraven advice despite his limited knowledge

LEFT: (Left to right) Connor French and Silas Lobnibe captured midinterrogation scene during rehearsal (left) and during their opening night (right).

of their culture. Estraven saves him from pitfalls as he tries to establish open communications between Gethen and other worlds, even though Gethen has entered political turmoil. The heart of the play resides in their time together crossing an expanse of ice together over a span of months. Schmor undertook the project with Jonathan Walters, the artistic director of Hand2Mouth Theatre in Portland, Oregon, never dreaming he would get to meet Le Guin. Schmor had experience adapting novels to plays through his work adapting “Between the Acts” by Virginia Woolf. When Walters initially came up with the idea of adapting a beloved Oregon novel for the stage, he thought of “Sometimes A Great Notion” by Ken Kesey. However, Schmor believes "The Left Hand of Darkness" was ultimately the more interesting choice. Now, they have collaborated to do what Le Guin could not do in 1969: remove gender pronouns from the material. Genly retains he/ his pronouns and the Gethenians consider him a “pervert” for being constantly gendered. Schmor chose to avoid using “they/them” as catch-all pronouns. Instead, he opted to only use gender pronouns when referring to someone who is not in the room, a construction easily avoided in theater, especially with a cast of 12. Even so, with less than two weeks to go until opening night, he found two “misters” and two “he’s” in the script that no one had caught before, not even Le Guin. “They’re invasive, really,” he says of gender pronouns. Manju Bangalore and Silas Lobnibe play the roles of Estraven and Genly, respectively. Bangalore is a senior physics major at University of Oregon who has completed multiple NASA internships with the intent to become an astronaut. She has showcased her acting skills in other productions such as “Fruit Stand” and in her current candidacy for the Miss Oregon USA pageant, with science literacy as her platform. “I cast Manju because she was the most dignified person who auditioned,” Schmor said. “She has a natural dignity. That’s a quality you can’t instill in a person.”

Estraven remains composed throughout the story, despite it beginning with them informing Genly of their exile from the kingdom on penalty of death. Later, Estraven rescues him from a prison camp where he has been sent to die by leaders of the rebelling territories. They navigate a sledge over frozen expanses to get back to the kingdom, where Estraven is an outlaw. “The challenge of empathizing with other people draws me to theater,” Lobnibe says, a science and math major who first became involved in theater in a high school production of “Mary Poppins.” After spending his early childhood in Ghana and then immigrating with his family to the United States, he feels that “being this character in particular, being this outsider, is something I can relate to–having this mission, like going to school in the U.S., having these goals.” Schmor was also drawn to Lobnibe’s dignity, but wanted him to embody what Lobnibe describes as “excitement and newness” as an envoy on a new planet, with a different social fabric than any of the other worlds he has visited. “Genly’s got to be a bit more rambunctious and flawed,” Schmor said. Genly, considered a “pervert alien envoy,” learns that Estraven faced exile from their home years before facing exile from the kingdom. Ultimately, they are two outsiders thrust together by circumstances. On opening night, people filed into the Robinson Theater despite Schmor’s concerns that the play is not a “high drama.” Although it was not a full house, word of mouth built until the last two nights of the performance saw sell-out crowds, filling the Robinson for the first time in years. Schmor wants to put the project away. “If I were to produce it again, I would just keep rewriting it,” he said. Seattle theatrical company Book-It expressed interest in producing the play. Additionally, Le Guin signed a preliminary deal for a television mini-series based on the novel. However, it remains uncertain whether it will generate enough interest to go to production. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 33

empowerment obscuring

the bittersweet reality of sex work and feminism through the story of one sugar baby WORDS & PHOTOS BY TASH KIMMELL

34 | ETHOS | Winter 2018


Elizabeth poses on her bed amid an extensive collection of leather whips, harnesses and collars gifted to her by men she’s met online.

ropped up by a single pink satin pillow, Elizabeth, 20,* sits perched on the side of her bed. Stark white sheets blend into the walls behind them, contrasted only by a stainless steel rack above her bed that holds Elizabeth’s extensive collection of leather harnesses and chain collars. An assortment of ropes, chains and sex toys act as the only wall decorations in her top-floor studio apartment, which she pays for mostly with money she makes as a “sugar baby” using a website called SeekingArrangement.com. The website offers its users the chance at a “mutually beneficial” relationship through a sugar baby-sugar daddy model. Within this framework, Seeking Arrangement promises its sugar babies the chance at travel, steady income and a luxurious lifestyle. Sugar daddies and mommas who use the site can have lasting relationships with an attractive young person of their choosing. Seeking Arrangement describes a sugar baby as “an individual seeking mentorship, financial support, or general companionship under the terms of an agreed-upon arrangement.” Sugar daddies are defined by the site as “successful men and women who know what they want. They’re driven, and enjoy attractive company by their side.” Elizabeth offers a slightly different description of these relationships as rich older men wanting “younger hot women” to showcase to their friends and spice up their sex lives. Elizabeth’s Seeking Arrangement profile, a collection of photos with her wearing little more than leather harnesses and bondage ropes, accompanies a bio which portrays her as intelligent yet hypersexual, a combination that Elizabeth says men consider to be the perfect woman. She says her profile may scream over-sexed alt girl, but the reality of the profession is much less erotic. “Most of the work is sitting on a computer making phone calls and sending text messages,” Elizabeth says. “Ninety percent of the time and energy I spend on all of this is just cultivating the persona.” Elizabeth has one regular sugar daddy whom she sees at least once per month, and she makes anywhere from one thousand to three-and-a-half thousand dollars per month seeing him and an array other men from the site. While this covers her rent and some living expenses, she supplements her income with a job at her university. Although she acknowledges that there are many types of relationships one can have as a sugar baby, Elizabeth’s relationship with her main sugar daddy is based primarily on a transactional arrangement of kink-centric sex in return for gifts and money. She describes herself as “an exciting thing in his really boring life” and, more generally, “an intimacy provider slash fantasy fulfiller for lonely people,” a description she feels encapsulates the multifaceted nature of the job. Elizabeth, who has been a sugar baby for seven months, is one of over one million college student users the website reports to have amassed since its creation in 2006. And while the commodification of sugar babies afforded by Seeking Arrangement has brought the idea of “mutually beneficial” relationships to the masses, it has done little to destigmatize or address stereotypes surrounding these types of relationships. Sugar baby/daddy relationships—often based on an exchange system of sex and companionship for money and gifts— present a controversial moral ambiguity. In this way, people who

*Elizabeth's real name has been changed in this story for anonymity Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 35

use Seeking Arrangement for sex have not only brought the conversation of transactional sex to a greater audience, but reignited a poignant feminist debate: can you be a feminist and a sex worker? Elizabeth believes you can. With her grown-out body hair and boyish haircut, she could be the poster child for third wave feminism.

“People don’t really understand that I can be doing this work from an empowered place in which I respect myself and feel enthusiastic and positive about every aspect of it,” Feminists have debated the relationship between feminism and sex work since the second wave of feminism in the 70s and 80s. Referred to as “the sex wars,” this debate spawned “sexpositive” and “sex-negative” feminism, deeply dividing the movement and in many ways carving the path for the third wave feminist movement of the 90s. While the two camps agree that sex work in the form of coercion or trafficking is abhorrent, they differ greatly in terms of their understanding and acceptance of voluntary sex work. Sex-positive feminists say that society should accept the

profession as a form of bodily autonomy and even a source of empowerment. “Sex work is a job and it’s a form of labor,” says University of Oregon Women’s and Gender Studies professor Kemi Balogun. “It needs to be understood as a form of labor in a broader political economy.” On the other end of the spectrum, sex-negative feminists believe selling your body in any form, including pornography, constitutes coercion. This school of thought follows the principle that sex work in all its forms is a manifestation of patriarchy and serves only as a form of female oppression. Seeking Arrangement warns against what it calls “sex opportunists” and even states that those suspected of prostitution will be banned from the site. However, the site’s emphasis on “no strings attached” relationships and of ridding its users of having to “read between the lines” could suggest that sex is central to most “arrangements.” “Sugar baby is a term that’s so afraid to admit what it actually is,” Elizabeth says, half chuckling. “Seeking Arrangement is just prostitution without admitting that it’s prostitution.” Perhaps the pure ease of perusing sugar babies on the site fosters the transactional quality of these relationships. The endless scroll of scantily clad women with provocative usernames seems reminiscent of a supermarket whose only product is young women looking for money—an aspect Elizabeth acknowledges. “The sugar babies on that website are commodities who are advertising themselves to the consumer,” she says.

Though her online persona is a hypersexual dominatrix kink queen, in the moment, with diffused midday light peeking through fishbowl-like windows of her airy apartment, Elizabeth appears soft. “I have this personality that’s like, the ‘different’ girl on the platform of Seeking Arrangement,” she says, explaining that her short hair and unshaved armpits make her a standout on the site. In their simplest forms, these relationships are exchanges of time for money, whether that exchange involves sex or not. And while they may not always fit within the framework of love, or even mutual sexual attraction, they are far from being devoid of emotion. On the contrary, Elizabeth says, sugar babying and sex work in general are time-consuming and emotionally arduous. Between frequent texting, phone calls, emailing and in-person visits, keeping up the persona is a full-time job that goes beyond physical interaction. All of this, and the threat of being taken advantage of physically, emotionally and fiscally contribute to the stress of the job, which Elizabeth has felt firsthand—her first date lasted an uncomfortably long eight hours. “I didn’t know what I was doing and he only gave me $200 for that entire date and that was really, really exhausting,” says Elizabeth, recounting why she now sets a time limit of five hours. Yet even considering the emotional labor demanded by this type of work, Elizabeth believes the service she provides goes beyond the immediate gratification of sex. “I literally consider myself to be a healer,” Elizabeth says.

“I’m using my body in a way that has the intention of making this person feel fulfilled. These people are lonely, they lack human connection, they lack sexual fulfillment, they don’t get the attention and love that they need in their daily lives.” Although sugar-babying has afforded Elizabeth a more luxurious lifestyle, an apartment of her own and a steady influx of cash, it has also strained her relationships with family and friends who can’t seem to grasp her lifestyle choices. She thinks their feelings of confusion and even anger may stem from a common stereotype of sex workers as inherently damaged and desperate to fill an emotional void through their sexuality, a stereotype which has burdened Elizabeth. Although she feels confident about her life choices, she explains that having to constantly field the judgments and opinions of others makes it hard to be open with people about her life as a sugar baby. “There’s this huge theme of people assuming that when I complain about my job, it means that it’s damaging me, that I hate it, that I don’t want to be doing it,” she says. “Everyone thinks that I ended up here because of some trauma or because I’m desperate for money.” Much of the conversation around transactional sex revolves around women’s presumed traumas or shortcomings as the root of their desire to do sex work. Yet, so little time is devoted to discussing why their male counterparts engage with sites like Seeking Arrangement in the first place. In Elizabeth’s opinion, the reality is not that she is trying to fill a void within herself, but instead, helping

others to navigate their own emotional pitfalls. “I’m mostly playing a role,” she says. “I’m just learning about these people, reading them as much as possible and trying to figure out what it is they need from an external source to compensate for whatever they’re missing in their life. Then I can reflect that, and fulfill some sort of void in them.” When we look at it through this lens, perhaps an emotional void does not lie within sex workers but within men who use transactional sex as a cure-all for emptiness in their own lives. However, because the reality stands that sex workers and not their clients bear the brunt of these social repercussions, we must ask the question: why is it that people are so uncomfortable with the idea of sex work? As Balogun explains, “It’s hard for people to think about sex as a form of labor, to think about it as being commodified, as something you can buy and sell. That kind of anomaly of women actually wanting to get paid for sex, something that’s supposed to be this intimate set of relationships, makes people uncomfortable.” While some of us may have a clear vision in our minds when we hear the word “prostitute” or “sex worker,” those visions likely don’t include a well-educated, white

psychology student in a clean, codeprotected apartment building. Sex workers are sometimes presented to the public through scandalous headlines, as law-breaking seductresses who swoop in to ruin the careers of high-powered men. The reality is that most sugar babies use Seeking Arrangement as a means to stay above water while juggling school expenses, student debt and the cost of living. According to the site, 30 percent of the average college sugar baby’s allowance is spent on rent alone,

while the majority goes towards college tuition and textbooks. Though Elizabeth, like so many others, began her foray into sugar babying to pay for college, she admits there are other reasons she has stuck with it. Notably, the opportunity to explore her passion of psychology through unique interpersonal relationships, as well as her new-found confidence as an entrepreneur. “I’ve done so much of this work on my own,” Elizabeth says. “All of the things that I’ve done have been

so fulfilling because I’ve met my own goals and chased the money for myself.” Perhaps instead of questioning the moral fiber of people who choose to enter this profession, we should try to understand them beyond their sexuality. It’s undeniable that the topic of selling sex feels taboo to most people, not because we’re unfamiliar with the concept, but because of an ingrained understanding of sex as a product of love and women as being inherently romantic beings. Sex work challenges both of these notions. Elizabeth seems relaxed, even as she recounts some of the horror stories she's experienced in the business. While she lives within the whirlwind of opinions cast on her by others, the person before me is calm. Maybe because she’s learned to drown out those voices of judgment, or because she’s simply another young person working, learning and exploring her sexuality. She reflects on how some may say she cannot be both a feminist and a sex worker. “I’m allowed to have agency in how I express my sexuality, and I’m allowed to make money how I want,” she says, almost laughing. Although it may seem obvious, it’s these rather obvious things which are perhaps the hardest for people to understand.

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 37


chinese dream Many Chinese and Taiwanese students move to the United States for higher education, but is it worth it? WORDS & PHOTOS BY AUSTIN WILLHOFT | ART BY KEZIA SETYAWAN

38 | ETHOS | Winter 2018


hile a majority of the U.S population identifies with the American Dream, young Chinese and Taiwanese students pursue their own version. However, there’s a catch: living the Chinese Dream only requires a U.S. degree. For nearly three decades, the popular appeal attached to American degrees among Chinese and Taiwanese employers would easily secure one a job. Today, this is no longer the case. Plus, getting to the U.S. isn’t as alluring when these international students realize the hard work needed for this dream starts when they are children. Countless pages of homework, endless hours of studying and constant bickering from parents–this is reality for international students before arriving on U.S. soil. Ruby Yang, Sam Hsu, Pengcheng Wang and Xinpei Sun all endured laborious education and committed long years because they believe in the Chinese Dream. It stands in stark juxtaposition to the American Dream, where one can work their way from the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder to achieve prosperity at the top

Ruby Yang, 25, is a Taiwanese student studying at the American English Institute at the University of Oregon. Growing up in the Westernized environment of Taiwan, Yang grew up surrounded by advertisements selling American products and styles. Media swayed her decision to attend a U.S. university. “You start learning about America as kids, from your family,” Yang says. “My parents always told me in America, there are opportunities for me to grow and learn more in the education system, while in Taiwan, it was all memorizing facts and dates.” Yang regards the stark differences between the U.S. and Chinese/ Taiwanese education systems as the second most alluring aspect of why she’s in the country.The first is how it translates into jobs for the Chinese and Taiwanese graduates with U.S. degrees back home. However, reports in recent years reveal that walking into an interview and hoping one’s U.S. degree will be the X factor doesn’t cut it for employers anymore, unlike in the 80s and 90s when it placed one above their competitors. Yang and Hsu are Taiwanese whereas Wang and Sun hail from China. Both represent a growing trend of U.S. graduates, predominantly from China, who aren’t finding jobs back in their home countries. Once coveted, foreign degrees no longer promise jobs. A limited, competitive job market in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, due chiefly to many people already possessing U.S. degrees, causes students to reconsider their plans of attending U.S. universities. “Mainland China in the 80s, the slogan was ‘Serve the country by returning home,’” says Brandon J. Folse, a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at the University of Oregon who taught English in China for ten years. “Then, in the 90s, then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin changed it to ‘Serve the country from abroad.’” Folse became acquainted with the Chinese Dream after sharing stories about the U.S. to some of his students. He notes that what once indicated intellectual prowess and strong social status during the early 90s and 00s is no longer convincing for Chinese employers. In Taiwan, a limited job market makes it difficult for students seeking positions after graduation. This is the case for those with foreign as well as domestic degrees, and overpopulation has resulted in an insufficient amount of jobs on the island-nation. According to the Institute of International Education, over one million international students studied in U.S. colleges in the 2015-2016 academic school year; 328,547 were Chinese and nearly 22,000 were Taiwanese. Furthermore, China’s Ministry of Education notes that out of the 544,500 students who studied overseas in 2016, nearly 80 percent returned home. Folse notes that Zemin’s endorsements for the Chinese Dream, in general, has encouraged Chinese citizens to travel or study in the U.S. For them, the U.S. represents an awe-inspiring destination and a beacon of western lifestyle. More than 350,000 international students attended U.S. universities between 2016-2017, according to the Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit association backed by the U.S. government. The Chinese Dream emanated from this period of China opening up to the world, as then Chinese president Deng Xiaoping believed the country needed economic and industrial modernization. His belief thus introduced foreign businesses to Chinese audiences with western media and concepts. Although distinctly Chinese, this mentality resonates with Taiwanese and Cantonese (Hong Kong) students, too. “In China, how it usually works is if you miss the college experience on the mainland, then you don’t know how to la guanxi (make connections),” Folse says. He says that some Chinese students who go to college in America hinder their job prospects back home. Despite its limitations, the Chinese Dream still appeals with the millennial generation of Chinese and Taiwanese students. Take Sam Hsu, 19, who studied English for three years and prepared for the TOEFL, a standardized English test all universities require from international students. His study schedule ran from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 39

through Saturday. Like Yang, Hsu craved a new educational environment and sought it out at the University of Oregon. “Generally, in a Taiwanese classroom, only a few students raise their hands or participate in class if the teacher asks them to,” Hsu says. “Here, I have discussion classes where we can share thoughts on topics relating to the professor’s lectures, something you never do in Taiwan.” Hsu, often sporting a Golden State Warriors hat and Nike joggers, feels that the U.S. education system focuses more on the individual and their personal and professional development.

one of the best international boarding schools in China. A shaky relationship with her mom added mounting pressure to Sun, resulting in unbearable stress over the need to achieve the best scores in her graduating class. “My parents have such high expectations for me because I’m the oldest child they have,” Sun says. “I’m just worried; after college, if I can’t find a job, then what will they think of me?” Yang, Hsu, Wang and Sun all identify with the struggles associated with finding a job, let alone networking with industry professionals back home. So they return home, equipped

My parents have such high expectations for me because I’m the oldest child they have. I’m just worried – after college, if I can’t find a job, then what will they think of me? Hsu believes courses in the liberal arts don’t emphasize exam scores and helps him develop into a well-rounded individual instead of “robot students” who stress over memorizing heaps of information. This deeper meaning resonates with Hsu, but not Wang, his Chinese friend. Wang recalls his father encouraging him to go in the U.S. from an early age. No matter the cost, Wang's father wanted a brighter future for his son, especially if it included him not taking China’s Gaokao, or National College Entrance Examination. Folse mentions how high school students from both sides of the Taiwan Strait study competitively for the Gaokao and Jice, Taiwan’s version of the exam. Both manifest traditional Chinese values of a strict education and working diligently, first implemented during the Shang Dynasty from 16th century BC to 11th century BC. For many, the Gaokao/ Jice is the ultimate determining factor for how the government can mandate their future opportunities. Xinpei Sun, 20, and her family shared similar sentiments to Wang’s parents. They sent her to Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School,

When it comes to studying, Wang is the antithesis to Hsu. The two do not mind switching between the EMU and Hsu’s dorm room as long as they share small talk while studying late at night. 40 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

with an arduous task of getting employed. According to Folse, once home, a grim reality hits the American graduates: graduates from Chinese universities earn marginally the same income as overseas graduates and also possess a broader network of connections. Another pivotal point Folse mentions as a root to the demise of the Chinese Dream centers on the influx of certain college degrees such as accounting. Chinese culture views parents as the deciding factor in choosing what their children will study, and considering the culture’s admiration for respecting families’ wishes, students feel compliance is their only option. “What are you going to do with an accounting degree, with 10 million other people having the same one?” Folse says. Even if the children know graduating with

an accounting degree will be hopeless, they must agree with mom and dad. As a result, the Chinese Dream for many Chinese and Taiwanese students may not connote the “dream” aspect in pursuing one's own desires.. “When it was my first year teaching at a university, I asked my class who chose and are passionate about being English [language] majors; only one girl, out of 60 students, raised her hand,” Folse says. Hearing this, Folse was baffled. The students who scored poorly on the English section of the exam lose the opportunity of majoring in it while attending college. “Because of their scores (on the Gaokao and Jice), they don’t have the authority to map out their trajectory in a career as it’s the government’s and parents’ decision.” For Yang, Hsu, Wang and Sun, education proved integral in their personal version of the Chinese Dream. Aside from them, many Chinese and Taiwanese students still flock to U.S. universities in pursuit of what they have been striving for since childhood. According to a 2014 study conducted by the Institute of International Education, scholars anticipate a growing annual number of Chinese students pursuing U.S. college degrees. Taiwanese students are increasing, but at a much slower rate compared to Chinese. Yang belongs to that growing number and rather than just studying, she’s already in pursuit of expanding her network through working as a sales agent for a Taiwanese company. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, she haggles on the phone with customers and plugs away orders on Microsoft Excel. “The fact [that] I’m learning English in America while working part-time as a sales representative in Taiwan, I’m already sticking out to the people back home,” she says. “Of course, my family and I are a little worried, but this is just the new reality for students.”

Diversifying the Greeks


The newly initiated members of the University of Oregon’s AKA showcase their sorority’s hand sign—the raised pinky.

The Spirit of Multiculturalism:


Opening doors, breaking stereotypes

ix women enter the room. They wear long brown coats, pink scarves around their heads and black sunglasses. White pearls line both their wrists and necks as they dance, followed by voices singing. The women come into formation, a line of six facing the crowd with their faces toward the sky. Slowly, they break into song and organized dance, stomping their feet, clapping their hands. The audience follows suit with shouts and applause, some women raising their pinkies in the air. This hand gesture is part of a special “call” ritual for members of this organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha at the University of Oregon, a historically African

American sorority. It’s their historic sign of pride and recognition. The six women then take off their scarves and sunglasses, one by one revealing themselves as new members of AKA. They sing about why they’re AKA’s, reciting quick facts in a song-like fashion about the origin of their sorority and its founding sisters. As they close out their dance, older members from different chapters and active members step forward from the audience, forming a circle around the six women, holding hands and joyously singing about Alpha Kappa Alpha. The ceremony ends with the women embracing one another, smiles on every face, including the spectators.

Alpha Kappa Alpha is part of the growing movement for multicultural and minoritized organizations within Greek life at the UO. AKA is in the National Pan-Hellenic Council which is composed of nine national African American sororities and fraternities, known as the Divine Nine. NPHC is different from the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council which oversee Greek organizations that are not associated with multiculturalism or a minority identity. Along with the push for bringing back the Divine Nine, other multicultural and minoritized Greek organizations have begun to gain traction at the UO. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 41

“We try to build a path so that others can follow, so that they can be where we are today."

The Divine Nine Nicole Dodier, the former codirector of the Black Student Union and a member of the Black Student Task Force, has recently become a new member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., a joint chapter between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. “Growing up in the black community, it’s a very high honor to be a part of Greek life and it’s very special,” Dodier says. “My personal morals and values align very well with Alpha Kappa Alpha in terms of the importance of education and the way that the members of this organization represent themselves and the way that they carry themselves is something that I aspire to have.” Ever since she was a child, she has looked up to these women as leaders. One of AKA’s purposes is to encourage high scholastic standards. “Encouraging women to be successful in their education

and to strive for greatness,” Dodier says. Another important purpose of their organization is to bring women together, for them to network and connect. Also, to promote community and friendship among college women. Dodier says she gained a community and support system from AKA. Dodier says that there is a focus on the African American community to fully encourage each other to have more opportunities. “Since we are a disadvantaged group in the United States, these organizations are a place where you can have that extra support, that extra backbone, that extra network to help you advance yourself throughout life,” she says. Self Starter Hector Gonzales, a senior at UO who was born in Mexico and raised in Arizona, is the president of Sigma Lambda Beta, a Latinobased fraternity with multicultural membership. Sigma Lambda Beta is the only multicultural Greek chapter on the UO campus and became active in the spring of 2016. Currently, it has eight active members. Gonzales first became a fraternity brother at Arizona State University his freshman year, then decided to transfer to UO his sophomore year. By the end of his first year here, Gonzales had worked hard to establish the Sigma Lambda Beta Chapter at UO. “Most minorities can’t see themselves identifying with the Greek organizations because of certain stigmas,” Gonzales says. “It makes people very cautious to join multicultural Greeks.” Gonzales knows that there is work to do to combat the stereotypes of Greek life. Stereotypes can present an obstacle for multicultural organizations to grow and gain

membership. Gonzales points out that when most people hear of a professional Greek service organization, they think of the mainstream, traditional Greeks in IFC and PHC, which involves 18.25 percent of the student population at UO. Sigma Lambda Beta is involved with a doctoral research project called Allas with the Department of Counseling Psychology at UO. This project involves them mentoring students at Springfield High School that are from Latin America or are transitioning from different countries to the States. Every Tuesday and Thursday, one can find the brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta giving advice and providing support for these students, whether it be through academic tutoring, practicing English or putting on cultural awareness presentations to help them understand their surroundings. Finding Roots Montana Thorner, the chapter president of the local Jewish sorority Sigma Mu Omega, says she initially felt apprehensive about rushing a sorority. “I felt that the national houses were just too intimidating, I just didn’t find what I fit into,” she says. According to Thorner, multicultural Greeks and groups operating outside of the PHC and IFC can provide a less high-strung, more relaxed environment for potential new members. Traditional fraternities and sororities can sometimes have up to 200 members, which can be overwhelming. Lower membership numbers, like the 13 women in Sigma Mu Omega, allow for tighter-knit relationships and communities. Thorner felt that as an introvert, the informal recruitment process of Sigma Mu Omega was a better

environment for her compared to the hectic nature of formal recruitment within the PHC.. The organization put on informal events throughout the week, such as pizza parties, where Thorner was able to talk to every member of the sorority, which led to her feeling comfortable and at home. The formal process, interactions, and people can seem surface-level, difficult to fully get to know what a certain chapter is about. During formal recruitment, conversations can be short and rushed amidst the loud chatter of the other girls talking. Thorner enjoyed the idea that while they engaged in everything that the other chapters did, such as sisterhood, social engagement, and community service, they were built on another pillar—the incorporation of Jewish values. She had always wanted to get more in touch with her Jewish roots and culture, as her father is Jewish but didn’t fully implement the Jewish culture into their family. A Push From Administration Marcus Langford, the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership and Engagement, talks about his own experience as a brother in Alpha Phi Alpha, an African American fraternity also part of the Divine Nine. Langford went to Miami University, a predominantly white institution. Today, he is still close to his fraternity brothers. They have all gone to each other’s weddings. They keep in touch with each other as well as with some active brothers there now. As someone who has been a part of a fraternity created by and for minorities, he understands the impact and goal behind such organizations. Langford says that multicultural Greek organizations are beneficial because they provide students with “a sense of belonging, with a network of support.” Langford says that “they are an opportunity for students to have an experience with individuals they identify with and who have shared value systems.” Culturally Aware Multicultural Greek organizations are also different from the traditional ones in that they heavily promote cultural awareness. According to the Health Education and Training Institute, cultural awareness is a sensitivity to the differences and similarities that exist between two different cultures, as well as using the sensitivity to effectively communicate between the different cultural groups. While the traditional Greek organizations have philanthropies—charitable causes which a chapter supports—their presence in the community predominantly consists of social events with other Greek organizations, reinforcing their existence within a Greek bubble. While there are still resounding undertones

of brotherhood and sisterhood throughout the multicultural organizations, Caitlin Roberts, the director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, says that there is usually more emphasis on service and giving back to the community. Sigma Lambda Beta doesn’t have one set organization that they support like the traditionals. Instead, they commit their time and resources to whichever organization is needing it, while promoting cultural awareness at the same time. “We are very heavily concerned and involved with our community,” Gonzales says. “We strive to bring equality and inclusivity.” Sigma Lambda Beta has fundraising events for a variety of different organizations. Last year, they helped support an independent nonprofit organization in Haiti, called Community2Community, whose main goal is to rebuild infrastructure, schools and water systems. The fraternity put on a cultural awareness event where they taught people how to make hope bracelets out of Haiti’s national colors. After making the bracelets, Sigma Lambda Beta gave a presentation on Haiti’s culture and spoke about the issues that they were facing as a nation. On top of bringing cultural awareness to the forefront, Gonzales’s fraternity also works year round with Central Latino America, which is a bilingual, multicultural organization that serves Latino families in the Lane community. There, they provide help and resources by mentoring at-risk youth and showing them positivity in their community.

Looking Ahead Talk of a new council has begun, led by both Sigma Lambda Beta and Sigma Mu Omega. In the spring of 2017, Sigma Mu Omega made the decision to leave the PHC. Thorner says that with the differences between their sorority and the mainstream, traditional Greeks, it just didn’t make sense for them to continue with the community in the PHC. They had similar values to the traditional organizations and did many of the same things, but they were ultimately different in how they operated. They were more focused on community engagement than wider social engagement. They want to try something new, to branch out. Thorner speaks of the new council as being a place for diversity and multiculturalism, for expanding the community that has begun to sprout here in Oregon. Roberts says that this new council would work to serve the needs of the members of the organizations that belong to it, and the four councils (PHC, IFC, NPHC, and the new MGC) would work together to build a community on campus. The multicultural organizations need a community in order to operate efficiently and socially. All would come together for leadership training, programming and honor societies. Gonzales is also a supporter of creating an MGC, but says that there would need to be more multicultural organizations on campus before that can happen. Both Thorner and Gonzales have high hopes of the new councilas being a welcoming place where people, from diverse backgrounds or cultures, are able to connect and grow together.

Hector Gonzalez and a fellow Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity brother display their fraternity’s hand sign at a Day of the Dead event on campus. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 43

a journey with


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Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 45

A Melting Pot Ho Chi Minh City


ith traditional architecture tucked in between skyscrapers that towered above my head and thousands of motorbikes filling the streets with their friendly honks, Ho Chi Minh City seemed to go on forever. The city’s population exceeds that of New York City’s and its 8.7 million grows each day. As Southeast Asia’s modern melting pot, the city is attracting people from different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and identities, in search of employment, stability, education, and a life that only a major city can provide. After disembarking from my thirty hour journey from the Portland International Airport and stepping onto the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, any sense of a single story that I may have had of Vietnam was immediately shattered. In modern society it is easy to get lost in preconceived notions of

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cultures and countries. Speaking to this issue, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warned of the consequences of stereotyping nations through a narrow minded lens in her TED talk, ‘The Danger of a Single Story.” “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete,” she says. Adichie explains how American literature and media have a habit of creating a narrative for a country and making that story seem singular. To put it in perspective, Adichie spoke of her own country, saying if she had only known of Nigeria through the popular images of American society, she would have a vastly different view. “I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, [and] dying of poverty,” she says. With an idea of Vietnam being

a place of lush green hills, floating markets, and people that were vastly different than me, the city revealed its true authenticity. The beginning of my trip started with days of adjustment. I was the first to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City within our group of eight other UO journalism students. We were sent to Vietnam in hopes of collecting and telling stories about the healing process stemming from the Vietnam War. We were pleasantly surprised to find a city filled with interesting stores, quirky coffee shops, amazing restaurants, and streets that were filled with the kindest and most generous people I have ever come across. When asked about the war, people brushed off the questions explaining that it was a thing of the past and what is important is the present. With a reputation for open-mindedness and a welcoming attitude, Ho Chi Minh City has attracted an ethnically diverse population.

“I don’t know what my future will be, but I was lucky to live here."

Koreatown Leaving our Airbnb in District One—one of the city’s largest and most developed districts—I started my day with my camera strapped around my neck and followed our translator Ve to the different districts of the city. Our first stop was Koreatown. Sitting on steps outside of a construction site, a woman named Hanh in her work clothes sipped on an iced Vietnamese coffee as she took a break at the end of her working day in the hot city. Born in Northern Vietnam, Hanh moved to the southern city in 1954 when she was three years old and currently lives in the area between District Seven and Eight. “The city has changed so much,” she says. “There are big houses and the streets are better. I love the change and I am happy that the country has developed.”

Koreatown contains a collection of pale residential buildings with clean, flat architecture, large scale corporate structures, traditional Korean restaurants and shops, as well as Vietnamese businesses. This area tailors to its dense Korean population through its business and work attractions. It’s also the home to many traditional Korean churches, and most notably, the Korean International School, a private school where Korean is the main language. For Hanh it can be difficult to find work because of her age. Despite this, she is still appreciative of the city’s vibrancy and life. “If I am strong and healthy enough I will come and work to be paid by the day here but I don’t know what my future will be,” she says. “But I was lucky to live here.”

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 47

China Town As one of 19 inner districts in Ho Chi Minh City, District Five is home to a major part of Southern Vietnam’s “Chinatown” and is known by the locals as Cholon. During its early history in the 1700s, the district was a place of refuge for many Chinese minorities in Vietnam. Later during the Vietnam War, it held a booming trading market between soldiers and civilians. Reflective of the district’s name, which translates to “big market,” today one can walk down its streets and find a large array of Chinese architecture, restaurants, and exports including silk products and traditional foods and fruits. In addition to the street life and the famous Binh Tay Market, one of the most recognized locations is the Quan Am Temple. As a temple for the Chinese goddess of mercy, the pagoda is dedicated to traditional Chinese Buddhism. With its rich history and its colorful and extraordinary architecture, the temple lured me in._ Inside the pagoda, a man in a bright purple collared shirt paused from lighting the incense to introduce himself. “My name is Bé. I am Vietnamese. Where are you from?” Bé, a business owner in the

“A lot of people come here to pray for a peaceful life."

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chemical sales industry, traveled with his family to the growing district in 1994, moving from the more northern province of Na Minh. After being asked about the diversity in his city, Bé explained how many residents come from other regions of the country in search of work opportunities. “You can look for work easier,” Bé says. “Because the economy is more developed than other provinces so this is a very big market.” Although Bé is Vietnamese, he studies the Chinese language. Introducing me to a soft-spoken man in a light-blue uniform, Bé says, “This is my friend that I met in Chinese club. His nationality is Vietnamese, but his ancestry is Chinese so he can speak Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.” Like many other families living in this district, his ancestors migrated to Ho Chi Minh City over 100 years ago. A few years ago he was selling dried fish at a local market when he found an ad in the local paper offering a position to work and serve in the Quan Am Pagoda. “A lot of people come here to pray for a peaceful life,” he says, “Here they burn Chinese incense coils and hang it here to pray for love, for money.”

Little Tokyo After hopping onto the back of my motorbike Uber, I rode to District Seven. I was greeted by small compact buildings with wooden entryways and signs with bold Japanese characters in black and red print. After walking through a winding labyrinth of restaurants, spas, art galleries and narrow streets, I came across two women named Maria and Pantao. Standing outside of a shot bar in Ho Chin Minh City’s Japanese District, Little Tokyo, the stylish women told me about the large percentage of Japanese expatriates who live there. With a diverse background, Maria doesn’t have a traditional Vietnamese name. She is from a small city in the highlands of Vietnam, called Kon Tum. She explains her reason for leaving her home by describing the hardships that people faced outside of the city and emphasizing the opportunities that Ho Chi Minh City held for her. “There are still a lot of poor children in my hometown with no chance to go to school or find work,” she says. In the city, there are many possibilities for both. Now, Maria begins her mornings working as a waitress in a Japanese restaurant, and

at night she works with Pantao at a Japanese style shot bar, coincidentally named Ma Ria. Pantao, a friend who lived in the small tourist city of Vung Tau about 100 kilometers outside of Ho Chi Minh, adds her similar experience saying, “I dropped out of school when I was in grade nine because my family was so poor that we could not afford the school fee anymore. But I live in Ho Chi Minh City now and everything is easier here.” Adjusting to the contrast in lifestyles can be daunting at first, the two women say. “I found myself so different at the beginning because the way I dress, the way I talk, the way I think was different,” Maria says. “I want to have a new life here in Saigon, to open my mind and gain knowledge that I couldn’t find in my city.” Like many people who have relocated to Ho Chi Minh City, Maria and Pantoa were able to adjust their lifestyles to adhere to the new opportunities that this large and diverse city has to offer. “I have learned a lot of things,” Maria says. “But most importantly I have become more patient, hard working, and more confident to talk to friends.”

“I want to have a new life here in Saigon, to open my mind and gain knowledge that I couldn’t find in my city."

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 49

The Revival of a Dark Art Film is not dead

All photos shot with Ilford 3200 Delta Film


Darkrooms, dark skies

Behind black curtains, a metal basin sits among scattered jugs of chemicals, a row of enlargers and mismatched development supplies. On the outside of the darkened space, a red warning light switches on. There’s a darkroom in use. And I’m likely the one inside. I find solace in the darkroom, often losing track of time with my sleeves and rain boots soaked in chemicals meant to bring film negatives to life. I stand, illuminated by faint, red safelights, hanging up print after print to dry. It’s cold, and the chemistry smells like vinegar and bleach. After a few hours, I resurface with a binder full of enlargements and eyes welladjusted to Eugene’s dark winter sky. Darkroom developing is an art form in its own right. It’s one process to shoot film photos, but the darkroom requires its own level of mastery. There’s more freedom to experiment in film photography than digital, and more often than not, failure in the darkroom gives way to serendipity. Light leaks and lens flares. Multiple exposures and chemical mishaps. Every step of the developing process leaves room for beautiful mistakes. Darkroom techniques are various and only as limited as an artist’s creativity. I’ll fill a spray bottle with developer and watch as the image brightens into view, speckled onto the photo paper. Sometimes I’ll use a paintbrush to develop my photo, the uneven strokes painting light onto paper. There’s something sublime about being able to physically manipulate the way a negative carries over to print — something that connects the artist to the medium on a deeper level. It is rare for me to encounter another artist in the darkroom, but when I do, I’m greeted by a sense of familiarity and camaraderie. We’ll share supplies and bounce ideas off each other that would have never occurred otherwise. It’s gratifying 50 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

to be accompanied by another mind in a place that can sometimes feel so isolated. These encounters serve as a reminder that there exists a world of people who are similarly captivated by the magic of film and darkroom.

Creating community:

Jesiah Hallford is the president and founder of Eugene Darkroom Group, a nonprofit that is raising money for the intended construction of a central darkroom in Eugene. He wants Eugene to be a place that can be recognized for its film and darkroom community. “There’s a lot of great artists, experts and teachers in this community that are really passionate about sharing their knowledge,” he says. Hallford has a sentimental connection to film, having been surrounded by it since a young age. Hallford’s father worked in a photo lab, and Hallford went on to work for his school’s yearbook during the rise of digital photography. Despite its convenience and immediacy, he found himself frustrated with this ever-changing technology. “There's always some new fucking thing. Now it comes in a cube! Now it has an ‘i’ in front of it,” Hallford says. “I thought, ‘This is ridiculous and overwhelming,’ I feel like it’s a game and I’m never going to win.” Hallford believes the reemergence of film has occurred because interest in film photography isn’t what died. Rather, the markets have kept up with digital trends, making film photography supplies become niche products. “I don't think people have stopped liking Polaroids and instant cameras, they just got rarer and hard to find and broken,” he says. Film photography embodies reporting, journalism and documentary, while still maintaining itself as an art form. Hallford suggests the medium is not just an artist’s outlet for their

Film photographer Allison Schukis loads a film negative into an enlarger and prepares to develop it into a print. expressions of the world, but how they see and understand it as well. “It’s populist and accessible,” Hallford says. “Immigrants, poor people, women and queer people can get ahold of cameras and do photography and use the medium to speak about their lives in a real way.”

Dark arts:

What sets film apart is its ability to remain unchanging in the digital age. While digital tools are constantly advancing, film technologies that are decades old can still be used in modern day. Film’s timeless and physical qualities are part of what makes darkroom processing an everlasting practice. The layers of physical manipulation, time, mechanics and chemistry that come with the darkroom do more for film artists than just make their images come to life. “My practice in the darkroom teaches me patience, acceptance of failure and mistakes, and serendipity and subtlety,” Hallford says. “I feel like I can carry it with me through my life, keep working, keep developing, keep building.” The physicality of darkroom practices initially intrigued University of Oregon student and photographer Allison Schukis to

pursue film as an art. “There’s something really magical about working in the darkroom that just doesn’t come through with working digitally,” she says. Schukis has been developing film since she was ten years old. She is thorough and meticulous every step of the way. She carefully mixes her darkroom chemistry and examines her expansive collection of different sized negatives. Tongs in hand, she fine-tunes the appearance of her prints. And, unlike myself, she does it all without landing a single drop or stain on her clothes. As a photographer of both digital and film, I find myself trapped in limbo between two realms. Photography is about perceptions of the world — it’s about capturing memories and moments, balancing light and space. While a digital photo exists as pixels, a film photo is a physical manifestation of light. A film photo tethers the viewer to a photographer’s perceived universe that existed for a fleeting moment. A reproduction of the world within the moment the camera clicks. A film photo has a soul, as if the world in that moment still exists inside it.

Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 51





There’s always been a need for something to laugh at—an escape from reality or a reprieve from monotony—but when it’s you as the punchline, the truth hurts. If we remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation though, becoming an observer rather than a participant, we might empathize and ultimately find humor without the agony. Thus, the best comedies mine jokes from the most afflicting of our pains and reveal them as cultural truths. Such is the case for three shows that are leading the meta, serial self-destructive comedy revolution: “Big Mouth,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty.” These shows illuminate cultural truths that have failed to fill our television screens thus far—topics ranging from depression to promiscuity to internalized hatred. Check Twitter and you’ll see the brutal transparency millennials have now. Talk of drugs, mental health, fears, body images and self-deprecation are not taboo. In fact, they 52 | ETHOS | Winter 2018

are retweeted thousands upon thousands of times. On Finstas, or fake Instagrams, people post privately to their secluded publics about their most intimate thoughts with reckless abandon. On Snapchat, our stories become less curated and more stream of consciousness by the day. Some may see it as over sharing. For others, it’s basic communication. The line of what is okay to say or not on television has been pushed even further by Netflix’s newest animated comedy, “Big Mouth.” Boasting a star-studded cast that includes Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate and Jordan Peele, the show follows a group of sixth graders as they undergo the awkward and embarrassing transition of puberty. And the show doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to discussing puberty. Its unabashed approach—be it talking vaginas or hormone monsters— subverts the norm that sex should not be so frankly discussed at a young age. In many ways, the show serves as a more engaging and informational

approach to sex education that public schools may lack. Throughout the series we witness several family dynamics that are anything but the nuclear model. For much of televised sitcoms, from “The Simpson’s” to “Bob’s Burgers,” the family is presented as a dysfunctional group that ends up loving and sticking with each other at the end of the day. Families have oft been depicted under the mythologized Anglo-televised light, yet that’s not what they are. Millennials know families can be messy, broken, overbearing and forgotten. One of the show’s main characters, Jessi, finds out her father is a stoner. She also discovers that her mother is cheating and has fallen in love with another woman. Another character, Jay, has an alcoholic who forbids hugging in the household while his dad is unfaithful, making Jay wait in the car while he sleeps with other women. In addition, Nick, Jessi’s best friend, has an overbearing mother and father who see no boundaries for expressing their feelings. Each of these families supersedes the televised family standard, not just through their structure, but through diversified strata of love. But it’s not just the representation of so many unique families that lures millennials to the screen, it’s that each show is both animated and self-referential. The writers revel, tongue-in-cheek, at the fact that you are watching their shows. In “Big Mouth,” characters call out Netflix, their own distributor. In “Rick and Morty,” they explicitly discuss their characters’ seasonlong arcs. These shows bleed culture. They subvert the expectation that animation is full of bright colors, family-friendly jokes, and happy endings. They challenge that shows should teach you how to be nice, the importance of sharing, or what the tip of a shoelace is (it’s an aglet, for any of you who didn’t watch “Phineas and Ferb”). Animation has the power to convert complex, crude ideas and intangible objects into illustrative, tasteful artwork.

Animation has the power to convert complex, crude ideas and intangible objects into illustrative, tasteful artwork.

The opportunity for meta and visual comedy to be explored in animation is exemplified in Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series “Bojack Horseman.” “Bojack Horseman” follows a washed-up sitcom star as he lives off the money of his show’s riches in Hollywood, drinking incessantly and insulting to the few people that surround him. Set in an anthropomorphic world where humans and animals walk bimodally (on two legs) and exist equally, each episode is rich with background jokes and pop culture allusions that can be missed with the blink of an eye. The show’s visual identity is extremely particular—so much so that it has created one of the best television intro sequences out there: a psychedelic jaunt that blends vibrant watercolor and digital cubism. “Bojack Horseman,” now in its fourth season, has found its groove. Each episode builds upon the last to create a nuanced narrative of interwoven storylines that blend emotional lows and touching highs—none of which would be as dazzling had the viewer not watched in order. Such is the case for “Big Mouth” and “Rick and Morty” as well, where the episodes are designed to be watched sequentially. Historically adult animated comedies, from “Family Guy” to “Futurama,” existed episodically, allowing viewers to come and go from the series as they please without losing context. Instead, for the new wave of these millennial comedies, it is their sequential format that helps make these shows successful. “Rick and Morty,” on its third season, is perhaps the strongest case for this emphasis on narrative sequencing. The show is now regarded as the favorite of millennials between ages 18-34 based on Nielsen ratings and as reported by “Fortune” and “Vice News.” The show’s viewership is up 81 percent from its previous seasons, which may be in part thanks to torrenting, or the illegal downloading of content, an activity the show nearly encourages on its social media accounts. Its following is rocketing past the likes of broadcast comedies such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family.” “Rick and Morty” is so popular that it even enticed many McDonalds chains across America to bring back their long-lost Szechuan sauce for a limited release after quickly referencing it

on the show. “Rick and Morty” tells the story of an alcoholic yet brilliant grandfather, Rick, who travels intergalactically and dimensionally with his average and easily manipulated teenage grandson, Morty. In its initial season, each episode had the duo leaving their quasinormal family, Morty’s mother Beth, father Jerry and sister Summer, to gallivant on another one of Rick’s life threatening quests. Oozing with existentialist themes and nihilism, “Rick and Morty” has profited from its raucous blend of suburban life and science fiction as well as its cold-hearted grasp of jet black comedy. One of the best episodes from its first season—and the entire series—“Rixty Minutes,” was born from improvisational outtakes that later became animated into a fully fledged episode with narrative consequences and crazed humor. In this episode, the A-story satirizes “Peak TV” through interdimensional cable while the B-story finds Beth and Jerry deep into a virtual reality that has them viewing what life would be like had they aborted Summer. The fact that the show constantly reinvents its own rules and never fails to revel in the multi-universe premise it created for itself is astounding. “Big Mouth,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty” have subverted everything normalized by mainstream adult comedy.” From their vibrant animation styles to outrageous content to harrowingly honest topics, their grasp on millennial humor has been firm. These shows authentically depict the modern sense of self-deprecating wit instead of awkwardly appropriating it or commenting upon it. They also fulfill our need for escapism while operating in the realm of realism. The fact that animals are famous movie stars, or that an alcoholic grandfather can turn into a pickle, or that a vagina can talk to a girl first discovering masturbation, is never questioned. These shows allow millennials to grapple with the dysfunction of families, the frustrating dance of sexuality and the prescience of realism, all while basking in the absurdism that is 21st century television.

Winter Winter 2018 2018 || ETHOS ETHOS || 53 53



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Cohort begins June 2018. at your events to capture moments The PhotoBooth has been staple HEADSHOTS Start your free application today! University of Portland program your free application today! The University of Portland MAT program is is isStart the Emerald Media for capture 3 years and hasphoto continued to that grow in PhotoBooth popularity Start your free application today! TheThe University of Portland MATMAT program The PhotoBooth isevents aGroup customized backdropped set-up allows guests at moments in time. The has been a s are nowyour being accepted for 3to The University of Portland MAT program is ApplicationsMedia the Emerald Group for years and has continued tohas grow in popularity $550 and Student Groups a nationally accredited month program For information and details on our a nationally accredited 10 more month program nationally accredited 101010 month program 1 Hour $300 PHOTOBOOTH (2 HOURS) with the community. 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We to create custom props the Emerald Media Group for 3 years has continued grow in popularity 2017-2018 Cohort, beginning in June 2017-2018 Cohort, beginning in June 2017. 2017-2018 Cohort, beginning in June 2017.2017. Non-Profit $650 information sessions, please visit education.up.edu $500 2 Hours PHOTOBOOTH (2 HOURS) visit education.up.edu Portland’s Premier MAT Program at your events to capture moments inyou time. The PhotoBooth has been a as staple of give your Portland’s Premier MAT Program Portland’s Premier MAT Program $550 Student Groups with the community. We can help you set up anywhere gu amazing experience and quite a set fun too. We create custom props 1HEADSHOTS $300 $50 more information about the program and and print all photos onto special film strips, just like we used to getguests kids. • Portalnd’s Premier MAT Program For For more information about the honestly program the community. We can help upone anywhere and give your anand Forwith more information about the program andand Non-Profit $650 2Hour Hours Nationally Recognized Recognized Nationally Recognized UO Departments $650 • Nationally Nationally Recognized the Emerald Media Group for 3 years and has continued to grow in popularity details on our information sessions, details onphotos our information sessions, details on our information sessions, amazing experience and honestly quite a fun one too. We create custom props and print all onto special film strips, just like we used to get as kids. amazing experience and honestly quite a fun one too. We create $500 custom Non-Profit $650 No Application Fee Contact: Application No Application Fee Fee 21 Hours • No No Application Fee $550 please visit education.up.edu. please visit education.up.edu. Hour $300 visit education.up.edu. UOStudent Departments $650 with please the community. 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Asha Ida Bell, SINCE 1937. Her life’s work is about helping the hopeless find hope. Now, she and 1 in 6 seniors face the threat of hunger and millions more live in isolation. So pop by, drop off a hot meal and say a warm hello. Asha Ida Bell, SINCE 1937. Her life’s work is about helping the hopeless find Volunteer for Meals on Wheels at AmericaLetsDoLunch.org TM

hope. Now, she and 1 in 6 seniors face the threat of hunger and millions more live in isolation. So pop by, drop off a hot meal and say a warm hello. Volunteer for Meals on Wheels at AmericaLetsDoLunch.org

e can for help3 you setand up has anywhere and to give your an Group years continued grow in guests popularity TM

Asha Ida Bell, SINCE 1937. Her life’s work is about helping the hopeless find



You have a team you can count on.



We’re looking for students with a strong work ethic, a desire to learn and the drive to be the best. If you’re short on experience, don’t worry. We’re looking for students with passion and commitment, not a perfectly polished résumé. Winter 2018 | ETHOS | 55


Profile for Ethos Magazine

Ethos Winter Magazine 2018  

Ethos Winter Magazine 2018  

Profile for ethosmag