Collegiette Issue 004

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Issue 004 · Fall 2020



Asian Americans on the Public Stage Womxn of the House; Celebrating the Remarkable Victories of Womxn in Congress in 2020 Rethinking Sex Education Social Media: The New Political Mo(ve)ment Menstrual Equity on College Campuses




Welcome to Her Campus American’s fourth issue of Collegiette! This semester we celebrate womxn. Womxn is defined as people of all genders, not just the people who subscribe to the traditional definition of “women.” “Womxn” represents all people who are affected by issues of misogyny and sexism. Her Campus American is designed to empower womxn’s voices and foster an inclusive space of genuine expression. Our writers and designers worked tirelessly to fashion a remarkable collection of relevant, hard-hitting articles, striking graphic design, and beautiful photography. I am so incredibly proud and grateful to play a small role in cultivating a platform in which our writers and designers can freely express themselves. We hope you draw inspiration from the pieces of identity that come together to highlight our mission. We are extraordinarily proud of this issue and we hope it brings you as much joy as it brings us. HCXO, Hannah Andress, Editor-in-Chief


RICAN We’re so pleased to share with you yet another issue of Her Campus American’s magazine, Collegiette! Inside this issue you will find a range of light-hearted opinion pieces and well-researched articles that speak to Her Campus American’s mission of womxn empowerment, validation, and inclusivity. Whether it explores the state of education, teaches the art of songwriting, educates about gender bias, or otherwise, each article is a must-read that challenges the mainstream perspective. Our writers and designers worked tirelessly amid a global pandemic to create this powerful collection of writings and exceptionally designed magazine. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to work with such remarkable womxn. We are extremely proud of this issue of Collegiette, and we hope that it empowers, inspires, and brings awareness to relevant realities in womxn’s lives everywhere. HCXO, Maggie Schutte, Publishing Director

IN THIS ISSUE Womxn of the House; Celebrating the Remarkable Victories of Womxn in Congress in 2020

Asian Americans on the Public Stage Aaditi Narayanan Pandemic Induced Online Classes Drain Students Gianna Matassa



The Inequality of Elementary Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic Peyton Bigora


Emma Nicholson


Rethinking Sex Education Traditional Grading: Worth Saving or Time for a Change? Kathryne McCann


Wyatt Foster


No It’s Not a Compliment: Cat-Calling & Womxn’s Self-Defense Hannah Andress


Menstrual Equity on College Campuses

Gender Differences in Pain Perception: How the Treatment of Pain is Affected Maggie Schutte


Social Media: The New Political Mo(ve)ment

Allesandra Plourde

Riddhi Setty


The Pros and Cons of Thrifting Molly Molloy



How to Start a Bail Fund Abby Henry

The Art of Songwriting Grace Hasson




Doodles by Cameron Fisher In the second semester of learning during a pandemic, COVID-19 has forced all colleges to transition to an allonline format. While many students had hoped to return to the fall semester as either hybrid classes or fully in-person, this was deemed dangerous due to the spreading of the virus. Unfortunately, the new online format leaves students more stressed and mentally drained than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the entire world into a quarantine frenzy to keep everyone safe from one another. People have been stuck at home with very little freedom since March 2020. For college students who are used to their freedom, this is a social nightmare. Many students left home to establish themselves and their independence, but that is no longer possible since the pandemic has caused this entire semester to be online for most people. Colleges face many challenges with this semester being online. Some of those challenges are financial; many universities have lost millions of dollars due to not having students on campus, while students have saved thousands of dollars staying home. Another challenge includes the pressure to give students the education they need without being on campus. While it is understandable that colleges keep students home due to the typical college life of dorms and partying, this has also been detrimental to students’ mental health.


Picture this, students sitting at home all day staring at the same four walls, bored with technology, having a short attention span and all while trying to balance their online classes at the same time. For extroverts, this is mentally and emotionally draining by not being able to interact with other students or living with their best friends/roommates. According to Chardon State College, “One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness.” If that was the case prior to COVID-19, imagine how much worse it has gotten for students stuck at home. Many mental health struggles students face during this difficult time are attributed to the fact that many students feel they are experiencing more work at home compared to being in person at school. But they can also be attributed to technical difficulties with either Zoom or other sites they may use being so detrimental and can affect their grades, and students have often found that it is harder to get into contact with professors since switching to an online format. According to an article by Inside Higher Ed, “Fifty-six percent of college students surveyed also said they believed the education offered this fall will be less valuable than what colleges offered last fall.”

Students face the temptation to cheat and use the internet for exams and papers more so than ever before which can make their college education less valuable. There is also fear that students face that besides all the busy work given by professors, will this education be substantial enough for when they graduate college and have to go out into the real world? While many careers, grad schools, etc. post-college will most likely be understanding of the scenario, that doesn’t stop students from having anxiety about what if. According to an article written by Inside Higher Ed, “ . . . most Americans (59 percent) believe that in-person education and training is more highly valued by employers than online training.” Despite employers not knowing for sure if you did your college online or went back for hybrid/in-person, students still fear that what they learn during this time won’t be enough for life after college. Students also fear when applying to graduate school or medical school how it will look with having classes as pass/fail on their transcript. While some schools may be picky about this detail, an example of a school that won’t be is Harvard medical school.

College students during this COVIDinduced semester find that their mental health and sanity are at risk due to being stuck at home for their courses and while this is the safest option, it is still challenging for students to adapt. Professors and colleges need to be more understanding of students’ mental health during this time and the fact that students are facing more work and stress than ever before. There needs to be action taken to allow mental health days to be a plausible excuse to miss class and for pass/fail to be available for all classes not only one (based on American University’s policy). If nothing is changed, then students will be doomed for however long until they return to campus once again.

As stated on their website, “So that no applicants are disadvantaged as a result of this unprecedented event, HMS will accept pass/fail grading for spring, summer, and fall coursework during 2020.”


Steps to Self Care During a Pandemic

1. Clean your Room •Clean room = clean mind

2. Meditate

•Reflect on your week • Set some goals

3. Go to Bed Early

•Tomorrow is a new day •Wake up feeling refreshed

4. Take a Walk Outdoors

•Clear your head •Get some fresh air

5. Put your Phone Away

•Step away from social media •Take a mental break

6. Listen to Music •Play your favorite songs

Abby Greenberg


ON THE PUBLIC STAGE Aaditi Narayanan

Doodles by Simi Singh

Asian-Americans have come into the limelight recently, most notably in Hollywood and politics. This representation is exciting for many of us who are in the generations of older Gen-Z and millennials, allowing those younger than us to see individuals of our heritage across various TV channels. Specifically, Indian-Americans are breaking barriers by taking further strides for us as a community than ever seen before. To break down this complex topic, I will take a look into some exemplary Asian-American role models, along with others who are proof of the phrase “not all representation is good representation.” To better understand this intricate issue, a good place to start is in Hollywood by focusing on how Asian-Americans have been historically depicted in film. In the long time frame of Hollywood’s history, there has been an inherent lack of representation in the Academy for Asian-Americans. In a 2017 study, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that Asian-Americans only represented 1% of all leading roles in Hollywood. This is surprising when we consider the vast size of the Indian population, with the 2017 United States Census Bureau reporting that there are 18 million Americans of Asian descent, translating to roughly 6 percent of the population. Simply based on the size of our ethnic group, it is a widely held sentiment that when we do get representation it should not solely rely on racist stereotypes. In 2017, comedian Hari Kondabolu took the issue of representation head on with his TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu, taking a closer look at the way the character from The Simpsons has magnified problematic stereotypes of South Asian people. Not only are there several offensive characteristics present with this character, but the fact that he was not voiced by an Indian has further added to the mockery of our culture.

The Simpsons has done little to apologize, saying through the voice of Marge that “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?” As the only prominent representation we had in the early 2000s, these racist stereotypes quickly turned to the societal view of Indians as dirty and stinky. The complete neglect of this history by the show’s executives is evident of the fact that much change still needs to be made in Hollywood. On the other hand, a clear example of progressive representation can be seen in the show Mira, Royal Detective. Set in the magical Indian-inspired land of Jalpur, the series follows the brave and resourceful Mira, played by Leela Ladnier. Each episode features two 11-minute stories that celebrate the cultures and customs of India by incorporating authentic storytelling, music, food, fashion, language, art and dance. The cast is made solely of Indian actors and actresses as a collaboration to create Indian representation for younger audiences that the cast did not have themselves. Mira’s story inspiring young Indian children everywhere to embrace their culture and not suppress it as I did is the kind of representation that gives me hope for the future. In addition, such inspirational representation has taken place in politics as of recent with Asian-Americans running for a historic amount of seats in 2020. Andrew Yang’s presidential run was an example of the importance of representation, and many Asian-Americans voted in the primary for the first time so that they could have a president that looks like them. Dr. Arati Kreibich also ran an historic campaign as a progressive leader who garnered national attention and endorsements for outperforming a sitting incumbent in her July 2020 primary. Further, Boston City Councilwoman Michelle Wu established her well-known

Cast of ‘Mira, Royal Detective’


Michelle Wu

Kamala Harris

name with her historic 2021 Boston city mayor race making her the first of AAPI heritage to do so. Most recently, VP Kamala Harris spoke Tamil, a south Indian language, at the Democratic National Convention as a tribute to her late mother. Her words were heartful to Indian-Americans who had grown up being shamed for their Indian heritage. All of these politicians and Hollywood actors mentioned above have made significant steps towards the direction of representation of Asian-Americans in the public eye. As someone who grew up enduring bullying for her Indian heritage, this means a lot to me. Growing up, the only person who looked remotely like me on the TV was Dora the Explorer, a stark contrast to the representation Mira the Royal Detective provides. Furthermore, as I pursue a career in politics, the politicians mentioned offer me hope of progress and change within the Asian community. I am hopeful that in the coming years, no Asian or Indian child of immigrants will have to search for representation in the coming years as I did, and the representation they see on TV will be reflective of a culture they love.


THE INEQUALITY OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC Peyton Bigora The pandemic forced elementary educators to teach from a distance with most U.S. schools unable to return to normal. And the virtual approach to learning, though necessary, has put the many inequalities of the elementary education system glaringly into focus. “It’s very, very difficult,” Leslie Gilman, an elementary teacher in Rhode Island said on social distance educating. “We’ve had to change all of our protocols, just our normal rituals and routines that we would normally use are now different.” Coming Back & Opening Schools Decisions whether or not to open schools are typically made at the local level, leaving school administrations confused on how to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations or even execute the federal and state guidelines, many of which often contradict their district’s capabilities. The CDC laid out four goals for combating the spread of the virus in August 2020: • “Promoting behaviors that reduce COVID-19’s spread” • “Maintaining healthy environments” • “Maintaining healthy operations” • “Preparing for when someone gets sick” “Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable and tailored to the needs of each community,” the CDC wrote on their website. They assert these regulations do not override federal, state or local safety measures established within schools, though. Mrs. Gilman’s district in Middletown has grades K through five back entirely in-person, while grades six through 12 are in school two days a week and online for the other three.


The CDC provided a ranking of highest to lowest risk situations for administrators to refer to when reopening districts this past fall. The highest risk setting is entirely in person where face masks and social distancing are not required, cleaning is infrequent and students can move freely throughout the school. Lowest risk setting is an entirely online education. Tara Hudson, a kindergarten teacher at Westhampton Beach Elementary on Long Island, NY, has a similar set-up to Mrs. Gilman’s district. “It’s pretty normal, I would say,” Hudson said. “But besides the masks, the lack of movement is tough. And you try to fit it in and go outside more than ever, which is nice, but the last two weeks it’s rained. It’s really tough in that respect.” Both Mrs. Gilman and Mrs. Hudson’s schools would be considered a mix between medium and higher risk by the CDC’s ranking; almost all students are attending class in person, but contact is as limited as possible. Being from relatively small school districts makes the task of social distancing somewhat easier than it has been in larger districts. “Because we’re so small, we’re able to, at the moment, still utilize the cafeteria. But we’re using the cafeteria and the gymnasium as the cafeteria,” Mrs. Gilman explained. “They [the students] can take their masks off to eat, but they may not talk while they’re eating.” “We’ve come up with some creative ways [to minimize contact],” Mrs. Hudson said of her kindergarten classroom. “They each have a few books that they look at and then we

Doodles by Cameron Fisher take them, they sit over the weekend and we spray them. They each have a bag of toys and, same thing, after a week we take them, spray them and let them sit. Rearrange, give them new bags. They have their own everything, they can never share. So that’s the odd thing.” The Long Haul: March to June The abrupt changes and restrictions that came in March highlighted many of the deeply ingrained inequalities within districts. A student’s lack of resources, inconsistent access to Wi-Fi and absence of special education programs were all factors in decreasing quality of education, despite educators’ efforts to deliver. Research conducted and analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute showed that a virtual education was only beneficial if students had continuous access to the internet and computers and if educators received “targeted training . . . for online instruction.” Mrs. Gilman emphasized how many families in her area struggled with using both Zoom and Seesaw, another virtual learning platform, mainly because of limited internet connection. Fortunately for the Rhode Island teacher, the state governor made a deal with Verizon that gave all households access to Wi-Fi. “Was it great Wi-Fi, no,” Gilman said. “Did it drop out all the time, sure. [But] the whole state had access to Wi-Fi, which was good.”

higher numbers of COVID because they’re living in closer proximity.” Mrs. Hudson’s school is another one of the few that fared well in terms of being able to provide students with learning supplies. But she spoke of teachers’ endeavors to stay in touch with such young students. “We left that Friday and I didn’t know what a Google Bit was and now — totally proficient,” Mrs. Hudson said,laughing at feeling like a first-year teacher again, even after teaching kindergarten at the same district for over a decade. “Again, we literally didn’t know how to use the things we know now.” As a mother herself, Mrs. Hudson could easily relate to the much-needed and hard-to-find balance between completing her own work and assisting her children with theirs. “[Parents] just didn’t know what to do with themselves all day and how to help their kids because we were only on with them for maybe an hour a day at that point,” she continued, expanding on the difficulty of time-management within her students’ households. Additional stress also came from the administration’s remiss approach to providing teachers with a set lesson plan for the online platform. The reality of closing again is one parents and educators alike do not want to see, but at least schools are more prepared and organized for this “what if” scenario. But in March, school staffs just needed to get by and protect the community’s health.

Her school also had the advantage of providing devices to every household to students, a privilege not every public school in America—or even Rhode Island—could provide. Gilman said that other Rhode Island districts such as Providence, Woonsocket and Central Falls struggled to get enough devices and Wi-Fi for their students. “Even when we went back to school in September, many of them had


Above and Beyond

But Mrs. Gilman didn’t stop there.

The socialization side of school is one of the only topics that could not be modified through Zoom and is something teachers continue to struggle with.

She went on to talk about one young student of hers in particular who has a social emotional goal in her IEP— something that can only truly be worked on in a social classroom setting.

“I had a mom text me on the first day of school. She said ‘My daughter didn’t meet any new friends today,’” Mrs. Hudson recalled. She responded with, “’How would they at six feet apart?’” Mrs. Hudson praised her students for their adaptability to the restrictions of a socially distant classroom. Many may not credit a five-year-old with the ability to keep a mask on or practice self-control around toys, but Mrs. Hudson continues to be impressed with her kindergarteners. The much needed hands-on and in-person experiences surrounding special education have also proven to be an uphill battle. Mrs. Hudson spoke on the difficulties of not being able to pull children aside for smaller group work and the evident learning gap between kindergarten and first grade. Mrs. Gilman had an especially difficult time as she worked specifically with nine IEP students last school year. Not only did she work with her co-teacher to create lesson plans for all 30 students in the class, she generated nine specialized, printed-out individual plans as well for her IEP students. “Every Monday, I would drive around town and I delivered their materials for the week. And then I would Zoom with them throughout the week to help them as they needed it,” Mrs. Gilman said. She did this routine consistently for her students from March until the school year’s end.


“Her mom called me one day in tears saying ‘I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t do it.’ So I said, ‘What can I do to help you,’” Mrs. Gilman told HCAU. “And she said, ‘Can you go on a bike ride with her?’” Thus began weekly bike rides to the beach where the two would sit, work on that week’s assignments and continue developing social skills. “We would take a really nice walk, we would bring a backpack with her work in it, we would use a clipboard and we would sit outside on the beach or on the rocks,” Mrs. Gilman said. “And actually, to be honest, that was the best part of COVID. Those were the best lessons I ever had.” So many flaws of the American education system were forced into view or worsened due to the pandemic, and while being back in person has allowed schools to better address them, there is much more work to be done.

Jordyn Habib

WOMXN OF THE HOUSE Celebrating the Remarkable Victories of Womxn in Congress in 2020

Emma Nicholson Jordyn Habib Doodles by NoĂŤl Sedona James

At the start of 2020, 101 congresswomxn served in the House of Representatives. Though a seemingly large number, there are 435 total representatives serving. This means that at the beginning of 2020, only 23 percent of the House was made up of womxn. And unfortunately the Senate was not much different, with only 26 out of 100 senators being womxn. For hundreds of years, womxn have fought for their place in bodies of government, and yet here we are, in 2020, still immensely underrepresented. But despite the current representation of womxn in congress seeming low, it is actually more than has ever been seen before. In 1917, Jeannette Rankin of Montana was elected as the first womxn in the House of Representatives. A suffragette and activist for womxn in government, Rankin advocated for the creation of the Committee on Womxn Suffrage and was later appointed to the said committee. It is almost unimaginable to think of how Rankin felt during her time in the House, surrounded by men, all the while advocating for the rights of womxn. Yet she persisted, as many womxn do, speaking eloquently and convincingly among these men. Rankin began a movement unlike any other to show that womxn belong in governing bodies; the reverberations of her work are still apparent in congress today, with the representation having increased significantly. Among the womxn represented in the House today, there are inspirational stories of individuals who, like Rankin, broke down barriers to rightfully earn their seat. These are stories of confidence, perseverance, and persistance, and there are countless stories to tell. But there are three womxn I’d like to highlight, whose impact on congress in 2020 has reached far beyond the journey to their seat. Despite the insanity that has been 2020, these womxn consistently raised the bar for what it means to be a womxn in government, advocating not only for their political beliefs, but for a womxn’s place in the House--the House of Representatives, that is.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 15 | COLLEGIETTE

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Silence is Not Acceptance Congresswomxn Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she is commonly known, represents New York’s 14th district, and has been serving in congress since 2018. Ocasio-Cortez represents the Democratic Party and earned her place in congress after defeating Joe Crowley in one of the biggest congressional upsets in 2018, given Crowley’s incumbent status. AOC’s biggest moment of 2020 was arguably July 23, when she gave a House floor speech that was heard around the country. This was a speech that poignantly rebutted one man’s hateful dialogue while also reminding Congress (and the country) that verbal abuse towards womxn occurs beyond governing bodies. After being verbally attacked by Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida on the steps of the Capitol building earlier in the year, AOC used her time on the floor to speak to the issue, after Mr. Yoho issued a series of unacceptable excuses for his behavior. What is so admirable about AOC, apart from her eloquent words, is the way that she expressed this righteous anger all while sending a message about abuse, sexism, and standing up for what is right, to womxn all over the country. In her remarks, AOC added that she originally had not planned on further discussing this issue, until Mr. Yoho’s excuses began. Amidst her poignant remarks, this moment of her speech in particular resonated with young womxn across the country: “I could not allow my nieces, I could not allow the little girls that I go home to, I could not allow victims of verbal abuse and worse to see that, to see that excuse and to see our Congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance...” A main takeaway: Silence is not a form of acceptance. AOC reminds womxn and individuals across the country that we cannot remain silent about important issues like verbal abuse.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez continued with what became arguably the most memorable moment of her speech: “... I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling womxn and using abusive language towards womxn, but what I do have issues with is using womxn, our wives and daughters, as shields and excuses for poor behavior.” AOC closed out her speech with a powerful reminder that this is not new behavior, and it is reflected in many environments beyond the House of Representatives. “It happens every day in this country,” she remarked. And many found truth in this statement, sharing their own stories of abuse to stand in solidarity with AOC. This congressional speech was shared by thousands around the country, especially many womxn who felt seen after hearing AOC’s words. It even inspired a viral TikTok trend, where young people lip-synced to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s words. Amidst a year of turmoil, AOC’s eloquence, bravery, and strength in discussing verbal abuse in a room full of predominantly men was nothing short of incredible. Though many knew AOC prior to this speech for her work with Bernie Sanders, this moment of 2020 certainly was unforgettable, and gave many young womxn an inspiring role-model to look up to--both politically and in strength of character.

Katie Porter

Porter made her mark both with her expo marker, and by leaving others in congress (and around the country) inspired by her intelligence. In addition to serving her first term in the House, Representative Porter is also a professor of consumer law at UC Irvine, a mom to three kids, and “Cubmaster,” (also known as a leader of her son’s Cub Scout Pack). As a consumer advocate, her areas of expertise include protecting consumers against financial institutions, banks, and federal credit protection, among other economic specialities. She was appointed in 2012 by Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris, who was then the Attorney General of California, to develop a team and keep watch over financial institutions in California. Currently representing Orange County, Porter continues her fight for consumers in the political sphere while also focusing on the specific needs of families in her county. Since beginning her term in Congress, Rep. Porter has certainly made a name for herself in her pursuit of advocacy and factual information. Her whiteboard is a symbol of the power she, and other womxn in Congress hold. Katie Porter demanded the attention of the floor of Congress that day in October, reminding the group that numbers do not lie. Math does not lie. And womxn can, just as easily as men, utilize numbers to prove them wrong. Sometimes, it just takes spelling it out on a whiteboard for others to understand.

Katie Porter, Consumer Law, and A Whiteboard One of the most notable congressional stories of this year is the story of Katie Porter and her whiteboard. In October, Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat representing California’s 45th district, made the headlines after using a whiteboard in a questioning on the House floor. Her “whiteboard of justice” as dubbed by Elle Magazine, served its purpose this October as Porter questioned BigPharma CEO Mark Alles, citing the numbers on her whiteboard to aid in her powerful (and factual testimonial). Rep.


This October, “Reclaiming My Time: The Power of Maxine Waters,” by Helena Andrews-Dyer, and R. Eric Thomas, was published. The book tells the story of Waters’ life and work, beginning during her childhood growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.

Maxine Waters

“Let me just say this,” Waters says in the book. “I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined…” Waters continues to be a role model for womxn all over the country, especially for BIPOC womxn. She represents what it means to be a strong womxn in politics, one who faces challenges head on and rightfully claims the time she knows she deserves to express views of utmost importance.

Maxine Waters: “Reclaiming My Time”

2020: A Record Breaking Year for Womxn

As most womxn will attest to, dealing with “mansplaining” and other purposeful interruptions by men is immensely frustrating. But Maxine Waters, a Democratic Representative from California, made the news when she rightfully took back her time on the floor of the House, with a simple three-word phrase.

These stories told today are not the only stories of powerful, female strength in government. They are simply one part of the ever-changing narrative of what it means to be a womxn in government.

During a testimony in 2017 by Secretary of the Treasury Steve Munchin, Waters was rudely interrupted by Munchin as he openly avoided a question asked by Waters. Her response? “Reclaiming my time,” she said, proudly. And she did just that-- Waters was then granted the floor by the chair of the hearing. However, Rep. Waters had to use that same phrase multiple times during the hearing to reclaim her time that was being taken by Munchin’s constant interruptions. This phrase became iconic, symbolizing not only Rep. Waters’ actions that day, but symbolizing the shared anger of womxn all over the world who have been interrupted by men. Especially in a governing body like congress, members should treat each other with the utmost respect-respect that Waters was not receiving. So, as any strong womxn would, she recognized she was being wronged and asserted herself to get her time.


In the 2020 election, records were broken, with more womxn than ever before elected to congress: 134 womxn have been elected. We have the first transgender senator, Sarah McBride serving in Delaware. We have Cori Bush, Missouri’s first black Congresswomxn. Yvette Harell, the first Native American womxn to serve in Congress, was elected in New Mexico. In fact, all three representatives in New Mexico are womxn of color. And of course, we have just elected our first womxn to the position of Vice President. VP-elect Kamala Harris will also be the first womxn of color to serve in that position, which is truly historic. These are just a few of the incredible achievements made this year. Do not get me wrong; we still have a long way to go in order to increase the representation of womxn in government. Womxn should be equally represented, just as men are, because at the end of the day, we are just as capable. But so far, we have made a great start. 2020 was a year of challenges for us all, but these womxn of the House of Representatives proved that not even a global pandemic can stop them from demonstrating what it means to be a strong, powerful womxn.

Jordyn Habib

TRADITIONAL GRADING Worth Saving or Time for a Change?

Kathryne McCann

Doodles by Cameron Fisher

You spend long nights hunched over textbooks, suffering through headaches as you stare blankly at an eye-straining computer screen. Your hand begins to cramp as you feverishly scribble down an essay as the time ticks away during an exam. These are all situations students of today are all too familiar with. The stress, anticipation and instant gratification or shame that comes as a result of traditional grading systems has been a staple of education in America for generations. In recent years, however, it has been noted that high school and college students are more stressed than ever before. Could grades have anything to do with it? In a study published by BMC Public Health, researchers found that among a sample of students ranging from elementary through high school, self reported levels of anxiety increased with age and was negatively associated with school performance. This trend not only starts young with elementary schoolers but continues on into college. According to the 2019 National College Health Assessment, just within two weeks, about 53% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do and felt exhausted (not from physical activity). The study also reported that during any time within a 12 month period about 66% and 45% of students


felt overwhelming anxiety and so depressed that it was difficult to function, respectively. When asked if he feels stressed out about grades, third-year American University student Matthew Ollendorf, who is double majoring in secondary education and history, provides a simple answer: “Yes, for sure.” Especially amidst the pandemic, stress levels related to academic performance are riding high. “I don’t think I am at my peak productivity with the pandemic, so that results in increased anxiety a bit about grades and how I’m doing in classes,” said Ollendorf.

Denise Clark Pope, a lecturer at the Stanford School of Education and author of “Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students,” told Stanford News that stress levels among students created by the pressure to achieve top scores are so high that some educators regard it as a health epidemic. In order to learn more about how high-achieving students function, Pope shadowed five high school students for a year and found most of their time was spent cheating the system in order to get the grades. In the end, all that matters is the grade. Or, at least, that’s how it can sometimes feel.

Not only does providing students with ownership over their learning result in them getting more out of their academic experience, but it creates a more equitable environment. Traditional grading often involves a level of implicit bias based on race, class and gender. Disportionately, schools use disciplinary actions to punish Black, Latino, low-income and special needs students, and these biases do not go away when it comes to the gradebook. “Any grading rubric you make, you have, whether you acknowledge it or not, an ideal student is in mind,” said Abraham. “Because of the society we live in, and especially how academics are trained, it is hard for that ideal student not to be a privileged student.” Many times students are punished for things outside of their control. Differences in incomes, resources, access to the internet or even a space where students can complete work safely and quietly can all be factors that impact a students performance. Perhaps to understand why the vast majority of schools rely on traditional grading systems, we should look at a brief history of grades.

This is where Roshan Abraham, a first year advisor, AUx instructor and adjunct professor of philosophy and religion, finds that education should be put into the hands of the student. Once a very traditional grader, through reading more about grading he has become an advocate for new methods that places an emphasis on learning rather than just achieving a desired grade. “I’m not even sure if grades are a good measurement of learning, it is a measurement of performance,” said Abraham. “Students need more ownership of their learning.” Through this ownership he argues that students are more motivated and will hold themselves accountable.


The letter grades we are all too familiar with did not gain popularity until the 1940’s, and even in 1971 only about 67% of primary and secondary schools in the United States used letter grades. Grading does, however, have a much longer history.

One of the purposes of grading and why its use has increased drastically over the years is in response to students desire to receive feedback. As mentioned in Schinske and Tanner’s article, “Because college students express a desire for feedback, faculty members may feel pressured to grade more (rather than facilitating ungraded activities) and to provide more written feedback while grading.”

As mentioned in the article “Teaching More by Grading Less (or Differently)” by Jeffery Schinske and Kimberly Tanner, the earliest forms of grading were exit exams taken in order to receive a degree. Harvard, as early as 1646, had some kind of exit exam for students to take. By the 18th century universities such as Yale and Harvard used exams to select valedictorians and salutatorians, however the first official record of assigning grades came from Yale where seniors were graded using four categories. This four-point scale consisted of Optimi, second Optimi, Inferiores, and Perjores, however, these marks were hidden from students.

Around the same time grades began to become popularized, standardized testing also solidified its place in education. According to TIME, by World War I standardized testing was a common practice, often conducted to assign U.S. servicemen jobs during the war effort. One of the most famous exams, if not the most famous, the SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, first emerged in 1926 and was created by the nonprofit College Board. In 1959, University of Iowa professor Everret Franklin Lindquist developed the American College Testing, or the ACT to compete with the SAT. Today, both of these exams are hurdles students need to clear before applying to college.

The late 19th century and 20th century saw an emergence of coordination between schools, which began to implement grades on the hundred point scale and a grading system that involved “A”-“E” letter grades, the notorious “F” having been added later and the “E” disappearing by the 1930’s. By the early 1900’s 100-point scales were very common and the “A”-“F” system was dominant by the 1940’s.

People in favor of standardized tests often argue that they are the most objective way to measure students’ academic mastery. Since students are given a similar set of questions, under similar testing situations, which are graded by a machine or blind reviewer, it is fair across the board. Grading practices vary significantly from classroom to classroom, school to school, district to district and even state to state. These assessments hold both students and schools accountable through an even comparison across the board. “Frankly, education has gotten out of control in the States,” Abraham said when speaking about the testing and stress his daughter, who is currently in elementary school, experiences. “There is this messaging that students receive, apparently now at a really young age, that if you mess up this is going to ruin your life.”

Jordyn Habib 21 | COLLEGIETTE

In an attempt to introduce new kinds of grading, Abraham along with other AUx instructors that are part of the AUx Working Group, have proposed a new opt-in program to be offered for AUx2 in the spring in which instructors interested will implement self assessment grading. AUx is a full year course part of the AU Core Curriculum designed for first year students as they transition into college. AUx1 takes place in the fall while Aux2 is completed in their second semester. What self assessment grading looks like for instructors who do opt into the program is that students will complete an assignment and receive qualitative feedback. Using this feedback, students will then write a reflection responding to any questions raised and discuss how the assignment went. After this reflection students will assign themselves a grade.

traditional grading should be and look like. He hopes that more people will try new options and try and see what the results are. For many, grades continue to pile stress onto the backs of already stressed-out students and be used to uphold outdated standards. What traditional grading systems seems to forget is that behind every test, paper and homework assignment is a student, and each student has their own set of circumstances. Today, school is more associated with anxiety, stress and grades that will ultimately decide your future rather than learning. Perhaps it is time to look at the research and begin finding a new way to measure one’s education.

While Abraham acknowledges that this is a radical change to grading, he says that instructors will not be left in the dark if they choose to participate. There will be training provided on how to implement this grading method in the classroom. As for other professors and instructors, Abraham would encourage them to step away from assumptions about what



Wyatt Foster

Doodles by NoĂŤl Sedona James

The controversy around how sex education should be taught and who should teach it are not new hot topics. The role of the government, religion, morals, science, and personal beliefs have always played a significant role in shaping who is teaching sex ed and who it is funded by. While in the past sex education was heavily focused on sexually transmitted infections and abstinence before marriage tactics, there have always been voices advocating for change towards creating a more comprehensive sex education framework. Controversy also circled around whether sex education was the responsbility of the State or Federal government in terms of providing information, regulations, and funding. Today, the debate over “abstinence-only” or “comprehensive sex education” rages on, with advocates on both sides. But what these two terms mean can be confusing, and need defining. Furthermore, what

the studies are now showing in terms of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of STIs and HIV/AIDS, prevent unintended pregnancies, and promote consensual sex and healthy relationships, as well as the social movements that are prompting shifts in cultural narratives around sexuality, sensuality, and consent are shaping the discussion and the future of sex education. According to Alexandra Lord’s Condom Nation, Sex education has long been seen as a form of fighting public health epidemics in the United States. In the 1990s, the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic was the center of the conversation just as gonorrhea and syphilis were a main concern throughout the earlier 20th century. Many people saw the Federal government as the center for providing information and addressing these public health issues, but there has always been push back against the

Federal government’s “encroachment” on what is seen as our most private and personal lives. This controversy has led to public health officials, including Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders in the 1990’s, to lose their jobs, and is a reflection of the ambivalence from Americans towards sex education and the role of the Federal government’s reach. Since the 1960’s the importance of sex education in schools gained widespread support. However, since the 1980s, there has been conflict over with path to take: comprehensive sex education or abstinence-only education. Those in support of comprehensive sex education felt that providing accurate and comprehensive information about sexual health and well being would decrease risk-taking behavior among young people. In contrast, those in support of abstinence only sex education believed that medically accurate and comprehensive information would increase risk-taking behavior among young people. So what does sex education look like today? According to Planned Parenthood, 93% of parents support teaching sex ed in middle school and 96% support teaching sex ed in high school. Many also support sex ed that covers a wide range of topics including STIs, puberty, healthy relationships, sexual orientation, and contraception. Furthermore, sex education is supported by many prestigious health and medical organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, and over 150 organizations are members of the National Coalition to Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education. But determining what sex education currently looks like in the United States is not an easy task, as curriculums vary widely depending on state regulations and much of the actual teaching practices are left up to individual school districts. Currently,


only 24 states and D.C. mandate sex education, and 34 mandate HIV education. For more specific state by state information, visit the Guttmacher Institution’s report on Sex and HIV education. There are a few more things, however, that we do know. The first is that according to the 2014 CDC School Health Profiles, fewer than half of high schools and only one fifth of middle schools teach all of the 16 topics that the CDC deems as essential components of sex education. These include topics ranging from basic information on HIV and STI transmission and how to prevent infection, to critical communication and decision-making skills. Sadly, the Guttmacher Institute reported that fewer teens now than in the past are receiving important and timely information about sex education topics. In 2011 to 2013, 43% of adolescent females and 57% of adolescent males didn’t receive information about birth control before the first time they had sex. And while there was a decrease in formal education, there was no increase in the proportion of teens discussing these topics with their parents. But from what the current studies are showing us, it seems that while the debate rages on, comprehensive sex education is the most effective at reducing the rates of sexual activity, sexual risk behavior, unintended pregancies, and STI tranmission. But what exactly does comprehensive sex education entail and what are the goals of future sex education programming? The Future of Sex Education, a collaboration of Advocates for Youth, Answer, and SIECUS, have joined together in the effort to create a national dialogue about the necessity of sex education for youth. In order to promote institutionalized and comprehensive sex education programming in public schools, they have created the National Sex Education Standards with the goal

“to provide clear, consistent, and straightforward guidance on the essential, minimum, core content and skills needed for sex education that is age-appropriate for students in grades K–12 to be effective”. The aim of this guide is nine fold. To outline the minimum, essential, core content and skills for sex education for K-12. To provide guidance for schools when designing sex education programming. To provide clear rational for teaching sex education content that is evidenceinformed, age-appropriate, and theory-driven. To support schools in improving academic performance. To present sexual development as a normal, natural, healthy part of human development. To offer clear recommendations for school personnel on what is age-appropriate to teach each grade. To translate an emerging body of research related to schoolbased education so that it can be used


in the classroom. To address the ever-evolving learning needs of students. And, lastly, to ground the educational experience in social justice and equity, that values the diversity of students (racial, ethnic, gender, orientation, ability, socio-economic, as well as academic) and promotes awareness, understanding, and appreciation of diversity and inclusion. The NSES also includes the guiding principals that sex education should have high expectations for education, use functional knowledge and skills, be traumainformed, promote social, racial, and reproductive justice equity, be intersectional, and include language inclusivity such as gender identities, sexual orientations, and sexual identities. Overall, comprehensive sex education is aimed at being inclusive to all sexual identities, be intersectional, be research-based, be medically accurate, address individual values, attitudes, beliefs and group norms that support healthy behavior, promote consent education and self responsibility, provide age-appropriate education and information, engage with multiple learning strategies, and building personal and group competence to increase healthy behavior and harm reduction. Perhaps the three newest focuses in contemporary comprehensive sex education strategies are the significant emphases on consent, inclusivity, and intersectionality. Sex education has a long history of racial injustice including issues such as the Tuskegee Study and the promotion of the false narrative that Black people were inherently hypersexual beings who were, paradoxically, also infantalized through the idea that they were mentally incapable of maturing beyond puberty. This has caused many Black communities to be left out of the conversation around sex education. Through the lens of intersectionality and the emphasis put on racial inclusion, the hope for the future of sex education is that it will not only address the issues of the past, but


include every identity in the creation of a better future of sex education. Furthermore, the inclusion of all sexual orientations and identities as well as a less abilist-minded approach to sex education will, hopefully, allow for sex ed to promote acceptance and to normalize all forms of sexuality that have for a long time been considered to be “immoral” or “wrong”. Lastly, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, there is a new push for consent training to begin in school with children as young as 1st graders. Consent can be taught in the context of both inside and outside of the bedroom, and therefore can be made age appropriate so that young people can start having these discussions of consent, boundary setting, and communication at a young age. This comes at a very important time, as the CDC estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused or assaulted by the age of 18, and this doesn’t even account for transgender and non-binary folks who are often times at an even higher risk of assault. Furthermore, in a survey of over 3000 high school students and young adults nationwide, the vast majority had never been taught how to avoid sexually harassing others. Teaching consent as a life skill and not just a sex skill starting at a young age may change the mindset of a whole generation of young people. This could potentially create a more empathetic, caring, and respectful society, which is intolerant of sexual assault, harassement, and rape culture. It’s certainly true that the debate over abstinence-only versus comprehensive sex eduation programming will inevitably continue. But with the emerging prominence of movements that value social justice and the evidence pointing towards the necessity of comprehensive sex educaiton programming, it seems that we are slowly taking steps in the right direction towards young people receiving the education they not only need, but deserve.

Learn More History of Sexual Education in the U.S.

What’s the State of Sex Education in the U.S.?

Content Requirements for Sex and HIV Education

United States School Health Profiles (2014)

Present Sex Education vs. the Past

Comprehensive Sex Education

The Future of Sex Education

National Sex Education Standards

Madison Renck

NO IT’S NOT A COMPLIMENT Cat-Calling & Womxn’s Self-Defense

Hannah Andress Doodles by Elaine Griffith Grace Nowak Keys between the knuckles, pepper spray, only keep one headphone in, head on a swivel, don’t walk alone in the dark, share your location with your friends, and my personal favorite: don’t ‘encourage’ them. Every womxn was taught from a young age to develop self-defense tactics to avoid unwanted and unwarranted advances from men. Most womxn can recall the first time they were catcalled and the inevitable humiliation and compounding dread that ensued. I remember my most recent encounter with misogyny, I was running through DC and I noticed a car pull up beside me and match my

Grace Nowak


speed. Four men start yelling out the window, shouting obscenities about my physical appearance. I think they were all snickering or maybe that was the humiliation echoing in my ears. I was mortified. I felt like the world’s eyes were on me, on my body, and on its most vulnerable parts. Nights later, every time it comes to mind I feel my body writhe in humiliation, my shoulders freeze, and my arms involuntarily cross like a shield to attempt to hide my body from the peering eyes. I wanted to scream at them and deliver a loud monologue about objectification and harassment — but the best I could muster when they finally drove off was a flip of the finger. Whenever I end up in a situation like this, I find myself fantasizing about how I could have “won” the altercation. I dwell on it for weeks after the fact, how my speech would have forced an apology from the gaggle of boys. But then I wonder, what would have happened if I actually confronted them? What if they turned to violence? I think a lot of young womxn agree that we don’t want to accept this kind of behavior lying down, but at the same time, we don’t want to potentially escalate an uncomfortable situation into something that poses an actual threat.

As soon as I got home, I ordered pepper spray and a low-voltage taser. Every womxn seemingly has their version of this story and we’ve been dismissed for far too long. So what do we do? Making yourself small or less of a target is never an option. Womxn should not have to put themselves in a box in order to feel safe leaving the house. Handling these situations is difficult, but it’s all about responding in a way that makes you feel powerful. Freezing up or responding with anger can just fuel their overflowing egos. My first response is usually anger or fury, but the best response, for me, is just a simple line: “no thanks, I’m uninterested” or “aw, that is just so pathetic”. And all of a sudden, poof, they are beneath me.

catcall them, or responds with a firm ‘no thank you’. She emphasized that a nonchalant eye roll and straight up ignorance will get them to leave her alone. She stresses that freezing will encourage them to continue. Even if their comments do bother you, it is important to remain unbothered and uninterested. For post-harassment selfcare, she likes to relax with a few hours of Netflix. It’s been one of the few things that has saved me, time and time again.” Unfortunately, 65 percent of all womxn have experienced some form of harassment of some form. Remember, do not make yourself small to make them feel bigger. [Womxn: people of all genders, not just the people who subscribe to the traditional definition of “women.” “Womxn” represents all people who are affected by issues of misogyny and sexism.]

I was curious to know if my reaction to catcalling was the same across the board, so I decided to ask other womxn how they handle catcalling and what they do afterwards for self-care. Ahead, you’ll see responses from womxn who have experienced catcalling. If you’ve been catcalled, know that you’re not in this alone. Womxn #1, 21, she/her: Depending on the physical landscape of the situation, womxn #1 verbally responds. A simple ‘no thank you’ or ‘I am uninterested’ throws them off their game and gives you a chance to leave. Her favorite form of self-care after an encounter with harassment is talking to other womxn who won’t invalidate her feelings.

Grace Nowak

Womxn #2, 20, she/her: After a hot-tempered finger flip or a brazen combination of curse words, womxn #2 enjoys indulging in double cheese pizza. A full stomach always makes her feel better after a man tries to strip her identity down to her physical appearance. Womxn #3, 23, she/they: Womxn #3 typically ignores the abusers who


GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PAIN PERCEPTION How the Treatment of Pain is Affected Maggie Schutte

Pain is subjective. There is no concrete, standardized method with which to measure “pain.” The perception of pain, too, is nearly impossible to evaluate in others, yet by acknowledging the complex nature of pain as more than just its biological basis, it becomes clear that pain relies on both body and mind to encompass biological, psychological, and cultural influences on pain. These factors are interdependent in the conceptualization of the causes of pain, providing a more understandable method with which to perceive and compare pain. Why? Over the past few decades, the discussion of and innovative research on gender differences in pain perception has gained notable traction. The research community agrees that there are clear differences between the experience of pain for men and womxn, with womxn generally reporting greater, more frequent, and longer-lasting pain. When comparing the treatment of pain for men and womxn, though, womxn are more likely to receive less adequate treatment compared with men. The issue this creates is one of severe undertreatment, misdiagnosis, and underdiagnosis among womxn. The treatment of womxn by healthcare professionals can be skewed and harmful due to the gender-based biases and stereotypes held against both womxn and the validity of womxn’s pain experiences. Because of these biases, it is more likely that healthcare professionals will disregard a womxn’s self-report of pain unless objective evidence arises - a practice aligned with the very outdated medical model focused on objective pain. The lack of education of healthcare professionals on this topic resulted in the widespread ineptitude of the treatment of pain throughout the world. So as to acknowledge possible solutions to these issues, it is important to first discuss the factors of pain perception in order to then understand why


men and womxn have differences in their experiences with pain. This will also help explain why and how womxn are treated for their pain inadequately, along with why genderbased biases exist in relation to pain treatment. Until a few decades ago, clinical research studies around the world still excluded womxn from participating. This inevitably led to a complete lack of education and understanding about the gender differences in fundamental health-care knowledge such as disease prevalence, progression, and response to treatment. Since 1993, the National Institute of Health’s legislation mandating the inclusion of womxn and minorities in research has helped encourage innovative research on sex and gender-based differences in pain responses. Around the mid 1990s, roughly half of the existing studies documented no significant difference between gender-based responses to pain, while the other half generally found womxn to have slightly lower pain thresholds and higher pain ratings. As studies continued to advance, increasing empirical evidence signaled that a clear difference existed between gender-based responses to pain was observed. The question shifted soon after to focus on why these experiments were producing such results. Specifically, were the differences in pain perception based on biological differences, psychological influences, or something else entirely? There are any number of potential biological explanations for gender-based differences in the response to pain. Studies using reproductive hormones, for example, have shown their clear influence on sex-based pain as they are used in processes like the menstrual cycle, during which a womxn’s pain sensitivity increases for part of the cycle. Another known contributor is the brain and central nervous system. Neural mechanisms such as networks and impulses sent to

Doodles by Abby Greenberg the brain are known to contribute to sex-based differences in perceptual, emotional, and behavioral responses to painful stimuli. Finally, a particularly interesting physiological study researched cerebral blood flow while levels of heat stimuli were applied to the subjects’ arms. The results were important because the authors concluded that the observed gender-based differences in pain from the study were not exclusively a result of physiological differences in male and female brains. Instead, the authors thought they might also have been influenced by the emotional or cognitive responses - both of which differ between men and womxn - that are responsible for brain activation differences between genders.

Physiological differences certainly play a useful hand in understanding sex differences for pain perception, but to obtain a holistic view of how pain is perceived it is essential to understand the psychological basis for pain as well. Referring to the early research on pain perception and gender-differences, the experimental designs did not account for social context at all. Psychological research on pain perception, however, focuses on multiple factors as possible influences on the response to pain such as biological, psychological, and cultural distinctions between genders. For example, if some stimuli were to biologically contribute to an experience of pain, then the cognitive awareness of and emotional response to pain will influence the body’s physiological responses. Cognition and awareness are simultaneously shaped by any psychosocial and cultural influences. In essence, pain perception must be based on the interdependence of body and mind.

In terms of the psychosocial and cultural influences, there are a few psychological factors necessary to understand. First, what’s called the “cognitive appraisal of pain” or simply “meaning-making” refers to the allocation of meaning to some instance which can then influence said person’s behavioral response to that event. The types of meanings attributed to a pain experience differ depending on gender, gender role expectations, age, race, etc… of the individual. A good example of “meaning-making” is when womxn experience immense pain as a part of their natural biological processes of menstruation and childbirth, and must learn to differentiate this normal biological pain from potentially harmful pain through the attribution of meaning. Men do not have this issue. Second, another important factor is “the interplay between behavior and the value systems of a culture,” also called socialization. Childhood exemplifies this when young children are socialized to observe and react to pain in specific ways. Boys, for example, are still warned from expressing their emotions in many places. Similarly, in a pain perception research study, the male participants reported that they “felt an obligation to display stoicism in response to pain.” This is further translated to interactions among genders, where a study also found that the gender identity of the researcher influenced the male pain response, with less pain reported in front of a female researcher as compared to a male one. The gender identity of the researcher had no effect on the responses from the female participants. The historical socialization of men and womxn in terms of a womxn’s competence has clawed its way to keep up with contemporary society while picking up other rude generalizations along the way. The old-as-time stereotypes like ‘womxn are weaker than men’, ‘womxn exaggerate and complain more than men’, and ‘womxn are more sensitive


than men’ still exist. There’s also a long history of perceiving womxn’s opinions as emotional, hysterical, or immature, and in terms of medical decisions, a womxn’s moral identity can often be overlooked, ignored, or not recognized. These themes prevail in healthcare systems all over the world, and some still claim these stereotypes as fact. These and other gender-based biases both can, and previously have, led to healthcare professionals overlooking serious pain and missing emergent injuries or chronic disease, attributing any abdominal pain to the menstrual cycle without further investigation, or telling patients their injury is fictional and diagnosing them as such. Womxn are more likely to have their pain translated to psychogenesis whether it’s the cause of their pain or not. The possibilities are perverse and dangerous, which is why this can’t continue. This issue has led to the misdiagnosis, undertreatment, or even no diagnosis of womxn across the world, and it’s not going away anytime soon. For example, the following are excerpts from research studies which highlight significant differences in pain medication along with “inadequate treatment” given to men and womxn in the same medical situations. Research excerpts on gender-gaps in pain treatment: Study #1: When studying the administration of pain medication following abdominal surgery and controlling for patients’ weight, the authors found that physicians prescribed less pain medication for women 55+ than for men 55+, and that nurses prescribed less pain medication for women aged 25-54 than for men of the same age. Study #2: “Calderone found that male patients undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft received narcotics more often than female patients, although the female patients received sedative agents more often, suggesting that female patients were more often perceived as anxious rather than in pain.” The judgement of “inadequate treatment” for the following two studies was made based on strict World Health Organization guidelines: Study #3: “In a 1994 study of 1,308 outpatients with metastatic cancer, Cleeland and colleagues found that of the 42 percent who were not adequately treated for their pain, women were significantly more likely than men to be undertreated (an odds ratio of 1:5).” Study #4: “In another study of 366 AIDS patients, Breitbart and colleagues found that women were significantly more likely than men to receive inadequate analgesic therapy.”


Based on the research excerpts, do the personal perceptions of healthcare professionals affect the patient’s likelihood to be adequately treated? Studies have shown that in addition to gender, physical attractiveness has been found to influence a healthcare professional in their treatment of a patient’s pain. An in depth study on the topic even found that “physically unattractive patients were more likely to be perceived as experiencing greater pain than more attractive patients, and that the more attractive patients were more likely to be viewed as able to cope with their pain.” Results showed that this applied more to female patients to the extent that the patient’s attractiveness clearly affected the healthcare professional’s perception of their patient’s actual pain. This was referred to by the authors as the ‘beautiful is healthy’ stereotype. The perception of womxn in particular by healthcare professionals is interesting to debunk. For example, a research study of nurses indicates that 50% of participants thought womxn could tolerate more pain than men. This notion is contradictory to both the stereotypes and older research studies, however explanations for this result focus on the assertion that “womxn’s biological role in childbirth makes them more capable of withstanding significantly more pain than men.” To expand on this idea, in her study on pain, gender, and culture, Bendelow found that womxn are repeatedly understood to be equipped with a “natural capacity to endure pain” given their reproductive nature. On another note, emotional disorders will sometimes heighten womxn’s pain, yet often a healthcare professional’s bias against the validity of psychological contributors to pain will cause them to undertreat and overlook that patient’s physical and emotional pain. Although womxn are more likely to have their pain attributed to emotional causes, it is unknown how much emotional factors actually do influence someone’s pain experience. The following excerpts are mini case-studies in which the gender-bias towards womxn is obvious. Case-Studies: Prospective Patients and Gender-Bias Study #1: “A recent prospective study of patients with chest pain found that women were less likely than men to be admitted to the hospital. Of those hospitalized, women were just as likely to receive a stress test as men. The authors attributed this to the notion that womxn are more likely to be treated less aggressively in their initial encounters

with the health-care system until they ‘prove that they are as sick as male patients.’ Once they are perceived to be as ill as similarly situated males, they are likely to be treated similarly.” In terms of a heart attack, for example, a womxn’s symptoms are entirely different and less obvious than that of a male heart attack, revealing how dangerous the mentality is especially in regard to chest pain Study #2: “Of chronic pain patients who were referred to a specialty pain clinic, men were more likely to have been referred by a general practitioner, and women, by a specialist. The results suggest that women experience disbelief or other obstacles at their initial encounters with health-care providers.” Study #3: “These findings are consistent with those reported by Elderkin-Thompson and Waitzkin, who reviewed evidence from the American Medical Association’s Task Force on Gender Disparities in Clinical Decision-Making. Physicians were found to consistently view women’s (but not men’s) symptom reports as caused by emotional factors, even in the presence of positive clinical tests.” There are too many case-studies like these to count, and they all reference situations affected by gender-bias specifically in relation to womxn’s pain. The stories in the first two excerpts could very easily have turned fatal or very ill for no scientific reason. For Western medicine in particular, healthcare professionals are trained to focus on any objective evidence or signs of injury. An example of this is seen in a study of nurses: The results revealed that the nurses would incorrectly expect their patients to have elevated vitals, expressions of pain, or some evidence of pain when the patients reported moderate to severe pain. In this instance, because no such pain is clearly evidenced, the nurse might make the mistake of assuming the patient is lying or exaggerating. In another example, womxn are more likely to be inadequately treated by a healthcare professional, at least initially, because they will lower the importance of a womxn’s self-report of pain along with any emotional or psychological pain contributors, while instead making their primary focus any objective evidence of pain.

Finally, the current consensus of research indicates that womxn receive less total treatment for their pain than men. Given that the majority of research for this topic indicates that womxn experience pain more frequently, womxn are more sensitive to pain, and womxn are more likely to report pain, there is no good answer for why womxn are not treated at least as much and as thoroughly as men. The difference in treatment stems from assumptions and/or biases about men and womxn in terms of their pain sensitivity and/ or the credibility given to a womxn’s self-report of pain. Furthermore, the subjective nature of pain undermines both credibility and communicated pain levels resulting in less adequate treatments. In order to solve the issue of self-reporting pain and questioning a patient’s credibility, future research is beginning to explore and develop diagnostic techniques in order to verify and validate a patient’s report of pain. Until such a time as pain can truly be “measured,” the fact that pain perception is influenced by psychosocial and cultural factors make a patient’s self report of their pain the most accurate to diagnose. It is important to acknowledge the existence of psychological and emotional pain contributors as opposed to solely biological, and it is essential this can be applied to males as well in order to derail the inevitable societalization of children that continues to promote old stereotypes. It is necessary to educate healthcare professionals in order to rid the medical community of assumptions, biases, and a lack of knowledge of gendersensitive treatments due to ignorance. Overall, a fair and adequate method to treat pain must first recognize that men and womxn can have different needs for their treatment, and then develop into a sex-specific, gender-sensitive pain management treatment method.

This model of emphasizing objective (biological!) indicators of pain simply overshadows and deemphasizes womxn’s subjective, experiential self-reports. Based on literature on womxn’s healthcare, womxn’s “subjective experiences of illness and treatment are frequently ignored.” An adequate medical model, therefore, would instead be to refrain from assumptions about the patient’s behavior and simply classify the patient as a credible reporter of their own pain so as to avoid the possibility of undertreatment or misdiagnosis.


SOCIAL MEDIA The New Political Mo(ve)ment

Riddhi Setty

Jordyn Habib Doodles by NoĂŤl Sedona James

Odds are, the first thing you did this morning as you rolled over in bed half-asleep was fumble around for your phone. Maybe you spent a few minutes scrolling through Instagram or got in a couple extra TikToks that you couldn’t fit into your nightly binge. It’s even more likely that while you were engaging with your morning dose of social media, you came across a story where someone posted a strong statement about the latest political happening. Perhaps you saw the same post shared on multiple accounts. You might have even reshared it yourself. If this experience sounds familiar to you, welcome to the world of social media activism. Social media has changed the way we communicate and consume content, especially during a time where we’re primarily dependent on the internet to maintain our connection to the outside world. When we have a president with triggerhappy Twitter fingers and citizens and media alike jumping up to either defend his every word or attack it, there is no doubt that the conversation has shifted from what we see on our television screens and hear in the news to the colossal world behind those little icons we hold in the palm of our hands. Our world hasn’t always been able to condense to our phones. Leonard Steinhorn, a CBS news political analyst and professor at American remembers

Jordyn Habib 37 | COLLEGIETTE

voting in his first election, which took place when he was twenty years old and a junior in college. “ I remember very well what it was like, knocking on people’s doors, who basically just close the door on you, and I would knock again. And I would say, Hey, I’m just here for the same reason you care, which is all about democracy and wanting to have a conversation. It’s funny, when you actually go to people with that sort of sincere approach, they are willing to open up and talk.” These days however, our conversations look rather different. Especially as of late, we see social media being utilized as a platform for people to voice their political opinions or echo those of others. You might see something you agree with or a political meme that you find amusing and repost it to your story in hopes of spreading the message to your followers. But is social media activism a movement or a moment?

This summer, when the Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak, many took to social media to offer their support for the movement by reposting organizations and encouraging their peers to donate to them, speaking of the importance of the movement, and calling for justice for the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others. If you look at your feed today however, these calls to action seem markedly absent even though neither the movement nor the fight for equality are anywhere close to dissolving. This begs the question, were they ever really attempting to make a difference or just jumping on the bandwagon, afraid to miss out, or worse, be judged for not participating in the latest “trend”? And this is far from the first time. We all remember the ALS Icebucket challenge. Though the campaign was successful in raising over $220 million dollars, far from the future of fundraising, the ice bucket challenge itself was a one-time internet craze that has faded from the memories of most. While there is definitely evidence that the challenge spread awareness as well as brought in necessary funding to make a difference, there is also ample evidence that there were many who dumped a bucket of ice-water over their heads not fully understanding the significance of the cause but simply wanting to be a part of a viral movement.

Steinhorn describes today’s virtual era as an amplification of his experiences growing up at a time when everything was political, from the way you dressed to the music you listened to. He does however add that there is a key distinction between the two. “We had far fewer sources of information, far less access,” he explained. “ typically, you waited for the local news and the evening news if you wanted to find out information. And much of America was watching the evening news in those days, so you had more time to process it. There wasn’t this constant stimulation that you have.” He went on to say despite the circumstances this was “perhaps less stressful, even though we were facing a war where you could have been sent off with no control of your life… in some ways it was even less anxiety producing than it is now because, you know, we weren’t being constantly stimulated.” There is no denying the power of social media, should one know how to yield it properly. The Trump campaign’s engagement with Facebook deserves a large portion of the credit in determining the outcome of the 2016 election in ways that we are still trying to fully understand even four years down the line. This election cycle, both campaigns tried to maximize their outreach via social media. The Biden campaign called upon celebrities and influencers such as Cardi B and Keke Palmer to have virtual conversations with the democratic candidate and even created an entire Animal Crossing Island in his support.

perpetrator of misinformation. When you share a post to your Instagram story, how often do you check to make sure the information in it is accurate? Did that post that you shared which claimed to donate to a bail fund every time someone reshared really hold up their promise? Or was it simply an easy way for them to gain traction on their account? If you don’t know the answer, it’s fairly possible that you might have unknowingly been responsible for spreading misinformation. Because it is such an easy mistake to make, with motives often as simple as wanting to contribute to making a difference, curbing the spread seems to be a mammoth challenge.

With the boons of social media however come the banes, specifically in the form of misinformation. A word that is a rampant label and accusation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram these days, the threat of misinformation is unfortunately one that is becoming increasingly difficult to combat. Putting the president’s cries of fake news aside, social media has become the new battleground for information warfare. Amidst issues of external interference in our politics via social media and misinformation spread not just by malicious campaigns on conspiracy theorists such as QAnon, but also prominent political personalities such as President Trump who suggested voting twice to make sure your vote counts--an illegal move that could lead to your ballot being discounted-- it is no wonder that the American people are skeptical of what they see on social media. About two-thirds of Americans (64%) say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted in July of this year. Though prominent platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are attempting to actively combat misinformation, it seems they are dealing with an ever-growing monster of their own creation that they are unable to reign in nearly as quickly as it expands. Chances are that you’ve either seen the flagged tweets on Twitter or perhaps even been not only a victim but also a

Jordyn Habib So where does all of this leave social media activism? Is there any room or even hope for it in our current political climate? According to Kyla Blazer, a member for Settle for Biden, the answer is yes. Kyla recounted her experiences with the positive impact of social media through Settle for Biden saying, “Settle for Biden is a social media account - we started out at 1000 followers. We’ve been able to make national waves and have been


interviewed by top reporters. I think that social media can make a change but it’s just the beginning. It’s about having conversations, volunteering, donating, doing things that make a difference. Social media allows us to connect.” She did however caution against the dangers of surface-level social media activism, warning, “It shouldn’t just be performative. It’s about the combination of activism and conventional social media.” Kyla isn’t alone in thinking that social media activism has an important role to play. Chloe Li, a journalism major at American, acknowledged the acts of performative activism but explained that she sees room for more. “Most of the people who are just doing social media activism can do more but it’s uncomfortable to do more. However, I think social media activism does have a place, especially for those who are disabled” she said. “On the streets activism and social media activism and even journalism and community activism are all different sects of what we can be doing but the fact that the people who should be doing other things are putting all their energy into social media activism to the point where it takes away from people who can only do social media activism is harmful.” According to Steinhorn, though social media cannot be a replacement for the personal engagement that himself has not only witnessed but taken part in, this does not mean that it is without a place in our political sphere. “Social media needs to be seen not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, to facilitate no different from what the mimeograph, the ditto machine, the telephone tree, or even letters being sent to people were years ago. And I think the mistake people make is seeing it as an end, on its own, not as a medium.” He believes that “if people focus more on it as a medium, as many already have, I think it would enhance its value in terms of what it could contribute to organizing and


activism, and politics. And we wouldn’t fall prey to some of the downsides.” Despite the potential dangers of navigating this relatively new field of activism, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of those who use it the most - our generation, to be cognizant of the power that resides in the click of a button. This means thinking twice before we reshare and asking ourselves “is that all I can do to make a difference?” I think that you’ll find that there is much more to be done outside the realm of social media before real change can happen.

Jordyn Habib

THE PROS AND CONS OF THRIFTING Molly Molloy Doodles by Abby Greenberg Simi Singh Thrifting is one of the most popular ways that our generation shops. On the surface there seems to be countless benefits of thrifting. It offers an affordable way to shop sustainably, and you always find one of a kind pieces. It makes shopping into a fun treasure hunt. However, with the popularity of thrifting on the rise, there are increasing concerns about this form of shopping such as gentrification of clothing and the effect on minority communities. In this article we take you through a deep dive into the pros and cons of thrift so you can determine for yourself how you want to shop. In the age of social media we have gotten used to fashion trends changing faster than the seasons. Fast fashion brands on average have around 9 fashion seasons in a single year, almost constantly producing new clothing at low prices. One of the benefits of fast fashion is that the affordable prices make trends accessible to the general public, helping to mitigate the classism of the fashion industry. We live in a society where it’s taboo to be posted twice in the same outfit and the average price of a crop top is less expensive than a cup of coffee. Unfortunately fast moving fads and the idea that “once you wear it on instagram you can’t wear it again” leads to an excess amount of clothes ending up in landfills. And with mass production of clothing also comes mass pollution. Because of how quickly these clothes are produced they are often not created to have a long life-span, thrifting helps extend clothes’s short life cycle.


For example, say you want to buy a pair of the latest styles of leggings. You keep the leggings for only a few months because either the trend has gone out of style or they are already looking too worn out to wear. The product lifespan is only 3 months before you decide to throw them out. Most active wear is made out of synthetics materials which is plastic based, making the breakdown of these products long. So while the product’s life was only a few months, the leggings will now take 30 to 40 years to decompose. Every year Americans throw billions of pounds of clothes in landfill each year and this trend is only rising as fast fashion grows. Shopping secondhand keeps products in use longer and reduces demand for fast fashion. By donating clothes to a thrift store instead of throwing it into the trash, you can help reduce the carbon footprint of that particular item. In a study done by the Waste and Resource Action Programme, it showed that extending the life of a clothing piece by nine months would reduce its carbon footprint by 20 to 30%. Thrifting ensures that the lifecycle of clothes is elongated and therefore reduces the clothes’s negative impact on the environment. Shopping second-hand also helps save resources used in the production of new clothes. Between water consumption, chemicals, raw materials for fabrics and transportation emissions, producing even a single piece of clothing has a large environmental impact. By shopping second hand, we help save those resources. On average the fashion industry consumes 79 trillion litres of water per year, 54 million tonnes of polyester (A synthetic material) and is responsible for around 10% of the world’s total carbon emissions³. Consumer demand for new fashion products is one of the biggest factors to the continued exploitation of natural resources in this industry. While the individual decision to thrift instead of shop for new products seems meaningless

against these numbers, each person’s individual action can help make a wide spread draw back in demand for fast fashion and prevent further stress on the earth’s resources for the sake of style. While there are undeniable sustainable benefits to thrifting, it would be irresponsible to not discuss some of the ethical concerns with second-hand shopping. Many people are surprised to hear that the highest demographic of thrift shoppers in the U.S are middle class Generation - Z women⁴. This surprising demographics, brings up questions of whether or not our generation should be shopping at stores used as primary clothing resources for under resourced communities. While there is more than enough clothes in the world for all 7 billion people on the planet to be clothed, in fact with about 150 billion pieces of clothes made per years, that’s about 20 pieces of clothing per person⁵, because clothing is dispersed unproportionally secondhand shopping in certain communities may raise ethical concerns. For example if you live in an area with minimum second-hand resources for under resourced communities, shopping for leisure at these thrift stores may deplete clothing resources for the communities that need them the most. On the other hand major second-hand companies such as Goodwill and Salvation Army often get a surplus of donations. When these stores receive too big of a surplus, clothing in poor condition may get tossed in the landfill and donated clothes often get sent overseas to under resourced communities in developing countries. While the intention is that the clothes go to provide for these communities, providing free clothing can undermine these communities’ local textile industries and disrupt local economies⁶.

online selling apps or social media, thrifters may try selling a secondhand item for more than they purchased it or more than it is actually worth. While this gives access to unique thrift pieces to people who may not have access otherwise, overpricing cannot be justified and is difficult to regulate. The best way to avoid this is doing your research on the brand of the product and communicating with the buyer when you are preparing to purchase a secondhand good online. We have all heard that it is important to spend money wisely. When it comes to clothes, this phrase does not just mean to be carefully on your spending. We need to make sure that we shop thoughtfully and make fully educated decisions when we spend our money. No matter how you decide to shop just remember “ Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” - Anne Lappe.

The way to minimize these ethical concerns about thrifting is to do your research before you go shopping. Avoid going to thrift stores that are primary sources for people in need, or if you do go, be smart about your shopping and donating. For example, as we head into the winter months avoid shopping for coats, scarves and other essential winter items as this may be one of the only places that certain people can afford to get these necessities. Instead try going to a thrift store you know has a surplus of clothes or use one of the many second-hand shopping apps like Depop, Poshmark, Thred Up, Curtsy and more. Because thrifting has become so popular among the younger generation over the past couple of years, some consignment and secondhand stores have begun exploiting prices of their used items. Not only is this a concern for the accessibility of clothing for communities who rely on it, it’s causing pieces to be priced more than they’re worth. In the same vein, young consumers have been known to use the low prices of thrifted clothes for their own personal profit. Using


The Lifecycle of a Pair of Leggings

Abby Greenberg

Simi Singh


Allesandra Plourde

Jordyn Habib Doodles by NoĂŤl Sedona James

Period products are a necessity to all who menstruate but sometimes they feel like a luxury because of the economic burden they can pose. Students across the nation are working towards gaining access to free menstrual products on college campuses. Everyone deserves the care they need, especially in their period. Equitable access to these products should be a priority not only on college campuses but globally. The language we use, the cost, the way in which we educate, and perceived periods needs to change. To start to dismantle the stigma of menstruation we have to know why aren’t these products free to begin with? The reality of it is cost. Universities have to pay for menstrual products just like individual students do. At the heart of this concept for free menstrual products is the term “menstrual equity.” Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, an

attorney, Vice president of the Brennan Center for Justice, and author, explains the phrase best. Menstrual equity is equal access to hygiene and menstrual products for all womxn, and access to reproductive education for all. In Weiss-Wolf’s phenomenal book, Periods Gone Public: Taking A Stand For Menstrual Equity she says, “In order to have a fully equitable and participatory society, we must have laws and policies that ensure menstrual products are safe and affordable and available for those who need them. The ability to access these items affects a person’s freedom to work and study, to be healthy, and to participate in daily life with basic dignity. And if access is compromised, whether by poverty or stigma or lack of education and resources, it is in all of our best interests to ensure those needs are met.”

Jordyn Habib


To break down the true cost of a period, here’s an example: First, womxn normally have their periods from the age of 13 to 50 those numbers may vary depending on the person (plus or minus a few months if they decide to have kids), which on average is a span of 37 years with a period. So, every month for 37 years a womxn has her period that’s a total of 444 times. For those 444 periods a womxn will use about a box of tampons a period and a box of tampons costs around $7. This means that a womxn will spend around $3,108 on menstrual products ALONE in her lifetime. $3,108!!! That’s $84 extra a year for a period. This cost doesn’t even begin to expose the underlying inequalities that womxn pay for every day, like the pink tax on “femine” products. It doesn’t account for the disproportionate amount of womxn who are in poverty and can’t afford to pay for tampons and pads. It doesn’t account for the gender binary that is imposed by society surrounding menstruation. There needs to be a change in the way we speak about menstruation; it has to be inclusive among all people, womxn or otherwise; because not all who menstruate are womxn. But there are places on college campuses in D.C., like at American University, where these stigmas are being broken and menstrual equity is being pursued. The Health Promotion and Advocacy Center (HPAC) at American University provides all students with contraceptives for safe sex practices, sexual health programming, wellness resources and occasionally menstrual products. The center receives condoms for free from the D.C. Department of Health and so they are able to give them out for free. Tampons and other menstrual products, however, have to be bought by the center to give to students for free.

“Menstrual products are not a material we can just get for free whenever we want, and they can be pricey,” said Pritma “Mickey” Irizarry, the Director of HPC, in an interview. “We know because students are also struggling to purchase them.” Irizarry said she will buy products to keep in case students need them but the center does not have the budget to sustain having them all the time. “I can’t ever guarantee that we are going to have them in the office at any given point in time, unlike with condoms,” said Irizzary. “I’ve been at AU since 2016 and every year that I’ve been here there has been at least one initiative around getting the university to provide free menstrual products,” said Irizzarry. Students seeking to house the initiative normally approach HPAC or the Student Health Center. Back in 2017 Her Campus American launched a petition on for “free tampons and sanitary napkins for American University students,” obtaining 250 signatures according to the website. This initiative was helped in part by the Office of Campus Life and American University’s Student Government (AUSG), but there hasn’t been any seen follow through, at least from my research. AUSG’s current Vice President, Schanelle Saldanha, said that she has not recently seen legislation pertaining to menstrual equity on campus, “To be honest with you, not a lot of students come forth at least to me about this,” Saldanha said in an interview. “Maybe it’s also because we aren’t on campus this year that’s it’s not at the top of our minds.” In relation to legislation that should be passed by AUSG to get free period products, “It shouldn’t be something that’s only offered in the women’s restroom... not all people who menstruate are women and vice versa,” Saldanha said. “I do think it’s

Jordyn Habib [menstrual equity] something that should be brought up more frequently and given more attention to it is kind of a shame that it hasn’t in the past.” Other universities in the D.C. area like Catholic University of America already have initiatives for readily available menstrual products. For example, H*yas for Choice is an unrecognized and unfunded reproductive justice organization on Georgetown’s campus. They have three different ongoing campaigns, but menstrual equity is one of them. “We are demanding that Georgetown provide free pads and tampons in all the womxn’s restrooms, the gender neutral restrooms, and at least one men’s restroom per building that is designated with a sticker so that it’s trans inclusive and anyone that needs period products can find them,” said Elianna Schiffrik, the President of H*yas for Choice.


Georgetown University has dispensers for menstrual products, but the locations of the dispensers were inconsistent, they were frequently unstocked and they didn’t have any products in men’s or gender neutral bathrooms. H*yas for Choice does not personally provide menstrual products to students like it does condoms or emergency contraception, but the Period Empowerment Project at Georgetown does. “They’ve helped us with this campaign a lot,” Schiffrik said. “There are a lot of partnerships with other organizations on campus when it comes to getting these big asks filled by admin. It takes pressure from all sides.” Recently, the H*yas for Choice has made progress by meeting with the head of facilities at Georgetown. “They have been taking the time to make sure that they’re going to be stocking the baskets or dispenser more frequently,” Schiffrik said. “They also said right now, 85% of the buildings have a dispenser in them, which is an improvement upon what it was.” The department also said they are committed to putting stickers up to indicate which bathrooms have products, “specifically so that the men’s bathrooms that have products stand out and people know where those are.” At Catholic University of America there is a similar initiative to provide free menstrual products on campus. They have a Menstrual Equity Task Force that was created over a year and a half ago after legislation from the student government was passed, demanding that the university have free menstrual products in every female bathroom. Chloe Van Syckel is the Vice President of Catholic University College Democrats and the Director of the Menstrual Equity Task Force for the student government. “We were funded for a one-month trial to put free menstrual products in every female bathroom on campus,” said Van Syckel in an interview. “We are really researching what menstrual equity looks like in other schools, like Goucher College and Brown.” Due to COVID-19, the task force has had to postpone the trial run for on-campus products, but now they are researching what products to buy that are the most ecofriendly, hypoallergenic, and cost-effective. “Right now, the school has funded us money, so we are going to spend every cent that we can,” said Van Syckel. The task force’s job is to make products and education accessible to all on Catholic University’s campus. “I’m Catholic, so when I think about menstrual equity it is a sanctity of life issue for me,” said Van Syckel. “Because number one we as Catholics are pro-life, so this is a prolife issue in my opinion because if you don’t have access to


information about your menstrual system and the way that it works you can’t accurately conceive or natural family plan.” Education about periods is more widespread than ever. Days for Girls is a non-profit organization that provides womxn in underdeveloped countries sustainable period products and reproductive education that they are unable to receive otherwise. These products are helping young women continue their daily lives with their periods so that they don’t have to miss out on things like education. American University has a local chapter of Days for Girls on campus. “Here at AU mostly what we do is educate and spread awareness about periods and try to break the stigmas around it,” said Hayley Page, the President of Days for Girls AU. The club often fundraises in order to get the materials to make reusable pads, and from there the club can then sew the pads and send them off to people who need them. The reusable pads come in a drawstring bag so that girls have ways of carrying it with them without feeling stigmatized. The fight for menstrual equity continues to be a work in progress. Countless organizations like H*yas for Change, Catholic University of America’s Menstrual Equity Task Force, The Period Project and Days for Girls are working to make menstrual equity a reality not only on college campuses but around the world. Legislation is constantly being pushed to get rid of the tampon tax. Organizations like Period Equity are achieving this and believe, “Menstrual products should be tax-exempt. They should be affordable and available for all, safe for our bodies and the planet. Periods should not hold anyone back, period.” Shattering the stigma of menstruation and creating a fair society for all who menstruate is a stepping stone to equality. There is still a lot of work to do.

d o i r e P sword


s o r C






1 1



2. The ____ tax is a tax on “female based products”

Madison Renck

2. Where at AU can you find free contraceptives? (acronym) 2

3. The ____ cup is a reusable period product

1. Breaking the ______ around periods is one of the many steps needed for equity

4. _______ equity is a term for the concept of free menstural products

3. If you used 1 box of ____ for every period, you’d spend around $1,554 on products ALONE in your life

5. AU has a chapter of ___ for Girls

4. Menstrual products are considered _____ items

Across- restrooms, pink, diva, menstrual, days

1. Where should dispensers be located for these products?


Down- stigma, HPAC, tampons, luxury



Doodles by Simi Singh There are a few people automatically associated with the word “songwriter.” Maybe you think of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, or a more recent artist like Taylor Swift. A good songwriter takes time on each song they write. What makes a song good depends on what the listener likes, but there are of course some standards that make a song worth listening to. For me, a good song needs specific details, great rhymes, and needs to make me feel something. But what many people don’t know is that songwriting is a skill, not a talent. According to lyricworkroom, “Talent isn’t born, it’s made.” For example, learning an instrument in reality comes down to how much you practice. Learning how to write music and lyrics is 99 percent work and 1 percent inspiration. The only way to get better is to focus on your craft and persevere. Most people will concur that music has a sort of power, but they may not be aware of just how healing music can be. In fact, songwriting can be therapeutic for many people. Felicity Baker, author of Therapeutic Songwriting: Developments in Theory, Methods, and Practice, writes in her book that, “The songs that people create become a tangible record of their


journey or a representation of their transformed state.” When I look back on songs I wrote in the past and compare them to more recent songs, I can see how I’ve not only progressed as a songwriter, but as a person. I believe songwriting can also be considered cathartic, it’s a true way to express emotions and heal through creating.

In author Liam Duncan’s article, “How to Become a Songwriter, From Beginning to Paid Songwriter,” it includes great tips on writing music and getting your work out there. An example of some tips would be simple tips such as committing to finish the songs you write and actually sharing those songs are critical. He also includes that anyone who writes songs is a songwriter. You don’t have to be an incredible musician or writer to use the label “songwriter”. And writing songs does not have to be a career goal, while it may be for some people, it can also be a hobby or, as stated earlier, a form of therapy. Songwriting is a form of art and self-expression that can be done just for the love of it. If you do have dreams of releasing songs there are a lot of great songwriters to take inspiration from, but the most important person in your journey is you. Writing songs truly means writing what you want to write. Emulating others can teach you, but the best songs, I believe, are the ones written from a place of love. The love of creating, love of words, and the love of music all come together to create something worth sharing. And that is the art of songwriting.



Abby Henry Jordyn Habib May 29, 2020 was a day that changed my life forever. It started off as an ordinary day until I got a text from (my now girlfriend) Curstynn. She texted me about a protest to demand justice for George Floyd in our hometown of Canton, Ohio. We had both moved home in March when our colleges closed at the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I was a bit hesitant to go because my family and I were quarantining very strictly, but I decided to leave the house and went with Curstynn to the protest. The protest lasted four hours and there were around 500 people present from our small city. We marched miles around the city and when the sky turned dark, the police started deploying chemical weapons and rubber bullets against us. Thirteen people were arrested, and Curstynn and I witnessed and recorded one of the leaders of the protest being pushed to the ground and escorted by five SWAT Team members to the police station. We tweeted the video to show our community what had happened in their city and the response was overwhelming. The

tweet went viral with tons of people asking us where they could donate bail money and how they could help. I scoured the internet to try and find a bail fund in our area, but the nearest one was in Cleveland, which is an hour away. Not knowing where else to turn, Curstynn and I decided to start our own bail fund. We ended up raising $20,000 in just 2 weeks. Bail funds are one way that communities can re-distribute money and resources to help their neighbors. Another example of a popular community aid initiative is an abortion fund. These types of initiatives help give folks in need access to the rights they should be entitled to. In the case of the bail fund, it gives people the ability to pay their bail despite their financial situation. Every community, no matter how big or small, could benefit from a bail fund because there are always people being arrested and having to pay exorbitant amounts of money to become free. But bail funds aren’t easy to start or to make successful, so here are some tips. First, you need to do some research and measure your community’s need for a bail fund. Figure out if any bail funds already exist in your city or town. You don’t want to start a competing bail fund because the


resources will be split. Additionally, you are better suited to start a bail fund during times of protest related arrests because those get the most attention in the media. Then, start collecting money. I used a PayPal pool to collect money for my bail fund, which worked seamlessly until I had to get the money out of the bank to use it. Because I had raised so much money, PayPal quickly flagged my account and put it under review, freezing my account from accessing any money. Once I got over that hurdle, PayPal worked great, especially since you can withdraw up to $500 of cash from Walmart and you can get a PayPal debit card. I would strongly suggest that you do not use GoFundMe or any collection site that collects money for an “intended recipient” because bail funds don’t have just one recipient. I haven’t figured out the best platform to raise money yet, but you should definitely do your research and find a platform that has good and quick customer service, has multiple ways to access money, and has limited fees. Next, you need to learn the bail process in your area. The Bail Bonds Network is a helpful resource to do this. Every jurisdiction has different methods to organize bail, post bail, and pay bail. Make sure to know where the jails in your area are and what jurisdiction they are under. You also need to know where to find the posted bail amount. Some jurisdictions have this information publicly available online, and some you have to call your Clerk of Courts (or respective office) to find. One of the most important things you need to do is to find the bail bondsmen near you. Bail bondsmen are important resources for when the set bail is too high to pay or when the Clerk of Courts revokes the 10% rate of bail; when they allow the person to pay 10% of the allocated bail amount instead of the entire amount. Bail bondsmen allow you to pay the 10% or a reduced rate to them, and then they pay the bail for you. Usually, the more

severe (according to the law) the crime, the higher the bail is. Misdemeanors and Felonies are the two ways crimes are organized. Under each of these, crimes are organized by classes, which determines what kind of punishment people are facing. Misdemeanors almost always have 10% rates included with their bond amounts, but Felonies are more likely to not include a 10% rate for the higher levels of Felonies. The only difference is that bondsmen do not give you your money back when you pay the portion of the bail to them, whereas the courts give you your money back as long as you go to court. So only use bail bondsmen as a last resort and when you have a personal relationship with someone. The reason for this is because using a bail bondsman is like taking out a loan; if the person who you are paying bail for skips court, you are on the hook for the remainder of their bail cost.

on their arm if they are going to a protest in the case they get arrested. This way they can directly contact you and you don’t have to try to find out if they got arrested or not. If you don’t want to give out your actual phone number you can get a phone number via google that will redirect to your phone. Not only are these good practices for a bail fund, but they are also good practices for any mutual aid organizing. Bail funds are not just important in times of civil unrest, but they are also needed everyday. People are constantly enduring the criminal justice system and going to jail, and there are many people who cannot afford to pay their bail. Bail funds, no matter how big or small, can make a huge difference in your community. Everyone deserves to be able to pay their bail, no matter their economic status.

Finally, find people who need their bail to be paid. This is easier to do if your bail fund starts in the midst of civil disobedience and protests. If you know of protests happening near you, a helpful tactic is to distribute a private google forum where you collect people’s legal name, emergency contact information, and medical concerns. All of this information will help you pay bail and advocate for them while they are in jail. Additionally, tell people to write down a phone number associated with a bail fund


OUR TEAM Executive Board: Hannah Andress Editor-in-Chief Abby Henry President Riddhi Setty Vice President Peyton Bigora Managing Editor Marissa Parisi Business Director Simi Singh Events Director Molly Molloy Social Director Maggie Schutte Publishing Director Sophie Gilbert Design Director Wyatt Foster Multimedia Director Allesandra Plourde Outreach Director Nicole Scallan, Christina McAlister Section Editors Emma Semaan Junior Editor Emily Austin, Kathryne McCann Social Media Editors Grace Hasson, Gianna Matassa Print Editors Isabel Thompson Multimedia Editor Radhika Mehta, Rebecca Cichock Tik Tok Curators Aaditi Narayanan Social Media Assistant Jackie Lamb YouTube Director Hannah Brennan Website Director Gigi Imperatore Multi-media Content Elaine Griffith Design Assistant 55 | COLLEGIETTE

Print Team:

Design Team:

Maggie Schutte Publishing Director

Sophie Gilbert Design Director

Hannah Andress Editor-in-Chief

Elaine Griffith Design Assistant, doodles, logo

Aaditi Narayanan Abby Henry Allesandra Plourde Emma Nicholson Gianna Matassa Grace Hasson Kathryne McCann Molly Molloy Peyton Bigora Riddhi Setty Wyatt Foster

Abby Greenberg doodles, graphics Cameron Fisher doodles Grace Nowak photos Jordyn Habib photos Madison Renck graphics NoĂŤl Sedona James doodles Simi Singh doodles, photos

Cover design by Sophie Gilbert This magazine was designed by Sophie Gilbert and the Her Campus American Design Team. The text of Collegiette is set in Avenir Heavy and EB Garamond. Collegiette is published virtually for Her Campus American University by Issuu, Inc.