Issue 003 · Spring 2019
IN THIS ISSUE: College Inaffordability
Decriminalizing Sex Work in DC Why You Should Read ‘Know My Name’ A Home Divided: What Life is Like When Your Family Has Aggressively Different Political Views What Having a Hillternship is Really Like
LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS Welcome to Her Campus American’s third issue of Collegiette! Her Campus American is designed to empower women’s voices and foster an inclusive and authentic space of expression. Our writers and designers worked exceptionally hard to create a remarkable spread of relevant topics related to the lives of college women. This magazine features a series of hard hitting and fascinating pieces that touch upon the lives of young women in politics, DC, college, and so much more. I am incredibly grateful to play a role in developing a powerful platform in which our writers and designers can freely express the issues that matter to them. We hope you draw inspiration from the pieces of identity that come together to define and highlight Her Campus American’s mission and purpose. We are extraordinarily proud of this issue and we hope it brings you as much joy as it brings us. HCXO, Hannah Andress, Co Editor-in-Chief
The third time really is the charm! Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re so excited to share Her Campus Americanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third issue of Collegiette with you all. This magazine continues to encompass the creativity and talent that young women across our campus contain, and I could not be prouder of the work these women have put into making Collegiette beautiful. Within these pages lives the proof that women can do anything they put their minds to. From politics to social justice to fashion, our writers and designers continue to address the wide-ranging realities of all women, both in the university sphere and beyond. We hope that inside of this magazine you can find inspiration, affirmation, humor, and the true spirit of Her Campus American: a desire to empower and validate the experiences of collegiettes everywhere. HCXO, JĂŠla Lewter, Publishing Director
IN THIS ISSUE College Inaffordability
Lizzie McGuire: Is This What Dreams are Made Of?
JÃ©la Lewter The Antics of Running in DC Allesandra Plourde
Growing Up As a Korean American Paige Kouh
What Having a Hillternship is Really Like Hannah Andress Decriminalizing Sex Work in DC Taylor Swiftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Relationship with the LGBTQ+ Community Grace Hasson
Red Line Finds Consignment Shops Molly Molloy
Love Hard: And Other Lessons My Mother Taught Me Aaditi Narayanan Why You Should Read â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Know My Nameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Marissa Parisi
What the First Few Weeks in a Sorority are Like Marissa Parisi A Home Divided What Life is Like When Your Family Has Aggressively Different Political Views Peyton Bigora
An Open Love Letter to Trader Joeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
Lauren Anderson The Art of Falling in Love with Yourself Riddhi Setty
Where Our Top 2020 Candidates Fall on the Zodiac Hannah Richards
THE ANTICS OF RUNNING IN DC Allesandra Plourde
DC running is a game of strategy, and mental preparation is necessary. Preparation in itself is the sport in the nation’s capital. Sometimes the hardest part is just to start and find a good rhythm. Overall, it goes a little something like this: stop, wait, cross, go, repeat. Following the traffic patterns down the same route every time. It’s. So. Hard. But, if you plan it perfectly to avoid rush hour or school dismissal and if you miss the cut off you better be prepared for the sidewalks to be mobbed. As if running wasn’t hard enough, the people certainly don’t help.
By mile two fatigue starts to set in. My quads ache. Next I feel like my entire body is shutting down. Actually, I’m just being dramatic as everyone is when they exercise. But I certainly convince myself that by 3 miles I will keel over on the side of the road. Soon it will be time to turn back. My breath becomes heavy. Passing through a pedestrian’s smoky exhale, who knows that doesn’t help. Now to dodge the dogs on leashes. A fun game. Oh, which way they will go? Accommodating uneven terrain is a necessary skill one must master in order to run in D.C. From sidewalk to grass to dirt, especially at the National Mall, you almost always have to look at where you place your feet. Then pebbles get in the tread of my shoe, eventually rubbing against the pavement when I make my way back to the road. This drives me crazy; I feel as though the slightest dip in my balance disrupts my entire focus. Then it’s a whole process to remove the rock before returning to a steady jog. “Why did I do this?” At least the views are pretty at The National Mall. The Washington Monument at one end and Lincoln
1 | COLLEGIETTE
at the other. Tourists add a whole new element to the equation. They are figuring out which direction to go while stopped in the middle of the path. This drives the rest of us runners crazy, we have to dodge and weave to not lose our pace. Sometimes laughing at their indecisiveness is enough to forget about the next mile or so. All of us running avoid eye contact to evade questions about directions. Is that just part of living here? Other runners nod and acknowledge your existence while some prefer a scowl. Either way it doesn’t bother me, I just continue on.
I begin my cool down and make my way back to my apartment where my whole run began 5 miles earlier. Except now I am exhausted, parched and sweaty. I feel rewarded as my run is complete. I stand and stretch along a stone wall. There is a slight breeze and not a cloud in the sky. The tree next to me has to be at least 100 years old. I wonder if the pioneers of our nation have stood in its shade, just as I am now. To run in the city, you have to be aware, or you’ll miss the history and beauty that is Washington DC.
Don’t even get me started on the electric scooters. The constant zooming by during my never ending run makes me so jealous. Yes, I know you can go faster than me, and no I will not move out of your way. I remember I need some water and ask myself, “am I done yet??” Just another mile to go up past the Smithsonian’s and straight for the Capitol. Staffers in suits all along the walkways, many on phone calls, most likely with some very important people. You overhear the occasional argument, or brag. Those are my favorites; they make the run a little more amusing.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 2
LIZZIE MCGUIRE: IS THIS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF?
Jéla Lewter Now more than ever, it seems that nostalgia is dominating the entertainment industry. The further we get into the 21st century, the more prominent the appearance of reboots and remakes depicting the beloved series from our childhoods. Disney, especially, has been capitalizing on this trend, as seen with its recent reproductions of classics like That’s So Raven and Kim Possible.
that as an older audience we can still relate to the situations she’s dealing with. “All of the fun times and all of the big, monumental moments and all of the challenges that you’re faced with. I just thought there was such opportunity there for her to be grown up and for her to be there for women again,” said lead actress, Hillary Duff in an interview with People TV.
The release of its new streaming service, Disney+, will bring with it much new Disney original content, and of course, some spin-offs of our favorite shows as kids, including Lizzie McGuire, a tv show that was much loved by millennials growing up in the early 2000s.
While Lizzie McGuire is all grown up, living in the city, and apprenticing under a high-end interior decorator, Duff wants fans to know that the character doesn’t have it all figured out.
Yet, we have to ask: who is this for? We may always hold the catchy songs and heartfelt moments from these media close to our hearts, but we are growing older every day and aren’t necessarily as tuned into Disney productions as we used to be. Disney seems to be aware of this, as the new Lizzie Mcguire show isn’t about another thirteen-year-old trying to survive the epic highs and lows of junior high school. Instead, this spin-off of the 2002 television series features a thirtyyear-old Lizzie as she traverses adventures, heartbreak and achieving her career aspirations in the ‘Big Apple.’ As we have aged, so has Lizzie, and it’s comforting to know
3 | COLLEGIETTE
“She still has her like 13-year-old, animated self that babbles in her head. That’s the voice that you hear that adult Lizzie would like to say out loud, but can’t,” Duff said of the new show. A favorite aspect of the spin off for the actress is that cartoon Lizzie is still 13, “I feel like I still have my 13 -yearold self in there, telling me that I’m not cool or speaking the truth when it can’t be spoken.” That age of insecure adolescence is something that can resonate with viewers as self-doubt never really goes away no matter how old you get. Duff is right about this being an opportunity, but the question remains whether it can be a chance for women to reconnect with Lizzie, or for Disney to fill its pockets thanks to the profitable nostalgia factor.
The difference between this show and previous projects that Disney has brought back from the turn of the century like summer blockbusters, The Lion King (2019) and Aladdin (2019), seems to be the thought put into making Lizzie McGuire personal. It doesn’t take the same story and add A-list celebrities to the payroll. It shows a fictional character who dealt with topics from getting a first bra to eating disorders, and throwing her back into a reality for many: not being exactly where you expected to be as an adult. While viewers won’t know who she was between her senior class trip to Rome and arriving in New York, we still get to see Lizzie make it or break it in a way relatable to situations her fans are currently going through in their own lives. While there’s no set date, Lizzie McGuire (2019) is a project in the works. For now, it’s up to us to decide if it’s worth the money.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 4
GROWING UP KOREAN AMERICAN Paige Kouh Vidisha Banerjee “So where are you from?” is probably my most asked question. I know what you really mean to ask me is “what kind of Asian are you?” So, why not just ask me that? It would save time for both of us and make the process much more efficient. Instead, I continuously find myself caught up in the same conversation every time I meet someone new and it is always the same list of questions being asked, one right after another. “Where are you originally from?” “Do you speak Korean at home?” “So why don’t your parents have accents?” Then, I end up responding with something along the lines of: “I was actually born here. I’m American but both my mother and father immigrated here when they were just kids along with my grandparents.” “No, we don’t speak Korean at home unless our grandparents are over; and my parents do not have accents because, once again, they have been living in the United States from the ages of nine and thirteen.”
5 | COLLEGIETTE
When I was a little girl, I used to hate being Korean. It wasn’t that I necessarily detested being Korean specifically, it was more that I really disliked being Asian in general. I felt that was all people saw in me whenever I would meet someone new. As a little girl, I didn’t have a strong grasp on the concept of culture, different ethnicities, and how special it is to be able to share a culture and connection with those you love most. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also grown into my Korean half and have learned to love the culture that I come from. Growing up as a Korean American put me face to face with barriers that I was forced to break through in order to recognize the beauty that lies in not being ashamed of who you are. In elementary school, I got my first taste of the reality of having a different ethnic background. For example, amid the hustle and bustle of snack time, intertwined with the chaos of kids trading and bartering their snacks with one another, I quickly realized that dried seaweed crisps and rice cakes were not the hot commodity in the kindergarten classroom. My Korean snacks simply could not compete with the idolized fruit roll-ups and iced animals crackers that every other kid in my class seemed to have and want. Fifth grade was the first time a classmate of mine made fun of my smaller and narrow eye shape. I always knew that
my eyes were smaller than the average person, but it wasn’t until someone else pointed out my differing small eyes, that I started to care about the size of my eyes too. For the longest time, I despised my eyes for simply being the way they were. They made me feel ashamed when my friends and I would play makeover and none of my friends knew how to put eyeshadow on eyes without a crease, and my eyes made me feel ugly when I would look into the mirror before heading off to school. The word “Chink” was first thrown at me in high school which was quite a shock and a reality check, to say the least. For starters, I am not even Chinese. I am Korean. There is a distinct difference, and once again I realized how little some people know about various ethnicities or simply how much people choose to make ignorant statements with complete and utter disregard for the feelings of others. The list can go on and on. For example, teachers are still not able to pronounce my last name. At least two or three people tell me that I would make a great Mulan (she is Chinese, not Korean) for Halloween each year. And it was embarrassing being known for bringing weird smelling food for lunch.
may be going wrong in life. The only way anything is ever going to truly improve, is if you’re able to be honest with yourself and see what elements in life that you can work on, because no one else is going to do it for you. Overtime, as I have grown to love the culture that I come from, I have also learned that the acceptance of oneself comes with patience and vulnerability. You have to give yourself time and allow yourself to ask questions about where you came from. It’s ok to be confused about why certain things are the way they are, but eventually, you will slowly begin to see the beauty in the special elements in your life that make up who you are. Being vulnerable is the key to acknowledging that not everything in life is perfect and that it is okay. It is okay to not love every single little part of you. Quite frankly simply “loving yourself” is much easier said than done! What is more important is that you treat yourself with respect so that you can treat others with genuine love and respect as well.
While all of these examples may seem minuscule, each one touches upon a different branch of my life; and when all pieced together, led me to question every part of who I was and in a way, also led me to feeling a sense of shame. As a little girl I was a sponge. I absorbed every comment and negative connotation that was launched my way and took everything too much to heart without any confrontation. Therefore, it would be foolish of me to disregard the fact that I’m also to blame for my struggle to accept ethnicity. It’s easy to blame others for things that
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 6
Sarah Teixeira $1.7 Trillion. That’s the current student loan debt in the United States, and it’s growing every second of the day. As more people enter the student population and acquire loans to pay for their education, this number is only bound to continually grow. With the topic of college affordability permeating many areas of people’s lives and being at the forefront of the 2020 election why does college continue to be one of the most unaffordable endeavors that a person can pursue? FAFSA and Private Loans Students as young as 17 begin their college careers by being asked to accept thousands of dollars in federal student loan debt, and often have to add on thousands of dollars in private loans as well. Yes, students do go through loan training and sign-off on a Mastery Promissory Note before taking on any federal loans. That is not a true measure, however, of whether or not they understand the implications of accepting, on average, $35,097 in student loans according to FSA Data Reports from 2019. The reality is that many students take on these loans without any plan of how they will pay them off upon graduation, or if the degree they are pursuing will even allow them to pay these loans off. A 2014 Johns Hopkins University study found that regardless of first-generation student status, students “believe themselves to be ill equipped to incur student loan debt responsibly.” Most student debt resources will tell you that the cost of tuition is greatly covered by grants and other forms of financial aid, so the worry of borrowing for college is greatly reduced. The problem is that many of these forms of aid do not cover the high cost of room and board, school supplies, potential transportation costs, and various personal
9 | COLLEGIETTE
expenses. These costs are often instead covered by loans and income that the student earns while in school. Even still, some experts in the field of education policy feel that the problem is not the amount of loans that students are taking out that makes college unaffordable, but instead that students take out loans and fail to finish their degree programs or choose degree programs that do not pay off in the long run. Sandy Baum, in a blog for Higher Education Today, says “The question, “Is college worth it?” is really more appropriate than, “Is college affordable?”” Though there is merit to the idea that not everyone needs to pursue a college education, this ideological belief that the cost of an education should not matter if the student is passionate about and will complete the degree they are pursuing undermines the vast number of barriers that are in place. These barriers range from gaining access to higher education all the way through completing an education, and these barriers disproportionately affects low-income students, students of color, and older college students. Who is Primarily Impacted? Low-income students, students of color, and older college students often have to overcome cost barriers of entrance as well as an inability to finish college or the inability to finish college on time. A majority of college degrees are designed to be completed within four years, but when looking at the data from the National Student Clearinghouse, most of these student groups do not meet that four year standard. In fact, their 2016 study found that it can take 5.1 years to earn a bachelor’s degree at state universities, and 4.8 years at private universities. This can equate to higher, longer term costs because of the lengthened time spent in school instead of earning a full-time wage.
In addition to the race to complete a degree, there is the fact that the Johns Hopkins study, mentioned earlier, also found that first-generation students “rely on student loans to participate in higher education” at a disproportionate rate to their continuing-generation counterparts. This game of loans starts upon admission when admissions counselors will help students complete loan applications, like FAFSA, but then fail to explain that these loans need to be paid off even if the student never earns a diploma. The drop out rate, due to high levels of debt, is higher amongst black and Latino students, with 40% of black students dropping out as pointed out by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel in her article for the Washington Post. The Necessity of Working Yet even with this extensive knowledge of disparities within the college funding system, little is being done to change the high cost of attending college. Instead, the burden is placed upon students who are obligated to work multiple jobs in order to afford attendance, on top of taking on school work and, often, unpaid internships. Seven in every ten students work while enrolled in a fulltime program of study, and nearly a quarter of those students work full-time jobs in addition to their programs of study according to an Atlantic article by Emily Deruy. The need to afford basic life necessities forces college students to participate in two full-time commitments and stretch themselves thin. In fact, studies done by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics show that students who worked over 20 hours per week have lower GPAs than their peers who did not work as much. There is too much of a time demand on these full-time students and full-time workers, and because they cannot perform to their best ability at both, they instead prioritize their jobs, which allow them to live.
This is a common problem seen with unpaid internships, where the argument is that students are paid in experience and therefore do not need monetary compensation. However, experience doesn’t pay bills or provide someone with food and shelter. Instead, students will take on the burdens of a full class load, working a paid job, and interning in an unpaid position just to meet all of the obligations that they face in their personal and professional lives. Students who work on-campus jobs face a similar level of exploitation in their roles. As an example, the role of a Resident Assistant (RA) here on American’s campus provides students with free housing and a $350 monthly stipend. This comes at the cost of living in a fishbowl and the effect of essentially working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to all of this, the RA role at AU limits students to working only an additional 7 hours per week at an on campus job. This leaves many students struggling to pay for books, student loans, food, and general items for life enjoyment. At other institutions, such as Emerson College, RA’s receive an hourly wage and must pay for their housing through that wage, while also being told that all of their additional employment, even unpaid internships, must be approved by a supervisor before they are able to accept the roles.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 10
$1.7 Trillion. “That’s the
current student loan debt in the United States, and it’s growing every second of the day.
The students in this type of role are often desperate to have a large portion of their loans cut down, and by accepting this role they are able to do so. However, this can come with the loss of financial aid, the stress of the role, and, in the end, a similar cost of attendance to what they experienced before accepting the role. These intricacies and complications to the role of a student worker are not limited to that of the RA position. In fact, many on campus jobs force students to work overnight shifts, pay at the minimum wage, restrict the number of hours a student is able to work, and require an exceptionally high level of performance for a student
role. These high-stress environments add to the burden of college inaffordability because students cannot afford to simply not work, and there is more harm than benefit to dropping out. Instead, student-workers push through demanding jobs at low pay in an effort to subdue some of the economic burdens that they face while in school. What about Socalist Education? Given all of this knowledge on the high costs of attending college and the unfair burden that it places on the aforementioned student groups, why
11 | COLLEGIETTE
have we, as a country, failed to create change in higher education? Countries around the world have implemented systems of free public college with little to no issues in the process, yet the majority of the US is still struggling to accept or adapt to the idea. Some states, such as New York and Rhode Island, have been testing out the idea of free four-year and two-year programs. About 62% of Americans support making public college tuition free according to a survey conducted by Bankrate in July of 2016, and that number has only grown since then. All Democrats running for the 2020 election have proposed some type of plan to target the high-cost of college attendance and student loan debt. Almost all of the plans include some level of free public college education, but where they differ is in solving the current student loan debt accrued by students. Some, like Bernie Sanders, have argued for the complete elimination of all student loan debt, while others, like Elizabeth Warren, would have a sliding scale based on a person’s income with debt elimination caps. Most economic forecasts say that any plan involving the elimination of student loan debt would provide a boost to the economy in a similar way to how a tax cut provides economic boosts. The biggest argument against this elimination, argues Brittany De Lea in her article for Fox Business News, is that cancelling student loan debt would “be ‘partially diluted’ since those with higher debt burdens tend to have higher household incomes [and those same people] are more likely to stash away their savings than spend it.” Though elimination of student loan debt is overall positive, the option to create free college education faces a similar challenge.
Sydney Johnson spoke with Sandy Baum for an EdSurge piece in which Baum pointed out that free college education does not benefit low income students in the same way that it would benefit middle and upper class students. To truly create an even playing field, we would have to erase all tuition and allow low-income students to keep their Pell Grants and other aid in order to pay for the cost of living and other larger expenses that are the true cause of college debt. Is there a best solution to the problem of college inaffordability? Looking at all of the outside factors that contribute to student loan debt, and the general nationwide sentiment that student loans have become a burden, there needs to be some type of solution put into place. We cannot continue to allow students to have to choose between basic life needs and paying for school. Everyone needs to get out and vote for a change in the for-profit education system, and demand a more equal playing field for low-income students, people of color, non-traditional students, and firstgeneration students. There is no reason for the total college debt to be in the trillions, billions, or even millions.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 12
TAYLOR SWIFT’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY Grace Hasson
Vidisha Banerjee Taylor Swift wasn’t always the “You Need to Calm Down” LGBTQ+ ally she is now. Is she a wannabe gay icon? Maybe. Jumping on the Pride Capitalism train? Possibly. She was not vocal about politics in the past, but many people wonder if her support now makes up for that. After all, her support helps the community, especially for young members of the LGBTQ+ community who look up to her. For them, gaining her advocacy and approval may make them feel more secure. In addition, having a spokesperson with such an extensive influence helps to normalize the community and make acceptance practically “popular.” In the past, Swift wasn’t at all politically vocal. In an interview for the September issue of Vogue Magazine, she said that she changed her stance because she felt compelled to stand for the community. During the interview, she took a strong stance by saying, “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male.” She took it upon herself to take her massive influence into consideration, and she began with a huge donation. She donated $113,000 to a group called the Tennessee Equality Project. This group advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ people in Tennessee through legislative advocacy, meaning they lobby the Tennessee General Assembly and local governments. Swift said in her essay for Elle titled “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30” that “I had to speak up to try and help make change.” Swift’s donation to a specific group that actively advocates for legislative changes is a statement in of itself that she is serious about not just support, but actual change. Releasing “You Need to Calm Down” during Pride made it stream far more. This could easily be dismissed as a greedy tactic, so is Swift’s support genuine? In her interview with
13 | COLLEGIETTE
Vogue she discusses her realization that fans didn’t know of her support. She mentions that fellow singer Todrick Hall asked what she would do if she had a gay son. “If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking,” Swift admits. “It was kind of devastating to realise that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.” She asserts that she was always in support, just didn’t make it clear. Swift is one of the biggest artists out there. What impact do celebrities like Swift have on the LGBTQ+ community? Swift didn’t seem to realize that she could have such an impact, or that it was an option. She says in her interview with Vogue, “I didn’t realise until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.” Maybe she should have known this, but her fans appreciate that she’s doing anything at all. Her release of “You Need to Calm Down” was certainly a way to uplift the community. Yet, it begs the question, is she taking the spotlight from LGBTQ+ artists? Teens streaming her song during Pride instead of songs from artists that identify with the community is hard to swallow. But Swift helps make up for this by showcasing many LGBTQ+ artists in the music video for her song. For example, she features Hayley Kiyoko, one of the biggest gay icons out there. It seems like Swift has gotten these artists on her side through spotlighting them, through her donation, and by her honesty in interviews and genuine support. After being in the video, Hayley Kiyoko wrote on Instagram, “Thank you Taylor for using your platform to bring awareness to these issues and for being such a beautiful ally to the community.” This helps prove that Swift’s support is more genuine than people’s cynicism may assume. While Swift
benefits from the community, the community also benefits from her support and advocation. Many people disregard any of Swift’s support because of her failure to speak out in the past. However, she seems to have made an impact on her fanbase, and of course that includes a massive amount of people. One fan, @ TheArsonist2, tweeted “Taylor Swift’s ‘you need to calm down’ is the perfect song for pride month please react to it, it is a BOP.” Many people seem to agree that Swift coming out with a song that exudes support was what the community needed. Another fan, @ NiClovesT, tweeted “You need to calm down didn’t calm me- it empowered me. The way you support the LGBTQ community and make me proud to be myself means more than you can ever imagine. Thank you and I will always stand by you as you do ME! Just... thank you !!!!” This tweet captures how Swift’s support helps her fans with self-love and how much the LGBTQ+ community needs support from celebrities. When a celebrity stands up for the community, it helps members who are struggling with feeling comfortable in their sexuality or gender. The LGBTQ+ community is a long way from complete acceptance, but any help from celebrities can help promote not only the acceptance of others, but the acceptance of oneself. Some steps are small, like an artist saying they support the community, and others are monumental, like donations or productions spotlighting LGBTQ+ artists like “You Need to Calm Down.” The size of the effort to promote acceptance is not what matters. The impact of a new song or positive interview on individuals is what makes it known that the push for acceptance starts with people like Taylor Swift, who can impact so many. Actions like the ones Swift has taken to right
wrongs and support the LGBTQ+ community begin the fight for change. It starts big, with celebrities, but comes down to small moments, like a young member of the community learning it’s okay to love who you love or be who you are simply because of a song that got caught in their head.
Twitter HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 14
EX WORK IN DC Abby Henry
Trigger Warning: This article will contain content regarding sexual violence, police brutality, and human trafficking. Sex work is a profession burdened with copious amounts of misinformation and stigma surrounding it. When most people think of sex work, they think of street-based sex work; which is one reality of how sex work permeates in our society, but it’s just one reality. Sex work is an umbrella term for a variety of jobs in the sex industry. Some jobs under this umbrella are stripping, exotic dancing, camming, phone sex, sugaring, acting in pornography, escorting, brothel work, or street-based sex work. What do all of these jobs under the sex work umbrella have in common? Folks are exchanging sexual services for money.
Not all sex work is illegal in the United States; in fact, most jobs in the sex work umbrella are legal. However, selling sex, which is often done in street-based work, brothels, or escorting, is illegal in most of the United States. Even though these forms of sex work are illegal, it doesn’t decrease their demand or their prominence throughout society, but instead increases their danger. “The sex trade and the violence that’s experienced there is a result of it having to be underground because of this inherent criminalization,” explained Eteng, who is a community organizer with Black Youth Project 100 and a board member of Collective Action for Safe Spaces, both organizations are members of the Sex Workers Advocacy Coalition that is one of the organizations leading the decriminalization movement in DC.
Criminalizing sex work only makes sex work more dangerous by stigmatizing it and forcing it into the shadows, which is why sex workers and allies are leading a movement to decriminalize sex work in DC.
#DECRIMNOWDC In June of 2019, four members of the DC City Council Councilmember Grosso, Bonds, White, Nadeau, and Allen introduced a piece of legislation, the 2019 Community Health and Safety Amendment, which would decriminalize the buying and selling of sex between consenting adults. Councilmember Grosso worked closely with DECRIMNOW in the drafting and the advocacy of the bill. DECRIMNOW is an organization that serves as a coalition of sex workers and allies advocating for the decriminalization of sex work in DC. On October 17th, there was a public hearing for the bill in the DC City Council. The purpose of the hearing was to allow the councilmembers to hear public opinion on the issue; thus, any member of the public was encouraged to sign up ahead of time to testify for or against the bill. Due to the volume of testimonies, the hearing ended up lasting fourteen hours. There were testimonies representing a variety of opinions on the bill.
17 | COLLEGIETTE
The testimonies made one thing clear: sex workers want to limit their interactions with the police because of the violence they experience at their hands. According to the DC Trans Coalition, in DC, “twenty percent of sex workers who had been approached by police were asked for sex from the officer.” Some cases have been cited where police officers in DC arresting sex workers for selling sex after having intercourse with them. Eteng explained that “If we are able to significantly limit the interactions between police
and sex workers, that’ll lead to better health outcomes and that’ll lead to them being able to do their work in more safe environments.” When it comes to the opposition of the bill, Eteng has one response, “...sex workers, themselves, have said multiple times that there is no alternative to full decriminalization.” Sex workers live the experience of working in the sex industry every day, and because of that they have the best perspective on what will benefit them most; thus, it makes the most sense to respect the perspective and the wishes of sex workers, in this case, that being decriminalizing sex work. Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming show of support for the bill at the hearing and the tireless organizing of sex workers and allies, the bill will not be brought to a vote before the DC City Council anytime soon. Councilmember Allen explained to the DCist that there isn’t enough support among his fellow Councilmembers to bring the bill to a vote. He believes that voting on the bill now would contribute to its failure. Even though the bill seems to be thwarted in the DC City Council for the foreseeable future, the movement to decriminalize sex work in DC is not over. Sex workers are still actively organizing and are working hard to change the destigmatize and decriminalize sex work in DC.
What you didn’t know about sex work Myth: No one chooses to be a sex worker. Fact: People choose sex work as a profession for a variety of reasons. Not all reasons are survival biased which is a common misconception. Some people may choose sex work because
Vidisha Banerjee they are kept out of the traditional workforce whether that be because of their citizenship status, their ability status, or other societal inequalities. Or some people may choose sex work as a profession simply because they want to. “ … it’s what I always wanted to do, & I finally drummed up enough courage to do it one day. I didn’t realize it would end up making more than my office job did, which was a very welcome perk. But ultimately it’s the *perfect* job for me, personality wise. There’s nothing better, ”@ TonjaWallace on twitter explained in a response to a twitter thread that asked sex workers to respond to the prompt “I started doing sex work because…” Myth: Criminalizing buying sex and decriminalizing selling sex is a safer alternative.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 18
Fact: Sex workers in DC do not see this method as a viable alternative. Eteng explained that criminalizing just the act of buying sex can even make sex work more dangerous because it creates a different power dynamic between the buyer and the sex worker. “... if we live in a world where it becomes riskier to buy sex, then you have folks who are going to be even more coercive or more demanding or be less likely to respect the cost of the service that the sex worker is offering because what they’re doing has to happen underground.” Additionally, sex workers in DC have explained that there is no alternative to full decriminalization. Eteng urges that this should be enough of an argument against this partial decriminalization model because sex workers’ perspectives should be centered and respected on policies that impact them most.
Myth: Decriminalizing sex work leads to increased sex trafficking or decreases the penalties for sex trafficking. Fact: Sex trafficking is when someone is forced or coerced into trading sexual services for money or goods. Physical violence, fraud, and debt bondage are often used as methods of coercion or force by traffickers. Sex workers are choosing to exchange sexual services for money, those who are trafficked do not have a choice in the matter. Sometimes the lines between sex workers and those who are sex trafficked can be blurry, but the best remedy in such a situation is to listen to the person who is involved and affected and to respect how they identify themselves. According to the Washington Blade, between 2013 and 2017 out of 2,582 sex work-related arrests, only seven were related to sex trafficking. Sex trafficking regulation has not been benefited by criminalization of consensual sex work and there is no evidence that dynamic will change if sex work becomes decriminalized. It is important to recognize that if sex work is destigmatized and decriminalized, a victim of sex trafficking may be more likely to seek the resources they need because they are less likely to fear punishment or arrest for being involved in sex work. How to be an ally Eteng encourages people to follow @DecrimNowDc, @BYP_100, and @SafeSpacesDc on twitter to stay up to date on actions you can take to support the decriminalization movement. Those accounts also often retweet sex workers seeking financial support, which Eteng explained is one of the best ways you can support a sex worker. The most important thing one needs to do to be an ally to sex workers is to raise awareness about the misinformation and myths surrounding sex work. Eteng discussed the importance of educating yourself about the issues affecting sex workers, such as divestment from the police, and educating the people in your life about these issues as well. Every person can make a difference in the movement to decriminalize and destigmatize sex work. The most important thing to remember in being an ally is to listen to sex workers.
19 | COLLEGIETTE
RED LINE FINDS CONSIGNMENT SHOPS Molly Molloy Molly Molloy With Instagram shops and influencers always advertising their favorite stores, it’s the hardest it has ever been to stay clear of fast fashion. Luckily, there are plenty of stores right on the red line that can help you shop ethically and sustainably, all while keeping up with the latest trends! Current Boutique, located just a quick walk from the Bethesda Metro Station, is absolutely perfect for staying on-trend, eco-friendly, and within your budget. The struggle I have with certain consignment and second-hand stores is that they often label themselves as trendy but then just have worn out Forever 21 and H&M clothes. What I love about Current Boutique is that they have quality prices at major discounts. I usually spot a couple of Micheal Kors and Kate Spade pieces while I’m there! Another great thing about this store is that they have racks entirely dedicated to current trends. For instance, right when you walk in you’ll find a big rack entirely dedicated to animal print and just next to it all the plaid skirts you can imagine! If you had trouble at Current, just walk across the street to the Montgomery County Thrift Store. I won’t lie, it’s a bit more of a dig to find a true treasure here, but when you do it makes it that much more rewarding. Also because it’s true thrift, it’s even less expensive than consignment options!
21 | COLLEGIETTE
Still hunting? No problem, just a block further and you’ll hit Remix Recycling Co, another prime sustainable clothing store. While Remix is primarily a consignment store, they also have a lot of great new items like jewelry and accessories that are made sustainably. It’s a quaint little store so the staff is always on hand to give you their advice and input on the pieces. If you’re lucky, their star employee, Wendy the cat, will help you out with his best advice. Need something just a little bit closer to campus? Take a short walk to St. Albans opportunity shop down by the Cathedral. Not only do they have the perfect vintage sweaters to cuddle up in this fall and winter, but they also have cute antique home decor perfect for your dorm. Not only is thrifting and consignment shopping fun, it is truly helping save the world! As much as we love our fast fashion trends, it’s one of the biggest pollutants on our planet. By putting our money towards stores like these, we not only save our sense of style and our wallets, but also the world!
WHAT HAVING A HILLTERNSHIP IS REALLY LIKE
The ever-coveted Washington, D.C. student byline to put in your Linkedin profile is “Congressional Intern: United States Congress.” A hillternship is almost like the Washington student’s right of passage into the cutthroat world of politics and federal employment. There are two sides to the Hillternship: the Senate and the House, and it seems like each office runs on free intern labor. Working on the Hill can be the best and the worst job at the same time; the pay is low, the hours are long, and the angry constituents aren’t wrong when they remind you that they pay your salary. Despite the cons, though, an extraordinary feeling and sense of purpose comes with working the frontlines of democracy. My experience in the House was wonderful, and every hillternship experience varies slightly, but here’s a little insight into my time on the Hill. Structurally, there are three House buildings: Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn. Offices are allocated to representatives based on seniority; if you work in Cannon, the nicest building, your representative is important. Longworth is nice too, but the offices are smaller, and Rayburn doesn’t house as many reps but is home to a lot of House committees. The most important thing to know, though, is where the good food is. There’s a really yummy cafeteria in Longworth that offers literally every type of food ever and is actually pretty cheap. Rayburn just got a Steak and Shake, but long lines make it hard to take your 30-minute lunch break there. Jamba Juice, Dunkin Donuts, and &pizza also live in the Capitol and make food breaks much easier. Internally, each office has a chief of staff, scheduler, legislative director, communications director, legislative assistants, press assistant, staff assistant, legislative correspondent, and interns. Each staffer is essential to
the day-to-day operations of the office in ensuring the congressperson is working hard for their constituents. While Congress is in session, things are absolutely crazy and you have to dress business professional. But when you aren’t in session, the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workdays feel like a vacation and wearing casual clothing feels like pajamas. Interns have a long list of jobs. Some of them are exciting, and some of them are tedious and quite dull, but hey, you have to start somewhere. Interns answer constituent phone calls, draft letters on behalf of the congressperson, greet constituents, track press hits and legislation, attend briefings and hearings, give Capitol tours, write memos, and complete any random tasks assigned to them by a staffer. Some of these tasks may seem menial and tedious, but they are necessary to keep the office running smoothly. To be frank, your pay is not going to reflect your hard work. Your stipend, if you even get one, is going to be measly in comparison to the exhaustion of the 9 am-6 pm work days. However, the long hours are totally worth the wealth of knowledge you will accumulate over your hillternship. While your pay is low, there are cool benefits that come with Congressional employment. Each office receives in-district or in-state products. For example, I worked in a Georgia office, so we received Coca-Cola products, Georgia peanuts, and Delta cookies. Our fridge was always stocked with every single flavor of Coke imaginable, Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee, and flavored Dasani sparkling water. Talk about a never ending supply of much-needed caffeine. Interns also have free subscriptions to news outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, etc. and get a house email and a Capitol ID, which makes you feel super fancy and professional.
25 | COLLEGIETTE
Grace Nowak Personal and Professional Development This internship offers professional and, believe it or not, personal development as well. If your offices are as wonderful as mine, your intern coordinator will request weekly reflections so you look back on your work and develop a professional understanding for the tasks you complete. Staffers also help assign tasks tied to your interests. Working with the legislation staff opens your eyes to the very long process of drafting legislation, getting it to the floor through to the Senate, and eventually passed into law. It is much more complex than SchoolHouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill.” But overall, it’ll help you develop a focused understanding of what you want to do with your life. During my internship, I learned that I love policymaking, legislation, and helping others.
nine hours every day. If you do end up on the Hill, make the most of your experience. Develop a strong network of meaningful connections and never turn down a chance to get coffee with a coworker. You’re going to learn a lot about government, but you’re also going to learn a lot about yourself. When it gets busy, just remember you’re fighting the good fight on the frontlines of democracy.
I do have some advice for prospective hillterns: choose your boss wisely. I was lucky to work in the most welcoming and wonderful office that appreciated interns and let us have a lot of freedom and work on interesting projects. Some interns, however, aren’t always so lucky. I think it is important to work for someone that aligns with what you believe in and what you are passionate about. It makes the work easier to do, and you wake up excited to go work for
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 26
WHY YOU SHOULD READ ‘KNOW MY NAME’
Yueyao Joyce Zhou
We heard the story in the news when it first came out in 2016: a man named Brock Turner was accused and convicted of raping an unidentified woman in California but was only sentenced to six months in jail. The story sparked outrage across the nation. Since then, sexual assault and rape have gained national attention through the #MeToo movement and similar activism. The Brock Turner controversy remained important, but with time, it fell into obscurity. That is until Chanel Miller released her new book, ‘Know My Name,’ just a few weeks ago. Over three years later, she is revealing her identity as the survivor of Turner’s assault and telling her side of the story for the first time. The book opens with Miller introducing herself and recounting her experience of that night nearly to the minute. The details bring her to the forefront of the story. Before Miller came forward, Turner was the central point of the story: people talk about what he did, who he is and what punishment he should get. But Miller takes her story back very early in the book, describing what she experienced and the aftermath of it. Reclaiming her story is important. The narrative around cases of sexual assault and rape often do not include the indepth experiences Miller describes. Everything from the fun she had getting ready to go out with her sister to the leaves in her hair when she woke up in the hospital gives us a new understanding of what this experience is like. She also uses her experience to critique the different players in the case– from the legal system to the media. Describing herself as a “pair of eyes” into what dealing with all of these elements was like, Miller gives an inside view of how these institutions contributed to her experience. She holds the media accountable for the common view of her as a nobody or a liar. In the book, she reveals her shock about how broken the legal system is when dealing with sexual assault and rape cases. One of the most emotional aspects of the book is when she addresses Brock Turner directly. She deliberately does not focus on him, as this is her own story, but she brings him up by name a few times. One of these moments is when she is describing the trial. She points out how he blamed her for the situation, making her feel like he was taking advantage of her all over again. Her bravery is astounding in these parts and I was greatly impacted by this inclusion.
29 | COLLEGIETTE
In the end, Miller calls on sexual assault and rape survivors everywhere. She wants them to know that, although her story sounds hard, she needed to let it out in order to heal. She advises others to talk about their experiences too. She adds a statement directed towards men to recognize and speak out when they notice things like this happening. The memoir specifically impacts the feminist and the #MeToo movement. It provides an inside look at this experience that survivors’ allies do not usually get to hear about. Although Miller’s story is not the same as everyone else’s, being able to read and understand her background could spark a more educated conversation around these movements. People will understand that Turner’s six months in jail is not the injustice to be focusing on, but the effects on Miller that she will always live with are. ‘Know My Name’ is a must-read for anyone. Whether you’re interested in hearing Miller’s story, learning about the issue of sexual assault or need advice for coping with a similar situation, this book provides an emotional, eyeopening look into the issue of sexual assault and rape.
Yueyao Joyce Zhou
LOVE HARD: And Other Lessons My Mother Taught Me
A favorite part of my childhood was bedtime, because that was when my family got to spend time together. Especially for my mom and I, this was when we would both get under the covers and talk about my day. From
the early age of five, I got into the habit of telling my mom everything and receiving her comfort in return. When I was struggling with math, she taught me how to do addition, and when I was learning how to read she would sit up and animate different childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s books with me. As the years went on, I got used to having her attention and unconditional love and support. Through these nighttime chats with my mother, I was able to learn how similar and different we truly are. Even though our close relationship led me to believe that we were one in the same, we have actually led very different lives.
Aaditi Narayanan 31 | COLLEGIETTE
I grew up in Suburbia, Massachusetts with a younger brother and had a relatively comfortable life. I lived in the same house for most of my life, very close to everyone in my household, but isolated from my extended family in Kerala, India. My mother grew up in many different Indian cities, never living in one place for more than four years. There was never one, concrete place she could call home and had to make new friends every few years. She had two siblings, a brother who was six years older and a sister eight
years older than her. She always had a large family and grew up with many cousins and aunts- her dad had ten siblings and her mom had 6. Because she never really settled down and couldn’t relate to her much older siblings, my mom often would ask her mother for advice, just as I did. My mom always said that her mom never pushed her; she just listened and said “you will make the right decision.” This meant that my mom continually knew she had a supportive and trusting relationship with her mom. I, too, constantly would ask my mother for advice, as she learned to listen from her mother and put full faith in me that I could do whatever I put my mind too. This strong mother-daughter bond is something our childhoods have in common as a result of our upbringings. The variant lives that my mom and I have led brought us closer and allowed me to learn from her unique experience. The role of mother as confidant was definitely a relationship my mom wanted to foster with me. Without realizing it, she taught me the importance of being there for those you care about. I never heard : “go away I’ve had a long day,” or “I need some me time.” She always made time for me and never complained. Doing this for me throughout my youth taught me to be the caring person I am today. I’m not sure I would be the same person without the patience and care that my mother nurtured in me. My mother’s continued undying love has been essential in caring for her currently very ill mother. My grandmother got Dementia when I was around twelve, as have most of the women on my mother’s side of the family. As the years pass, her illness is progressing, and she has become less and less capable of being a mother figure to my mom. About two years ago, she was diagnosed with Parkinsons
which led to severe balance problems. Throughout all of these challenging developments, however, my mom has been by her side. She hires all the nurses, consults with her physician constantly, and is willing to jet off to India at a moments notice. As it has become evident that my grandmother’s day is coming, I have seen my mom struggle immensely with the idea of a world without her. I don’t think of that strong attachment to her mother as a flaw, though, because being there no matter what for those you love is a valuable lesson that I will always cherish. Through all of the bedtimes, therapy sessions, and stories me and my mother have shared, she has taught me to be unwaveringly loyal to the people I love, even if they don’t do the same for you. She always reinforced the concept of Karma; that when you are nice to someone you get it back doubled. Because of my mother, I can move through the world a more patient, caring and attentive human being. Mom, no matter what I will love you, and I will never forget the many lessons you have taught throughout my life.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 32
A HOME DIVIDED What Life is Like When Your Family Has Aggressively Different Political Views
The purpose of political parties has morphed from organizing the country by basic policy beliefs to splitting it down the middle. The division continues as politics have seeped into people’s homes separating family members to the point of screaming matches, violence and complete disconnect. The American University campus is no stranger to politics, and it wasn’t difficult to find students with families who have strong political beliefs. Collegiette sat down with four AU students who were willing to open up about living in a household where their parents’ political views differed wildly from their own. But the stories these students told went beyond politics, and into the core part of the relationship with their families, proving that the country is not the only thing divided and full of political tension.
Despite Texas being a red state, Houston itself is much more left-leaning. While Cami sides more with her city, her parents are registered Republicans and Trump supporters. Cami’s mom grew up in rural Louisiana and went to school during the time of desegregation. Her dad, who is originally from New Jersey, bases his vote on which candidate will benefit him the most tax wise. “He thinks Trump is an idiot,” Cami remarks. “My parents have both met Trump and neither of them necessarily like him. But they still chose to vote for him because they felt he was going to do a better job than Hillary was. They also like really disliked Hillary.” Cami credits her views being shaped based on what she has seen outside her own home. “I think universal healthcare is a basic human right, and if we deprive people of that it’s pretty bad,” she said. “I think that also has to do with the friends I kept growing up who would have to struggle with medical bills.” “My parents were more [about] protecting their own assets,” Cami continued. “So they’re very much for everyman-for-themselves. And I’m kind of more [for] fostering the community.”
Cami Sophomore “I was raised on, very much, two things in my entire life. That the only source of truth in the world is FOX News and God,” the Houston, Texas native tells Collegiette. Cami is no stranger to politics as she has worked alongside Houston politicians Gene Wu (Dem) and Mayor Sylvester Turner (Dem). Being a Democrat herself, when she went to work for Kevin McCarthy (Rep) on the Hill, it was only to please her Republican parents who persuaded their daughter to expand her views. “I worked in politics kind of off-and-on, but I think I’ve decided that it’s not really for me,” Cami said. “I think that my relationship with my family suffers a lot when I work in politics.”
Even with the household rule being ‘don’t talk politics’, according to Cami, when arguments do come up they’re typically between her and her mom. “There’s been several times where our political views have escalated to a point of physical violence,” Cami said. She recalled a time when her mother cancelled the family’s Netflix subscription because the Obama’s joined Netflix’s platform. Cami confronted her mom, upset that she had cancelled their subscription and things quickly spiraled.
been “ There’s several times where our political views have escalated to a point of physical violence.
“We got into a very intense fight. She called me a snowflake and then I told her to go fuck herself. And then she tried to beat me,” Cami said with a laugh. Cami assured Collegiette that she was in no danger, but did
35 | COLLEGIETTE
go on to say that there were times she left the house because of the tension that would build up over politics. Out of all there is to debate about in politics, however, Trump is the most polarizing force within the household. These confrontational fights have also made their way onto the internet with Cami’s mom running an extremely farright Facebook account. Even with the distance between Houston and Washington, DC, Cami spoke about how she can’t post her own political opinions because her mom will attack her in the comments or even call her up to yell at her. “My mom’s one of those Facebook people that actually helped with the Russia Facebook infiltration,” Cami said. “She’s on a list. Like a government watch list because of how extreme some of the things she posts are.” Cami believes she has since unfriended her mom on Facebook, explaining that most of her mom’s posts are fake news stories and conservative memes that Cami considers especially offensive towards liberals. Despite the physical altercations and social media backlash, Cami still feels she has maintained a good relationship with her parents. Luckily for Cami, her parents are more socially liberal and support the LGBTQ+ community, are proPlanned Parenthood and side with civil liberties. So there is some overlap in values that allows Cami to speak freely, with her mom especially, about being bi-sexual.
Nick Freshman If you’ve seen the 2018 documentary “America to Me”, then you already have an understanding about where Chicago native Nick Paris grew up. Nick’s high school is oddly liberal for such a conservative area, which is why the filmmakers of “America to Me” chose it as the setting for their unscripted documentary. In addition to attending an intensely political school, his family has also been split in many different directions due to political tensions. Despite growing up in a place where politics deeply define an individual, Nick has yet to truly choose a party. “A Theodore Roosevelt type progressive,” he answered when asked about how he identifies politically, “I bounce around a lot.” Rather than a party, Nick relies on two values to shape his opinions: Catholicism and not imposing on others’ rights. But he still utilizes his family’s divided ways to challenge any viewpoints that present themselves. Nick’s parents are more fluid about their political beliefs and raised Nick in an apolitical way. Ligia Rioja and James Paris identify as Democrats but do not fully support how the Democratic Party has evolved over the last 30 years. Any conflict in the Paris household stems mostly from the relationship between Nick’s older, Republican brother, Benny, and their parents. Nick credited his brother as the reason he decided to come forward and share his story with Collegiette. “My brother worked for The Heritage Foundation,” he said. Benny took a job with the Heritage Foundation, a very conservative Think Tank that specializes and focuses on public policy, during this past summer. “Him working there over the summer was definitely a point of contention in our family,” Nick continued. Though
Grace Nowak HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 36
Benny said he only took the job for the high salary he was offered, his parents still objected to him accepting it. But working for the Think Tank wasn’t the only source of tension in the Paris household. Back when the Kavanaugh trials were in full-swing, Nick’s parents were very antiKavanaugh. While Nick’s father believed in Kavanaugh’s innocence, he still did not support him or his behavior in the courtroom. For Nick’s mother, however, the situation was very close to her, having experienced sexual harassment at her job. “My mother texted my brother about [the trials] saying ‘Hey, Benny, how do you feel about Kavanaugh?’” Nick said. Benny texted back an article about a pro-Kavanaugh senator and, and when his mother pushed again for a direct answer, he simply told her to read the article. “When you see your son siding with the person who [symbolizes] someone who harassed you in the workplace, it’s a hard thing for a mother to see,” Nick said. “Sometimes I think my mother questions ‘How did my son end up like this?’” She has told Nick and his father about how hurt she feels with Benny being a Trump supporter. Once again, it was a situation that is personal for her with Trump’s ongoing discrimination towards the Hispanic community and her being 100% Bolivian.
As for Nick’s uncle on his dad’s side, John Paris, he has caused a rift among his siblings over his wife and him being extremely active Trump supporters. “The rest of my family, besides my father and our nuclear family, have really excommunicated my uncle,” Nick explained. “They’ve been fighting with him for two-and-ahalf years now. They all blocked him on Facebook because they kept getting into Facebook arguments about the stuff that he posted.” “They have pictures with Paula Deen in their house,” Nick continued. “My aunt bought a $7,000 bedazzler with real Swarovski crystals and bedazzled ‘Trump’ across her chest on a shirt. And that was the only thing she used it for.” Regardless, Nick maintains a relationship with his Republican uncle. “I’ll joke around with him about Trump,” Nick laughed. “Because the whole thing about his support of Trump is a lot of it’s for attention. And he likes attention. And a lot of it is he’s really joking. He doesn’t believe a lot of the things he says, but he says them anyway.”
“His political opinions have taught me a lot,” Nick said about his brother. “And I think they’ve made our relationship a bit stronger because he feels he can open up to me about them.” Living with Democratic parents in a fiercely liberal environment, Nick turns to his brother to talk politics and play the role of devil’s advocate. “I find him as a good source of poking holes in what I believe to be right,” Nick continued. “He’s the reason that I’m undecided.” But the political viewpoint tension has also seeped into Nick’s extended family. On his mother’s side, his aunt, Amalia Rioja, is extremely left leaning and has even worked for former Illinois governor Pat Quinn (Dem). “[My aunt and uncle] made me and my brother, when we were seven and nine or so, be in a video called ‘Kids Don’t Want Lobbyist,” Nick said. ‘They bribed us with donuts and gummies. And it was just some weird propaganda video that she forced us to be in.” After raising their kids as apolitically as possible, Nick spoke about how upset his parents were about not being told their children were going to be exploited in an anti-lobbyist video.
37 | COLLEGIETTE
Grace Nowak Grace Sophomore Grace grew up Republican in liberal South Jersey. She vocalized her beliefs early on, even writing a paper that equated abortion to murder for her eighth grade English class. It appeared she would follow in the footsteps of her parents, both of whom are Trump supporters and avid FOX News viewers. But come high school, her political views changed, and so did her political party. “I would say my friends and my teachers just really influenced me,” Grace said. “Just from the classes, taking a history class and just learning the views of the parties and stuff. Reflecting on my own views and what I really care about.”
Today, Grace bases her political beliefs on social issues such as the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights rather than economics. “Just a more caring, less economically oriented view,” Grace comments on the values she appreciates in a political party. Her mom, Marie Elena Hasson, a Republican and her dad, Dennis Hasson, a right-wing Independent, have values that lie elsewhere when choosing a candidate and political party. “If the stock market’s doing well, that’s what they care about. Stock market: number one priority. How’s our money doing? How’s our college fund doing? Grad school fund?” Grace told Collegiette. “They don’t even care who wins [the election] so long as the stock market does well and the economy does well.” When it comes to discussing politics at home, Grace considers herself non-confrontational and leaves the debating up to her twin sister, Willow. Though her sister, like their father, is registered as an Independent, Grace said that she does not buy either one of them as “truly independent” and views her father as a Republican and her sister as a Democrat.
While Grace could not change the viewpoints or vulgar ways of her grandparents, she and her sister did have a breakthrough during the 2016 Presidential Election. “My sister and I talked to my dad so much—my sister, especially, pressured him so much—that he did not vote in the 2016 election,” Grace said. “He liked Trump a little bit, especially because of the economy and stuff like that, but he just did not vote at all.” While Grace and her sister were unable to persuade their mom the way they did their dad, it still came as a shock that her dad did not vote in 2016. “My dad is like one of those people whose like ‘I’m American and I vote. I always vote because it’s an American right and we fought for this right.’ He’s very, very pro-voting,” Grace said. “So getting him to not vote just shows how conflicted he was and just the pressure from his own side and from our sides was enough to break something that was such a tradition in him.”
Grace’s parents try not to let their political beliefs interfere with the relationship between them and their daughters. “They love me enough,” Grace said with a laugh. “It’s not like it’s a huge issue.” However, there are certain topics Grace does avoid with her family, simply acknowledging that it is uncomfortable to talk about. But political tension has reached to multiple generations in the Hasson family. Both Grace’s mother and father’s parents are republican and money-oriented. However, sensitive issues such as racism have proven to be problematic in the past. “They’re horrible,” Grace said as she began to describe her grandparents on her mother’s side. “They had this trick they did with their dog where [they would say] ‘Would you rather be a Muslim or a dead dog?’ and the dog would pretend to be dead.”
They had this trick they did with their dog where [they would say] ‘Would you rather be a Muslim or a dead dog?’ and the dog would pretend to be dead.
Meaghan Freshman American University’s student body has a predominantly Democratic-Liberal makeup, so it may come as a surprise to some to hear Meaghan describes herself as conservative. “I guess I’m conservative basically from the whole standpoint [of] I do believe in a smaller government. I do believe in more power for the people, and in making decisions. Policy-wise, I don’t believe in illegal immigration. I don’t support DACA. I’m pro-life. Economically, I’m very, very conservative—especially in regards to welfare and those kinds of issues.” These are not unusual conservative viewpoints for today. But Meaghan does go on to talk about where she differs from beliefs typically associated with her political party.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 38
“LGBT issues. I’m supportive of that. I don’t really feel like that’s a liberal issue. I feel like that’s a pretty bipartisan issue.” Meaghan definitely went against-the-grain in her political viewpoints and party compared to where she grew up and whom she was raised by. “Liberal, for me, is like very, very, very, very, very, liberal,” Meaghan said as she spoke about her hometown of Brooklyn, NY. “There is a pretty wide spectrum. I’m really not that conservative. I definitely feel like I’m more-so because I’m in such a liberal environment.” Not only was Meaghan surrounded by a left-wing community, but she was raised by a moderate father and a liberal mother. But Meaghan didn’t register as a Republican as an act of rebellion against Brooklyn or her parents. In fact, she credits her beliefs with the amount of research she has done on both the Democratic and Republican side. As far back as middle school, Meaghan recalls opening her mind up to politics and gathering her own information on issues. “It’s not that [my parents] didn’t talk about politics, but they never forced their own politics upon me. They let me look to do a lot of my own research on my own things,” Meaghan said. These skills are ones she has brought with her to American University as she is part of the Lincoln Scholars Program. “The whole philosophy behind [the Lincoln Scholars Program] is that you can’t have your own opinions— established opinions— if you don’t know the other side,” Meaghan said. “I’m very, very open. I love having discussions with people who I don’t agree with,” she said in regards to why the ideology of the program resonates well with her. This interest in hearing the other side is key when discussing politics with her mom, Maureen Bondi. As Meaghan spoke about her relationship with her mother, she said they were very close, however things would become strained when politics came into the mix. “I don’t want to say she isn’t the most educated,” Meaghan said, “but she’s very halfway educated. She only looks at things from certain perspectives. She starts looking at issues, with kind of an idea of what she already thinks, rather than having an open mind. Whereas I try to learn about things differently.” During All-American Weekend in early October, tensions were high between Meaghan and her mom when her mom brought up politics during dinner. “My mom was just saying a lot of stuff and kind of shoving things down my
39 | COLLEGIETTE
throat,” Meaghan remarks, “I wanted it to be just a nice time [with] my parents.” Meaghan’s dad stepped in as mediator between the two and, though the argument never escalated to yelling, it did leave its effect on Meaghan. “I was very much considering going back to campus because I don’t like feeling uncomfortable.” While Meaghan and her mom are more passionate and upto-date on politics, her dad, Paul Bondi, takes a more laidback approach. “He’s become much more conservative since talking to me,” Meaghan said, “I think he was in a situation when he registered to vote that he didn’t really care that much. He lived in Brooklyn, everybody else was registering as a Democrat and he just did, [too].” Meaghan goes on to explain that her dad, not being the most proactive in his political research before elections, would actually take Meaghan’s advice when voting before she was of age. “I’m in a very interesting situation with him,” she said, “where he’s genuinely considering switching to registering as a Republican. He’s voted Republican the last few elections.” Meaghan cannot persuade everybody onto her side of the political spectrum, however. Though once close with a cousin, Brian Bronzion who is 7 years her senior, when he found out she was conservative, their relationship vanished. “He is very liberal,” Meaghan said, “and when he found out I was conservative…Brian was very taken aback and got up and left the dinner table we were at. I think it was Mother’s Day. And he just got up, turned around, walked away.” However, the tension does not stop there as Meaghan recalls all of the big life-moments she was excluded from. “He got engaged, didn’t tell me. He got married, I wasn’t there. That kinda stuff. I think a lot of it stemmed from [political beliefs]. That’s very unfortunate.”
WHAT THE FIRST FEW WEEKS IN A SORORITY ARE LIKE Marissa Parisi Devon McGinley Formal recruitment is coming up and the weekend before spring semester will be busy for those looking to join a sorority in the Panhellenic Council here at AU. Maybe you’re already planning what organizations you like the best. Maybe you don’t really think Greek life is for you. Or maybe you’re not sure yet. That’s ok! I joined Sigma Kappa this fall and the first few weeks have been exciting, but honestly, not all of it has been what I expected. So what are the first few weeks like after you accept your bid? Well to start, you should know that recruitment weekend will be hectic. You will get a chance to talk to each organization, so you will be chatting with a lot of girls. Everyone has a lot of fun though, so don’t be intimidated because they are there to get to know you. Now let’s say after the weekend, you decide to accept a bid and join one of the sororities at AU. What happens now? One thing you’ll do is start going to philanthropy events. Whether they’re for your own sorority’s philanthropies or for another organization, you are sure to have fun and raise money for a great cause. I went to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on the National Mall, and it was a great way to meet more sisters and give back to something I’m passionate about. You’ll also get a big! A big is one of your sorority sisters who becomes a mentor when you need advice or just someone to hang out with. They’ll give you lots of presents and help you feel welcomed in the organization. From your big, you will also meet your family in the sorority including your big’s big
41 | COLLEGIETTE
and possibly your twin if you get one. Your twin is another new member that shares the same big as you. One thing I didn’t expect was how much I’d learn about my sorority’s history in the first couple of weeks. Learning from my sisters about how my sorority started and what we value made me feel like I was part of something really important and that I could grow a lot as a person from it. You will become really close with fellow new members in the first couple of weeks, too. You learn a lot together and spend time with each other so they may become your best friends. Make sure to enjoy the beginning of your new membership together! Although you will probably get closest with the other new members, you will also be making friends with your older sisters. Be prepared to gain a lot of followers on Instagram because your sisters will be so excited to connect with you! Sisters may ask you to get coffee, study or grab lunch so they can get to know you. I got to know a lot of sisters at The Bridge because it’s a great place to hang out. The first few weeks are fun, but can be overwhelming. You should expect to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time and get busy with events very quickly. My advice is to go at your own pace and not to worry if you don’t know everyone’s name immediately or if you have class during a philanthropy event. Everyone else in your organization has gone through this and they will understand. Visit AU’s Fraternity & Sorority Life webpage to get more information on signing up for spring recruitment and AU’s sororities. And visit each organization’s social media to learn about them before the spring!
THE ART OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF
Devon McGinley There is a widely held philosophy that one cannot love someone else without loving themselves first. I call bullshit. I believe that it is entirely possible to love other people or accept them as they are without fully loving or accepting yourself. My reasoning for this is based on the simple reality that we are far more critical when it comes to ourselves than any other individual. We are less likely to forgive or accept ourselves because we tend to hold ourselves up to an unrealistic standard of perfection that we feel is necessary to comply to. Love is not an ifs, ands or buts kind of emotion. It is not conditional, and therefore the love you give to others is not based on your ability to give it to yourself. However, even though it isn’t necessary to love yourself in order to love someone else, it is essential for one’s own well-being to accept themselves as they are. All of the Pinterest quotes and overplayed song
43 | COLLEGIETTE
lyrics about self-acceptance and loving yourself, while corny, are accurate. It is important to love yourself, and moreover, it is okay to love yourself. We have a lot of hesitations when it comes to self-love and selfappreciation. Some feel they are not deserving, or feel guilty about recognizing their own strengths or amazing features. As a result, they tend to highlight the things they don’t like about themselves, instead of the things that they do like. We are surrounded by an environment that thinks selfdeprecation and loathing are not only okay, but are cool, so much so that it is weird to hear someone acknowledge a positive attribute about themselves, yet normal to hear them say something that they hate about themselves. Loving yourself doesn’t have to be a grand revelation where you run up and down the street yelling, “I love myself!” at the top of your lungs. It can manifest itself in many different ways. It could be something as small
as looking at yourself in the mirror and, instead of thinking about flaws, acknowledging that you look good today, or that you have a nice smile. It could be treating yourself to a little care and pampering every now and then because your body, mental health and peace of mind are worth it.
about yourself, or tooting your own horn every once in a while when you do something you’re really proud of (because you’re allowed to be proud of yourself), self-love and continuously building a positive relationship with yourself is not only good; it’s necessary.
Loving yourself means accepting yourself. Accepting all of the things that you don’t think are attractive or cool about yourself. Accepting that you are five feet tall and have a lot of useless (but very cool) knowledge about space, or that you’re the one person in your entire class whose opinion isn’t the same as anyone else’s, proudly acknowledging all of your weird quirks or the things that make you different from others. Often, what we fail to realize in our quest to fit in is that everyone has something that makes them different from other people. Instead of repressing these things about ourselves, we should acknowledge them, accept them, and most importantly, be proud of them.
Though it is not something that happens overnight, self-love is a commitment that is worth the time and effort that you put into it because time spent on yourself is never time wasted. Besides, if we can pour love into so many things, ranging from other people to the characters in our favorite shows, who’s to say we can’t show ourselves a little love too?
This is all definitely easier said than done, so the larger question becomes, “How do you do love yourself?” In my opinion, self-love manifests itself in a lot of different ways. This may entail a bubble bath and a book on an evening of self-care, or a solo trip to travel the world. It can also be the small things, like not apologizing for everything all the time, or forgiving yourself for messing up every now and then.
The object is to treat yourself as you would want to be treated in a relationship. In a way, the most important relationship worth fostering and taking care of is your relationship with yourself because it’s the most long-lasting. Whether it involves looking at yourself in a mirror and saying that you love yourself, recalling what it is you like
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 44
AN OPEN LOVE LETTER TO TRADER JOES Lauren Anderson Lauren Anderson Dear Trader Joe’s, The first time we met, I knew this would be the start of something new. January 2019, my friend told me I should go grocery shopping with her at a place called “Trader Joes”. I had heard of this so-called “Trader Joes” as a quirky grocery store, but didn’t really understand the high esteem it was given. I was also a broke college student who couldn’t afford to go to an expensive grocery store. Nevertheless, I went. And my life was changed forever. From aisle to aisle, I was amazed with all the delicious options. I loaded my cart with everything from Everything but the Bagel Seasoning to the Mandarin Orange Chicken. The best part? Checking out with a low balance. Now, Trader Joes, you have become my one stop shop for all groceries. Where else can you walk in and get an adorable skeleton succulent and a pumpkin for under $5? Everything pumpkin flavored makes me enjoy fall even more than I already do. The vanilla pumpkin candle and maple hand soap are comforting smells in my apartment and your employees make my day every single time. Once, a cashier told me I was “really cool”, and I will never forget it. Another cashier always opens his register when I see him, and we catch up on life and our equally matched enthusiasm for the greatest grocery store ever. And when I don’t see an item on the shelf, someone always finds 3 in the back. The customer satisfaction is unparalleled to any other grocery store and it feels like a home away from home. And the food? Incredible. Who knew that things made from cauliflower could be so delicious? I am always on the lookout for new food releases, which seem to come out every week. For example, the butternut squash mac and cheese has changed my life. The free samples section, also hosted by the
47 | COLLEGIETTE
most hospitable workers, are usually accompanied by recipes I can make with their ingredients. I remember bringing my dad to meet you, just to show him what you were all about. I lost him for 20 minutes to find him in the cheese section, picking out a delicious selection for his charcuterie board. As a legal adult, I have learned so much about wine from the daily sample tastings. I know it may sound ridiculous, but Trader Joes, you have really made my life better. When I really don’t have the budget to spend on groceries, I know you will provide me with delicious and different foods that will get me through the week. It’s the little things, like a new cookie mix or basil plant, that makes me so excited and help me appreciate the small things. If I am having a bad day, I can just walk around the aisles and count on the employees to make me feel welcomed. Even a trip to you, Trader Joes, with a friend is always a great time trying and exploring new things. Thank you for always being there for me. Love from your biggest fan, Lauren
WHERE OUR TOP 2020 CANDIDATES FALL ON THE ZODIAC Hannah Richards SPOILER: Joe Biden is a scorpio and I’m not surprised. Elizabeth Warren (D) Birthday: 06/22/1949 Sun & Moon: Cancer; Taurus What this could mean: Lizzie Warren has a sun in Cancer, which anyone could have seen coming a mile away. Cancers are strong willed, they support the underdog, they are individuals who question tradition. She can sometimes be a little too emotional, but it can be translated into passion. Her moon in Taurus is also powerful, it’s associated with commitment and trust, which is exactly what we need in a president. On the opposite side of that coin, she can sometimes be uncomfortable with surprises; something tells me the president has to deal with a lot of surprises.
Joe Biden (D) Birthday: 11/20/1942 Sun & Moon: Scorpio; Taurus What this could mean: So. Joe Biden is a Scorpio. I could have guessed it. Scorpios don’t like to lose, they don’t like the idea of not having power. They don’t like to apologize (even when they’ve inappropriately touched several women without consent). They can be very passionate, but not always about the right things. The moon in Taurus means he is committed, but with his alignment, Joe Biden has the potential to be consistently thoughtless, unable to adapt.
49 | COLLEGIETTE
Bernie Sanders (I) Birthday: 09/08/1941 Sun & Moon: Virgo; Aries What this could mean: The reason Bernie is so liked among younger people isn’t because he is a socialist, it isn’t because of his policies, it’s because he’s a virgo and everyone loves virgos. Virgos are likable, and known for being “good people”. He’s smart and helpful, but can sometimes overdo things. Lunar arians can be kind of up and down too, but are generally very caring and passionate.
Andrew Yang (D) Birthday: 01/13/1975 Sun & Moon: Capricorn; Aquarius What this could mean: Yang’s Capricorn sun means he can be very ambitious and iron-willed, which is a positive aspect that could make him a forceful president. However, it also implies that he has a tendency to boast the status symbol he’s created for himself. He generally needs to be needed. He needs Yang Gang more than Yang Gang needs him. An aquarius moon could signify a desire to be composed, and try not to partake in any extreme emotions. He also has the possibility to be more independent than necessary, which may not be ideal when trying to work with his (possible) future chief of staff.
Pete Buttigieg (D) Birthday: 01/19/1982 Sun & Moon: Capricorn; Scorpio
Julián Castro (D) Birthday: 09/19/1974 Sun & Moon: Virgo; Scorpio
What this could mean: Buttigieg’s sun in Capricorn causes him to be hardworking, but humble. He might be drawn to climbing up the social and political ladder, but ultimately values commitment. He questions tradition, which could be useful in a time where tradition is less valued. Even though two of Pete’s three talking points have to do with religion and the military, which are pretty traditional.
What this could mean: Virgos are arguably the best sign. They’re so smart, and helpful and they have a generally cool vibe. This makes sense, what with Castro’s trendy ‘Adios, Trump’ merch and his inclusive policies. There is rarely anything bad to say about Virgos.
Mayor Pete’s moon in Scorpio contributes to his courage, and makes it difficult to shake him in the face of danger or stress. However, he can be needy sometimes and get attached to certain systems of beliefs that may not sit well with some. I personally believe that Chasten would make a great president, but that’s beside the point.
His moon in Scorpio though, that could be problematic. Scorpio moons are intensely emotional, and therefore have to be self aware as not to overdo it. They’re also fiercely independent, though luckily it seems Castro is good at working with others.
Cory Booker (D) Birthday: 04/27/1969 Sun & Moon: Taurus; Virgo
Kamala Harris (D) Birthday: 10/20/1964 Sun & Moon: Libra; Aries
What this could mean: Taurus are GROUNDED. They’re steady, hardworking, and rooted. Which makes SO much sense and explains why Cory Booker reminds everyone he’s a vegan who lives in a poor neighborhood every five minutes. I’m sure Rosario Dawson loves to have a super committed partner.
What this could mean: Kamala Harris has the sun in Libra. Libras are known for being very charming, hence why she tries to make so many ~relatable~ jokes on the debate stage. They’re also really passionate about justice, explaining why she’s worked in the American Legal System. Libras don’t like confrontation though, so we may never get a real explanation of her prosecuting history. Her moon is in Aries, meaning she really will work hard in order to get the job done, whatever that job may be.
His moon in Virgo implies he’s quick to help others, which makes sense because he was seen as quite the neighborhood superhero when he was mayor. That being said, he can be fussy, without something on his mind he’ll get super bored. But I guess that’s a good thing because he’ll be busy literally all of the time if he’s president.
HER CAMPUS AMERICAN | 50
Amy Klobuchar (D) Birthday: 05/25/1960 Sun & Moon: Gemini; Gemini
Donald Trump (R) Birthday: 06/14/1946 Sun & Moon: Gemini; Sagittarius
What this could mean: Oof. A double Gemini. Klobuchar’s sun in gemini alludes to her intellect and wit. She has no issue expressing herself. That being said, she can be extremely inconsistent. She carries a scattered energy that can be misleading and nonpersistent.
What this could mean: OF COURSE Trump is a gemini. Of. Course. Geminis are unpredictable, they’re passionate but flakey. They’re opportunists and they’re not always loyal.
Her moon, also in Gemini, makes it seem as though Klobuchar is moody, and not always pleasant to be around. She is however organized, and is great with public appearances. Her presidency would be filled with uncertainty and hesitation, but she would be excellent about negotiating her way into security.
Marianne Williamson (D) Birthday: 07/08/1952 Sun & Moon: Cancer; Aquarius What this could mean: Willamson’s sun in cancer means that she is very in touch with both her emotions and her spirituality. She can be thoughtful and open about her life and experiences, but may be prone to oversharing and being easily offended. This might mean trouble if she is elected, as cancers tend to question tradition and head down self destructive paths. Williamson’s moon in Aquarius speaks to her more progressive side, she can be independent and loyal to her causes. It’s a little typical for Lunar Aquarians to be a bit on the strange side, as Marianne has exhibited, but her unpredictability is never boring. Maybe she’ll look real hard into her crystal ball and find the answers to health care and poverty.
51 | COLLEGIETTE
He has a Sagittarius moon, which is probably why he was able to win over so many people last election season. Lunar Sagittarians are likely to be enthusiastic but are known for taking too many risks. Sound familiar?
OUR TEAM Print Team:
JĂŠla Lewter Publushing Director
Sophie Gilbert Design Director
Hannah Andress Co Editor-in-Chief Aaditi Narayanan Abby Henry Allesandra Ploudre Grace Hasson Hannah Richards Lauren Anderson Marissa Parisi Molly Molloy Paige Kouh Peyton Bigora Riddhi Setty Sarah Teixeira
57 | COLLEGIETTE
Abby Greenberg doodles, photos Devon McGinley photos Elaine Griffith logo Grace Nowak photos Isabella Bobrowsky photos Yueyao Joyce Zhou doodles, photos Madison Renck layout Paige Kouh doodles Simi Singh doodles, photos Vidisha Banerjee 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 printed for Her Campus American University by Heritage Printing & Graphics, Waldorf, Maryland.