Jerk March 2022

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March 2022 Vol XIX Issue 3 Syracuse, New York Your student fee


The girls who Jerk, Jerk.

The girls who Jerkn’t, Jorn’t.




Callen Moore & Lucinda Strol

Zoe Glasser

Kyra Surgent & Hayden Ginder





Makenna John, Ava Lahijani


Noa Putman

GAWK STYLE TEAM: Zoë Boise, Libby Dy, Bailey Davis

GAWK PHOTOGRAPHER: Ben Piers GAWK MUA: Afton Serviss, August Fegley NOISE EDITOR: Margo Moran ASST. NOISE EDITOR: Katie Ferreira


Russell Tom Sun, Julia Reedy, Lily Menk, Aryaan Anand, Kaelie Macaulay, Brooke Blackwell, Bryan Fletcher, Julia Fesser, Megan Adams FRESHMAN INTERNS

Sadiya Kherani, Naimah Rahman, Eva Balisteri, Nikia Williams, Ilhy Gomez del Campo

DIGITAL DESIGN DIRECTORS: Tanner Hogan, Lucinda Strol DESIGNERS: Alexa Kroln, Ande Wittenmeier,

Bailey Kretschmer, Catie Hangen, Sophie Beney, Valerye Hidalgo Garcia, Natalie D’Alto, Lynn Fay, Kelly Kringen, Gisele Gosset, Liliana Smith, Lindsey Smiles, Megan Thompson, Emma Barbosa

VIDEO DIRECTORS: Ambre Winfrey, Jonah Sierra SOCIAL DIRECTORS: Katie Murray, Hayley Miller, Allie D’Angelo SOCIAL DESIGN DIRECTORS: Sophia Pappas,

Grace Denton

SOCIAL TEAM: Taylor Creel, Carley DellaRatta

CREATIVE DESIGN DIRECTOR: Lilly Chidlaw-Mayen DESIGNERS: Bridget Overby, Anika Dua, Olivia LaCour, Kasey O’Rourke ILLUSTRATORS: Emma Wachsmith, Lang Delapa, Emma Beauchemin, Sophie Sternkopf, Marisa Goldberg, Jenny Katz, Anika Dua, Ande Wittenmeier, Bailey Kretschmer PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR: Surya Vaidy PHOTOGRAPHERS: Bridget Overby, Jyonosuke (JJ) Tanaka, Lucy Messineo-Witt, Gabriella Nagy, Megan Townsend, Katelyn Hughes, Sophie Cohen

ADVERTISING PR MANAGER: Samiddha Singh PR STAFF: Nina Salvio, Giana DiTolla, Grace Guido

Melissa Chessher ADVISOR Through its content, Jerk is dedicated to enhancing insight through communication by providing an informal platform for the freedom of expression. The writing contained within this publication expresses the opinions of the individual writers. The opinions expressed herein are not those of Syracuse University, the Office of Student Activities, the Student Association, or the student body. Additionally, the ideas presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Jerk Editorial Board. Furthermore, Jerk will not be held responsible for the individual opinions expressed within. Submissions, suggestions, and opinions are welcomed and may be printed without contacting the writer. Jerk reserves the right to edit or refuse submissions at the discretion of its editors. Jerk Magazine is published monthly during the Syracuse University academic year. All contents of the publication are copyright 2021 by their respective creators. No content may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the Jerk Editorial Board.



LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I’m going to be completely vulnerable with you all, I am really struggling to write this. Every time I open a Google Doc and think about what I can put down on the page, my mind is flooded with everything that’s happening in the world right now. I’m not sure how to write about the current motifs of life on Syracuse University’s campus while lives and families — some being those of members of our campus community — are being destroyed 4,733 miles away from where most of us can comfortably sleep, learn, and live. It doesn’t seem so far when you put a number on it, right? I remember someone from People talking to my MND 305 class back in the Spring 2020 semester (just before we logged on to Zoom University for the first time), and she said something about the importance of entertainment and ‘fluff’ stories that really stuck with me. I wish I could remember it word-for-word, but I know that it was something along the lines of ‘people need an escape from disheartening news stories, and providing that is as, if not more, valuable of a job as creating those heavier stories.’ This doesn’t go to say that what we do at Jerk revolves around lighthearted stories — it definitely doesn’t — but we undeniably include a number of more “fun,” “fluffy” pieces. What that person from People (person from People, that sounds weird) said reminds me that these stories can also be important to our readers, especially in a time of such tragedy and fear. So if you’re in need of a pick-me-up and escaping into a more amusing story, I recommend checking out our piece about threesomes on pg. 11, our hate mail to twee fashion on pg. 21, and our quiz about which Oscar nominee you are on pg. 60. If you’re up for some more reporting-heavy pieces, we recognize Women’s History Month by

taking a deep dive into various aspects of gender autonomy in our features section (yes, we know it’s called SMUT). To read about the dangerous lack of protection for Black women on dating apps, turn to pg. 23. On pg. 27, find out more about the lasting legacies of unsung heroes Monica Lewinsky and Anita Hill. To learn about the alarming absence of gender neutrality on SU’s campus, flip to pg. 31. No matter what you’re in need of right now, we hope you can either learn from or escape into this issue of Jerk — remember, both are valuable and necessary. Take care of yourselves. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ukraine, we at Jerk stand with you.

Pearl Cadigan Editor-In-Chief



7 Jerk on the Internet But wait, there’s more...

9 Hit/Bitch

Pearl Cadigan & Zoe Glasser


15 It’s Not Your Fault — It’s Exxon’s, and Spotify’s, and... Noah Estling

10 March Horoscopes

17 The Pressure of Productivity Culture

11 Sex: My Big Three

19 Bad Blood

13 Framed: grace otten

21 Twee Fashion is Sick and Twisted

Isabel Bekele

Margo Moran

Car Shapiro

14 21 +/- Matcha Martini Pearl Cadigan

Katie Ferreira

Bryan Fletcher

Megan Adams


FEATURES 23 Who Protects Us Online? Isabel Bekele

27 Redefining Monica Lewinsky Margo Moran

31 Gender Polarity at Syracuse University Lily Menk

35 Collections Car Shapiro

39 Being Allowed To Dream Pearl Cadigan

40 Westcott’s Hidden Gem Sadiya Kherani




41 Après-Ski

Liz Goldblatt, Ben Piers, Libby Dy

49 Stripped: Winter Fashion’s Best Friend Julia Reedy

51 Form & Function: Wes Anderson Character

Liz Goldblatt & Pearl Cadigan

52 Closet Case: Over-TheEar Headphones Molly Scheuer



53 The Art of Scars Zoe Glasser

57 Package: The Oscars

Margo Moran, Julia Reedy, Katie Ferreira, Aryaan Anand, Kaelie Macaulay

65 A Kid Named Rufus Emane Haque

66 And Just Like That, Another Reboot Naimah Rahman


Listen to Jerk’s weekly podcast, Hit and Bitch — where Zoë, Emma, and Kenny discuss the things you hate to love and love to hate — on Spotify today!


Jerk Magazine is exploring new ways to compliment our print mag. Find additional content on social media and our website

JERK 3–21

Bringing you the latest and the littest @jerkmagazine





Words by Pearl Cadigan and Zoe Glasser

What we love CRASH BY CHARLI XCX DROPS MARCH 18 Nearly two years after the absolute masterpiece of an album that is How I’m Feeling Now, we’re finally getting a new record from Charli. We simply could not be more excited to rage to whatever new hyper pop tracks she has in store for us — give us more “anthems,” Charli, please!

SPRING EQUINOX MARCH 20 Trust us, we’re thankful for the miraculous (or horrifying) 51-degree day we got however many weeks ago, but we desperately miss the sun! Please help us. These HappyLights just don’t replace the real thing.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE RELEASE MARCH 25 We know, we know. We literally just shit on A24 a couple of issues ago, but this film actually seems interesting. This sci-fi action comedy centers around a Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) who explores different versions of herself across a number of universes to defeat evil. We still can’t stand A24 groupies, but we’re actually looking forward to checking this one out.

ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. SHUTTING DOWN FOR COVID MARCH 13 Do we even need to explain this one?

MACHINE GUN KELLY RELEASES MAINSTREAM SELLOUT MARCH 25 If “emo girl” tells us anything about what we can expect from this album, keep it, MGK. We’re still mourning your engagement to Megan Fox — don’t pour salt in the wound.

APRIL FOOL’S DAY APRIL 1 Haven’t we been through enough, if not too many, surprises over these past two years? We don’t need — or deserve — our roommates covering the toilet bowl in saran wrap or purposefully misplacing our belongings. We need peace.

THE OSCARS MARCH 27 We agree with Moira Rose; our favorite season is awards. We are a little bummed that the red carpet won’t be televised this year, but we’ll just obsessively refresh Twitter so we can rate all the looks. If you’re like us and can’t get enough of the Oscars, check out our package on page 57 to learn more about them!

What we hate






Aries, you’re the main character this month. Channel your inner Lexi Howard and force everyone to recognize you the way you want to be seen.

You’ve been putting in work lately, Taurus. We know you like to chase your benders with crazy library hours to diminish the hangxiety, but it’s okay to explore a little something called balance.

It’s time to put down the box dye and close your ”new piercing inspo” moodboard, Gemini. This season, beware of fake friends and focus on setting boundaries.




Cancer, we get that you love spilling your heart out, but March is all about money for you — get your bag up! It’s time to turn off the “All Too Well” and put on some “Bills, Bills, Bills.”

It’s time to stop re-editing that notes app draft to your crush and just hit send. We know you’ve been hurt in the past, but this season is all about open communication.

You need a drink, Virgo (provided you’re over 21, of course). Take some time to make yourself our Matcha Martini– the recipe is on page 14!


SCORPIO Oct. 23 - Nov. 21

Nov. 22 - Dec. 21

Libra, babes, we know you’re ruled by Venus, but it’s time to wake up and realize your sneaky link is not going to lead to a relationship. It’s time to show yourself some self-love for once!

Pat yourself on the back! You’ve been grinding away this season and it’s paid off — don’t be afraid to gas yourself up and remind others to do the same.

Cool it with the Twitter fingers. This month is all about openness, so maybe try actually listening to others’ opinions for once.




Capricorn, put down the $7 Salt City cold brew, close the internship application spreadsheet, and take a goddamn nap.

Good news is coming your way, Aquarius! Reject the Pinterest urge to become ’that girl,’ and allow yourself to open up to the abundance that’s coming your way.

This month, it’s time to lay off the pick-me energy. Leave the gaslighting to the Geminis and choose peace for once.

Mar. 21 - Apr. 19

Sep. 23 - Oct. 22

Dec. 21 - Jan. 20

Jul. 23 - Aug. 22

Jan. 21 - Feb. 18

Words by Isabel Bekele | Art By Bailey Kretchsmer

May 20 - Jun. 20

Aug. 23 - Sep. 22


Feb. 19 - Mar. 20

JERK 3–21

Jun. 21 - Jul. 22

Apr. 20 - May 20





MY BIG THREE Two girls, four boobs, and one Dan Humphrey. Words by Margo Moran Art by Lang Delapa Most people in monogamous relationships share a universal nightmare: cheating. The idea of your partner hooking up with someone else is nauseating, worst-case scenario shit. So how does it make sense that, according to a 2018 study done by Justin Lehmiller, the most common sexual fantasy among Americans involves bringing an outsider into the mix? Threesomes are pretty self-explanatory: the act of three people engaging in sex acts together. The breakdown can go in a million directions: non-binary people, men, women, people in relationships, total strangers, a mix of all of the above — who’s to say. There is no magic algorithm to creating the perfect threesome: sometimes it works, everyone cums, and the whole gang stays best friends and ends up in each other’s wedding parties. Sometimes it crashes and burns and you never want to look at each other again. But the desire for a threesome overrides all of that, which leads us to ask: Why are we so obsessed? There is something undeniably sexy about taboo activities. Adding something dirty, unfamiliar, and forbidden can elevate and jolt new excitement into sex, especially if you have been in cahoots with the same partner for a while now. We’ve been socialized to consider “normal sex” as one man penetrating one woman, so it’s deliciously subversive to throw those numbers and binaries out the window and dive into a pile of genitals. From a purely psychological standpoint, men (and we are generalizing here; our apologies) have evolved to want to impregnate any entity that will let them. In fairness, nothing says “fulfilling your biological imperative” like multiple partners. From this same perspective, when a woman chooses a sexual partner, they will be inclined toward the toughest option who will give their offspring survivalist genes. A threesome doesn’t

do much for this subconscious itch. If anything, adding another woman (or having an experience only with women/people with uteruses) should decrease the primal desire because it lessens the likelihood of reproduction. This is reflected in our expectations because a desire for a threesome is expected of a man but not of a woman. So were cavemen were more into threesomes than cavewomen? How does this translate to our (allegedly) more intellectual and refined modern society? For some, threesomes are appealing because it’s double the features that you’re attracted to: more boobs, more penises, more sweet and alluring smiles. For others, the best part is experiencing double the attention. Having two people devoting their afternoon to your orgasm is admittedly a pretty epic concept and can be the reality of threesomes where two of the participants are attracted to the third and not each other. This is most common in man-man-woman situations because of the commonly forced rigidity of male sexuality. For one student who has had two threesomes in the past, gender dynamics had a huge impact on pleasure. In one encounter, she slept with two men who were previously friends. They dominated her while essentially ignoring each other and both finished, while she did not. However, when she had a threesome with a man and woman, each party finished and was equally involved in the process. It would be easy and unfair to attribute this to the “no homo” culture that guys experience versus the sexual


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towards “no.” We have all been conditioned so heavily to default to monogamy and to experience primal territoriality over our partners. As hot as it might sound to watch your partner get pleasured and to have them watch you get head, it takes a person more evolved than anyone we’ve ever met to watch your friend suck your boyfriend’s dick and never think about it again. However, all hope is not lost. We are firm believers that threesomes can work with almost any other dynamic; three strangers, a couple and a stranger, three friends, etc. Almost any sexual endeavor is within reach and has the possibility to be epic as long as every party (no matter how many involved parties there may be) has a clear, open conversation about expectations and boundaries before any clothes come off. As we always say here at Jerk, go forth and fuck.


fluidity that is often encouraged for women, but we’re willing to go out on that limb. There is a strange double standard in the threesome experiences of people we chatted with for this article — generally, if there are two men in the mix, they don’t touch each other, don’t get each other off, and don’t interact other than to literally high-five and be excited for this turning point in their bromance. When two women have a threesome with a man, they can become live porn. They are expected to fuck in front of the man (whether they are queer or not) and to focus on his pleasure. These experiences teeter on a fine line of empowerment and being fetishized by the male gaze. So, can you and your boyfriend have a threesome with your hot bi friend? Delivering this news absolutely ruins our fucking day, but we’re leaning



GRACE OTTEN A jack of all trades, master of none (but better than a master of one). Words by Car Shapiro | Photos provided

“I use the framework of kink to re-contextualize autonomy, risk, trauma, and authenticity in relation to my body within everyday ‘vanilla’ life,” explains grace otten, a Master’s student studying studio art at Syracuse University. They identify as a nonbinary lesbian who exclusively shows their name in all lowercase letters as a “reclamation of being in the margins, of not abiding by the norm, while still maintaining humility,” and as a nod to the late feminist author, bell hooks. otten works as a TA, manages the School of Art’s social media platforms, and runs Random Access Gallery in Smith Hall 117. Much of otten’s current art explores the kink framework, which they describe as a “very powerful tool to work through trauma. It’s not what we consume in mainstream media like Fifty Shades of Grey.” The structure of kink in their art has been able to support healthy boundaries and risks in otten’s intimate and public life. There is an

assumption that otten makes overtly sexualized objects, yet their intention is more about the subversion of power dynamics and control. “Everything has erotic potential, so if someone were to fetishize my work or feel some type of way, fine by me!” said otten. Right now, otten is in a big transitional period with their art; they are exploring “a million” different materials, from industrial to craft. “I’ve always loved making soft sculptures, so anything sewing-related is great,” said otten. Recently, they’ve been getting into leatherworking, silicone, beeswax, and digital sculpture methods. In undergrad at the University of North Texas, their art employed body gore with approachable colors and forms, which spoke to their personal experiences and relationship with their body. Now, they are moving toward more visually serious work paired with intense topics — most of their work centers on the body and flesh.



Recently, the espresso martini, which took the cocktail scene by storm in the ‘80s, has made an impressive comeback. While Jerk is definitely on the espresso martini train, we think that a more trendy take on the drink is possible. Hear us out: the matcha martini. Matcha lattes have become a staple in our morning routines, and we think it’s due time we bring them into our pregame rituals as well. Whether your evening plans include dinner with friends, hitting the bars, or getting belligerent in your apartment, this creamy drink will both energize you and help you get a delightful buzz on.

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Words and photo by Pearl Cadigan


21 +/-

WHAT YOU WILL NEED • • • • • • •

1 ½ oz. of whipped cream vodka 1 oz. of sweet vermouth 3 tbsp. of matcha powder 4 tbsp. of hot water ½ cup milk of your choice (we used oat) 1 tsp. of simple syrup (only use if your matcha is unsweetened) Ice cubes


2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Whisk matcha powder with hot water in a glass (use a bamboo matcha whisk if you have one). Pour matcha and water mixture into a cocktail shaker or a Mason jar. Add remaining ingredients to the shaker or jar and shake until your hands become cold. Place two ice cubes in the glass. Pour the contents of the shaker or jar into the glass over the ice. Enjoy!


IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT — IT’S EXXON’S, AND SPOTIFY’S, AND... How corporations deflect blame and pin responsibility on individuals. Words by Noah Estling Art by Sophie Sternkopf

We have the unique luxury of terrible, lifethreatening, and straight-up shitty news being constantly broadcasted to us. We are constantly being bombarded with negative headline after negative headline. It seems like every day we hear about some new climate change report telling us that instead of having ten years to save our world from total destruction, we only have two, or that

there is a worker’s strike because corporations do not pay a living wage. Drought! Fires! Bears! Oh, my! But don’t worry, we here at Jerk have finally cracked the code on how to solve all of the issues plaguing our world. What is this magic trick solution we found, you ask? It’s easy: we just individually as one (1) person decide not to do anything bad anymore.

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show needs to be removed so that no one can be subjected to further influence by him. Some people fall into this trap of responsibility and make themselves feel better by buying “sustainably made” or “ethical” clothing. Well, we’re sorry to the Reformation stans, but they aren’t immune to this issue either. In fact, they are likely victims of “greenwashing.” Greenwashing is the concept of corporations marketing their clothes to seem more environmentally friendly than they actually are. While we wouldn’t expect any less from corporations, greenwashing really escalates the blame-game problem one step further. Instead of just deflecting the responsibility onto the consumer, they also decide to package the “solution” with a neat little bow and sell it back to them, even though it is not any better than the original problem. It’s time to stop putting band-aids on global issues without challenging the entire system. We have been fed false hope that individual efforts will be enough to beat all the issues we’ve seen play out during our lives, but that is a lie. Corporations have spent millions of dollars over decades maintaining this sense of responsibility for their own benefit. We’re not saying you shouldn’t turn the lights off when you leave a room, use a metal straw, or buy second-hand, but you also shouldn’t beat yourself up trying to be the perfect activist when big corporations are the only institutions that can create large-scale change.


Obviously, we’re joking — this is a completely insignificant way to combat something as monumental as climate change, or the entire capitalist global economy, but this is the attitude that corporations continuously take on; deflecting blame and responsibility onto us, the “little people.” We as individuals are supposed to take shorter showers, turn off our lights when leaving the house, and ride a bike instead of drive. Meanwhile, 100 companies contribute to 71% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but using those paper straws that deteriorate before you even finish your drink is definitely not going to be what finally combats plastic waste and saves the turtles. In fact, plastic straws are minuscule in the grand scheme of ocean dumping. We should be clear, this is not some halfcooked opinion we are trying to peddle to you all; this is a well-documented and calculated move by corporations to deflect their own blames. For decades, ExxonMobil, a gas company, released advertisements with taglines along the lines of “Be smart about your electricity use,” or messages asking consumers to buy energy-efficient vehicles “so you can do your part.” They even got flack for these advertisements when a 2021 Harvard study claimed the corporation produced propaganda to downplay the doom of climate change in an attempt to blame individuals for wasteful energy habits. Unfortunately for us, though, we are not immune to propaganda; if anything, it is working perfectly on us. You may be familiar with a small-time podcaster named Joe Rogan who has been making headlines lately. His vaccine skepticism, transphobia, and overall alt-right media persona have made him subject to months of media backlash. Many are calling for his podcast to be taken off Spotify and other platforms. While Spotify silencing Rogan would be lovely, it likely won’t happen in this lifetime. This is a man who has a reported $200 million deal with the streaming platform and is the most viewed media figure in the United States — there is too much profit in him and his podcast. Spotify is actively platforming a man who is doing genuine harm to multiple communities, and, unfortunately, individual efforts can’t do much of anything to stop his misinformation; his


THE PRESSURE OF PRODUCTIVITY CULTURE How the quasi-motivational “rise-and-grind” attitude is pushing us toward burnout. Words by Katie Ferreira Art by Emma Beauchemin

You’re scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn when you see them: motivational (albeit slightly demeaning) quotes in all-caps laid over a picture of an NYC penthouse or a finance bro in a pressed suit. ”The grind never stops!” “We all have the same 24 hours in a day!” “Don’t stop until you’re proud!” Being bombarded by these messages and the very American need to be perpetually productive can, especially for young adults, lead to looming feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Developing a good work ethic and sense of self-motivation is, of course, essential for “the real world,” but so many of us are pushing ourselves to the brink. So, how do we balance the grind with self-compassion — especially as college students? Many of us grew up with sentiments of the American Dream and the need to “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” to prove our value in a dogeat-dog world. It has been ingrained in us that if we work hard, anything can happen — our wildest dreams can come true. In a culture where fame, money, and success are revered, it’s easy to get caught up in the game of making it to the top. In reality, though, “making it to the top” really boils down to being in a competition to see who can do the best job of contributing to the economy, from making six figures to spending those earnings on material items. Believing that “capitalism breeds innovation” leads people to ask themselves if they’re correctly practicing that sacred value of innovation, or if they could be working even harder to stand out among the crowd of thousands of

people with the same general goals. Our culture of competition and comparison wants us to see how we stack up against the masses, and this is gauged by our individual productivity. Productivity culture has permeated nearly every aspect of our society, and the need to feel like you’re constantly contributing to something extraordinary is now bleeding into our precious free time. When someone takes a day for themselves or spends some time watching a few episodes of their favorite show, we might hear them say that they just got nothing done today. They felt so unproductive. But really, what’s the harm in having an “unproductive” day every once in a while? We work ourselves so hard but still deny ourselves the enjoyment of our own leisure time. There’s an idea that in order to selfcare “correctly,” we first need to earn it. The reason for this may be the feeling that you don’t deserve to relax, that maybe you haven’t worked hard enough to receive some self-care. But you don’t have you earn your rest; rather, you need it to keep moving forward. Between scrolling through other people’s accomplishments on LinkedIn and keeping up with schoolwork, there are plenty of things that we need to take a break from. With self-care becoming such a pervasive buzzword lately, it’s interesting to see what that looks like for different people. When we see Youtube videos or Instagram posts detailing someone’s day of R&R, they’re often peppered with product sponsorships or expensive alleged cures for stress. This is where we need to cut


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ourselves that we can be. We strive for good grades, involvement in extracurricular activities, a career path, and somehow, in addition to all of that, a social life. Whether you curate dark academia Pinterest boards, love a good bullet journal, or still run a Studyblr, chances are that productivity culture has had some kind of influence on you (for better or worse). In a competitive society that emphasizes success and hard work, it can be hard to strike a balance between getting shit done and treating yourself with kindness. Next time you find yourself pushing yourself to the limit, check up on yourself. Let’s face it: sometimes, the grind does need to stop.


ourselves some slack, especially as college students. The way we take care of ourselves doesn’t have to be as aesthetically pleasing as we see on social media; it just needs to keep us healthy and sane amidst the pressure we face day-to-day. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have access to a pilates studio or an endless supply of green smoothies to mimic the selfcare rituals you see on social media — most of us don’t! Whichever way you choose to take care of yourself, it’s important to prioritize this time to avoid burnout and mental exhaustion. During our college years, it’s natural for us to feel the pressure to be the best versions of


BAD BLOOD Blood donation restrictions reinforce systemic homophobia, even as a shortage threatens the nation. Words by Bryan Fletcher Art by Emma Wachsmith

You’re walking around your college campus and you see a sign advertising a blood drive. You quickly think through your schedule for the day, decide you have some time to spare, and head over to the donation center. After signing in, a nurse asks you a set of questions: Are you feeling well? “Yep!” Do you weigh over 110 pounds? “Yes.” Do you identify as a gay man? “Yes.” Have you had sexual contact with a man in the past three months? “Well, yes.” The nurse tells you that they’re sorry, but you’ll have to return in three months, assuming you’ve been abstinent for that long.

It’s shocking to believe that something as simple and productive as the act of donating blood as a queer person could be so controversial in our current society, yet — even in the year 2022 — we are still plagued by confusing rules that were established decades ago. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, hospitals around the nation have been experiencing a distressing shortage of available blood to use for patient treatment — in fact, according to the American Red Cross, overall blood donations have declined 10% since March


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due to a lack of social acceptance coupled with an abundance of misinformation. This epidemic has had lasting effects on our society ever since, with HIV/AIDS frequently being associated with the LGBTQ+ community and sexually active queer men. This connotation has become a catalyst for discrimination, including the homophobia present in the federal restrictions against queer men donating blood. In an article entitled “AIDS and Traditions of Homophobia” by author Richard Poirier from his 1988 social research project “In Time of Plague,” Poirier writes, “The discourse against AIDS has become increasingly a moralistic condemnation of homosexuality, empowered by the doctrinal and biblical interpretations of sex and nature.” Blood donation restrictions have gone unchanged for so long largely because of the language used within them, as they technically do not only target queer men — they target anyone who has engaged in sexual activity with a man who has sex with men (MSM) in the past three months. We’re not sure if people outside of queer men are really being asked about the sexual orientation(s) of the people they have sexual contact with, but it’s clear that the word choice used in this restriction could work to hide and protect its homophobic nature. Despite the ongoing issues presented by these restrictions and the implications that they have for the state of queer acceptance in our society, there have been massive efforts to fight back against this specific example of homophobia. A variety of HIV/AIDS awareness days have been enacted to raise visibility for this issue, as seen on HIV. gov’s website. And, as previously mentioned, the amount of time that queer men needed to abstain from sexual activity before donating blood was reduced from a whopping 12 months down to three only two years ago. With so many conversations regarding this topic emerging online, in policy discussions, and even in spaces at SU, we can only hope that those in power will think twice about the ways in which queer men and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole are still being devalued in our society. Do we really want to be a country that values stigmatization over saving lives? Do we want to place fear above relief? Do we want to limit healing? Jerk sure doesn’t.


2020, and the country is currently dealing with the worst blood shortage in over a decade. Despite this, current FDA-imposed restrictions prevent men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood within three months of their last sexual encounter. And, believe it or not, before April 2020, the amount of time needed to defer was 12 months, not three. Recent news stories and social media coverage on the national blood shortage have encouraged online discussions regarding this current federal restriction — many citing it as regressive, counterproductive, and blatantly homophobic, as the restrictions are primarily based on the false idea that queer men are the only demographic who can contract HIV/AIDS. The Red Cross mentioned the issue in a web page about blood donation eligibility, saying, “[We recognize] the hurt this policy has caused to many in the LGBTQ+ community and [believe] blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation. We are committed to working with partners toward achieving this goal.” While the American Red Cross’s acknowledgment of the homophobic nature of these restrictions is reassuring (we guess?), it will not solve this issue on its own. The same web page even later states, “As a regulated organization, [The Red Cross] cannot unilaterally enact changes concerning the MSM deferral policy.” The page goes on to discuss a new study they are conducting that could “potentially lead to changes for blood donor eligibility criteria for gay and bisexual men,” but this calls into question why they have only just recently started this research. Regardless of the donor’s identity, all blood is tested for various transmissible diseases including HIV/AIDS. A straight person with undiagnosed HIV can donate blood with no precautions, while a queer man who has tested negative for HIV but has been sexually active with another man in the past three months will be turned away. Despite being an equal opportunity disease that can affect any person regardless of their sexual and gender identities, there’s massive stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS as a result of the epidemic that occurred in the 80s and 90s. During this time, the virus was often referred to as the “gay plague,” and many queer men who had become infected were left to die by their families



TWEE FASHION IS SICK AND TWISTED (WITH POLKA DOTS) Cause of death: Too goddamn quirky. Words by Megan Adams | Art by Jenny Katz You know when your mom used to dress you for third grade and it would consistently be that one blue and white polka-dot skirt and the shirt with the puffy sleeves and she would tell you how cute you looked? She lied. Sorry to mothers everywhere, and maybe it was cute in 2010 or on your small child — but to the fully-grown adults trying to resurrect this atrocity: respectfully, let it die. Twee fashion, if you’re blissfully unfamiliar, is the style you’ve seen on Zooey Deschanel, the girl in your middle school that was “not like other girls,” and too many suburban moms back in 2015. It is big patterns, opaque tights, fat collars, Mary Jane flats, those A-line dresses with polka dots, obnoxious bows, and disgustingly bright colors. Think camp but in an embarrassing way. Why embarrassing? Two words: Rachel Berry; Jessica Day’s toughest competition for the atrocious fashion award. Imagine if Rachel Berry’s personality was an outfit – that’s twee. Rachel Berry (and the entire Glee cast) is sadly not the only problem with twee, though most things associated with the aesthetic make us wanna vom. The style has roots in British fashion, which explains a lot, tbh. Come on, they’re still wearing dark wash skinny jeans over there. Instead of chav, though, what twee gives is the

girl at your high school slumber party who made you pour your entire water bottle of vodka down the drain in front of her. Absolutely no fun. Twee tries to be a lot of things. Approachable, for one, which we can admit it accomplishes (rather clumsily). But the main word that comes to mind is “quirky.” Don’t get us wrong, quirky when used in the right context can (emphasis on the can) be okay, but twee fashion aims to be the “girlnext-door” who attracts every boy in the world yet chooses the quiet, shy, Peter Parker type. In reality? MJ would never, and neither would Gwen for that matter. I think we’d all appreciate it if tweelovers would at the very least wear an overcoat. No one needs to witness your poor fashion choices but you; seriously, we’re getting sensory overload. Bottom line? Twee fashion needs to die as fast as it was resurrected. We love a campy moment, but it has been taken much too far this time. Polka dots are exclusively for pajamas and cheetahs. Comically large collars are exclusively for clowns. Opaque tights are exclusively for absolutely no one. Rest in disgrace, twee fashion.

Twee fashion needs to die as fast as it was resurrected.”

In Smut, we deep-dive into aspects of on- and off-campus life that affect you (yes, YOU!).


WHO PROTECTS US ONLINE? In the era of digital dating, have Black women fallen through the cracks?





The ‘90s icon represents so much more than just a cum-stained dress.

How Syracuse University fails to maintain and promote the gender-neutral experience.



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WHO PROTECTS US ONLINE? In the era of digital dating, have Black women fallen through the cracks? Words by Isabel Bekele Art by Lang Delapa

Dating as a Black woman takes an outsized amount of bravery and an ample amount of selfassurance. Putting yourself out there and onto the dating scene is intimidating enough, but when you’re a part of a marginalized group that has been historically devalued, intimidating feels like an understatement. Often the objects of lust and fetishization, Black women have been forced to navigate a dating landscape in which the perils of Eurocentric beauty standards, unrealistic stereotyping, and internalized anti-Blackness may await them. And in the era of online dating, which brings the false promise of endless possibility, these themes have only become magnified, begging the question- who is protecting Black women online? For everyone, dating is a vulnerable and precarious endeavor in the year 2022, regardless of race. Millennials and Gen-Zs who were raised on the rom-coms of the ‘90s came of age only to realize that what awaits them in the real world aren’t the grand gestures they grew up watching, but rather countless swipes on apps, stifled talking stages, and ghosting culture. For Black women, the dating experience contains all these ordinary woes, along with the risk of being exploited and put into danger because of their identity.




In a recent article by Refinery29 titled, “As a Black Woman, I’m Scared to Start Dating Again,” one woman proclaimed that if she had a dollar for every time a man on a dating app questioned whether the saying “once you go Black you’ll never go back’’ is true, she’d be richer than Jeff Bezos. And in a study done by the founders of OKCupid, Black women were found to be the least desirable racial group by Asian, Latin, and white men, while Black men’s ratings of Black women are more consistent with their ratings of women of all other races. Zoë Boise, a sophomore fashion design student at Syracuse University, understands the landmine that online dating can be. “At one point in time, I’ve somehow received every single micro aggression as a pickup line,’’ Boise said. “Things like, ‘I’ve never been with a Black or chocolate girl.’ That kind of thing.’’ This is of course not to say that Black women in America are not dating, but there is a reason

why microaggressions are often called “death by a thousand cuts.’’ When people fetishize your very existence, it can seriously impact your mental health, which multiple studies cite as contributing to depression, self-doubt, and general frustration. Besides the obvious emotional toll, online dating presents more of a challenge than merely opening yourself up to uncomfortable conversations. In some cases, a woman’s safety can be put into question as well, especially if she is a woman of color. These themes are all evident in the story of Lauren Smith-Fields, the 23 year-old Black woman found dead in her Norwalk, Connecticut apartment after a Bumble date. Smith-Fields was a college student, an aspiring physical therapist, and described as vibrant and magnetic by her friends. When her mother, Shantell Fields, found out about her daughter’s death, it wasn’t from the Bridgeport Police Department, but rather, from Lauren’s landlord. When Fields finally did hear from the



police department, she was told by the police not to worry about the man from the dating app her daughter had been with that night, as he was “a really good guy.’’ Since her death, Smith-Fields has been mourned by millions who have taken to online platforms like TikTok to criticize the lack of attention mainstream media has given her case. After public outcry on social media, along with a march organized by Smith-Fields’s family and friends, her cause of death was finally released: an accidental overdose of fentanyl combined with prescription medication and alcohol. The police department was then forced to not only open a criminal investigation, but also to suspend the original detective who had been on the case. The safety of online dating has been in question since these platforms first emerged. According to Internet Predator Stats, around 16,000 abductions, 100 murders, and thousands of rapes are committed by “online predators” on yearly basis.

While use of these services have skyrocketed over time — with nearly 270 million adults using dating apps in 2020 — stories like Smith-Fields’s leave many with the uneasy realization that the dating apps we’ve grown so comfortable using often lack basic background checks or safety precautions. And for Black women, whose disappearances are already historically overlooked by authorities, the era of digital dating presents a whole new set of challenges. The story of Lauren Smith-Fields may have gained viral traction for several reasons — her undeniable attractiveness, the timeliness of TikTok, and the name recognition of Bumble, to name a few. Regardless of what exactly made this story stick, it undeniably raises important questions about Black women’s general safety in terms of dating — both online and off. Firstly, what are the dangers of dating as a Black woman in America? And, secondly, who’s protecting us on the online services that dominate the dating scene today?



The ‘90s icon represents so much more than just a cum-stained dress. Words by Margo Moran | Art by Anika Dua Relationships are defined by power — who has it and who doesn’t. So what do you do when you’re 24 and in a relationship with a 52-year-old man? He’s married. He’s a father. What do you do when you’re an intern, and he’s your boss’s boss’s boss’s boss? In fact, he’s the boss of the whole

country, and you’re a girl who worked her way up from community college to a bachelor’s at Lewis and Clark to the White House. What do you do if you’re not beautiful, or at least not what everyone thinks is beautiful, and your last name is just a little too Jewish, and your hair is just a little too frizzy,



and he’s the Commander-in-Chief, the leader of the free world, the President of the United States of America? Maybe you’d be terrified or honored or stunned. Maybe you’d fall to your knees. The phrase ‘Monica Lewinsky’ appears in 125 rap songs, typically in reference to a man ejaculating from a blow job. We know because Monica Lewinsky counted. This very real, competent, intelligent person has given a TED Talk about bullying and has become an activist, fashion designer, and television personality. Monica Lewinsky is more than a metaphor for when someone shoots their load on your dress. She is a survivor of unwanted infamy, she is hilarious, and she is the moment. Lewinsky was an intern in the Clinton White House in 1995-96 and was among President Clinton’s several mistresses before and during his presidency. And Clinton? He was the most powerful man in the world, moderately charming, and doors opened for him. Margaret Susan Thompson, an SU professor with expertise on the American presidency, ponders the parallels between Clinton’s abuse of Lewinsky and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s abuse of Anita Hill, another woman failed by the court of public opinion. She notes that these situations are not exactly comparable because Hill did not have a relationship with Thomas, but the public reaction and shaming are decidedly similar. Anita Hill came forward voluntarily about 10 years before Monica was forced to and was villainized to no end. We cannot discuss this case without acknowledging that Hill’s experience was different than Lewinsky’s ever could’ve been because Anita Hill is a Black woman. However, the lack of change in public response from 1991 to the late 90s illustrates how slow our progress as Americans has been in understanding power dynamics and the unacceptability of these abuses.



Monica’s case unfolded during a time of active change and transition in what we as the public consider to be consent. We like to believe that a modern Hill or Lewinksy would be received differently, and Thompson agrees that these stories would play out differently in a world after #MeToo. She also cites the demographic shift in the White House press pool as a real factor in Hill and Lewinsky’s receptions, respectively. When Hill and Lewinsky were at the peak of their unwanted fame, this press group was overwhelmingly made up of white men. Now, as women (not enough women, but, still, women) have moved into the room, the gentlemen’s agreement between abusers and the press that reported on their acts of abuse has been disrupted. Thompson shared the striking thoughts of a former member of Al Gore’s staff who was peripherally present for the scandal: Clinton was generally acknowledged as a president who was doing good for women. He was a friend of the feminist agenda, and people on the left didn’t want to see that work undermined and destroyed because he, as an individual, was not too groundbreaking of a feminist in his blowjob solicitation of a 24-year-old. Clinton engaged in an extended relationship with Lewinsky while married to Hillary Clinton, and at some point during that affair received the notorious Oval-Office-blowjob, which resulted in the equally notorious cum-stained dress. He cheated on his wife, abused the power of the presidency for sex, and lied until he was impeached. And yet, after all of his abuses of power, he got to remain the most powerful man in the world while Monica became America’s greatest slut. This will not be a shock to anyone with a basic understanding of the American court of public opinion, but it was, regardless, an unforgivable sin on the part of the American public consciousness. Moreover, the Clintons didn’t spare

a second before throwing Monica to the media wolves as a whore, a temptress, and a liar so Bill could stay in office and be remembered as an agreeable, jolly, relatively progressive guy instead of a predator who could not keep his presidential penis in his presidential pants. Professor Thomspon thinks it’s important to spare judgment for Hillary when remembering this moment. She was put in an impossible position by her husband, and it was not her duty to protect his mistress, even if some of us may think it was her duty as a human being to not encourage the media to push Monica to the point of suicide watch to save Bill’s career. Thompson agrees that, undoubtedly, Bill had a responsibility to protect Monica after the scandal broke, and failed as a president and human by allowing her to fall as hard as she did to lessen the impact on himself. So how did a 24-year-old White House intern lose her private life in the blink of an eye and turn into a pop-culture punchline? In Lewinsky’s 2014 Vanity Fair essay “Shame and Survival,” she explains why she believed the shame caught on so readily: “I became a social representation, a social canvas on which anybody could project their confusion about women, sex, infidelity, politics, and body issues,” she said. Every person in America who had been cheated on, who hated women and fat people, who was involuntarily celibate, who was in a bad mood, had been given a punching bag that could absorb all of their rage. Lewinsky was suddenly, undeniably famous, but she wasn’t like other celebrities. She had no identity to fall back on. She speaks to this point in the Vanity Fair piece: “I had no established identity to which I could return. I didn’t ‘let this define’ me — I simply hadn’t had the life experience to establish my own identity in 1998.” She was a public figure, and because she was famous, or felt famous, bullying her seemed anonymous, like it wasn’t



hurting anyone. This could not have been further from the truth. These conversations were not reserved for hushed tones behind closed doors; Jay Leno fat-shamed and slut-shamed her in one fell swoop on network television with a joke about her conflict wiring her jaw shut [you’re smart, fill in the blanks of this lazy, trash joke]. She may not have heard what a woman in Iowa whispered to her friend in confidence, but she could hear that

shit broadcasted on the longest-running talk show in the world. Years later, she tweeted that the fatshaming was more harmful to her wellbeing in the grand scheme of things. Even after she escaped the news cycle, her name remained a sick punchline for unfunny sitcom writers. 125 musicians used her name as a synonym for cumming. We think that “cum” is easier to rhyme than “Lewinsky” but hey, we aren’t Beyoncé.

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GENDER POLARITY AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY For an entirely bullshit concept, gender manages to make an appearance nearly everywhere. As soon as we’re born, we’re identified by gendered constructs: pink or blue, dresses or pants, long hair or short hair. It would make sense to distance ourselves from the boxes we were put in at birth as we approach adulthood, but the issue of gendering simply shifts and grows upon moving out. Now, it’s no longer an issue of what toys you can play with, but an issue of nonbinary and gender nonconforming people being invalidated and made to feel uncomfortable at the institution they pay tens of thousands of dollars to attend. Tamia Parsons, a senior at Syracuse who identifies as gender non-conforming, said that in terms of welcoming everyone on the gender spectrum, “Syracuse is just ill-equipped to deal with all of it.” SU, a private school with a $1.8 billion endowment, has one gender-neutral bathroom in all of Bird Library — one of the busiest academic buildings on campus. Parsons

said, “The one bathroom is either dirty or taken and it’s like, now what?” Parsons explained that as a feminine-presenting person, they are more privileged than others when it comes to feeling comfortable using the women’s bathroom, but for those who don’t feel comfortable, options are often slim. Genderneutral private bathrooms are not a privilege but a right, and non-cisgender students deserve a place to do their business just like everybody else — somewhere where they don’t have to sacrifice a part of themselves. It’s not just a bathroom, it’s the bare minimum that this university should be able to provide for their benefactors. Apart from inaccessibility to essential services like bathrooms, the lack of gender neutrality at SU becomes evident when you begin to explore the culture of clubs and organizations on campus. While more traditional organizations like Greek life and homecoming court receive funding and praise on the basis



How SU fails to maintain and promote a gender-neutral experience. Words by Lily Menk Art by Lindsey Smiles

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of their longstanding histories, gender-neutral and queer clubs are often hidden from plain sight, not receiving the same promotion or funding as the others. Parsons, the co-president of Qolor Collective — a safe space for queer people of color — said they didn’t even know about this issue until they became an organization’s president. “I want there to be more recognition for us out there, and not just an afterthought.” When it comes to making space for minorities and queer people, Parsons thinks there’s a need for more resources. “I’d like to see more groups for queer people of color,” they said. Safe spaces are so important to the safety and security of transgender and nonbinary students, especially when this campus can often feel like a scary place. Lamees Galal, a CFE doctoral student and TA in the Women’s and Gender Studies department here at SU says, “As a cisgender woman, I don’t always feel safe walking around campus, so I can only imagine how trans students may feel.”

As Galal said, “I think it is imperative that SU strives to make campus a better experience for trans and non-binary students. Whether that is creating opportunities for gender neutral sports teams, fraternities/sororities, or access to gender neutral bathrooms, there is still so much SU can do to make campus more inclusive.” Aside from clubs and organizations, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people often find themselves alone in their daily academic experiences. A common theme at SU seems to be that life for non-cisgender students is one that forces them to take on the responsibilty of making their identity known, an often exhausting burden that shoudn’t fall solely on their shoulders. Pronouns are a major part of anyone’s gender identity, but for gender nonconforming and trans students, a constant question comes along with these commonplace linguistic




tools: are people going to respect them? Walking into new classes during syllabus week, it’s always a gamble whether or not the professor will even bring up the option to make one’s identity known, and, if they do, whether or not they’ll respect them. Car Shapiro, a nonbinary transmasculine junior at SU often feels unrecognized. “I have my pronouns (he/they) in my email signature and the people around me are aware, but it always feels like it’s never put at the forefront of my identity.” Shapiro has even had problems with faculty members respecting his pronouns. “Professors and faculty also only read me as a man. A big reason I decided to minor in WGS is because I felt seen and accepted in my classes, whereas in Whitman, I’ve only been referred to as “them” in one class, and I’m a junior in the business school.” The faculty and mentors at SU are the authority figures who are supposed to teach you and make you feel comfortable. When this institution does not ensure faculty be inclusive and follow the proper procedures for acknowledging students’ gender expressions, it can be frustrating to constantly have to remind people of your identity.

Parsons added, “It’s mostly just getting people to understand that my presentation is not my identity.” No matter how students at this school present themselves, they deserve a chance to be accepted fully. Though both Parsons and Shapiro, as said in their own words, physically present more feminine and masculine, respectively; they both share their frustrations with being misgendered. “I feel like because I’m cis-adjacent [sic] people just read me as a man, and even when they know I’m nonbinary they still see me as a guy,’’ Shapiro said. Because SU does not provide clear and simple resources to display or change your preferred pronouns and gender in academic settings and in the school’s database itself, wrongful assumptions are much more common. SU has the ability to make this campus more gender-neutral, but what will it take to achieve that? One bathroom is not enough, and the off chance that one’s identity will be respected in class is not enough. As Galal said, “Trans rights are human rights, however trans rights are being challenged everyday, so SU must take a clear stand that they stand with the trans community here at SU.”

W or














Collections can be a “tell-all” about who a person is and what they value. For these four Syracuse University students, collections of crystals, figurines, tarot card decks, band merch and memorabilia, and cameras hold a large space in their hearts (and college bedrooms). Some collectors, like Rachelly Buzzi and Zell Vidal — who collect crystals and band merch/memorabilia, respectively — view each piece in their collections as a timestamp for a memory or keepsake from an experience. “A lot of them [crystals] come from friends, family, and even exes, while others I’ve bought on trips or just randomly,” said Buzzi. “A lot of them have a certain meaning, but they’re a little mosaic collection of different parts and people of my life.” Some collections sit on the owner’s desk or armoire, while others are tucked away, worn, used, or kept in mint condition behind glass. There are usually two different types of value associated with one’s collection; actual monetary value and sentimental value; and the two aren’t always correlated. Vidal’s collection of band apparel, vinyls, and CDs are costly, ranging from $20-$60 per item, while the setlists they’ve obtained were free, but they are deemed as much more valuable. “You can take setlists from the show, but you shouldn’t. Mine were given to me by the bands themselves, which gives me a sense of pride and serves as a physical reminder of the show,” said Vidal. “I’m also not the type of person to preserve band merch; I like wearing it and using it as a conversation piece.”






















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Sophomore Meredith Tokac collects tarot card decks and figurines, which turn her plain south campus space into a vibrant and personal environment. Many of her figurines come from “blind boxes,” aka mystery boxes, so it’s always a fun surprise to see what she gets. Some of her favorites include Dimoo Animals, where the character Dimoo is made into different animals like fish, and TokiDoki’s Unicorno collection. Kenneth Barrist’s collection of cameras is massive, with about 40 total, so more than half are back home in Philadelphia. He decided to bring eight cameras with him to school to ensure they stay in prime condition. Barrist started collecting cameras in high school after his dad gifted him his old Argus C3, which his great-grandfather used to shoot photos on. Since then, he has been able to find unique cameras from thrift and antique shops, and more recently, he collected a bunch from an estate sale. His favorite camera of his collection is the first he ever took apart and fixed: his Minolta SRT 201. “I even replaced the strap from the rotting black leather to a blue faux leather,” explained Barrist.



BEING ALLOWED TO DREAM Author and SU English Professor Mona Awad talks to Jerk about escaping into writing, how social media has changed bookish culture, and some of her favorite novels. Words by Pearl Cadigan | Photo provided

JM: Have you always loved to write? MA: Yeah, yeah. I was a really shy kid, and I think writing was my way of speaking — it was my way of kind of telling the truth about whatever I was feeling but in the fun of a story. So it let me lie and exaggerate, which is why I love fiction, I think. You can tell the emotional truth in fiction, and you don’t have to stick to the facts, and I love that. So yeah, I think it was a way to have a voice. JM: Your book Bunny has become super popular on BookTok and BookTube — what is your opinion on these newer landscapes people are finding books through, and what has your experience been having one of your books gain so much social presence? MA: I get told that a lot that [Bunny] has kind of got its own life on these other platforms. I think it’s awesome because as an artist you just don’t know — you get published and you have no idea what’s gonna happen to your work; if it’s gonna find the audience that you hope it finds, and in this case, I really feel like it did, so it excites me. It’s all people who are young and people who connect with the loneliness, the outsiderness that’s in that novel; and also the exploration of creativity and the exploration of desire. For whatever reason, there are people who connect with it, and I’m just so glad that these channels, these kinds of platforms, are available that can bring people close to that work that they might not have discovered otherwise.

JM: Is Bunny your favorite book you’ve written? MA: It’s so funny — Margaret Atwood says you can’t ever say it out loud, because the other [books] will hear you, but it was a really huge turning point for me, definitely. It was the first book where I started discovering my interest in the fantastic, and I just realized what was really possible in fiction. For me, it was kind of like the moment I jumped off a cliff creatively, and it caught me — the wind or whatever — so that was extremely exciting, creatively. It has a very special place in my heart. ... The beautiful thing about a book is that it can actually change you. You can go through the experience of it and be changed by it; that’s amazing. JM: What are some of your favorite books? MA: This is a really controversial answer but I love American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis — that’s probably one of my favorite books. It’s just so transgressive, and the narrator crosses all of these terrible lines. But it’s wonderful, too, because it’s so intimate, and it’s so committed to itself. It’s just an incredible portrait of a monster... I love The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, he’s a Japanese author, but it’s in English. And that’s an old book, and it’s really just a lonely little book about a butler having kind of a mid-life crisis in mid-century England, but it’s just so beautiful. You’re just really with him. ... So I guess I like the kinds of books where they are very intimate and I feel like the protagonist is telling me a dangerous secret, and then it feels like the stakes are really high and I’m just with them; I love that feeling.


Let’s talk about the consignment store just a few blocks away from campus that you need to know about. Words by Sadiya Kherani Photos by Surya Vaidy

The next time you find yourself on Westcott St., take a turn onto South Beech and you’ll arrive at Cluttered Closet, the vintage store of your dreams. This thrift shop has a disarranged yet perfectly organized feel, (you know, like when your clothes are thrown all over your floor, but you know exactly where everything is). Owned by Syracuse local Bri Hess, this quaint storefront has everything your secondhand-obsessed heart desires. Hess runs the store based on consignment, but it’s more curated than your typical thrift store would probably be. She finds all the badass vintage items people crave and stocks her store with them, selling houseware, shoes, clothes, and everything in between. Of course, a big target for her is Syracuse University students, so she tries to curate items she knows this demographic wants. “[Customers] come in and they’re like, ‘I love that I can find that one thing you can’t find anywhere else,’” said Hess. Before Hess ran the storefront, her aunt owned Cluttered Closet. As a kid, Hess constantly found herself rummaging around the store; looking through the clothes, home decor, hats — basically whatever she could get her hands on. She described the store as her “safe space.” Hess’s aunt was thinking of selling

the store as she started to approach retirement, but Hess was lucky enough to be in a place financially where she was able to take over. “My mission is to keep this happy place alive for people who feel the same way,” said Hess. As exciting as it has been to own her very own thrift store, Hess is still a small business owner and, in turn, faces many challenges. “Any fluctuation in shopping for economic reasons, or not finding the items I hope will come in... or items I need to keep it going can be a challenge,” she said. With that being said, Hess is taking this challenge by the reins and integrating some new strategies, such as featuring live music, to bring in customers. Despite the obstacles, there are so many beneficial aspects of owning a thrift store, but according to Hess, the absolute best part of it is the community. “Aside from being in my happy place, what’s cool about being in this area is meeting a lot of people from all over the country, [like] students that have traveled to come to SU or ESF, and getting to hear their stories,” said Hess. If you want to support Hess and her small business journey, follow her on Instagram @clutteredcloset315, tell your friends, and shop ‘til you drop.

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Photos by Ben Piers and Libby Dy Words by Liz Goldblatt Modeling by Reggie Hobson, Rachel Price, Carly Murray, Johany Madrid, Kate Crabtree, Jacieon Williams, Isabella McDonald Makeup by CC Gulbrandsen, EJ Bishop, Claudia Varona Creative Direction by Liz Goldblatt Set Assistance by Bella Young




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This is Après-Ski.


Imagine this — you just got off the slopes. You are staying somewhere fabulous like Aspen, St. Moritz, Val d’lsere, or Whistler. You have spent the past hour drinking champagne and eating fondue with your stunning rich friends. You take off your goggles, and the sun is beaming onto your face. You’re hot, sweating, and still a bit tipsy. You take a moment to look around and bask in the immaculate energy that surrounds you. Together, you are the most sexy and lavish people to ever touch this snow. Life is good.



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WINTER FASHION’S BEST FRIEND Exploring the resurgence of the balaclava. Words by Julia Reedy Art by Marisa Goldberg

With a nod to après-ski fashion, the balaclava is this season’s must-have item. Popular among celebrities and influencers, the piece has become an integral item in winter wardrobes; it’s the kind of accessory designed to keep ‘em guessing what’s underneath. But like many trends that have been popularized by mainstream media, the balaclava has become a point of controversy; asking us to take an analytical look at its history and cultural significance. Essentially, the balaclava is a type of knitted headpiece that has multiple variations: some with entire face openings — just covering the head and ears — some that cover the entire face and just have slits for the eyes; and those with openings for the eyes, mouth, and nose, (like those we see in Spring Breakers or The Purge,) among other varying combinations. They also come in different colors, patterns, and fabrics, ranging from wool to cashmere. (Hot tip: they can also be easily made with just a scarf). As with most popular trends, controversy surrounds the balaclava. In countries such as France and Canada, where it is illegal for Muslim women to wear cultural head coverings such as turbans and hijabs in certain spaces, a double standard is presented as non-Muslims (and primarily white people) sport the balaclava — which is a similar looking piece of headwear. The balaclava may not be limited to any one culture, but it is a type of headwear that goes unpunished while hijabs receive backlash. In other words, the balaclava is seen as a fashion statement, and the hijab a political statement. Though it’s not illegal to wear a hijab in the United States, there are stigmas and prejudices toward the headwear that are

deeply rooted in Islamophobia. Often, people see the hijab as a symbol of oppression or danger, as a tool designed to strip the rights of Muslim women and limit their expression. In reality, though, it is a woman’s choice to wear a hijab, and there is freedom and empowerment in deciding to do so. In a New York Times article, 20-year-old content creator Tayah Jabara spoke about this double standard. She explained that she welcomes the trend, so long as non-veiled balaclava wearers keep in mind that, “if they feel warm, comfortable, secure or cute in their knitted headscarves, they feel the same about my wearing a hijab.” Still, this remains a nuanced issue, and not all Muslim women openly accept the now widely popularized piece. As long as there continues to be a stigma surrounding the hijab, there will be valid apprehension towards the balaclava. Even though it’s just now gaining traction on our TikTok and Instagram feeds, the balaclava is no fad. We’ve seen the accessory on fashionforward retro starlets from a number of different generations, such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Jackie Kennedy, who are all embodiments of a timeless style in their own ways. Balaclavas are not just limited to outerwear and campus fashion, though; they’ve also been used on the runway and seen in both Gucci and Calvin Klein’s 2018 Fall/Winter shows. Even at other fashion events — like the Met Gala, for


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Etsy. Or you could always implore your trusty grandmother to knit one for you, or, better yet, if you’re the crafty type — knit or crochet one yourself! No matter how you feel about the balaclava, it’s undeniable that it serves its true purpose: to keep the wearer warm. In fact, the word ‘balaclava’ comes from the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War of 1854, where British troops knitted the headwear to keep them warm. Though the journey to your 8 a.m. is not comparable to a Russian winter war, there’s certainly no harm in cozying up in your balaclava as you make the trek. What it really comes down to — in our opinion — is that if you don’t respect women’s choice to wear hijabs, take that balaclava off your head and do some damn research.


example — the balaclava has been sure to make an appearance. (Think Kim Kardashian’s 2021 Balenciaga ensemble look, which was completed by a balaclava. Talk about guessing what’s on underneath, or rather, who). This year’s resurgence of the headwear can be attributed to high-end brands and designers like Miu Miu, Maison Margiela, Jacquemus, Acne Studios, and The Row, to name a few. But not to worry, if you do choose to invest in a balaclavas, more affordable options are available from brands like H&M, Target, ASOS, and Aritzia. Like always, though, we recommend buying from sustainable knitwear brands and businesses (if you have the resources to do so), such as Paloma Wool, Los Angeles Apparel, and sellers like AvgustKnit on


FORM AND FUNCTION: How to dress like a...

WES ANDERSON CHARACTER Words by Liz Goldblatt and Pearl Cadigan Photo by Liz Goldblatt Directed by Molly Scheuer Assistance by Noa Putman, Ava Lahijani Modeling by Izzy Garland Margot Tenenbaum is nothing short of iconic. The adopted daughter of Royal Tenenbaum became an acclaimed playwright at the age of nine. Margot is also known for mental breakdowns, sexual promiscuity, and a secret smoking addiction. But above all, she is coined by her contradictory, unchanging look that strikes a balance between high aspirations, rebellion, and childlike innocence.

HAIR CLIP: A statement barrette is essential to our style. Not only does it look chic, but our therapist also says it helps heal our inner child. EYELINER: This heavy eyeliner speaks to our try-hard dark outlook on the world and reflects our glamorous angst about the state of current affairs — both personal and political. It also masks our leftover makeup from last night, which is always a plus.

PREPPY SHIRT: We’re trying to master country-club conservative with an edgy twist and that absolutely cannot be done without a collared tennis shirt. No, we don’t actually want to rot in the sun on a Sunday morning playing doubles, but we want it to look like we do — kind of. You know what we mean?

FUR COAT: We’re rarely seen without our signature mink coat (which we say we’ve worn since childhood, but really bought on Depop in November). Though it may be out of date and unethical, we try to modernize it with a nonchalant attitude — even when we may be very much chalant.

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Students on campus are swapping out their AirPods for clunkier, more retro styles. Words by Molly Scheuer Photos by Liz Goldblatt

Srhythm NiceComfort 35

AirPods Max

JBL Tune 500bt

EJ BISHOP: “I like to wear


NICKY KIM: “I like wearing over-

headphones because in the

AirPod Maxes so much. Ever since

the-ear headphones because

winter, my ears get cold. I

I got them, I’m barely taking them

they’re protective and warm. I

listen to music all the time, so

off. The sound quality is amazing,

love how noise-cancelling they

it’s important to me that my

and the noise-cancelling and

are because I like to block out

headphones are high-quality.

spatial audio are game-changers.

everything else when I’m walking

I’ve been listening to a lot of soul

I’ve never had headphones quite

around campus.”

music and folk recently.”

like these before. They’re cool, comfortable, and sound great.”

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The Art of Scars Scarification artist John Joyce on scarring, healing and self-expression. Words by Zoe Glasser Art by Callen Moore *TW: Mentions of self-harm, abuse, suicide

Do you think of your scars as art? You may not, but several cultures around the world do. Scarification originated as a longstanding cultural custom in tribes across West Africa, including the Kô tribe of Burkina Faso. According to HuffPost, Kô scarification includes both cutting and branding techniques to create patterns on the face that identify one as a member of the tribe. During the 1970s and ‘80s, West African scarification was co-opted by Americans looking to decorate their bodies in unique ways, and thus the art of scarification in the West was born. Jerk sat down with John Joyce, one of the few scarification artists in New York and owner of Scarab Body Arts in Syracuse, to discuss his relationship with the art form and its unique allure.

Jerk Magazine: How did you first get into scarification? John Joyce: I originally kind of got into all of this by accident. I was in school for architecture, and I needed a job that was relaxed enough where I could do my drawings on my model work. The shop that I had originally gotten a few piercings at was looking for somebody essentially just to answer phones, make appointments for the other artists, things like that. So, I originally got into it just as a kind of a side gig — just as a place where I could actually do my schoolwork and get paid to work at the same time. The longer I was there, the more responsibility I started being given. They needed a piercer, and I became a piercer. The owner of that shop offered branding, which was my introduction to scarification. He was a phenomenal branding artist. He eventually had a couple of clients who asked him about the scarification by cutting. He didn’t know a whole lot about it, but he offered to do it. Unfortunately, he did it without putting any real research into it, and he found out pretty quickly that he was in a little over his head and he stopped offering it. Eventually, those clients asked me if it was something that I would be willing to finish or something that I would be willing to fix and that’s how I ended up getting into it.

JM: What is the difference between branding and cutting scarification, and what are the processes for each? JJ: There are a couple of different ways to do branding, but when you first say it, what most people think of is livestock; branding cattle or horses. You have one piece — whatever the design is, it has to be fairly simple. Usually, it’s like a letter or an X or something. You heat that up and with a blowtorch, essentially, and then you push that against the skin. This works really well with livestock where their bodies are much larger and much flatter. It doesn’t work as well on humans because our surface area is much smaller and if you try to do that in an arm, the arm is curved, and if you just push it on straight, the center ends up scarring way deeper than the edges and causes a lot more tissue trauma. The other form of branding is called cautery branding, which is usually done with a handheld instrument that is either battery operated or plugs into the wall. That one is much easier to control, and the temperature is going to be the same every time because it has a really thin wire tip on it that you use to tap the skin and you can trace out whatever design you want. When I used to do branding, I did the cautery branding, which was with the handheld tool. The reason I stopped offering branding is that the designs have to be really simple



“A lot of times, it’s kind of a reclaiming of their own body.” John Joyce


“After doing it for over 20 years, my favorite part is meeting people and being a part of their story and their personal growth.” John Joyce


JM: Why do clients choose scarification over traditional tattooing? JJ: In the past, I’ve had people who have some existing scars that they’re uncomfortable with, whether they’re from an accident, from surgery, sometimes their old self-harm scars, sometimes scars from abuse that they’ve gone through. A lot of times, it’s kind of a reclaiming of their own body. There’s quite a few [for whom] I’ve turned an existing scar into something else. Sometimes you can cover scars with tattoos, but a lot of times depending on what the scar looks like, you’ll still see the scar through the tattoo. I’ve done a few on people who really don’t like the idea of tattooing because they don’t like the idea of a foreign substance in their body. Until very recently, most tattoo companies would not tell you what was in tattoo ink. A lot of studios use really low-quality inks because they were cheaper, and you had no

JM: What’s your favorite part of being a scarification artist? JJ: I recently did a piece on a woman who was raised Orthodox Jewish and was always told [to get] absolutely no tattoos, and she promised her parents she would never get tattooed. Even though her parents have passed away at this point, she felt she needed to honor that promise, but she wanted to decorate her body. For her, doing a small scarification piece was a way to be true to herself, but also true to the promise she made to her parents. So, at this point, after doing it for over 20 years, my favorite part of it is meeting people and being a part of their story and their personal growth. JM: What is the most important thing people who are interested in scarification should know? JJ: I turn down far more [pieces] than I actually do, and that’s part of the reason why I end up going through these long periods where I don’t do any scarification. There’s not as much information out there on scarification as there is with tattoos, and a lot of the information that is out there is just wrong. A lot of times when people contact me about scarification, I have to sit down with them and make sure that they understand that everybody heals differently. I can do a spectacular job and make sure everything’s really consistent and everything looks great fresh, but I don’t have any control over how your body is going to heal. I have to make sure that [clients] understand that some scars are going to heal flat, some scars are going to heal puffed up or sometimes scars heal indented. Sometimes they’re going to be kind of red. Sometimes they’re going to be white. They’re always going to look different and the person has to be okay with that.

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JM: What drew you to scarification over more “traditional” body art? JJ: The reason I personally didn’t get into tattooing originally is, honestly, just because of the studio that I was trained in and because of the way most tattoo studios were set up at the time. Most tattoo studios were set up where there’s flash on the walls, which is what the designs for the tattoos are called. I didn’t like that because I watched the tattoo artists that I worked with essentially do the same tattoo multiple times a week. There wasn’t any creativity in it. [With] scarification, I’ve never done the same thing twice. Scarification also isn’t nearly as common as tattooing, so it’s not like I’m doing scarification every single day. A lot of times with scarification, you might be working with existing scars that [the client] already has, which can be caused by any number of things. To me, there is much more artistic freedom and connection with a client that I like a lot.

idea what you were putting in your body, which is why in the past reactions to different colors and things like that were so common, so I’ve had people get scarification just because they didn’t want to put the tattoo into their body because they couldn’t say for sure what was in it. For other people, it’s a tactile thing. When a tattoo is fully healed, it’s flat. With scarification, it’s going to have some texture to it. Honestly, some people just want to try it just to try it. They’ve already had tattoos and they just want to try something new.


because the heat spreads, so the designs have to be really simple so that it doesn’t blur together. Scarification by cutting, on the other hand, is done with a scalpel where you are essentially cutting the skin. It doesn’t have the heat and it doesn’t radiate out, so the scar stays a little bit more controlled. It just gives you a lot more artistic creativity and control over what you’re doing.




Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Hollywood’s biggest night. Words by Margo Moran Art by Ande Wittenmeier

lack of identities represented in nominations, but the actual films that gain recognition are always a point of massive contention. The top ten greatest snubs for Best Picture (in Jerk’s humble opinion) will be broken down on page 61. This year’s nominees have already yielded a chunk of drama for everyday people who don’t think these directors, actors, and actresses deserve their spots and had other favorites who should have earned a place on the podium. To get the uncensored truth about this year’s nominees, flip to page 60 to find out which film you are! Are you the personification of Don’t Look Up with a penchant for infographic use and clumsy satire, or are you on more of a nostalgic path utterly devoid of plot and cohesion, pulling what we call a total Licorice Pizza? Ladies, gentlemen, and Jerks, without further ado, let’s meet our stars.

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Every morning, the sun rises in the East, and every evening, it sets in the West. People are born, and people die. There are facets of our world that are inevitable, regardless of if we as individuals want them to happen or not. The Academy Awards, colloquially known as the Oscars because the award statue reminded an actor of his Uncle Oscar and for some reason we as a society ran with that, is one of those facets. This one-night extravaganza is broken down into 24 categories, covering every part of film production including direction, acting, lighting, design, and more with a glamorous red carpet event leading up to the awards. This is a fullday celebration of the film industry and the people who make it what it is. However, every year, people at the heart of the industry are excluded because of their identities not being of interest to the Academy. On page 63, we’ll delve into the exclusion that has plagued the Best Director category since the origin of the awards. On page 59, we’ll answer the question you’ve been asking since you started reading this: what the fuck is the Academy? Not only is there always controversy surrounding the


WHAT EVEN IS THE ACADEMY? Working towards a definition of what the Academy truly is, because seriously, who the f*** actually knows? Words by Julia Reedy Art by Ande Wittenmeier

Ah, Oscars night. For celebrities, it’s a night full of opportunity: a golden statue, a chance to stunt in custom-made pieces by big-name designers, and maybe, if all goes well and the stars quite literally align, the means to create more nepotism babies who practically run the industry at this point (Maude Apatow— we know you’re reading this— we love you). As for the rest of us, it’s a night when we camp out in front of the TV (perhaps with a bottle of cheap champagne in hand), and root for our favorite actors and actresses, regardless of whether their performance was really deserving of an Oscar. It’s the Super Bowl for theater kids, pop culture fanatics, and film bros alike. But unlike the Super Bowl, it’s not as easy to place blame on a single person or team. Rather, it’s the system we attribute our misgivings toward — the system formally known as the Academy. We curse the Academy when our pick for best actress gets snubbed, and we praise them when our favorite period piece wins best costume design. It’s a vicious cycle, this hot-and-cold, give-andtake relationship we develop with a system we know very little about. So the question emerges: who are we cursing, and who are we praising when we think “they” got it right? Is the Academy some mysterious higher power or just a dignified group of men in suits pulling the strings however they please? Thankfully, it’s neither. The Academy itself is made up of film artists who work in the

production of theatrically-released motion pictures. In total, there are 17 branches which make up the Academy, ranging from Actors to Writers. This year, the Academy is made up of 9,487 eligible voting members, with the likes of Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington in their ranks. But it’s not enough to simply work in the industry in order to join the Academy, and filling out an application doesn’t quite cut it either. In fact, one has to be sponsored by two active members within the Academy in order to even be considered for the process. (Need a loophole? Easy! Just become an Oscar nominee, and you’re automatically considered for a spot in the Academy, no sponsorship necessary). A person is considered qualified for a position in the Academy when they have made an “outstanding contribution,” “earned special merit,” or “achieved unique distinction” in their given field. Reviews take place once a year in the spring. The Academy’s Board of Governors (how official) then sends out invitations once they have reached a final decision. The voting process begins in late December once all members have been inducted. Nominations are conducted categorically — that is, actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, so on and so forth — but all voting members can nominate best picture. Nominations are then announced in midJanuary at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Final voting is open to all members of all categories, and, as we all know, the results are then revealed on that highly anticipated night in March when all bets are off and, yet still, nothing in the world could stop you from curing that damn Academy.



WHICH OSCAR-NOMINATED FILM ARE YOU? Take this quiz to find out if you’re more of a Chalamet or DiCaprio.

QUIZ Where are you most likely to be on a Friday night? A. Creating protest signs B. Re-watching your favorite movie C. Listening to your famous Broadway playlist D. Writing an imaginative short story Which words do you live by? A. “The earth is what we all have in common.” B. “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” C. “Where words fail, music speaks.” D. “The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.” Who are you most excited to see on the Oscars red carpet? A. Jennifer Lawrence B. Bradley Cooper C. Rachel Zegler D. Zendaya Which was your favorite childhood TV network? A. Animal Planet B. Cartoon Network C. Disney Channel D. Nickelodeon Where can you usually be found around campus? A. Hanging in Thornden Park B. Watching a film screening in Gifford Auditorium C. Practicing a new song and dance in Crouse College D. Creating innovations for the future in Life Sciences

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Words by Katie Ferreira Art by Ande Wittenmeier

RESULTS Mostly A’s: Don’t Look Up Ambitious and caring, you’re ready to fight ‘til the end to defend the truth. Though you can be something of a controversial figure, those who support you are incredibly loyal and admire your passion. Keep standing up for what’s right and preparing for whatever giant metaphorical asteroid may be heading your way. Mostly B’s: Licorice Pizza We can tell that you’re a bit on the quirkier side, and we love that for you. You often find yourself nostalgic for a time before you were even born, and even if you were born in the wrong generation, keep on “California Dreamin’” and curating the perfect coming-of-age playlists on Spotify. Mostly C’s: West Side Story Whether you’re a born theater kid or more of a background character, chances are that you’ve already fallen for the tale of West Side Story. You’re a sucker for a classic love story, and what better backdrop than the bustling neighborhoods of New York City? Fiercely loyal and a hopeless romantic, there’s no better film to represent you than this finger-snapping musical. Mostly D’s: Dune Like the decades-old story of Dune, you’re a timeless classic. Your wild imagination can take you to far-off lands, and you can’t help but be a hero. Whether in the sands of Arrakis or the snows of Syracuse, you’re a fearless leader with a taste for adventure.


10 MOVIES THAT SHOULD HAVE WON BEST PICTURE The Academy has failed us, but Jerk is here to put some respect on the names of our favorite films. Words by Aryaan Anand Art by Ande Wittenmeier The Oscars never seems to escape notoriety. Apart from the many ceremonial blunders, the Academy Awards have long been critiqued for their decisions on awards with some choices being pretty laughable. Whether it’s on Letterboxd or a heated discussion with your friends, everyone has adopted the informal movie critic role at some point, and now it’s our turn. So here are 10 of our biggest Best Picture snubs from the last few decades. Get Out Is it horror? Is it comedy? Or is it just social commentary? Probably a little bit of each, and so much more. In what was a year with multiple movies worthy of Best Picture, Get Out still seemed to stand

out from the bunch. Its combination of visual storytelling and slow-burning satire encapsulates the facade of America moving towards a “postracial” society. The Sixth Sense Directed by Cards Against Humanity’s very own M. Night Shymalan, The Sixth Sense explores themes of family and grief. Despite a heavy focus on the afterlife, the movie doesn’t solely rely on jumpscares. Instead, it uses the afterlife to highlight the (quite literal) haunting that grief can cause. The big twist at the end just adds to the numerous thematic layers within the movie. Roma Roma is a magical movie. It’s as simple as that. The beautiful cinematography dives into inner Mexico City in a way that mainstream Hollywood could and would never even attempt. For all of Netflix’s failures, Roma is one of its biggest successes. Unfortunately for Alfonso Cuaron, the Academy deemed the whitewashed story of Green Book to be a better film.


Lady Bird Competing with Get Out, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name is no easy feat, but Lady Bird managed it. The only flaw with this comingof-age indie masterpiece is that it was released in the same year as those other notable films. Regardless, someone please give Greta Gerwig the Oscar she deserves! Zero Dark Thirty The harrowing sound of calls being made during 9/11 coupled with a black screen perfectly set the scene within the first minute of Zero Dark Thirty. The movie mixes dramatized fiction and reality to explore the aftermath of America’s biggest tragedy. It perfectly captures the moral ambiguity associated with revenge without being dispassionate. The Social Network Facebook may be a platform of the past, but the lessons learned from The Social Network are more timely than ever. At the time, the movie was considered almost biographical; a story of how the biggest social network ever was founded. In reality, the movie showcases the real power of Facebook — a tool in the hands of wealthy, white Ivy League men with the power to exploit the masses.

Moneyball On the surface, Moneyball might seem like a movie about baseball, but it is far from that. With only a few on-field scenes, the movie explores the power sports can have over someone as well as the power it can make them feel. It follows the Oakland A’s management using new methods of analyzing the sport to reflect the creation of information elitism. Sports tend to be business first, play second — and Moneyball effectively portrays the ruthlessness of sports and capitalism.

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Brokeback Mountain The Academy has loved to shy away from movies that challenge traditional norms. The story of two gay cowboys was an uncomfortable watch for many at the time of its release, but it provided a much-needed breath of fresh air in an industry that lacked representation. Love should always win, but in this case, it wasn’t enough.

Black Panther It’s not just a superhero movie. Black Panther is so much more; it delivers the representation the Black community has yearned for. The movie subtly highlights issues of race and power within a futuristic African society with a king surrounded by a band of brilliant Black women. Black Panther is a symbol of Black liberation and power that has changed the notion of what a superhero movie can and should be.


Boyhood 12 years. That’s how long it took to film Boyhood. Just that commitment should’ve been enough for it to win Best Picture. The film takes you on a fictional journey with a young boy as he navigates adolescence with the only indicators of time being the changes in physical appearance and emotions of the characters.


OPENING THE CURTAINS Comprehending the Academy’s historic lack of diverse representation. Words by Kaelie Macaulay Art by Ande Wittenmeier

It’s no secret that Hollywood can be one of the most ruthless, gendered industries. Every year, the Academy Awards reflect years of the suppression of women. Even after the public outcry for more representation in nominations and the narrative that ‘it’s 2022, things must be better,’ there is still a lack of representation of women. In its 94-year history, only seven women have been nominated for Best Director — the first being Lina Wermüller in 1976 — and only two have won. For reference, Steven Spielberg has been

nominated for Best Director eight times in a 45year period. In that same span of time, six women were nominated for Best Director, with only one being a woman of color. The inclusion of women of color in nominations has progressed at a slower rate than men. Penélope Cruz is the only BIPOC woman nominated for best actress in 2022. In 94 years, only one woman of color has won Best Actress. However, two Black women, Ariana DuBose and Aunjanue Ellis, were nominated for Best Supporting Actress this year.


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more women, but the pace is much too slow. Best Director and Best Picture have been progressing at a faster rate than the rest of the categories, but even that is still staggeringly disproportionate to the representation of men. Editing and cinematography are equally as important to the making of a film. However, this year, there has been one woman nominated in both categories. While that is monumental, the fact that it has taken this long is appalling. Every award season is a reminder that there is still much progress to be made in how we value films. Media frames our lives; how we view ourselves and the world. Films show the lives we want and the lives we never thought we’d have. The stories told within them influence our policies and how we view society. And with a lack of representation of women, a chunk of the human experience is missing so long as we miss the opportunity to learn from their perspectives on a grand scale.


If DuBose wins, she will become the first queer woman of color to win an Academy Award. Women did not just randomly jump on the movie scene in 1976, and Lina Wermüller was undoubtedly not the first woman to direct a hit movie. Still, the misogyny behind the cameras has kept women out of the limelight. In order to be nominated, a director must be nominated by another director. With the film industry historically being a boys club, the nomination process perpetuates the cycle of male domination. This year, Jane Campion is making history with her nomination for Best Director of the film The Power of the Dog. She has become the first woman ever to be nominated twice for Best Director, her first nomination being for The Piano in 1994. In the 28 years since her first nomination, more women have been nominated for Best Director than in the first 65 years of the Academy Awards combined. The Academy is making strides to recognize



A KID NAMED RUFUS Words by Emane Haque Photos provided Jerk Magazine: What was the vision for your latest EP graduation? Rufus Sivaroshan: It was based around my time in quarantine — basically sort of figuring out my challenges with mental health and trying to remain positive throughout all of it. I wrote it in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. I had just graduated from high school, had nothing to do really at home, and was counting down the days moving to Syracuse for school. Navigating the difficulties of not being able to graduate the way I wanted to and dealing with my depression and anxiety and coming to terms with it. Calling it ‘graduation’ was sort of full circle. It definitely helped me. It gave me a clearer perspective writing all those songs.

so wild. That was my first time performing as an artist. Likewise, with Omar Apollo, that was a much bigger crowd, that was in Kuala Lumpur, my hometown. Being able to represent where I’m from is really cool.

JM: Can you tell us your experiences opening for Alec Benjamin and Omar Apollo? RS: That was surreal. I had been listening to Alec’s music for a while, I was a fan. I had just put out a song, and Alec was touring South East Asia and his team reached out ... It was less than a week before the show was supposed to happen. It was fucking dope. People wanted my photos, my autographs. That was

JM: Any plans for the future? RS: An album is currently in the works, it’s almost done. There are a lot of exciting things coming up. I’m trying to sign a record deal right now, trying to get my artist visa. It’s been a long process, which is why things have been pretty quiet on my end. Once all those things are done I’m really excited to release again.

JM: What influence does Syracuse have on your creative process? RS: Being at Syracuse really has changed the way I write. Playing house shows has been fun; playing with a live band for the [first] time. I think a lot of the stuff I’m writing now uses more instruments, and I’m really excited about that. Just being able to play live, sharing different sounds rather than something that’s just pre-programmed on a computer is super fucking cool.

SOUNDS LIKE: LoveLeo, Isaac Dunbar, Forrest Nolan JERKS TO: Zipper, Eyedress, Soccer Mommy




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AND JUST LIKE THAT, ANOTHER REBOOT. Justice for Austin Butler. Words by Naimah Rahman Art by Sophie Sternkopf

She’s hot, she’s young, she’s in her NYC studio apartment wearing the latest Vogue trends and paying for overpriced cosmos. No, we aren’t describing micro-influencers, we’re talking about good ol’ Carrie Bradshaw. As long as you don’t ask too many questions about how this young woman is affording a rather spacious Upper East Side brownstone on a columnist’s salary (we know, every MND major’s dream), then we think you’d thoroughly enjoy the show. What we’re not so sure about is if the same can be said about the classic series’s reboot, And Just Like That. Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda (we miss you Samantha) are back on our screens in this new HBO Max series, and as thrilled as Jerk is to be transported back into the lives of middle-aged white women with unrealistic lives, we really did not want or need to see them suffering through some of the mid-life crises that And Just Like That shows us. Yes, it’s fun to see Carrie get looks for wearing a monstrous tulle skirt in her local bodega. But we can’t help but ask: did SATC really need a reboot in the first place? We are tired of the same story being told in new fonts. And if you do decide to tell a story again, maybe don’t leave out integral parts of it? Samantha was a fan favorite, only for a slew of reasons (including beef between Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker and Cattrall’s distaste for playing Samantha), she chose to opt out of the reboot. We think we all deserve to see Samantha

abuse Hinge in her 50s. Big is another character missing from this season–– actor Chris North is certainly never making a return between the heart attack and sexual assault allegations. We never want to see a Carrie dream sequence starring Big anytime soon. If we’re being honest, it feels like Sex and the City never ended. If you have the TikTok For You Page of any young person, chances are you’re being spoonfed NYC transplant content that often mirrors the life of Carrie Bradshaw: inexplicable real estate, insane fashion, and wild dating stories. And if you’re still craving television that shows a young friend group navigating love and life in New York after binging all six seasons of Sex and the City, don’t worry, because you no longer just have How I Met Your Mother, now you have How I Met Your Father! If that doesn’t satisfy you then try HBO MAX’s take on Gossip Girl. Yes, And Just Like That does give us some (very few) lovable moments from our favorite girl squad and even includes a very important conversation about grief, but at the end of the day, it just feels like it’s trying too hard. We can’t help but cringe as we watch Miranda consistently tries to appear “woke” (your white feminism is showing HBO). Seriously, what were these writers thinking? If we really want to talk about a Sex and the City spin-off, we need to address the cinematic masterpiece that was The Carrie Diaries. We were robbed of potential years of Austin Butler content.

Wait, is this fucking magazine about us? @jerkmagazine