VOL. 22 ISSUE 3 OPENWIDEZINE.COM
meta MORPH OSIS
OPENWIDE THE FIMS’ ALTERNATIVE STUDENT PUBLICATION
editor's note Dear Readers,
Congratulations for making it through another year. We've had our ups and downs, but summer is fast approaching and we're all going to have a much deserved break for the next four months.
Editor-In-Chief Juliana Konrad
In honour of this transition period, we've named Issue 3 Metamorphosis. Whether you're leaving Western this year for good or returning next year, this is a time of change for everyone. I want to say a heartfelt thank you for everyone for supporting OPENWIDE this year. Working on this little zine has been one of the most gratifying things I've done during my time at Western, and I can't wait to see where the future takes it.
Senior Editors Tia Sacks Jessie Chabot-Hamden Digital Content Coordinator Kylie Walker Lauren Medeiros Sarena Akhter
Thanks for being on this journey with me, and I hope you enjoy the final issue of Volume 22. Stay cool, calm, and critical FIMS. I love you. Juliana Konrad Editor-In-Chief
Assistant Editor-In-Chief Jumana Labib
Resident Writers Sahaana Kuganesan Bianca Vasile Nicole Goverde Cat Tang Hailey Wettlaufer Sabrina Caramico
creative team Lead Graphics Cassie Kaczmarski Graphic Designers Kayla MacInnes Mya Cahill Rachel Feigenbaum Thea Medland Zainab Moosavi Resident Artist Emma Russell
Social Media Coordinator Selena Lim Photographers Farah Shohib Milena Sztainbok Podcast Editors Pritha Mukherji Rebecca Bartkiw Madeleine McColl
DISCLAIMER: the sole responsibility of this publication lies within its authors. Contents do not reflect the opinions of the University Student's Council of Western University (USC). The USC assumes no responsibility or liability for any error, inaccuracy, or omission, or comment contained in this publication or for any use that may be made of such information by the reader.
table of contents Gen Z is Not As Horny As Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Makes it Seem
Spring 2022 Watchlist
A Beginner's Guide to Birdwatching
Happily Never After: Culture Jamming Disney
Ways to Get Involved At Western: Dance 10-11 Kylie Walker Cilantro: Love It Or Hate It? 12-13 Tia Sacks 10 Books to Read Based on Your Favourite TV Shows 14-15 Mya Cahill Media and Mental Health: from Britney to Kanye 16-17 Sahaana Kuganesan What Euphoria Character You Are Based on Your Zodiac Sign 18-20 Mya Cahill Starbucks: A Whole Mood + 2022 Drink Twists You NEED to Know About 21-23 Sabrina Caramico Photography Insert
Hanging Up On Call Her Daddy 25-26 Hailey Wettlaufer A Culture of Influence
Back Cover Art
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Cover Art by Farah Shohib Model: Zain Ghonaim
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GEN Z IS NOT AS HORNY AS NETFLIX’S TOO HOT TO HANDLE BY SABRINA CARAMICO MAKES IT SEEM ikinis, beaches and …. Lana. The most recent season of Netflix’ Too Hot to Handle suggests that Gen Z is hornier than ever and just can’t keep it in their pants. Self-control, resisting temptation, commitment — it’s not that hard.
When a ticket on the show comes with instant social media fame and global glorification, would you play the too horny to handle part? Would you set your morals aside for two months in Turks and Caicos under the condition that you perform your horniest, ditziest, and most uninhibited self on live television?
But is there any truth to Too Hot to Handle’s overplayed sexual frustration and horny-induced madness? Does it reflect the assumed isolation and boredom underlying the pandemic dating scene? There are many popular opinions. But I think NOT.
Sound enticing? ... meh, not to me. Along with other reality dating shows like Love is Blind and Temptation Island that indirectly pokes fun at contestants by depriving them of one of their senses, Too Hot to Handle belongs in Netflix’s cringeworthy top five. It’s erotic fun, I guess, but also just trash television. But here we are … Three seasons later, and with each receiving higher viewership than the last. It’s no secret that people are turning their attention to the show, whether guiltily done or not. But what viewers may see as entertainment is really just a voluntary subscription to their own submersion in a pool of faulty narratives and concerning messages about love and intimacy. The show and its ten sexually tempestuous contestants sends a toxic message about the parameters of love and intimacy. By equating love to lack of physical touch and intimacy to one’s ability to resist sexual urges, Too Hot to Handle uses the ‘restrictive dating’ ploy (common in other reality dating shows like Love is Blind and The Circle) to create a façade of that globally lusted, picture-perfect “healthy” relationship.
Though there have been a few successful (or temporary successful) stories – like Iyanna and Jarrette from Season Two of Love is Blind, Beaux and Harry from Season Three of Too Hot to Handle and Olivia and Alex Bowen from Season Two of Love Island – the majority of contestants have not had success or have temporarily forced or even staged relationships for clout. Real love, who?
The most concerning part, however, is that the show puts a price tag on the ability to resist the temptation for sexual conduct. Specifically, a $100,000 prize fund governed by a cone-shaped surveillance robot named Lana that measures the “success” of each contestant in their efforts towards ‘improving’ their romantic relationships and ability to form deep connections.
The casting conditions in themselves show that from the Too Hot to Handle POV, to be beautiful, hot, sexy, and desired, you should also be hypersexual, sexually driven, and hungry for some kind of clout. Because after all, to be hot and not lust or have sex on your mind 24/7 is something like wasted talent, duh. Undoubtedly scripted and overly stylized to suit its horny narrative, the show makes sure all the females cast are hot and ditzy and males even hotter and more … douchey, for lack of a better word.
This horny reality show may just be the poster child for toxic intimacy — or better yet, a very melodramatized reflection of ‘quarantine thirst.’ Regardless, it’s not that hard to resist temptation. And true love doesn’t need to completely exclude physical touch to be genuine. Green means go – when contestants’ watches light up green, Lana, the show’s automated surveillance system and host, awards a small window of physical intimacy. Suggesting, again, that moments like this should be earned or granted sparingly to signal something real.
From the start, every female character shows off their slim waist, large bust, and perfectly plastic features. The men overemphasize their player sides and fit bodies. Both make explicit, in their intros, their favourite hobby, strongest trait, and best talent: sex. There are stereotypical gender and toxic appearance norms written all over this. Making women and men out as prizes to be won or claimed only via sex is socially ignorant. The show makes light of the complete and utter sexualization, objectification, and fetishization (and all those other big important words) of bodies. This is troublesome in so many ways.
Too Hot to Handle plays the temptation card and amps up the heat by emphasizing what everyone wants but can’t have: sex … and its subsidiaries. Sexual intentions, frustrations and aspirations are over-dramatized from the first episode of every new season. Obviously scripted and exceptionally cringeworthy contestant introductions, for example, are told so that everything about them is sexualized— from their hobbies and interests right down to their name. Talk about some bad role-play.
Putting ten “hot” people on a beach for two months and asking them to resist their urge for sexual exploration is a ticket to disaster, so it seems. If Too Hot to Handle ‘says’ anything at all it’s that hot people want to be with hot people, that being hot together propels Insta fame, and that breaking rules and being disobedient is okay if your looks can compensate for the trouble.
Being sexually frustrated can be controlled in other, more sane ways. I mean come on, we don't see women stopping to paint representations of their yonis (female vagina) whenever they feel the need to suspend sexual thoughts and draw power from their bodies. Nor do we see men holding their shaft while screaming at the top of their lungs to “release” sexual tension. I mean, I’d surely run if I saw anyone do that in public. It just doesn’t work like that. While there are rules while on the show (no heavy petting, kissing, sex and/or self-gratification), there are also conditions for being cast: first, you must be an Insta-confirmed, socially acceptable beautiful person, and second, you must see sex in everything and everyone and feel sexual desire at least 23 hours a day.
It’s disappointing that these narratives still stick, and that escapist trash television still sells. But I can’t say I'm necessarily surprised. Too Hot to Handle places too much importance on physical lust, and to be honest, our generation is just not as horny or commitment-phobic as Too Hot to Handle makes it seem.
GRAPHICS BY K AY L A MACINNES
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
TO BIRDWATCHING BY
Spring is here and that can obviously mean only
And don’t forget that birdwatching (birding) is about
one thing: getting into birdwatching. If you’re
more than just you and the birds — it’s about joining the
looking for a new, low-cost hobby that will get
larger birding community and finding like-minded pals
you out of the house and into nature, look no
to explore the outdoors with. Groups like Bird Friendly
London, the Upper Thames River Conservation AuthoriThere’s a few things you’ll need: first, a
ty, Nature London’s Birding Wing, Thames Talbot Land
to identify and track birds.
Trust, and Friends of Kilally Meadows ESA all offer
Apps like iNaturalist,
eBird, and Merlin are all
events that you can
useful for identifying
and tracking different
species of birds. For
m e d i a .
folks who prefer
eco-hiking stay updated
paper to digital, field guides like (the National
graphic Field Guide to
resource is the “Bird
the Birds of North America
Friendly London Ontar-
are trusty classics, along-
side a notebook can do the
which boasts almost
job. While not a necessity,
500 members and is
investing in a pair of
managed by members
binoculars can be a very
of the London Bird
useful tool for those
looking to take their birding
to the next level!
group is a
place where London bird
Gibbons Park, Kilally
photos of bird sightings,
Springbank Park are all
suitable local places for
birding that also provide key accessibili-
So, lace up your shoes, grab
ty features like paved paths, public
washrooms, seating areas, and access via
there—the world of birds is waiting for
public transit. Other great bird watching
locations in London include the Fanshawe Conservation Area, Westminster Ponds, and Kains Woods.
GRAPHICS BY KAYLA MACINNES
HAPPILY NEVER AFTER: CULTURE JAMMING DISNEY By Nicole Goverde
In my four years at Western, I have never come
The victim? The Disney Princess franchise. The
across a more perfect academic concept than
medium? Movie jackets.
culture jamming. It’s critical, it’s fun, and it is so MIT.
package, and distribute some of the most Culture jamming is a symbolic, semiotic form
bigoted stories over and over, for years--and
of resistance and protest that is predominantly
has made huge profits in the process. They
used in non-mainstream sectors. It takes pre-
have disseminated harmful ideologies about
existing cultural artifacts, icons, symbols, and
identity, in the shape of shooting stars and
meanings in an attempt to subvert, challenge, and critique the original connotations; think
I imagine most people have had what I’ll call
the “post-childhood Disney epiphany.” It's that
moment when you look back at or rewatch
some of the media Disney fed us as kids and realize how messed up it is.
With culture jamming, your only limitation is your imagination; it can take infinite forms. Some of the more popular types include anti-
You might think about the Disney Princesses
ads or subvertisements, billboard banditry, and
and wince at how ridiculously small their
waists are or question the multiple storylines
platform, in any space, and can be about
that included older men kissing minors while
they were asleep. Maybe the once endearing story of how Ariel made a man fall in love with her without ever speaking to him is just gross
Just recently, on International Women’s Day (IWD),
assimilation, not love.
several companies by responding to their IWD tweets with their gender pay gap. For example,
Little kids grew u p on these disgusting and
after the Thames Valley Police tweeted about their upcoming “Women in Policing” event in
influence, they internalized a lot of them. Our
saying women’s hourly pay at Thames is 2 0%
culture jam aims to subvert some of the myths
lower than men’s. Many companies deleted
Disney originally imbued in their media, and
their original tweets after the bot jammed
reveal the absurdity of them.
them. We call it: Snow White and the Gender Roles. Remember when I said culture jamming is fun?
Well, I know this from experience. Recently, I
made my own culture jam for a group project.
Culture jam At first glance, you might not notice anything too weird about the jammed version, but the closer you look the more absurdities you’ll find. This is exactly the goal of culture jams--to create something that looks almost exactly like the artifact being critiqued, but that reads a whole lot differently.
Graphics by Cassandra Kaczmarski
So lean in, think critically, and enjoy.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED AT WESTERN:
DANCE BY KYLIE WALKER
GRAPHICS BY THEA MEDLAND
Imagine this. You’re backstage at a dance competition. Dressed in a costume with so many rhinestones glued on it blinds the human eye, an announcer calls your name and invites you on stage. Pulse racing and hands shaking, feelings of excitement and adrenaline take over you. The audience roars as you gracefully move across the floor. You’re nailing every turn, kick, and trick. For most dancers, being on stage is the best feeling in the world. But, many dance enthusiasts don’t get another chance to move and groove after they graduate from high school. Fortunately, dancers attending Western University have the opportunity to continue their training when they move on to post-secondary. Offered through the Don Wright Faculty of Music’s Music Education Department, Western’s Dance Minor program welcomes every student — no matter their experience — with open arms. Dancers can take introductory courses like Dance Basics, Modern Dance Technique, and Introduction to Theatre Dance, or can continue their training in Ballet Fundamentals, Dance Improvisation, and Intermediate Dance Composition and Production. Do note that students enrolled in the Dance Minor program, as well as kinesiology and music majors, have top priority when enrolling in these courses. “I’m so grateful Western has a dance minor program,” says Emily Fedak, fourth-year MIT and dance student. “Dance brings me so much happiness, and my university experience wouldn’t have been the same without getting to dance at least twice a week.” Dance minors practice in a studio buried deep in the basement of Alumni Hall. Equipped with ceiling-to-floor mirrors, ballet barres, and springy vinyl flooring designed for the performing arts, it’s a place where dancers feel right at home. “If anyone wants to see what the Dance Minor program is all about, we’re putting on a show on April 2 at the Paul Davenport Theatre, which is right on campus,” says Fedak. “Admission is free, and the dancing is phenomenal.” 10
If there’s no room in your busy school schedule for dance courses, HipHop Western and UWO Dance Force are two recreational clubs worth researching. You’ve got a spot on these teams regardless of whether you’ve stepped foot in a dance studio or not.
Both clubs offer weekly classes for beginners and the experienced, and choreograph routines to showcase at their year-end recitals. “We train in all types of dance genres, like ballet, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre,” says Breanne Valk, UWO Dance Force team member. “But my favourite to perform is heels. There is nothing more fun than putting on a pair of platform shoes and strutting around a stage to your favourite song.” There are also three competitive dance teams comprised of Western students — HEAT Dance Team, INmotion Dance Team, and This Is London Dance Company — that go head to head with other university dance teams across Canada. Auditions for each team take place at the end of September. Here, dancers will learn small combinations, show off their technique, and improvise. “We took on 10 rookies this year,” says Meghan Frampton, HEAT Executive Choreographer. “Each one of them is so talented. We are so lucky to have a group of not only amazing dancers but amazing people. HEAT is so much more than just a dance team. We’re a family.” Once chosen to be a part of a team, dancers spend their Sunday nights twirling around in dance studios across London. Practicing each week, teams gear up to perform at three competitions and a year-end recital in March. “We know how important school work is to our dancers,” says Rosalie Deschênes-Lebel, This Is London Dance Company Social Media Executive and Choreographer. “We want to schedule rehearsals that don’t interfere with their class schedules. That’s why Sundays are so perfect.” To watch these teams, tap your way on over to London Music Hall, located on 185 Queens Ave, where the HEAT Dance Team and Dance Force cannot wait to perform for you on Mar. 23. and Apr. 1., respectively. On Mar. 28., This Is London Dance Company hits the Wolf Performance Hall Stage, and on Apr. 3. INmotion showcases their talents at the same venue.
LOVE IT OR HATE IT?
By: Tia Sacks
How many of you love the taste of cilantro? How many of you absolutely hate the taste and smell of cilantro and think it tastes like soap? Among popular leafy greens and herbs including kale, lettuce, arugula, parsley, and more, cilantro is highly controversial. Whether it is found in a salsa, guacamole, or a dressing, there is always at least one unhappy camper at the dinner table. But what makes this healthy, natural plant so polarizing and divisive? Interestingly enough, both those who enjoy it and despise it taste a completely different flavour. Those who like cilantro will tell you that they find it refreshing and citrusy, while those who do not will tell you that it tastes like soap. The question is, why? One study by Nicholas Eriksson et al. found that people's fondness of Cilantro is connected to your genes, and certain ethnocultural groups favour it more than others. For instance, Ashkenazi Jews had the highest population who tasted soap, while people from South Asia had the lowest. Perhaps this stemmed from different foods being accessible across various regions of the world in ancient times. Furthermore, another study by Antti Knaapila et al. found that identical twins share the same cilantro preferences while fraternal twins do not. Moreover, as we delve deeper into the science behind our cilantro taste buds, we learn that humans have a gene in our chromosomes which enables us to smell particular chemicals, including the oil fragrance in cilantro, and also to your surprise, the secretions of stink bugs. Yummy.
So maybe cilantro in fact does truly taste unpleasant, and those who do enjoy cilantro like myself, may be mutants who have the inability to experience its unpleasantness. 12
Interestingly enough, the Eriksson et al. study concluded that this gene is not hereditary. This means that it happens by chance, that one’s DNA strands either happen to contain the soap gene or not. This was a shock to me, as I believed that the reason I enjoy cilantro is because both my parents and my two siblings also love to eat it. Reflect on your own families and consider how many of them like the taste by chance. Interestingly enough, those who are mutants have the ability to receive the health benefits cilantro has to offer when they eat it, and those who can taste the stink bug secretion cannot bear to. According to nutritionists, cilantro leaves contain important bioactive compounds which enhance your health and prevent diseases. It is also good for cleansing toxins out of the body and bloodstream which you ingest from environmental pollutants and contaminated food and water, as it helps your kidneys, liver, and lymph nodes work effectively. One doctor in the 1990s named Yoshiaki Omira found that adding large portions of cilantro to soup helped remove mercury from the body through urine. Furthermore, cilantro also contains anti-anxiety properties which are comparable to the effects of antianxiety medications like Valium. And finally, cilantro can help multiple skin issues, such as rashes, sunburns, and other irritations from poison oak and hives. Since it helps clear our livers, it can also help clear liver-related disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. With all that being said, it is so interesting how something so natural, yet so disputed, can end up being one of the most healthy foods for us. It is also fascinating to think about how only those who are mutants and enjoy the taste of cilantro can happily enjoy it and consume its benefits. Those people, like myself, cannot taste the stink bug secretion properties that exist in the herb, which really makes me wonder what it tastes like to those who can. Furthermore, it is interesting to look back at your ethnic backgrounds and discover whether your preference towards cilantro is conducive to your places of origin. Mine is not, as I am an Ashkenazi Jew, and Ashkenazi Jews have the highest rates of soap tasters. That being said, our opinions towards cilantro are much more deep-rooted than we may think, and it is quite intriguing to learn about it further. So, what about you? Are you a soap/stink-bug taster, or do you enjoy the taste of cilantro just like me?
Graphics by: Juliana Konrad
10 Books to Read Based on Your Favourite TV Shows By: Mya Cahill There is a lot in store for TV and book lovers in 2022! Finishing a show is always bitter-sweet, especially when you have to wait a whole year for the next season. Finishing a book can be even more tragic. To help solve this problem for you, I’ve created a list of books that are similar to iconic TV shows for you to read during the wait!
1. you watched: Normal people
Although The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a more light-hearted romance novel, it still has the same tension as Normal People. In the book, Tiffy and Leon share a flat yet work completely different schedules, and only communicate through letters on the fridge until they finally meet face-toface. This novel will lift you up after the heartbreak that was Connell and Marianne.
2. you watched: Yellowjackets
If you enjoyed the fast and freaky ride of Yellowjackets, then Bunny by Mona Awad should be your next read. While this book favors an offcampus setting rather than the remote forest, it is still as bizarre and entertaining. Plunge deep into the sinister yet saccharine world and follow Ava as she falls under the spell of the rich girls called Bunnies. Witness the loneliness, friendship, and desire as Ava and the Bunnies take part in unusual rituals that lead to a deadly collision.
3. you watched: You
The wickedly satirical show has a sparkling sense of humor and you will find the same psychological thrill in The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Alicia’s life seems perfect, until one fateful night that changes everything. It is a shocking read about a woman’s violent act and a therapist who is obsessed with uncovering the truth.
4. you watched: Bridgerton
If you are anticipating the arrival of the second season of the historical period-drama Bridgerton, Manda Collins’ A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem will satisfy the wait. Filled with romance and humor, the story of Lady Katherin Bascomb and D.I. Andrew Eversham will make an entertaining read made even better by the addition of a murder mystery plotline.
5. you watched: The Sex Lives of College Girls
This whole-hearted, diverse, and coming-of-age TV show shares a lot in common with Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan. If you enjoyed this HBO show and especially loved Kimberly, then you will definitely enjoy this exquisite novel. It is a hilarious, insightful, and readable story about a complicated friendship between two women, Elizabeth and Sam.
6. you watched: outer banks
Surfing, family, and the beach are what tie Outer Banks and Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, together. If you are aching for the same summer vibes you got from watching the Netflix Original, then this novel will satisfy your need.
7. you watched: Good Trouble
Good Trouble is a niche show with a diverse cast who go through reallife struggles. A Love Story For Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan is about three young adults, Grace, Annie, and Violet, whom all lead completely different lives like those in Good Trouble. It is packed with humor and a heart-warming tale of female friendship and first love.
8. you watched: The Wilds
The drama, tension, and fierce women in The Wilds are exactly like the ones in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This book portrays the mysteries and dangers that arise after a plane of teen beauty queen contestants crashes on a desert island. Though the book came out 10 years before The Wilds, it is still an exciting and intoxicating read.
9. you watched: Euphoria
While the second season finale of Euphoria just aired, the willfully provocative aspect of the show can be found in Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney. Following two best-friends who are also exgirlfriends, Frances and Bobbi, as they figure out adulthood, their lives take a turn when they befriend an older married couple, Melissa and Nick. If you enjoy the relationship drama Euphoria offers but want to see it in a college setting, then Conversations With Friends is for you.
10. you watched: Pam & Tommy
The lives of celebrities in Pam and Tommy are as intriguing as both the TV show and the book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, portray. Join Monique as she is enraptured in Evelyn’s Hollywood life from the 1950s- 80s. It is a remarkable novel about love, sexuality, and women that will leave your heart feeling full.
15 Graphics By: Mya Cahill
MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH
from Britney to Kanye
BY: SAHAANA KUGANESAN Men and women go through very different life experiences. From how they are treated, viewed, and discussed, the contrast is stark. This is especially true in celebrity culture where the media is involved. “Crazy” was just one of the many offensive words used towards international popstar Britney Spears who underwent a very public breakdown in 2007, where she infamously shaved her head and was scrutinized by the media for years. This word has also been used to describe American producer, rapper, and fashion designer Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), as a response to his public mental health breakdown caused by his recent divorce with the American socialite, Kim Kardashian. I don’t think many people are strangers to the news surrounding Ye and his recent social media posts, but here’s a refresher:
These posts may seem like juicy entertainment for the majority, but what I see here is a man going through a very public divorce and having to deal with it in a very public setting, while also being diagnosed with bipolar disorder (although, this diagnosis is something the public has been aware of since 2016). Though, this does not excuse Ye’s bad behaviour, but it may help explain it. Bipolar disorder consists of two contrasting ends of the mood spectrum: mania and depression. And according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, it’s described as an unstable state and contains symptoms such as “grandiosity, over-optimism, or impaired judgment.” We’ve seen these traits in Ye when he ran for the 2020 United States Presidential election and spent an excessive amount of his own money in doing so. He’s also made outrageous assertions about slavery and frequently makes impulsive social media posts like the ones seen above, on sites like Twitter and Instagram. And obviously, everyone is eating this all up. Ye has been a continuous trending topic in the media, even surpassing The Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. And the trend of the media and public critiquing celebrities isn’t anything new– as seen with Spears.
Spears was hospitalized in 2008, and placed in a conservatorship where she lost many of her rights. Her father was appointed as her legal guardian after a court agreed she could no longer make her own decisions. After this court ruling, her father was required to sign off on every single major decision that Spears made and her conservatorship remained in place until November 12, 2021, after nearly 14 years of having her life controlled. After concerned fans began to suspect that Spears was being controlled by her family and management, it led to the Free Britney movement. The stark difference between the two? Spears was forced into conservatorship and was unable to spend her own money without permission, but Ye had the ability to run for president. As seen from Ye’s social media posts, he has been publicly harassing Kim and her boyfriend Pete Davidson. The domestic harassment Kim is experiencing is unacceptable: Ye has shared private conversations between him and Kim while also putting out a claim for fans to attack Davidson in public, which he later retracted. During the pandemic, domestic violence, harassment, and abuse were at an all time high– and there was little being done about it. Kim is one of the most privileged women in the world yet she still has not been able to escape domestic harassment– which speaks to a larger cultural issue. Nobody should be denied the chance to follow their dreams, regardless of their mental health conditions. But, the contrast between Spears and Ye is upsetting. After Britney was initially hospitalized, what was supposed to be a two day conservatorship turned into 14 years of having her life controlled by someone else. Yes, these events happened in different decades, but Spears has only recently been able to see some progress. And it's not just Ye – other celebrities like Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen who have had highly publicized issues with mental health are now rarely brought to public attention, remaining in the past. Yet, Spears’ life is hardly back to normal. Female celebrities are disproportionately scrutinized by the press. Not only are they expected to act innocent and perfect at all times, but they also must have the perfect body, go on dates –but not too many– yet also not be a prude. According to societal expectations, women have to get married and have kids because if they don’t, something must be wrong with them. They must be fun, loving, mysterious, sexy (but not too sexy and empowered to become threatening), caring, submissive, dedicated, a good cook, and so much more. Men also have expectations about masculinity in the dominant society. They have to be a man. Which means not showing their emotions, being tall, and strong, and loud, and– well you guys get the point. While men and women both have it hard, systemically, females have been set up to not succeed. For the longest time, we’ve lived in a man’s world, and it can still feel that way. Would Spears have been placed in a conservatorship if she was a man? Would her finances have been controlled by her father if she was a son instead of a daughter? Hard to say for certain, but most likely not. Ye and Spears both have it hard; mental illness isn’t easy. Are they any different than us, besides the extreme amounts of wealth? I think that’s a huge difference. But Spears’ wealth is what led to her conservatorship and Ye’s wealth hasn’t been a roadblock to him. Maybe it’s because people have trouble seeing a woman be so successful. Maybe Spears’ support system was just terrible.
GRAPHICS BY: RACHEL FEIGENBAUM
WHAT CHARACTER YOU ARE BASED ON YOUR ZODIAC SIGN
BY: MYA CAHILL
YOU ARE TURBULENT, ENERGETIC, AND TEMPERAMENTAL WHICH MAKES YOU SIMILAR TO ASHTRAY. ARIES BELONG TO THE FIRE SIGN ELEMENT SO YOU ARE PASSIONATE WHEN DEALING WITH CONFRONTATION, JUST LIKE ASH IS. HE GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND TO PROTECT FEZ AND NOTHING WILL GET BETWEEN THEM IF ASH CAN HELP IT. HE EXUDES THE NATURALLY BRAVE SPIRIT OF AN ARIES REGARDLESS OF HIS YOUNG AGE.
TAURUS: LEXI HOWARD
LEXI IS THE OBSERVER MUCH LIKE YOU, TAURUS. SHE IS ARTISTIC AND CREATIVE WHICH PROMPTS HER TO CONDUCT AN EXTRAVAGANT SCHOOL PLAY THAT REFLECTS HER FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND PERSONAL LIFE. SHE HAS A STRONG SENSE OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG AND IS RELIABLE FRIEND TO RUE, WHO SHE NEVER GIVES UP ON. SHE IS SELF-POSSESSED, STRONG-MINDED, AND STABLE, AND IS MORE INTERESTED IN AMUSING HERSELF THAN OTHERS, JUST LIKE TAUREANS. (I.E. BOB ROSS).
GEMINI USUALLY EMBODY TWO DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES IN ONE. LIKE A GEMINI, ELLIOT IS SOCIABLE AND READY FOR FUN, BUT CAN ALSO BE THOUGHTFUL AND SERIOUS. IT ISN’T EASY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HIS TRUE MOTIVES ARE BUT THERE IS DEFINITELY MORE TO HIM THAN MEETS THE EYE, DESPITE HIS MYSTERIOUS NATURE. LIKE A GEMINI HE IS OPEN-MINDED WHICH MAKES HIM AN EXCELLENT ARTIST, AND HE ALSO SHARES THE SAME EXTREMELY CURIOUS TRAITS AS OTHERS OF THE SAME SIGN.
CANCER: CASSIE HOWARD
EMOTIONAL, SENSITIVE, AND HIGHLY IMAGINATIVE ARE JUST A FEW TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOU, CANCER. CASSIE EMBODIES ALL THAT A CANCER IS, ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE LOVED AND IN A RELATIONSHIP. SHE IS SYMPATHETIC AND ATTACHES TO THOSE SHE KEEPS CLOSE WHICH IS ALSO TRUE TO THIS WATER SIGN. SHE IS GUIDED BY HER HEART AND EMOTIONS WHICH CAN MAKE HER MOODY, BUT SHE CAN ALWAYS ADAPT TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS, JUST LIKE YOU, CANCER.
LEO: MADDY PEREZ
MADDY EMBODIES THE MAGNETIC, DOMINANT, AND CONFIDENT QUALITIES OF A LEO. IT IS NOT A SURPRISE THAT SHE LIVES FOR DRAMA AND IS ALWAYS READY FOR A GOOD FIGHT. SHE ALSO HAS A BIG-HEART LIKE MOST LEOS EVEN THOUGH IT IS CONCEALED BY HER AGGRESSIVE NATURE. SHE IS THE STAR IN EVERY ROOM AND SHE HAS A PASSIONATE SPIRIT, JUST LIKE YOU, LEO.
VIRGO: RUE BENNETT
IT IS NO QUESTION THAT RUE IS A VIRGO. SHE PORTRAYS HERSELF AS A SARCASTIC AND DIPLOMATIC INDIVIDUAL BUT IS NON-CONFRONTATIONAL, SHY, AND RESERVED AS WELL (SHE ONLY USES CONFRONTATION AS A TACTIC TO GET OUT OF SITUATIONS SHE FEELS THREATENED IN). SHE NARRATES AND ANALYZES THE LIVES OF EVERY OTHER CHARACTER IN GREAT DETAIL THROUGHOUT THE SERIES, WHILE PRESENTING HER OWN HARDSHIPS AS UNBREAKABLE HABITS, WHICH IS A TRAIT COMMON TO EARTH SIGNS.
A LIBRA GIVES THEIR ALL WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE, AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT ETHAN DOES IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH KAT. YOU ARE KNOWN TO BE ROMANTIC AND LOOK FOR A LONG-LASTING CONNECTION WITH OTHER PEOPLE. ETHAN IS PEACEFUL AND FAIR JUST LIKE THE AIR SIGN, AND HE FAVORS JUSTICE AND EQUALITY IN HIS LIFE.
SCORPIO: NATE JACOBS
THE MOST SECRETIVE, DECEPTIVE, AND DISCREET CHARACTER OF THE SHOW IS NATE. HE IS OBSESSED WITH HIS REPUTATION AND WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO KEEP HIS STATUS. HE IS POWERFUL, RESOURCEFUL, AND DEDICATED AND HAS A DETERMINATION THAT IS EXCLUSIVE TO SCORPIOS. NATE IS MYSTERIOUS AND CLOSED OFF AS HE NAVIGATES THROUGH HIS TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS, JUST LIKE SCORPIOS CAN BE.
SAGITTARIUS: KAT HERNANDEZ LIKE A SAGITTARIUS, KAT IS ENERGETIC, CURIOUS, AND IDEALISTIC WHEN IT COMES TO HER LIFE. SHE IS ALWAYS MOTIVATED TO TRANSFORM AN ASPECT OF HERSELF AND IS OPEN TO ADVENTURES. IN HER RELATIONSHIP, SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE TIED DOWN AND PREFERS TO BE FREE AND COMPLETELY INDEPENDANT.
FEZ IS THE MODEL OF MORALITY IN THE SHOW. JUST LIKE CAPRICORNS, HE IS RESPONSIBLE, HUMBLE, AND REALISTIC. HE’S A LOYAL BUSINESSMAN THAT TAKES CARE OF HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHEN THEY NEED IT MOST. LIKE THE EARTH SIGN, FEZ IS INTELLIGENT, STABLE, AND RELIABLE EVEN IF IT IS NOT OUTWARDLY KNOWN.
AQUARIUS: GIA BENNETT
AQUARIANS CAN BE SHY AND QUIET BUT HAVE AN ECCENTRIC AIR ABOUT THEM, JUST LIKE GIA. LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HER SISTER, GIA IS A BIT AFRAID TO EXPRESS HER TRUE PERSONALITY WHICH MAY BE RELATABLE TO YOU. SHE ALSO HAS A NEED TO HAVE ALONE TIME AWAY FROM THE DRAMA OF HER LIFE TO RESTORE HER THOUGHTS AND POWER.
PISCES: JULES VAUGHN
JULES, LIKE A PISCES, IS ARTISTIC, INTUITIVE, AND OVERLY TRUSTING. SHE IS FRIENDLY, SELFLESS, AND ALWAYS WILLING TO HELP OTHERS. JULES CARRIES THE EMOTIONAL TURBULENCE OF OTHERS AND USUALLY FINDS HERSELF IN THE COMPANY OF VERY DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS. LIKE YOU PISCES, SHE IS FUN, CREATIVE, AND COMPASSIONATE.
GRAPHICS BY: MYA CAHILL
Starbucks. A Whole Mood + 2022 Drink Twists You NEED To Know About BY SABRINA CARAMICO
GRAPHICS BY THEA MEDLAND
“And can I get a name for your order?” Sound familiar? … You’ve probably heard it during your last visit to Starbucks. The popular coffee chain has a place in all our hearts, whether you’re a Starbucks-lover yourself or know someone who is. At the end of the day, even if Starbucks is not your thing, it likely means a lot to someone that means something to you. It’s a fair assumption to make. I mean come on, do you think our (for the most part) sleep deprived and highly over caffeinated society would beg to differ? The imprint Starbucks makes on our hearts and the footprint it makes in the world, though, is what makes it stand out as more than just a coffee retailer. Starbucks is a mood, a culture, and – to be MIT fancy – a Habermasian third place that purposefully and continually establishes itself as a middle ground, a place of comfort, and an area of ‘escape’ between home and work. The consistency communicated through the white and green Starbucks cup positions the brand as both a social necessity and element of habitual control. Who are you without your daily cup? Do you turn into an unrecognizable shrek-like monster? Do you become inoperable? A different person? Are you even conscious? Yes, Yes, Yes, and a big fat NO! While it seems funny, is it okay to find ourselves so heavily reliant on not only coffee, but a brand like Starbucks? One that many admit creates such a strong sense of community around a paper cup? “It’s Like a Reward.” Regardless of the brand, coffee is widely fetishized and associated with accomplishment and leisure. Students, surgeons, busy people, non-busy people, so many people look to coffee as a saviour— all hail the #grandeicedcaramelmacchiatos of the world. Starbucks leverages this caffeine addicted perspective to glamorize the concept that coffee, like water, is essential to daily ‘survival.’ Starbucks reinforces the social fetishization of coffee in that when consumers purchase a cup, they also buy into a fictive sense of cultural belonging plus everything else that is offered, cultivated, and maintained by the luxurious fantasy world devised around the Starbucks coffee drinking experience. 20
Starbucks has become a medium of communication in and of itself. It signifies class, expresses sophistication, and embodies luxury cafe-going. Starbucks coffee is not average coffee, but rather an elite café experience and curated cuisine. Starbucks coffee, in the classic white and green cup, is also a fashion statement. An accessory that consumers proudly brand and hold high. I mean, it goes well with any outfit, amirite? If we take from Barthes and Saussure’s theories of signification, we can read Starbucks in this accessorized way; specifically, on a connotative level and as more than just coffee. A homemade cup of coffee packed in a to-go mug ‘reads’ differently than a Starbucks cup does. Homemade coffee is simply that: coffee. But Starbucks coffee conveys meaning beyond just coffee. Starbucks may be the poster child of the coffee industry, but it’s also an exemplar of brilliant marketing. Starbucks creates a sense of fear of missing out (FOMO) through its advertising, showing consumers who don’t drink Starbucks coffee what they’re missing out on and why they need to hop on the Venti bandwagon. Starbucks epitomizes and embodies the crosscontamination of food and luxury. The iconic coffee brand has significantly transformed the ways in which coffee is interacted with and consumed. It has influenced the caliber of beverages we drink, when and where they are enjoyed, what they taste like, and how often they are consumed. People are hooked, obsessed, and addicted to their daily dose of Starbucks dopamine disguised as caffeine. This speaks to the immense cultural capital and verified merit Starbucks coffee has acquired in societies far and wide. The discursive power of Starbucks coffee lies in the feelings of immediate satisfaction and inclusion it gives consumers at every visit. As such, culture continues to be re-written with each Starbucks menu addition. 21
Starbucks Drink Twists You NEED To Know About HOT COFFEE
Vanilla Pistachio Coconut Milk Latte Hazelnut White Chocolate Mocha Hazelnut Mocha Latte (nutella dupe) Cinnamon Caramel Oat Latte Vanilla Toffee Almond Flat White Hazelnut Almond Americano Vanilla Chestnut Almond Flat White Vanilla Bean Coconut Macchiato Honey Oat Cookie Latte Vanilla Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Pistachio Brown Sugar Oat Milk Flat White Caramel Brown Sugar Coconut Milk Latte Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha Caramel Toffee Mocha Cinnamon Cookie Oat Cappuccino Vanilla Honey Almond Flat White
Coconut Vanilla Cookie Iced Blonde Latte Macchiato Iced Brown Sugar Pistachio Macchiato Iced White Chocolate Caramel Macchiato Raspberry Coconut White Chocolate Mocha Iced Hazelnut Mocha Latte Hazelnut Pistachio Shaken Espresso Vanilla Toffee Sweet Cream Cold Brew Iced Vanilla Chestnut Mocha Vanilla Caramel Iced Coconut Milk Latte Raspberry Mocha Latte Vanilla Almond White Chocolate Mocha Cold Brew With Pistachio Caramel Sweet Cream Cold Foam Iced Caramel Mocha Caramel Sugar Cookie Iced Macchiato White Chocolate Mocha with Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam Vanilla White Chocolate Mocha with Matcha Sweet Cream Cold Foam Brown Sugar Coconut Milk Shaken Espresso Vanilla Hazelnut Shaken Espresso Vanilla Bean Mocha Frappuccino
Iced Vanilla Coconut Matcha Raspberry Vanilla Iced Matcha Latte Vanilla Almond Matcha Latte Chocolate Raspberry Hot Chocolate Vanilla Peppermint Hot Chocolate Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate
Vanilla Raspberry White Hot Chocolate Vanilla Hazelnut Iced Chai Tea Latte Iced Vanilla Raspberry Matcha Lemonade Vanilla Bean Iced Chai Tea Latte Hazelnut Coconut Iced Hot Chocolate
Photo by Farah Shohib
A CULTURE OF INFLUENCE: a conversation about humanity through an emma-chamberlain-focused lens. By: Bianca Vasile I’ve always recognized celebrity culture as something strange - a result of our human desire to idolize and worship; a feature of a superficial society. And the idea of influence- that's even stranger. The whole marketing industry hinges on this concept. Companies wouldn’t survive in their current state without the assistance of several pretty-faced celebrities taking up space and having the power over people that they do. We don’t know celebrities, or “influencers.” They are incredibly far removed from our lives: geographically, but also physically, emotionally, and financially. It may be smarter to choose an idol who is at least in the same economic bracket as we are. Yet, we are so entranced by the allure of their supposed perfection- the way they move like silk and twist and turn for cameras on the red carpet in a way so buttery smooth and rehearsed, it's as if they were born to be looked at. It seems that their influence comes naturally. Recently I think that their allure of perfection has diminished somewhat, and is in the process of being replaced or perhaps reborn by Gen Z characters like Emma Chamberlain, who are simply tired of faking it. This narrative is growing stale, I know. Many of us have heard about Chamberlain before, and we likely know that the online ‘real’ lacks authenticity and is often the farthest thing from the true meaning of the word, but somehow I am still sucked into the ridiculous magnitude of it all. Somehow, a 16-year-old girl from a suburban town outside of San Francisco is creating tidal waves in the way we speak, act, and conduct our social lives. Again, it’s weird. Influence. It’s a little bit scary when you think about it, and I’m not sure if she would have wanted it when she started this whole thing. Everything she says and does is viewed through a magnifying glass, despite the fact that she doesn’t necessarily know what she’s doing - just like everyone else trying to navigate adulthood. So, she must seem like she does or admit that she doesn’t, and make it her brand. Chamberlain could have faked her confidence in the beginning- said that she was pretty, popular, and a cheerleader. People probably would have watched her for those reasons. She would have fit right into the shallow world that had already been created by those before her. It’s a choice that would have made sense, and no one would have blamed her for it. I almost would have expected it. Or, she could choose the much more difficult option. One that probably should have ended in failure, but somehow didn’t. She decided to tell whoever would listen that she failed her drivers test, and honestly, that she was kind of depressed.
27 That she didn’t really want to be making videos, but her dad said maybe it would help. And that she cries a lot, but is trying her best.
I guess there are two options in the world of influence: one that’s most obvious, and one that’s scarier and far less likely to work. I’m honestly surprised that it did. Chamberlain built her brand on her love of coffee and confusion about how the world works. But slowly, people watching her videos felt that maybe it was ok to sleep in a little later some days and that being upset some of the time was a function of the human experience, rather than a failure of their own personal character. And so people watched. They watched and they watched and they watched and somehow a 16-year-old girl who failed her drivers test now has an audience of over 10 million and a brand based in shameless honesty. It impresses me to this day that despite her million-dollar mansion in LA and her participation in elite level fashion shows around the world, she still manages to maintain the same niche human honesty that she had in the beginning. Because the house and the flights to Paris are nice, but so is going for runs and driving to get coffee on a quiet day. She has this crazy influence that she never asked for, but people listen and look up to her all because she decided that maybe learning smooth celebrity movements involved a rehearsal that she didn’t want to be at. Every genuine and over-shared comment that Emma makes in her videos is like a giant f-you to everything that celebrity culture wants her to be, and people are eating it up. The world is listening to her. Not just kids, but producers, established celebrities, and talk show hosts. It makes me think that maybe people are slowly realizing that this whole time, it would have been okay to drop the act. That people might like you anyways, despite your humanness. Perhaps because of it. It’s not easy, what she’s doing. In fact I think that it is far harder and takes a lot more grit. Shameless honesty is harder than curated perfection. Somehow it took a now-20 year old girl to convince the world to embrace and celebrate their nature, telling everyone through her vulnerability that it’s okay to take a breath and be y yourself in the most authentic way possible. It almost makes me wonder why we haven’t been doing this the entire time.
Graphics by: Emma Russell and Juliana Konrad