OCTOBER 17, 2023 | VOLUME CV | ISSUE VIII PARTY LIKE IT’S UBYRTHDAY SINCE 1918
Opt-outs financially burden student groups
Best ramen on campus
Student workers deserve dignity
Fitness factchecked: Protein
Football midseason review
CREATIVE NON-FICTION SUPPLEMENT // 7 - 14
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
FROM THE ARCHIVE
OCTOBER 17, 2023 | VOLUME CV | ISSUE VIII
Coordinating Editor Anabella McElroy email@example.com
Business Manager Douglas Baird firstname.lastname@example.org
News Editor Aisha Chaudhry email@example.com
Account Manager Scott Atkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
News Producer Renée Rochefort email@example.com
Web Developer Brittany Sampson firstname.lastname@example.org
Culture Editor Elena Massing email@example.com
Web Developer Sam Low firstname.lastname@example.org
Features Editor Iman Janmohamed email@example.com
Web Developer Akshanjay Kompelli firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinion Editor Spencer Izen email@example.com
Social Media Manager Jasmine Le firstname.lastname@example.org
Humour Editor Jocelyn Baker email@example.com
President Jalen Bachra firstname.lastname@example.org
Science Editor Tova Gaster email@example.com
Editorial Office: NEST 2208 604.283.2023
Sports + Rec Editor Lauren Kasowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Office: NEST 2209 604.283.2024 6133 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Visuals Editor Anya A Ameen email@example.com
Website: ubyssey.ca Twitter: @ubyssey Instagram: @ubyssey Facebook: @ubyssey TikTok: @ubyssey
Photo Editor Isa S You firstname.lastname@example.org Video Editor Ravnoop Badesha email@example.com STAFF
Bernice Wong, Bessie Guo, Emilija Vītols Harrison, Fiona Sjaus, Isabella Ma, Jerry Wong, Julian Forst, Kyla Flynn, Mahin E Alam, Manya Malhotra, Marie Erikson, Nathan Bawaan, Sam Low, Stella Griffin, Zoe Wagner LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We wish to acknowledge that we work, learn and operate the paper upon the occupied, traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and səli̓ lwətaɁɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh).
LEGAL The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia (UBC). It is published every second Tuesday by the Ubyssey Publications Society (UPS). We are an autonomous, democratically-run student organization and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are written by The Ubyssey’s editorial board and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the UPS or UBC. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of the UPS. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of the Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. The Ubyssey accepts opinion articles on any topic related to UBC and/or topics relevant to students attending UBC. Submissions must be written by UBC students, professors, alumni or those in a suitable position (as determined by the opinion editor) to speak on UBC-related matters. Submissions must not contain racism,
sexism, homophobia, transphobia, harassment or discrimination. Authors and/or submissions will not be precluded from publication based solely on association with particular ideologies or subject matter that some may find objectionable. Approval for publication is, however, dependent on the quality of the argument and The Ubyssey editorial board’s judgment of appropriate content. Submissions may be sent by email to opinion@ ubyssey.ca. Please include your student number or other proof of identification. Anonymous submissions will be accepted on extremely rare occasions. Requests for anonymity will be granted upon agreement from four-fifths of the editorial board. Full opinions policy may be found at ubyssey. ca/pages/submit-an-opinion. It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising that if the UPS fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ads.
The Ubyssey periodically receives grants from the Government of Canada to fund web development and summer editorial positions.
ON THE COVER COVER
ISA S YOU
Looking back at 105 years of The Ubyssey Iman Janmohamed Features Editor
It’s The Ubyssey’s birthday! Established in 1918, we’ve spent the last 105 years covering life on campus, from breaking news and policy deep-dives, to arts, science, sports and university research. We’ve published opinion articles and satire, all while taking photos, making videos and designing countless print issues. To celebrate our 105th birthday, here’s a trip down memory lane. THE BEGINNING In December 1916, a UBC newspaper called The Anon was published from the then-UBC campus in Fairview. The name changed to The Anonymous and soon was renamed to The Ubicee. The Ubicee was a small monthly publication that was “brought into the world with a brain, but no body text: it published essays and literary pieces, but no news,” according to the 1988 70th anniversary issue of The Ubyssey. But the monthly wasn’t successful and finances were uncertain since the paper was funded by voluntary student subscriptions. In March 1917, the publications board asked for more financial support for the paper, leading the AMS to increase its own membership fee from $2 to $4 to create a proper budget for The Ubyssey. The “steady source of revenue gave the paper a new lease of life,” read the March 29, 1923 Ubyssey issue. The 1918/19 editorial thought the paper was destined to become the Odyssey of the university, so a new name, The Ubyssey, was adopted. According to the 70th masthead, the name “has proved to be apt,” though they didn’t foresee 105 years of editors having to explain how to pronounce it. “The Ubyssey has taken countless student journalists on a personal odyssey, through the basics of news style to the spirited parries of editorial writing, through the intricacies of student politics to the heady analysis of social issues,” read the 70th anniversary issue. “And the paper itself has had a rich enough history to be worthy of an epic name.”
The 1981 staff of the vilest rag west of Blance Photo creds tight to photo/covered by it
“In the Pub office, a corpse was found,” read a 1988 Ubyssey issue. “It bore the name ‘Free Speech.’ A funeral was held. Words were uttered. Photographs were taken.” THE VILEST RAG In 1956, Reverend E. C. Pappert, the faculty advisor of Windsor’s Assumption College’s student paper called The Ubyssey “the vilest rag you can imagine, and the best argument for censorship that could be produced.” Pappert said this after the Canadian University Press’ Editorial Committee reported The Ubyssey was the student paper with the most relative freedom from censorship by their student councils and administration. Assumption College’s paper ranked third from last. “But this is a university and we are a university paper. And a university is nothing more than a forum for the free exchange of opinion. If everyone liked this paper and agreed with all it said it wouldn’t be worth the paper it is printed on,” read the January 5, 1956 issue of The Ubyssey. The paper wore “vilest rag” like a badge of honour, eventually adopting “the vilest rag west of Blanca” as its unofficial slogan.
In 1921, the paper ran its first humour page called “Muck-a-Muck,” which then continued for 20 years. According to the 70th anniversary issue of The Ubyssey, a year after the page’s first appearance, The Ubyssey was banned from local high schools for its “questionable ‘quality of humor.’” Eventually, the paper retired the page because of a change in the relationship between the publications board and AMS. And in 1931, the then-UBC President Leonard S. Klinck ordered the paper to stop publishing because it was hurting UBC’s reputation when negotiating with the provincial government. The Ubyssey didn’t back down, leading to editor-in-chief Ron Grantham’s two-week suspension for speaking out against government underfunding. But even that didn’t stop the publication.
Until 1995, The Ubyssey was part of the AMS. But, in the 1993/94 school year, the paper’s spoof issue, called The Ufeces, featured a satirical full-page ad on the second page which criticized the AMS for playing favourites with clubs and claimed the society did nothing in students’ interests. In the same issue was a full-page spread of the only woman AMS executive in suggestive poses. The paper also fought lawsuits which depleted its publisher’s — the AMS’s — budget, according to The Ubyssey’s 90th anniversary publication. In retaliation, the AMS forced out the paper’s editors and hired new ones — locking the ousted editorial out of The Ubyssey’s office to boot. Staff refused to work for the hired editors, forcing the
DEB WILSON / THE UBYSSEY
paper to shut down after 76 years in publication. A group of fired editors and concerned students campaigned for free press on campus, leading to the 1994 creation of the Ubyssey Publications Society and a referendum to revive the paper as an autonomous society. On January 24, 1995, nearly 5,500 students voted in the referendum, surpassing quorum and giving birth to an independent Ubyssey. Levying a $5 fee from students, UBC had a free press on campus with no outside influence. SINCE INDEPENDENCE While we celebrate The Ubyssey’s independence and our ability to scrutinize the AMS and UBC, our independence was in part spurred on by misogynistic jokes. We recognize that if The Ubyssey is going to continue reporting on campus issues, we need to continue to respect the community members our paper serves. The paper works to include marginalized voices in our reporting and on our staff and editorial board, but there is always more to be done. In 2018, the paper turned 100 and held a gala to celebrate its centennial alongside Ubyssey editors, alumni and staff. And in the last year alone, The Ubyssey was nominated for 16 national student journalism awards and won 9 of them, including Student Publication of the Year. The first editorial published 105 years ago in The Ubyssey said the paper will only be as interesting as its contents and its contents depend on the student reporters. “If you do not like the paper, get to work to improve it, but do not grouch about it in the corridors.” Though meant in an edgycool-outcast way, that editorial was right! The paper is open to anyone who wants to try their hand at journalism, whether you’re interested in writing, photography, videography, design, illustration or even web development — no experience necessary. So, here’s to The Ubyssey. Established in 1918, vile since 1956 and independent since 1995. U
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITORS AISHA CHAUDHRY + RENÉE ROCHEFORT
NEW EXEC //
Himanaya Bajaj Senior Staff Writer
Bernice Wong and Renée Rochefort Senior Staff Writer and News Producer
This fall UBC students will be able to e-bike to campus with the Mobi e-bike sharing service. Mobi and UBC will install five e-bike stations on campus this fall with an aim of installing ten by summer 2024. Each station has space for around 20 e-bikes, and students can dock and undock these bikes at any UBC station or at one of the other Mobi e-bike stations in Vancouver. UBC students can get the annual e-bike pass at a 50 per cent discount for $149. This plan includes unlimited 60 minute rides on both e-bikes and classic bikes. There are a variety of other plans that Mobi offers for UBC students at reduced rates. In this partnership between Mobi and UBC, UBC provides Mobi with space for stations along with funding some of the installation, hardscape changes and station electrification costs. According to Adam Hyslop, the UBC manager of transportation planning, UBC financed this program through $500,000 from the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure grant program and $113,000 from TransLink’s Bicycle Infrastructure and Capital Cost
Joshua Kim was appointed interim VP external affairs at the October 11 AMS Council meeting. Kim’s appointment comes after VP external Tina Tong’s extended leave of absence. Kim is appointed until January 5, 2024, when Tong is expected to resume the job. Shortly after the annoucement, a student-at-large initiated a discussion item to reconsider the appointment of Kim. They said Kim’s involvement with the heavily criticized drafts of the AMS’s respectful workplace and sexualized violence policies — PC1 and PC2 — make him an unsuitable candidate. President Esmé Decker said Kim’s role is to execute what the executives delegate and is not the author of the PC1 and PC2 drafts. VP Academic and University Affairs Kamil Kanji added Kim has appropriate experiences. However, the motion to appoint Kim passed with 22 votes in favour, 2 abstentions and 1 against. Kim previously served as the vice-president external for the Arts Undergraduate Society and as the Strategy and Governance Lead. U
UBC to introduce Mobi e-bike sharing service on campus
UBC students can get the annual e-bike pass at a 50 per cent discount.
Share program. Hyslop said the aim of the initiative is to integrate the city of Vancouver with UBC campus. “We have a pretty successful on-campus bike-share program with HOPR. [However], that really serves the first and last mile trips to and from the bus loop and trips within campus ... but isn’t [facilitating] commuter trips or trips by residents on-campus to get off-cam-
pus,” said Hyslop. “ According to Hyslop, the hills and distances between campus and the city mean e-bikes are a critical part of the transportation equation. This initiative is a part of UBC’s plan to encourage and enable more sustainable transportation choices for the UBC community. “Supporting the expansion of the Mobi bike share program to [the UBC] campus has been
Kim named interim VP external
ISA YOU / THE UBYSSEY
identified in a number of our plans including the transportation plans in 2014, and more recently, the Climate Action Plan in 2021,” said Hyslop. “As we look [toward the coming] decades, we want to do everything we can to support the campus community in making sustainable choices that contribute to achieving climate action and sustainable transportation targets.” U
DIMINISHED FUNDS //
Student groups on campus feeling financial impact after opt-out increase
According to affected organizations, the number previously ranged from 200 to 300.
Morris Hayes Contributor
A new digital opt-out process resulted in an increase in student fee opt-outs compared to previous years, leaving fee-recieving groups in uncertain financial situations. The AMS processed over 7,000 opt-outs for optional fees, including those for AMS Resource Groups, the Bike Kitchen and campus performances. According to affected organizations, the number typically ranged from 200
to 300 in previous years. Students are able to opt-out of certain student fees established by the AMS or by AMS referenda. A student who chose to opt-out off all optional student fees saved $24.86. The ability to opt-out of fees digitally — as opposed to needing to visit each organization in person like in years prior — was made available to students following the 2022 referendum. The AMS posted four times
IMAN JANMOHAMED / THE UBYSSEY
in now-deleted Instagram posts alongside two emails about optouts during the opt-out period. In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, Abhi Mishra, VP Finance, wrote the purpose of the campaign was to encourage affordability on campus. “We were trying to ensure that students experiencing financial hardships or any other circumstances in their lives are aware of the resources the AMS offers. What we can see is that affordabil-
ity looks to be an essential concern for students on campus.” According to Mishra, balancing student-voted measures and support for these organizations is the goal of the AMS. “It’s time to sit down with the organizations to discuss financial plans going forward … Our role is to support everybody to the best ability that we can,” said Mishra. However, organizations on the receiving end are struggling with the sudden jump in opt-outs, and feel the AMS could have done more. The Bike Kitchen, which currently has an optional fee of $4.17 following the 2022 referendum, is facing a loss of almost $30,000 in budget. This is a major setback for the Bike Kitchen as it has been in a financially unstable position since 2016. “We’re more confused than anything,” said Alex Alvarez, the manager of the Bike Kitchen. “We were kind of blindsided by the whole thing.” Aleena Haq, head of marketing for the UBC Social Justice Centre and Linda Cen, president of Get Thrifty both said their yearly budgets have decreased. Cen said Get Thrifty received 6585 opt-outs for their $1.09 fee, totalling to a loss of $7177.65. The increase in opt-outs have forced these organizations to reevaluate their ambitions and capabilities. The Social Justice Centre, which functions under the AMS
Resource Group umbrella, may scale down their mutual aid efforts, which they provide resources for the unhoused after de-encampments on the downtown Eastside. “The funding really goes into community service and supporting communities on campus, other groups that don’t have as much access to resources as we do ... It’s not like we’re using the funding on a bunch of trivial stuff,” said Haq. For the Bike Kitchen, Alvarez said they now must decide whether or not they have the financial capacity to plan both Bikes for BIPOC and Pride Night – two programs geared towards providing accessible transportation for marginalized communities. Haq criticized the AMS for not highlighting the work the groups do and resources these groups provide to marginalized communities. “We could be spending our time organizing for things that actually matter, rather than trying to fight with our own student body, trying to get the [money for] things that we deserve on our campus … if that money goes away, what’s the point of having resources?” Alvarez agreed students should be able to choose what they pay for, but wished the AMS did more to provide students with the background knowledge to make “informed decisions,” instead of a “hit this button to save money.” U
4 | NEWS | TUESDAY OCTOBER 17, 2023 ORANGE SHIRTS //
‘We are all one’: UBC marks third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Fiona Sjaus Senior Staff Writer
This article mentions residential schools. UBC rounded off Truth and Reconciliation week with the third annual Intergenerational March in support of residential school survivors and their families. The event, organized by the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and Faculty of Applied Science, began in front of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre with an opening speech from Elder Doris Fox of the Musqueam Nation. It welcomed attendees to the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam people and explained the importance of the occasion. “I hated September because all my cousins would leave the community and I felt alone,” Fox said in her speech. “So when you wear your orange shirt, remember there are hundreds of thousands of stories attached to those shirts.” “When I come here and I see these shirts, it lifts my heart. It lifts my spirit,” Fox said. Orange shirts are worn to honour writer, activist and residential
school survivor Phyllis Webstad of the Secwepemc, whose orange shirt was taken from her upon her arrival at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School. Her story has come to represent the intergenerational impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous families. “On this day [we] commemorate the survivors, their children [and] the ones who didn’t come home,” said Dana-Lyn Mackenzie, Senior Manager EDI and Indigeneity at the Faculty of Applied Science and member of the Hwlitsum First Nation. The ceremony continued with remarks from Musqueam Nation’s Intergovernmental Affairs Officer Wade Grant and a song and dance performance from Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolfpack). “I hugged my two young children a little bit harder this morning because I know if they were born 50 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to … because they would have been at a residential school,” said Grant in his speech. The event continued as crowds gathered to listen to Elder John Jones of the Snuneymuxw First Nation as he recounted some traumatic memories of his time at the Alberni Residential School.
“The reason I’m sharing with you is not to guilt trip you or blame you,” said Jones. “It’s a part of history that was untold, a part of history that we weren’t allowed to talk about.” As Jones held back tears, he shared glimpses of his childhood while in the residential school. “I wrote two kinds of letters home to my mom. I wrote her happy letters … [and] I also wrote home sad letters telling her about the abuse that I’ve gone through. And I know my mom read that because when she used to come and visit us, she used to ask me about the friends I made, the games I played,” Jones recounted. “And as an adult again, I found out that every letter that was sent out by students was proofread. So any of the bad letters didn’t get home.” As the ceremony closed and crowds dispersed, some moved to the Engineering Cairn, applying a fresh layer of orange paint and messages of solidarity. “No matter what nationality, religion, where your home is, who you are, who you think you are, who you know you are, we are all one family. We are all human beings sitting in the same canoe,” Fox said. Her words echoed throughout the day. “We are all one.” U
“It’s a part of history that was untold, a part of history that we weren’t allowed to talk about,” said Elder John Jones.
ISA YOU / THE UBYSSEY
National campaign on accessibility launches at UBC When it comes to university policy, the campaign wants post-secondary institutions to create a Disability Task Force — something UBC groups have been calling for years — to allow flexible attendance policies and improve accommodations for students, faculty and staff. The task force would centre disabled voices and have a wider mandate than the existing committee. ‘UBC CAN AND SHOULD PROVICE ACCESSIBLE LEARNING FORMATS’
“UBC can and should provide accessible learning formats,” the DUC and DAG wrote.
Nathan Bawaan Senior Staff Writer
Disabled UBC students, faculty and staff are co-leading a national campaign for more accessible course formats and disability-friendly policies at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The student-run Disabilities United Collective (DUC) and Disabled Graduate Student Association (DGSA) and faculty- and staff-led Disability Affinity Group (DAG) launched #Access4All at UBC. They are joined by campus groups at UVic, SFU and Emily Carr University. “While many institutions claim
to uphold values of equity and inclusivity, the current reliance on in-person-only lectures, restrictive learning designs, and outdated policies still disproportionately disadvantages populations including d/Disabled, neurodivergent, parenting, international, and low-income students,” the release reads. The National Educational Association of Disabled Students and BC Post-Secondary Disabled Alliance have also voiced their support for the campaign. DUC VP Internal Josh Bradbury, a second-year political science student, said the UVic Society for Students with a Disability started the campaign many months ago.
ISA YOU / THE UBYSSEY
He added that although the campaign is focused on national change, the leading groups are currently focused on BC. In the press release, the campaign separated its calls to action in two groups: ones focused on course delivery and others on university policies. In terms of course delivery actions, #Access4All called on post-secondary institutions to promote multi-access (online and hybrid) courses; integrate Universal Design Learning (UDL); increase technological and TA support for professors; and host training sessions for faculty on accessible teaching formats.
A UBC-specific letter by the DUC and DAG read the university was not meeting its commitments under the Inclusion Action Plan to support disabled students and those who require additional support. The groups also said UBC demonstrated an ability to provide more accessible course formats during the COVID-19 pandemic. “UBC can and should provide accessible learning formats. It is an essential step towards embodying the inclusive values of our school,” the DUC and DAG wrote. The letter outlined nine recommendations specific to the UBC, ranging from offering all courses — including labs and tutorials — in a UDL-informed, multi-access manner, to the university joining lobbying efforts to the provincial government to get more support for disabled community members. Matthew Ramsey, director of media affairs at UBC Media Relations, said providing an accessible environment at UBC is a priority in a statement sent to The Ubyssey. He
added that the university is investing in this issue, mentioning the recently-formed Accessibility Committee and an upcoming accessibility plan, similar to UBC’s Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Framework. “The letter from the DUC and DAG raises concerns and offers suggestions that will certainly be brought to the Accessibility Committee for their review and consideration alongside other feedback that may be collected,” Ramsey wrote. According to Bradbury, all the recommendations should be enacted through a Disability Task Force, not the Accessibility Committee. He said the committee was not the most effective body to enact the campaign’s changes. Notably, the Accessibility Committee’s Terms of Reference were initially drafted without input from disabled groups on campus. The AMS has endorsed the campaign, with AMS Associate VP External Erin Strachan writing in a statement to The Ubyssey that the campaign has “unwavering support” from the student society. In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, Dr. Jennifer Gagnon, president of The DAG, said the group sees the #Access4All campaign as a necessary step in bringing equity to UBC and other Canadian post-secondary institutions. “It is time for UBC to support Disabled folks in leading efforts to address ableism and systemic discrimination faced by Disabled members of the UBC community, instead of defending these ableist barriers, policies, and practices.” U
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITOR ELENA MASSING
SOUP SEASON //
Nosh Hunt: Satisfying your ramen cravings Maya Levajac Staff Writer
The middle of the term always comes with increased stress and countless hours spent in the library, but there is one comfort food that many students reach for in order to survive this demanding part of the year: ramen. Without ramen, I truly would not have been able to get through all my exhausting study sessions. The warm broth and chewy noodles bring a joy that few other foods can replicate. While there are many ramen options on campus, I tried to find the tastiest and cheapest. Kinton Ramen.
KINTON RAMEN Kinton Ramen is located along University Boulevard, south of the bus loop and War Memorial Gymnasium. It had the most expensive ramen out of all the places I tried, with their cheapest ramen starting at $16.99 before tax. Still, I would recommend adding extra ingredients for a few dollars if you’re feeling snazzy. Kinton was the only ramen place that allowed customers to pick different noodle types — you can choose between thick or thin noodles for no price difference,
which I thought was great. I got the original pork ramen with thick noodles, which comes with a seasoned egg, scallions and chicken. The food arrived within 15 minutes and was piping hot. The broth was flavourful, rich and well-seasoned, and the noodles were perfectly chewy. Despite people constantly moving in and out of the restaurant, there were many seats available for eating alone or in a group, and the turnover was quick. Overall, Kinton definitely hits the spot, though at a higher cost.
MAYA LEVAJAC / THE UBYSSEY
NORI BENTO & UDON Nori Bento & Udon is located on the same food strip as Kinton, but slightly further down University Boulevard. Unlike the other establishments mentioned in this article, Nori serves several different dishes, including but not limited to ramen, udon and sushi. It had the cheapest ramen out of the places I tried, with a Tonkotsu Ramen being $9.99 before tax. The dish came out in under five minutes, which is convenient if you only have enough time for a quick pit stop. Nori
Nori Bento & Udon.
gives you a good helping of noodles, but the broth and egg could have been more flavourful. There are limited seating options inside and outside of the restaurant. I would say this ramen place is mid-tier, but a good budget pick. KOKORO TOKYO MAZESOBA Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba was my personal favourite out of all the options. The restaurant is in UBC’s University Village, on the second floor above the H-Mart. It’s a cozy spot that serves mainly ramen and
MAYA LEVAJAC / THE UBYSSEY
mazesoba, with a few other options for sides. I got the original ramen, $14.99 before tax. The dish includes pork chashu, green onion and thin ramen noodles, which complemented each other well. A few tables were available when I first visited, but they filled up quickly — despite how busy it was, my food arrived around 10 minutes after I had placed my order. I enjoyed the tender pork chasu, soaked with a tasty broth, which fulfilled my ramen craving. If you have the chance, Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba is 100 per cent worth trying. U
RECLAMATION AND REBELLION //
Music of the Métis and many years of untold stories
Sometimes the most powerful act of rebellion is to simply be proud of who you are.
Matt Plyukhin Contributor
Storytelling changes the world. New voices are springing out all over the continent from creators who never got a chance to tell their story. They’re breaking the restrictive barriers that barred them, and smashing them into pieces for the next generation to see and use in their art. Métis Songs, an album composed and arranged by UBC School of Music director Dr. Patrick Carrabré, is a new piece of this cultural storytelling movement.
Carrabré is Métis, but was separated from his birth family as a child. He has reconnected with them, and has been vocal about the importance of recognizing the histories and narratives of Métis people. “In the last decade, I’ve been able to really dig down into my connection to my Métis family, the history of our family in Canada. And try to turn the light on Métis identity because [it’s] something that’s not well understood in Canada … a lot of people don’t even really know who the Métis are,” said Carrabré. The album’s title seems simple
COURTESY PATRICK CARRABRÉ
and self explanatory but the music is anything but. Commissioned by the Harbourfront Centre and released digitally this September, Carrabré’s latest album aims to depict Métis people’s struggle and persistence within Canadian history. The album begins from the point of view of the Métis in the 1800s with the track “Chanson de la Gornouillèr.” It’s a retelling of a piece by Pierre Falcon, who was one of the first known Métis composers. “My People Will Sleep…” then tells a story about the Métis’ era of hiding, containing a reading of a story chosen by singer Rebecca Cuddy.
The narrative then ends with the third piece — a poem by Gregory Scofield highlighting the role of the Métis in current society and the discrimination they still face today, and looking forward to a future where they can fully come out of hiding. Carrabré tells this story not just because it’s an important one of discovering identity and culture, but because it’s a story that has rarely ever been told in Canadian history. “I wanted to draw attention to the reality of being Métis,” said Carrabré. “I think it’s incumbent on those of us who can to take the opportunity when we can, to be a little bit political to draw people’s attention to it.” Carrabré questions how we can engage with truth and reconciliation if we were not taught the truth in the first place. “I always say truth before reconciliation,” said Carrabré. “You need to accept the truth.” That’s what this album serves to spotlight: The truth. Not a history written and printed by the waves of colonization, but the true story of what happened to the people who never got the justice they deserve. The music itself is remarkable. Each song is made up of strings and vocals, nothing else, giving it a similar timbre throughout its runtime — this works to its advantage, as the similar sound and texture creates a body for the main characters of its narrative. The strings create the body of the Métis, and Rebecca Cuddy gives them their voice. The second track, “My People
Will Sleep…,” stood out to me. It contrasts the quick movements of the other two tracks with its drawn-out notes, long paint strokes that illustrate the years upon years of hiding forced upon the Métis, who could not tell anyone anything about themselves. It is a story of people who could not be who they are, even around those that are just like them. “[My birth mother] would get smacked and told to not tell anyone in public that she was Métis, even though the whole town was Métis. They were that afraid even within the community.” Métis Songs is a beautiful piece of art not only because the music tells an untold story of fear and pain, telling the truth of an experience wiped away by colonization, but also because the music creates an identity. It creates a voice for the Métis, a distinct character, in direct opposition to those who want Indigenous people to stay quiet and assimilate. “I think that we need to rewrite our history. And we need to own our history … We live in a society that has favored certain people, and not [others],” said Carrabré. “I think this is one of the problems particularly as an Indigenous person. Someone said to me the other day [that] they just want one person to represent us all. They want to talk to one person, they want us to be one, they want us to be all the same. And we’re not all the same.” Métis Songs reminds us that sometimes the most powerful act of rebellion is to simply be proud of who you are. U
6 | CULTURE | TUESDAY OCTOBER 17, 2023 CULTURE’S SPORTS ERA //
I’m Just Here for the Riot bodychecks mob mentality Lauren Kasowski Sports + Rec Editor
I’m Just Here for the Riot isn’t a film about sports — not in any ways that really matter. Co-directed by UBC alum Kathleen S. Jayme and Asia Youngman, the documentary explores the 2011 riot that followed a Vancouver Canucks game, when the team lost to the Boston Bruins in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. For an event that happened 12 years ago, it’s one Vancouver remembers very well. Viewers showed up to the screening in Canucks jerseys and before the film had even started, people were discussing how they remembered exactly where they were that evening. Sports have always been a vehicle to explore how our society functions, showing us the best and worst in people, and I’m Just Here for the Riot does just that. The film follows the online prosecution and shaming of riot participants that exploded in the days after the event — which former VPD chief Jim Chu described as “the first smartphone riot” — and how that drastically impacted people’s lives, perhaps more than the riot itself. The documentary contextualizes the cause of the riot well. Leading up to the 2011 NHL season, Canadian hockey was at a peak due to Canada’s success at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Prior to the Stanley Cup finals, local news sources broadcasted media footage from the 1994 Vancouver Canucks
A must-see for anyone interested in how media shapes how we see and understand public actions.
riot, so emotions in 2011 might have been running extra high. Unlike a lot of people in the audience, I don’t remember the riot. I was nine years old, living in a different province and not nearly as big of a hockey fan as I am now. But Jayme and Youngman make you feel like you were there — with archival, never-before-seen footage, they created a tension-filled atmosphere during the riot, only to sharply contrast it with stillness and quiet as the city
reeled from what had just happened. Photos and videos were posted online of people at the riots, so the VPD and general public were able to use the Internet to identify and prosecute rioters. But this quickly backfired — what started as attempts to hold rioters accountable quickly became a mob of its own. The shaming comments from citizens online were almost as bad as the actions they were condemning in others, but they were met with
little controversy because of how the riot negatively painted the city. Mob mentality can transfer from the streets to behind screens. Jayme and Youngman delved into key questions: At what point do the repercussions stop fitting the crime? Does a recording or picture, which is just one perspective on the situation, really warrant death threats? Despite how heavy the movie was at times, it was balanced out
with more lighthearted interview footage. At one point, the whole audience chuckled as someone recalled stealing a bottle of maple syrup. The filmmakers don’t say that those who were involved in the riots shouldn’t have been prosecuted because they got caught up in the mob or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They simply explore that for an event many view as black-and-white, there is so much more grey than you’d believe. “At the beginning of the day, [the photos and videos] were just one little piece of something much bigger,” Sarah McCusker, one of the documentary’s subjects, said in a Q&A after the screening. When Youngman and Jayme met in 2021, they thought “maybe this is the right time, 10 years [have] passed, maybe we can actually do some much-needed reflection,” said Jayme in the Q&A. “Because we both felt that this story kind of got swept under the rug. We actually haven’t had this discussion about why this happened.” “One of the questions that we always get is, ‘Will this happen again?’ and one of the [film’s] goals is to start this discussion so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Jayme. Whether you are a sports fan or hater, a Vancouverite or an out-oftowner, this is a must-see for anyone interested in how media shapes how we see and understand public actions. Watch it next summer on ESPN. U
MOVIES, MOVIES, MOVIES //
A window into ballet legend Karen Kain’s last hurrah Fiona Sjaus Senior Staff Writer
A camera shakily meanders through the chaos of 15 minutes to the curtain going up. Anxiety and excitement are suspended in the air. The feeling is synonymous with only one kind of moment in theatre — it’s opening night. Chelsea McMullan and Sean O’Neill’s documentary is a moving depiction of the painful backstage labour of love that goes into creating the magic of the ballet Swan Lake. With a flurry of white-feathered tutus, the audience is introduced to the corps de ballet of Karen Kain’s long-anticipated direction of Swan Lake, having been postponed due to the pandemic. Kain is a legend, having achieved what very few dancers do. She traveled all around the world to perform in productions with countless companies. Her impressive career spanning 50 years was marked by many notable recognitions, including an honorary degree from UBC. Swan Song follows Kain as she navigates first-time directorial duties in an endeavour that would also mark her retirement as artistic director for the National Ballet. Showing the weeks leading up to opening night, the film also weaves together the individual experiences of some of the dancers in the production. Six weeks to opening night. Perhaps most notable is the story of Jurgita Dronina, principal balle-
rina and playing the role of Odette. Having garnered international acclaim after coming up from the bare bones of a collapsing Soviet Union, Dronina’s career parallels that of Kain’s prime in many ways. Throughout the film, audiences observe in anxious suspense as Dronina’s long-standing shoulder injury threatens to keep her from performing. But what is admirable about Dronina is her ability to push through the pain and through to the art. “I [see ballet] as a way of living,” Dronina says. Four weeks to opening night. Dancer Shaelynn Estrada brings a darkly comedic and humbled energy to the corps de ballet. “What, are you trying to make me a villain?” she jokes, while leaning against a concrete wall on a buzzing Toronto street with a cigarette between her fingers. Estrada grew up in Texas before relocating to Toronto to fulfill her aspirations of committing to professional ballet. For her, this was always the only way forward; an ode to her “unrequited love,” as she describes her relationship with the art form. “It’s hard to have a personality that’s in direct conflict with the thing you love the most in the world,” she says, referring to her independent and strong-headed nature that often contrasts the lightness, discipline and unison that is expected in ballet. The film also showcases how ballet is rooted in unspoken racism,
Swan Song was a part of this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.
which Kain pushes back against throughout the documentary. Traditional ballet tights are peachy pink. They’ve been used to standardize dancers’ alignment in the past, but have only ever catered towards light skin tones. Kain persuades the production’s costume designer Gabriela Týlešová to allow the dancers to perform with bare legs, and her production emerges as the first ballet of its kind to fully eliminate ballet tights from the costume design. “We get to be ourselves on stage,” noted corps de ballet dancer Tene Ward. “It looks better on everyone.” Two weeks to opening night. Audiences can feel hundreds of hours of labour slowly synthesizing
into one coherent show. In the studio, dancers rehearse in their costumes for the first time, and practice is laced with tension. Kain begins to fear that her vision will not come together in time. Rehearsals on stage add an extra layer of frustration. The ensemble seems to struggle to run to their spots to the cue of a far off piano. They mumble under their breaths in exhausted amazement as one dancer’s exercise tracker records that the ensemble has burned energy equivalent to a five kilometre run in just one practice. Backstage once again, they soak their aching feet in buckets of water and work with physiotherapists to release tension from their bodies
before the big day. Opening night. There’s a new vivacity in the room as we are brought back to where we began. The distinct B minor chord that commences the first act rings throughout the theatre. We hear the soft rumbling of rosined pointe shoe boxes from bourrée-ing feet on the floor. A sea of elongated limbs, chaînés and jetés. The music crescendos with the dancers’ movements. “There’s moments when they stop being dancers and become human beings,” Kain says. She chose to depict her corps de ballet as women trapped in the bodies of swans, at the mercy of the ballet’s villain Rothbart. It humanizes the roles that were traditionally performed as a flock of synchronized and constituent birds. The documentary’s audience is backstage, feeling the intense emotion — the relief as Dronina’s Odette slowly backs away from Prince Siegfried, her chin raised and eyes glossed over, into the darkness of the back of the stage as the curtain draws down. Opening night was a miracle. Swan Song is more than a commentary on the sheer amount of work that goes into a seemingly effortless production. It captures the ongoing paradigm shift in ballet that is aiming to liberate the art form from inherently biased tradition, making individuality the forefront and foundation of the craft. U
EDITOR IMAN JANMOHAMED
PHOTOS ISA S. YOU
DESIGN ANYA A AMEEN
ILLUSTRATIONS YIFEI HUANG
8 | BEAUTY.
Checking out WORDS BY DANICA DICKINSON
My eyes level with the Sports Illustrated model while standing at the grocery checkout. We were in a staring contest just below the conveyor belt. Her tanned body was twisted, her hands were touching her thighs and she wasn’t smiling. I would yell “cheese” when a camera pointed my way, so it was odd that someone at the beach wouldn’t be happy. Why are you lying on the beach like that? It doesn’t look comfortable. Mom chatted with the clerk, and the beep of the scanner started. Do you like to swim in the ocean? “Credit or debit?” Have you ever seen a shark? She never answered me. Maybe
because she couldn’t talk, or maybe she could but not to me. The eggs were put carefully into a bag because if no one was paying attention they could easily break. My mom said “Thank you,” took my hand and led me away from the mysterious magazine girl. The next time at the checkout counter, a similar girl on a similar beach wearing a brighter bathing suit sat in a magazine at my eye level. I watched the man ahead of us pick her up, scroll through her pages and buy her. I wondered if she answered his questions. I wonder if he asked her any.
prepared for or decipher social rules that I didn’t understand, since the conversation that followed was always the same. They would ask me where I got an article of clothing, I’d answer (usually with “I don’t remember, sorry,” or “I thrifted it!”) and that would be all. No room to slip up. Not only did I master the art of receiving compliments — I gave them out like candy. Whenever I wanted to talk to someone, I would tell them how much I liked something they were wearing. Though my observations came from a place of honesty, something still felt incomplete. I’d leave with the satisfaction of having survived another encounter but with the aching desire to truly connect with someone. But what could I possibly do instead? How could I — someone who loved everything and everyone with a bit too much intensity — talk about my interests without scaring people off? If I made it clear that I wanted to be friends, would they think I was desperate? Lonely? Unfortunately, all the things I couldn’t bring myself to say were my ticket to what I actually wanted — the substance I couldn’t achieve with a
single compliment, no matter how genuine. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned more about how to make friends. Part of that came from understanding more about myself and the way that my brain works; enhancing the qualities that made me interesting, rather than repressing them and attempting to fit myself into an impossible mould. I still think about colours, shapes and textures. I still put time into crafting an outfit. My consolation is that it’s less of an obligation now, leaning further towards personal enjoyment. While I often still dress up, I can also put on a silly graphic t-shirt (burgundy tie-dye with dinosaurs on the front… it’s truly hideous) and not feel as anxious, because I know that it would never make my friends think less of me. And because they have my back, I face the rest of the world with just a bit more certainty. Though seemingly insignificant, to me, this is a sign that there was never something wrong with me — I just had to wait for the right people to appreciate what I have to offer, inside and out.
Hanging on by a thread WORDS BY ELENA MASSING
Most mornings, my roommate and I get ready together. I waltz into her room with outfit options, stopping in front of her mirror to glare at them as I hold them up to my body. She watches me cycle through more articles of clothing than Cher from Clueless, listening as I find something to criticize in every single one. I once told her that if I’m unhappy with what I’m wearing, the day is ruined. She didn’t understand what I meant — even though I recognized how frivolous it sounded, my mind would jump to a dozen potential catastrophes. If I don’t iron my shirt, the friend of a friend I run into at the grocery store will think I’m a slob. My socks don’t match, so my aunt’s cousin will realize that my life is falling apart. There’s a loose thread in my sweater, so I’m the worst person to walk the Earth, right? I never could convince myself that no one gives a fuck, which usually resulted in my outfits not being suited for the occasion. “What are you all dressed up for?” was a phrase that I became accustomed to hearing, especially in high school. Instead of leggings and hood-
ies, I opted for tailored pants, perfectly pressed blouses and dangling earrings. As a finishing touch, I’d throw on floral Fluevogs or platform Mary Janes — I’d also forget to bring a change of footwear and promptly became every PE teacher’s worst nightmare. A more confident person might take the question as a source of pride, but to me, it was humiliating. I was always a shy kid who wasn’t the best at understanding social cues, so I struggled to form relationships. Initiating interactions myself was entirely out of the question. I was always the odd one out at summer camps and sat on the periphery of elementary school friend groups. Since I didn’t know how to properly engage with other people through speech, I decided to communicate through clothing instead. I could translate all my ideas and feelings in a more subtle way, one that did not require me to use my words. It backfired. Being too dressed up — and as a consequence, standing out — was the last thing I wanted. Not only did I feel out of place, I looked the part too. The worst part of overdressing was that everyone could see how much thought and effort I had put into
deciding how I would present myself to the world, only to still get it all wrong. I envied girls who felt at ease in sweats, who carried themselves with a casual coolness beyond my understanding. I was caught in a loop of wanting to try hard but not too much; blend in, yet draw just the right amount of attention. I didn’t want to come off as lazy, but worried just as much about seeming uptight or pretentious. At some point, I decided I’d had enough. I tried to embrace my sense of style but started being critical of myself in an entirely different way. I didn’t believe I had anything to say that would spark someone’s genuine interest in getting to know me, so I relied on my outfits to do the heavy lifting. Then I discovered a new social skill to add to my toolbox: Compliments. If I wore something that people felt drawn to comment on, I’d have a surefire reason for people to want to talk to me. And if people did that, I wouldn’t look lonely — the illusion I’d created of being integrated in my environment’s social fabric wouldn’t burst at the seams. A compliment is reliable and straightforward. I wouldn’t have to enter a social situation I wasn’t
CREATIVE NON-FICTION SUPPLEMENT | 9
Cutting my hair made me the kid I used to be, the person I will become WORDS BY AISHA CHAUDHRY
Stale marshmallows WORDS BY JOCELYN BAKER
Safta doesn’t buy new marshmallows when the old ones go stale. And she never makes cocoa for herself. So, the only time they get any use are on cold, post-sleepover mornings in a steaming mug of hot chocolate. In the final three weeks of seventh grade, I started wearing makeup. I would stand in my bathroom every morning poking myself in the eye with a mascara wand and dusting my face with powder foundation. But after a few months, I started to feel disgusting every time I picked up my brushes. The nose my mom told me to be proud of would be covered by a multi-step contouring routine. The acne I’d spent years getting under control flared under the stress of scrubbing my face nightly to get rid of the makeup but was carefully covered the next day with foundation and concealer. I hid myself trying to look pretty. Hills and valleys form in the hard exterior of the marshmallow, etched by the hot chocolate. The liquid doesn’t get far past its surface, but I try anyway, hoping the marshmallow will soften. My spoon slips on its smooth, hard exterior as I roll it to coat. Safta keeps half-and-half for her
coffee, so she always adds a splash to the cocoa. But it’s not enough to temper the boiling water that makes up most of the cup. The first sip burns my tongue. You look beautiful. You would look so pretty with makeup. It’s not that you look bad — I just think you would look so beautiful with makeup. I take a bite of stale marshmallow. Chalky, dry, too-firm. I’ve heard the words from my mom, from my other grandmother. I tell her I used to wear makeup because I felt bad about my face, but I stopped because wearing makeup felt like covering it up rather than learning to accept it. It’s the same argument I made to my mom and grandma. The same argument I still make to myself. With a bite taken out, the marshmallow rocks side to side in the hot chocolate. The sky outside shifts from grey to bright blue. A ship’s horn sounds in the distance. We play Rummikub and Mahjong, and she tells me about the Turkish melodrama she’s watching. My half-drunk cup of hot chocolate now cold sits beside me.
My hair is the feature I get compliments about. My grandmother’s hands would run through it before she put me to bed, aunties sung praises about its length and thickness and my mother loved styling it. My hair is the same as hers. Thick, dark and wavy. And my mother is the person who carved what a woman should be into my mind. Her hair is always long and straightened and she knows exactly how she wants her makeup done. I so badly wanted to grow up to be pretty like her (people say I’m the spitting image of my father). Femininity was an afterthought for her, while it chewed me alive and left me disgusted with myself. In high school, I wore ill-fitting hoodies, bruised jeans and my hair up in a disastrously low ponytail. I didn’t love my appearance, but it was easy and I fit in. My mother pestered me with questions, hoping I’d quickly outgrow this awkward phase. Why hadn’t I learned how to do makeup? Why didn’t I wear dresses? And why didn’t I do anything with my hair? Why didn’t I style it? Or leave it down? What about trying bangs? It was because I had no interest in it. Passive conversation let the water simmer, but it all boiled over the night of my uncle’s wedding. In three hours, we needed to be on a plane to Calgary, and within two hours of landing, we had to be at the venue. To save time, my mother did my siblings’ hair before we left. All I had to do was let her straighten my hair. But hadn’t I coughed up enough of myself already? I let them paint my nails — something I now do with joy, but at the time made me feel nauseated — making my hands appear detachable from the rest of my body. I knew I would have to wear makeup once I got there and seeing myself in heavy makeup always makes me question whose reflection I’m staring at. She was stressed. I was fidgeting in the chair. Why’d it
have to be straight? Once every strand was scorched, I stomped away with a snide remark. Her retaliation left me stunned. I didn’t speak during the flight, and we didn’t talk about it because there was nothing to do but move on. Later that night, I stood in front of a mirror to analyze my reflection. My hair, straightened, reached my lower back. I fucking hated it. I knew the person looking back at me had to be me — but I couldn’t recognize her. A few weeks later, I broke down crying, and finally, my mother took me to get my hair cut. My hair sat slightly above my shoulders and was a mushroom cut at best. It was frizzy, and I needed layers, but it was short. And it caused a bewildering uproar from my family. My grandma gave me a speech about how God created us as we are meant to be, my uncles asked me if I would change my name, and even though my mother never said anything to me, I knew her aversion for it. Everyone disliked my hair, and in retrospect, so did I. It didn’t suit my face, but I have to remind myself to not be cruel to 16-year-old Aisha — I wouldn’t be here if not for her. But unknowingly, the haircut ushered in a new era of me prodding aspects of myself I had previously repressed. I started wearing jewelry. A girl in my art class said she liked my new haircut and ended up being my first kiss. I even got purple streaks. It wasn’t perfect, but the change was welcomed. Despite this, something still nagged at me. So, I cut it shorter. I didn’t realize how short it would be until it was gone. It sat in a tuft above my ears, and my eyes brimmed with tears on the car ride home. I wore a hood all day. I would not let anyone see it. There was always this underlying notion that the way I was expressing myself opposed my gender and was inherently sinful. All those warnings from family, all my protests just for them to be right. I disliked it because I looked Queer. I couldn’t think of myself as pretty, as what a girl should look like. My mother was this beacon of femininity I could not touch. I just didn’t understand why this was so hard for me. Why is this so hard for me? Silently, I trudged along and let
my hair grow out. For my eighteenth birthday, my mother found my old baby album. She had meticulously written and documented the first two years of my life. I flipped through it mindlessly until I reached the last page. You were such a tomboy, at one point even wanted to cut your hair really short. It wasn’t til grade two that you enjoyed being a girl. My throat closed up as my mind swirled. This whole time. Everyone had told me my entire life that something was wrong with my appearance, my interests, my mannerisms. There was something needing change. This is exactly who I have always been — I had just forgotten. By the time I got to university, my hair had grown out to my shoulders, and I got it chopped into a wolf cut, which always sits in an unruly wavy mess. It’s the only haircut that’s ever stuck. The comments still come. The off-hand, are you going to grow your hair out?, or I miss your long hair. I still get anxious when I need to get my hair cut. I don’t know if that bubbling terror will ever stop. But things have become easier. My clothes don’t swallow me anymore. I can look at myself and feel at ease. I like plastering blush on my cheeks and shoving kajol into my waterline. My mother sometimes says she wishes her daughter actually acted like a girl, but this is the closest I can get to it. I was my mother’s first child, and she desperately wanted a daughter who’d love dresses, dolls and want to talk about boys. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just wasn’t me. But now, I understand she never wanted to hurt me. Parents often paint futures for their children without realizing we will inevitably grow into our own people. So, my mother and I have arrived at a silent middle ground. She lets me be, and I have grown better at being feminine. In the end, I didn’t change much at all. I just returned to the kid I used to be.
10 | BEAUTY.
The metamorphosis WORDS BY ISA S. YOU
This article contains mention of sexual harassment and body dysmorphia. The first time I visited China, one of my aunts made a passing comment about my dark skin, which took after my father and was made darker as the result of spending the summers in North Carolina running around wild in our apartment complex’s cul-de-sac with no adult supervision and no sunscreen. Apparently, according to my mother, four-year-old me raised myself to my full height and said with my whole chest, proudly, “Well, my māmā says my skin is the most beautiful chocolate colour.” For the record, my skin is not chocolate-coloured. It’s more of a wheat colour, if we’re searching for a food metaphor but I’d rather not think of myself as something to be eaten, to be consumed. I have no memory of this encounter. Maybe I was too young, maybe it just wasn’t important. Sure, I had the vague inkling that, yes, some other little girls were supposedly prettier than others, whatever that means, but there were also trees to climb and worms to dig up and sand moats to build and a bike to ride. Beauty has always felt like this incomprehensible, elusive thing, forever outside of my reach. Running around with a tangled mane of hair and dirt on my face, what did beauty matter? Maybe it was just obvious to everyone other than me. Four years later, my family moved to China and my parents enrolled me in a local elementary school. Unaccustomed to tying my hair up as required by the school rules, I opted to chop my hair short, twice, because it wasn’t short enough the first time. When the hairdresser was finished with me, my hair, which had previously ended at the middle of my back, had been cut down to the nape of my neck. Perched on the back seat of my grandfather’s bicycle on the way to school the next Monday morning, the wind grazed my skin through the short locks. And when another classmate passed by and pointed at my head in shock, I waved extra cheerily. Happy, in my freedom. The joy didn’t last long. I would have needed it to be shorter to be allowed to wear it down, but after the second time, my teacher thought it was so painful to watch me cut off my thick black hair that she didn’t want me to cut it a third time. She forbade me to touch my hair again, pulled out hair ties from her desk and tied my hair into two stubby little pigtails. I had to wear pigtails, a hair style I hadn’t worn since I was five, for a year before my hair grew out long enough to be worn in a ponytail like the other girls. I continued to be made fun
of for my appearance. My tan-byEast-Asian-standards skin marked me as a descendent of farmers. My weight, which was considered normal by American standards, suddenly rendered me anything but in China. Beauty continued to confuse me. Then puberty rolled around, and to make things worse, I was being made fun of for the increasing curves. When girls went around feeling each other’s chests to see if the lumps signalling development had occurred, one of the girls had said, without even touching me, “Oh your boobs have definitely come in.” (By then, they actually hadn’t). When my period finally came, my mother congratulated me on becoming a woman, but it took everything in me not to cry. I was still a child, I didn’t want to graduate from my girlhood. Yet what I wanted didn’t matter, not when everyone seemed to have already made up their minds for me. Girls eagerly repeated the comments boys had made about my body back to me, but I didn’t want to hear them and I didn’t want them to see me. Some girls were starting to get confessions, had boys nervously ask them to hang out after school, or shove love letters and gifts into their desk drawers. Meanwhile, I was getting endless sexual innuendos, classmates who grabbed me and teachers who made inappropriate comments and groped my ass during outside school tutoring. Why couldn’t I get the right kind of attention? Was it something wrong with me? I began comparing myself to the other girls and taking notes on all the ways I looked different. My height, my weight, my hair, my skin. Worse was thinking about my features, my eyes, my nose, the puff of my cheeks. Were my bones wrong? This sort of anxiety followed me when we moved to Canada, where there were new rules to learn about beauty and how I ought to present myself. Every time I look there seems to be another thing wrong with me, that marks me as ugly. *** I got braces when I was fourteen, while going to high school in what I called “suburban hell.” Suddenly conscious of how rabbit-like my front teeth were, the unsightly protruding of my upper jaw, I begged my parents to take me to get them fixed and they brought me in for a consultation. The dentists said that my teeth were crowded and could present a problem to dental health, so they strongly recommended braces. I tried to hide my glee; we could pretend I was getting braces for health reasons and not because I was vain. They pulled four teeth out from my mouth in one sitting. I laid there on the table at the dentist’s and the cold metal of the pliers slid against my gums and grasped my teeth, yanking them out from their sockets. I did not feel pain in that moment, only afterwards. At the same time, I acted like I was above it all. I dismissed other girls
for wearing makeup, and made snide comments about how I could see their foundation caking. For frivolously wanting to be beautiful and unabashed about it. Wasn’t it enough to be like me, privately trying to hide all my yearning for beauty? In public, I was uncaring, cool in my apathy. In private, I harboured secret fantasies about a transformation, some summer makeover, something I could do to finally, finally start earning the respect I deserved, to be treated like a human being. On a whim I decided to buy a curling iron and experiment with curling my hair, but I had no idea what I was doing and burnt a coin sized patch of skin on my forehead. And I was so ashamed and embarrassed of having wanted to be beautiful, of having been foolish enough to think that having different hair could bring me closer to beauty, that when people asked what had happened, why I had a bandaid on my forehead, I lied and said I fell. Summer of grade nine I fried my hair by bleaching and dying it red, used lip liner as eyeliner or alternatively wore thick black liner that doubled the width of my eyes. But that didn’t change the fact that I still didn’t understand beauty. Even if the target changed, I always felt confused with what I had to do to earn the title “beautiful.” Beauty was not sex, which I had learned early on. When I complained to my mother about the pain of having a large chest, how much I hate having tits, my mother told me I should be thankful for having them, that men like large boobs anyway and that she wishes her breasts were larger. I thought about the boys and men I had known, the ones who tormented and touched me like my body was a public site and wondered why in the world I should care about what they prefer. But I also couldn’t ignore nagging suspicion that they were nicer to the girls who were prettier. Beauty taunted me in the dark. You want me, you want to be beautiful, you secretly want to be loved. Isn’t that embarrassing, you are no better than any of these fuckers. Fuck this, I hissed back. In grade ten, I cut my hair, I started to only wear men’s clothes. The question that kept me up at night: If beauty is a necessity, seemingly integral to respectable womanhood, then what does that mean for me, someone who has gone without it? To distract myself from the discomfort of being aware in my body, I spent all my spare time reading. I had unshakable dreams of insects, which crawled all over me, devouring my flesh and in the morning I’d wake up with red rashes all over my skin. What started as simple fascination with the great monsters of mythology and literature veered into identifying with them. I dreamt of transformation, no longer in a summer makeover sense, but of turning into something else entirely. Of becoming stronger, larger, or at least of something so awful that others had no other choice than to
turn their gaze away. Beauty was something I was supposed to innately care about, to understand. Except I didn’t. I truly felt like somehow other people have learned to emerge fully fledged, while I was doomed forever to remain a beast stuck mid transformation. Alienated and alone, if I was not, could not be beautiful, what could I be? I felt like a part of my womanhood was missing. As if I was doing it all wrong. Anything that could draw attention to my body felt like an invitation to further ridicule. I played exclusively male roles in theatre class, and it was freeing to get more lines, bigger parts, and to go in and confuse people. Even if it meant that sometimes I had to say misogynistic lines, which made the audience chuckle at the irony, which made me feel strangely proud and disgusted at the same time. As if I could just detach myself from the category of woman, as if I wasn’t participating in the belittling of my fellow female. *** Despite all my best attempts, I couldn’t escape the pressure to be beautiful by transforming into a great chimaera or a giant insect à la Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. During the pandemic, cooped up at home and freed from the gaze of other people, I started reading more feminist writing, watching films made by female directors and learning about women’s art. And once I saw and heard more of the diversity of women’s voices and experiences, women who looked nothing like the archetype of a conventionally attractive woman, who also grew up like me — feeling alienated and ugly, and wrong and monstrous — ten years of feathers and scales and dirt fell away. Suddenly, I could be at peace with becoming a woman again. The truth is, I couldn’t escape womanhood. And I realized it isn’t something I entirely want to escape or reject anymore. Part of what allowed me to do so was coming to terms with my attraction to other people. If I could see these traits in another person and find them desirable, then maybe it might be permissible for myself to have those traits. Beauty, on the other hand, is a much more fraught topic. I’m still somewhat cynical about the nature of beauty’s role in our society. I didn’t and don’t understand many of the practices done in the name of beauty; when things like high heels literally misshape your feet over long periods of wear, when we have a long history of people getting hurt or sick from cosmetics due to lack of regulation. The beauty industry is built upon the insecurities and shame of women, promising the solution but only creating more problems. I’m not trying to pretend I have it all figured out. Despite all the things I know now, I still often struggle with feeling happy about my appearance. Bra shopping is a particular kind of
hell that transports me back to being eleven years old again, and when I look in the mirror, a lot of the questions I have are the same ones that have plagued me since I was a child. Will I finally become beautiful if I lose another twenty pounds despite the twenty I’ve already lost? How can the things that are pleasurable (lying in the sun, running around, eating good food with my friends) also render me ugly? If conventional beauty is a means of and to power, what does it mean for me to be without it? What does it mean if I start believing that my lack of beauty is the cause of my misfortunes? But being beautiful would not have saved me from being sexually harassed. In a world that is so intricately confusing, this idea that we might be able to have control over our appearance and that beauty can be the solution to everything is incredibly seductive. That if we just do the right things, change in the right ways, then life will be easier. After all, it’s much easier to change ourselves than to try and change the world in all its injustice. *** Beauty hides her face from me. The relationship we have is uneasy, a never-ending tug of war. But I still want to believe. I want to believe that the door is open, the rock can be unturned and I won’t die even if I scurry out into the bright sunlight. Even if I still sometimes feel like I’m could be missing out on something — love, sex, money — by not being this perfect, conventionally attractive woman. Even if I have been punished by many around me who have belittled, harassed or hurt me, for not being beautiful enough and still taking up space. And here, beauty turns into personality, and how agreeable I am, which is also not very. There are the moments when I feel free: running, hair whipping behind me, climbing through cliffs alone in the Japanese countryside, fumbling in casual games of sports as a break from work, my limbs uncoordinated from dis-use but my earnestness making up for it. With my heart beating wildly in my chest, I can remember that I existed in a time before beauty. All I want is possession of my body. To be in control of it and how others see me. To be recognized, to be seen, without having to be reduced to my appearance or humiliated in the process. When in motion, I can forget all the aches and eyes and pains and shame which have touched me. My body — heaving, hurtling, moving — not just an object to be seen. My body, mine, taking me places.
CREATIVE NON-FICTION SUPPLEMENT | 11
Beauty blossoms and changes with us WORDS BY RHEA MANN
Five-year-old me is still the most confident person I know. Annual Christmas concerts were her time to shine, even if there were thirty other kids on stage. As one of the tallest in the class, she stood in the back but made sure her jazz hands were the jazziest. She felt beautiful and loved making herself feel beautiful. She gravitated toward any article of clothing with a pattern, shimmer or frill — Fancy Nancy was her fashion icon. Having a unibrow, being a little chubby and not the same colour as most of the Disney princesses never made her feel less beautiful, just different. Then came puberty. Puberty is transformative, and for her — me — it was the first time my definition of beauty changed, and it didn’t include me. I was an early bloomer — the first of my friends to get their period, grow boobs and hair in all the places. Most of the girls I was friends with didn’t even know what actually happens during menstruation. Does our uterus fall out and then miraculously regrow? Is it just peeing blood? It was a mystery, but more importantly it was gross, so if you did know what happened during “that time of the month,” you kept it to yourself. Despite this, I told a few of my friends that I had officially blossomed, and they reinforced my deepest concerns. Ew. I remember hiding my pad in the shallow pockets of my Bethany Mota Aéropostale jeggings on the way to my elementary school’s washrooms. It was embarrassing to go through that before the rest of my friends, and no one could convince me it was a beautiful process. The changes felt so sudden, like being under a microscopic lens. In my pre-teen years, it became a regular occurrence for my “friends” to point out parts of me — upper lip hair, unibrow, leg hair, knuckle hair, arm hair — that I had felt completely neutral about until the girls who subscribed to beauty standards that affirmed their beauty told me otherwise. While growing up, my idea of beauty could be defined through femininity — Deepika Padukone as Shanti Priya in Om Shanti Om, Selena Gomez in the “Love You Like a Love Song” music video (see her bedazzled corset) and my mom. I have always thought my mom was beautiful, and I still do. I noticed when she changed her lipstick shade or tried a new hairstyle before going to a family function. My mom was also one of the people who made me feel beautiful and wanted to keep that feeling alive,
which eventually meant letting me erase my unibrow with wax. But, on the eve of my grade six beach day, I was feeling extremely anxious. The thought of my bare legs being on display next to my white friend’s legs was not a comforting scenario. I called my mom at work and begged for a waxing appointment, but she said no — which only spun me out even more. Having exposed, hairy legs was not an option, so I stole a razor from my older sister and slathered very-berry-beautiful shaving cream on my legs. My iPod 4 played an instructional YouTube video on shaving, and I got to work. In a shocking turn of events, I shaved my legs to just above my knees and had no cuts, but because they never show the backside of legs getting shaved in the Venus commercials, I left them as is. I knew shaving my legs without my mom’s permission was not okay. I was overwhelmed — excited to see my legs hairless for the first time, but I also knew my mom would be disappointed. I felt so much guilt for disobeying her, for letting myself get affected by what my friends would think of me, and for disappointing my mom. My mom had always put in the effort in affirming my beauty — making me aware of women like Frida Khalo and Kajol who embraced their facial hair and were still widely considered beautiful. She would point out Aveeno commercials where a faint trace of stomach hair is shown, and instilled in my siblings and I that we’re enough. The feelings took over, and I knew my mom would be home from work soon. The thought of looking her in her eyes, telling her that the years of teaching me about true beauty went down the drain with the very-berry shaving cream, was impossible. I decided to write her a note. I wanted her to understand the necessity behind my choice and to agree that there was absolutely no way I could go to beach day with my natural legs, and I felt sorry for going against her wishes, but I needed to do it. I let my teardrops dribble on the paper, and even circled and labelled them so she would know that I really was sorry. My mom was a little surprised that I had shaved. My older sister was told to remove her hair by others, while I was convinced by myself. The joke was on me — the next day, I laid beside all my friends at the beach only to realize most of them had leg hair and absolutely no one had the splotchy shave job I did. High school presented a new wave of beauty. I slowly started to wear makeup, the signature look,
consisting of concealer, blush, highlighter and mascara. I loved the process of getting ready, making sure my eyelashes didn’t clump together and that I had just enough blush on my nose. This quickly became a habit, and the seemingly simple process of getting ready for the day became something I had to do every day. I wanted to feel pretty and to be like my friends, and soon enough our makeup routine was practically a uniform — at one point we all had the same mascara. The desire to be noticed burned inside me, so I composed what I thought was the most beautiful version of myself. The girl who could run student council, but was also on good terms with everyone; the girl who excelled in theatre, but also knew when to give everyone else the spotlight; the girl you could go to for homework answers, but could invite to your house party. In the end, none of this equates to beauty. My high school journal entries are riddled with negative comparisons to my much smaller friends and self-inflicted insecurities about my body when friends wore skipping breakfasts like a badge of honour. I had to learn that even when I was at my thinnest, “prettiest,” most popular self, I didn’t feel beautiful. My friends weren’t perfect either. Being the beauty standard does not mean they believed it, and it doesn’t feel beautiful to have to change yourself just to adhere to a standard. Looking a certain way, wearing the right kind of mascara and being around certain people can’t do anything on an internal level, because beauty is not something that can be bought or sold. Now, my perception of beauty is more complicated than ever: I resist the Eurocentric CoverGirl ads, all the while conforming to them. I will pluck my eyebrows weekly ensuring that no trace of a unibrow is there. I still feel the pressure to wear makeup if I know I need to make a good or lasting impression on someone, and almost always shave my legs before wearing shorts to keep up an illusion. I have come to an understanding that beauty is what I make it to be — I can be beautiful when I listen to Beyoncé, I can be beautiful coming out of an exam shedding my stresses and gaining a sense of pride, I can be beautiful when the world tells me I am not. And looking back to the young girl who secretly shaved her legs, I see a girl who just didn’t know how to exist in a body that seemingly developed overnight. I see a girl who thinks she is anything but beautiful. I see a girl who was wrong.
12 | BEAUTY.
Threading is cultural, political, familial WORDS BY IMAN JANMOHAMED
Three things have stayed constant my entire life — my hair has always been long, I’ve always been short and Rajan has always done my eyebrows. Besides that one time in 2018 when Rajan was on vacation (my eyebrows were ruined). But you get the point. I’ve taken pride in my hair my entire life. It’s long, thick and healthy. It’s beautiful, and aunties never refrained from saying so. My mom would put my head between her hands and wash my hair, telling me stories about growing up or university or an original about a mean crow that she should totally make into a children’s book because it’s amazing. She’d comb it, detangling the millions of knots, and then she’d put the lengths into an intricate braid (or push it back with a sparkly headband on special occasions). My hair swirled around my body, frizzy and smooth. If my hair was in my face, my grandmother would tuck it behind my ears. Friends in junior high would play with it during hour-long school assemblies, and I’ve spent a fortune buying The Good Hair Ties. You know, the thick ones without the metal connector that rips hairs from the nape of your neck when you put your hair in a ponytail. I learned how to braid, curl, straighten and blow out, plop, mousse and gel. For most of my life, my hair was the only thing about me people talked about. But the second it was on my arms, my hair was gross. I was gross. And ugly. And unloveable. And stupid for not realizing it sooner. Thick black hair graced my body, from my head to my legs. It was everywhere, and for a long time, I hated it. Not because I thought I looked bad or that the hair was bad, but because everyone else told me it was. And I get it — decades and decades and centuries of colonialism taught South Asian people that their hair is disgusting and that their bodies are disgusting. I am disgusting. So when I would get teased — by kids and adults — for having body hair, I got rid of it. And I was just a kid. Adults would know best, right? Wrong. Removing my body hair was a choice, but barely. When you’re told something is bad, you get rid of it — done deal. And though I hated the hair on my arms for years growing up, I never felt self-conscious about my eyebrows. I’m sure classmates teased me here and there for having hair on my face, but it never bugged me. Having thick eyebrows was cultural. It made me feel South Asian
and it made me feel brown. I felt like I was connected to my culture in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to, especially while growing up. I don’t speak the language, whatever it may be — I never learned it. And growing up, I couldn’t help but feel stupid. My friends would talk to their parents in Gujarati or Kutchi or Hindi or Urdu, and I would listen intently, trying to understand one word from the intricate sentences flowing from their mouths. Maybe I’d catch “sambhar” for “listen,” or maybe “pani” for “water.” After focusing as hard as possible to understand what they were asking of me, I’d ask elders to repeat what they said to me, but in English. And I’d smile and nod when I knew they couldn’t. I’d point and use gestures, begging to connect with them on some level, any level, all while my brain beat me up for not knowing what to say back. Tears would well in my eyes and mascara would run down my thirteenyear-old face as I stared at myself in the mirror. And I’d do this while wearing a sari, maybe even a bindi, after listening to Bollywood music in the car an hour earlier. I felt like a fraud. Sometimes, I still do. I did anything I could to physically reclaim my heritage. I adorned myself with jhumkas and tanned as much as humanly possible during the summer. I switched from silver to gold jewelry and got my nose pierced. I stopped caring about the hair on my arms and started to reclaim it as mine. For me, body hair is inherently political. I choose to keep and remove hair based on what I feel.
Keeping my arm hair is political, but so is threading my eyebrows. My first time getting my eyebrows done was in 2014. My mom was looking for a good esthetician and I felt like it was time to get the small, wispy hairs plucked from the centre of my eyebrows. I was an adult, you know, being twelve and all. I know it’s paradoxical. Not shaving or waxing to feel more brown, to look more brown, to pay homage to my culture, but threading to do the same. In a salon thirty minutes from my home, the edges of my brows were neglected while the centre was left bare. Red and hot, I walked away complaining, swearing to my brothers that I would never let someone touch my brows again. Being a woman hurts. That all changed when I met Rajan. The prairie cold pierced through my skin. Heavy backpacks, clear mascara and chapstick and an itchy green Roots sweater. Hair pulled back, probably in a ponytail with front pieces pulled out. Metal retainers lined the inside of my mouth, orange high-top Converse, leggings, baby hairs poking out from behind my ears. That’s how she met me. Rajan was gentle, she asked me what I wanted and she talked me through the agony of threading the
tail-end of a brow. My eyebrows were thick and dark. I liked them that way. So Rajan kept them thick and dark, but with each twist of the thread, they became louder. They became what kids at school would talk about (because what else would they talk about?), and they became a symbol of womanhood and power to me. I took such pride in my eyebrows, the clean line between my skin and the hair, angular and harsh. Bold, assertive. Rajan threads and plucks my eyebrow hairs with the tiniest scissors known to man. She always makes sure to go easy on my left brow since that one always brings me pain and she gives me a tissue after she threads my right since she knows I could sneeze at any second. Though my mom would hold my eyebrow skin taught, when I looked in the mirror, I’d smile at myself. Not because I thought I looked better — or fundamentally different, even — but because I felt better. I felt like an adult. I felt like a woman. And I felt brown. I learned to stand up for myself and for my hair. As I shaved it, waxed it, cut it, grew it, styled it, braided it and plucked it, from the top of my head to the tip of my toe — I’m conscious of what I do and why I do it. Hair is political — from the braids I’d wear to school that made me confident in my heritage,
to the arm hair that made me upset with it — and it will always be political. As each eyebrow hair was plucked with white thread, the hairs of my mother and her mother and her mother before her were plucked, too. As my eyebrows grew sharper, so did theirs. I was there with them. I saw every heartbreak, every hardship. I saw them yell and shout and complain and I saw them become bolder, stronger and more powerful. I saw them in my mom beside me in the car driving home from volleyball practice and in me sitting in Rajan’s studio, smiling as I told her I loved the brows. The long line of women with thick eyebrows and body hair watched me grow while getting my eyebrows done. And Rajan was watching too. She might not know it, but she’s seen me through so many firsts — I saw her every two weeks for six years. She’s seen me through my first period, my first failed exam, my first time playing the saxophone, my first friendship breakup, my first date, my first week-long stint of not biting my nails, my first time feeling genuinely insecure, my first job, my first volleyball games, my first heartbreak, my first drama productions (and my last) and my first set of Invisalign. She’s been silently in the background, watching me grow up with a thread between her teeth.
CREATIVE NON-FICTION SUPPLEMENT | 13
Seeing past my reflection WORDS BY ELENA ZANUZZI
A tower sits on a hill, its roof a penciled outline against the weathered canvas sky. Sienna-hued houses zigzag, peeking in between muted green trees. Patches of yellowing canvas and squiggly pencil marks blend in harmony with the pastel landscape. This is Paul Cézanne’s The Village of Gardanne. Cézanne’s intentionally unfinished landscape paintings don’t have the meticulous, polished, and faultless feel to fit into my definition of perfect. Regardless, I remain captivated by their soft-spoken beauty. The uncovered patches of canvas and scribbled sketches bring out the human touch — beautiful yet crude, grounding the painting
please love me WORDS BY SHUBHREET DADRAO
This article contains discussion of eating disorders. i used to eat smaller portions and pile up expired take-out boxes that were thrown out with the disappointment of my mother. everyone would ask “why do you eat so little?” and i’d have to say with a smile that i wasn’t hungry when all i could do sometimes is hold my grumbling stomach, wincing at the thought of another bite. i used to stare at stomachs of women on tv because i refused to believe i could ever be them. cursing the life that i was given to a world that seemed to want anything that wasn’t me. i used to wish i was a boy because i thought i would get the benefit of the doubt from a culture that loved what i wasn’t. a culture that prioritized white skin and thin but not too thin dying bodies that yearned for some ounce of acknowledgement that they were small but not too small and tall but not too tall and lighter than light. but how could you do that when you were born to fail? what do you do when they gave birth to something they could never love as they are.
away from the universe of surreal perfectionism. Beauty is in imperfect humanness. How boring would it be if everything and everyone was a copy of my ideal perfect? I wouldn’t have been so captivated by The Village of Gardanne if Cézanne had hidden his pencil marks and coloured in every inch of white. Unique artistic choices make me appreciate the beauty that imperfections can bring to the world. But when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I suddenly become so critical of these “imperfections.” When I was younger, I never understood why the spots on my face were called beauty marks since they didn’t make me feel more beautiful,
but quite the opposite. I love the imperfect entirety of The Village of Gardanne, yet I can’t seem to apply the same sentiment to my reflection. I want to stop picking myself apart and pasting fragments into a persona that I’m only half-satisfied with. If Cézanne had painted me with all of my spots and freckles and displayed it at The Louvre, would I be more accepting that my differences are not flaws, but just kisses from God, or genetics or whatever else people want to believe in? Why is it so difficult to look past my imperfections, and why in the mirror, can I not see my reflection in its entirety?
The woes of ‘growing up ugly’ WORDS BY REGINA HIPOLITO
what do you do when neither boy or girl no matter how much they say they love or say they love or say they love me, i can’t be nor will i ever reach the idea they want me to be. Nevertheless, i still keep trying and poking my body and cursing my existence and eating less and wanting to be something i wasn’t born to be. i used to wish i didn’t exist so i didn’t have to fail criteria i didn’t know existed, that i didn’t agree to, that determined i’m not good enough if i don’t look if i don’t act if i don’t be the person they want me to be. how could i uphold expectations of who i was to be before i was me. it’s hard to hate your creators when they first taught you to hate yourself. but it’s harder to know that you hate yourself when you know you did nothing wrong. i didn’t choose to be born and i didn’t choose to disobey because if i had the choice i wouldn’t be who i am today. and that would be tragic to me. and only me.
My heart dropped when my best friend told me she liked a guy I had a crush on in high school. Not because I knew I never had a chance to begin with — trust me, I knew that. It was because I knew that she was pretty enough to get with anyone she ever wanted, and I now had to cope with the fact that she would have him easier than it ever took me to even have him glance in my direction. Saying I “grew up ugly” doesn’t mean I was ugly — it meant that I never quite fit in the way other people did, regardless of the beauty standard I had to adhere to. The universalized standard for beauty, even in the areas I lived — Manila and Doha — was pale and skinny, and then the next thing that was some variation of pale and skinny. Then I moved to Canada, and suddenly being pale and skinny and blonde and a myriad of other things were added into the mix. I am none of those things. I grew up darker than my peers and didn’t have the body type that was expected of me. What was worse was that I was around people who fit the beauty standard, and I had to be constantly reminded of my own deficiencies. Growing up ugly meant I had to find other ways to make myself interesting. If I could not be beautiful, I have to be funny. If I could not be beautiful, I have to be smart. If I could not be beautiful, I have to be witty. I had to become a million other things to be interesting. But I can’t be too passionate either, because that would be too overbearing. I couldn’t be too timid, because that would mean I was unapproachable. My entire life
was spent catering to other criteria I could make an effort to fit into — my life was spent overcompensating for something I wasn’t born with. Growing up ugly meant being okay with being the second pick. To have people you don’t even know coming up to you and asking about your friend’s relationship status. Growing up ugly meant being okay with being a wingman, even for the people you don’t want your friends to end up with. Growing up ugly meant you are the friend to stand on the side and wait for your friend to finish making out with that guy at a party. Growing up ugly meant I always had to wait. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a list of overly aggressive compliments for my friends whenever they post on Instagram labeled “insta comments” in my notes app. I’ve had this list since grade eight, and I open it every now and then to add something witty or clever whenever it comes up. I cater each and every comment to at least one friend and save the best for the ones I keep closest to my heart. In the list, I now have four different equations for the number eight. But I keep my Instagram bare. Growing up ugly meant you rarely take pictures of yourself. It meant having more photos in your drafts and archives because you never could look quite right. Growing up ugly meant always being the one taking the pictures because you could never imagine yourself as the muse. It meant posting a photo and then deleting it. I hope one day someone will keep a reserve of their best Instagram comments and one day use one on me. But instead, I maintain a low
social media profile, keep myself hidden and cheer from the sidelines. But when I turned eighteen, there was a shift. I started to get attention from others. People from my high school who never once glanced in my direction suddenly stopped and reconsidered me. I was eighteen when the world turned on its axis and someone asked me for my Instagram in public. Eighteen when I found myself bearable to look at in the mirror. But when you grow up ugly, you don’t know how to catch a hint. What constitutes “flirting,” you believe to be friendly banter? When people start being suggestive you believe them to just be nice. Growing up ugly meant you could not fathom the idea of anyone ever being attracted to you. So you become vulnerable to the niceties and start treasuring external validation. Growing up ugly meant any modicum of attention is valuable, and so you open yourself to a world of hurt. These people are not stupid — they know your type. They smell the desperation and see you only as a placeholder for the next best thing. You — I — realize that there is no winning. Whether you grow up ugly, or grow up pretty or have a glow-up, people will only ever see you as one thing and one thing no matter how much you try. There is no liberation in this sick, twisted and fucked- up world unless it comes from within yourself and no one else. Until you start being okay with being just okay. Now, I post the Instagram photo. I leave it there.
14 | BEAUTY.
Beauty is walking into the woods WORDS BY KAREN ZHOU
I want to be a tree, a Nootka Cypress. I want to drape myself in a weeping cloak of mossy needles, in the shape of humility and perseverance. I want to, despite such vulnerability, point at the sky with an undeniable confidence in my being. I want to be consistently among changing seasons. I want to smell like the wind. My UBC hoodie, no matter how comfortable, cannot give that to me. Our bodies are collaborative art pieces between us and nature. As art, we create ourselves inspired by existing forms. Fashion influences have shifted to increasingly abstract — concepts many degrees removed from anything tangible. Consider, clothing based on a ‘90s trend that is itself based on an older fashion — and so on until we do not
remember. Conversely, I’m a huge fan of tangibility. At Runaway Moon Theatre’s Walk of the Woods, there were around twenty-five of us — some trees, some mushrooms and myself — dressed in a patchwork tunic depicting an entire forest. Friends and kids and their adults all walked together in curious “costumes.” I thought it was beautiful. I felt beautiful. But the fast fashion cycle has no room for a forest. On top of feeling quite sanitarily kitsch, modern fashion and beauty conventions have always been uncomfortably gendered to me. I have lived the common experience of alienation from my own body; arguments with parents about “what
a girl should wear,” blurry-eyed last-minute shopping for a prom dress and inability to discern my own face from pictures of the night. From a Queer perspective, the idea of embodying something genderless is incredibly empowering. But I understand not everybody wants to cosplay as a plant. I have pretty radical opinions on beauty and fashion, but I think people are beautiful in confidence, no matter what clothes they wear. I just wish for someday, when I can look around, outside of contemporary art galleries, travelling puppet theatre wardrobes and my imagination — and see fashion that I find truly beautiful. If not, I can always just walk into the woods.
Butch is beautiful: Medusa in the hair salon WORDS BY AMELIA BROOKER
People love to stare at gender non-conforming people. Like I’m a puzzle to figure out. Like the longer they gaze, the more about myself will be revealed to them. Like it’s my responsibility to reveal myself to them. I wonder how Medusa felt as she walked through the world, with the core of her femininity twisted into something that undid the beauty others saw in her. A woman who caught everyone’s eyes, but who everyone feared their eyes would meet. A woman’s beauty has always seemed to fit into a much smaller box than it should. ‘Woman’ has always been synonymous with feminine, and feminine synonymous with beauty. The more beautiful you want to be, the more feminine you must be and the more woman you will become. This is at least what my childhood self believed. A little girl who let the term ‘tomboy’ sit in her mouth with a sour taste. It was fine to describe me at the time but left no room to grow. Grown women aren’t tomboys — it’s a term adults give to little girls to explain away their behavior, to convince themselves (and others) that masculinity is something little girls will grow out of. But like the tight fabric of the dresses that I pulled and stretched at, I outgrew the term ‘tomboy’ and was left with nowhere to go. I was a teenager the first time I even heard the word ‘butch,’ and there would be many more years before I could untie the knots of shame and stigma that had coiled around the word. The term ‘butch’ emerged in the 1930s, an abbreviation of the American term “butcher,” slang for tough or aggressive women. By the 1950s, it was a term quintessential to lesbian culture. But even today, it’s a word
people still fear is wrong or offensive. I hear people say “she’s masc” far more than ever letting themselves say “she’s super butch.” Perhaps it’s the link to Queerness that we fear to brand women with. Butch love and butch beauty lives in the anonymous. The idea that a masculine, man-hating lesbian with short hair and no makeup is an offensive stereotype means butches are never seen in any media. And yet, because the hate toward masculine women runs so deep, you don’t necessarily see us in real life either. Though there is a perception that butchness lives at the centre of Queer women’s expression, we find ourselves shifted to the outskirts instead. When I sit in a space surrounded by women, I think of Medusa sitting in a hair salon. She walks in through the woman-shaped door, her snakes catching on the frame. In a room of mirrors, it becomes a game of looking at her without being caught. Heads may turn but eyes will avoid her gaze, leaving her alone in the space outside normalcy. Walking into the hair salon is a declaration of oneself; asserting that you are here just like everyone else, to partake in a ritual steeped in femininity. Letting another woman take care of your hair puts your femininity in a vulnerable place, open for all to see. A dozen mirrors reflect the two of you together, taking care of each other the way women do. As hands touch hair, connection becomes easier. Words spill out as easily as locks of hair fall to the ground. Medusa struggles to let someone hold her femininity in their hands. She fears opening herself up, showing the most sacred part of herself to a room that sees her snakes as a poor
excuse for what a woman is supposed to have. My snakes can make others uneasy, questioning if I belong with them. Walking into a hair salon, a women’s bathroom or any space where others are expecting a woman can leave me feeling like I’ve done something wrong. The thing that connects me to other women doesn’t look like everyone else’s. So what makes me feel beautiful? It feels beautiful to be seen and understood as a woman who’s not “trying to be a man.” In fact, I’m trying so hard to be a woman. I’m trying desperately to feel like I belong in this hair salon, but something about squeezing through the door and tapping my feet in the waiting area makes me feel like a guest in my own body. For someone to look at me and see my butchness is at the centre of my womanhood lets me relax into the body I love so deeply. It feels beautiful to stand on the shoulders of all the gender non-conforming people who have come before me, who have lived beautiful lives and given their full hearts to their community. Just knowing that I might one day be the person that a little tomboy looks up to fills my heart with all the reassurance I need. It feels beautiful to see another butch and let them see me. For butches to see each other is to see into each other, to understand each other, to bare souls. To be surrounded by the people who I find beautiful and who see me as beautiful in return. The people who let Medusa rest her head on their shoulders, who don’t fear how she looks because they have a head of snakes of their own. The people who look her in the eye without fear, and say you look beautiful.
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITOR SPENCER IZEN
STUDENT WORKERS DESERVE DIGNITY //
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR //
Opinion: When a Work Learn position is not enough to eat or pay rent
New ways to contribute to the opinion section
José Reyeros Contributor
José Reyeros (he/him) is a Mexican fifth-year student in Geography focusing on climate justice. His research has covered topics from fossil-free research to ocean conservation. He’s passionate about social good and is working on the Organize UBC campaign. The 2022/23 annual AMS Academic Experience Survey found that only 11 per cent of students believe UBC cares about their opinion on the cost of education. If annual tuition increases weren’t enough stress for students, UBC pays Work Learns at low and disproportionate rates, with most positions paying between $18 and $22 per hour. Many Work Learn employees — myself included — make just above minimum wage, and nearly all available positions earn
less than a living wage, which is $24.08 per hour for Metro Vancouver, according to Living Wage for Families BC. For many students, developing applied and employable skills in our area of study is important. That is also a luxury for many. Balancing our professional interests with a decent wage is tough. With only a limited number of Work Learn positions for over 70,000 undergraduate students, many students are forced to work off campus. On top of that, the federal government’s policy allowing international students to work over 20 hours per week off campus is about to expire at the end of the year, making us rely even more on Work Learn positions. How can students afford to live and study in Vancouver like this? For many, being a Work Learn isn’t just about work experience or extra spending money — it’s a
financial lifeline. These paychecks determine whether or not we can pay rent on time or afford groceries this month. For this reason, Work Learn jobs mean a lot more than your employer may know. I know this from my own experience. I hold a Work Learn position, but since these positions are limited to only 10 hours per week, I also work two additional jobs and am a full-time international student. I’m able-bodied and have found the capacity to work this much, but not getting enough sleep or time for myself is unsustainable. This situation also limits my access to scholarships, as finding ones I’m eligible for can be difficult when I have to trade my grades for employment across three jobs. What have I learned from this madness? My time and work are valuable, very valuable. Often as Work Learns in our first
50% off tickets
Free for UBC Students
UBCBANDS UBCORCHESTRA UBCCHOIR
Tickets from $5
Discover a world of music. Student discounts at chancentre.com @chancentreubc
“office/lab job” we often feel like we just had our professional “big break.” In a labor market based on experience, we truly rely on trust from an employer to get a chance to earn money beyond serving or washing dishes. But the truth is that students deserve decent wages regardless of their level of experience or field of work. To advocate for fair compensation and working safety means we must raise our voices and do it together. Student workers, like all Vancouver working residents, are facing an affordability crisis. We have seen students protest for food security or refute tuition increases. Yet, as reflected in the AMS survey, students continue to face financial hardship related to tuition and other expenses and food insecurity. That is why Work Learns need to act. Organize UBC is collecting Work Learn signatures to formally unionize Work Learn students with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The goal of the campaign is to add Work Learn students engaged in academic work (holding titles like Academic Assistant, Research Assistant or Project Assistant) to the Teaching Assistant Union, CUPE 2278. Unions are democratically run, non-profit organizations that fight for better wages, paid sick leave, paid vacation, fair working conditions and improvements to your work, academic and life balance. Rather than having to advocate for ourselves individually, joining a union means we can stand together with a collective voice. If we collect 55 per cent of signatures of Work Learns holding these types of positions, we will directly support the financial lifeline of fellow undergraduate students at UBC by unionizing our workforce. All student workers on UBC’s campus deserve to make a living wage. Teaching Assistants and Residence Advisors have both unionized and achieved this. Student workers have been joining together across different job titles and this value of uniting together is growing across the institution. Last spring and summer, thousands of Graduate Research Assistants and Academic Assistants signed union cards to join the Teaching Assistant union. If Work Learn students join too, then all students across campus engaged in academic work will be represented. As a fifth-year international student that wants younger students to not have it as hard, my message is that unionizing is simple. If you are a Work Learn student holding an academic job with a title like Research Assistant, Academic Assistant, or Project Assistant, all you need to do is sign a card on the Organize UBC website, share it with a friend, and let CUPE take it from there. You may not think you need it now, but as someone who’s been in different Work Learn positions, you will thank me next term. U
Spencer Izen Opinion Editor
The Ubyssey is making changes to the way we run our opinion section. Here’s how we’re offering new ways to add your perspectives to our pages. First you’ll want to know what the opinion section is. Unlike news, opinion journalism is not objective. Opinion journalism is about persuading readers of a particular view and giving evidence in support of it. In additon to going forward, we’ll be running a pitchlist that, instead of providing pitches, offers prompts that people can request to write an opinion article on. This allows us to provide writers regular opportunities to contribute that doesn’t rely solely on them to form an idea — while also allowing people to come up with their own, unique perspective on a topic. You can sign up for our section’s pitchlist by entering your email into the corresponding form at ubyssey.ca/pages/volunteer/. Once people have responded to a prompt and pitched their response, the opinion editor will decide whose pitch to consider for publication and they will be asked to write a completed draft. The primary considerations will typically be whether the pitch appears capable of being well-developed in an article and whether the person is the best person to speak on a particular issue. Essentially, we are concerned with the quality of your idea and your qualifications to present it. And we’re happy to, as is our job, assist you in developing your piece along the way. The Ubyssey is open to anyone who wants to contribute, with no experience necessary. Importantly, readers still have the option of pitching their own ideas, regardless of what prompts are given in the pitchlist. We will continue to receive pitches and decide whether to move forward with them or not on the same principles as before. To do this, please see the new Opinion Submission Form on our website at https://ubyssey.ca/pages/submit-an-opinion. Additionally, readers and writers will now have access to a comprehensive new manual to reference in understanding how the section works and how they can get involved. The opinion section’s purpose is to elevate the most newsworthy, infromed perspectives about our campus and communities, and looks forward to working with all writers within our new model. U
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITOR JOCELYN BAKER
SERVE FACE AND SHOW UP IN THE WRONG PLACE //
Makeup Monday: #ZeroWaste beauty basics Kyla Flynn Senior Staff Writer
Hey girlies! I’m so glad you’re here. Welcome back to another Monday — but this isn’t just any Monday. It’s Makeup Monday! And it’s also actually a Thursday but who’s counting? That’s right. You may not know what’s going on in your classes, or what classes you’re even supposed to go to, but you’ll sure as hell look hot enough to convince one of the smart people who actually studies and, ahem, bought the textbook (insane) to help you cram for those cute lil midterm exams coming on up. Or, at the very least, someone will finally post about you on UBC crushes. Let’s throwback Thursday to Thanksgiving Monday and get into it! CURATING THE VISION We’ll be going for a cozy-girl-fall, definitely-did-not-have-someone’ssweaty-armpit-in-my-face-onthe-49, college-girl-chic look today. It’s giving light frothy espresso girl academia. It’s giving Wreck Beach sunset risque shy flirtatious. I’m feeling … Ouuuuuu! Yes, a small touch of raccoon, a little bit of i-fell-downthe-nest-stairs-but-in-a-hot-maincharacter way. Perf. ASSEMBLE YOUR PRODUCTS Now that we’ve outlined our goals for the look (#lewk), I am dying to get into a step-by-step breakdown of my process. Today’s tutorial will feature things I scavenged from other students’ tote bag spills, the IKB dumpsters and the lost and found boxes at the front of lecture halls because all make-up girlies know that #resourcefulness is key. I’m all about those life hacks, that DIY action, babes! Think 2014 YouTube makeup challenges but budget-friendly because those Shoppers Drug Mart
JOCELYN BAKER / THE UBYSSEY
This isn’t just any Monday. It’s Makeup Monday!
prices? Ugh, as if! Here’s a list of everything I found, and what I’ve used it for in today’s tutorial. DRIED UP DRY-ERASE MARKER (SHADE: WASHED-OUT NOIR) Use this for a perfect smokey-eye to hide your Monday-on-a-Thursday eyebags, accentuating them in hopes a professor might extend your paper deadline out of pity. CONTAINER OF ROTTING RASPBERRIES (SHADE: ONE-WITHNATURE PINK) This find is doubly cool because it
comes with a slay plastic container which can double as a makeup case for all your finds. Use the raspberries as a natural blush to mimic the flushed cheeks of all the it-girls running from SWNG to BUCH because they thought Thursday classes would be on Thursday this week — can you imagine? ONE OF THOSE REALLY EXPENSIVE HIGHLIGHTERS (SHADE: LEFT-ON-DELIVERED BLUE) Use this for a bright pop of colour on your eyelids! Kill the Monday blues with a bit of Mon-slay blue perfection.
EXPIRED (PROBABLY UNPAID) PARKING TICKET Oil blotting papers are one of my favourite beauty products, and parking tickets are basically the same in that they’re also made of paper. Say goodbye to greasy foreheads and stress sweat, and hello to the subtle imprint of a $70 fine on your forehead! Don’t worry, it’ll wear off in a few short weeks! HALF-EMPTY STARBUCKS COFFEE Abandoning a $7 latte is a criminal activity. But this is a win for
us! Starbucks leftovers can double as both an amazing bronzer and, if there are any grounds left in there, an amazing lip scrub! SERVE Revel in your quirkiness and bask in your superiority over other girls who decided to buy real products. Don’t let the burning rash and temporary blindness you’re experiencing bring you down — you look incredible! Thanks for tuning in to this Monday’s thrifty make-up tutorial. I’ll see you next Thursday for another installment of this series containing this Monday’s content. U
ENROLLING IN SO MANY SEMINARS RIGHT NOW //
Pre-reqs now waived if you have a crush in the class Tova Gaster Science Editor
A recent UBC Broadcast email announced that students who do not meet the pre-reqs in select courses can register if they have a crush in the class. This policy isn’t simply in the spirit of mischievously enabling young love (or, more realistically, situationships that last for the two hardest months of the term before painfully and inexplicably fizzling out). Rather, the relevant knowledge gained in pre-reqs can, in some cases, be substituted by the raw drive to impress somebody in class who’s hot and smart and funny and nice. “I have seen many otherwise under-qualified students excel in my Engineering Ancient Aqueducts (AQUA 405) course simply due to the presence of peers they romanticize,” said Dr. Julius Cae-
UBC research shows having a crush in a class boosts attendance by 72 per cent.
sar (no relation). “The mere possibility of a study date can bring students with no background in the discipline to heights of scholarship usually only seen in honours seminars and YouTube video essays
about gladiator swords.” “Man, I’m a slut for the Roman Empire like just fucking get me near a … wait are you still recording this?” UBC research shows having a crush in a class boosts attendance
KENNY ELIASON / UNSPLASH
by 72 per cent, interest in course material by 50 per cent and participation by 30 per cent. The participation stat is limited because “some people are shy,” mumbled postdoc Phoebe Bridgerton (some relation), a vis-
iting fellow researching solutions to the psychological impacts of femme4femme yearning. The Broadcast email specified that the new crush policy is not a loophole to allow tryhards with bad registration times to get into the Quantitative Methods in Quantum Qomputing seminar they need for their competitive internship at Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated. Faking a crush to get into a course will be classified as academic misconduct and subject to penalty by the UBC Senate. “And really, you’d only be hurting yourself,” said Vice Provost Matt Chmaker. “Without a genuine crush or the required foundational courses, you’ll join your seminar unprepared and uninspired. Find a little love in your heart for your classmates, or do things normal-style and just take courses in order and die a virgin.” U
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY | HUMOUR | 17 HOPE THEY’RE DOING OK — I’VE BEEN IGNORING THEIR MESSAGES //
I can’t escape Hennings! Corwin Davidson Contributor
I’m trapped somewhere deep within the bowels of Hennings. I think I've been down here for four days, but time has lost all meaning. Hennings opened in 1947 as the Physics building. It was renamed in 1963 after the construction of a new addition, where I think I am. The bathrooms on the lower level were remodeled in 2017, and now malevolent urinal spirits scream at me. Today, the building hosts many classes across a variety of disciplines. But I just wanted to go to my CHEM 223 class, so why am I trapped? There should be a way out. I tried to get to the roof, but I’ve gone up at least seven stories and couldn’t find the top. And I know for a fact there are like three stories, tops, in this building. There’s nothing out the windows but an endless black void through which I can see stars that don’t form the constellations I’m used to. No exit signs either.
Four days. I’ve spent four days trapped down here. Or up here. If I go up, I can feel myself going down, then slightly sideways. I went up a set of stairs from the top level two days ago and found myself in the basement. I’ve subsisted on nothing but Gatorade and granola bars since I entered this place. At least the vending machines still take UBCcard down here. So it beats Buchanan. The higher/lower I go, the narrower the hallways become and the weirder the professor nameplates on the doors get. I’m pretty sure there isn’t actually anyone on the UBC faculty named “Garthalax the Unknowable, He Who Waits Below Eternity.” Group portraits with glowing red eyes stare at me from an endless darkness along the walls, and they’re all captioned “Eng-Phys class of 1521.” At the time of writing, I find myself on what claims to be the seventh floor, though the number is upside down. The rooms don’t have numbers anymore. Instead they all refer to unpleasant events in my life.
The vending machines now demand irrational quantities of long-dead currencies. Still beats Buchanan. This isn’t happening. HENN 200 has twisted into a horrific eldritch geometry. HENN 201, meanwhile, has a more traditional layout with rows of forward-facing seats. I can hear them now — the voices. An endless dissonant chorus of former STEM students, doomed forever to wander these wretched halls. The receptacles on the ground floor of the building held lockers until 2017, but now they hold only yawning chasms through which I can see the infinite abyss of time and space. Did you know there’s a skywalk on the third floor that goes to HEBB? Oh, what’s that on the ground? Ooo one of those old calc—I COMMAND THE POWER OF A THOUSAND SUNS AND I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARK—oh, there’s my classroom! Silly me, I must have taken a wrong turn. Wait, why is everyone chanting in Latin? U
JOCELYN BAKER / THE UBYSSEY
I think it’s been around four days, but time has lost all meaning.
THE MOST MATURE BID DAY LINEUP IN YEARS //
Report: 80 per cent of frat pledges are toddlers
— 20 yeArs of FeAr —
Thrilling RIDES. Haunted Houses. Total Nightmare! OCTOBER 6-31 AT PLAYLAND ISABELLA FALSETTI / THE UBYSSEY
This is a result of a flyer switch-up making parents believe they were sending their kids to a field trip.
Akanksha Pahargarh Contributor
Data from the 2023/24 Greek Life Bid Day shows 80 per cent of pledges came from Orchard Commons this year, specifically the Orchard Commons Hummingbird Daycare. This is a result of a flyer switch-up making parents believe they were sending their kids to a field trip that promoted “community, hard work and positivity,” and not to run down the Nest staircase and shout unintelligibly. Chad Huddington, a senior freshman frat bro from Alpha Gamma Rama Tama Pi, said it wasn’t a big deal when confronted. “Um, ya, like I was in charge of outreach and I had posters to hand out, but when I was handing them out and stuff I got distracted and set them down. When I looked back at them some woman was taking them away so I just left and got a snack. She looked like some kind of teacher, so I just assumed she knew what she was doing. I mean it’s like no carnaval no games, am I right?” Some UBC students are demanding the UBC Interfraternity Council stop recruiting kindergarteners on the r/UBC subreddit. Reddit user populartvshowreference420 wrote a ten paragraph essay about child abuse we were too tired to
read, so we just copied the end: “TL;DR They can’t even walk. How can they rush a frat??” But populartvshowreference420 was absolutely bodied by user slippytits’s reply: “suck my dick.” Frat guy and fourth-year kegstand major Spork Michaels said a founding principle of fraternities is diversity and inclusion, so they can’t discriminate on the basis of age. “It would just be wrong. Plus, you haven’t seen these kids — as soon as you put their beer in a sippy cup they can chug it faster than some of our other members,” Michaels said, before backflipping onto a keg and chugging the whole thing. The potential pitfalls of having preschoolers join a frat may be outweighed by the tremendous amount of skills they seem to be gaining. Jonas Brothers (no relation), just five years old, has been able to absolutely wreck every other frat member at Phi Psi Ki Li Epsilon in beer pong, developing an incredible aim for someone his age. “Yeah, man — I’m the king of this world. I finna drop outta school and go pro,” said Brothers. Frat boys (not the children) have also gained some knowledge from the experience, learning how to change diapers and thinking twice about unprotected sex. U
New B r av e t h e us e h a u nt e d h o
n yo u ’ r e
one ot a l
OPENING WEEKEND TICKETS: $30
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITOR TOVA GASTER
GAINS, GAINS, GAINS //
Fitness fact-checked: Protein might not be as important as you think Gloria Klein Contributor
There’s a lot of online advice out there for an aspiring gym buff looking to build muscle, not always produced by reputable dieticians. While protein is the macronutrient on everyone’s minds at the Birdcoop, misconceptions in the fitness community may be overstating its importance. According to UBC experts, overemphasising any nutrient can actually hinder progress in the gym and even harm health. PROTEIN 101
Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that the human body needs, 11 of which our bodies make. Our diets provide the remaining 9. About 20 per cent of muscle is made of protein. Current daily protein intake recommendations estimate about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, someone who weighs 80 kg (176 pounds) would need about 64 g of protein per day — equivalent to just over 200 g of chicken breast or about 1.5 cups of chickpeas. This guideline does not take into account actively increasing muscle mass. “If you exercise but you don’t have amino acids abundantly present, you will repair what is needed but you won’t build new muscles,” said Dr. Barbara Stefanska, a professor of food, nutrition and health. The Ubyssey sat down with Ger-
What a lot of fitness advice gets wrong is that the body cannot store protein.
ry Kasten, professor of dietetics and food, nutrition and health, to talk about how much protein he would recommend for someone looking to bulk up. He pulled out a calculator. Kasten explained that if an individual wanted to gain 10 pounds of muscle over 3 months (a tricky feat), they would need an extra 2 pounds of protein in their diet overall (remember, muscle is 20 per cent protein). Spread over 3 months, they would only have to eat approximately “an extra 10 grams of protein” a day, which is a little more than what’s in a glass of milk. The actual amount would vary based on factors like how efficient their body is at making muscle and their activity level. So what’s up with TikTok recipes that recommend making pea-
nut butter-protein-powder-chiaseed smoothies with a whopping 81 grams of protein? DEBUNKING AND UNPACKING
What some fitness advice gets wrong is that the body can’t store protein. Excess protein gets used for energy and then excreted as nitrogenous waste. In short, overdoing it on supplements might just be making really expensive urine. According to Stefanska, a high protein diet isn’t a problem for most people — but some studies suggest that it could make some preexisting health issues worse. “The problem appears when a high protein diet co-exists with some malfunctions in the body, like for example, kidney malfunction.” As always, consult your health-
KATRIANNA DESANTE / THE UBYSSEY
care provider before making any major diet changes. Those living in residence have access to dieticians who can help you plan for your specific nutrition needs. Some fitness professionals tout the benefits of tracking nutrients. This can take some of the stress out of planning what to eat. However, spending too much time tracking all of your nutrients can become “symptomatic of disordered eating,” Kasten said. This could be a sign to chat with a dietician. Kasten emphasized that it’s important to consider why you want to build muscle, and for who. Beauty standards can warp people’s perceptions of what an ideal or strong body looks like in ways that aren’t always mentally or physically healthy.
There’s also the question of where you get your protein from. People often underestimate plantbased protein, in particular due to misconceptions about soy. “When I’m teaching,” said Kasten, “I often encourage students to Google the phrase ‘soy makes you gay,’” because you got a lot of entries ... and it’s absolutely ludicrous.” Kasten said this misconception comes from soy supposedly mimicking estrogens, the class of hormones associated with female sexual characteristics. Soy does have relatively high concentrations of isoflavones (a type of plant estrogen), which do not have the same structures as human estrogens. Isoflavones have been shown to have minimal “feminizing” effects and actually some benefits, such as hormone balancing and regulating blood sugar. Protein eaten also does not directly correlate with muscle mass. Other factors like sleep, eating enough in general and stress levels are often equally important. As with many things, balance is key. Protein is important but so are all of the other macronutrients, vitamins and minerals. Both Kalsten and Stefanska said that fitness and health are just about diet — they’re also psychological and personal. Next time you see a trendy fitness regimen, it’s worth checking in with yourself about how it would fit in with other healthy habits and if it is based in sound science. U
LEFT ON DELIVERED //
Midwifery research bridges equity gaps in birthing care Aditi Mankar Contributor
To make pregnancy and childbirth safer, hospitals provide ultrasound screening, physical exams, vaccines and more. These modes of care are meant to support health in the weeks before and after birth — called the perinatal period. Despite these medical advances, Indigenous people experience more clinical complications during pregnancy, and people of colour experience a higher rate of mistreatment while giving birth in hospitals. Dr. Saraswathi Vedam, a professor of midwifery and one of the lead investigators at the UBC BirthPlace Lab, is launching a new study to investigate how marginalized patients experience the care they receive, and how that impacts their health. Medical systems that appear to be high-quality on paper might not feel safe or supportive to patients where it matters. “You can’t have quality care without quality experiences of care,” said Vedam. According to Vedam, perinatal researchers don’t usually ask pregnant people — especially racialized and marginalized ones — themselves about their experiences and needs. This is a dangerous gap that her new project aims to fill. Her new study “Justice and Equity in Perinatal Services” is one of the ten Pan-Canadian Women’s Health Coalition hubs funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and Women and Gender
As a practicing midwife for 38 years, Dr. Vedam has always approached maternal health care as a dialogue.
Equality Canada. As a practicing midwife for 38 years, Vedam has always approached maternal healthcare as a dialogue. Midwives focus on asking patients what they want for their birthing experience and tailoring care to their preferences and needs. “It’s inherent in the way we practice,” said Vedam. “There’s always co-creation of the birth plan and care plan.”
Now, she approaches research in the same way — asking marginalized people what they experience from their health care, and what they need for it to improve. “There’s been this disconnect between the health knowledge that we hold in our own bodies and minds, and how the system or healthcare providers help,” said Vedam. Black, Indigenous and Trans people have often been excluded
BESSIE GUO / THE UBYSSEY
from perinatal research, leaving their priorities and specific needs unheard when it comes time for delivery. Vedam’s research had shown that they’re more likely to be scolded, threatened or mistreated. This has led to distrust between the healthcare providers and patient. Quality care “is about feeling like whatever your identity, your background, your circumstances, when you interact with health services ...
you are the ultimate decision maker.” This also includes pathways to holding health care systems accountable for when that trust is broken. To assess health care, she developed three new quality measures — the Mothers’s Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale, the Mothers on Respect (MOR) index and the Pregnant Persons’ Experience of Mistreatment by Providers (PPEMP) index. The data helped her develop an online course to help providers integrate person-centred decision making in their practice. Her new project also aims to develop tools for perinatal care providers to enhance patient autonomy, and an online system evaluating hospitals on their readiness to change their ways of delivering care. Supportive and accessible care also goes beyond the hospital room. It includes helping patients access care through increasing access to transportation, paid maternity leave and culturally-competent providers. “Sometimes service users are blamed for not coming to the clinic, when in fact, they’re in a minimum wage job that doesn’t allow them time off to go to clinic during clinic hours, or they don’t have transportation.” Accessibility can only be achieved through systematic changes, planned and executed based on what people say that they need. “They know that’s their lived experience. They need the system to move forward with implementation of strategies that improve accountability,” said Vedam. U
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY
EDITOR LAUREN KASOWSKI
‘WE HAVE THE TALENT’ //
Football eyes the prize at the midpoint
Caleb Peterson Contributor
Friday, October 13 SOC (W)
For Thunderbirds Football, 2023 has been a year of new records. A 4–0 start for the first time since 1992. A win at Homecoming for the first time since 2017. Now, as they hit the midway point of the season, they have their eyes set on one more record— their first Hardy Cup victory since 2015. Aside from stumbling in a 34–31 loss to Saskatchewan, the ‘Birds have cruised through the opening stretch of the season. Their four wins this season have come by an average margin of victory of 27 points, demonstrating the immense potential the team has. Their offence has been led by star quarterback Garrett Rooker. He has been the season’s best passer in Canada West (CW), leading all starting quarterbacks in passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. These numbers are even more impressive considering Rooker is returning from a dislocated and fractured hip suffered nearly a year ago. Head coach Blake Nill lauded his quarterback’s effort, especially after his homecoming performance. “We were making plans that he would not be available to us until midseason. For Garrett to come out, make the plays that he’s made with relatively little rust … I just think it speaks strongly about his work ethic to get ready, his mental determination to overcome that injury and his
Saturday, October 14 HKY (W)
“We have the talent. It’s a matter of execution,” said head coach Blake Nill.
talent.” Alongside Rooker, running back Isaiah Knight and receiver Sam Davenport have both been major contributors to the ‘Birds’ explosive offence. In all of CW, Knight is second in rushing yards, while Davenport leads the conference with 464 receiving yards. On the defence, a major focus has been on young players in key positions. Nill said this is a point of improvement for the team that will hopefully be solved with more experience. “I think it’s just a matter of some of our younger athletes stepping up and putting more to their potential,” said Nill. “We lost three of our best [defensive] players from 2022 to the CFL, and we need guys to fill those
voids.” But this young defence has stepped up to the challenge, holding opponents to under 20 points in each of their first three games. Linebacker Ryan Baker has been a key part of this defensive success, leading the team in tackles while also grabbing an interception. UBC is currently in a deadlock at the top of the conference, tied with Saskatchewan and Alberta with 4–1 records. With all three universities playing some of their best football, the competition for the Hardy Cup will be fierce this year. Through five games, the promise this team has shown has been tantalizing, and expectations for the rest of the season are skyhigh.
ISA YOU / THE UBYSSEY
For Nill, it will all come down to execution. “I thought my 2010 team in Calgary was very athletic. I thought my 2001 team at St. Mary’s was incredible. This year reminds me of those two programs,” said Nill. “We have the talent. It’s a matter of execution. When the time comes, how are we going to execute to our fullest ability?” Both Nill’s 2001 and 2010 teams made appearances in the U Sports football championship game, the Vanier Cup. National greatness is the bar that has been set for this group, and the pieces are all in place for a special season. Whether they can cap it off with Canada’s ultimate prize, only time will tell. U
Sunday, October 15 FHKY (W)
SOMEONE CUE AC/DC //
Women win, men lose at soccer’s Thunderstruck Lauren Kasowski Sports + Rec Editor
On Friday’s stormy night, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams took on the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Wolfpack for their Thunderstruck festival. The women’s season results improved to 12–1 with a 3–0 victory while the men dropped their first game of the season with a 1–0 loss. The women’s game had a physical first half with TRU and UBC exploiting the flaws in each others’ play. TRU intercepted a lot of the Thunderbirds’ long passes and the ‘Birds were adaptable to their opponents. Most of the gameplay was inside the Wolfpack’s half, but TRU had good defensive pressure keeping the game scoreless. The momentum slightly rose for UBC right before the end of the first half. They had good chances and conference points leader Katalin Tolnai almost scored on a long kick from Dani Mosher but ran out of space to get past the goalkeeper, keeping the score 0–0 at half. “TRU has got a good team and they fight hard … fortunately, as the half wore on, I felt we got stronger,” said head coach Jesse Symons. “And then [in] the second half, we came out with a lot of chances and were good value for the win tonight.” That good value started with Tolnai stepping up for a successful penalty kick in the 55th minute. After that, the ‘Birds keep the offensive pressure on the Wolfpack.
A head shot from Jade Taylor-Ryan doubled the lead and goalkeeper Dakota Beckett kept any of TRU’s chances out of the box. Sophie Damian’s shot from the 30 yard line in the last minute soared over TRU’s goalkeeper’s hands and ended the game 3–0 for UBC. Damian and Tolnai were standout players for the game, especially with their playmaking and offensive drives. They were also two of nine graduating players honoured before the game. “They’re leaders of the team.
Katalin Tolnai controls the ball.
They’re big time players. [Damian] finishing off the game at the end was electric, which was great to see,” said Symons. In the men’s game, a match up of last year’s national championship where the ‘Birds lost in a shootout, the Thunderbirds spent most of their time in the TRU zone, taking chances to the net. Midfielder Logan Chung almost put the ‘Birds on the board in the 26th minute with a shot that looked like it went off the post and in, but there wasn’t enough angle and it
ZOE WAGNER / THE UBYSSEY
stayed out of the net. Play stagnantly continued back and forth and the scoreboard was still empty after 45 minutes. After half, UBC continued with their chances but to no avail. TRU goalkeeper Svyatik Artemenko was a brick wall, blocking all 15 shots he faced. Ultimately, it was TRU’s Michael Ojo who scored the lone goal in the 76th minute. He capitalized off a UBC joint slide tackle, which took out the attacker but left the ball open for play. Ojo notched it
in the top corner, just out of reach for Thunderbird goalie Bennet McKay. The ‘Birds couldn’t bounce back in the remaining time and the game ended 1–0 for the Wolfpack. Both teams are wrapping up the end of the regular season, currently sitting first in their respective division as they head into the postseason, looking to defend their Canada West championships. Playoffs start on October 28 and the women will host their first game at Thunderbird Stadium. U
Eric Lajeunesse kicks the ball out of the T-Bird zone.
ZOE WAGNER / THE UBYSSEY
OCTOBER 17, 2023 TUESDAY | GAMES | 20
CROSSWORD PUZZLE - BLUE CHIPPED
ACROSS 1 *For the honours student 8 *For the caffeine addict 15 Fixed portions 16 Higher for lemon juice than water 17 She’s so old her social security number is 000000001 18 Ones with excessive enthusiasm 19 ___kwon do 21 The Science Guy 22 Hope this doesn’t come to shove 24 Hoppy brew 26 They’re breath-taking Band behind “The Downward Spiral” LP
(abbrv.) 31 Rise 34 Fergie and will.i.am’s musical grp. 35 “En route” 37 Orchestral drum 40 *For the chocolate lover 41 *For the wildlife enthusiast 42 “Why not” 44 Colombian-American actress and judge on *America’s Got Talent* 45 Ctry. bordered by Yemen and Oman 46 Essential shoegaze guitar pedal 48 1000 Gs
49 Redmayne or Van Halen 52 ___ Milk? 53 Lamb mamas 55 Org. with big guns? 57 Target of an annual vaccine 58 Russian dynasty that came to a bloody end 62 Display in a shoebox 66 Bro’s slang for a cold beer 67 Normally 68 Some hereditary qualities 69 Tool to measure 16-Across
23 Bad way to leave a Zoom call during an argument 24 Unfriendly 25 Crumb carrier 27 Match between the Bulls and Bucks, maybe 28 Sui ___ (Latin phrase meaning “of its own kind”) 29 A downward one makes for a bad situation 30 “I haven’t the faintest idea” 32 Hater, with “nay” 33 More grim 36 Self-inserted characters that might not be like other girls 38 *For the punny one 39 File type for images with transparent backgrounds
43 Functional neuroimaging tool with electrodes 44 Dog’s doc 47 “I do,” e.g. 50 Total amazement 51 Young’s partner 54 German sausage? It’s the ___ 56 DJ who throws cakes 57 To catch a tuna or a compliment 58 Famous female SCOTUS member 59 Mined-over matter? 60 *12 Angry ___* 61 Capitol of BC 62 Handshake with an added fist bump 63 Gold: Prefix 64 Month after Avril 65 The Matterhorn, for one
NAOMI NG / THE UBYSSEY
1 Texter’s “My bad” 2 Chairman who founded the People’s Republic of China 3 Bread machine? 4 Vancouver’s 2011 Stanley Cup uproar and others 5 They can be thrown at a target or on the grill 6 I got that dawg ___ 7 That, in Barcelona 8 Traffic issue 9 Open ___ of worms 10 LP and 45 material 11 Parisian goodbye 12 Hollywood’s Long or Vardalos 13 Primary world clock setting 14 Burrell and Dolla $ign, e.g. 20 Copy 22 ___ Larry (*Spongebob* outlaw)
THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER
CROSSWORD SOLUTION SEPTEMBER 26, 2023 VOLUME CV | ISSUE VII
JERRY WONG / THE UBYSSEY