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House of Hume: An Interview with the Hume Area Senator Honors Bookshelf Food Fraud Secret Life of a Resident Assistant
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malala: inspiring education house of hume in defense of the liberal arts why is history still relevant?
What you hold in your hands is a crisp material encapsulating the fantastic ideas of your fellow Honors students. Feel free to use it as a shield against uncovered bus sneezes, an elegant umbrella, or a plate for (Kelena)
a squirrel’s Krishna Lunch — but most importantly, let the showcased articles provide the source of (Caroline)
relaxation, entertainment, and knowledge that you so greatly need.
09 music:a year-end list 10 honors bookshelf 12 book review: a hero at the end of the world
With every page you flip, Prism will provide you with a greater sense of unity with the Honors student body. (Kelena)
Be it having an epiphany that you’ve been a Slytherin after all this time in an Uncommon Reading class or (Caroline)
13 food fraud 15 ebola: fact or fiction 16 environmental: what is green-washing and how can we stop it?
Instagramming the perfect angle of your latte from Pascal’s, we have compiled a printed utility belt of (Lexy)
resources for you to enjoy and explore even the little things offered in Gainesville. In this our Fall 2014 edition, you will find a variety of articles that represent the various facets of our student body. So turn the page with a clear mind, and allow our writers to enfold unto you the wonders of the printed world. (Think of it as speed dating stapled paper.)
17 confessions of a coffee-holic 19 secret life of a resident assistant 21 new-wave feminism
your editor team
founding editor lexy khella co-editors caroline nickerson kelena klippel design editor rosie robinson copy editors alex touchton anupa kotipoyina web coordinator alessandra rosales design andi crowell caroline nickerson dalal semprun public relations rebecca moonitz staff sunny aroda chris bell ethan landrum sally blake hali lester grace chun cecilia mazanec aliasger ezzi padmini muraletharen rachel gordon katerina nickel connor hartzell rebecca rash michael holcomb damien remington nick johnson alex sargent stepfanie lam
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“We realize the importance of our
- Malala Yousafzai
BY ANDI CROWELL FRESHMAN, BIOCHEMISTRY Her idea wasn’t anything new. For years, it has been debated in the public and private spheres, and countries allocate billions to fund it. It consumes the daily lives of millions, many of whom regard it as a duty, a job, a chore. Yet still, because of her passion, it caught the attention of the world. The idea: education. Malala Yousafzai, now 17 years old, is known for her outspoken voice on the topic of education. Born in Pakistan, her family instilled in her the importance of learning, and from a young age, she attended school. The Taliban presence in Pakistan threatened female education there. Even so, her resilience did not waver and, encouraged by her father, in 2009, she began writing a blog about the struggles she and other Pakistani girls face in gaining an education. As time went on, she became well-known and gained attention for her advocacy. The Taliban, believing that Malala’s stance violated their principles, decided to kill Malala, and in
October 2012, a member of the Taliban stopped the school bus that Malala was riding and shot her in the head. She was taken to the United Kingdom, where she received treatment and eventually recovered. Now, in addition to attending a private high school in Birmingham, England, she continues promoting education for all. For her efforts, she along with Kailash Satyarthi of India, received the Nobel Peace Prize. Any Nobel Peace Prize winner—particularly the youngest winner in history—captures the world’s attention. They are lauded for their efforts and praised for their achievements. Their work provides a brief departure from the onslaught of “bad news” in the world with an interruption of brief hope. There is more to be learned from Malala’s work though. Yes, it shows that school truly is a privilege. Yes, it shows even someone young can make a tremendous difference. More than that, it clearly manifests the power of taking a stance and of maintaining a position. So often, convictions are not convicting. Good intentions come up
only when we are
empty; plans are carefully constructed but never followed through with. When held, however, with a clear vision for improving the lives of others, they make a difference. Furthermore, though the attention given to these issues often recognizes those who work for the cause rather than the cause itself, the potential for action on these issues nonetheless increases; through seeing what these advocates work against, those who would otherwise persist in ignorance lend attention to these issues. Thus, the spotlight on the activist extends to the issues themselves, inspiring unified efforts to bring about change. In fact, after Malala was shot, a similar movement helped to propel progress in Pakistani access to education. Therefore, the Nobel Peace Prize is much more than a recognition of a person. It is a recognition of perseverance, of effort, of a cause worth fighting for. Malala Yousafzai embodies these principles. Through her actions, she brings to a new light the idea so well-known: education.
HOUSE of HUME
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BY ROSIE ROBINSON JUNIOR, JOURNALISM
PHOTO BY CONNOR HARTZELL
An interview with the Hume area senator
Every semester, UF students put democracy in action - they vote for their student government. Of the 50 senators elected this fall to represent each student based on their living areas, only one was an independent candidate. While the other 49 seats belong to the Swamp Party, Preston Jones will be representing the Hume area as an independent for the school year. “I believe the people of Hume deserve a person who can represent their interests and speak for the entirety of the population of Hume, which is really diverse and really filled with great people with great ideas,” said Jones, an 18-year-old civil engineering freshman. Jones defeated Swamp Party candidate Rachel Laky with 61 percent of the vote. He won the sole Hume area seat with 175 votes compared to Laky’s 108. Jones didn’t have previous experience with student government but wanted to get involved after attending H-Camp. “I didn’t quite realize what I was getting myself into,” Jones said. For every credit a student takes, $18.19 of the tuition cost goes toward Student Government. This Activity and Service Fee pays for things like Library West’s all night hours, Student Rec’s classes and amenities, and club funding. The 100 elected senators are responsible for deciding how much money goes where and for what. This fall’s election saw 6,733 students cast their ballot, the lowest voter turnout in recent history. On a steady decline in past semesters, this made up less than 14 percent of UF’s 49, 785 students, according to the UF admissions office. In contrast, almost half of Hume area students voted. Last Spring, the Students Party disbanded, leaving Swamp as the only organized party to vote for. Having an independent option really got the Hume students involved, Jones said. He thinks independent candidates could provide better ideas for the entire student body. While Swamp Party may run the school effectively, Jones said he doesn’t think they accurately represent the diverse voices of the student body. “Not everyone thinks the same way as Swamp Party, and not everyone has the same ideas as Swamp Party does,” he said. Jones said that his mission is to make Hume students more aware of student government and how it can help them. When people can relate to their government, there’s greater participation. “I connected with the spirit of those in Hume because they’re willing to stand up and be independent,” he said. Jones is looking forward to becoming even more involved. He wants to write his own legislature and work with different subcommittees. “They’re going to expect me not just to disappear, and they’ll expect me to remain involved,” he said. “I’m looking forward to that.” “I don’t want to disappear, and I won’t disappear,” Jones said. “Because Hume students have ideas and can have an impact.”
As a University of Florida student, you have inevitably thought about the not so distant future: the late nights studying in Library West resulting in a degree with the hopes of being offered legitimate employment on the path to a possible series of careers. Important questions remain: What is the easiest path to employment? How much money will I make? Will I enjoy what I do? Many college students believe the answer is studying STEM fields. While there is some validity to this assumption, the fruits borne by the liberal arts as a STEM alternative are not as unattractive as society perceives them to be. Liberal arts majors’ wages and social utility are comparable to those of STEM majors. First of all, the assumption that liberal arts majors will be at a disadvantage in the jobs market is false. The broad approach to education promoted by the liberal arts provides a solid base of analytical and communicative skills in a multitude of areas, including history, language, literature, biological and physical sciences, and so on. This is contrary to the goal of a specialized STEM education designed to provide skills specific to a profession. In fact, a recent study conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities reports that 80 percent of employers seek out students with a broad base of knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences. Moreover, the belief that one’s employability is contingent upon his or her major is false, as 93 percent of employers agree that a candidate’s critical thinking, communication, and problem solving abilities are far more important. Another incorrect supposition is that the only job available to liberal arts majors such as myself will be
In defense of the
liberal arts BY CHRIS BELL FRESHMAN, POLITICAL SCIENCE/HISTORY
ART BY PADMINI MURALETHAREN
serving your venti iced vanilla chai latte in perpetuity. According to the previously cited study, immediately after college (ages 21-25), liberal arts majors lag behind professional STEM majors in terms of mean income, with a gap of $26,129 to STEM’s $31,183. However, the gap steadily closes and turns around in favor of the liberal arts. During one’s peak earning years (ages 56-60), liberal arts majors out earn STEM majors $76,368 to $64,149. The earnings of STEM majors are hampered by those in the science-based STEM fields. While those studying in the technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM fields make commendable wages, science STEM majors make less in terms of mean income, with chemistry majors earning no more than economics and government majors and biology majors earning as much as political science and linguistics majors. These figures tell us that liberal arts majors are still relevant and very much in demand by employers. As a society, we cannot afford to spare the liberal arts in our education system. In today’s economy, people are cycling through more jobs and and find themselves changing their career fields more often, thus necessitating an educational base that reinforces a wide array of skills that can be universally applied as opposed to a STEM-based professional education tailored towards a specific field. As a society, we must create thinkers who are innovative and versatile, able to solve whatever problems come their way. Through an all-encompassing liberal arts education we can prepare ourselves for whatever the future may hold.
s i y h
i t S y r o t s i H
t ? n a v e l e R ll
BY CAROLINE NICKERSON SOPHOMORE, HISTORY MAJOR
ART BY PADMINI MURALETHAREN Perhaps the most difficult part of being a history major is the constant justification of this field’s value. The gulf between scholars of the humanities and those of STEM disciplines occasionally feels impossible to broach; for instance, a biology major will inquire (innocently enough) as to what “question” history attempts to answer, while a given history major will, more often than not, stare blankly at nothing in particular when confronted with technical explanations of scientific research. Though scientists work to make science more accessible (thank you!), many consider history’s relevance in today’s world to be shrouded in mystery. Well, no longer! Modern society tends to value (and fund) ventures with a readily observable application. Scientific research tends to focus on a need (such as seeking a cure to a disease or a more efficient fuel source). Though this is indeed invaluable for humanity’s progress, equally important is an understanding of this progression and of human beings in general. Dr. Mary Watt, Associate Professor of Italian and Department Chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, sheds some light on the subject. When asked why she studies History, Watt relayed an anecdote from her childhood. She stated that she has always had a penchant for the people of the past, stemming from her “fascination with my connection to them.” She wanted to know “when their story ended and mine began.” She pointed to Sunday school as sparking her interest, as there she was “confronted with the Romans.” This led her to seek “how Romans became Italians, hoping to “go back and trace their journey.” Furthermore, Dr. Watt points to reading about the graffiti in Pompeii as a watershed moment, as the words on the walls were “not much unlike the thoughts we have as modern people.” A particular example is the phrase “cave canum,” which is Latin for “beware of the dog.” This resonated with Dr. Watt, as she “was struck by how the language of Latin became the one I was speaking.” Dr. Watt’s insight that “people 2,000 years ago were writing beware of the dog,” prompted her to investigate “how much these humans of the past were like me.” Dr. Watt believes that, just as study of history allows her to better understand her own life, learning history can broaden a student’s own idiosyncratic perspective. As Dr. Watt explains, “In each student’s life, there will be a past, present, and future. In order to understand this structure, we have to understand ourselves as a microcosm in a macrocosm with a past, present, and future.” After study of this structure,
students can better “understand and make sense of the bigger picture.” Though Dr. Watt’s field, medieval Italian history and culture is not modern, she feels that study of this variety of history can enrich a student’s life, as even older history beyond America is “the same journey.” Dr. Yumiko Hulvey is of a like mind. An Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, Dr. Hulvey teaches the combined historicity and literary value of ancient Japanese texts, including samurai war tales and the “Tale of Genji.”When asked why she chose to study ancient history, she also pointed to an increase of understanding regarding the human condition, replying, “If you go back to real origins, you go back to mythological, legendary times. You go back to the beginning of the psyche of the group.” She believes, “The further you go back in history, the more you get the germinal essence of human beings.” Dr. Hulvey considers herself lucky that she “likes old things” as she feels that “they’re really rather new.” She studies things that are “so old that nothing ever happened before,” making them “new stories.” She pointed to the Biwa Hoshi as an example. As the blind tale singers who relayed samurai tales, the topics they chose to spotlight (feats of bravery and nobility among them) reveal key insights regarding what human beings value and choose to remember. She also believes that history “has a tendency to be repeated,” giving the study of history value in that it allows scholars to “learn lessons to prevent mistakes from happening again.” History continues to fascinate countless generations, but it is also offers insight into both the self and humanity in general. When asked for some commonalities between past and present, Dr. Watt emphasized that “human thought is a much slower evolutionary process than we like to think. We have the same concerns as people of the past. We are all ultimately seeking the same thing.” No matter the era, “at the end of the day, we are all looking for a home.” Due to the fact that, “the human thought process and set of concerns has not changed that much, we can read Homer, and it still makes sense to us. People say the ‘world is a very different place’—how so, do they have different furniture? We have kindred spirits. The world isn’t so scary.” No matter who we are, “we are all on the human journey home. In our lives, as well as at the end of our lives, we all just want to flake out on our cosmic couch and be happy.” Though, as Dr. Watt says, “We have different stuff,” human beings, past and present, “still care about the same things: love and family.” Dr. Hulvey firmly believes that “things that happen in the past were the first of their kind to happen in the world.” The origins are the purest representation of human nature, and study of them increases understanding of mankind. Dr. Watt’s final thoughts come in the form of a question: “We’re out of the caves, but the question is how far? How far out the cave will we go?” The study of history may have the answer. History matters.
BY MICHAEL HOLCOMB SOPHOMORE, MATHEMATICS AND ECONOMICS
BY ANUPA KOTIPOYINA SOPHOMORE, HISTORY
A year is a long time, and to be simplistic, there’s a lot of good music out there. There’s no such thing as a “best” album of 2014 or any other year, and I couldn’t possibly list all the music I really enjoyed the past twelve months. So instead, I’ve made a countdown-style list of the albums of 2014 that have stuck with me the most. Get your headphones ready— it’s been an interesting year in music.
MAC DEMARCO SALAD DAYS
Mac Demarco wastes no time coming to terms with his burgeoning celebrity, musing about the fatigues of fame in the opener “Salad Days,” which includes the pivotal line “Always feeling tired / Smile when required.” His third album sees Demarco and his sound growing up a bit, as much as one can who’s made a name for himself by being a big goofy kid. One highlight is “Let My Baby Stay,” a sweet and simple song about the immigration situation of his long-time Canadian girlfriend living in New York. It wouldn’t be a Mac Demarco record though without a heaping spoonful of playfulness, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint this time around.
TUNE-YARDS NIKKI NACK
Full disclosure: Tune-Yards makes some of my favorite music of all time. Bandleader Merrill Garbus could release an hour of garbage disposals and car horns at rush hour and I would buy three copies. Luckily, she delivers much more on Nikki Nack, her second studio album. Garbus seems to be having the most fun of anyone in music, and this emanates from the record. Heavily influenced by African percussion and vocals, Tune-Yards yelps and clangs its way through infectious melodies and rhythms. Garbus’ peculiar voice contorts to fit into every howl or falsetto or deep note on command. In the single “Water Fountain,” the song’s climax finds her shouting over crunchy guitars and click-clacking drums. Such is the enjoyable layered complexity of Tune-Yards’ music.
JULIE BYRNE ROOMS WITH WALLS AND WINDOWS
The most captivating purely folk album in a long while, Julie Byrne’s Rooms With Walls And Windows envelops the listener in an intimate sonic embrace. Her musical approach is reminiscent of Vashti Bunyan or Sibylle Baier—not a bad club to be in. Byrne breathily half-whispers over her fingerpicked guitar, and if you listen closely enough, you can imagine her sitting in the room with you in another world. This is no accident—with a heavy emphasis on sense of place, Byrne constructs a captivating realm where the mundane meets the profound. In “Holiday,” she muses “I will leave again, and make all new plans to fill the space that you left.” Space, place, room, both physical and metaphorical—these are the weighty, nuanced themes Byrne grapples with caringly.
HUNDRED WATERS THE MOON RANG LIKE A BELL
With their self-titled debut, Hundred Waters set a high bar for themselves. A foursome that claims roots in Gainesville, the group is now based in Los Angeles and has built a national name for itself with a unique approach to electronic music. On their sophomore release, the band delivers a richer, more refined sound. The album seamlessly weaves together booming electronic production with humble acoustic instruments and a helping hand from frontwoman Nicole Miglis’ sublime vocals. Album highlight “Murmurs” soars over strong piano chords and a rich soundscape, and Miglis delivers a charming singsong melody that is hard to let go of. As ambitious as it is well-executed, The Moon Rang Like A Bell is one of the most utterly satisfying albums of this year.
FOG LAKE VIRGO INDIGO
Fog Lake, headed by Newfoundland’s Aaron Powell, quietly made some of the most spellbinding and emotionally resonant music this year. Released by the prolific and always excellent label Orchid Tapes, Virgo Indigo feels like a time-bending trip through all of your life’s most touching and burningly significant moments. Powell, with his innocent voice and simplistic guitar playing and piano, strips down the frills and goes purely for atmosphere. The soundscapes he achieves on such tracks as “Little Black Balloon” and “Virgo Indigo” are mesmerizing. Put on this album and gaze longingly toward the horizon at sunset—you’ll thank me after your self-reflective transcendent experience. Brilliantly moving and intimately cinematic, this album deserves more attention than it gets.
Though the Honors Program encompasses a pretty diverse bunch, it is without a doubt home to a lot of book lovers—the length of the (Un)Common Reading list is proof enough! We’ve all felt the special thrill that comes only from reading a book that you know has made a lasting impression. Here are the ones that Honors faculty and students have enjoyed, reread, been affected by professionally or personally, and would be handing out if they could:
PRISM | FALL 2014 10
the operations. Like To Engineer is Human, The Art of the Start contends that failure can be positive. In fact, the culture of Silicon Valley is one in which past failures are seen as a mark of experience. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate by Ernest L. Boyer This book challenges the current system of academia, in which professors are rewarded for their research and not their teaching ability. Since students and education have changed so much, Dr. Law thinks it is critical that the university model evolve as well.
Associate Director, Advisor Dr. Law, an engineer himself, appreciates this book for its message that “everyone makes mistakes” and that mistakes are opportunities to learn and make progress. The book is accessible to the non-engineer and offers easily understandable examples of civil engineering failures that we have learned from. Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 by William Strauss and Neil Howe
A Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
DR. MELISSA JOHNSON
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book is the story of an overweight Dominican-American “ghetto nerd” growing up in New Jersey. However, it isn’t just another teen coming-of-age story. The novel goes into a lot of Dominican history and is, according to Garner, beautifully written.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
ANGEL OLSEN BURN YOUR FIRE FOR NO WITNESS
With an eye turned decisively toward a twangy country-western heritage, Angel Olsen’s breakthrough record nonetheless manages to be refreshingly new. Her music shows impressive range of expression, from the moody strums of “Iota” to the harrowing drums and piano of “Dance Slow Decades” to the gritty yelps of “Hi-Five.” From this, the album feels like a ride through the ups and downs of a tumultuous life. Underpinning everything is Olsen’s beautifully wavering, humbly imperfect voice. Her lyrics are perceptive, putting to words some of the more nuanced and difficult human emotions. On “Enemy” she laments, “I wish it were the same / As it is in my mind.” Expectations, coming to terms with disappointment, hope for resolution, all packed into one line. Throughout, Olsen deftly encapsulates the complexity of human experience. It is one of the most cohesive albums in recent memory, and shows that even in 2014 you don’t have to be on the cutting edge to deliver greatness.
This nonfiction book is the one that is “closest to [Ms. Garner’s] heart and professional interests.” The author is a Rhodes scholar who dedicated his whole life to supporting public education, offering his perspective on issues discussed in the field today. The book shares the voices of educators, students, and others involved in the challenge of addressing the shameful issues plaguing American public schools. (Regan Garner has been a part of a book club for five years now and highly recommends everyone either start one or join one!)
Honors Program Director To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design by Henry Petroski
The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol
Generations narrates American history through description of the characteristics of the generations that have shaped it. The book has helped Dr. Law better understand his students and the way they see the world. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki This book illuminates the process of turning an idea into an actual success. The author, a former Apple executive, offers valuable advice for anyone running an organization. Though he has made his career in Silicon Valley, his book shows that the heart of success is not necessarily the technology involved, but the people-side of
This book was actually recommended to Ms. Garner by a student! It offers a perspective of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without vilifying anyone involved. Though fictional, it is incredibly well researched and thought provoking. A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon by Anthony Marra The novel, one that Ms. Garner says “everybody should read” is, like two of her other picks, a work of historical fiction, and is set in rural Chechnya during one of the Chechen wars. Garner describes the work as both “breathtaking in its prose” and heartbreaking.
Associate Director, Advisor
Daring Greatly takes on how we think about vulnerability, shame, and imperfection. This book was a huge hit when Dr. Johnson used it in one of her honors classes and she thinks its message that “we are all imperfect” is one that students, especially honors students, can really benefit from. The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy Dr. Johnson likes this novel so much she rereads it every few years and describes it as a “powerful” work. In The Lords of Discipline, Conroy draws on his experience at The Citadel to bring readers into the world of the fictional Carolina Military Institute as it is in the process of desegregation, and explores hazing, racism, and secret societies in the process.
11 ENTERTAINMENT The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov Dr. Russo described himself as “moved very deeply” by The Master and Margarita. The book, a tale of the devil visiting Soviet Russia and wreaking havoc with his gang seamlessly juxtaposed with conversations between Jesus and Pontious Pilate, addressed topics Dr. Russo thought “very interesting in my own lifetime,” including, but not limited to, communism, religion, and people in general.
Senior, International Studies major
Kristy Spear, an honors advisor, poses with her favorite books.
PHOTO BY CONNOR HARTZELL KRISTY SPEAR Advisor
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll Mrs. Spear enjoys this fantastical, classic work of fiction as an adult as much as she did as a child. She says “visualizing [Carroll’s] words and work is a fun process”. Lord of the Flies by William Golding Mrs. Spear first read this classic book about a group of English schoolboys wrecked on a deserted island in school and really enjoyed it then. She says the themes are dark, but nonetheless interesting to explore in terms of our society and who we are. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Mrs. Spear likes this bestselling book so much she is actually going to teach an (Un) Common Reading course about it! She appreciates how it “explores the themes of our life and how we connect with other people.” The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer The author of this book is a spiritual teacher and an Alachua county native. Mrs. Spear would put this book in the “self-help” category, as she feels that it centers around “self-reflection into who we are as individuals.”
Associate Professor of Italian Honors class this semester: (Un)Common Reading: “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place”: Boccaccio's Decameron Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank Dr. Watt first enjoyed this book as a child and found more to appreciate when she reread it as an adult. The book is set right here in Florida, where residents of a small town face complex challenges as survivors of a nuclear holocaust. Dr. Watt appreciates the struggle to “create a world out of the pieces of the past,” something she does in her own work as a literary scholar.
Associate Professor of History Honors class this semester: Shipwrecks and Civilization Possession by A.S. Byatt Dr. Kroen describes this Booker Prize winning novel as an “ambitious literary and cultural history through fiction”. The story brings readers into two worlds as a pair of present-day scholars stumble upon and investigate a romance between two Victorian poets. Don’t worry if you’re not a literature buff, as according to Dr. Kroen, this “tour de force” is accessible and a really funny read.
Associate Professor of Geology Honors class this semester: Physical Geology
The Art of War by Sun Tzu Bardia is a fan of applying concepts and lessons to different situations and finds this book of military strategy to be full of good advice and written in an effective way. He says the book has not only affected his life, but has had a huge influence in the business world, sports, and politics.
TEHQUIN FORBES Junior, Sociology major
The Color Purple by Alice Walker TehQuin appreciates this novel’s plot for the way it shows a strong woman of color and likes the stylistic technique of using imperfect diction to capture the voice of the characters. More than that, though, he says The Color Purple was one of the first novels written about African Americans by an African American that it made him feel very proud. It catapulted him into reading more African American literature and he thinks that “a lot of other students could use that catapult too.”
Sophomore, International Studies major The Red Tent by Anita Diamant The Red Tent brings to life a story that has two lines in the Bible through the voice of Jacob and Leah’s daughter. Lindsay likes that it is “all based around the women of the Bible and their lives”.
EVANGELINE ABRAHAMS Sophomore, Chemistry major
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde Evangeline is huge fan of puns, which draws her to this “really clever and witty” comedic play.
AT THE END OF
THE WORLD BOOK REVIEW BY SALLY GREIDER SOPHOMORE, ENGLISH AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
From the recently founded independent publishing company Big Bang Press comes a new, half-satirical, half-adventure young adult novel written by Erin Claiborne, A Hero at the End of the World. Big Bang Press has drawn attention in the literary world with its unusual origins. The press was founded using the online fundraising website Kickstarter. Big Bang differs from a lot of well-known publishing companies; their goal is to introduce fanfiction culture’s best writers to a wider reading audience by seeking out original novels from talented authors who already boast wide followings in the fanfiction community. Fanfiction is a huge part of fandom culture, with new stories and perspectives on already existing characters and worlds lovingly penned every day by fans fascinated by and appreciative of novels, fantasy series, comics, movies, and television shows. As a way to connect more to the stories they know and love, fanfiction authors and readers have built a strong foundation of love and support for actors, authors, and other creative individuals. Although not without its faults, fanfiction culture has only grown in recent years with the expansion of internet culture. Many current authors of young adult books today, such as Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth, started to create original novels and series by first trying their hand at fanfiction. By recognizing the efforts and talent for writing inherent in the fandom community, Big Bang Press is challenging traditional publishing models, helping to redefine the outdated opinions that still shroud fanfiction writers in negativity, and embracing a new appreciation for the fanfiction community. Plus, their new young adult book is really good! In A Hero at the End of the World, the reader is introduced to a world almost entirely like our own, but with a few very important differences. Set in the urban sprawl of London, this version of the United Kingdom comes with inherent magical powers, prophecies, world-dimension hopping, a scattering of romance, and some well-placed barbs of humor. In the story, readers follow the adventure of Ewan Mao, a boy who was prophesized as the one who would vanquish the UK’s own resident evil magician, Duff Slan. There is just one problem; on the day of the appointed vanquishing, Ewan’s childhood friend Oliver Abrams just happened to get there first, and did the job for him. Now, Ewan has broken off his friendship with the world-famous Oliver, is known only as a mere footnote in the whole debacle, and works a dead-end job at a coffee shop a few years later, mostly forgotten by history and bemoaning his missed destiny. That’s when the real story begins, but I won’t spoil it for you. throughout the book, we meet dragons, a semi-evil cult, some dashing intrigue, fresh and earnest self-satire, progressive and diverse characters and themes, and the end of the universe, although not necessarily in that particular order. The novel has a few notable flaws, such as issues with an overcomplicated plot and a rapid-fire pace which keeps readers breathless to see what happens next, but left me craving a little more character development. I wanted a little more insight into each of the individuals of an ensemble cast that has well-crafted surface personalities, although occasionally contradictory, but who I also was waiting to see more of even after the last chapter, waiting to really get to understand them. The world building of the story is well done,
complete with everything from interesting explanations for the different types of magic that the people of London utilize to the beaucratic system of magical government that clearly is still feeling the remnants and political tensions of a recently displaced tyrannical prime minister. Because of the multiple twists and complications in the plot, however, I was left wishing we got to see more world-building actually build—reach its full potential over a longer period of time; more showing the reader, less telling. While reading, I was continually waiting for more, always missing a few more chapters in between the jumps in the plot that would have rounded everything in the story out a little more evenly, quenched my readers’ appetite with a little more substance. Despite these issues, A Hero at the End of the World is nevertheless a funny, fresh, and engaging read, not the least because of its embrace of progressive themes and its touching final message of acceptance of oneself and the true nature of friendship. The book features a refreshingly progressive worldview; it embraces LGBTQ readership and makes a point to include racially diverse characters. The main character of the book identifies as gay, and for once this aspect of a character is not shoved blithely under the metaphorical rug or only referenced off-scene—he actually gets a love interest! However, it’s also ostensibly not the main point of the novel; Ewan being homosexual is simply another aspect of his character and the romantic thread of the story is a subplot to the greater adventure unraveling as Ewan and ragtag group of skeptical friends and frenemies attempt to not botch up the timespace continuum. The author, Erin Claiborne, doesn’t attempt to hide or only marginally acknowledge social justice issues, but she also doesn’t focus the whole story around them, portraying the positive idea that members of the LGBTQ community have their own issues to worry about besides their sexuality—a sexuality that is a normal part of their character, not something to hide or be ashamed of—even if these issues happen to be being tricked into joining a partially evil cult, or deciding that it’s actually okay to not be a hero. The ensemble of characters also features strong, smart, and patriarchy-crushing female characters who are respected and appreciated throughout the story, for both their good and bad qualities. The female characters in this novel are crucial to the storyline, rather than superfluous romantic or helpless tropes. They stick up for themselves, and remind girls everywhere that it’s okay to be a powerhouse who doesn’t accept anything less than what you deserve. The end of the book heralds the idea of accepting yourself as you are instead of conforming to society’s expectations of what should be done with your life, as well as realizing the healing power of friendship. That’s not just to sound cheesy; the book really does have this enduring moral, but it’s also a very good lesson. It’s a moral that some young adult books in today’s literary circles have forgotten in favor of more self-sacrificing or dystopian survival stories. A Hero at the End of the World is a book quick to laugh at itself, conjuring up spells and magical theories and a shining disco ball that might actually be more than a disco ball, but it’s also a book quick to assert itself as a story that means something in the end—something earnest, and surprisingly uncomplicated, and true. I’d recommend reading A Hero at the End of the World, available now, in print and kindle edition. Be ready to laugh, be ready to sigh, and be ready to not take yourself too seriously! Image source: bigbangpress.org
PRISM | FALL 2014 14
BY KATERINA NICKEL FRESHMAN, BIOLOGY
PHOTOS BY ROSIE ROBINSON
Our society constantly expands in every imaginable facet, especially in terms of populations, development and technology. Simultaneously, there is a decrease in resources, green land and natural products. This discrepancy is the source of the lies and will lead to the loss in the health of humanity if we do not: Acquire, Apply and Act on the knowledge concealed from us. Like many, Jovani Hernandez, a computer engineering freshman, took a quick glance at an ingredient label only to find many chemicals he had not heard of, let alone knew how to pronounce. As a student who attended the Food Babe presentation (a Common Reading event) presented by Vani Hari (national food critic blogger: Ever hear about the discovery that an ingredient found in yoga mats was found in Subways’ breads?), Hernandez didn’t let the claims sway him into believing that the chemicals in food are unhealthy. “I trust the Food and Drug Administration to regulate any foods that are truly harmful or correctly label harmful foods,” explains Hernandez. Hernandez’s food philosophy consists of trying to eat healthy, which he does by choosing food not harmful to the body and adding more food groups to every meal. Although consumption of food is a personal concern, it also reaches into the national sphere. “If your decisions on what you can eat are limited because healthy food is not available to you, then it becomes a national concern,” Hernandez says.
These vegetables are grown at Siembra Farm in Gainesville. Every Wednesday, the family sells their freshly harvested produce at the farmer’s market downtown.
Although it may seem futile and daunting, we need to step up and do our part in fighting the dominance of chemicals in our everyday food because when the community is at risk, we are at risk. Many people are aware of chemical additives in foods such as High Fructose Corn Syrup and MSG; few question their value and necessity. Nadia Hassan is a biology freshman who doesn’t let chemicals control what she eats. Although she tries to avoid trans-fats, she admits, “I do not avoid all the foods I probably should.” Many can relate. (Complete abstinence from cookies would prove to be a dull and bland existence). While nutritious eating is important in leading a healthy life, it is okay to indulge occasionally. Hassan proposes a reasonable solution of balancing needs and desires (and proportions). “It is when people don’t care at all that more chemicals are added and more health risks become common,” she observes. Why should we care? “In America, there is a huge problem with obesity… and most of the time it is from overeating unhealthy foods,” Hassan explains. Is caring alone enough? Hassan acknowledges the limits of our capabilities when she says, “Not everyone can have a farm and grow their own foods, but by having some action and getting these food issues out into the public, people can
help make a difference in bettering our food supply.” We need to spread the word in order to garner the attention of the people in charge so they can change their methods. Hassan advises, “Figuring out ways to have quality food without the additives.” If there is a will, then there is a way to have both quantity and quality. Even though it might prove to be a hassle and quite costly, isn’t it worth it? Aren’t we worth it? Freshman chemistry major, Monica Ionescu, shares her definition of healthy food, “unprocessed and not pre-packaged foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and grains.” That might not sound as enticing as Chick-fil-a or Starbucks, but it does provide the daily intake of nutrients that is crucial to our well-being. When someone tells you not to do something, it often makes you want to do it all the more. Instead of commanding others to change their eating habits, we should try to present evidence based information. The important thing is that the information is there for everyone to utilize. In the end, science is progressing, studies are coming out with new claims, and new discoveries are constantly being made. Who do we trust? Who do we listen to? What food claims are true and false? What eating habits are right and wrong? In the end, it’s all about (as Ionescu phrases it), “making smarter dietary choices.” We want to enjoy life to the fullest and we can only do that if we take care of our bodies first and make sure they are up for the all the challenges we plan on undertaking. But first, are you up for the food challenge?
The workers at Swallowtail Farm think organic, local produce is important in a diet. “They’re so fresh, and there’s a lot of love put into them,” said Chelsea Hartline, 25, an apprentice at the farm in Alachua.
BY ALESSANDRA ROSALES SOPHOMORE, ENGLISH
You have probably heard of the incident that took place two weeks ago, in which a man sneezed on a plane in Philadelphia, and then joked that he had Ebola. Officials in hazmat suits escorted him to the airport infirmary, delaying the flight two hours. The level of hysteria in the United States surrounding the Ebola outbreak is only increasing. With an epidemic of this degree, separating fact from fiction is crucial.
FACT OR FICTION: Ebola is an airborne disease.
FACT OR FICTION:
Once in direct contact with Ebola, you are highly contagious. FICTION: Humans with Ebola are not contagious until they
are symptomatic. In other words, unless someone is showing the aforementioned symptoms, you cannot contract the disease. The length of time from infection to the actual onset of symptoms ranges from 2-21 days.
FICTION: Ebola can only be contracted through direct contact with blood, secretions, or bodily fluids of a person with the virus. You can be on a plane and not contract Ebola, even with an infected person sitting a few aisles ahead of you.
FACT OR FICTION:
Death from the Ebola virus disease is caused by blood loss and organ failure.
FACT OR FICTION:
There have been two confirmed cases of Ebola contracted in the United States.
FACT: The disease targets the circulatory system after the onset
of severe symptoms, causing blood pressure drops and blood vessel failure. This leads to the eventual shutdown of all essential organs.
In comparison, over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia—and that’s without taking underreporting into consideration. Their number of cases is high because of the weak healthcare systems from which West Africa suffers. On the other hand, infection control in the United States is extremely efficient, which is precisely why the hysteria over the epidemic is geographically misplaced.
FACT OR FICTION:
Sneezing is a symptom of Ebola.
The initial symptoms are fatigue, fever, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. The second wave of symptoms includes rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, and reduced kidney and liver function. Because Ebola is a type of hemorrhagic fever, it can involve heavy internal or external bleeding.
PRISM | FALL 2014 16
FACT OR FICTION:
The 2014 Ebola outbreak began in August.
The first case in the United States took place on September 30th, but the first case of the outbreak happened in March of this year in Guinea. Since then, the disease spread to neighboring countries. The first three Americans who were diagnosed with Ebola were Eric Duncan, a Liberian who was visiting family in Dallas, Texas, and the two nurses who had been in direct contact with him. The fourth case was diagnosed recently—a physician with Doctors Without Borders contracted the disease in Guinea. Note that these four cases all involve close contact with Ebola patients. It is fairly obvious that the chances of an American contracting Ebola are very miniscule. However, this does not mean that there should be no alarm—the global impact of a disease as contagious as Ebola is significant. While Americans should not be paranoid about the virus within their borders, they should most certainly be concerned over the steps the United States takes in order to assist the countries without the means to contain the outbreak.
how can we stop it? BY ETHAN LANDRUM SOPHOMORE, ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
A sleek, luxurious sedan glides along a scenic, forested, mountain road. The wind shakes the trees and the wheels of the car rustle the leaves. The driver reaches for and presses the Eco-Boost button on the dash. The car speeds up effortlessly, providing a beautiful juxtaposition between the modern, gray paintjob and the lush vegetation. Man, I want that car! Winds blow over a field of yellow flowers. A tall, thin, and elegant woman dressed in a flowing white sundress retrieves clothes from a clothesline. She gently caresses a baby-blue sheet against her face, feeling the sheer softness and warmth. She smells the lilac scent in the blanket and sighs with obvious pleasure. Man, I need that detergent! A beautifully spotted black and white cow stands gracefully in a pasture as her new, boisterous calf frolics in the grass. The view expands and shows dozens of more happy cows, peacefully grazing in a verdant patch of heaven. Three cows are standing in a row, holding up signs written in sloppy, broken English. Man, I need to “eat mor chikin!” You get the picture. What do all of these commercials (yes, these are real commercials) have in common? They all incorporate unnecessary natural imagery to describe and define a product that isn’t very natural at all. It’s called green-washing, and it is everywhere. It describes all forms of deceptive green marketing, from claiming products are “organic” to boasting that 10% of the material used in a packaged is recycled. It’s a way for the biggest companies on the planet to reach consumers on a wider, more vague, and more mindless scale. My favorite example of a green-washing company is Procter & Gamble, a blanket company that owns basically every household product available (from Old Spice to Febreze, from Lams dog food to Dolce&Gabanna perfumes). On the company’s website, one of the four main drop-down menus is “Sustainability.” In this section P&G boasts about
its “Responsible Growth,” “Conservation of Resources,” and “Making Every Day Better” campaigns. These are all very admirable initiatives. However, selling products like Pampers’ diapers and Bounty paper-towels, directly engineered to be disposable, makes P&G an inherently unsustainable business. They profit from consumers buying items that will definitely be thrown away. This is where the green-washing comes in. If you do about 5-10 minutes of research on any company that sells something you buy in a supermarket, retail store, or mall, you will find how unsustainable that company is. It’s just a fact of today’s economic growth patterns. It’s expensive to be sustainable. However, it is not expensive at all to make a company appear sustainable. Green-washing. That is how these companies like P&G convince consumers to continue buying their products, allowing them to sleep soundly in the mindless cognitive dissonance that is disposable consumer culture. When they sell products to consumers in green packaging, use words like, “clean,” “natural,” “organic,” “pure,” or “green,” or use any natural imagery at all, they’re not doing it for the environment. They’re doing it for your business. Luckily, there is hope! Being an informed consumer is neither difficult nor inconvenient. With resources like greenwashingindex.com, greenbiz.com, and sinsofgreenwashing.com, information on companies that green-wash is abundant and accessible, and you can even play interactive games that test your green-wash identification skills! Yay! Like any sustainability issue, don’t take the stance that one consumer changing their behavior is not enough to change the problem. Business is supply and demand, and you are the demand! Demand more informative, responsible, and sustainable products!
17 STUDENT LIFE
PRISM | FALL 2014 18
confessions OF A
coffee-holic DECEMBER 16, 2013
BY STEPFANIE LAM JUNIOR, MICROBIOLOGY
NOVEMBER 10, 2013
I still remember my first cup of rich, dark coffee; it was love at first sip. It was a cold gusty day when I stumbled upon a quaint coffee shop called Volta located downtown. The smell wafted towards my face and my body immediately felt a rush of adrenaline. I enjoyed the décor of the place, it gave off a modern vibe with the stools, couches and chairs all indoors. Hesitantly, I wandered up to the counter and looked for a menu. I settled on a caffé latte. The foamy milk blended seamlessly with the coffee and in a matter of seconds, despite the generous serving size, the cup was empty. I left the forlorn empty cup behind as I hurried off to class.
NOVEMBER 11, 2013 I could not get the taste out of my mind as my teacher droned on and on. Eagerly, I anticipated the end of class so that I could hurry out to a new coffee shop a block away from University Ave. Because I had craved another cup of coffee for an entire day, the second cup seemed better than the first. I was more adventurous this time—I ordered a cappuccino at Pascal’s. The ceiling has radiant skylights and limited electrical outlets. The interior is patched together with the homeliness of a well-loved ski lodge bed & breakfast. On a cold day, the warmth of the steamy saucers and warm laptop charges are enough to lure you in purely for the warmth. Sitting on the balcony on a breezy summer day with an iced shakerato in hand is the seasonal complement that keeps me coming back year round.
NOVEMBER 15, 2013 Things are starting to get hectic. Finals will arrive in about three weeks and I have six exams back-to-back. My coffee maker taunts me in the corner of my kitchen. The fact that the caffeine can trick my brain into thinking that it’s not tired tempts me into drinking some every day. Coffee facilitates my nightlife…for academic purposes. I finally give in and drive downtown to Maude’s Classic Café whose homey vibe and unparalleled coffee paired with tiramisu prepares me for a long night of studying.
DECEMBER 4, 2013 I downed five cups of coffee today. I have become a regular at not only Volta & Pascal’s but also Coffee Culture, Opus Café, Bay Islands Coffee Co., CYM Coffee Co. @ Cymplify, and Radical Press Coffee Collective.
With barely steady hands, I write this journal entry and enter in the Wi-Fi password at Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Company. I felt a sense of relief as I inhaled a long draught of my Café con leche at Barnie’s and with my purchase, I was handed the allotted two hour time limit to use their Wi-Fi. My addiction has spiraled out of control. Every waking moment is filled with thoughts of coffee. I can feel my body ignoring the thousands of caffeine molecules bombarding my receptors. This prevents the adenosine, the molecules that naturally bind to these receptors, from binding. I guess this explains my immunity to coffee now. The more upscale environment to Barnie’s soothes my otherwise anxious self.
NOVEMBER 26, 2014 As a reformed coffee addict, I share with you my journal entries to warn you to drink coffee only in moderation. According to NPR, formerly known as National Public Radio, “In 2002, about 25% of 18-24 year olds reported drinking coffee sometime within a two week period. But by 2012, the percentage of young adults drinking coffee in that same time frame hit 39%.” There are many good health effects to coffee—but in moderation. According to Bruce Goldberger, a toxicologist at the University of Florida, “…brewed coffee contains much more caffeine than a cold cola beverage.” It has been found that a 12-ounce cup of coffee from Starbucks contains about 260 milligrams of caffeine, which is about five times more than a 12-ounce can of Diet Coke. The half-life of caffeine in the body can range from 2.5 -12 hours due to genetic difference in each individual. Typically, the half-life is five hours. “If someone has a cup of coffee at 7p.m., the caffeine they’ve ingested is still in the body… when they’re going to bed. So as a rule of thumb, if you want to go to sleep by midnight… it’s probably best not to drink coffee at 2p.m.” said Goldberger. Caffeine is certainly addictive but unlike other addictive drugs, caffeine is relatively easy to stop taking. It has a withdrawal symptom that can last up to 48 hours. Most importantly, while many will go out of their way to buy coffee, no one would go to the black market or steal coffee to feed coffee addiction. There are many stories associated with the discovery of coffee, but the most humorous one might involve dancing goats. As a goat herder went to round up his goats, he observed that the goats were chewing glossy green leaves of a tree he had never seen before. Moreover, “The goats were dancing on their hind legs and were bleating excitedly,” according to an article in The New York Times. Lastly, there are so many wonderful coffee shops in Gainesville that are great places to study in, but their coffee can never replace sleep, even with an overdose of caffeine. Your friend, Stepfanie
photos: Amy Clark, a finance junior, makes a drink behind the counter at Pascal’s. Sara Nettle, an advertising junior, reads for her history class in Volta. A cup of coffee from Pascal’s.
19 STUDENT LIFE
PRISM | FALL 2014 20
BY GRACE CHUN FRESHMAN, HEALTH SCIENCES Getting a call that there was a student lying unconscious behind Hume jump-started Cabot Zucker’s life as a resident assistant, or RA. “I’ll never forget that first on-call,” he says as he reminisces. Watching the student whisked away by the 911 emergency team, Cabot experienced one extreme of the wide spectrum offered by being on call. Going on his third year, Cabot is a pro. He has spent all of his RA life at Hume. “They won’t let me leave,” he jokes. He can’t complain, however, with his single room and paid housing. “Actually, my initial motivation for becoming an RA was for a single room. It was the quickest route for a freshman to get their own room that I could think of.” The random roommate assigning gods bestowed Cabot with a gaming fanatic. Trying to sleep with machine gun sounds permeating from his roommate’s laptop doesn’t make for a relaxing night. Once he became an RA however, Cabot realized how the RA life suits his knack for people as well as his desire to impact others. Becoming a TriP leader allowed him to see how he can influence others, and he saw being an RA offered him a different platform to continue doing so. And he does. Freshman Avnee Mistry, one of Cabot’s residents, applied for the same position, influenced by Cabot’s remarks about the rewarding aspects of the RA life. Since he became an RA in his second year, he has had the opportunity to witness his residents grow and mature as they found their place at UF. “I still see my old residents from time to time,” Cabot says. RAs can have a big influence on how incoming freshmen find their niche. They act as filters of UF, providing perspective and anecdotes of their personal experiences. The immensity of UF becomes less paralyzing as RAs encourage and relay their advice. “He’s told me about all he does. And he encourages me to try things to figure out my interests if I don’t know what they are yet. He’s a great listener and got me to play Ultimate Frisbee with his team,” remarks
PHOTO BY CONNOR HARTZELL Featured Models (From Left): Jordan Turetsky and Cabot Zucker
Christian Dailidonis, another one of Cabot’s residents.
THE SECRET LIFE OF A
Many RAs want to be friends with their residents. However, ultimately, they are responsible for the well-being and safety of their residents. “There’s balance to it,” says Cabot. “Set a precedent of expectations and establish mutual respect.” Fewer problems occur that way. “Don’t be afraid to put your foot down,” he says. The RAs who complain about their residents are usually ones who only wear the friend hat. He also cautions future RAs not to let the job consume them. Part of the job is to create programs for their own floors as well as dormwide programs for the residents. However, one is not just an RA. “It’s super easy,” he exclaims, “probably the easiest job on campus.” It’s a job that understands that you are a student first. “I’m here to learn,” Cabot says, and the RA life works around that. There is no need to neglect school or your other interests. As one can see, the RA lifestyle does allow you to live the best of both worlds.
Advice For FUTURE
PRISM | FALL 2014 22
21 STUDENT LIFE
BY REBECCA RASH FRESHMAN, ZOOLOGY
ART BY DALAL SEMPRUN
Why is feminism such a dirty word? The dictionary cites feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. Why does an equal rights movement carry such a negative stigma? Backlash, especially through social media, ranges from Twitter trends like #womenagainstfeminism, to derogatory and hateful YouTube comments, to systematic political repercussions and even to violence. First-wave feminism began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It spread across the globe as women from the United States to China fought for freedom from strict gender spheres and, in many places, the right to vote. They met many of their goals in the first-wave, yet patriarchal attitudes still lingered. In the 1960s and ‘70s, women fought for advancement in a broader range of issues like sexuality, reproductive rights and legal inequalities. Second-wave feminism fought domestic violence and marital rape and attempted, but ultimately failed, to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. In response to the failures of the second-wave, third-wave feminism began in the 1990s and continues to today. This activist movement coincided with the millennial technological advancements, and for the first time, media plays a large role in the perceptions of activism. Such celebrities as Stephen Colbert, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Emma Watson have joined the feminist ranks, appealing to young adults and teens. Social media allows women to share their stories and opinions on a larger scale than ever before, allowing the movement to grow increasingly popular with common Internet consumers, like young boys and girls. In response to this change, anti-feminists, commonly conservatives or older men and women, have taken to the media to share their perspectives. Many anti-feminists cite misandry or misplaced bitterness as reasons to let go of feminism. One of the most common arguments is that not all men commit terrible crimes. In response to the #YesAllWomen Twitter hashtag, a hashtag aimed at increasing awareness of the threats or dangers girls face throughout their lives, #YesAllMen has trended in response, with the support of such Twitter accounts as TooSexist and Meninist. While these accounts are correct in their assertion that not
all men commit crimes, their aim is, unfortunately, to invalidate the experiences and suffering of many women. Placing greater importance on generalization of the reason for the generalization allows an escape from responsibility. A psychological study has shown that rapists believe that all men rape, and by making jokes or rejecting a women’s claims of suffering, that belief is reaffirmed. In my own personal experience, I cannot name one man who has been in actual danger because of misandry. I can, however, name many women who have been sexually abused or assaulted; I am only eighteen years old, yet that number requires two hands to count. An article from the New York Times analyzed the psychology behind sexual assault. Sexual assault is about power, not attraction. It is someone’s way of saying: “You are a thing to me, and my need to validate my dominance trumps your right as a person.” The statistics for sexual assault skew heavily toward women, suggesting that the struggle for equality in the United States, at the very least in a social and psychological capacity, is still ongoing. Third-wave feminism focuses on bringing awareness to this issue because while most people believe in equality, little know about the causes and perpetuations of misogyny. Even college students cannot escape these fears. As of May 1, 2014, 55 schools are under review for mishandling sexual assault. At Columbia University, Sulkowicz has been carrying
a mattress with her as a symbol of the burden she carries after being raped in her own bed. She is refusing to stop until Columbia expels her rapist. The horrific attack took place in September. She is still carrying that mattress today. Social media has spread this story, bringing light to this case, causing more to join the cause. In our own backyard in Gainesville, many women feel that a need for vigilance exists as an undercurrent in their life. One student shared her experience walking to her dorm. As she passed an open dorm window, boys sitting on the ledge began to jeer and hold up scorecards, ranking girls for their appearance. She felt violated. These men saw her as nothing more than a body, her opinions and feelings meaning nothing. Women are tired of this culture. It’s exhausting to continuously fight these micro-aggressions. A Fox News reporter, after witnessing a woman receive a hundred catcalls, said in response, “Let me add 101. Damn, baby, you’re a piece of woman.” Third-wave feminism hopes to fight this behavior, these occurrences so frequent they are hard to explain or present to a man who has never experienced these things. By using social media as a tool, a collective voice can be much more effective than one person. Third-wave feminism is not about denying the stereotypes against men. It is about enlisting them in fighting gender inequality, and in effect eliminating many of those stereotypes.
Published on Aug 15, 2016