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Cover by Madi Whalen. With an effort of inclusivity, the transgender symbol as one of the nipples represents the fact that not all women’s bodies look like the one pictured on the cover. Keeping this atypical women’s body type in mind, armpit hair and the nipple ring were added. The uterus is the Rams-like head of the body, because women are strong and resilient like a ram heading into the aftermath of this election.

A Note from an Editor: Thank you to all of our content contributors and to all of the wonderful people that make up the Scheme Team. May the rest of our issues be just as badass, intersectionally feminist, political, personal, and bold as this first issue we have undertaken as a team. A special thank you goes to Madi Whalen for the amazing cover art for this issue. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts; your creativity is inspiring and hauntingly beautiful.

Table of Contents 1…..Table of Contents 2…..Letter from the Editors 3…..Still Nasty by Ash Ernest 4-5…..The Definition of Womanhood by Jinna Hatfield 6-7…..Our Generations #Activism by Julia Friou and Rebecca Ayers 8…..Birth Control Babe by Dana Averbook 9…..Gender Bias in the Newsroom by Annabelle Holman 10-13…..#EstamosAquiUNC - Latinx Activism on Campus by Rachel Maguire 14…..Apologies by l.b. 15…..Sexual Assault is…by Rachel Maguire *cw: sexual assault

16-17…..Traveling As a Woman by Ash Ernest 18…..The Internet and Feminism by Sarah Muzzillo 19…..But he loves me. by Olivia Hair 20-21…..untitled by Michael Liguori *cw: sexual assault

22-23…..Man-Made World: What the Chinese Government Can (and Cannot) Do to End Male Preference by Lucy Best 24…..Where I’m From by Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler 25…..A Note (for Activists, for Lovers, and those who dare to Be) by Emily Hagstrom and Tori Placentra


where have we been / where are we going Siren Scheme Team 2016-2017 contact us:


justine orlovsky-schnitzler

community builder

laura brady

In 2006, Siren Magazine began as a response to deep-rooted structural inadequacies in media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Students sought to challenge narratives in culture consumed here at the university, through the lens of radical feminist politics and action. Ten years on, how do we evaluate the work we have accomplished as a consciousness-raising publication? In the Fall 2013 issue, journalism professor and faculty advisor to Siren, Dr. Barbara Friedman, wrote, “Siren has for years stood in contrast to—and directly confronted—campus media and other messages that diminish and marginalize.” We cannot measure our impact by a numerical value. There is no determined threshold to cross, no bar to reach. We often see the fruits of our labor—our words, printed and bound—only as we pass by newsstands on campus. The fact that we continue to exist, then, is our marker. We are loud, relentless, brash, #nasty, unfiltered, proud, reflective, kind, strong, radical, and hopeful.


tori placentra


emily hagstrom

We chose this semester’s theme back in September as we anticipated a presidential election, the anniversary of our birth, and the graduation of many of our staff members. It was only after formally deciding to move forward with reflection and the promise of the future as our loose common thread for submissions that we remembered Joyce Carol Oates’ short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Though differing in subject matter, the themes were largely similar— contemplations on what has passed, worries for the future, marginalized identities, and survival. It is with this sentiment—survival—that we invite you to peruse our anniversary issue of the Siren. In love and power, The Siren Scheme Team November 2016

design editor

rachel maguire

community builder

nikki mccurry

design editor

allory bors

Still Nasty By: Ash Ernest We are still here. We are still standing. And we are nastier than ever. We are feminists- now, tomorrow, and most importantly throughout a Trump presidency. This morning, I woke up thinking it would be a day of celebration. A day of liberation. A day to make history. Well, we are certainly making history America, and I am not proud of it. But despite this national tragedy, one thing I can say for sure is this: I am so fucking proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a woman who casted a vote against bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, and just about every other prejudice held dear to Donald J. Trump’s heart. I am proud to be able to get one step closer to breaking the glass ceiling that confines me and all my sisters. I am proud to be able to say I am still Nasty. And I am so fucking proud of all women. So here’s to us. Get your claws out ladies; let’s go. Let’s show him that pussy grabs back. HRC was, and still is, our fighter, but she is not the only one. You’re a fighter. I’m a fighter. We are all fighters. Why? Because we can’t afford not to be. Let us be the woman that HRC embodies. Let us strive for what is right in the face of what is wrong. Let us show her what a “rowdy crowd” truly is. In the face of adversity, let us be the women we were born to be. Let us be the women who do what Hillary could not yet do. Let us be the women that break the glass ceiling. Let us be the women that break it for each other- not just for our white or privileged sisters. Let us do it for our sisters who are not heard or do not have a space to be heard. Let us be the women that fight for women of color. For LGBTQ women. For all marginalized women. Let us be the echo of a cry Hillary so desperately put out. Let us demolish the forces that allowed a man who took politics up as a hobby to be elected over a qualified, dedicated, strong woman. Let us show him why America is great. Let’s fucking show him that America is great because of women like us. Strong, Nasty Women that fight back.

*Credit: Twitter


The Definition of Womanhood By: Jinna Hatfield What does it mean to be a woman? This essay aspires to illuminate what defined womanhood in the past, as well as expressing what being a woman means in our contemporary world today. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that “woman” means: “an adult female human being.” What lacks a place in this basic definition is the wide-reaching historical, cultural, and societal implications of womanhood. For example, the actual origin of the word “woman” comes from the Old English term: “wifman,” meaning wife plus man. The fact that the root “man” makes up

the word “wifman” demonstrates the AngloSaxon assumption that a female’s primary role revolves around her

relationship with “man.” This translates to a lesser degree of personal freedom for women, implying dependence on men for meaning and livelihood. To this day, men hold supremacy in all modern nations, all the way from Chad to China. The root of this historical superiority lies in the patriarchal infrastructure of most contemporary societies. The Oxford Dictionary defines “patriarchy” as: “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it”. The definition illustrates the position of women around the world as second class citizens, although they make up almost half of the world’s population. Nevertheless, a woman’s place in a society is not set in stone; through progressive legislation, the role of woman can expand to include greater freedoms. In the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, women could not vote. After gaining enfranchisement in 1920, women began playing a greater role in American politics and the economy, leaving behind the “cult of domesticity”the assumption that a woman’s place lies in the home–for outside occupations. Betty Friedan’s highly influential book–The Feminine Mystique–exposed the dissatisfaction felt by millions of American housewives during the 1950s-1960s. Women gradually became comfortable in pursuing professional careers more readily than ever before, and a women’s rights movement gained strength, fighting for equal treatment and opportunity.


Women began expanding their freedom as individuals, through higher education and the pursuit of professional careers that once were “men’s work.” The strength and struggles of the feminists who took part in questioning the status quo helped redefine women’s roles at home and in the workforce. Well-known American feminist and activist Gloria Steinem once stated, “The problem for all women is we’re identified by how we look instead of by our heads and our hearts.” The contemporary media’s portrayal of women best illustrates the concept, with its emphasis on physical appearance as the definitive measure of femininity. When media outlets choose to focus more attention on appearance instead of personality, young girls searching for an identity are convinced that their worth is defined through their perceived beauty. Even women with considerable power and noteworthy credentials are victim to the objectifying voice of mass media. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin was considered the more “attractive” of the two political contenders, with a television host labeling her as “masturbating material,” while simultaneously calling Hillary Clinton a “bitch” (Miss Representation, 2011). The sexual vulgarity present in this discussion of female political candidates reflects the media’s superficial view of physical attractiveness as the defining characteristic of womanhood. The quality of life for a woman varies, depending on the time period and location. However, inequality remains constant no matter the place. As women living in developed countries speak up about societal problems like rape culture and domestic violence, women in some developing countries continue experiencing extreme forms of oppression, such as genital mutilation and child marriage. To truly redefine “woman” requires standing up for equality on all platforms and on all continents. Though patriarchy still exists as the major oppressor of female rights, matriarchy does not stand as a liable substitute. No group should be suppressed for the sake of power, and justice will only exist when true equality for all sexes becomes the norm. Like men, women have a right to live their own lives as free beings, expressing their unique feelings, goals, and aspirations. The future brings uncertainty, but also hope and optimism as feminists everywhere continue advocating for change. Progress towards greater autonomy for women stands as a goal of the 21st century; for the day will come when women will define themselves, not by the jurisdiction of men or society, but by their own hearts.


Our Generation’s #Activism By: Julia Friou and Rebecca Ayers

Millennials are constantly criticized: we’re either self-obsessed, lazy, or destroying everything we touch (like the economy). Likewise, the recent wave of activism via social media has faced serious criticism, dismissed to “slacktivism”. Our parents and grandparents have gravely underestimated the power of social media. Here’s some proof that social media activism is real, valid, and fucking powerful.

#SidiBouzid December 17, 2010

Street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi publicly burned himself to death in protest against the Tunisian government, marking the start of the Tunisian Revolution. This civil resistance movement removed President Zine El Abiding Ben Ali from office after 23 years and eventually led to the democratization of Tunisia.


January 25, 2011

Inspired by the Tunisian Revolution, the Egyptian Revolution fought poverty, corruption, and political oppression and caused President Hosnī Mubārak to step down, leaving the Egyptian military in control. Protests in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo began on January 25, a national holiday honoring the widely criticized police force, that were singlehandedly coordinated by the hashtag.

#OccupyWallStreet September 17, 2011-Present

The Occupy Movement is a worldwide protest movement against social inequality and corporate influence on government. It began in a Manhattan Financial District park and lasted for almost two months before the protestors were forced out by the NYPD. The movement spread to 1,500 cities across the globe and adopted the slogan “We are the 99%”, referring to the unequal wealth distribution between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the U.S. population. Protestors claimed they “needed their own Tahrir.”

#BlackLivesMatter February 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old unarmed African American who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic police

officer. Initially, Zimmerman was charged with Martin’s murder, but was acquitted on self-defense. This gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement: an international campaign against systemic racism towards African Americans. The movement later gained significant momentum from protests following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

#ICantBreathe July 17, 2014

Eric Garner was an unarmed African American killed by several New York police officers, though none were indicted for his killing. A video of multiple police officers suffocating him went viral, where Garner can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” eleven times while lying facedown on the sidewalk. This gave significant momentum to the Black Lives Matter movement.

#Ferguson November 24, 2014

18-year-old Michael Brown was African American, unarmed, and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson’s acquittal influenced peaceful and violent protests all over the country, giving national attention to Black Lives Matter.

#PrayForParis November 13, 2015

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people and injured over 300. The Islamic State (ISIS) took responsibility. #PrayForParis immediately became a global way for others to express their sorrows and to comfort the hurting families in France.

#RefugeesWelcome 2015-Present

The European Migrant Crisis is the largest the world has seen since World War II, with almost 60 million refugees worldwide, primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In 2015, a rising number of refugees began making the journey to the European Union in order to seek asylum. Greece quickly became the starting point of migration throughout all of Europe. #RefugeesWelcome helped garner attention towards the refugee crisis issue, and has had global support from powerful celebrities like Michelle Obama.

#LoveWins June 26, 2015

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Within the first three hours, there were 2.6 million tweets with the hashtag #LoveWins, including one from President Obama.

Birth Control Babe By: Dana Averbook

I'm infatuated with and inspired by independent and accomplished women. I've always been interested in Marilyn Monroe because she's such an enigma that we will never truly understand. Her unexpected death left so much about her untold, but it also reflected the effects of constant pressure from media and Hollywood to simplify a complex woman into a sex symbol and a prop for others to use and judge as they please. Still, I admire Monroe for the way that she embraced her sexuality unapologetically in a time when it was particularly taboo. All of the texts cut outs are from mid 20th century birth control advertisements. I made this piece after the infamous "nasty woman" comment, one that seemed ridiculous to even be said in the 21st century. The comment made me think about Monroe's time when confident and independent women were actually thought of as "nasty". I wanted to take the oppressive messages from vintage ads out of context and use them in an ironic way that made the female subject not only empowered, but controlling over men in the piece. Mostly, this collage was a way for me to take my anger from the current sexism [in society] and use it to empower a female audience while honoring an original "nasty woman".


Gender Bias in the Newsroom By: Annabelle Holman

Throughout the history of journalism, women have been forced to maintain lesser roles than men and have continued to pursue the unjust struggle to the top of the workplace. To this day, the gender bias in the newsroom is still extremely prominent and manifests itself in a variety of ways.

With the rise of social media and the consequential shift of where the majority of people receive their news, print journalism has been in a steady decline. Despite the change in medium, media remains perhaps one of the most influential and powerful forces shaping life as we know it. Have you ever considered who is behind the information you are receiving? Have you had the chance to think about how the people behind the news may contribute to your outlook on the world? By dictating who is able to facilitate the spread of news, the media we are exposed to does not portray all voices equally. Throughout the history of journalism, men have dominated the newsroom and upheld the top positions. In recent years, the progress toward a more equal representation between men and women remains somewhat unclear. About a decade ago, in 2004, women held seven of the top editor positions among the 25 largest newspapers. By 2014, only three women held these elite positions. Having women as leaders plays a crucial role in moving closer toward equality. When there are people at the top you can look up to and relate with, it is easier to envision yourself in their position, and you are therefore inspired to achieve more. Men take it for granted that they are almost guaranteed to have a male mentor to relate to. For the past 14 years, women have only made up a little over a third of the people working in the newsroom. To make matters worse, in 2012, it was reported that the median salary for women journalists was about 83% of what was earned by their male counterparts. However, the disparities in positions held by men and women in journalism careers have become increasingly recognized and brought to public attention. A new series on Amazon, called Good Girls Revolt, dives into the atmosphere of a 1960’s newsroom and follows the lives of researcher Patti Robinson and her friends as they seek equality and justice. The series is based on the book by Lynn Povich, The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace, which recounts the true story of 46 women who sued Newsweek magazine for gender discrimination in 1970. Lynn Povich was one of these 46 women. At Newsweek, only the men were hired to be staff writers, while women maintained the lesser roles. After discovering this was illegal, since it went against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the women decided to sue. This was a revolutionary feat, as Newsweek was the first media organization to have a lawsuit filed against them for gender discrimination. The first season of Good Girls Revolt leads up to this lawsuit. It is tragic that women in journalism today are facing the same problems that women faced 40 years ago. Recently, Fox News has dealt with multiple scandals involving several women coming forward about the sexual harassment they have experienced in the workplace. Much of the reported harassment was actually committed by a single man, Roger Ailes. Ailes, the Fox News CEO and chairperson, ended up resigning this year, after 20 years on the job. Unfortunately, sexual harassment remains a widespread experience for women in several different newsrooms. The International Women’s Media Foundation released a study in 2013 that showed that nearly two-thirds of women in journalism have experienced harassment or abuse at work. Newsweek reached out to women who have experienced such harassment and found that most of them were harassed fairly early into their careers. Newsweek suggested that new women may be easy targets because they are less likely to report something if they feel like it could negatively affect their new job. As of 2016, more and more women are coming forward about their experiences in the newsroom and how their abilities to achieve higher positions have been affected by their gender. Research studies have been statistically proving the inequalities in journalism and releasing detailed reports to the public. Although we seem to be making progress from the 1960’s workplace, journalism is still far from an equal playing field.



Latinx Activism on Campus By: Rachel Maguire There has been a surge of Latinx activism on campus this semester, due to the many passionate students fighting for visibility and resources. Two organizations, the Carolina Hispanic Association (CHispA) and the Latinx Unity Council, have hosted a variety of events on campus to promote Latinx visibility, such as CHispA’s Carnaval for Hispanic Heritage Month and Latin Night at the R&R Grill on Friday nights. The Latinx Unity Council held a protest in front of South Building where students voiced their frustrations to the administration and demanded visibility and access to resources on campus. They also host town hall style meetings to ensure everyone’s voice is heard when it comes to changes being made in administration to meet Latinx students’ demands. Included in these demands is a physical space on campus that meets the demands of the Latinx student body, as they have outgrown the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative (CLC) spaces in Craige North that they do not have full access to. Students at the protest were told that two staff members were being hired to work with the CLC, something that leading students in the CLC were not made aware of until they were protesting at the doors of South Building. Clearly, there is still a long way to go before the administration at UNC provides Latinx students with the visibility and resources that they rightfully deserve. A physical space on campus would just be the first step toward Latinx visibility. I reached out to two students in CHispA who created and participated in the Trump/ Immigration Wall and asked a few questions about their thoughts and feelings on the Latinx activism on campus. Q&A with Gaby Alemán, Political Action Chair for CHispA and Latinx activist Q: Could you talk a bit about CHispA and why it's an important organization to you? A: CHispA is the Carolina Hispanic Association and it’s one of the largest organizations on campus for the Latinx community. It’s comprised of various committees, ranging from Political Action to Healthy Living, Cultura, and Communications, among others. It also has its own premier Latin dance group, Que Rico, as well as its own radio called Radio Latijam. CHispA is important to me because it provides a community of people that share my background and interests and is basically a place where, no questions asked, I’m accepted for who I am. CHispA does an incredible job of providing a safe space for the Latinx community and is dedicated to the interests of the community. Q: What does #EstamosAquiUNC mean to you? A: #EstamosAquiUNC is a cry for the attention the Latinx community deserves on this campus. We make up almost 8% of this university’s population, over 1500 students, and we’re not done growing. Right now, the only space available to us on campus is the CLC, which we outgrew years ago. The CLC [Carolina Latina/o Collaborative] has a few seminar rooms in Craige North, but we don’t even have priority over the space, having to ask for permission to use the space and hold events. The Latinx community also does so much for the university through different outreach programs that make the university look great. But I’m tired of feeling like UNC uses us to check its diversity box and done. We have such an awesome impact and influence over this campus and the university, but we aren’t compensated accordingly. And this expands farther than just a building. Not only is this about a space where this community can come together, to have autonomy, and to have a place where we can base all the incredible things we do, but also about


Gaby Aléman in front of the ‘Trump Wall', built by CHispA. Stories of undocumented immigrants, personal stories, refugee and asylum facts, and an interactive blackboard are displayed on the wall.

representation within the university and the administration. It’s frustrating to look at all the people making decisions on my behalf and yet none of them identify as Latino/a. Can they really have our best interests at heart? Can they really understand our community and what it needs? Q: Why is visibility important for the Latinx community on UNC? A: I think within past years, CHispA hasn’t been very politically active, and that’s something that we’ve focused on changing this year. Visibility is so important on campus and it’s impossible for people to know what we need and want if we don’t become a presence and demand it. Again, we’re such a large minority in this community and we’re only going to keep growing and become more diverse. Q: Could you tell me a little bit about what being a Latina means to you? A: Being Latina, to me, means embracing not only my Latin American culture, but also just my American culture in general. I grew up in an Argentine/Cuban/Puerto Rican family, but I was born in Florida. I’m a first generation American who has grown up with my parents’ immigration stories and the struggles they went through to make me and my siblings’ lives better here in the US. I grew up with Latin culture at home and American culture through school and friends, and I represent a new, sort of hybrid culture. It’s interesting how, in Latin America, people don’t really call themselves Latino/a, they just go by their nationality. But once you reach the US, you’re immediately grouped under the Latin America umbrella if you speak Spanish, and everyone suddenly has this connection. So it’s really cool that, for example within CHispA, I have friends who are Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, etc. Being Latina means, to me, that I have this awesome community behind me that might share differences, but also a lot of similarities.


Q: What's the coolest thing you’ve done during your time as a Latinx activist on campus? A: I’m the Political Action Chair for CHispA, so my biggest project this semester was focusing on the elections, and I did that by building the Trump Wall which is out by Davis Courtyard this [October 24th-28th] week. I really wanted to focus on immigration because it’s such a huge part of the Latinx community, and it’s also a topic that is incredibly politicized. There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions about immigration and immigrants out there that warp the way people see immigrants, usually in a negative light. I wanted to challenge that and “I stand w/immigrants because…I am where I so I took the ridiculous comments and ideas that am today because of them.” - Gaby Aléman. Trump has about building a wall and we built our own, but with the real facts about immigration, with personal stories, and just really tackling all these different topics under immigration, especially undocumented immigrants and the negativity that comes along with that. I want people who aren’t part of the Latinx community to understand the struggles we go through, but also to see the incredible things we contribute to society. Q&A with Carlos Mendiola, Co-President of CHispA and Latinx activist Q: Could you talk a bit about CHISPA and why it's an important organization to you? A: The Carolina Hispanic Association is the largest Latinx organization averaging around 200+ members each year. Every year we try to foster a community, with the help of our members, that mimics the one we leave back home. My first year I had to deal with some intense homesickness because I absolutely love where I come from. When I started getting involved with CHispA, I finally felt like I belonged at UNC. Q: What does #EstamosAquiUNC mean to you? A: I am actually on the Latinx Unity Council that has been planning all these events. The hashtag symbolizes how we do not feel represented on campus. We do not have many resources allocated to us, and the resources like the Carolina Latino/Latina Collaborative are just not enough. The Latinx community needs more professors, staff, and administrators that can represent us and begin giving out ideas that would really benefit us in the long run.


Q: Why is visibility important for the Latinx community on UNC? A: The Latinx community is much more than a group of students that go to school. We bring our culture, we bring our experiences, and we bring a new set of ideas that many people on this campus are not comfortable with. We want to be visible so we can begin being a part of the conversation and helping develop some administrative change. Q: Could you tell me a little bit about what being a Latino means to you? A: Latino makes me so proud because it reminds me of all the struggles my parents went through to help me live the lifestyle I do now. Being Latinx allows me to be involved with such a passionate community filled with great food, wonderful music, and a sense of pride that mimics that of being a Texan. Q: What's the coolest thing you can think of doing during your time as a Latinx activist on campus? A: The coolest thing I hope to do is have all the [Latinx] graduating seniors wear their own Latinx stole at graduation. Imagine being at a graduation where you make up so little of the graduating class, but with these on you won’t feel so alone.

“Becoming a legal immigrant isn’t nearly as easy as most people think, it’s a long, difficult process that can take 15+ years” anonymous UNC Student

Authors Note

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges” - anonymous UNC Student

A special thank you to Gaby Alemán and Carlos Mendiola for answering my questions with such insightful and poignant responses. Also, a shoutout to all the members of the Carolina Hispanic Association, CHispA, and the Latinx Unity Council for the work they have done this semester to benefit the Latinx student body.


Apologies l.b.

Reaching for endless skies above, Mountains never apologize. But as I sat there in the dark cove, I knew I should have never believed your lies. You made me feel small and insignificant, Trapped with refrains of lies; As my pride began to wash away, I demanded different. I could no longer remain to romanticize. Creeks babble loudly and birds chirp without fear, Ripping you off like a bandaid; I refuse to let my eyes well and tear, My colors will never fade. You tried to hold me down, Knees pressing on my chest; Leaving me vulnerable and ready to break down, But I have storms within me and I will not rest. I now know being a woman is a powerful thing, You tried to make me deny my strength, But there’s no strength in being trapped in your ring. Flexible now, I begin to stretch. The mountains never apologize, And neither will I. For out of the darkness I will arise, Resurrected and rebuilt: I, too, reach for the endless sky.


Photo Credit: l.b.

Sexual assault is… By: Rachel Maguire cw: sexual assault and rape

Sexual assault is questioning what happened the next morning Sexual assault is blaming yourself for what was done to you Sexual assault is wondering why no one around you did anything to stop it when you were clearly incapacitated past the point of being able to make a choice Sexual assault is not leaving your room for months because nowhere is safe Sexual assault is wearing shorts under your dresses because you NEED the extra layer of protection between you and the world Sexual assault is losing 30 pounds because your trauma has consumed your hunger Sexual assault is not wanting to report it because you don't want to ruin the lives of your attackers, but they've already altered the course of yours forever Sexual assault is wondering what you could have done better to prevent your own assault, as if dressing more conservatively, staying sober, or being the “perfect victim” could have changed the actions of the person who made a conscious decision to violate you Sexual assault is being blindsided by trauma hitting you years after the assault, after you thought you’d moved on Sexual assault is your roommate sobbing into your chest for two hours apologizing over and over for something that she did not do but something that was done to her Sexual assault is consensual sex between you and your partner but when you beg him to pull out he pushes deeper inside you, fracturing your ideas of what love and trust are along with your innocence Sexual assault is RAPE. It can happen to anyone at anytime. There is no perfect victim, there is no blame on the survivor. The ONLY person responsible for sexual assault is the perpetrator. Sexual assault is here. Sexual assault comes from us. Sexual assault must end with us.


Traveling As a Woman By: Ash Ernest

Traveling as a woman is simply not the same as traveling as a man, point blank. Whether striving for some liberating exploration to “find themselves,” or just going on a day hike, women never have the same luxuries men do to just “pack up and go.” Traveling as a woman is hella empowering, and I implore every woman to do it! It is the most freeing experience! But, at the same time, it is also like walking around with a ball and chain. This summer, my best friend and I were fortunate enough to be able to backpack throughout California for three weeks. Venturing from San Diego to Fresno to Yosemite (then accidentally back to Fresno) down to Santa Barbara up to Berkeley then finally to San Francisco, we truly experienced the vagabond lifestyle we had long romanticized. With young, naive eyes, we embarked on this journey, thinking we could predict what problems we would face and what precautions we would have to take being women, but despite all this, our feminist eyes were still left in disbelief. Traveling as a woman is problematic. And it sucks. And it’s fucking not fair. Even women with inherent privilege like my friend and myself, constantly faced problems due to our gender, despite being white, middle class, heterosexual females. Point being, anyone who identifies as female faces these problems, and honestly, it can make traveling suck. Reasons why traveling as a woman sucks: 1) It’s more dangerous (and terrifying!) Need I say more? You’re going out on your own, and on this journey, nothing is guaranteed- especially your safety. Not only are you in a new unfamiliar environment with challenges of its own that you must navigate, but you are also faced with new threats just because you identify as female. The biggest of these being a constant concern about sexual harassment and abuse. Being alone with a man you don't know is cause for concern. Walking alone at night is cause for concern. Hell, something as simple (and public!) as riding the subway is even cause for concern.This, alone, is enough to make anyone feel scared and unsteady, but in conjunction with other travel worries (like money, food, shelter, etc.), it makes traveling really scary. And if I have to explain one more time to a man why I need a room with a door and a lock, I might go crazy! 2) It’s more expensive As a woman, you constantly have to pay more to make sure you’re safe. And I mean more than just buying a knife or pepper spray. Say you’re in a crunch needing an airbnb in Santa Barbara and all hotels are full... 90% of what’s in your price range isn’t an option because it’s either on some single potentially dangerous man’s couch or it is in a part of town you aren't comfortable with. Then, naturally, if you do find a place that will be fitting for you (yay!), it will probably be too far away from where you’re wanting to go and what you’re wanting to do :-) Now, you have to pay for transportation to get to where you need to go because walking either isn’t safe or isn’t feasible! On top of that, you have to consider the safety of your transportation! What will your uber driver be like? Will it be another potentially dangerous man? Oh! You could take the subway or the bus, but then, you face the likelihood of being harassed, groped, or both!


3) It’s a lot more fucking work Everywhere you go you are having to make decisions about what the most safe, feasible, and enjoyable thing for you to do will be, whether it be lodging, activities, etc. Say you want to go to the library in the middleofnowhere Cali, is riding a bike there really practical? Will it be safe on these deserted roads with the occasional man driving by? Situations as simple as these take time and work to assess and proceed with. You have to strategically plan where you go, when you go, and what you do, because these are all elements that could potentially compromise your safety. This may not seem like much, but if you have traveled as a woman, you know exactly what I mean. Everything takes more work than if you could make quick and easy decisions, without having to weigh out every factor. Simple liberties of just packing up and going aren’t really an option and ultimately end up making traveling less liberating and more confining than you ever could’ve anticipated. As a woman, when you sleep in a tent, you have to worry about men more than you have to worry about bears. When getting dressed, you have to dress for safety more than for the weather. When finding somewhere to stay, you have to check that you have a room with locks and blinds more than if you even like the room. When planning your day, you have to focus on being back before dark more than on what fun activities you want to do. When you travel as a woman, you don’t have the luxuries you would as a man. And if you’re a man out there reading this, I didn’t write this to attack you or to blame you. I am writing this to make you aware and conscientious so that more women can have safe positive experiences traveling like you can. If more men saw from women’s perspectives, traveling could be so much safer, more fun, and inclusive.


The Internet and Feminism By: Sarah Muzzillo The Internet is everywhere—an inescapable realm, a force of both good and evil. It's how we communicate, obtain news and information, and consume every type of media. Over the past decade, as the internet has become more and more central to how we function in our daily lives, this resource has also become a primary means of expanding our world views. When I ask many of my friends how they became feminists, many immediately say the Internet. Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter serve as easily accessible tools to absorb information that, unfortunately, isn't typically discussed in mainstream schools or households. Now, anyone can access feminist theory, feminist think pieces, or feminist social commentary with the click of a button. Media sites like Mic, Bitch Media, or Vox provide easily consumable social justice-focused content, for example. Because of this, feminism has become more widely understood as a system that seeks to eliminate inequities. Hashtags like #ThisIsWhatAFeministLooksLike, #SayHerName, #WhyWomenDontReport, and, yes, even #NastyWoman, have gone viral, creating and encouraging dialogue about feminist issues. Social media is a powerful tool for enacting societal change. This is evident with many hashtags that have turned into concrete, tangible movements, including #BlackLivesMatter. Hashtag activism can sometimes lead to complacency, though. It can be easy to simply tweet every so often about social justice. But real-life, boots-on-the-ground work must emerge from networking online. We should not, however, discount the ways in which the Internet has been integral in organizing and creating crucial spaces. Tumblr blogs or Facebook pages create communities for women, young girls, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals to freely express who they are and receive support from others who share their identities, struggles, or experiences. Although it can be hard to be a feminist on the Internet—trolls emerge, ready and eager to spread hate—it’s clear that the World Wide Web has had an extraordinary impact on engaging more folks in the fight for gender equity.


But he loves me. By: Olivia Hair

Did I ask his thumbs to color me numb? Or maybe my lungs permitted his tongue to murder my fire with soulless desire? I want you, need this. His lies rob my wrists, Give me to misery, He deserves victory, my Body, my Glory, Thief of this story Greed found his lip I feel in his grip Reigning my tears He roars, my dear why are you crying? He’s flying, I’m dying. Muted, Empty, Alone. His fingers, or stone? Tracing my spine, or crushing my mind? My fault, My fault Not fucking assault.


Michael Liguori cw: sexual assault Dad,

Do you remember when you woke me up from that dream? You asked what it was about, and when I told you, I could tell you didn’t understand. I didn’t at first, but the dream’s followed me through years. It hasn’t left.

I’m alone in a room without decorations or furniture; no windows or doors. There’s me, a bed, and a lonely world of blank white plaster. I’m lying there and a man appears. He doesn’t have a face--like a tiny artist’s mannequin, it’s all smooth--but he has fingers and a laugh that festers in my ears. He touches me even though I tell him not to, he presses in on me until I hit him, but he just laughs. This repeats. I punch, he laughs, I kick, he laughs, I throw him onto the ground, I kneel on his chest, I tear into his faceless head. Laughter, laughter, laughter. I wake up inside the dream still kneeling on him, only he’s not moving. A sound like his laugh, but it’s coming from me and it’s different, harder to breathe. My face is slick with tears and the white room is sprayed with tiny bolts of red.

You woke me up and told me I was slapping myself, that I was crying and saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

I wonder how far guilt stands from complicity. I ask myself how you sit on the scales.

You taught me how we look at women--at everything but their eyes because that’s where you see yourself, your own dead eyes, blank expression, practically faceless.

From ignorance you told me who the “good boys” were, the “nice, young men” because they called you “sir” and talked to you about sports. I remember their fingers in the locker room, the magic tricks they’d do to transform my body into this new mound, all warped and feeble.

I took the easy way out. I would eat until I vomited, punch trees until my knuckles swelled purple with scarring.


I don’t talk about what happened in a house near the fire station. A man would have fought back.

I’ve been stuck in something ugly, wrapping myself in extra pounds of flesh and deadening my smiles and sobs until I see this smooth, sharpened, expressionless animal in the mirror and all at once I know why lone women walk so fast at night. I want to hate you. I’ve said it before. I want to imagine that it’s just you on the scale, that you alone can make it sag so low, but that’s too much weight for one person, no matter how careless or arrogant.

For all that weight I still want to love you because I remember your own father and the deadness in his face at the sight of his grandchildren. Because sometimes when you drive and it’s late you think out loud and tell me about your own faceless men, the memories you call by any name but trauma.

This ancient weight on all our heads presses us into the same mud. We sink so deep that forms and borders and time lose definition. We’re the dreamers in our rooms, we’re the faceless invaders, we’re our own grandfathers and sons, and while we laugh and sob, shriek and claw at our flesh like it’s clay, the casualties of our rage drop off all around us. We swim in the bodies of our victims. I’m writing this now to tell you I’m scared, and that I know you are too, only you’d never say it. I’m writing to tell you something I’ve heard now in hundreds of soft voices and loving smiles and tender embraces: there is a way out. There’s a rope in the mud by which we can pull ourselves up, there’s a door in that whitewashed room, no matter how certain we were there wasn’t.

Finding the exits is hard. It’s harder than anything we’ve ever done, and to be honest I don’t know what the other side looks like. But once you start moving you’ll never want to stop because no matter what is out there, it’ll be free. Bodies that shimmer and sing with how much we love them, grief and love and joy and fear and peace that dance across our eyes and lips. No more women dodging death at night, no more lonesome children shaking in their doorless rooms.

No more faceless men.


Man-Made World: What the Chinese Government Can (and Cannot) Do to End Male Preference By: Lucy Best Historically in China, male children have always been desired more than their female counterparts, especially in rural villages where farm work was necessary to survive. This preference is by no means exclusive to China; few societies were strangers to female infanticide in their early stages. China is unique, however, in that this imbalance has grown more severe as it urbanizes, with 120 boys currently born for every 100 girls (ABC). The Chinese government has taken steps to correct this imbalance, banning sex-selective abortions in the 1980s. With ultrasounds increasingly available in China, however, parents are able to gain knowledge about the sex of their child, whether it is through a doctor’s nod of the head, a handshake, or some other indicator and make a decision about the pregnancy based on this information. While the gender gap may improve in future years due to the abolition of the One-Child Policy, the solidarity of doctors and other individuals with male-preferential parents suggests that male-preference is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. The ability to have two children may decrease the urgency to have boys, but it will not eliminate this patriarchal concept. The government could attack the gender gap through policy, but cracking down on doctors who perform abortions would not solve the problem. Decreased access to safe and legal abortions would likely lead to an increase in illicit, unsafe ones, thus such a regulation would not only fail in improving the gender gap, but also create more gender-based health disparities. Some may ask why Chinese women would be willing to undergo such risks to abort a female fetus. The answer lies in societal norms: just because the government passes laws to support equalizing the sex ratio does not mean social sentiment about gender has changed. To understand the complexity underlying China’s male-preference, we must examine Chinese society. As in many cultures, patriarchal systems can be found in language. Among other instances, this phenomenon is seen in Spanish when exclusively male pronouns are employed to describe groups of mixed genders, in English when individuals use “bitch” to simultaneously describe “aggressive” women and “weak” men, and in French when terms that describe professions lack a feminine form. Language-based gender biases show values so deeply ingrained in cultures, they evolved along with the concept of oral and written communication, making them extremely hard to stamp out. Another instance of sexism in language is seen in Chinese terms for family members. While in English the word “grandchildren” is used to describe all grandchildren, the word differs in Chinese based on the gender of the parent of the grandchild. Grandchildren born to one’s son are called“

” (Sūnzi, grandson) and “

” (Sūnnǚ, granddaughter), while grandchildren born to one’s daughter are referred to as “ ” (wàisūn, grandson) and “

”(wàisūnnǚ, granddaughter). The character “


translates to mean “outer” or “outside,” and is used in words such as “foreign,” “other,” and “unofficial.” The presence of this character reflects the cultural concept in that women are property that get transferred from one family to another through marriage, an act traditionally used to procure good relations and financial gains. This is not to say that Chinese culture is


unique in having these values – women have been used as a means to an end in many cultures throughout history – but that the illustration of this concept is made explicit through language. It is beneficial for Chinese society as a whole to have an equal male-to-female ratio; however, it is not perceived as being nearly as beneficial at the individual level. At a linguistic level, daughters and their resultant offspring were considered part of their husband’s family’s domain, indicating the patriarchal conditions of ancient China. These conditions persist. Women are still considered to “marry out” and expected to look after their in-laws in their old age instead of their parents. Sons, however, continue to care for parents after marriage and provide a wife to look after them too. Thus many parents view having a boy as their only ticket to a happy retirement. Male-preference persists because there is no magic policy the Chinese government can enact that will change people’s minds with regards to the role of women. There is, however, another option: to empower women and challenge the social standards. By encouraging girls’ education and employment, the government will fight the cultural norm that women are property to be traded among families and allow them to expand beyond their traditional roles. Women must be portrayed as equal to men for society to value them fully, and that is something the Chinese government – as well as all societies – can work to change.



“Where I’m from”, Inspired by and in the style of George Ella Lyon, Kentucky’s 2015-2016 Poet Laurate By: Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

I am from loud talkers, close quarters, and early morning diners I am from expectation and pride an entire religion of academics as a means of survival I am from ceremony and compulsion, a thousand rituals performed daily from waking to sunset I am from a line or survivors, in one form or another— A constant chain of people surveying circumstance and choosing to go on I am from hard work and warm whisky and radical politics— generations of women married to card-carrying Communists ‘till the bitter end I am from Springsteen’s promised land, that sweet spot off the turnpike, and two nonbelievers who treat their marriage like a holy order I am from nothing and everything, constantly rebuilding


A Note (for Activists, for Lovers, for those who dare to Be) Emily Hagstrom and Tori Placentra Hey y'all, We know you're tired. We're exhausted. We know that this is going to make the work we do that much harder. And that might seem overwhelming right now. So if you need a break, take a break. We understand. Take care of yourselves. So much trauma exists in our community right now, and we need to hold that. Check in on each other; love each other. Lean on each other. And when you're ready, come back to the movement prepared to fight--because we cannot give up…We cannot afford to give up. We must persevere in the name of Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Shirley Chisholm, Alice Paul, Marsha P. Johnson, Adrienne Rich, and all the named and unnamed champions who fought so fearlessly for everything we’ve gained. We must persevere in the name of the liberties we are yet to enjoy, but know have the RIGHT to—the right to live freely and without fear, exactly as we choose. The right to be unequivocally as we are. We must persevere in the name of love against the currents of hate that try to sink us. We have to. We know the work is not always gratifying. In fact, it’s rarely gratifying. But when it is – that glimmer of hope, that ray of light in this shit storm is so fucking sweet. So when you’re ready, come back to the movement prepared to fight. We need you. When we lose, we need you. When we win, we need you. In every space in between, every moment our work is ignored or devalued, every moment it goes unnoticed at all—we need you. Because without you, there is no movement. Your fight is the fight. Without you, there is no resistance. Thank y'all for all you do. We see you, we love you, and you are valid.

Here's a cute puppy picture.


Where Have We Been / Where Are We Going; Fall 2016  

Siren's fall 2016 issue, Where Have We Been / Where Are We Going is a celebration of Siren's 10th birthday. The issue takes a look at femini...

Where Have We Been / Where Are We Going; Fall 2016  

Siren's fall 2016 issue, Where Have We Been / Where Are We Going is a celebration of Siren's 10th birthday. The issue takes a look at femini...