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FA L L 2 0 2 0 ISSUE NO. 26





































The content and opinions of this publication reside solely with the authors and not the Pennsylvania State University or the University Park Allocation Committee.



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Are You Being Greenwashed? To Shave Or Not To Shave To Know Your Body Is To Love Your Body But You Don’t Look Sick Happy 21st! It’s Time To Get A Pap Smear!



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Your Life Is A Movie, Are You The Director? Not Just The Luck Of The Draw Investing In Your Future The Self-Care Spellbook Independent Is The New Sexy Working On Your Mind...Online?



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The New Wave Words Of Hope From Happy Valley Help Diversify Your Greek Life With MGC It’s Not All Red Or Blue To Be A BIPOC In A PWI

Penn State’s premier student-run life and style magazine. VALLEY Magazine is published once per semester and distributed for free on Penn State’s main campus in University Park, PA. Our mission is to recognize Penn State students for their academic and extracurricular accomplishments and to feature local style, entertainment and lifestyle trends. VALLEY Magazine is named after Happy Valley and was founded in September 2007 by former Penn State students Nicole Gallo, Meredith Ryan, Katie Zuccolo and Kathryn Tomaselli. The Fall 2020 magazine is VALLEY’s 26th issue.

46 ENTERTAINMENT 47 Tik Tok On The Old Main Clock 48 There’s No Shame In Sex Work 50-51 Generational Genres 52 Merely Scratching The Surface 53 Billionaires and Bezos

54 FASHION 55 Copycat 56 Girls Bite Back 57 Commondification of Political Art 59-60 Resistance Through Fashion




LE T TER FROM THE EDITOR I have loved literature, writing and art for as long as I could remember. Growing up as an introvert, these were ways I was able to express myself in the comfort of my own little bubble. I would paint portraits, read Whitman and write down pretty words that only I would see. It wasn’t until I came to Penn State that I realized my fascination with storytelling and creativity was much greater than I had imagined.

and flexibility do not go unnoticed.

As soon as I met Raldgine Beauvais, I knew her story was one that needed to be heard. Her passion, empathy and selflessness are inspiring, and they are qualities that we all need right now. Thank you Raldgine for being a light in the whirlwind that this year has been. I hope her story touches and enlightens you the same way it did for me.

To the editorial staff, each one of you has a special place in my heart. Your writing and creativity keep me going, and I am constantly inspired by you all to reach higher. I am so proud of all of the articles on our website and in this magazine, and I thank you all for pushing what VALLEY is capable of. To Carmen, our copy editor, thank you for the endless hours you spent editing and for always telling me the truths I need to hear, even if they are difficult. I can count on you to always keep it real, and I am confident in your ability to lead VALLEY next semester. Kristine, our web director, I am absolutely blown away by you and your talent. You are bound to do incredible things, and I cannot wait to see what you accomplish. Finally, Nicole, thank you for being my rock, my friend, my hype woman and everything in between. As managing editor, you’ve been through it all with me, and I owe you everything. Your passion for this magazine is unmatched, and I expect you to keep me in the VALLEY loop when I graduate.

The amount of hard work that goes into the magazine is unreal, and I cannot thank our staff enough for their persistence and commitment.

To you, readers, thank you for picking up this issue. I hope this resonates with you and inspires you to share your own story.

To our creative director, Taylor, thank you for leading the creation of such a stunning magazine. The beauty of this magazine is what drew me to pick up a copy my freshman year, and everyone I meet is shocked that something like this is created solely by students. I know this year has been especially difficult with restrictions, so I cannot thank you and your entire staff enough for your hard work and commitment to creating this beautiful end product. To our photo director, Cassie, and our design director, Emily, thank you for your artistic vision and endless talent. I was blown away during the cover star shoot, and I am so grateful to have you both to bring each of these stories to life through your creativity. Thank you, Caroline, our business director, for everything you and your staff accomplished this semester. Through virtual events, multiple fundraisers, stepping up our social media presence, and countless other things, your hard work

2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least, and the stories that come out of all of this will be the ones that last a lifetime. No matter how many times you feel like you’ve been knocked down and down again, don’t let your story get washed away.

Joining VALLEY completely shifted what I thought I was capable of. It has allowed me to embrace my voice and to shout stories loud for everyone to hear. VALLEY has helped me grow and build my confidence in my writing, and it inspires me to keep sharing meaningful stories.

Stories are power. Stories bring change. Don’t be afraid to make waves with them. All my love,







“If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t let it bug you for 5 minutes.”





Sustainability has become a major buzzword in consumer culture as more consumers are making strides towards a “greener” style of living. As a society, we are becoming more conscious of our consumption habits, making us more likely to select a product with a “green” label over one without it. A growing number of consumers state their willingness to pay more for products with a more sustainable message, further solidifying the point that sustainability sells. A 2015 poll by the global marketing research firm, Nielsen, found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products, and among millennials, that number jumps to 72%. Shoppers are looking for more than just a quality product, seeking out brands that align with their own personal values. Keywords such as “green” or “recycled” resonate with buyers as having a positive connotation, meaning green equals good. This, though, may not always be the case. This idea of an emerging eco-conscious culture has not gone unnoticed to the marketing industry, as more companies continue to step forward with narratives of their pursuit of “green” business practices. Think about all the times you’ve seen the word “green,” “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” associated with a product or process. Ranging from cleaning products to transportation services, food, energy and the fashion industry, brands have picked up on consumer’s call for a greener future. Companies now tend to “greenwash” products, presenting a product as “eco-friendly” when the company itself may not truly reflect those values in their business practices. Coined in the 1980s by environmentalist Jay Westerveld, greenwashing is generally defined as the corporate practice of 12

diverting sustainable claims to cover a questionable environmental record. Companies and organizations that practice “greenwashing” tend to spend more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually applying these principles to their daily business practices. Their intentions fall short on actually minimizing the company’s impact on the environment. A combination of limited public access to information and seemingly unlimited advertising abilities originally enabled companies to present themselves as caring environmental activists, even as they continuously engage in environmentally unsustainable practices. Oil companies were originally seen as major culprits of this, as Chevron launched a series of expensive television and print advertisements in the 1980s to convince the public eye of its environmental bonafide. According to an article done by Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate and the Environment, the campaign presented the identity of Chevron as being a “green oil company,” noting the company’s deep care for the environment and the communities in which it operates, even after they faced an $18 billion judgment for polluting the Ecuadorian Amazon. The fashion industry also acts as a transgressor by these terms. Clothing labels that use callout terms such as “vegan” or “natural” may not be necessarily practicing what they preach. “Natural” materials such as viscose, rayon and bamboo are often promoted to the public as eco-friendly materials, yet that doesn’t mean these materials were sourced ethically. Millions of trees, for instance, are cut down to produce those clothing fibers, resulting in mass deforestation and pollution. The same goes for the thousands of gallons of water used to create a singular pair of jeans.

Other companies choose to project a narrative of sustainability such as Reformation, who’s brand slogan is “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.” Though the company is known for its extensive observation of the environmental footprint of its collections, the line becomes blurred with producing and shipping clothing at the scale Reformation does and still labeling it “ethical.” It becomes hard for one to rationalize that the company’s proposition of “looking cute” is an ethical way of protecting the earth. “Greenwashing” uses deceptive labels that mask the transparency of a company’s actual environmental impact. Sweeping terms such as green, eco-friendly and sustainable are used to attract conscientious clientele, ultimately resulting in well-intended shoppers to support companies that may not be transparent in their eco-practices. In an interview with Architectural Digest, Perry Wheeler, a spokesperson for Greenpeace USA, noted that, “Greenwashing means that a company puts forward what they deem to be a positive public relations move without actually changing things for the environment … they pretend they’re addressing an issue when in reality, they’re just looking to silence environmental critics.”

the Green Guides of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is responsible for monitoring the truth in advertising practices. A brand’s goal may focus more on consumer perception than an honest commitment to sustainability. Many brands greenwash by ultimately passing off the responsibility of sustainability to the consumer, making the argument that companies play only a small role in the realm of sustainability. As green business practices grow in popularity, so does the temptation for companies to “greenwash” their business to appear more socially responsible than it actually is. At the end of the day, businesses pursuing the goal of sustainability shouldn’t be looked at as a bad thing. If we hope to achieve a more sustainable future, it’s important that businesses are on board, if not leading the way. The issue boils down to companies using sustainability as more of a market ploy than a mission statement.

Deciphering a brand’s authenticity in its sustainability and “green” practices is ultimately up to the consumer. Responsible shoppers must seek out these “red flags” for themselves, sorting through seemingly sweeping statements that do not provide verifying claims. So why would a company spend so much time and money spreading a green narrative when it may not be entirely true? Why risk being perceived as insincere? Being, or even simply projecting, the idea of sustainability resonates with customers. The practice tends to be minimally regulated but falls under 13

T O S H AV E O R N O T T O S H AV E T O S H AV E O R N O T T O S H AV E T O S H AV E O R N O T T O S H AV E As we enter a new era of women fully embracing body hair, the choice is (and has always been) yours, ladies. As Bella Thorne once said, “I’m comfortable with my body hair, why shouldn’t you be?” Unfortunately, female body hair has had an extensive sexist history, which has made it difficult for women to feel comfortable rocking their own body hair. For centuries, the concept of female body hair has been poked, prodded and influenced by the fashion industry, the magazine industry, shaving companies, and of course, men — all of which have profited from defining what a woman should or should not look like. From ancient Egypt to World War II, society has always had a major influence on the stigma around shaving female body hair. According to the Women’s Museum of California, it can even be said that early hair removal surrounding females and some of the very first razors ever made can be traced all the way back to 3,000 B.C. in ancient Egypt. According to an article from MIC, around this time in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the normalization of hair removal became prevalent as many influential people, such as Cleopatra, promoted this new beauty standard that absolutely no body hair — except for eyebrows — equated to a woman’s cleanliness. The stereotype that a woman’s lack of body hair alludes to her cleanliness is still a prevalent stereotype that is used in today’s society around the discussion around female shaving. And unfortunately, this stereotype stayed prevalent throughout centuries. Not only did the concept of female body hair — or the lack thereof — correlate to cleanliness, but it also began to correlate to class. According to an article from MIC, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Rome viewed hairlessness as a sign of class; whereas, men weren’t subjected to the same signafiers and beauty standards regarding body hair as women were. Even during the Renaissance in 1400, society still equated a woman’s hairless body with class, and continued 14

to do so even up until the Elizabethan era, where Queen Elizabeth I’s ruling had a heavy influence on exactly where a woman shaved. According to an article from MIC, Queen Elizabeth I set new beauty standards regarding facial and body hair as women were told to shave eyebrows, mustaches and facial hair, but told not to shave their legs. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the perspective around female body hair began to shift as the lack of female body hair became a sign of femininity more so than a sign of class. According to the Women’s Museum of California, the fashion industry and men’s shaving companies started to have a say in women’s body hair as raised hemlines and sleeveless dresses suddenly became popular, issuing women to shave their armpits and legs. In 1914, Gillette created

“I’M COMFORTABLE WITH MY BODY HAIR, WHY SHOULDN’T YOU BE?” BELLA THORNE “Milady Décolleté,” a razor specifically made for women that claimed shaving was a necessity and body hair was “unsightly,” and by 1917, 1 million razors were sold. By World War II, women were influenced to start routinely shaving their legs, armpits and even tweezing their eyebrows. That is until the 1970s, when women’s body hair started gaining political momentum and quickly became a symbol for feminism. Over the last few decades, women have showcased the need to overlook the stimagitized thoughts regarding body hair and the normalizing of ditching the razor. From celebrities such as Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Amandla Stenberg and Bella Thorne embracing their body hair on social media, to companies such as Billie that recognise and demonstrate that hair removal isn’t necessary, we are living in a time of inclusivity regarding female body hair. But have the societal pressures really changed?

“For decades we’ve studied and learned about the influential power of media on beauty standards for women,” Penn State Professor and Doctoral Candidate Erica Hilton says. “Television, film, and advertisements have assisted in supporting this ideology for centuries. How we define beauty is by what is deemed as attractive and acceptable, which is based on a hierarchy that uplifts Eurocentric features that sometimes has a hint of what is considered “exotic” about women of color. In most recent years, social media has become a dominant player in our beauty ideologies by continuing to uplift and encourage certain beauty standards.” Hilton says that although celebrities “may embrace new standards such as accepting their body hair without alterations, usually it takes this embrace coupled with an endorsement from beauty brands and blogs for a trend to take place.” “However, these trends still support the ultimate hierarchy of beauty that exists,” Hilton says. “Even beauty influencers recognize a pattern of features in the women who are prominently and consistently showcased by beauty brands and blogs on social media platforms such as Instagram. Despite how beauty has evolved, the women highlighted by these social media pages still share similar hair textures and skin complexions. This shows how much ideology still influences beauty today.” Hilton says that “while there are some celebrities and influencers who are embracing their body hair, historically, women have removed their body hair in the name of beauty.” “It is difficult to unlearn ideologies such as not removing body hair, especially when the beauty industry continues to support it by promoting new laser treatments, waxing, sugaring, and threading hair removal options.”


TO KNOW YOUR BODY IS TO LOVE YOUR BODY Early on, women are taught that how we look to others is important. A confident 10-year-old learns by age 13 her outer appearance matters more for popularity than her personality. Stephanie Shields, a Penn State psychology professor, explains how girls also learn that “one is not ‘supposed’ to be satisfied with their body or their beauty.” There is always something needing to be fixed, whether it be our hair, thighs or hips that someone has told us isn’t right.

social media, wondering why our body doesn’t look like theirs. The truth is that few of us have all the physical features our society considers “ideal,” especially when it is always changing. Many scientific studies have shown that it is easy and harmful for young women to make a negative comparison of themselves after viewing “attractive or ideal bodies.” While the current movement to include all different sizes of models is helpful, these images can still be altered, explains Shields.

Sometimes, you even have to criticize yourself in order to fit in. Think of the well-known Mean Girls scene where they are standing in front of a mirror, each saying something they don’t like about their looks.

Heather Shoenberger, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, did a research study that found that ads with models who are not airbrushed increase the probability that a customer will buy the product.

Shields explains, ”If a friend complains about her weight, her friends are expected to deprecate themselves in turn … ” with phrases like, “Yeah, but you don’t have my problem hair” or “You’re not ‘fat,’ I am!” Talking about yourself like this can do more harm than you may think.

“I think this finding suggests that people are beginning to prefer real, truthful images of models in advertising, which will increase inclusivity and diversity,” says Shoenberger.


We are taught that our body’s “flaws” aren’t normal. But why do we even view certain features as “flaws” in the first place? We compare ourselves to models and other “attractive” people on


Learning to understand and appreciate the natural, physical qualities that society tries to hide can help us love and accept our bodies. WHAT IS BLOATING?

Otherwise known as a “food baby,” bloating makes your stomach

feel tight, full and also appear physically larger. After you eat, your stomach has to digest the food to absorb nutrients. When carbohydrates are broken down and fiber ferments, gas is produced, which expands and causes bloating. Eating too fast, too late or getting too little fiber as well as not drinking enough water can all make us bloat even more. Even healthy foods, such as beans and kale, can make matters worse. While there are ways to lessen the discomfort from bloating, such as simply going for a walk after eating, this digestive process is normal and necessary.

become the “ideal.” However, hip dips are a natural part of the anatomy and can actually be a sign that you’re in good shape with well-defined muscles! How prominent they are depends on the way your greater trochanter, the protrusion or “dip,” connects to your pelvis. The dip is created when someone has dominant outer quad and hip flexor muscles — no matter the size of their body. While there are exercises that can help to reduce the look of them, hip dips are 100% normal and should be something to show off rather than work off.



Whether you shave, pluck, wax or trim your body and facial hair is completely up to you. But it’s been a beauty routine since the rise of sleeveless dresses in the 1920s. Our hair, whether on our legs or around our lips, actually helps to regulate our body temperature. When we are cold, the muscles in our hair follicles contract to help keep us warm, creating goosebumps. Similarly, our bodies need to sweat in order to keep from overheating. Our body hair has a short, fine structure that allows sweat to come through and cool us. Meanwhile, our eyebrows, eyelashes and nostril hairs help keep dirt and sweat out of our eyes.

Understand that many images online are altered and airbrushed. Jessica Myrick, associate media studies professor, recommends being careful who you follow online. “We have control over our media diet, and if we are thoughtful about the type of content we consume, we can foster environments that are more uplifting and healthy,” Myrick says.


A big misconception surrounding cellulite is that only people who are overweight have it. Yet, cellulite is a structural issue, and it can happen no matter your BMI. Cellulite, despite being a modern source of insecurity, is incredibly common, as it affects 90% of women and 10% of men. Although it’s rarely shown in today’s advertisements or Instagram photos, cellulite was once portrayed in paintings and sculptures as a way to celebrate the female body. Then, in the early 1900s, the French scorned this feature as unattractive, and American magazines continued this belief.

While it’s important to practice self-love, it can also seem daunting. This is why it’s also healthy to practice self-acceptance. You can simply accept where your body is at and realize that your body does not define all of the amazing qualities you possess. Nevertheless, Holland says, “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself.” You can accept and appreciate your body while working to improve it at the same time. Remember, too, that our bodies were meant to look different from each other. Knowing why our bodies are the way they are will help pave the way for accepting, loving and celebrating ourselves both inside and out.

What exactly is cellulite? It is not fat. It refers to a puckered appearance of skin that occurs when fatty tissues push through fibrous bands connecting the skin to muscle. When the bands pull down the skin, a “dimpled” look is created. Most women develop it naturally after puberty. As we age, our skin loses some of its thickness, becoming looser and adding to the appearance of cellulite. Kelsey Holland, PHD student and director for the Center of Fitness and Wellness, points out, “A woman’s body is made to reproduce, so it holds onto fat longer. The essential fat that a woman needs is around 10% higher than the essential fat a man needs. Some people’s fat is distributed differently, but we need this essential fat to live.” TIPS FOR HIP DIPS

It’s easy to find videos on YouTube and TikTok helping girls get rid of their “hip dips,” which refer to the curves you might have right below the hip bones. Now that women with an “hourglass figure” — tiny waist and wide hips with no hip dips — are constantly displayed on Instagram, their body type has




BUT YOU DON’T LO O K S I C K Recently, there has been a lot of dialogue about the importance of diversity and awareness in our world today. There are many different types of diversity, obviously, just as there are many types of people on this earth. However, one type that you may not consider very often is health diversity. Many people around the world, and even here at Penn State, deal with various health issues that affect their day-to-day college experience, whether or not others notice. Many people have illnesses that cannot be seen from the outside. This creates a unique experience, one at the intersection of someone who struggles with their health but is perceived as “normal” by the rest of the world.

Invisible illness is typically very misunderstood because it cannot be seen. Due to this, people will often make ignorant or unintentionally backhanded comments towards people who struggle with these illnesses. For Mathews, the most annoying of these include “but you don’t look sick” or “you are too young to be sick”.

In order to bring more awareness to Penn State, VALLEY interviewed three young women who attend Penn State while simultaneously managing one or more invisible illnesses during college. College is a stressful enough time of transition for any student, especially when health flare-ups make it difficult to attend class or to hang out with friends.

“I want people to understand that invisible illness is more common than you would think and to believe people who say they have an invisible illness,” says Mathews. “Just because someone who seems ‘healthy’ parks in a disabled parking spot, does not mean that they are a fraud abusing that parking space, understand that some people appear healthy on the outside but have problems such as breathing, or walking far distances. Never tell someone that their feelings, symptoms or illness are not valid because that is not a choice for you to make, be supportive even if you can’t see their struggle.”


Lauren Mathews, a junior in nutrition, was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) when she was 12 years old. POTS is a condition that affects the autonomic nervous system, causing increased heart rate and low blood pressure. This combination occasionally causes her to pass out when her blood pressure gets exceptionally low. When asked how POTS affects her college career, Mathews responds that while her POTS is much better, “I still have bad days. There are some semesters in which I miss 3 to 4 days of class and I fall behind. Thankfully, I have accommodations through Penn State and I am able to catch up with extensions.” She says that even social situations can be difficult because she gets tired easily, which can make it difficult to keep up with others and sometimes leaves her feeling left out. Mathews chose nutrition as her major after she went vegan and it helped her with her energy levels. This piqued her interest in the effect food has on our health, with her career goal being to become a dietician.


“Just because I don’t look sick doesn’t mean I am not sick. Similarly, just because I’m young doesn’t mean that I’m healthy,” Mathews says. She wants to bring awareness to invisible illness, offering advice to those who do not have a similar condition:


Alexis McKinley is a psychology major who is interested in why humans think the way they do. She was diagnosed with chronic hemiplegic migraines in 2014 and lupus in 2020. Hemiplegic migraines are migraines that are accompanied by weakness on one side of the body. Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when an individual’s immune system attacks their own body. These conditions have greatly affected her college experience due to the fact that she had to medically withdraw both semesters of her freshman year, and to then take her sophomore year off. This had a negative impact on her mental health, sending her into a depression which she then sought help for. “There have been more times than I can count where I’ve had to miss out on parties and events because of my health,” McKinley says. “It definitely sucks. It prevented me from joining a sorority because I knew I couldn’t keep up with the other girls and their expectations.”

For McKinley, the most bothersome thing people say to her is “you might grow out of this.” “Unfortunately, no, I won’t,” McKinley says. “Chronic illness is usually a forever thing. I’ve learned how to cope and manage my symptoms.”

It affects her social life equally, as people don’t understand the pain that she experiences which, she explains, “makes it hard to create connections, interact with others and do daily activities.” Despite this, she describes herself as an outgoing person who loves meeting new people.

“People with chronic illnesses and invisible illnesses really need someone in their corner to support them,” McKinley says. “It’s so important to support and love the people in your life who are ill in any way possible. They’ll appreciate it more than you know … Please be an advocate for your friends with invisible illnesses! It’s one of the best and most meaningful things you can do for them.”

Klingmeyer hates when people make comments to her like “you don’t look like you’re in pain” or “you’re in pain again? What’s new?”


Sophie Klingmeyer, a junior double majoring in rehabilitation and human services and psychology, is closely connected to her majors based on her personal experiences. “I am passionate about helping people recover from mental health issues and drug addictions,” Klingmeyer says. “I have struggled with mental health issues my whole life, and I don’t want people to struggle the way I did.”

“I love when people ask me questions about my illnesses!” Klingmeyer says. “Informing people about my illnesses makes sure that there is no false information being conveyed. Also, that even though my illness may not seem like it’s affecting me, it encompasses almost everything I do.” It’s important to keep your own perspective in check before commenting on other’s experiences in any situation. When someone is opening up to you about their illness, it’s important to listen to what they have to say and to support them as best you can. Invisible illnesses are more common than you would expect, so don’t assume you know what someone is going through without getting to know them.

Klingmeyer suffers from Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), chronic pain, asthma and liver issues. MRKH is a disorder that causes her to not have a uterus. She was diagnosed with the disorder when she was just one year old, started suffering from chronic pain at 14 and was diagnosed with liver issues at 20 years old. “It makes it hard to go to class or socialize,” Klingmeyer says. “Walking around campus can trigger my pain. Also, getting homework completed can be difficult if I have a flare up.”



The most anticipated day in a college girls life: her 21st birthday. Pink and gold decorations suffocate a tiny apartment, while free alcohol, an inedible cake with a dismantled Barbie and an electric pregame ultimately prepare her for entrance to the wooden doors of the Phyrst. A 21st birthday is a day to be celebrated — in its entirety — but it also marks a critical point in the reproductive health cycle for women. Ladies, happy 21st, but your pap smear appointment is calling! WHAT IS A PAP TEST?

A Papanicolaou test, or Pap test, is a procedure to examine the health of the cervix in a woman. The cervix is a cylinder-shaped neck of fibromuscular tissue that functions as a connection between the vagina and uterus. The Pap test involves collecting a sample of cells located inside the cervix to test for any abnormalities which may link to possible cervical cancer. Before the age of 21, cervical cancer is extremely rare in women, regardless of any level of sexual activity. Women before the ages of 21 and over the ages of 65 are not encouraged to visit a gynecologist for a Pap smear. Frankly, any found abnormality will likely return to normal with no medical treatment. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a Pap smear before the age of 21 may even do more harm than good for some females. At the age of 21, the Pap smear exam is used to screen for potential cervical cancer through the examination of precancerous cells. According to Cancer Council Victoria, “Although precancerous cells cause no symptoms, high-grade abnormalities have the potential to develop into early cervical cancer over about 10 to 15 years if they are not detected and treated.” Therefore, the ACOG recommends women in their twenties to schedule a Pap test for every three years.

be both uncertain and anxiety-ridden. It is important to note that this procedure is routine and goes more smoothly if the body is relaxed. Practice regulating your breathing. Contact the gynecologist’s office if questions or fears arise. A few days before, avoid sexual intercourse, douching, vaginal medicines or using spermicidal products. These may all interfere with your results and threaten inaccuracy. Do your best to schedule your Pap test away from your menstrual cycle. Your period can also be a contaminator.

Leading up to a Pap test, you can take specific actions to ensure your appointment runs as smoothly as possible! The build up to your first Pap test can 22


As a college student, the precautions and preventive measures you take now can significantly decrease the likelihood of developing cervical cancer. Go for routine Pap exams and gynecology checkins. Ensure that you are up-to-date with the HPV vaccine. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and causes 70% of the cervical cancer cases, according to the ACOG. Medical precautions allow doctors to take action before the cancer develops.


University Health Services (UHS) at Penn State contains a women’s health division that aims to provide accessible health care in support of women’s reproductive health. Therefore, Penn State students always have access to resources at their convenience. Appointments can be scheduled through the “myUHS” portal. The division is composed of hardworking health care workers with a passion for empowering women. Physician’s Assistant, Dyani Ratchford, has worked in the women’s health field for 20 years — six at UHS. UHS offers two of the best preventive methods of cervical cancer: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and Pap test. “We have the Gardasil-9 vaccine,” Ratchford says. “That protects us from nine of the most common strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer.” Ratchford recommends that every woman receive the vaccine, even before the age of 21. The vaccine is the first medical measure that can be taken to prevent cervical cancer. UHS also offers routine Pap tests for students. Students can expect to receive their results two weeks after their exam.



“Cervical cancer is a slow growing process,” Ratchford says. “In the beginning stages it is very treatable. Unlike a lot of cancers, this is something we can do something about.”

“For ovarian cancer, for instance, we don’t have a good screening test,” Ratchford says. “But we have this excellent screening test for cervical cancer that some of us take for granted.” Use condoms. Condoms help reduce the risk of getting HPV. Condom users are less likely to be infected with HPV and, therefore, infect others. However, it is important to note that condoms do not prevent all infections. Use spermicidal gels. Spermicidal gels contain chemicals that kill sperm and prevent pregnancy. Spermicide can be found in creams, films, foams and gels. If you feel you have been exposed to any sexually transmitted infection, call your health care provider to schedule a testing appointment. Quit any tobacco consumption. Smoking cigarettes doubles your risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV is not sufficient to cause cervical cancer alone. Doctors encourage keeping an active, healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and a strong immune system to reduce the risk of further development. Happy birthday! Congratulations to making it to 21! Before you cut up that fake ID, set the reminder in your phone. Give your gynecologist a call and take control of your reproductive health.


“With just about everything I do from minor decisions to major life choices, I’ve used all my experiences to shape and push me.”


YOUR LIFE IS A MOVIE, ARE YOU THE DIRECTOR? In every person’s life, there is always “the moment.” The moment they realize they’ve been living a life where they were playing the supporting role rather than the main character in their own movie. It’s been said that in our lives we get two lives, and your second life begins when you realize you only have one. TAKING MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS

If you’re eager to jumpstart your “moment,” there’s some good and bad news. There really isn’t a rulebook to go by. For most people, the epiphany comes naturally. It could be at a moment you least expect it. If you’ve downloaded TikTok you’ve probably heard the famous “you have to start romanticizing your life” sound created by Ashley Ward. This sound began a viral chain of users attaching clips and videos of them romanticizing their lives. The extremes vary from letting your feet dangle out of a helicopter flying over NYC to waking up extra early to watch the sunrise with your best friends. The point of this trend is to remind yourself that you are the


main character in the film that is your life. You are the writer, director and main star all in one. You have the ability to decide what your movie looks like and change it as many times as you want until you get to your happy ending. So start investing in all of those small details in your movie. Remember that the major details like genre, co-stars, setting, plot, all the way to the small things like wardrobe and hairstyle are up to you. If you’re unhappy with the way your movie has been playing out, you have the ability to change it within yourself. SOUNDS GOOD … BUT HOW DO I START?

Ok, let’s slow this down a bit. Romanticizing your life is, simply put, finding the silver lining in every situation. By definition, to romanticize is to “hold romantic ideas or present details, incidents or people in a romantic way.” Emphasis on the hold. You hold the power to your perspective. Sticking with the film references, you hold the power to the plot of your movie. Still a bit confused? Here’s a visual. It’s 5 p.m. You had one of the worst days of the semester. You missed your alarm so you were late for class, forgot to study for your test, Chipotle ran

out of chicken and steak so you had to settle for carnitas and went to Urban Outfitters to buy the cute bralette you’ve been saving up for to find out they don’t have your size. When you get home, you realize your roommates locked the door and you don’t have your key. All you’re thinking is, “Could this day get any worse?” The unbiased, actual answer is yes — it could. Now it’s time to put your directing skills to use, let’s romanticize. You woke up a little later than expected, you rewarded your body with some much needed hours of sleep. Chipotle was out of your usual order, so you got to try something new. Your roommates locked you out, so you decided to take advantage of the opportunity by getting some fresh air by going for a walk. The main concept of romanticizing is remembering you are in control. All of those “big” and “small” things don’t have to be so major or minimal in your life. The best part of your day could be getting an A on that really hard test you studied hours for or catching the beautiful sunset on the way back from grocery shopping. STARTING YOUR JOURNEY

Who better to explain how to truly begin your journey of finding the beauty in the small things than the creator of the TikTok trend herself? VALLEY reached out to Ward to discuss the concept and get some tips. She referred us to her podcast on Spotify called “Living for the Small Moments.” In the first episode of this podcast, “Being the Main Character and Romanticizing Your Life,” Ward gives listeners a detailed howto on finding the beauty in the little things in life.

night. That’s something special. The little things in life are the things that are going to make you happy so when you start romanticizing them, and really thinking about them like they’re miracles changes the way you look at things. It changes the way that life feels to you, and if you don’t do that, life will continue to pass you by and all the little things that make it so beautiful will go unnoticed.” We asked Ward how her life has changed ever since she began practicing this ideology. “It changed the way I saw things. It changed the way that I was looking at life and looking at the world,” Ward says. “ It makes life feel so much better. It will make you feel so much happier because you understand [the hard work] that goes into it. I’d be lying if I said I felt like this all the time. I don’t. It’s not something that once you start seeing these things and start feeling that way that it sticks. It doesn’t. Everybody has bad days and bad moments that you feel down or feel like there’s no point. So it’s not all rainbows, but those days where you do feel the appreciation and do focus on the little things, those days make the bad days bearable.” Seeing the beauty and making the most out of each day opens your eyes up to a whole new perspective on your life. Appreciate the little things and reclaim your spot as the main character in your story. What are you waiting for?

“When I say that you need to start romanticizing your life it means that you need to start thinking of everything in your life like it is something special — because it is,” Ward says. “Like a sunset is something special. It changes colors every



Knocking on wood so we don’t jinx ourselves, making a wish when the clock hits 11:11, jumping over cracks on the sidewalk so we don’t break our mothers’ backs, waiting until we are fully outside to open an umbrella — we all have superstitions that we have grown up to swear by. Whether it be the haunted number 13, broken mirrors or black cats, what do these superstitions really mean, and why do we believe these strange warnings? So, what even is a superstition? Everyone may have their own definition of what it means to them, but they all generally follow the idea that supernatural forces influence things that are found to be uncertain in life. Superstitions can be used to help you stay calm and in control of your life. Why do we still believe these superstitions to be true and helpful in our lives? We all want to be in control of our lives and to carve out the path that will make us happy and comforted as we grow older. We make decisions, sometimes tough ones, and it is believed that these small superstitions are always around to influence the next step we take in our lives. There is comfort in being able to plan out our lives and making sure that nothing unexpected comes at us. Superstitions are everywhere, even sporting events. It could be a lucky charm an athlete needs in order to perform to the best of their ability, a specific hairstyle or color elastic for a game. It’s even the idea behind dressing for success the day of a match. Professional tennis player Rafael Nadal swears by his prematch rituals, which he says help him to, “find focus, flow and perform well.” He has to place his water bottles in a specific manner and must turn his shower knob to the coldest possible setting. NBA player Michael Jordan also has some pre-game rituals, including concealing his North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform, as a lucky piece for his practices and games. Shih-In Ma, a spiritual leader who grew up in State College, touched on the idea of superstitions and the role they play in our lives. “A lot can be labeled as superstitious because it’s outside of my belief system,” Ma says. She brings up the example of when Christopher Columbus sailed in 1492, saying, “most of the Native Americans didn’t even see the ships because it was not in their world view.” Ma discussed the role that fear plays when it comes to 26

believing in superstitions. “Fear is just an underlying current of the human condition,” and in the Buddhist tradition, “fear is in direct proportion to how separate we feel,” Ma says. A lot of the superstitions we follow come from our ancestors directly influencing us to follow in their traditions. Fear is always one step ahead of us, and although we may try, we can’t control everything. While a lot of these superstitions have remained a part of our lives, we have to question whether they are helping in guiding our lives or controlling how our life plays out. While we may think that these beliefs are harmless, they could potentially have negative impacts. By making a habit out of solely following superstitions, it can deter us from making mistakes and learning from them. When we go against these ideas, the fear of whether or not these superstitions can actually have an impact on our lives can cause anxiety. The unknown is scary, and no one wants to leave behind the comfortable. It is important to realize that you will never know what life can be like if you leave behind the subconscious fear of not following superstitions. So step on that crack, open an umbrella indoors, make a wish at 11:12 and see what happens. Expand the circle that you’re comfortable in and see where those new decisions take you.

INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE Paychecks can be an exciting thing to receive as a potentially broke and busy college student. While a $250 paycheck could buy things you have been eyeing the past two weeks, the smart thing to do is only pocket 80% of it. You may think that throwing the other 20% into a savings account is best, but investing is where you can make your money work for you. Investing is a scary word. It can seem impossible or risky to get into the world of investing. Starting out is not going to involve a massive amount of cash or complicated trading — it can be something simple for a hustling college student. WHAT EXACTLY IS INVESTING?


The old saying goes, “buy low, and sell high.” This is an important thing to keep in mind when it comes to buying and selling stocks. Buying low and selling high is called selling at a “capital gain,” doing the opposite would be referred to as a “capital loss.” Dr. Simin gave an example of a time he invested in a TEVO stock, thinking they were going to do well. The stock ended up tanking, and he saw that he needed to get out, so he sold the share for a capital loss. The thing you should know about capital gains is that you will be paying taxes on your earnings, with losses, you do not have to file them on taxes.

Associate Finance Professor in the Smeal College of Business Dr. Simin explains that you are essentially an owner of the company. When you buy shares, you are investing your money into a business so that they can use it to grow. Some companies even give out dividends, which are small payments given by companies that you own stock in. Essentially, it is a piece of their profit.

When selling, Whitehead recommends that you do not sell stocks unless the “story changes completely,” meaning that the stock is not looking to do well in the future. He says that stocks work the best between your ages of 20 to 50, so try not to sell them too quickly.



It can be challenging to figure out where to buy from and what to buy on to start investing. Dr. Simin suggested Robinhood, an investing app that makes it easy to buy and share stocks and ETFs. ETFs are exchange-traded funds and are a collection of stocks that buy and sell throughout the day. There is no investment cost, and all you have to do is put in as much money as you feel comfortable with.

By purchasing shares in companies, you are doing two simple things: investing into a company to allow them to grow, and in return, that will allow your money to grow. Saving money is important for emergencies in life that might require some petty cash, but investing allows for your hard-earned money to work for you. By small contributions and patience, you can find real growth through investing. Time is on your side as a college student, and the more time you let your money grow, the more you will see later on.

Guy Whitehead, a partner at Craig Hallum Capital, a trading, research and investment banking firm, recommends that you invest on a regular basis and invest consistently. As someone who has been investing and trading for 22 years, he says, “A young persons’ biggest asset is the time they have for the portfolio to grow.” The idea is to invest consistently and small in companies that you believe the world can’t live without. When it comes to platforms, you can use an app like Robinhood or trading platforms like Schwab or Fidelity to open an account. With a trading platform, you can pay a small fee for them to trade. HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO INVEST IN?

Dr. Simin recommends investing in companies that you personally believe in and trust in. Obviously, there are companies that do pretty well overall, but if you have an interest in a certain market, buy shares in that market with companies that you see growth in. It is all about doing your research on companies and investing in those who you think will do well. Whitehead used the example of Tesla. People who invested into the electric car business thought that they could see a future in that field. So, once Tesla took off, their stocks did very well. Investing in companies you believe strongly in is key, but also remember that you should not put all your eggs in one basket. Creating a strong and diverse investment portfolio is best to limit the risk of placing all your money into one company.

Another benefit to investing is that you can put money in now to take out when you retire. Saving a portion of your paycheck and putting it into a separate savings account for your retirement is a good idea since the risk is low. Since it’s low risk, you will have that money available when you retire. Retirement was once secured for you through Social Security, but that seems to no longer be the case. According to CNBC, the trust fund for Social Security is projected to run out by 2034. This depletion means that Social Security will have paid out 75% of their benefits. Although the program can face reforms and fixes — for your financial safety — it’s best to not rely solely on it. As a beginner, investing seems scary. But with small and continuous contributions, investing can help grow your money without much effort on your part. To some college students, finances can be challenging and hard to manage. Finding the balance between spending, budgeting, saving and investing can be a great starting point when it comes to money. As you move along in life and later get a career, you can get involved with more complex financing, like a financial planner, accountant or even an investor. But for right now, simple investments are just as beneficial to you as investing in your education or health. After all, who doesn’t mind a little more moolah.



THE SELF-CARE SPELLBOOK place.” There are specific protocols to follow when smudging that are a sign of respect to Native American culture.

Witches have been portrayed a number of ways throughout history. From the evil, pointy hat donning woman flying on a broomstick, to the trio of sisters in “Charmed,” we have been fascinated with these women and their powers since forever. Unfortunately, fascination can also sometimes mean fear. Fear of witches was definitely the case with the witch hunts popping up over Europe in the mid-15th century during the infamous Salem witch trials. In some places around the world, women are still in danger of being persecuted for practicing witchcraft. When you really dig deep to the bottom of the cauldron, however, the basis of witchcraft is about owning your power and finding ways to reconnect with yourself. It doesn’t hurt that men are a little scared of it, too. Whether we were afraid of them, jealous of them or completely enamored by them, our collective obsession with witches grew as a result of the countless books, movies and television series featuring them. Shows like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Charmed”— not to mention the Disney classics “Twitches” and “Halloweentown” — had every girl born in the 90s patiently waiting to find out they had magical powers of their own. Since we are all still waiting on those powers to come in, it is no surprise that products like tarot cards, healing crystals and little spellbooks appeal to us. It also is no shock that brands have taken that fascination and turned it into a lucrative business move. Clothing stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie have made it trendy to practice witchcraft or engage in healing rituals with crystals or sage. Back in 2018, Sephora planned to sell a “Starter Witch Kit” with perfume brand Pinrose. It was pulled before it could even hit the shelves due to the amount of outrage the brand received on social media from actual practicing witches when they announced its arrival. The kit was going to cost $42 and it consisted of a deck of tarot cards, a rose quartz crystal, white sage and Pinrose fragrances. Where the beauty brands missed the mark — and where Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie have gotten in trouble as well — is that they didn’t consider the cultural significance of the items included and attempted to sell a product solely based on its aesthetic. Bundles of sage, sometimes called “smudge sticks,” have been everywhere recently, from alternative boutiques to your local Urban Outfitters. While sage has been heavily revered for “cleansing your space” or clearing out “bad vibes,” the packaging often forgets to inform the customer where the sage-burning ritual comes from. Indigenous Corporate Training, Inc., a Canadian organization that helps people work effectively with Indigenous Peoples, defines smudging as, “traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or

“To understand the protocol means you have to learn something about aboriginal people,” Cat Criger, an aboriginal elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto in an article for Awaken.com, says. “In a sense the medicines are working in a kind way, saying ‘learn about me and we can respect each other and we can walk together.’” It is also important to note that it was illegal for native people to practice their own spiritual and religious beliefs in the United States until the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act of 1978. Many Native American communities are still working to have smudging as a religious and spiritual practice be allowed in hospitals and schools — so the practice is not one to be taken lightly. The line between appreciation and appropriation can get blurry when it comes to witchcraft and the traditions and rituals associated with it. For this reason, stores that sell witchy products or deliver tarot card readings have also been working to increase education around the topic of witchcraft. You can now find witches on every social media platform that have been working to bring magic to our everyday lives and normalize the fact that every woman has a little bit of witch in them. If crystals and candles get you in the right space to perform rituals that better your life, then that is great. But, all you really need to practice witchcraft is yourself. Kelly Knight, author and founder of her own store called Modern Mystic Shop in Atlanta, does tarot card readings in addition to selling metaphysical goods. Recently she was featured on the podcast “Girls Gotta Eat” where she talked about the different rituals that can help you achieve what you want most. Knight says the magic comes from feeling in your body what it feels like to achieve your deepest desires. “Rituals help you create a target for your desires,” Knight says. “It’s not necessarily a shortcut; most of the time you have to sift through the opposite of those feelings. That’s what actually transforms you and transforms your beliefs.” In reality, witchcraft’s rebranding is considered self-care because there are so many ways of embracing it and using it to improve upon yourself and the energy you are bringing into your life. Whether it is through beauty products, clothing or casting spells, all that matters is that you are fully engaging in self-improvement. Over the years, the image of the witch has changed from the evil, wartnosed woman to the independent and clever women who graced the movie and television screens in the 1990s. Today, social media has aided in creating the visual of the modern witch: an everyday woman who owns her power in today’s society and channels that into positive and healing energy.


INDEPENDENT IS THE NEW SEXY “Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dream“Independent women are assertive, are self-assured and girl” is a book about teaching women how to have the play by their own rules,”Yi says. “They don’t need anybody utmost self-confidence in a relationship. In this book, else but themselves to validate who they are. So, when it written in 2002, author Sherry Argov navigates ways comes to relationships, they’re low maintenance as partthat women can learn to love themselves without the ners because they’re busy running their own lives. They help of a significant other so they can thrive when they know when and what to give without being overbearing enter the dating world. 18 years later, this book reand have enough confidence to thrive on their own.” mains relevant in many ways, as we see this common theme in many aspects of our current pop culture. Women in the media often play the role of being something that no one can have, which, in so many ways, is Cardi B, Lizzo, Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus — the perfect thing to do. Everyone wants what they can’t what do all these artists have in common? They’re have, kind of like how for the longest time in Gossip Girl, strong women who focus their careers on female em- Chuck Bass couldn’t have Blair Waldorf. Additionally, who powerment, confident in themselves with or without a could forget when Justin Bieber was in love with Ariana significant other. Grande but could never get her to agree to go out with him? All the music they write is about being independent, which is what makes them so appealing. The concluHere’s the million-dollar question: do men really love sion? This is why we consider them the most signifbitches? The answer is yes. They love the girl that speaks icant female role models of our generation — they up for what she wants, is self-assured, and doesn’t need attract people just by being attracted to themselves. anyone but herself. No matter who you are or who you like, you should always adopt this way of thinking. In the Think about the music we listen to and some of the moment, it always seems like the person we’re with is songs you’ve heard that talk about women. What the greatest thing to ever happen to us, but in reality, the seems to be the biggest trend? These songs talk about power is all in our hands. women being “baddies,” bosses, strong and all of these songs have these men wanting the women who are confident and independent on their own. A great example of this is “Miss Independent” by Ne-Yo. If you listen to the lyrics, you will find that it solidifies all the points that the book makes. Even as we explore the world of fiction, in characters such as Blair Waldorf, Elle Woods, Olivia Pope and so many more, these women are not so fictionalized in the sense that we all have the power and ability to be just like them. We all can be assertive and confident enough in ourselves that will draw in the attention of anyone we so desire, only by doing the bare minimum: loving ourselves before we love anyone else. In an article for PopSugar, Nicole Yi writes just how important independence is for a partner.


WORKING ON YOUR MIND... ONLINE? What comes to mind when you think of Instagram? Food recipes and sports reels? Memes? Sugar Bear Hair vitamin ads? How about a safe space to work on yourself?

“We do not control the quality of the Counselor Services and we do not determine whether any Counselor is qualified to provide any specific service as well as whether a Counselor is categorized correctly or matched correctly to you.”

Additionally, how might we know that we need extra help, such as in-person individual or group therapy? “A good indicator that we may need help is if we struggle in this process and/or avoid it,” Eletto says. Tory Eletto, licensed marriage and family therapist “If we have interest in learning about ourselves, if (LMFT), turns Instagram into a calm haven for So, BetterHelp, and potentially services alike, do not we are repeating unhealthy patterns, struggling self-growth. She is @nytherapist with nearly 80,000 fully ensure that their counselors are trained, qualified with our emotions or just want someone to talk to Instagram followers, providing information and or even licensed. and have a space, it is a great time to find help.” advice on self-love, self-growth, parenting, dating, As a college graduate, mother, wife and person relationships and more. Through her posts of insight- The American Psychological Association (APA) who has cultivated her own mentally and emotionful quotes about human behaviors and emotions concludes, “For now, with the current research and ally healing journey for years, Eletto has a message paired with a detailed, explanatory caption, her with the current technology, mobile apps and text for college students. compassion, intelligence and excellence as a LMFT messaging are best used as complementary to in-peris clear. son psychotherapy.” “Remind yourself that a lot of what you are going through, others are as well,” Eletto says. “We “I hope for my Instagram page to serve as a space While the conclusion may feel grim to those who often think we are the only ones struggling with to pause, reflect and take in information that adds seeked out telepsychology services as a comprehenrelationships, self esteem, friendships, when really depth to our growth journey,” Eletto says. “My hope sive, professional mental health resource, the APA this is a normal, but challenging phase in life. This is that it encourages people to embrace therapy to still highlights the bright underbelly of the situation. is often a time we begin to build a relationship with further explore any information that feels reverent An Instagram page like @nytherapist, although not ourselves, so pay attention to what that relationship to them.” a replacement to in-person therapy, proves to be a looks like, and prioritize it as much as any other.” wonderful supplement in your journey of self-growth Going to therapy is absolutely nothing to be Online therapy, or telepsychology, has exploded in and healing. The more competent resources and ashamed of; in fact, quite the opposite. Those who popularity in recent years.You may have heard of opportunities for learning about and flourishing in our have been to therapy are tough enough to face services like Talkspace or BetterHelp. Betterhelp mental health, the better. their struggles, modest enough to admit they need has even had popular YouTubers, like Shane Dawson help, and resilient enough to work on themselves and Heath Hussar, advertising their platform. These “I believe that our field is trying to give options to session in and session out. Therapy can work as a services bring therapy to you through text messagmake therapy more accessible,” Eletto says. “The thera- life-changing tool for everyone, not just those who ing, live chats, phone calls and video conferencing. peutic connection is the most vital part of therapy, and struggle with mental illness. Whether it is utilizing While telepsychology platforms can sound like an we just have to make sure that technology isn’t hinder- the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) enticing and accessible option, further research and ing that connection. I do virtual sessions, and I will say, at Penn State, seeking therapy at a private medical advice from experts may paint a different picture. for most clients it seems to be just as effective as in practice or calling a crisis hotline, please reach out BetterHelp states that their counseling is not person. But not every therapist feels this way, or every if you need help. suitable to treat people with a severe mental illness client, so trust yourself if it is not working for you.” PENN STATE COUNSELING AND (such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia) or those It can be challenging to even know where to start PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES: who have thoughts of hurting themselves or others. when wondering how to take care of ourselves 814-863-0395 BetterHelp providers also cannot make any official mentally. diagnosis, nor can they prescribe medication. 24/7 PENN STATE CRISIS LINE: “A basic plan is to carve out time to get to know 1-877-229-6400 Furthermore, BetterHelp’s FAQ section of their ourselves without our phones distracting us,” Eletto website ensures that their counselors are licensed, says. “Sometimes it can feel intimidating to purposetrained, experienced and accredited psychologists, fully choose time to be alone, but like any relationship, NATIONAL SUICIDE marriage and family therapists, clinical social workwe have to give it our presence to thrive. Notice how PREVENTION HOTLINE: 800-273-8255 ers or licensed professional counselors with at least you feel, write and journal, spend time in nature, 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. But, meditate.” TORY ELETTO’S WEBSITE: their terms and conditions make these reassurances www.emotionpsychotherapy.com questionable: 31


“When life gives you beets, make borscht: how growing up in an immigrant family influenced my life tremendously.”







You have heard the word a million times: unprecedented. The word seems to have lost its meaning and weight as we come to the end of 2020 and into “the new normal.” Yet these days right now are the ones that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest racial justice movement in U.S. history, California wildfires, and countless other unremarkable events — 2020 has changed everything. As our lives have been torn apart and slowly stitched back together, we have the power and opportunity to build a new future. This is the change that Raldgine Beauvais is calling for.

Growing up with rigid beauty standards, it was difficult for her to feel confident when she didn’t fit the image of a skinny, white, blonde girl. With that feeling like the epitome of beauty at the time, the emphasis that she is not that girl was inescapable. “Going to school and seeing that, going to social media and seeing that and seeing that in my town — it gets to you. You think that’s the beauty standard and I don’t look like that. That played a big role in my self-esteem.” It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that her outlook on life began to change. She took a current events class that highlighted the imperfections in the world around us.

where they grew up, and she gained a broader perspective on what it’s like to be Black in the U.S. “Obviously kids would say the N-word and say things about Black people, but as for someone just coming up to me and being disrespectful, I’ve never really felt that,” she says. “I’ve talked to people who’ve come from the inner city and everything, so that really opened my eyes.”

Having more diverse friends led to a range of new experiences and conversations. This gave Raldgine a place to openly discuss problems of racial inequality with people who also wanted to make a change. This desire for change was put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine.

“We talked about racism, sexism, homophobia, terrorism and ISIS — just having my eyes opened to the world CATALYST FOR CHANGE Raldgine grew up in a small town as one of the drastically changed my views,” she says. “That’s when few Black students in her school. Throughout I started becoming more vocal about racial injustice. As Raldgine left school for spring break, she never middle school and high school, this isolation That’s when I started forming my own opinions and would’ve expected to remain home for the rest of the took its toll on her. While she had her two Black filling my social media feed with things going on in the year. With the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spreading friends, being in a predominantly white school world. I just really want to help people, so I want to be and sending everyone to quarantine, Raldgine embarked led many to brush her and her friends off whenev- updated on what’s happening.” on a whole new journey. er they’d discuss “Black problems.” Filled with compassion and empathy, Raldgine realized “Coming back home from college was a very different She specifically recounted a time when students her calling in life is to serve others and help those in experience, especially during this time of transformation from her high school created a racist Twitter need. She decided that she would study behavioral scithat I was having,” she says. “I was just thinking about account that pretended to sell slaves. The account ence in college and eventually open up her own clinic. how I was in high school and how I am now, and it was was ridden with racial slurs and followed the such a big change.” Black students from her school. When the A FRESH START students who created the account were exposed After growing so much in college and having a newand reported to the school, they received a stern In order to make her dreams a reality, Raldgine came to found self-confidence, she knew she needed to keep talking-to — nothing else. Penn State to study biobehavioral health. As soon as she going. After feeling tied down to her old ways, she knew stepped foot on campus, she noticed a striking difference she needed to do the one thing she said she would never “That’s when I realized that it sucks being alone from her hometown. do: the big chop. After years of growing her hair long, and being by yourself while going through that perming it and straightening it, she knew this was somephase where kids will just say the N-word because “Coming to Penn State, it was honestly a culture shock for thing she needed to do for herself. they think it’s funny, but you just can’t do anyme,” she says. “Even though Penn State’s still a PWI [prething about it,” she says. dominantly white institution], there were definitely still “I wanted a change and wanted to put a new foot forward, more Black people than basically I’ve seen in my life or so I cut my hair really short,” she says. “I feel like that Raldgine felt this isolation beginning to affect her at least in my town … Most of my friends were people was a cultural reset for me. Cutting my hair was just me mental health. of color my freshman year which was really cool. That taking my power back into my hands. In that moment was my first experience being surrounded by people that was when I really, really started advocating for racial jus“During high school, I just had really low self-eslooked like me. That’s when my self-confidence really tice and honestly everything else going on in the world teem,” she says. “I just didn’t really see myself as went through the roof.” — homophobia, sexism, all that stuff. It made me want to beautiful or my skin color as beautiful. I wanted live in a place where everyone is accepted and no one is to fit in so badly with everybody else, and it just Having supportive Black friends meant everything to above each other.” got worse and worse.” her. Even if they weren’t from the same area, they shared their Black experiences. She’d listen to their stories of After letting go of her old self, she knew that there was GROWING PAINS





more change that needed to be done. As cracks in our racial justice system began deepening, it pushed Raldgine further. She began attending protests, sparking important conversations, forming new relationships and filling her social media with Black beauty. With pressures from social media as one of the biggest influences to harm her self-confidence growing up, she turned something once so toxic into a space for inspiration. She now fills her feed with Black women and accounts that celebrate dark skin. Now when she sees posts about beauty, outfits or trends, she sees them on Black women. Shifting what content she consumes has lifted her up and inspires her to lift up others. “Just seeing where I was as a girl who didn’t like her skin tone, didn’t like her hair, didn’t really understand Black culture or even how it is growing up Black with Black friends and having that, and just being so sad about it and not wanting to be myself,” she says. “All of this compared to now. I am embracing every part of me and standing up for people.” Working on herself and building her confidence empowered her to see that she could bring that same positive change to those around her. Her transformation was the defining moment for seeing that the world could change too. “When I first started on this journey, I was still kind of selfish and thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that’s happening, but I’m young and don’t need to focus on that,’” she says. “And now it’s just like no, this is affecting me. I’m the next generation.” REBUILDING

After everything that has happened in 2020 so far, it’s clear that change needs to happen. Now is the time to rebuild a new foundation for the future, and it can all start with a conversation. These conversations are about coming together, listening and growing. Radgine says the best kind of conversations we need right now are more people sharing their stories. “Put them in your shoes,” she says. “Imagine if you were me. Having that conversation and being real about what you’ve experienced makes a difference … Just keep it real and tell your story because that’s the most powerful thing that you have.” Opening up a conversation about what needs to change is the only way to move out of the chaos and into a brighter future. It’s about coming together at this unique point in time and making

decisions that are much bigger than us. “No matter who you are or what you look like, or even if you fit all of the Euro-centric beauty standards, you can still make a change,” she says. “Even if you’re not Black or a person of color, you still have so much power to make a change. With that, for them [white women] to know that they’re beautiful too. Just because I talk about Black girls compared to white girls or skinny girls, everyone is so beautiful, and I just want everyone to realize that. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being put down because another race is being uplifted — I want In addition to conversations, Raldgine says that educating everyone to be uplifted at the same time. However, we ourselves is incredibly important. Be curious, and need to realize that there are girls who are being put challenge what you think you know. Raldgine gives the down, and we need to end that. Every shade is beautiful example of history classes in school. We are taught just and every race needs to uplift each other; even the men a sliver of history that has led to incredible change. Go in that race have to uplift their girls as well.” beyond just U.S. or European history — there are so many more stories to be heard than what we are taught. DON’T LOSE YOURSELF IN THE FIGHT It’s never too late or too early to start learning from our past. While uplifting and advocating for others, Raldgine emphasises to not forget to take care of yourself. Especially “Learn from 2020 and ask, ‘What did we do where with issues like racial injustice, the effects of that convereverything went wrong?’ Learn from this so this doesn’t sation run much deeper than politics or the media. happen again,” she says. “Waking up and seeing another Black person getting THE NEW STANDARD killed for nothing, seeing it on the news, seeing people on social media talk about it — it’s traumatizing. BeSince Raldgine’s self-transformation towards self-accause then you think, ‘That could be my dad, that could ceptance and confidence, she sees the need for change be me.’ ... When we say our lives matter, why do people within the fashion industry and media. hate that? It plays on my mental health.” “I want to see more alliance, not division — more bonds being created between people,” she says. “I want more conversations to be happening — more people talking about what’s going on ... A conversation is starting. I want our generation to be more powerful in our beliefs because I feel like us millennials and Gen Z, we are changing the world. We’re not going to take this. I want more of that.”

She says it’s not enough for a fashion company to “be It’s important to look after your own mental health diverse” — there need to be more conversations that dis- and well-being during this time. Raldgine explains that, cuss the importance of inclusion. Raldgine believes that often, mental health can be a taboo topic. once there has been significant changes within the media and fashion industry, other areas will follow suit. “I don’t want to play on stigmas or stereotypes, but it’s true that in the Black community, especially me having For example, she explains that in many workplaces, parents from Haiti, talking about mental health is not a natural hair for a Black woman is not accepted. Despite thing,” she says. “Mental health just wasn’t talked about.” being a part of Black culture, curls and braids are often deemed unprofessional. By having natural hair more Raldgine says that having mental health be part of this represented in the media, Raldgine hopes it’ll become conversation is an important aspect when it comes to normalized in the workplace. fighting for change. “If a big fashion industry puts up a poster of a Black woman with her natural hair, then more individuals would recognize that natural hair is professional’,” she says. Raldgine says inclusivity goes beyond including people of color and wants to see people with disabilities be represented. Having models who need wheelchairs or with missing limbs is important too so people with disabilities can see someone relatable. Fashion and feeling beautiful is for everyone.

“I realized that even if I was going to these protests and speaking up about this, I still wasn’t good within myself, so I couldn’t pour it into other people,” she says. “It has just been important to work on myself so that I can help others.” She wants to raise awareness of the different resources that are out there. At Penn State, one of the most wellknown resources include Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Raldgine believes that having people talk more about their experiences at CAPS could help break some of the stigma surrounding getting help.

Building off of this idea, she explains the importance of women uplifting each other. She says that coming together is more important now than ever and that anyone can “I want all these people to know to not be afraid to get make a difference. help during these times. We need it. We need someone 35

to talk to. Having that conversation about the resources you can go to is everything.” WHOEVER YOU ARE, WHEREVER YOU ARE

Raldgine emphasises to advocate for whatever change you want to see and the things that are important to you. “Keep fighting for change,” she says. “Be confident in who you are, because who you are, every personality trait, every quality, you can use it to be a change and advocate for stuff. I want people to be inspired to just talk about stuff that’s going on. I just want a conversation to be started.” Raldgine believes that change can always happen, even if it may seem impossible. It’s easy to feel so small, especially when dealing with issues that span the country or world, but you can start making a difference wherever you are. She explains that if you’re feeling stuck, there’s no need to worry. “No matter who you are, you can make a change,” she says. “Where you’re placed right now is for a reason. Growing up I was like, OK — me, a dark-skinned Black girl — why am I in a white town? Why did my parents choose this town to raise me? After that, why did I choose a PWI? Why didn’t I go to a HBCU [historically black college or university]? But, I realized I needed that experience to grow and educate others. Raldgine’s past experiences have all led up to this moment of change. Through a challenging high school experience, quarantine, recent racial injustices and many other hurdles, Raldgine has used all of these moments to push her vision further. Raldgine is paving her way to make a difference. In a time filled with so much uncertainty, she refuses to let her dreams be silenced. “I want Penn State to know that they need to listen to their students, especially the ones of the color. We have stories to tell, and things to change. When we talk, Penn State needs to not only listen but bring change by working with us. A simple email is not “change.” We want people to listen and act. We want to be heard.” This new wave is washing over us all. Be a part of the change.





In a time of great uncertainty, many are looking for motivation. To get through the pandemic, Penn State students have sought out inspiration from all over. But what advice do our very own professors have for us? They may be caught up in the pandemic as well, but many are eager to share inspiration and advice for their students. V:

What words do you live by?

JOHN AFFLECK, Professor of Journalism in

the Bellisario College of Communications: Be here now. John Lennon was asked, “What’s the message of rock ‘n’ roll?” and that was his answer. Don’t live in the past with your memories and regrets or in the future with your fantasies and fears. Just be present to the people around you, be engaged in whatever you’re doing and you won’t need to have regrets and your future will be better. JESSICA MENOLD, Assistant Professor of

Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering: Never stop exploring. BRANDON SCHWARTZ, Assistant Research Professor in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: From the movie “Reservoir Dogs,” “So you had a few bad months.You do what everybody else does. I don’t care if it’s J.P. Morgan or Irving the tailor.You ride it out.” CAREN BLOOM-STEIDLE, Associate Teaching Professor of Criminology and Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts: Be kind and think positively. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. The more positive you are, the more you will see the positive in others and things around you. JOHN GERSHENSON, Director of

Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepre38

neurship (HESE) in the College of Engineering: Go, do, change. There is ample opportunity to have an impact on the world around you at any level if you leave your comfort zone and go to the problem. Do the hard work and focus on the change you want to create. This semester this will be more true than ever before. NOEL HABASHY, Assistant Teaching Professor of International Agriculture in the College of Agricultural Sciences: In regards to the current global pandemic, I try to be smart, not scared and not stupid. There’s so much we can’t control, but we can be smart about what we can do and not live in fear. JERRY HARRINGTON, Professor of

Meteorology in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: When it works best, education provides you a framework for seeing the world and for living a good life. I think Thoreau captured this best: “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” V: What have you learned from teaching online last semester, and what do you plan to do to set yourself up for success this semester?

vironments was really critical for me. I’ve tried to be patient with students and cultivate a welcoming and inclusive online classroom to support them in their education and their lives in general during this time. BS: Teaching online makes it harder to promote class interaction and measure the class’s engagement while you’re lecturing. I’m embedding a lot more illustrative videos, gifs and images into my slide decks this semester because I think it will help keep everyone interested. CBS: I learned that students, and I, need the per-

sonal connection that teaching and learning in person provides. It takes more work, but we need to stay connected. I’m a big proponent of learning through discussion — listening to and sharing with others who think differently than we do. I learned that you need to focus on continuous engagement online. Even the best of students have difficulty focusing in this situation. I will add significantly more engagement opportunities like questions, pauses and polls.


There are lots of opportunities that come from being on Zoom that aren’t possible in a traditional classroom. I was able to have visitors to class from Washington, D.C. and Boston — something that would have been less seamless in person. NH:

JA: Segmenting your life is key. Pay attention to all the areas of life that help you succeed. Set aside time to rest and eat well.You can’t live off junk food and coffee. Find something you like to do and set aside time to do it. Stay motivated to get your work done and set a time for it.


I learned that I don’t like Zoom very much. Teaching and learning online has its challenges, but I think students can learn as much remotely as they can in person. It just requires diligence, hard work and flexibility on the part of the instructor and the students.

JM: I learned the importance of empathy and


patience. Empathy for my students and the struggles they were facing transitioning to online learning en-

JA: The difference between an average runner and a

Any other advice for PSU students this semester?


really, really good runner is that they make everything they’re doing the most important part of their workout. When you’re stretching, that’s the most important thing. If you’re doing sprints, or running long, that’s the most important thing you’re doing. Be present to what you’re doing and it goes a lot quicker and it’s more enjoyable. The pandemic has been a really terrible event for the world, but we’re going to get through it. It’ll be better if we can all just stay engaged and stick together the way Penn Staters do. JM: Well, the obvious advice is wear a mask, but

the meaning behind this is sometimes lost. Don’t wear a mask for yourself, wear a mask for others. As a former Penn State student, the phrase “We Are!” means a lot to me. It means that we have empathy for our fellow classmates, our community and for the broader global population. We need to remember that empathy is the glue that holds a community together. So wear a mask, be patient with others, be kind to your professors (especially those that are not tech savvy) and care about the world you’ll enter when you leave Happy Valley. No one is happy with how things have to be this semester, and everyone should try to make the


best of it. Find ways to see the good in every interaction, every day. “We Are” all in this together.

still there or sharing online helps the learning experience immensely.

CBS: Stay as positive as you can. Stress weakens your immune system. I know it’s frustrating that you are missing out on normal college experiences, but please follow the recommendations because doing so is our best chance of keeping everyone as safe as possible.

JH: Given the uncertainty, I’d advise people to be

This is in so many ways a historic semester. I guarantee you this. If you do not get out of your comfort zone and learn about what is going on around you and get involved and be part of the change in the world, you will regret this moment in years to come. Think how would you look at someone who sat on their hands at college during the late 60s and early 70s? This world is yours to create — right here and right now.


flexible, understanding and respectful of each other. I do think it is quite important for all of us to find other activities to help balance our lives. Many things I love in life are no longer possible, so I’ve had to seek out other new activities to help balance my life. I’d strongly advise using this as an opportunity to discover something new. It is worth it because you just may discover a new passion, and that may help you remain as positive as possible. One of my local friends told me the other day that he’d like to see the same level of Penn State spirit happen right now that occurs during football games and other events. It is now — in a time of real uncertainty and difficulty — that that level of spirit is needed. Why save it only for the good times?

NH: While no one expected this situation, this is a great opportunity to practice being flexible so we’re better equipped when the next challenge comes along. Also, keep in mind that your professors really are trying to make this a meaningful experience. Throw them a bone. Even little things like keeping your camera on so they know you’re


ception of what these multicultural Greek chapters have to offer. “A big thing I’ve noticed, especially if I wear my letters out or to class is that people still have that stigma about what mainstream fraternities and sororities are and what they entail,” Brian Paspuel, We all know Greek life on campus is a big thing for most stupresident of the Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Incordents to take part in. Most people associate Greek life as your porated says. “It’s different for us, we are more than just that. We stereotypical Brad and Chad college image — which is often have these goals, we have to meet every single day, and we need affiliated with the Interfraternity Council for men-only frater- to be that voice and that leader for the community.” nities and the Panhellenic Council for female-only sororities.




Many universities nationwide offer students the chance to join these councils which hold a variety of fraternity and sorority chapters. While we may only see this stereotypical lifestyle in movies and on TV, there are many more councils offered to college students at numerous campuses, and Penn State is one of them. These councils include the National Pan-Hellenic Council as well as the Multicultural Greek Council.


Culture. Culture. Culture. Penn State being a predominantly white institution (PWI) often lacks what many would call “flavor.” If you’re on TikTok, you might’ve heard the viral audio “Where’s the flavor?” Well, these MGC chapters are bringing that to campus.

“It was a culture shock coming from a diverse area in New York The Multicultural Greek Council, commonly referred to as to Penn State. It was relieving to see that there are organizations the MGC, is “the governing body for culturally-based fraterand others that felt the exact same way I felt coming in,” Jahnia nity and sorority chapters,” according to Penn State Student Marimon, recruitment and retention chair for Lambda Theta Affairs. Alpha Latin Sorority Incorporated says. “This not only gives you a safe haven but also gives you a platform … It gives you a voice “Having an MGC on campus brings about cultural diversity to because it is easy to get lost at a PWI.” the campus, and this, in my opinion, enriches the educational experience,” Sriram Iyengar, treasurer and social chair of For some students, conformity and a lack of identity are strugDelta Sigma Iota, says. “I honestly think that MGC is critical gles one may face, especially at an institution where the student to making Greek life more relatable and approachable to a lot body may seem and feel very homogenous. of students, especially those coming from minority groups and also international students.” “Coming from a predominantly caucasian town and high school, Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc. and MGC, to a greater degree, The MGC currently offers four sororities and four fraternities helped me reconnect with my culture and more,” Akash Samad, for various cultural groups. These fraternities and sororities vice president of Pi Delta Psi Fraternity Inc. says. “I found people offer a home to the Latinx, Asian and South Asian students and who liked similar things and related to the “lostness” I felt coming their communities. to Penn State. It’s safe to say that feeling is far gone, and I have fully embraced my cultural identity.” CHALLENGES

For many students, finding their place on campus can be daunting. With the help of clubs and organizations, many are able to connect with those similar to themselves — and that’s exactly what the MGC provides. “MGC provided a home at Penn State where I can immerse myself in my culture and not be afraid to express myself anyway I could,” President of the MGC, Eduardo Melendez says. “I guarantee that many of MGCs members have had similar experiences or agree with the fact that MGC is a home away from home.” With small numbers, members within chapters are able to form close-knit groups emphasizing one of the main key components of Greek life: sisterhood and brotherhood. However, with small numbers come big responsibilities — things your typical Greek life wouldn’t necessarily deal with. Silvia Barboza, vice president and secretary of the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, explained that oftentimes, members within each Greek council share a variety of executive roles to help one another and take on tasks to keep each thriving. Many students are unaware of the opportunity to join cultural clubs. With a lack of recognition, these chapters face miscon-

While members of these chapters see the benefit their involvement has within their fraternity or sorority, the opportunity to continue growing on campus has also increased. Opening the door, student involvement within the MGC and their affiliated chapters has led to other opportunities on campus including executive roles in the Latino Caucus and other cultural organizations. Following a member’s time on campus, these Greek chapters continue to provide for their members, whether it’s networking or retaining the sisterhood or brotherhood aspect. While Greek life might not be for all, it’s important to recognize how beneficial it can be to others and how inclusive it can be regardless of the council or chapter you wish to join. “My message to Penn State students is to never stop learning and to keep an open mind,” Melendez says. “These multicultural organizations may give someone a perspective that they never thought about. This allows that individual to be more appreciative and compassionate towards someone. If students are looking for organizations that align with their values, then I would encourage them to research these clubs at Penn State. Getting involved in college surely makes the college experience worthwhile, and if you join the right club, you will have opportunities given to you and perhaps even make lifelong friends.”


2020 marks an important milestone for most college students: it’s the first year that the majority are able to vote. With an election year comes more frequent political conversation, and oftentimes, finding ourselves in a place where we don’t know what to think or how to calmly agree to disagree. The situation can get even tenser when this involves people you care about. Turning 18 in the United States might not seem like a huge milestone; however, the opportunity to vote in any election is something that, for many, is the result of a hard-fought battle throughout history. Voting is all of our civic duty, no matter which side of the aisle you agree with. With this privilege, though, it is important to educate yourself and figure out where you stand on certain issues. While it isn’t necessary to have all the answers at 18, there’s no better time to start. By the time most of us begin to head off to college, there comes a point where you start to realize and form your political beliefs, often based on life experiences, certain moral values and fiscal opinions. In your hometown, you might have shared similar beliefs to your family members, high school classmates and neighbors, and this makes sense as that is the community you were raised in. Coming to college, that all changes very quickly. Suddenly, you’re in a melting pot of people from all kinds of backgrounds and standpoints on various issues. Whether you enjoy talking politics or not, certain subjects or issues are bound to come up at one point or another, even just in basic or everyday conversation. Maybe you’re in a class having a structured debate, or topics such as the economy or minimum wage come up at the dinner table. For young adults, navigating what to say when and more importantly, how to say it can be difficult, especially with loved ones or new friends at school. It’s easy to get caught in a rut of wanting to share your opinion, but not wanting to offend anyone or break trust. Beth Silver and Sarah Stewart Holland are co-hosts of “Pantsuit Politics,” a podcast that is “a real conversation to help us understand democracy and the news while treating each other like thoughtful human beings.” The podcast is values-driven and promotes the dialogue of issues in today’s America. Silver and Holland have opposing political views,

yet are able to find common ground and respectfully agree to disagree. These political experts warn young people to not be so caught up with offending people, but rather focus on learning from each other and respecting differences. “It’s not that you’ll have a conversation and never offend somebody or you can avoid confrontation. You learn that that can happen, and your relationship might grow stronger in the face of that sort of conflict,” Holland says. Holland and Silver also encourage young people to not feel pressured into picking a “team,” specifically either Democrat or Republican. At our age, not knowing where you fall or having views that are on both sides is completely normal. While it’s important to start to recognize what your standpoint is on various societal issues, you don’t have to choose between red or blue if you aren’t ready, or ever actually. It is very common for the average American to have views that go back and forth, maybe depending on the circumstance at hand, or because of their own experiences.

your registration at any time if your views shift. While being respectful and calm during political conversations typically is the way to go, things can shift when someone’s beliefs go too far. For example, if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and someone’s politics openly discredit your own worth or belonging, that may be a sign that the relationship is no longer worth pursuing or that a serious and heartfelt conversation is needed. “If someone has views that fundamentally disrespect your identity, that’s a whole different conversation than someone who has views that don’t cut at your identity but are important to you,” Silver says. If this idea is applicable, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the person should stay in your life or not; a decision that largely depends on what aspects of your own identity or morals are at play and how severe the disagreement is. Most often, though, it’s a conversation worth digging deeper into, at least a few times.

“Treat this early phase in your 20s as information gathering instead of team picking,” Holland says.

If you ever feel offended in a politically-based conversation, it’s important to let the other person know how you feel, without getting aggressive or telling them how wrong they are. For example, if someone says that universal health care is an awful idea, but that would take away your own personal health insurance, share that with the other person if you feel comfortable. Putting a face they know and love to the situation isn’t necessarily designed to change their mind, but to see how the issue could affect you personally, rather than just seeing it as a far-fetched idea that doesn’t hit close to home. Or, if you support a stricter border because your family worked hard and spent a lot of time and money to immigrate to the United States legally, your opinions and views on that particular issue are shaped by personal experiences and are often worth sharing.

When you officially register to vote, in most states, you’ll have to choose a party, but this really only is crucial for primary elections in most cases. After that, you can pick candidates from both sides, who you feel will do the best job of leading your town, city, state or country, regardless of whether they lean right or left. It is easy in today’s day and age to want to blame one party or another, but at the end of the day, you are voting for the candidate themselves, not the entire party.You can also change

Political conversations can be a difficult road to navigate, but oftentimes, they are conversations worth having. Maintaining a calm demeanor and drawing on personal experiences are often the most effective strategies to use, especially if you are discussing these topics with someone who has very different views than you. While you might think some views are totally wrong, everyone in the United States is allowed to vote for whoever they choose, and that is the beauty of democracy.

Once we can accept that we don’t have to remain loyal to one “team,” this period of our lives becomes a chance to collect information and do our best to stay educated. This can be done through reading the newspaper, watching the news on television and staying up to date with current events in society, whether they directly involve politics or not. It is also important to try and avoid news sources that are strongly biased and get information from many different sources before deciding how you feel.


TO BE A BIPOC IN A PWI The United States is in the midst of a necessary political, civil and personal awakening. The tragic and brutal death of George Floyd sparked protests across the nation as millions of people expressed their anger. Soon after, cities around the world followed suit by holding dozens of rallies against racial inequity, police brutality and the violation of human rights. Outpourings of support and testimonies flooded social media, calling out acts of injustice and encouraging the integration of anti-racist policy and behavior. The public widely challenged major national and local institutions for their historical patterns of discriminatory actions — whether conscious or not. Penn State is no exception. The university certainly has a strong presence and impact across the country, boasting the largest living alumni network of any college in the world. However, as more students and alumni recounted stories, the university witnessed a harsh reckoning of cultural and institutional behavior that alienated many of its faculty and students of color. Penn State is what’s known as a PWI or a predominantly white institution. A college is characterized as a predominantly white institution when its white student body accounts for more than 50% of its overall student enrollment. The university has made strides in recent years to diversify its student population, but as a land grant university, when the state is majority white it’s harder to do so. Here’s a look at what it’s like and what it means to be a POC in a PWI. According to the admission office’s most recent statistics, the undergraduate population for the 2018-2019 school year was roughly 65% White, 9% International, with the rest of the minority populations under 10% each. The Asian American population sits at 6%, the African American population at 6%, Hispanic/Latino students at 8% and the Native American and Pacific Islander populations both less than 1%. In a small town like State College, but a large school of more than 40,000 students, it’s not hard to feel lost and isolated — especially as a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) student. As testimonials flooded social media, this began highlighting the discriminatory and racist behavior towards Penn State’s Black students and faculty. 42

With hundreds of individual posts accounting horrific actions, disheartening instances and deplorable patterns of racism among the student and administrative body, it’s a shocking awakening for many members of the Penn State community. One striking story was that of Dr. Errol Henderson, an associate professor in Penn State’s Department of Political Science. On January 16, 2019, Dr. Henderson submitted an op-ed letter to the Collegian titled “Being Black at Penn State.” Dr. Henderson pointed out that his powerful letter is just as salient today as it was a year ago. In Dr. Henderson’s famous letter, he challenged Penn State’s hypocrisy and inaction. Dr. Errol Henderson is a prominent and successful member of the political science department and yet, is the only tenured African American professor in the history of the department. “There has been roughly 3% African American faculty at PSU for 30 years — this is a deplorable record,” Dr. Henderson says. “This is often concealed by the university’s continued promotion of its ‘diverse’ faculty and students, which shows trends that are typically not reflected among its African American equivalents.” Dr. Henderson goes on to describe several instances of hostile work environments in his letter, as well as discriminatory actions within his own department and the school. The rest of his statement is available on The Daily Collegian’s website. When asked what he hopes his message means to other Black students and students of color, Dr. Henderson says, “There are Black professors here who will openly and consistently challenge the white supremacism that Black folks are subjected to at PSU, and they do it while being productive in their respective disciplines and academic leaders in their fields.” “For example, in the last year I’ve published two university presses in a seven-month period,” Dr. Henderson says. “I have colleagues who have not published two university press books in seven years. It’s not an ‘either/or’ proposition when it comes to challenging white supremacism and doing excellent work in your academic field. The tradition of African American scholars is that many if not most of us have and continue to do both. As Black students,

you can do the same. If you draw lessons, practices and strength from those who’ve done this work as students and who never stopped doing this work as they became professors.” After Dr. Henderson published his letter, shortly after Penn State and his department allegedly sanctioned him for speaking out publicly about his experience. VALLEY asked Dr. Henderson, what the one thing he wants everyone to take away from his words, to which he said, “It’s simple: ask the university president is what Henderson said true? Was it true at the time? If it is not true, then why didn’t you sanction the school paper for publishing such ‘untruths’? If it is true, then why didn’t you launch an immediate investigation of Henderson’s assertions and hold those who did the things he outlined accountable for them?” It instead simply appears that Dr. Henderson was the only party involved who was sanctioned for the letter, ironically, for allegedly contributing to a hostile climate in his department. This is the very thing his letter said often happens to professors like him who raise the issue of the hostile, white and racist climate they are compelled to work in. Dr. Henderson provided a list of actions he believes Penn State must do in order to see an effective change which is outlined here in his own words. its white, racist practices and create practices that actively challenge, transform and prosecute persistent white racists’ practices and individuals.


any department heads who preside over a department that has never tenured an African American full professor in its history.


3. IMMEDIATELY END the practice of deans of school selecting department heads and instead have department heads elected by professors with input from staff, graduate students and the Senior Minority Mentors as well as the Office of Educational Equity. 4. IMMEDIATELY APPOINT a lawyer to

head the Affirmative Action Office (AAO) with the input of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Make the AAO independent of the Provost Office by hav-





ing them report to an outside agency that is not the subject to the PSU president’s administration. 5. IMMEDIATELY REOPEN the cases of any Black faculty who it may be reasonably argued should be considered for promotion in the last 10 years but has not been considered; and at the same time, immediately review the promotion of white professors in the same departments where their Black colleagues have not been considered for promotion. 6. REOPEN ALL CASES involving accusations of racial discrimination by Black faculty, students and staff made to the AAO in the last decade. 7. REOPEN ALL CASES made by Black faculty,

students and staff to the Office of Student Conduct in the last decade.

On-campus, there are numerous resources for all students to practice anti-racism and educate themselves in diversity, equity and social justice, as well as resources for BIPOC to deal with trauma, conflict and counseling. One of the most prominent resources on campus is the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) located in the HUB. Carlos Wiley has been at Penn State for 10 years as the director of the PRCC and says that he has seen more importance and emphasis surrounding diversity and inclusion in the last five years. “Since President Barron has come in the last five years, he has instilled an importance around these issues and has been more willing to be outspoken and create change,” Wiley says. “There are now three Black deans over colleges for the first time at Penn State, and he has hired multiple POC in high administrative positions whilst being willing to engage in difficult conversations. Under President Barron’s leadership, he has shown that he has been more apt to see change.”

variety of factors such as lack of scholarships for students of color, the recruiting process and the simple cost of attendance at Penn State UP. In order to see further effective institutional and student body change here at Penn State, Wiley says, “Penn State needs to look at the inequity of diversity at University Park and look at what they need to do to make that more balanced. We need to do a better job at educating our student body and that needs to happen when students first commit to Penn State.” “All students across the board need a course about racial issues, social justice, structural racism and privilege since they all come from such a wide array of different experiences and backgrounds,” Wiley says. Besides the PRCC, which is a great starting point, other centers and resources for BIPOC students include the Multicultural Resource Center, Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, multicultural student organizations and speaking to a counselor. Students of color can experience problems of racial identity, imposter syndrome, forms of trauma and so much more that they need help dealing with it. By working through these issues, adults, mentors and peers can help them understand what they will experience at a PWI and help them break down the systemic problems they’ve experienced most of their life. “White supremacism had a beginning, and it can have an ending: if we end it,” Dr. Henderson says. “White supremacism is not ‘normal,’ but it’s routine. Don’t normalize it: challenge it, change it, build something better.”

Of course, with positive changes, there is still much to be done. When asked about the stories on @black_at_pennstate on Instagram, Wiley responded, “A lot of those stories on the account are things I’ve personally helped deal with. These are the kinds of conversations students are having at the PRCC.” “All students of color have had struggles with white supremacy at Penn State,” Wiley says. “It’s just in different ways with how it manifests itself. Certain communities are just more vocal.” Wiley explained that diversity for University Park has not improved in their admission process, which can be due to a



“Don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s important to recognize your voice is valued and your experiences are valuable.”




State College can often feel like the middle of nowhere, but the town’s influence can be seen around the world. We have arrived at a new era of social media. Quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a plethora of creativity from students at Penn State and an even bigger number of consumers of social media. Platforms such as YouTube and TikTok have given students a source of entertainment to spend their time while practicing social distancing and trying to make the most of what has been an interesting 2020. YOUTUBE

Junior Kayla Marie is a YouTuber that has over 21,000 subscribers on her channel. She has been making videos for three years, and over that time, she has grown a following that gets to see her college journey, from high school graduation to the 2020 college move-in video. Monumental parts of her college career are on display for others to see her experience. Marie said that she started her channel to follow in other lifestyle vloggers footsteps. “I’ve always been super into video editing and film, so YouTube was always a place of inspiration for me,” Marie says. “I wished for years to have the courage to make a channel myself, and towards the end of high school, I decided to go for it and give it a shot.”

with friends, so it can be tough to decide when to put the camera down,” Marie says. There are upsides to being able to document all of college as well, and Marie now has a huge chunk of her college career on video. She says that getting to look back on what she’s done already since freshman year is one of her favorite parts of having her YouTube channel. TIKTOK

As for the TikTok side, there are plenty of Penn State students creating video content in a shorter and sometimes funnier way. TikToker Fiona Jordan creates funny content for around 50,000 followers and often will share funny life stories with her followers.

“Ever since that one video that went viral on my page, I tried to surround my content with realistic eating habits and workouts rather than these diet cultures and workouts I used to see all over tik tok,” Hernandez says. She tries to make her content as realistic as possible while documenting her own journey. There is a lot to love about TikTok, but Hernandez says her favorite part is, “seeing other women supporting body positivity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but also videos that match my personality and humor.” THE INFLUENCE

“My favorite part about creating content is seeing people interact with it. Even if I made one person’s day better with a video I posted, that means the world to me,” Jordan says. As for the creation of content, it ranges in the amount of time it takes her to come up with it. She tries to film on days that there isn’t a lot going on in her academic life. Fiona also said the pandemic has also helped with new content, and has even allowed her to produce more than before. Lauren Hernandez is another TikToker right here on our campus, with just over 200,000 followers on the app. She has documented her weight loss journey over this year on the app, and that is ultimately what made her TikToks a viral sensation.

It isn’t always easy to balance being a full-time student with YouTube — especially as her following count grows. Marie says, “I have to balance due “One night, I randomly decided to post a video of dates for videos I have planned for myself or brands.” myself that I had been working on since March,” Hernandez says. “The video was on my weightloss For Marie, it can be challenging to separate a social transformation on fitting back into my blue and life with and without the camera. white romper again from high school.” “Sometimes there is a pressure and expectation to vlog every minute of college including some times

views and over 9 million likes. She says that initially, the content was casual until her weight loss transformation, but now, she has a platform to make content to share with her growing audience.

Many students use social media as a place to follow others, but these three students are leading the way for others, both in State College and beyond. They are taking their platform and using it to spread positivity, happiness and hope during a time and year that has been a hard one for many. Kayla Marie Instagram: @Kayla.Michaud YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/kaylamarievideos Fiona Jordan Instagram: @fionajordann YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/ UCpg0eBRE2Ozth3rAmSI6tuw TikTok: @Fionajordann27 Lauren Hernandez Instagram: @laurenhernandezz TikTok: @crunchytaco20

Overnight, her video received 1 million views on TikTok, and a few months later, has hit 35.8 million 47



In a day and age where talking about sex has become more and more normalized, you would think that the stigma around sex work would be fading. Unfortunately, this is very far from our current reality. Even though our society is gradually becoming more accepting, sex work is still a taboo topic that people like to poke fun at or simply avoid altogether. Insensitive comments and microagressions relating to sex work are far too common. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how disrespectful their words can be and how much it is perpetuating the stigma. Sex workers take their jobs seriously, and just like the rest of us, they use the money they make to support themselves and their families. Despite this, they are still harassed and put in danger due to the way society views them. It’s more than likely that you’ve heard a joke along the lines of, “If all else fails, I’ll just become a stripper.” Although stripping may not require a college degree like some other professions, the reality of sex work as a career path is ignored when people make these remarks. For many people in this industry, sex work helps them fund their education or some of their living expenses, and for some, it is their sole career path of choice. Someone’s profession and source of income should not be laughed at as a backup plan for those of us who are not choosing to go into this industry. The act of watching porn is stigmatized, even though a majority of both men and women have viewed pornographic content at some point in their adult lives. In fact, Psychology Today reports that PornHub is the world’s 36th most popular website. The same people who have benefited from porn and other content produced by sex workers also choose to reinforce the shame associated with this career path. “It is truly disheartening the number of people that do judge based off of stereotypes,” Chris Nagle, owner of The End Zone Show/Sports Club says. “Especially since so many of them are hypocrites that indulge in these young ladies’ beauty behind closed doors (professors, politicians, business men and women, celebrities, professional athletes, etc.). Then out of fear of being shamed themselves for doing so, talk down on them or pass legislation restricting their freedom of expression.”


In plenty of countries, the stigma around sex work is not the only problem. Many sex workers deal with the criminalization of their profession, which can lead to an even greater stigma and a danger for the workers themselves. Human Rights Watch has consistently found that in nations where sex work is criminalized, sex workers are more likely to be victims of violence, rape, assault and even murder. Due to the criminalization of prostitution, many sex workers do not feel comfortable reporting the violence against them. People in power hold strong biases against these workers, making it even harder for them to receive help. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, sex workers are about three times more likely to experience sexual assault. They are also susceptible to violence from police officers. 27% of respondents from the Urban Justice Center “Sex Workers Project,” based in New York City, are reported to be victims of violence at the hands of the police. There are some parts of the world where the lack of criminalization creates a safer environment for the workers. Amsterdam, for example, does not criminalize sex work and requires sex workers to be licensed. This city still has more they can do to help their sex workers, but they have succeeded in creating an environment where it is more normalized and regulated. Sex workers face the unfortunate choice of keeping this part of their life a secret or facing what will happen if they go public about their profession. Either way, there are major downsides — solely because of the stigma and the stereotypes about sex workers that are constantly perpetuated. Twitter user @LittleMissAngr1, a sex worker with over 45,000 followers, tweeted about why she chose to be an “out” sex worker. “I wish I could say the reasons didn’t include the absolute stress of the constant threat of being doxxed or blackmailed or threatened. But it very much does. I took a trade-off. I chose to take on the stigma instead.” Over the past few years, OnlyFans has been a popular way for people to break into the adult entertainment industry. Even though it provides creators with flexibility regarding the content they produce and gives the option of anonymity, many

OnlyFans content producers have still been berated by others on social media. This harassment is commonly seen coming from men on social platforms such as Twitter. These men degrade OnlyFans creators — emphasizing that they are “selling their bodies.” This kind of rhetoric is what ultimately enforces the stigma that sex workers are doing something “wrong” by society’s standards. The more that people push the idea that sex workers are earning their money in a way that should not be respected, the further we are getting from an environment that is safe for these professionals. The bottom line is that sex workers are doing their job for many of the same reasons that you’re doing yours. Whether it’s to pay for their education, support a family or have an extra stream of income, they should not have to justify their choices regarding how they make their money. Working to get rid of the stigma is one step toward decriminalizing many forms of sex work, which will decrease harassment and violence against these workers. According to Tim Robicheaux, Penn State associate professor of sociology and criminology, there are a few ways to decrease a stigma, whether it’s about sex work or other stigmatized topics. “Education, protest and exposure are three key means of reducing stigma. Learning more about any stigmatized trait can help people to view that trait more naturalistically and without judgment,” Robicheaux says. “These days, some sex workers are open about their professions. They let us know that they perceive themselves to be normal people with unconventional jobs. That’s exposure.” We may never get to a place where sex work is completely destigmatized, but we as a society can do as much we can to push forward and become more accepting as a whole. Making an effort to increase your own understanding and awareness is the first step you can make to join this fight. Break down the microaggressions, choose your rhetoric wisely, fight for decriminalization and work to create a more accepting and safe environment for everyone, no matter where their income is coming from.


G E N E R AT I O N A L GENRES Since before time was recorded, humans have been listening to music. Overtime, however, tastes and sounds have changed. With each new generation, there is a new prominent genre and sound of music that becomes more popular. Before smartphones and personalized playlists, all you had was the radio. And before that, there were records that you could only listen to one at a time. MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES

Before smartphones and music apps, even before the radio, listening to music was limited to live performances. This could range from a nightclub that exclusively played swing music, to at home with a guitar and a piano. As time has progressed, the way people experience music has changed, but the importance of different genres correlating with

each generation hasn’t. These days, when people suggest certain types of music, they often refer to the decades from when the music was popular.

that the radio station played, which ended up being the same handful of songs. This meant that these were the songs each generation had to identify with.

Each decade has a certain “sound” that is key in identifying what year it comes from. The 50s is commonly identified as “swing” or “blues” music, while the 60s is “psychadelic rock” or “folk rock.” While these decades are only 10 years apart, the music that comes from them are wildly different.

In more recent years, music enthusiasts have had ample opportunities to listen to a much broader range of music, mainly due to streaming and smartphones. As a result, the younger generations, as well as future generations, have more access to all different genres of music. Back then, if a song someone didn’t like was playing, chances are it was playing on all of the other radio stations too. Now, there are hundreds of thousands of songs to choose from. There are also staple songs for these more recent decades, just like past generations, but now they vary in sound and genre.


For a long time, the popular way to listen to music was through the radio. Of course there were cassettes and records, but the radio was free, and there was one playing music almost anywhere. Because of this, listeners were forced to hear only the songs













































“Social media definitely played a role in shaping the generation’s music tastes,” Joe Bednarcztk, a senior in Asylum, an alternative music club says. “Music tastes would definitely be different if people could only listen to radio and live music. Radio is a fairly outdated medium as well, even with it streaming online. It’s just not as convenient as being able to listen to specific songs you enjoy or even discovering new music by genre on pre-made Spotify playlists. I feel like it’s more modern technology that’s shaped our music tastes.”

Because of social media and how quickly things spread today, it’s much easier for all different kinds of music to reach people it wouldn’t normally reach. The use of a multitude of genres of music on apps such as Instagram and TikTok give people the opportunity to listen to songs that they wouldn’t normally listen to. Due to that, the more recent generations don’t seem to have a specific style of music that is a staple to their particular decade. Instead, there is a hodgepodge of different sounds and styles people choose to listen to on a daily basis.


Despite every generation having their own sound and their own staple songs, one thing that they all have in common is the love of music and the impact it has on society. The staple songs of every generation are what bring people together, even people who didn’t grow up when those songs were popular. Music spans generations connecting the young with the old, the blues with the pop.



































M E R E LY S C R AT C H I N G T H E S U R FA C E “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of

subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films” - Bong Joon-ho One of the greatest achievements to come out of 2020 was the success of the South Korean thriller “Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon-ho, and its victories seen from the Cannes Film Festival, to the Academy Awards and everything in between. This intricate story of class divide made incredible history at the Oscars by winning four awards; one of them being the top prize of the night, Best Picture. This win was immensely historical, as it was the first time a non-English speaking film won Best Picture in all 92 years of the Academy’s existence. If we examine it even closer, only 11 foreign-language films have earned their spot in that prestigious category. As we can see from that shocking statistic, international films have barely been considered for Best Picture. Rather, non-English speaking films were sporadically given awards under honorary and special titles up until 1956. Moving forward, they were given their own category, known as the Best Foreign Language Film. After nearly 64 ceremonies, the Academy decided to change the outdated name to Best International Feature Film in hopes of creating inclusivity within not just the category, but cinema as a whole, as the word “foreign” can be seen as alienating. There is still plenty of work to be done within the industry, but “Parasite” most definitely puts a precedent in place. This will hopefully yield a heightened number of international films to be nominated for Best Picture and other awards, along with an increased desire among Americans to watch non-English speaking films in the future. However, one of the main roadblocks in reaching a larger audience can be connected to what subtitles might entail for the viewer. For example, in a survey 52

done by Morning Consult, 54% of individuals who do not favor non-English speaking films say it is because “... it is hard to read subtitles and follow the action of the movie.” To expand on this dilemma, Penn State Associate Film Production Professor Maura Shea, added, “... nowadays, people tend to multitask while consuming media. You can’t be texting and scrolling through Instagram and following a subtitled film all at the same time … ” As media is increasingly devouring our screens, it is becoming harder and harder to multitask and retain attention to something. Yet, with finding out what works best for you and learning how to adapt, watching a subtitled film can become second nature. Whether you like to watch these films from the comfort of your home or at a movie theater, the significance is that you are trying something new. Independent film producer Ira Deutchman shared his opinion on this notion to Morning Consult by saying, “When something does break through the way that ‘Parasite’ is breaking through right now, it actually creates an environment in which people are more open to to try things out again.” A helpful piece that contributes to building that environment is to emphasize how internationally produced films can be considered spectacular tools to expose oneself to captivating cultures. Penn State Associate Media Studies Professor Jo Dumas sheds light on this concept by stating, “Films from other countries provide a rich wealth of knowledge about the people and culture of their land, and knowledge growth is empowering.” “There are very deep reasons why many U.S. people are culturally resistant to difference. This is rooted in historical resistance to our original Indig-

enous people’s cultures and the cultures of the people kidnapped and brought from nations in Africa. All immigrant populations from diverse cultures have experienced cultural struggle after arrival in the U.S.” This brings up the issue of xenophobia and how it has become ingrained within all parts of our entertainment industry as we know it. It is important to understand that cinema does not exist in only one part of the world, nor are films only created in one language. As humans, it is essential for us to broaden our cultural scope, and this growth comes from learning about ideas, lifestyles and people that are different from us. Yes of course times are changing, as “Parasite” opened doors for a group of Americans who have never seen a non-English speaking film before, but in order to keep that energy up we must keep discovering all while having open minds and hearts. If you are wondering how to feed your curiosity, Dumas pointed out how Penn State students have access to many outlets. “Our PSU Library has many foreign films; many are available through library streaming services,” Dumas says. “Commercial streaming services offer a wide range of foreign-made films now also.” With all of the platforms and resources of non-English speaking films available, there are thousands of deserving films waiting to be uncovered by the American population — a population that is merely scratching the surface when it comes to cinema.


Let’s look at the facts — billionaires and celebrities ultimately rule the world. Between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook developer Mark Zuckerberg, these creative entrepreneurs have a combined net worth of around $260 billion. This is simply just an unfathomable amount of money for the average human mind to consider — so let’s put it into perspective. According to Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, we could end hunger in the United States with just $25 billion — so let’s subtract that from the $260 billion. We’re left with $235 billion, which is still a big number. Then, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, $20 billion is the amount of money needed to end the homelessness crisis in America. Using that still leaves $215 billion in the names of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Ultimately, we solved two national problems that have affected our country for hundreds of years — by only taking 17% of their net worths. Let those numbers sink in. All throughout the world, these billionaires have been praised for their admirable persistence and determination. However, in recent generations, the popularity of these billionaires has quickly shifted. Greedy, money-hungry and lazy are some of the few words millennials are using to describe these billionaires — particularly Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for his refusal to donate bigger portions of his wealth to non-profit organizations. THE WORD ITSELF “BILLIONAIRE”

Dave Brown, professor of economics at Penn State, explains that the denotation and connotation of the word “billionaire” takes on two very different forms. “The denotation of the word ‘billionaire’ is someone who has a net worth of $1 billion to their name, but the connotation of the word ‘billionaire’ for most young people is negative,” Brown says. A CHANGE OF HEART — BUT WHY?

Although this change of heart aligns with most of our generation’s ideologies, this change has not happened overnight. Controversial economic events around our nation have shaped the way we view our billionaires today — and not in a positive way.

“Starting within the last 10 years, social events like Occupy Wall Street and the Great Recession have encouraged our nation to think that greedy, rich people and bankers caused all of these events — even though it was a lot more complicated than that,” Brown says, adding that the national government incentivized and provided bailouts for banks when making poor financial decisions. As a result of this, our generation has viewed these poor economic decisions by our national government to be fueled by one fault: billionaires and their incomprehensible wealth. These billionaires have become the main scapegoat for America’s financial problems, like the wealth gap and inequality between middle-income and lower-income families. But, are they the ones to blame? MAJOR CORPORATIONS

Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple are undoubtedly the most powerful corporations in the entire world. Amazon Prime has undoubtedly changed the world, with convenient shipping and a variety of products. Apple has built and manufactured the most advanced technology that the world has ever seen, like the iPhone and Macbook. Google and Microsoft both revolutionized the world of the internet that we once knew and turned it into a ginormous platform for information and communication. So, are these major corporations to blame for the rise of billionaires and their wealth? “Walmart and Amazon are these multimillion dollar companies who are hiring hundreds of thousands of employees each year,” Brown says. “If you are successfully running a trillion dollar business and bringing in tons of revenue, don’t these billionaires deserve to be paid $50 million each year?” “If millionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are successful at running these multimillion dollar companies, another company could easily hire them away. They look at entrepreneurs like these and say: ‘Hey, you’re really good at running your company — so why not run ours instead and we’ll pay you a lot of money to do it!’” Brown says, highlighting that existing companies must pay their CEO’s a fair share to keep them around.


Just like there’s two types of people in this world, there are also two types of billionaires in our society today. Those like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos climbed the corporate ladder, making a name for themselves as their net worth grew. However, those like Kylie Jenner and Paris Hilton are criticized for not being a “self-made” billionaire, but rather those made by the influence of their name. “Someone who is self-made is definitely going to get more admiration than the Kardashians who became famous from their father and then leveraged that fame to make yourself wealthy,” Brown says. “A lot of people will still not accept the fact that billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are self-made, saying things like ‘You still had to hire employees to work for you, therefore, you’re not self-made.’ However, no one can make a billion dollars in complete isolation — you need employees to pay and equipment to buy. But Bezos and Gates still built their own companies, hired their own workers and did the work that grew their companies.” So, the difference between those self-made and those who got famous from their name differs. Of course, the majority of billionaires are hard-working and their companies are fueled by hard workers and great products. However, could Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits have taken off like they did if they weren’t made by the Kylie Jenner? Could Paris Hilton’s boohoo line still be successful if the line was endorsed by your average, ordinary person? Absolutely not. All across the nation, these billionaires make money in a variety of different ways, using their names and unique, yet convenient products to revolutionize the world. In all, our generation’s view of these billionaires is shifting fast. The richer are getting richer and our generation is awaiting the change.






“Bright colors and vibrant patterns not only influence my art but also my style as well. I love incorporating hot neon colors and funky patterns or fabrics in every outfit whether I’m dressing up or down. I think what makes my art and my style unique is my use of colors and colorful accents like in hats, bags, sunglasses, shoes and jewelry. Basically I just want everyone to know I’m an art major before anyone even approaches me!”

“As an international student who is studying art, I am interested in the influence of social media, high-fashion, and the ‘made in China’ culture. I utilize boutique elements, colors, and artificial materials to project fabulosity and confidence. My artwork is translated into my style and re-integrated back into my persona. I want my outfits to be the projection of my personal iconography.”



Creativity is the cornerstone behind the trends that dominate the runways, magazines and our closets. Originality keeps brands afloat and can make even the smallest of companies the next best thing. However, with the rise of fast fashion and overnight sensations, creative agency in the fashion world has become murky water. With both fast fashion and high-end brands being involved in recent scandals of stealing other brands’ designs, there’s a question of what is considered flattery and inspiration and what is just outright stealing. Many of these different high-end and fast fashion brands that have “borrowed” ideas are facing lawsuits and public scrutiny. Social media has played a big role in exposing this idea theft within the fashion industry and facilitating the widespread scrutiny of those brands. Plenty of big name designers have taken to their social media platforms to call out these knockoffs. Today, what is considered your brand’s original idea could easily be up for grabs. Fast fashion brands and big name fashion designers ripping each other off is not a rare occurrence. So how do they get away with it? Fashion is not completely protected under American copyright law, so these big name brands are able to steal ideas from smaller brands. These copyright laws — written 40 years ago — position American fashion as a manufacturing industry instead of a creative industry. While music, art, literature and other creative industries are protected by copyright laws, there are no laws that prohibit members of the fashion industry from copying each other. This means that brands can freely steal ideas from each other without permission. The only way designers can try to protect their ideas is to patent the materials they use or trademark their brand’s name, logos and slogans. These decades-old laws deprive fashion — and the creativity that the industry is built upon — from legal protection, regardless of how prevalent knockoff designs have become. Because of the lack of creative protection within the fashion industry and increasing publicity surrounding the issue, there have been efforts to establish stronger copyright laws and legal protection in the fashion world. The Council of Fashion Designers of America attempted to pass the Innovative Design Protection Act in 2012. Even though the bill was never voted on, the goal of the act was to provide protection for designers and their designs for a period of three years as long as they could thoroughly

prove that their ideas were unique and never done before. Some of the major fast fashion brands that are common culprits of producing designer knockoffs are many of the names we know and love, including Forever 21, Zara and H&M. These stores are appealing to consumers — especially the young adult age group — because they are able to offer affordable, yet trendy clothes, often at the cost of other brands’ creative agency. Forever 21 has had its fair share of fashion “plagiarism” incidents. Some notable cases committed by the brand include knockoffs of the Valfré rainbow phone case, the Wild Feminist t-shirt, a bathing suit from an indie swimwear line Love Peace Shea and many more. Zara has been called out for making knockoffs of everything from Balenciaga sneakers, Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers, pins designed by Tuesday Bassen and sandals designed by Aurora James from Brother Vellies. More recently, H&M has been under scrutiny for using the same fonts on their clothing as both Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy and the Parisian brand Vetements. Copying designs used to involve sneaking into fashion shows so see what was popular on the runway and taking mental pictures to go draw later. With social media today, the designs that are seen at fashions shows are available for the world to see and copy as soon as the models walk down the runway. According to jewelry designer Pamela Love for Business of Fashion, “Being copied by fast fashion designers really waters everything down. It makes our ideas less special, which ultimately hurts our business and our authenticity.” On the contrary, some people believe that these copycatting fast fashion brands actually benefit the fashion industry. Professor of law at New York University and co-author of “The Knockoff Economy” Christopher Sprigman argues that copying is “the engine driving the fashion industry.” “Copycats help create trends, and then help destroy them, paving the way for new ones to take their place. Without copying, the fashion industry would be smaller, weaker and less powerful.” In recent years, lawsuits and copyright infringements have blown up as fast fashion is on the rise. However, copycatting and knockoffs are not solely limited to low-end brands — designs are replicated throughout all levels of the fashion world. It’s important as creatives to understand the value of an idea and why it might mean more than just making something affordable. 55



2020 is proving itself to be one of the most aggressively tumultuous years in history. As of this year alone, Gen-Z has played a crucial role in generating waves of social change, experienced a global pandemic and felt a political division in our country that has been felt only a few times before. The importance of being loud is one of the many takeaways of this year — and that applies to fashion, too. As a matter of fact, one of the only times a “Karen” holds any power is the way their judging eyes make you regret wearing the outfit you already were reluctant about wearing. With recent strides for inclusivity regarding body positivity, it’s shocking that some people are still bothered by cleavage and cellulite. We are loud, yet in ways that aren’t so loud, what we wear continues to be a source of hierarchy. Internalized misogyny is what keeps blazers synonymous with success and short skirts a distraction to others, a barrier to success. At a young age through school dress codes, we are introduced to the idea that the more skin you show, the less successful you will be and the people around you. Essentially, wearing skimpy clothing will make you a still point in a turning world. Female sexuality is only celebrated when it adheres to society’s narrow set of beauty standards. Dr. Laura Spielvogal, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State, says that despite our hypersexualized media, society challenges women to look sexy but not to have sex. She says that slut-shaming is not about the clothing, rather it is a result of patriarchal control over a woman’s body and sexuality. “All women are still judged according to long-standing, puritanical ideas about sexuality that restrict a woman’s right to engage in sex outside of a monogamous heterosexual relationship,” Dr. Spielvogal says. We all know the classic “she was asking for it” justification for sexual violence. In an effort to mitigate the responsibility of the abuser, many suggest that it is the responsibility of the women to dress appropriately. By calling anyone “slutty” based off of the clothing they wear, you are promoting the proposition that we must be considerate of others’ lack of self control. Internalized misogyny is what makes Kim Kardashian controversial and Anne Hathaway a breath of fresh air. In ways that go unspoken, how much you wear is how much respect you want. Contrary to popular belief, self-respect is not how much skin you show. Self-respect is respecting yourself enough to wear things that you feel good in. There is no stretch mark, no number, no cellulite or amount of body hair that takes away your ability to feel powerful and sexy. 56

Feeling beautiful and powerful is not conditional. It is time to start dressing like the person you aspire to be and hopefully that person does not care about what others think. “My advice would be to strive to understand the context of the criticism of ‘slut-shaming’ and instead seek to change the narrow standards of beauty, female sexuality and femininity that are contradictory and limiting for all,” Dr. Spielvogal says. Finding the freeing element to fashion can be absolutely powerful. Some of the greatest fashion staples were pioneered by brave women who refused to cover up. If it wasn’t for women cyclists in the 19th century who put their comfort and safety over that of the men who championed for large bustle skirts, we may have never had our ride-or-die alliance with mini-skirts. Even bikinis were taboo until the 1960s, and the “controversies” still continue today. When Rihanna showed up to the 2014 CDFA awards in a fishnet gown with more than 216,000 crystals, she left little to the imagination. As she accepted her award for Fashion Icon of the Year, she showed the whole world her body won’t get in the way of her success. Dolly Parton’s iconic style is based off of hyper-femme. Her unapologetically overdone style has become an inspiration to bold women everywhere. Dolly made being a woman her greatest asset, making sure to accentuate all the taboo features that make women women. At the age of 8, Parton’s first inspiration was a painting of a woman in red lipstick, her eyes all painted up and her clothes all tight and flashy. “I just thought she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. And then when everybody said, ‘Oh, she’s just trash,’ I thought, ‘That’s what I’m going to be when I grow up! Trash!’” Parton says. So if you too are “trash” just know that you are in fabulous company. The amount of scandalous styles that have become classic norms are endless. What are you waiting for?


At any point and time during this endless summer, anyone could scroll through their TikTok ForYou page and see a video of TikTok’s own it-girl, Addison Rae, doing whatever dance or trend was gaining the most traction that day. Her hair would always be perfectly done, her makeup would be professional-grade no matter the occasion and she would always be in the most fashion-forward look possible. During a couple of these videos, Addison could be seen wearing t-shirts featuring colorful stick-type figures or expressively drawn faces in the art style of Keith Haring. Keith Haring, a pivotal contemporary artist of the 1980s New York scene, has had his art styles and motifs commodified by the modern fashion world, especially by the fast fashion world. Contemporaries of Haring, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, a renowned graffiti artist who was known to dabble outside of the visual arts, or even the modern artists who paved the way for him, such as Andy Warhol, have experienced this phenomenon tenfold, especially in the last decade. This sensation brings up the age-old question about modern art and its successor contemporary art. Who is it for? The modern fashion world has experienced its own over-commodification from the fast fashion brands, such as brands like Fashion Nova ripping off any garment worn by Kylie Jenner, however the “vintage” revolution has set the stage for a new one. To create the facade of a vintage piece, brands have been forced to look through old pop-culture icons and art styles, and many have found the late-20th century New York art scene a good place to start. While this has the benefit of introducing young people to media they may have otherwise never experienced, this has the negative effect of stripping these artists of the things their art expressly stood for. For example, much of Haring’s art was about the main crisis affecting the New York art scene at the time, the AIDS epidemic. One of Haring’s most famous pieces, Silence = Death, features his iconically drawn figures with the ACT UP organizations famous taglines, Ignorance = Fear and Silence = Death. His art often showcased his figures engaging in sexual acts to remind people to practice safe sex. Basquiat’s political messaging has also been stripped from his art in modern fashion, which was often about class struggle or anti-colonialism. “I don’t think any artist makes art purely for capitalism,” Micaela Amateau Amato says. Micaela Amateau Amato, a professor emerita of art and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State, came up in the New York art world around the same time as Haring and Basquiat.

“Conceptual artists wanted to make art that could not be purchased or commodified and was so decommodified it had to be experienced and not taken home. However, in the 70s, things started to shift gears and people realized they had to address a larger public,” Amateau Amato says. During this time and even moving into the shift, most modern and contemporary artists were deathly afraid of being perceived as sellouts. Art was meant to be about something, whether it be social justice or politics, especially with the backdrop of the Vietnam War. “I think it would be very hard to be an artist today and not be acutely aware of social justice,” Amateau Amato says. Much of modern and contemporary art was about awareness as well. One of Keith Haring’s most famous works was a bright red mural adorned with the phrase “Crack is Wack,” pushing back against the crack-cocaine epidemic gripping New York at the time. “I think Haring, Basquiat and many others in that time wanted to make art for the people, like murals.You know, public art,” Amateau Amato says. Haring was known to push back against an idea prevalent in the art world at the time, that good art had to be exclusive, and he often sold inexpensive posters with his work throughout the city. “I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art,” Haring once said. While having their art spread around the world after their deaths may be a net positive for modern and contemporary artists, it has had adverse effects for the messages their art was meant to convey. In 2017, the anti-capitalist Basquiat had a painting posthumously sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in New York. Urban Outfitters, a company who has had their share of racist, anti-semetic and homophobic scandals, began selling t-shirts featuring Haring’s designs in 2019. “It’s funny because a lot of people think that art shouldn’t be about a subject, but about a material. Not about politics, but about amorphous sensations. Spiritual perhaps, or ethereal, but not about concrete issues that need to be addressed in an activist way. But in my point of view it’s all of those things,” Amateau Amato says.





Fashion is seen by many as a hobby, a passion or a pastime to entertain themselves. In reality, fashion is a form of expression. It is a method to communicate to the world around you who you are — your personality, your mood, your music taste, your opinions. Many people have taken a step further and have used fashion as an agent of change, from New York City to San Francisco, and across the globe. THE SUFFRAGETTES

One of the first movements to weaponize fashion was the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. in the early 20th century. As more and more women demanded the right to vote, they discarded previous societal norms for how a “true lady” should dress. The typical suffragette look consisted of either a white dress to imply purity, or more comfortable attire — something as radical as pants, overalls or skirts with hem lines above the ankle. Antagonists of the movements noted the clothing shift immediately and commonly used it in anti-suffrage propaganda. BLACK PANTHERS

signature look consisted of black leather jackets, black sunglasses and a black beret. These items helped generate a collective look, and therefore, a collective feel to their movement — emphasizing the power in numbers belief. They also helped hide identities and protected the families of the protestors from harm. In an interview with Marketplace, Tanisha C. Ford, City University of New York social movement professor, commented on the “brand” of a political resistance. “They’re wearing them as a symbol that represents very organically the group of people who are mobilizing against something … ” Ford says. This signature look is still present today — think of Beyonce’s 2016 Superbowl performance — and still carries the weight of the social movement behind it. BERLINERS

One of the more hidden tales of fashion occurred in the small distance between totalitarianism and democracy. When Berlin was split in two by the Berlin Wall in 1961, laws and regulations were implemented that extinguished self-expression and individuality. Designers and creatives went underground, using fashion to express their rebellion against the German Democratic Republic. Loud patterns, bright colors and outlandish designs filled secret shows inside old churches, abandoned factories and private homes during the 80s.

During the American Civil Rights Movement, many different voices arose, and with them, many ACT UP styles. While the NAACP believed in wearing your “Sunday best” to protests to excube respect- When the AIDS crisis began sweeping across ability, the Black Panthers had other ideas. Their the United States in the early 80s, thousands


of Americans were receiving death sentences from their doctors. Yet, nobody in the federal government or notable health professionals were talking about it. It took years before President Ronald Reagan even mentioned AIDS in public. At the beginning of the epidemic, many people believed HIV was a “gay” disease, believing it could only affect gay men — and a substancial amount of propaganda proposed that this disease was a form of divine judgement. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community were enraged at the lack of action from the government and began a plethora of demonstrations demanding action.

often lost in Japanese culture from the heavy pressurization of the importance of marriage. One of the main components of Lolita fashion is the emphasis on dressing for yourself, not for the male gaze or for societal norms. The extravagant bows and outlandish petticoats associated with this style is a campy way of reclaiming womanhood in their culture.

The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, used a pink triangle on shirts and banners at their protests in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities across the country. This symbol is a direct call back to when LGBTQIA+ individuals were forced to bear that signifier under the Nazi Party in World War II, in public and in concentration camps. This form of rebellion, as well as many other incidences, dramatically speed up the conversation, the research and the assistance for AIDS victims across the country.

“The more we are seen, the more we are heard,”Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh, the creators of the bright pink Pussyhats seen at Women’s Marches, said. “From these vibrant hats, the harsh and edgy punk from Vivian Westwood and the eclectic makeup at protests to confuse identity recognition software this summer, fashion is an essential instrument to bring justice to social struggles.


During this same time on the other side of the word, Japanese women were still buried under a variety of glass ceilings. Sociocultural norms continued to emphasize marriage and family over personal wants and goals. Women learned to keep their head down and work until they were wed, becoming housewives and caretakers afterward. Lolita fashion pulled on European-Victorian period style with big skirts and ruffles to blatantly reject the subtlism women were forced into. This culture also gives a childish impression, portraying the innocence and purity 60

People have been creating waves in societal norms all throughout our history, simply by using their clothes. Many movements still active today are continuing this tradition.







Profile for VALLEY Magazine

VALLEY Magazine | Fall 2020