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Letter from the Editor

As the year neared its end, the entire country anxiously watched the results of the 2020 presidential election unfold and as Joe Biden was named president-elect, the gap between political parties grew. To top it off, all of this happened as the global COVID-19 pandemic claimed the lives of millions. Undoubtedly, this series of events has greatly impacted every individual’s mental state. For the 2020 fall issue, VARIANT creatives took this theme of the mind and how it responds to societal movements and changes, and rean with it. Our team stepped up to work together to produce an issue in the midst of a completely remote semester, despite not being physically together. I am proud of VARIANT creatives who stepped up to work together while still being apart. Microsoft Teams meetings and socially distanced photoshoots were not how we imagined this semester going, but we took on the challenge and proved what it truly means to be adaptable in this industry. In “Masked Communication” (Pg. 9), web editor Grace Dearing explores how society has also had to adapt its methods of communication as a result of mask mandates across the country. These mandates, and other social justice movements, have sparked deafening dialogue on social media and in “A Year of Unrest” (Pg. 15), staff writer Maya Meade dives into celebrities’ stances on these issues as the push for equality moves forward. Staging photoshoots was the biggest obstacle we faced this year as we wanted to produce high quality content while also ensuring our models’ and photographers’ health and safety. Ultimately, everyone on set wore a mask unless they were modeling.

The events of 2020 were tumultuous, it’s no surprise that many have been impatiently waiting for the new year to begin. With that being said, we can not expect our troubles to just disappear in 2021. Instead, we must use this past year as a building block as we move forward and learn from the many challenges we have faced. This year, the entire world shared this particular struggle. We must reflect on this within our own minds and try to find the positives. The effects of 2020 have been different for all of us. From the Australian bushfires and West Coast wildfires, to the increasing amounts of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter response, communities across the world found themselves under duress. Plus, the United States government experienced the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, leaving many women anxious about the security of the laws that grant them the right to bodily autonomy.

The creative department also had to find ways to work collaboratively, despite having little access to in-person meetings. In staff writer Jorja Butt’s examination of screen addiction in “The Rabbit Hole” (Pg. 5), photo assistant Olivia Gordon shot in the studio for the first time and Macey Elder added unique designs to complement the images, all via Slack and Microsoft Teams. This year has been unprecedented, for lack of a better word, and the many challenges we have faced both globally and as a studentrun publication have greatly impacted our mental spaces. VARIANT writers, photographers, designers and other creatives worked hard all semester long to break down the different elements of our dayto-day lives that contribute to the state of The Mind.




















Editor in Chief Madison Salyer

Executive Editor Jonathan Pierron

Photo Chief Kate Bender

Photo Editor Kailee Richey

Copy Chief Ellie Roberto

Web Editor Grace Dearing

Publication Design Olivia Dutkewych

Public Relations Jordan Schmitt

Event Planning Lily Roby

Event Planning Cydnee Livingston

Creative Director Sophia Daugherty MuĂąoz

Associate Editor Gabriella Hayes

Photo Assistant Olivia Gordon

Digital Tech Elliott Magenheim

Copy Editor Farah Chidiac

Copy Editor Margaux Augier

Marketing Ashlyn Ansel

Treasurer Emma Herzig

Styling Aeden Grothaus

Makeup and Hair Johanna Antonuccio


Futuristic Fashion


The Rabbit Hole


Masked Communications PAGE 9

A Year of Unrest PAGE 15


Sharing Their Styles PAGE 19

A History of Hysteria PAGE 21

Wearing Gender PAGE 23

Illusions PAGE 29

Futuristic Fashion Written by Julie Meyers | Photographed by Kate Bender | Designed by Emma Dengler


ince the onset of COVID-19, the fashion world, an industry built on travel, collaboration, audience and spectacle, has been rewiring its century-old system to fit the current ways of life. The modern fashion show dates back to the 1860s when English fashion designer Charles Worth used live models instead of mannequins to show his designs. In the early 1900s, “fashion parades” began spreading around major cities. In 2020, runway shows and fashion week look much different than what Worth envisioned over a hundred years ago.

CGI and body mapping. Patrick McDowell, a sustainable fashion designer, used crystals and Taroni pink silk to create a Vatican City in the clouds in a queerfriendly Catholic church for Helsinki Fashion Week. Damara Ingles used an immersive installation that allowed attendees to fly around the virtual runway. Each of these shows was entirely digital, offering a glimpse into a fashion week for all. The Scandinavian retailer Carlings launched a new idea to bridge the gap between viewers and the show by allowing viewers to pre-order garments or claim a limited edition garment, which could be dressed on the viewer in the virtual space. The company hoped the idea might eventually transpire into virtual reality headsets.

According to Vogue magazine, this year London Fashion Week featured digital lookbooks as well as playlists created by designers. Designer Anifa Mvuemba, the founder of the women’s fashion line Hanifa, debuted a virtual fashion show containing 3D renderings of There was also a simpler approach to virtual fashion shows. Fashion her designs. Her breakthrough fashion week offered a new look at Unites, a YouTube-streamed edition of French fashion editor Carine the potential future of virtual fashion shows regarding 3D imaging,


Roitfeld’s CR Runway, was run entirely from home. Designers from Balmain, Valentino and Louis Vuitton made appearances, while the models cat-walked right in their own homes with the direction of their hairstylists, makeup artists and movement coaches. Behind-thescenes footage showed experts giving their tutorials virtually. While the approach was applauded as “the first of its kind,” it did pose drawbacks. For example, viewers almost seemed more interested in the homes of celebrities than the clothes themselves. After watching the show, Molly Hammond, a senior at The Ohio State University and owner of Good & Grateful Clothing Company, agrees that although it was a clever idea, it just barely missed the mark. “I understand what they were trying to do as far as bringing an appeal for fashion to the every-day person, as well as be sure to get their new clothing line out for the upcoming season on time, but the background was distracting to the every-day person who may not be there for the clothes in the first place,” she says. “A better approach may have been using a green screen to transform the environment so the background wouldn’t be a distraction while still allowing models to stay home and stay safe. Overall, fashion is fully felt best in person.” However, Hannah Codner, a college student studying Health Sciences, really enjoyed the virtual aspect of shows. “Although I’m not focusing on it in college, I have always enjoyed looking into fashion and keeping up with it on my personal time,” Codner says. “It was really cool to see the models in their own homes instead of in a more professional setting like usual. It made the clothes feel less formal and fashion more attainable for the average person. Although, I would have to agree that seeing celebrity homes might have been a little bit distracting.” Some argue that the virtual experience of a fashion show will never measure up to the physical one. By the end of a virtual fashion show, viewers and artists have felt that the performance felt flat in comparison to in-person shows. Designers often run into road bumps as they attempt to transform the experience into a show that’s just as compelling and poetic virtually as it would be in person. The previous fashion show format has stuck for years because fashion wants to be seen in real life on a runway.

In the end, Paris, London, and Milan Fashion Weeks all decided to return to physical shows back in September, while New York will remain mostly online. However, things can change given new circumstances. In tight timeframes, it became difficult for creators to meet expectations and deadlines that the pandemic presents. There is a split opinion on where the direction of fashion shows will go from here, whether that’s embracing new formats and creative techniques or sticking to what is already familiar.




35% 35% 10% 10%

of people think of their cellphones when they wake up of people think of their significant others when they wake up

According to PsychGuides.com


Written by Jorja Butt Photographed by Olivia Gordon

The Rabbit Hole

Designed by Macey Elder


ife in the 21st century means being able to access information from anywhere at any time. Whether that information is a question you’ve been pondering, a quick text message to check on your family or a look on social media for updates on your friends, it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world. As cell phone technology continues to develop and become increasingly accessible, the age at which children are introduced to them becomes younger, making the addiction to screen time an even harder habit to break. The invention of cellphones provided an effortless way to communicate, but it may have caused more harm than good. Along with the cellphone came the invention of social media and the immediate access to entertainment that has caused screen time in younger generations to skyrocket. Natalie Eysoldt, a 20-year-old college student, found the addiction to be interrupting important events in her life. Eysoldt started using social media around the age of 12 and just recently deleted apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat off of her phone. “I used to be on social media for five or six hours a day,” Eysoldt says. “I would have so much homework

due for my classes that I would end up not doing because I would scroll through social media instead.” It became clear that social media took priority over her schoolwork, so she deleted the apps altogether. Before making her decision, she found herself wondering what she would miss out on from the people that she followed. Social media provided an insight into others’ lives that she wouldn’t have access to if she deleted the apps. She feared missing out on what friends or even strangers were doing in their free time because it had become second nature to observe people through her phone. “It turned out to be better than I expected. I was comparing myself to other people that I had barely met but just followed them on Instagram; it felt really toxic, and I didn’t realize that until after I deleted everything,” Eysoldt says. While it may have been easy for Eysoldt to make her decision, social media and cell phone addiction have become so mainstream that almost every young adult can attest to it. Most cellphone users don’t even notice their addictions, but what more users aren’t aware of is the reason behind the addiction. The Netflix original documentary, “The Social 6


Dilemma,” gathered a number of former social media and search engine professionals who were very blunt about the reasoning for addiction. The creators and former presidents of platforms such as Google and Facebook have become worried about the unintended consequences that these apps have on the 2 billion people who use them. What started as a way to connect friends and gain new information turned into companies competing against one another for users’ attention. Justin Rosenstein, a former engineer at Facebook and Google, explained that because most major platforms are free, the product of these companies is its users, not the apps themselves. Advertisers pay the social networks for time to have users’ attention and to use algorithms to make sure that the users are engaged. These algorithms are made to track its users’ every move on the Internet and find more content that they believe will keep their attention spans for as long as possible. The addiction is manufactured by companies marketing its content for that exact reason. In fact, cellphones have taken such a priority in people’s lives that 35% of people think of their cellphones when they wake up while only 10% of people think of their significant other according to PsychGuides.com, an American addiction center resource. Dr. Lisa Beeler, a professor at Ohio University, believes that screen time is not where the addiction lies. Dr. Beeler is an expert in marketing sales through the use of artificial intelligence and technology and believes that there is a difference between using screen time for work and pleasure. “I think the real problem lies not in the addiction

to screen time, but the addiction that’s being created with things like social media applications or YouTube,” Dr. Beeler says. “I think people need to parse out the idea of just being on your phone versus what you are doing on your phone.” After social media platforms were launched, the benefits for marketing professionals skyrocketed, but the consequences it had on young minds were unexpected. In today’s society, it is vital to stay connected because most activities in a day-to-day routine require a cellphone. “Just like any new technology, [social media] can be used as a tool. You can use it for good and you can use it for bad,” Dr. Beeler says. “I think the issue is that you don’t plan on playing on your phone for four hours; someone will text you and then you’ve opened Pandora’s box because now you see all of the notifications and it starts this rabbit hole.” Dr. Beeler points out that it is important to set boundaries when it comes to living in the digital world because it’s easy to get lost. Not all activities that rack up screen time are harmful, but it is important to recognize the difference between necessary and harmful online interaction. Smartphones connect people to new ideas and old friends but have condemned this generation to an addiction that no creator could have ever imagined. Making information and social media accessible through a handheld device has caused a toxic environment that younger generations have a hard time escaping. Will the next generation be able to break the habit, or will they fall victim to the same habits?


Masked Communication


Written by Grace Dearing Photographed by Elliott Magenheim Designed by Harley Wince 10

Since the beginning of time, humans have adapted to the ever-evolving trends of communication. From the early script and telegraphs to telephones and now instant messaging, communication has progressed rapidly. One variable that has remained consistent, though, is our reliance on facial expressions to intimately converse with the people around us. As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so too do state mandates for masks and facial coverings in public spaces. 11

While this new fashion accessory is perfect for preventing the spread of the virus, it is less than ideal for communicating with our friends and family. Since masks cover more than half of our faces, it has become increasingly challenging to read each other’s facial expressions. In June of 2020, Rebecca Brewer, an expert in facial expressions and communication, told BBC that humans are familiar with processing faces as a whole, rather than focusing on individual features. Therefore, when the entire face is not visible, the processing is interrupted. Rachelle Gaddes, assistant general manager at an Old Navy store in Cincinnati, spends the majority of her workday interacting with customers and experiences processing interruption first hand. “It can be extremely hard to hear customers or ask and answer their questions,” she says. “I’ve had customers complain multiple times that an associate was rude to them, but really it’s just that they couldn’t read their emotions.” But, there’s no denying that the benefits of a mask during a global pandemic far offset its limitations. “The health and safety of my staff, my customers and myself outweigh the negative sides of the mask,” Gaddes says. “It’s not always enjoyable, but I’d rather wear the mask than risk anything.” Although conversational limitations like this are strange to the majority of people, especially in the U.S., the concept of facial coverings is not new. Many Asian countries have utilized masks to protect themselves against pollution, and millions of women around the world regularly wear veils and other facial coverings for religious and cultural practices. Humans around the world have communicated extremely well with face coverings, but countries

rather than fear it. There are ways to gauge somebody’s emotion, other than facial expressions, which can be used when talking to someone in person. Though it may be obvious, humans are not used to making direct eye contact throughout their conversations. Catching someone’s gaze and holding it while they speak can feel extremely intimate and intense, but it helps gauge emotions. It sounds cheesy, but the eyes are the window to the soul. As much as someone’s emotions are shown on their face through actions like smiling and frowning, that emotion is amplified in the eyes. Emotions visible through eye contact are unavoidable and are much more difficult to hide. Whether talking with hands or posture, people’s bodies say more about them than initially realized. If someone fiddles with their hands, they may be nervous. If they stand completely upright with their shoulders squared toward the person they are addressing, they are probably feeling confident. On the other hand, if their shoulders are slouched, they may be upset. All of these movements signify how the person is feeling at that moment. The everyday presence of masks in interactions can make it feel like there is a barrier between us and the person we are trying to have a meaningful conversation with. That barrier can be disheartening for people who thrive on social interactions and aren’t used to encountering these difficulties. Though it does not seem as though mask mandates will be lifted any time soon, the quality of human connection does not have to suffer forever. Like many things in life during the COVID-19 pandemic, communication will simply adapt to the current state of the world.




A Year


of Unrest Causes Celebrities to


Written by Maya Meade Designed by Naila Latham s t h e e ve n t s of 2020 have unfol ded, c e le br it ie s have continued to use their pla t fo r ms t o impl ement change in their fo llowe r s ’ m i nds. T his year has been hit wit h mo nu m ental events that spar ked c o nve r s a t io ns ar ound the wor ld. Many c e le br it ie s have chosen to speak out about t h e se h i sto r ic mo me n t s , e n c o u r agi ng their follower s to stay i n for m e d a n d s t ay e du c a t e d. Th e choice to go publ i cly pol i tical c a n be ser io u s fo r s o me h ig h -s tatus influencer s w ho r i sk l osing som e o f t h e ir f a n ba s e s , re c e iv ing hate , and bei ng sur r ounded by n eg a t i v it y. A t t h e s a me t ime , celebr i ties r ecogni ze that t h e r e a r e mo re impo r t a n t t h in gs to convey to the wor l d than j u st t h e c o n t e n t t h e y a re f a mo us for pr oduci ng. I n M a r c h o f 2020, t h e Ha r ve y Wei nstei n ver di ct emer ged a s a m om e n t o f t r iu mph fo r t h e #MeToo movement. Har vey Wei n st e i n a n d h is bro t h e r c o -founded the enter tai nment c o m pa ny M ir a ma x a n d pro du c e d many successful films. J udge J a m es B u r ke fo u n d We in s t e in g ui l ty of sexual assaul t i n the fi r st de g r ee a n d r a pe in t h e t h ird degr ee , w hi ch ignited di sc u ssi o n a bo u t wo me n ’s r ig h t s and sexual assault. Two of


t he wom en that accu sed h im o f

s e x u a l mi sconduct were A sh ley J u d d , and R osanna A rq u ette , bo th we l l k n ow n Am er i ca n ac tresses w h os e fam e shone a sp o tligh t o n t h e # MeToo m ovemen t. Fa mou s and ever yday p eo p le w h o ch o ose to speak u p abo u t s e x u a l a ssaul t foster a safe envi ronm ent for oth er wo men t h a t h ave gone thr ou gh similar ex p e r i e nces. J udd has been o n e o f t h e most outspoken c eleb r ities in t h e # MeToo m ovemen t. Sin c e t h e b e gi nni ng, she su pp o r ted C h r i s t i n e B l asey F ord, a Califo r n ia p r ofe s s or w ho spoke o u t ab o u t b e i n g s exual ly assaulted, in th e B re tt K avanaugh hear in gs. S eein g c e l e b r i ti es suppor t o th er s, even p e o p l e that they do n ’t kn ow, in f l u e n c es fans to make similar d e c i s i o n s and j udgmen ts. T h i s year, Austr al i a n bu sh fires s pre a d a cr oss the co u n tr y, c atch i n g attenti on f ro m c eleb r ity envi ronm ental i sts, su c h as Le on a rd o Di Capr i o. His nu mero u s envi ronm ental pr oj ec ts dr aw a tte n t i o n to w i l dl i fe , c limate c h a n g e , and i ndi geno u s p eo p les. P rote cti ng the env iro n men t b e c a m e i ncr easi ngly relevan t in t h e U.S . w hen Cal i fo r n ia also s aw a s ur ge of w i l dfires th at forc e d peopl e i nsi de th eir h o mes in a d d i t i on to the COVID-19 p a n d e mi c . T he pandemic , wh ic h h as b e e n ver y pol i tic al an d with n o e n d i n si ght, caused many c e l e b r i ti es to speak o u t o n p u bl i c h eal th i ssues an d mo tivate p e o p l e to take safety measu res s e r i ou s ly. Dr. Tedr os G h eb reyesu s, t h e D i rector- Gener a l o f th e Wor l d Heal th O r ga n izatio n ( W H O) , shar ed a vid eo o f s i n ge r- songw r i ter K a ty Per r y o n Tw i tter i n w hi ch sh e sen t a p o s i ti ve m essage to h er Ch in ese fan s , s ay i ng, “ keep figh tin g an d s t ay h e a l thy and positive .” In th e t we e t, Dr. Ghebr eyesu s th an ked Pe r r y for usi ng her vo ic e to sen d


a messa g e o f s o l i da r i t y t o t h e peo ple o f C h i n a . Per r y c o n t i nu o u sly u s e s h e r platfo r m s t o s e n d po s i t i ve message s t o f a n s , su c h a s perfo r m i n g a t t h e 2 0 2 0 R o c k th e Vo t e e ve n t , i n wh i c h s h e pro mp t e d f a n s t o h e a d t o t h e po lls wh e n t h e e l e c t i o n a r r i ve d. S imilar ly, Bi l l i e E i l i s h u s e s h e r platfo r m t o t a l k a bo u t t h e l a r g e issu es fa c i n g t h e c o u n t r y r i g h t n ow. “We n e e d l e a de r s wh o wi l l so lve pr o bl e m s l i ke c l i m a t e c h an ge a n d C OV ID - 1 9 , n o t deny the m . L e a de r s wh o wi l l figh t ag a i n st s y s t e m i c r a c i sm an d in equ a l i t y,” E i l i s h s a i d a t t h e D emo c r a t i c N a t i o n a l C o nve n t i o n . A f ter t h e k i l l i n g o f G e o r g e Floy d by Mi n n e a po l i s po l i c e o f fic er s, c i t i ze n s a l l ove r A m e r i c a pro teste d fo r Bl a c k l i ve s . T h e Blac k L i ve s Ma t t e r pro t e s t s in sp ired

many ce l e br i t y i n f l u e n c e r s to u se th e i r pl a t fo r m s t o fi g h t again st a n d s h i n e a h a r sh l i g h t o n r ac ism in t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s . D e m i L ovato us e d h e r s o c i a l m e di a t o pay tr ibut e t o Bre o n n a Tay l o r, a yo u n g B l a c k wo m a n k i l l e d by po lic e o ffi c e r s . S h e a ske d h e r f an s to st a n d wi t h h e r a g a i n s t r ac ial in just i c e a n d g e t re a dy t o vo te . Grown - i s h a c t re ss , Ya r a S h ah id i, a l s o u s e d so c i a l m e di a a s a platfo r m t o vo i c e h e r c o n c e r n s ab o u t th e st a t e o f t h e c o u n t r y wh ile p ar t i c i pa t i n g i n pro t e st s h er self an d wo r k i n g wi t h mu l t i pl e o r gan izat i o n s i n L o s A n g e l e s t o pro mo te c h a n g e . Th e list o f c e l e bs i s n e ve ren d in g. Ja n e F o n da , o n e o f t h e mo st po li t i c a l ly a c t i ve c e l e br i t i e s fo r c lima t e c h a n g e , wa s a r re s t e d th ree tim e s fo r u s i n g h e r vo i c e to figh t fo r wh a t s h e be l i e ve s in . Mic h a e l B . Jo rda n a dde d a diver sity c l a u se t o a l l o f h i s pro jec ts t o i n c re a s e di ve r si t y i n H o lly wo o d, a n d h e pa r t i c i pa t e d in th e Bla c k L i ve s Ma t t e r pro t e s t s th at to o k pl a c e i n 2 0 2 0 . Jo h n L egen d a n d C h r i ss y Te i g e n , bo t h as a c o u p l e a n d a s i n di v i du a l s , make th e i r vo i c e s l o u d. C h r i ss y Teigen is po l i t i c a l ly a c t i ve o n so c ial me di a a n d pro m pt s h e r

f a n s t o vo t e fo r c h a ng e . S i m i l a r ly, Jo h n L e g e n d do n a t e s m o n e y to the DNC and the American C i v i l L i be r t i e s U n i o n , a n d h e i s e x t re m e ly vo c a l a bo u t h i s v i e w s o n Twi t t e r. A t t h e 2 0 2 0 D N C , h e s a n g h i s n e w so n g c a l l e d “ N e ve r Bre a k ,” t h e n t we e t e d , “ T h e s o n g i s a bo u t l ove , ho p e , a n d re si l i e n c e , a n d I t h i n k we c o u l d a l l u s e s o m e o f t h a t r i g h t n ow.” U l t i m a t e ly, c e l e br i t i e s a r e u s i n g t h e i r f a m e t o in s p i r e po si t i ve c h a n g e . A f t e r t h e t r a g i c e ve n t s t h e wo r l d h a s w i t n e s s e d i n 2 0 2 0 , c e l e br i t y voi c e s a r e br i n g i n g pe o pl e t o g e t h e r. T h r o u g h s o c i a l m e di a , mu s i c , c o m e d y a n d T V s h ows , c e l e br i t i e s h ave fo u n d o u t l e t s t o i m p a c t f a n s be yo n d wh a t t h e y a r e f a m o u s fo r. C e l e br i t y o u t re a c h c r e a t e s a do m i n o e f fe c t o n p e o p l e . C e l e br i t i e s t h a t c h o o s e t o l e a d o t h e r s a re h e l pi n g i m p l e m e n t c h a n g e fo r t h e be t t e r.

We need lead ers who wil l s o lve p ro blem s li ke cli mate ch a nge and C OVI D -19, n ot d e ny them . L ead ers who wil l fi g ht a gai nst system i c racism and i nequ a li ty ”, E i li sh

“ 18

Sharing Their Styles

Written by Molly Stefl I Designed by Olivia Dutkewych Name: Emme Bowe School: Ohio University in Ohio Major: Journalism Strategic Communications Q: How would you define your style? A: Soft,Y2K and sometimes ‘70s inspired. Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: Emma Chamberlain, Maddie Ziegler and Pinterest boards. Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: Nothing makes me feel more confident than accessories. Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: Pastels and neutral tones. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Fall and spring.


Name: Cole Nickolls School: Flagler College in Florida Major: Political Science with a minor in Women’s Studies Q: How would you define your style? A: My style would be described as clean, casual and up-to-date on the latest trends. Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: I draw inspiration from both high-class brands and casual brands. Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: More tight-fitting clothing makes me feel confident in my body. Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: Blue and pastels. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Fall.

Name: Lola Valton School: Sorbonne Universitè in Paris, France Major: English Q: How would you define your style? A: I don’t think I can say I have a particular style. I just go with the flow! Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: I usually check out both the girls and boys that I find well dressed. Whenever I see someone’s outfit I like, I try to recreate it! Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: I feel confident when I feel like my clothes fit my body type well. Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: Black, white and grey. I love dark jeans and almost exclusively wear white shoes. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Summer.

Exploring Fashion and Confidence at Different Universities

Name: David Smith School: Kent State University in Ohio Major: Fashion Merchandising

Name: Madeline Bennett School: Auburn University in Alabama Major: Professional Flight

Q: How would you define your style? A: I am not sure if I could define my style because it is always evolving. Currently, I would say it is European high-fashion influenced.

Q: How would you define your style? A: I would describe my style as trendy and feminine.

Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: I draw inspiration mostly from movies but also from social media and people I see on the street. Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: I feel the most confident when I am wearing a nice button-down with pants and derby shoes. Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: Black and blue. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Fall.

Q: Where do you draw fashion inspiration from? A: A lot of my style inspiration comes from New York, London and Paris girls on Instagram along with @weworewhat and @emitaz. Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: My favorite outfits consist of one cool, eye-catching piece. I am also a sucker for a unique pair of shoes! Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: I love to throw in pops of color into my outfits! I also love a printed piece. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Winter.

Name: Drew Shaffer School: Rider University in New Jersey Major: BFA Musical Theatre Q: How would you define your style? A: I would define my style as being very downtown, polished and gender-fluid. Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: I draw inspiration from models on Instagram, both male and female. I am also very inspired by city fashion in the 90s and the club/ ball scene in the 80s and 90s. Q: What types of clothing or stylistic choices make you feel the most confident? A: I feel the most confident when I am wearing clothing that shows off my figure and my long legs. Also, I love a heel! Q: What are your favorite colors to wear? A: I love anything black or anything with a fun print. Q: What is your favorite season to dress for? A: Fall.


A History of in Women’s Mental Health Written by Madison Kopp | Designed by Camelia Post


magine waking up one morning with flulike symptoms; feeling ill, you head to the hospital where the doctors diagnose you with hysteria and send you to a mental health facility. Although horrific, this isn’t a made-up scenario. Unfortunately, for many women, this occurred frequently. It wasn’t until the end of the 20th century that doctors began diagnosing women’s mental health conditions correctly instead of branding them with craziness. Female hysteria was a common medical diagnosis for women who expressed a wide variety of symptoms including anxiety, fainting, depression, sexual desire, irritability, shortness of breath and loss of appetite for food or sex. This misdiagnosis cost many women their lives. The history of hysteria begins in Ancient Egypt and Greece, where it was believed that a woman’s womb was capable of impacting the rest of her body. Many philosophers and physicians of this time believed that the uterus could migrate around the female body and place pressure on other organs, causing women to feel sick. According to Plato, this was known as the “wandering womb” theory. Others blamed hysteria on women’s menstrual cycles. Throughout the 17th century, hysteria



was thought to be a result of demonic possession. When a patient couldn’t be cured of a disease, it was believed that the symptoms of what we now know to be mental illness were those of someone possessed by the devil. In 1692, a small group of girls began exhibiting behavior such as fits and random spasms, claiming they were possessed by the devil. This is what sparked the famous Salem witch trials. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the correlation of demonic possession and hysteria was discarded. In the 18th and 19th centuries, doctors believed the best cure to hysteria was marriage, and the concept of a “wandering womb” was largely rejected. Hysteria had moved from the uterus to the brain, which opened up the possibility of men becoming victims of it as well. In the 19th century, mental institutions were becoming popular. When women didn’t meet the expectations of their husbands or society, they were admitted into these institutions as being melancholic, insane or a nymphomaniac. Physicians had terrible attitudes toward hysterical women, describing them as difficult, narcissistic, personally and morally repulsive and manipulative. A

Hysteria popular “cure” at the time for women was litoridectomies, a form of genital mutilation in which the clitoris and ovaries are removed. The Athens Lunatic Asylum opened in 1874 in Athens, Ohio. For the female patients hospitalized during the first three years of the asylum’s operation, the three leading causes of insanity were postpartum psychosis, change of life and menstrual derangements. Women with postpartum depression or hysteria were labeled insane and sent to recover in the institution. Women were often institutionalized for unnecessary or outright fallacious reasons. The institution was shut down in the early 1900s due to the decrease in the need for these facilities, following the shut down of the Athens Lunatic Asylum, most if not all mental asylums were shut down by 2000. Associating feminism with hysteria became very popular in the 1980s. Feminists began to reclaim hysteria; they used it as a symbol of systematic oppression and reclaimed the term for themselves. This came from the belief that hysteria was a kind of pre-feminist rebellion against the oppressive social roles placed on women. Feminist writers wrote that pushing against the social roles placed on women. Feminist notion that

socially constructed femininities and hysteria are natural to being a female. Feminist social historians, both men and women, argue that hysteria was caused by women’s oppressed social roles, rather than by their bodies. The number of women diagnosed with female hysteria finally declined in the early 20th century due to doctors gaining a greater understanding of psychology. Neurologist Sigmund Freud claimed that hysteria was not anything physical, but it was an emotional, internal illness that not only affected women, but men as well. Now, female hysteria is no longer a recognized illness. Instead, different displays of hysteria are recognized in other conditions such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and anxiety attacks. In today’s society, mental health treatment for both women and men has tremendously improved compared to what earlier centuries faced. There is more awareness of mental health issues, and more efforts are being made to reduce the stigma and stereotypes associated with it. Mental health awareness still has a long way to improve, but activists and feminists continuously work to expose and change the negative attitudes that oppressed women for most of humanity’s history.



wearing ge in the Written by Jonathan Pierron Photographed by Mack Wagner Designed by Lindsay Katz


nder workplace Figuring out what to wear for an upcoming interview is often a struggle. The perfect balance between expressing personality through clothing and remaining professional is difficult to master. It can be accomplished with the right amount of thought and planning, but for Omar Meza, a genderfluid individual who uses the pronouns he/him and she/her, finding the perfect interview outfit can be even more challenging because of his identity. In the U.S., the concept of professional attire was built to ensure inequality. It forces people into extremely specific, general categories where they are to be perceived as professional, and therefore, hireable. These limitations take many forms: making expensive clothing a necessity, imposing shame on the natural hair texture of Black individuals and the declaration of unprofessionalism to anyone who does not abide by the strict dress code based on the idea of a gender binary. The gender binary is the belief that there are only two opposing genders: male and female. Under this belief system, people within these two groups are expected to act and dress in specific, assigned ways. Although inaccurate, the binary method for understanding gender manifests itself in our society’s overall conception of professionalism. Under that system, particular articles of clothing, such as ties or pants, are assigned to men, while dresses and floral prints are assigned to women. Those who do not fit into those limiting categories, such as Meza, can be met with negative first impressions. The unspoken guidelines for what an individual can and can’t wear prohibit the ability to express gender identity for many, especially those in 24

the LGBT+ community. With rules put in place, both abiding by them and breaking them serve as statements. People who are genderqueer, or otherwise queer, often break these boundaries as a way of expressing their gender and how they feel through clothing choices and accessories. “For a while, it actually affected the way I felt confident,” says Meza. For people who are queer, using genderspecific clothing to present oneself is not as simple as expressing one’s fashion taste, rather, it’s an integral piece of who they are as a person. Meza expresses 25

the importance of dressing in ways that he feels align with his gender identity. He mentions wearing a shawllike poncho, bell-bottom pants, earrings and the color purple as examples of the ways he presents his true self. “I feel very connected to myself when I wear something like that,” Meza says. Meza is a marketing coordinator who regularly meets with clients and co-workers. Meza said it took him a while to feel confident with truly expressing his gender in the workplace. “Not until recently, there have been laws where

you could get fired for being part of the LGBTQ community,” Meza says. What Meza says is true. Throughout history, gender discrimination has worked hand-in-hand with the social expectations of professionalism. Just five years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled sexual orientation and gender identity as protected identities under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The longoverdue decision made it illegal nationwide for workers to be fired based on gender identity or sexual orientation; however, it did not dismantle society’s overarching belief

that people who dress in clothing outside of their assigned gender are inherently unprofessional. Under the same protection, it states that people cannot be denied hire for their gender identities or sexual orientations: “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”



It would be illegal under that protection to not receive a job opportunity due to an interviewer’s biased opinion of the way someone dresses, but the fear for those who dress outside of the gendered binary dress code remains present. A study done by A Gender Not Listed Here found that 56% of transgender individuals surveyed were unemployed, and a whopping 76% of genderqueer individuals surveyed were unemployed. Those numbers serve as heavy reminders of how gender discrimination plays a role in people’s livelihoods. With interviews serving the first role in acquiring employment, impressing the employer with their presentation is often a stressor for people who are genderqueer. Meza shares similar fears about the interview process. “When I have interviews, I want to be able to dress a certain way, or, not have to feel like I have to wear a shirt and tie to be professional,” Meza says. For Meza, it means sacrificing his authentic self to give a good impression to his potential employers. This is the sad reality for many queer people, as they are forced to leave themselves behind every day as they get dressed for work. “There are different aspects to being professional,” adds Meza. “It’s about the way you present yourself personally, it doesn’t even have to be physical.” While the garments that cover your body do not determine your professional abilities or dedication, the concept of professional attire enforces the opposite idea. However, this is slowly changing when people like Meza break down those boundaries. Meza mentions “testing the waters” by delving further into his feminine wardrobe the longer he works somewhere. “I do like to push the boundaries a little when it comes down to it,” explains Meza.

In many ways, Meza is in the first generation to do that. While we can thank older members of the LGBT+ community for tearing down many other social limits, their lasting efforts often fell short in the workplace. However, with protections like the Civil Rights Act, more and more queer professionals are wearing their identity with them into their places of work. Brick by brick, people like Meza are breaking down the idea of professionalism and rebuilding a more inclusive design for how workers can present.



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VARIANT Magazine Vol. 4 Issue 2: The Mind  

VARIANT Magazine Vol. 4 Issue 2: The Mind