VARIANT Magazine Vol. 7 Issue 1: Folklore

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When we think back to the stories and traditions passed down through generations, we remember the fables and fairytales of our childhood, the angst and chaos of our teen years, and the fears and obsessions of our lives today. Fantasy-core is a recent trend that has swept social media by storm. After all, what better way is there to escape the day-today drudgery than to dress with inspiration from a mermaid, a fairy, a witch, or a pirate? Style writer Molly Florimonte reminds us that “escapism isn’t just about running away; it’s about finding the space to be your unique self and embracing the childlike wonder within” (pg. 32). On page 42, we enter the world of feminine rage. Looking to ancient history, the Bacchanalia festivals set an example of how people can feel their boundless feminine energy without shame. An orgy of emotion filled with a mixing of all sexes and classes, dancing and indulging into oblivion, this woman-originated space became a safe haven. This safe haven can also be seen when looking at the

work of Elsa Schiaparelli (pg. 8). She contributed to some of the greatest fashion trends of the 20th-century with her endless imagination, offering women the chance to express themselves in radical ways using organic shapes and glamorous materials. Pairing these looks with commentary on the obsession society has with wealth—which can be seen in nearly every culture—was, in our opinion, absolutely necessary. In Midwest culture, we have a collective obsession with the extra-terrestrial. Humans tend to find this obsession in this fear of the unknown. Is there life on other planets? Does that life visit Earth? We examine this, visually and editorially, on page 50. With some things, society’s obsessions last forever; other times, society loses their obsession just as quickly as they started. The 1980s were plagued with a fear of the “abnormal” as a wave of paranoia spread across the U.S. giving birth to the “Satanic Panic”—the fear that a network of Satan-worshiping cults were infiltrating communities and preying on children. On page 34, we talk to expert Paul Corupe to find out more. In VARIANT, we pride ourselves on our storytelling. We recognize that the stories we tell have power that can be used to unite us... or divide us. Issues writer Veronica Savitski informs us on the harmful side of stories and storytelling we grew up with (pg. 18) such as the intense antisemitism and misogyny. Analyzing stories, like Grimm’s fairy tales, through a modern lens is something VARIANT does with empathy. These stories are

important to us, just as they are to you. Over the course of this semester,VARIANT has broken down myths and legends only to find that one thing remains the same in all of them: dragons. Naturally we had to feature this phenomenon in our photo story (pg. 56), where we are able to showcase the illustrative skills of our designers and the unique beauty of Ohio University’s students by pairing these dragons with our models. It was no easy task deciding this semester’s theme. Our general body and executive board had tons of amazing ideas that were hard to narrow down. Without the creative vision of our Creative Director, Madeline Melragon, and Art Director, Jack Wilburn, none of this would have been possible. I proudly present to you… Folklore (VARIANT’s version). Sincerely,


VARIANT MAGAZINE

EDITOR IN CHIEF EXECUTIVE EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR

EMMA FRIEND JOEY EARLEY EMMA BHATT MADELINE MELRAGON

ART DIRECTOR JACK WILBURN

TREASURER KENJI SMITH

CHIEF OF PHOTOGRAPHY EVIE SEARS PHOTOGRAPHERS ZOE CRANFILL, MYA SLAVEN, ZENNIA LAM, HENRY DAY, GRACE HUBBARD, MAIRIN FITZPATRICK, LILY ALLISON-SMITH PHOTO EDITORS THEO MCCUDDEN, AMALIA FELICIANO WEB EDITOR MIMI CALHOUN HEAD OF DIGITAL TECH KRISTEN MEYER PUBLICATION DESIGN DIRECTOR ABBY LINDLEY PUBLICATION DESIGN ASSOCIATES MADDIE JAMES, ZOE CRANFILL DESIGNERS LONDYN HERBERT, EVA WHITTENBURG, OAKLEY AUGHTMAN, SYDNEY DADOSKY, DYLAN REED, AUBREY CLINE, BRIANA EDMOND, SOPHIA PARRILLO HEAD OF MAKEUP SOPHIA PARRILLO MAKEUP ARTISTS AUDREY HAYES, LAUREN FOUNDS, ALEXIS KY, KILEE LEONARD, LAUREN DAMICO, GRACIE STENGEL, ERIKA ANDERSON, PERSEPHONE LANDRETH, BROOKLYN BECKFORD

COPY CHIEF MADS KINNISON WRITERS RILEY BROWN, KATE TOCKE, VERONICA SAVITSKI, MOLLY FLORIMONTE, LIBBY EVANS, ETHAN HOFER HEAD OF VIDEOGRAPHY OLIVIA LUTZ VIDEOGRAPHERS BRADEN HOUSEHOLDER, MIERAE TAYLOR, LEO ERNEST, SOPHIE HINER, LILITH ROBERTS, SAM SPENCER, HENRY DAY, EVAN CASTEEL HEAD OF STYLING DEVON WHITE STYLISTS OLIVIA URLAGE, PERSEPHONE LANDRETH, HARLEE TAYLOR, SHYLA ALGERI, JULIAN EARLEY, HALIMA DIAGONA, MAXWELL GRUHN, TATUM KEHRES, CECELIA ROCHE, ERIN BAUMANN, LILITH ROBERTS, AUDREY HAYES, SUNEE WATTHANAPHAND, MICHEALA EVANS, PAIGE SKRIPAC, LAREDO CIENIK, ANALYSSA TORRES, SOPHIA PARRILLO, ZENNIA LAM, ABBY JOYNER, SOFIE HUFFMAN, MIERAE TAYLOR HEAD OF EVENT PLANNING BREAUNA SANDERS HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS RILEY BROWN PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSOCIATE KYLIE SIMMONS PUBLIC RELATIONS LIBBY EVANS, EVAN CASTEEL, GABRIELLA FELICIANO, AVA HUTCHINSON, RENAE HEFTY, ALEX SMITH, AUDREY HAYES HEAD OF FASHION SHOW NORAH LEFLORE

MODELS

Persephone Landreth, Harlee Taylor, Rosie Mogford, Anson Batoclette, Zoee Reagan, Georgia Moniaga, Nandi Gott, Maxwell Gruhn, Emma Khayat, Kristen Meyer, Shana Collins, Leila Boussedra, Maya Caron, Hali Bridges, Tatum Kehres, Kate Tocke, Evie Sears, Genesis Motley, Michaela Evans, Sunee Watthanaphand, Paige Skripac, Devon White, Emma Seyfang, Zoe Slaven, Eva Whittenberg, Olivia Seifert, Salma Zerhouane, Hayley Mitchell, Meg Rees, Paige O’Brien, Harshwardhan Inu, Alice Falkowski, Carmen Szukaitis, Sydney Dadosky, Mallory Brown, Erin Baumann, Kilee Leonard, Kenzie Shuman, Adam Weithnan, Emma Kate Kawaja, Sophie Neilsen, Alexis Ky, Maria Segui, Briana Edmond, Sophia Parrillo, and Lauren Staigers

STAY CONNECTED WITH US VARIANTMAGAZINE.COM / @VRNTMAGAZINE





Table

of Contents

8 Schiaparelli Walks Through Fire and Leaves Golden 18 Heroes Wield Swords, the Privileged Wield Pens 26 From Magical Realism to Whimsical Harajuku Fashion: Escaping the Cogwheel Society 34 Everything You Need to Know About the Satanic Panic 42 Femme Fatale or Fatal Female 50 The Midwest Martian Hunt 56 Dragons 62 A Tale of Massacre and Memory



SCHIAPARELLI

WALKS THROUGH FIRE AND LEAVES GOLDEN WRITTEN BY LIBBY EVANS PHOTOS BY GRACE HUBBARD DESIGNED BY DYLAN REED


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rench fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli was the first woman to appear on the cover of Time magazine. In 1934, Time’s article called her “one of the arbiters of ultra-modern Haute Couture.” To call one’s style modern means to let go of any former definition or expectation, but ultra-modern is life itself as we live and breathe it, constantly changing and constantly letting go. This is Schiaparelli. Elsa Schiaparelli passed away in 1973, but her ideologies echo off every wall of the Maison. She was more than a designer; she was an inventor. Appointed creative director in 2019, Daniel Roseberry writes of Schiaparelli with admiration and pride, sharing her enduring ethos: take something familiar, now make it unfamiliar. She would transform an ordinary, utilitarian item into a work of art, something to marvel at and discuss. A simple brooch became a surreal, giant, golden insect perching on an elegant shoulder. Reading glasses evolved into an accessory of bejeweled tortoiseshell and protruding fringe of humorous, extended eyelashes. The only way to create something new is to let go of everything you thought to be true, and it takes great courage to go into that dark wood. Every artist whose name will be remembered did not follow the crowd but took the risk of being strange for the chance to be extraordinary. Artists take the world with them by going out of their comfort zones. Schiaparelli

understood this and used it as a road map to divinity. She also understood the importance of inspiration. Nothing in our society is original; we are all a mosaic of our favorite things, and everything we create reflects this tessellation. In 1927, Schiaparelli’s tromp l’œil sweater, inspired by Armenian knitters, acted as the catalyst for the creation of the house. Throughout her career, she borrowed every art form to evolve her work. In 1946, a collaboration with artist Salvador Dalí resulted in a beautiful advertisement and perfume, Le Rey Soleil, representing Louis XIV, the sun king. With Daniel Roseberry’s spring-summer collection of 2023, these philosophies were reunited, and inspiration rang from the glimmering pages of author Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. Roseberry discusses Dante’s writing’s effect on him, refashioning his fear as bravery. The middle-aged narrator looks back on his life and feels not nostalgia but enlightenment and the VARIANT Fall 2023

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vanishing of everything he once knew. Roseberry says, “There is no ecstasy of creation without the torture of doubt.” He wants this collection to be about stepping into the unknown, embracing fear, and reconnecting fashion with nature in its darkest form. There are three looks for each of the nine circles of hell, reflecting images illustrated between lines of poetry in Dante’s first book, Inferno. A majority of the ensembles showcase clean-cut black silhouettes with accents of gold or silver. The gold stands out and changes the collection, connoting luxury with something darker and more profound in folkloric history: greed, lust, and deception. “If Dante learns how much life can deceive us, then these clothes echo that deceit, reminding us of the necessity of occasionally finding ourselves somewhere we’re forced to re-see our assumptions,” Roseberry said. The deceit of gold originates with the glorification of material hierarchies providing a physical elevation of one’s identity. Things gain value only once recognized over time and are universally empowered, turning them from a thing to a concept. So, why is gold valuable? Why do we associate gold with ancient, ethereal power? When it came time for society to tally resources and establish the concept of wealth, we had to choose a medium. Gold is not the rarest element, and it is the fourth most valuable, but it is not liable to corrosion, it has a low melting point to mold into coins or jewelry, and it’s abundant enough to be currency. These things provide value, but why does it evoke power and opulence?

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The difference is visage; it’s golden, it’s light, and it’s unbelievably beautiful. There are no rules carved into mountain sides or God-given manuscripts defining hierarchies of Earth’s elements. We found something heavenly, and we gave it a story. This is a fraction of innate humanity that shapes our society. People are selfish, and we crave the taste of beauty floating above our heads. It is the root of almost every folktale: chasing a beautiful woman with golden hair, searching for El Dorado or the pot at the end of the rainbow, or risking one’s life to climb deadly altitudes in the Gold Rush. Because gold has an aura of lore, it’s almost difficult to visualize it as currency like our glorious paper Benjamins. It feels fictional, but gold is a living metaphor for everything out of reach. These stories create dreams and sometimes nightmares, but right next to greed is ambition. This desire for prosperity pushes us to pursue a pipe dream or a gold medal, but it is also the ugliest form of humanity that we must constantly overcome. If you go searching for gold, you might lose yourself on the journey, but you also might find something beautiful. This is what Schiaparelli wants with his collection: to dive into the unknown with courage of conviction and find his gold. Daniel Roseberry introduces his collection by saying, “No ascension to heaven is possible without first a trip to the fires and the fear that comes with it. Let me embrace it always.”

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eroes Wield

Swords

The Privileged Wield Pens PHOTOS BY MYA SLAVEN WRITTEN BY VERONICA SAVITSKI DESIGNED BY EVA WHITTENBURG



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f the stories we tell have power, the storytellers have even greater power. Class fairytales, such as those written by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, have been told to children and adults alike for centuries. While heros’ adventures and princesses’ grace may evoke nostalgia for many people today, these stories communicate dangerous stereotypes and harmful themes. Analyzing fairy tales through a modern, informed, and empathetic

lens reveals the anti-semitic and misogynist themes these stories perpetuate, ultimately demonstrating how marginalized communities are wrongfully represented in fairy tales. While the Brothers Grimm are known best for their children’s stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, their stories have been vehicles for offensive caricatures and demeaning stereotypes of Jewish people. Of all their stories, the most blatantly antisemitic is the 1857 story, “The Jew in the Thorns”. When a man is given three magic wishes, he uses

them to torture and kill a Jewish man. The recipient of the magic wishes asks for a fiddle whose music forces people to dance. While walking in the woods, he encounters a stranger, the Jewish man, and forces him to dance on a thorned bush. When the Jewish man attempts to report this abuse to authorities, the man with the fiddle tortures the Jewish man until he confesses to stealing the money he possesses and is then executed. The Grimm Brothers make a jester of the Jewish man— demonstrating the normalization of mockery and outright violence

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towards marginalized people. Not only is his pain entertaining, but his only characteristics are that he is the antagonist, Jewish, and demonstrates the stereotype that Jewish people are greedy. By associating Jewish people and stereotypes with villainy, the Grimm Brothers communicate to their audience that Jewish people are inherently evil. “The Jew in the Thorns” is the most outright antisemitic work of the Grimm Brothers; however, many other stories from these creators of classic fairytales demonstrate antisemitic attitudes and messages. In Caitlin Hewitt-White’s essay “The Stepmother in Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales,” she states that these stories have been considered parts of a “German romantic nationalist project that aimed to construct a central German identity by racializing Others.” By singling out villains and associating them

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with Jewish people, these stories communicate what qualified people as ideal German citizens. During World War II, Nazi propaganda utilized fairytales to unite Germans against Jewish peoples. In all German elementary schools, during the peak of the Third Reich’s reign, it was required that students learned stories from the Grimm Brothers collection of fairy tales, Children’s Household Tales. In her analysis of the Grimm’s work, Megan Hill articulates how these stories were valued for exemplifying Nazi-defined “German culture and history.” Moreover, Hill states that these stories were used as metaphors to help children understand the “complex political situation around them.” Stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood” were used to explain how Jewish people hunted innocent Germans like the wolf hunted the story’s young

protagonist. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty were seen as models for Aryan purity, and the wicked stepmother and evil fairies were metaphors for wicked Jewish people. It is not just Nazi propaganda that continues to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and antisemitism attitudes. Modern adaptations of fairy tales do not communicate blatant hate and antisemitism as they have previously; however, they create Jew-coded villains, which continues to foster the association of evilness with Jewish qualities. Disney characters such as Mother Gothel of Tangled, Hades of Hercules, Ursula of The Little Mermaid, the evil stepmother in Cinderella, and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty all demonstrate physical characteristics associated with Jewish people. Hades even speaks Yiddish phrases, a clear nod to Jewish culture. From curly hair and hooked noses to pointed


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headwear that resemble devilish horns, these fairytale villains are littered with stereotypes. Whether the artistic decisions made when designing these characters were purposefully antisemitic or not, they have continued to associate Jewish people and characteristics with antagonistic and malicious qualities. Even more, many of these villains are women, demonstrating how oppression can intensify as identities intersect. Many of the villains mentioned above are powerful older women who demonstrate physical characteristics associated with Jewish people. These characters reject the

institutions of their societies and represent the defiance of the traditional roles and expectations placed on women. They oppose characteristics of an ideal woman: docile, traditionally beautiful, innocent, and young. They are assertive, violent, dominating, and cunning in nature, diametrically opposing societal norms. Associating these qualities in women with villainy shames women for demonstrating the autonomy to write their own stories. By associating Jewish identity with these villainous women, these fairytales convey the horrible message that Jewish women are monstrous and that it is a criminal thing to be associated with Jewish identity and physical characteristics. The Jew-coding of these women weaponize Jewish identity and brand powerful women as undesirable and villainous. While these are fictional characters, the messages their identities and stories relate to viewers continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and foster misogyny and antisemitism in our society.

There are, and always have been, issues regarding how minorities and marginalized communities are talked about in storytelling. The Grimm Brothers were two white men with the privilege and power to tell stories. Because their stories reflect their values, prejudices, and cultures, the values, cultures, and representations of other communities were neglected and left out. Storytellers have the power and privilege of getting people’s attention and spreading their messages. When those who have this power create harmful characters and themes that become so closely associated with their stories, it is no wonder that fairy tales today will perpetuate antisemitism and misogyny. Fairy tales, old and new, teach readers that Jewish people and women are evil and monstrous. The continuation of such harmful stereotypes and depictions inserts prejudice and hateful associations into the minds of those who consume this content. If the stories we tell have power then storytellers wield more than just a pen, they dictate who is worthy of societal acceptance. They dictate who gets a “happily ever after”.

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FROM

MAGICAL REALISM TO

WHIMSICAL HARAJUKU FASHION: ESCAPING THE COGWHEEL SOCIETY PHOTOS BY HENRY DAY WRITTEN BY MOLLY FLORIMONTE DESIGNED BY SYDNEY DADOSKY



s we scroll through our “For You” pages on TikTok or our “Explore” page on Instagram, we have recently been confronted with a new trend: Fantasycore. From mermaidcore to fairycore to princesscore, young people on social media are turning to classic fantasy tropes to cope with all things real and stressful. From governmental influences to war to environmental disasters, today’s youth have many reasons to retreat into an online sphere that encourages a whimsical outlook and a childlike sense of play. Although this may feel new, in countries such as Japan, escapism has been embedded into the dominant culture for decades. Japan has been a capitalist nation for hundreds of years, impacting all sectors of Japanese culture. Being employed, spending money, and contributing to the economy often take priority over other aspects of the human experience, making a person feel as if they and their job are the same. Due to this lack of individuality, many Japanese individuals have responded by implementing a rich culture featuring one-of-a-kind fashion, outof-this-world literature, and so much more. This phenomenon is explored by several Japanese fiction authors in order to express and move beyond their own experiences with this concept. Authors such as Sayaka

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Murata, writer of the famous Convenience Store Woman, and Haruki Murakami, writer of After Dark, explore the relationship between a capitalist society and the wish for escapism through magical realism. Magical realism, much like the recent TikTok trends, blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. Defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy,” magical realism allows these authors to create stories that bring imagination to the everyday. To avoid becoming a “cog” or to deal

with the reality that one might not be made to fit perfectly in “the machine,” Murakami and Murata create worlds that accept those from all walks of life. Unmarried women, sex workers and late-night jazz musicians alike, these authors create a fictional world more accepting than the real one they face every day. Whether it be a saxophone player turning into an otherworldly beauty when he plays (After Dark, Murakami) or items in a convenience store speaking to the clerk, ensuring they are put in the right place (Convenience Store Woman, Murata), this genre of Japanese Literature allows for those who read it to step into their childlike sense of wonder and bring fantasy into their everyday lives as a way to cope with a capitalistic reality. Literature does not provide the only form of escape for those feeling pressure to conform to a “work until you die” society in Japan; fashion and self-expression serve as a main form of nonconformity and distraction. We see “aesthetics”, very similar to fantasy core, flourish in Japanese street style. Opening a particular magazine in the late ‘90s to late 2010s in Japan, you would see flashes of neon pastels, oversized bows, androgynous cuts and excessive accessories. The street-style magazine FRUiTS, published from 1997 to 2017 by Japan Publications Trading Co, highlighted the particular aesthetics present in Tokyo, Japan’s Harajuku district. Inspiration for each aesthetic featured in each aesthetic featured in the magazine is different, but many styles stem from fantasy, manga, music and toys. Exaggerated silhouettes with lots of layering, bright colors, and thematic visuals create a


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form of self-expression that allows those who participate to defy societal norms and mainstream fashion. Creative selfexpression and individuality counter many of the pressures put on an individual by a society that is economically driven. While the magazine itself may not be explicitly reactionary to these issues, it represents a form of escapism from the fashion norms and consumer culture that dominate many cultures. As the Sayaka Murata quotes states at the introduction of this article, the pressure to become another “cog” in the industrial machine of society works to suffocate childhood dreams and create new ones of fitting in. In a society that often prioritizes conformity and economic contribution, it’s refreshing to explore the realms of imagination, whether through the pages of a novel or the colorful streets of Harajuku in FRUiTS magazine. The Fantasycore TikTok trend is just our culture’s perspective on a practice conducted by others for centuries. So, whether you’re diving into a world of magical realism or expressing your individuality through unconventional fashion,

remember that escapism isn’t just about running away; it’s about finding the space to be your unique self and embracing the childlike wonder within. It is key to nurture our own sense of imagination, reflect on the issues that cause us to turn to daydreaming, and recognize that in hese moments of escape, we truly find ourselves and our place in society.

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A queen of hearts, a teddy bear, PEGASUS, a FROG , a clown fish, and a PRINCESS . VARIANT Fall 2023

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PHOTOS BY ZOE CRANFILL WRITTEN BY KATE TOCKE DESIGNED BY LONDYN HERBERT

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ear struck in the 1980s when rumors of satanic abuse and rituals became apparent in pop culture. This was known as the Satanic Panic. Many fundamentalist Christians had claimed that there were satanic messages in pop and heavy metal music from Ozzy Osbourne and games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Allegations about children’s day care centers had many worrying about their safety, and parents refused to let their children listen to Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden. What a time to be alive. Author Paul Corupe wrote a novel titled Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, which is based on this cultural event that he lived through. I was

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lucky enough to talk to Paul about horror movies. It was everything. everything he knows, and trust There was a wide exploration of the culture and trying to see me, there is a lot of it. Q: What is your definition of the Satanic Panic, and what went down during the 1980s? A: My definition of the satanic panic would be that fundamentalist Christians started to push back on contemporary or pop culture by kind of looking at different areas that they thought were contravening Christianity. A big part of that was music, such as pop and heavy metal, Dungeons and Dragons, and to some extent,

how these different pop culture concepts were indoctrinating kids by pulling them away from Christianity. That’s not to say Satan influenced pop or that he was the source of all pop culture. There were bands using satanic imagery. Some Christians said Superman was satanic because he is a powerful figure, and


Jesus is one powerful figure. They called Superman antiChristian. They called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not Christian, because they teach Eastern philosophy. There was a large pushback on culture that wasn’t upholding Christian values, and that was taken to many extremes. Q: How was the Satanic Panic similar to a moral panic? A: Satanic panic, I say, is a moral panic. It is to a much more extreme degree.You had people during the Satanic Panic, like Christians, who would get up and say, “I used to belong to a satanic cult,” and they sacrificed babies. They would say they witnessed this. They would talk about all these atrocities that they took part in later. They later got exposed as liars. It was more than what kids shouldn’t do and what music you shouldn’t listen to. It was more of if your kid played Dungeons and Dragons, they were two steps away from murdering babies. It was an extreme example of a moral panic. Q: The McMartin preschool trial took place during this era, which blamed preschool teachers for sexual abuse and engaging in satanic rituals. What kind of effect does this have on society and children when the issue revolves around them?

A: The McMartin Preschool case was saying that their daycare providers were Satanists and abused them. They also said that there were underground tunnels and stuff like that. Even though the case pretty much has been settled, people on Twitter were acting like this happened. I think a lot of it was the parents. They made

children state things that didn’t happen. It is hugely damaging. It is extremely detrimental for children who are put through this. Even if they say things that aren’t really true, how do you grow up knowing that your parents manipulated you or that you were abused by daycare workers? It is not much of a choice. We still see VARIANT Fall 2023

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it a lot today with satanic groups that are attacking children. These kinds of lies are a fundamentalist Christian agenda. None of this stuff is true; that’s the underlying thing to remember.

years later is ridiculous. It’s almost like we haven’t learned anything, saying things like “underground networks of sex offenders” and “babies being sacrificed”. It is a little more political this time.

Q: How are these Christians almost similar to QAnon?

Q: Do you still see any remnants of the Satanic Panic today?

A: There are a lot of similarities, not necessarily how QAnon started, but these days because there is a Christian fraction of that. Things have swayed back. Having lived through the Satanic Panic, it wasn’t heavily traumatic. All the effects happened in the ramifications of the West Memphis Three; people were doing a special on Satanic Panic and coming back to say it is untrue. Reliving this 40

A: Part of what is happening right now, even though we are a few years out of it. When Ronald Reagan was elected in the 1980’s, we had this hard swing to the right, and fundamentalist Christians felt more empowered to bring these concerns. This had been happening in Christian circles well before. For example, The Beatles records. People said if you played the records backwards,

you would hear drug references. Christians have always had this space between themselves and pop culture. They felt more emboldened once Reagan was elected. And, probably, the same thing happened with Trump. The swing to the right emboldened these people to bring back these concerns, such as Lil Nas X referencing the devil or Iron Maiden having satanic symbols on stage. There were satanic symbols in music in the ’90s and the 2000s, but no one cared. It happens to be political. As a kid in the ’80s, I remember this scary stigma around heavy metal music or Dungeons and Dragons. But now it’s in Stranger Things, and no one cares. People take it less seriously, but it is a part of a culture. VARIANT Fall 2023

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ALE OR WRITTEN BY RILEY BROWN PHOTOS BY ZENNIA LAM DESIGNED BY OAKLEY AUGHTMAN

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positions, undermining traditional Roman familial values. The basis of the festival focused on rebirth and renewal, complete with cultic initiations and revelry. Elements of murder and both heterosexual and homosexual orgies earned the Bacchanalia festivals the titles of “immoral” and “dangerous” as concern and scandalous allegations were thrown. But what made the Bacchanalia so special was the backbone of femininity that served as not only its foundation but the glue that fastened it all together. Uninhibited, wild, and mysterious were a few words that described the Bacchanalia women. They weren’t tethered by male authority but instead devoted to Bacchus, the Roman god of fertility and wine. They dressed in fawnskin, pranced barefoot, and wore their hair long, loose, and unkept. Regardless of what drove them to the Bacchanalian lifestyle, they were ultimately authentic in their own identity. There wasn’t a rigid set of rules needing to be followed, and social norms held little to no weight. Yet, the Bacchanalia women were rich in their range of emotions and freedom of expression In modern-day society, women have limits in what they can and can’t express. There are harmful stereotypes, impossible expectations, and, of course, an underscoring of sexism. As a woman, there’s pressure to be perfect yet not too uptight. Be a career woman, but also settle down and have children. Stay quiet, look pretty, and don’t by any means step outside of the perfectly constructed box society so desperately wants to house you in.

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age (noun) – a violent and uncontrollable anger. How to use it in a sentence: “Tried to hide his anger.” “Could not contain his fury.” Although our society has moved away from a strictly patriarchal standpoint regarding gender roles and expressions of sexuality, a lot of progress still needs to be forged in terms of emotions. In the second and third centuries B.C.E., lavish festivals in honor of the Roman god, Bacchus, or Dionysus as known in Greece, were thrown. The festival, Bacchanalia, centered around the mysterious religious cult of Liber. Although little is known about their practices and rites, the festivals involved dramatic performances, boundless drinks, freedom of expression, and mingling of sexes and classes. In its early years it was held in secret and attended by women only before invitations opened to men and meetings became more frequent. Women held leadership


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It’s enraging. Infuriating. And degrading. Although humanity has advanced in a myriad of ways since the second and third centuries B.C.E., we’ve also regressed in how we examine the full range of human emotions. Why can’t we put on display the complexity that is feminine rage? The media is a prominent perpetrator in the societal guidelines given for what is and isn’t socially acceptable. People who venture outside societal norms are often viewed negatively and can be critiqued harshly for not aligning. In terms of modern media depicting female rage, there usually isn’t much evidence of it. Historically, female protagonists in books, movies, and TV shows aren’t portrayed as cunning, angry, or ambitious and instead get the more benign and lightweight characteristics of soft-spoken, kind, and nurturing placed on them. And unfortunately, a lot of those characteristics are associated with being weak. Anger is reserved as a masculine emotion, marking it unfeminine for girls to display such a rampant emotion. Even though female rage dates back to ancient mythology, lots of it has been lost throughout history as we progressed. Even if it does appear, it’s often not framed in the most flattering light and earns women the title of being “rude,” “too pushy,” or the ever-creative “she’s probably just on her period.” So, where do women have societal permission to express their rage? To be completely transparent, a lot of the time,

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they don’t. More autonomy has been granted in the most recent decades as women fight for control over their bodies, for climate change, and in various feminist movements such as #MeToo. There are visible expressions of anger for the unjust hand we’ve been dealt in which we are now pushing back against the male-dominated society that laid out the sanctions for us in a carefully crafted bow only meant to ensnare and entrap who we are down to our core. Harmful stereotypes have emerged to encapsulate this rage in women, such as the angry black woman seen as bitter, unapproachable, and aggressive. Or the fiery Latina who is often sexualized or viewed as hot-headed or promiscuous. The tiger mom is a stereotype in Chinese parenting in America and is seen as controlling, strict, and deeply traditional.


Yet, these stereotypes don’t define women for all they can be. They’re merely obstacles and blockades for women’s abilities. Although stereotypes and discrimination have set up a framework of limitations, that doesn’t mean they’re the guidelines meant to be followed. Femininity encompasses a wide range of characteristics that make up women and all the attributes that define their individuality. Expressions of rage are part of those qualities that fully contain what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Regardless of whether that expression is viewed as unbecoming or “unladylike,” feminine rage has been passed down through the generations. It surges through our bloodlines the right to cry, scream, and feel all that needs to be felt.

The Bacchanalians may have preceded us by many centuries, but they were utterly confident in their ability to showcase their true selves. Although our society isn’t perfect, maybe we can learn a thing or two from the lessons woven into history. VARIANT Fall 2023

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The Midwest Martian Hunt WRITTEN BY ETHAN HOFER PHOTOS BY MAIRIN FITZPATRICK DESIGNED BY AUBREY CLINE


T H E C AT ’ S O U T O F T H E B AG — O R M AY B E , T H E A L I E N ’ S O U T O F T H E U F O, but extraterrestrials seemingly do exist. At least, they exist according to former intelligence official David Grusch, who confirmed to a U.S. congressional hearing that the U.S. had retrieved “nonhuman” biological matter from pilots of unidentified aircraft. He even used his platform to share accounts of extraterrestrial sightings that he believed to be credible. While the U.S. congressional hearing seemed pretty distracting from the various issues faced in today’s world, it brings us to one of the most ominous and eerie topics we have ever faced. As a result, aliens have often been turned into entertainment, which brings along many stereotypes. Being in a quiet, rural town in the Midwest at night may not seem like the scariest thing in the world to its inhabitants,

but to outsiders, notions of crop circles leave plenty of horrors up to the imagination. Although crop circles might not be real, the phenomenon was absurdly popular and made for controversies across the U.S. They were first brought to the public eye in 1978 by Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, two farmers who used ropes and a plank of wood to create the generational mystery. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, many pranksters found creative ways to duplicate mysterious symbols and shapes. While this all seemed entertaining, it generated a vast array of conspiracy theories across the masses. Furthermore, it created stereotypes about the Midwest. People began to perpetuate notions that rural areas, especially those with corn as a major crop, were bound to have increased encounters with extraterrestrial life. Many movies used people lost in corn mazes in local county fairs as those who

would get abducted. Even midwestern livestock such as cows were a popular victim of alien abduction in various films. Among all these hypotheses on crop circles, extraterrestrial theories became more popular, and the entertainment industry saw a chance to profit from them. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1981) was the most popular film of this era, showcasing a wholesome story about a boy befriending an alien and helping him return home. Strange Invaders (1983) was a more sinister film that took place in the Midwest and was centered around abductions where aliens took over the bodies that they killed. While these movies are completely fictional, they raise the question of what is actually known about extraterrestrial life. As mentioned previously, former intelligence official David Grusch made it clear that he trusts

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Wanted: Midwest Martians and believes in the credibility of alleged encounters, also listing off his own personal encounters with possible extraterrestrials. This U.S congressional hearing, which was open to the public and highly anticipated, made audience members audibly gasp at some of the statements supposedly confirming the existence of extraterrestrials. But what made this hearing so intriguing and sought-after? Well, there’s not much we, as regular citizens, know about aliens, and the possibility that

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the U.S. government could confirm and detail the existence of beings that we have conspired about for thousands of years would be beyond groundbreaking. Although our government cannot answer all questions regarding extraterrestrials, they seemingly have put an allotted amount of trust into the individual encounters that have happened across the U.S. Many of these individual encounters serve as tiny but important puzzle pieces in the grand

scheme of things. It is especially important that we are aware of any eyewitnesses around us. Ohio has served as a key state for U.S. encounters, as there have even been encounters native to Athens. According to Arcgis, an interactive map for extraterrestrial encounters, the encounters detail that a “close orange fiery object flying slow and low” and “three strange orange lights” were seen, and there have been hundreds more documented eyewitnesses in just Ohio alone


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over the past century. A famous case from Ohio was 1994’s Trumbull County encounter, where an alarming number of people called to report strange, lowflying lights in the sky around midnight. The first officer to the scene was led to the light by a citizen nearby, and when he had driven closer to the light, his vehicle had magically come to a halt, shut off and his radio had stopped working. When attempting to restart the vehicle, he said he was engulfed by an unknown aircraft that was described as a giant, circular-shaped object and had an intense light in the middle. The U.S. is one of the most wellknown countries for its alien encounters, but which of these encounters is the most famous? Roswell, New Mexico’s 1947 UFO crash encounter definitely

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serves as one of the most undeniable proofs of extraterrestrials. The case emerged when a “flying disc” had crashed into a ranch near Roswell. While the military had claimed that what was recovered was debris from an experimental surveillance balloon that was part of a classified program, many disagreed and believe that their claim was simply a cover-up to avoid public outcry. This reported encounter made many aware of the possibility that living creatures outside of Earth exist, and with that, many became interested in extraterrestrials in a similar way we see death or spirits, which is how otherworldly it all seems. We cannot always determine whether ominous beings are a threat to us, but this concern alone has caused humans to be horrifyingly captivated with these creatures. With the U.S. government announcing that they have classified documents regarding extraterrestrial beings, along with the many undeniable encounters across the country, it is hard to avoid the ominous topic. As humans, we may never truly know everything about these beings, but our quest to do so should not come to a halt. The creatures we once believed in that lived under our beds or in our closets as children may not be real, but the ones in the sky that we conspire about as adults may


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Dragons Dragons are found in every culture… PHOTOS BY LILY ALLISON-SMITH DESIGNED BY BRIANA EDMOND

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S I N C E O C TO B E R 7 , 2 0 2 3 , G A Z A ’ S M I N I S T RY O F H E A LT H H A S R E P O RT E D O V E R 9 , 0 0 0 PA L E S T I N I A N S D E AT H S AT T H E H A N D S O F THE I S R A E L I G O V E R N M E N T.

WRITTEN BY EMMA BHATT

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A hospital has been bombed. Entire families have been annihilated. In his resignation letter, the director of the New York office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Craig Mokhiber, declared in the clearest terms: “The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault.” We are, as you are reading this, witnessing a genocide. In one Palestinian folktale, a louse loses her flea husband and, in an act of mourning, smears her face with ash. According to Middle Eastern Studies expert Farah Aboubakr, this is a reminder of a tradition from Palestinian villages


through which women would showcase their grief. With nearly 7 million refugees around the world, how do you remember your traditions? When your right to exist on the land from which you originate becomes dinnertime conversation, when scholars and media outlets and someone on Instagram get to debate whether or not you should be bombed into oblivion, how do you hold onto your sense of identity? How do you tell the world that you have a history, that women mourned their dead and the village watched, that children told stories of fleas and lice, that you come from something—because what is folklore if not a means to look at oneself in the world and say “I come from something”? In even the most mundane stories, Palestinians across the world who have not been able to return in over 70 years are reminded of how a village might have looked, of how a woman might have baked bread in an outdoor oven, of how a house might have been built. If I have learned anything from nearly four years studying literature and sociology at Ohio University, it is this: the stories we tell matter. They act as enforcers and subverters of culture, as means of understanding and contextualizing and transforming

our world. They are a refuge and a weapon and they are, for the Palestinian people, a reminder. The folklore we’ve covered in this issue—from the Satanic Panic to dragons—exists because it has been preserved. We only have access to these stories because someone felt they were worth saving. And, as Aboubakr reminds, the legitimacy, acknowledgment, and preservation of Palestinian history, culture, and heritage are seriously jeopardized by the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian people’s forced migration from their ancestral homeland. Thus, in the absence of formal institutions to record and preserve their past, Palestinian history has survived statelessness through the maintenance of communal memories. Folklore, then, has the power to keep a people united amidst a diaspora. But can these stories, so desperately preserved in the face of such turmoil, survive a genocide? This is, you might say, a fashion magazine. To that, I remind that fashion and politics are not two separate beasts, nor are they two facets of culture which we can ever pull apart nicely and tidily. When brands like Victoria’s Secret, NYX, Maybelline, MAC, American Eagle, Urban Decay, Ralph Lauren, and countless more actively

support or continue to do business in Israel, the clothes on our backs and the makeup on our face can’t escape the moral weight of slaughter. At its best, our folklore reminds us of who we are, of who we have been and who we could be. In tales from Palestine, we are granted a vision of community, of life and death and joy and sorrow, not at the hands of an oppressor, but in the beautiful mundane of the everyday. My hope is that this transcends the realm of folklore—that Palestinians, someday, will be able to live in such a reality.



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