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Counterpoint DECEMBER 2007 VOLUME 31 / ISSUE 4

THE MIT/WELLESLEY JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE

Christmas with Counterpoint The best Hanukkah presents are delivered by Santa

p3 The best of the worst holiday media

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Trans Wellesley Wellesley’s transgender students & allies discuss their experiences & the College’s shortcomings.

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[also inside: Opting out of Ethos + an interview with Frank Warren + The Beaver returns!]


w r i t e e d i t l a yo u t p h o to g ra p h d r a w co n t i b u t e a r g u e b a n t e r fa c t - c h e ck p ro of re a d d e s i g n fundraise advertise s o m a ny w a y s t o co n t r i b u t e t o co u n t e r p o i n t e m a i l co u n t e r p o i n t @ mi t . e d u


E D I TO R I A L S TA F F Editors in Chief

Managing Editor

Edward Summers MIT ’08 Kara Hadge WC ’08 Kristina Costa WC ’09 Marion Johnson WC ’09

Counterpoint The MIT/Wellesley Journal of Campus Life December 2007 Volume 31 / Issue 4

D E S I G N S TA F F Layout

Artistic Director

Kristina Costa WC ’09 Hailey Huget WC ’10 Caroline Sun WC ’11 Julie Camarda WC ’08

B U S I N E S S S TA F F Advisor Treasurers

Rebecca Faery MIT F Katie Gosling WC ’10 Sandy Naing WC ’09

Business Manager Publicity

Rayla Heide WC ’10 Jenny Kim WC ’08 Jane Repetti WC ‘09

f e a t u r e s MAY CHEN

Wellesley College for women...and men.

c a m p u s RAYLA HEIDE

S TA F F W R I T E R S E.B. Bartels WC ’10, Julie Camarda WC ’08, Janet Chen WC ’10, Veronica Cole WC ’09, Kristina Costa WC ’09, Kara Hadge WC ’08, Ouqi Jiang MIT ’08, Marion Johnson WC ’09, Ami Li WC ’10, Itamar Kimchi MIT ’08, Edward Summers MIT ’08, Barrett Strickland MIT ’08

M I T C O N T R I B U TO R S

12 TransWellesley

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W EL LESLEY CO NTR IB UTO RS

SARIKA NARULA

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MACHERIE EDWARDS

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Cover illustration / Jenny Kim WC ‘08

SUB SCR IPTIO N S One year’s subscription: $25. Send checks and mailing address to:

Counterpoint, MIT Room W20-443 77 Mass. Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 Counterpoint is funded in part by the MIT Undergraduate Association Financial Board and by the Wellesley Senate. MIT and Wellesley are not responsible for the content of Counterpoint. Counterpoint thanks its departmental sponsors at Wellesley: Middle Eastern Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Art, Philosophy, and Africana Studies; and at MIT: Writing & Humanistic Studies.

Going “Incognegro” Can you reject a cultural org, but not its culture?

a r t s

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JENNY KIM & STAFF

10 Night Owl Eats in Boston

EB BARTELS

16 Guerilla Warfare

Late-night munchies? We don’t judge. The Guerilla Girls bare their teeth in a teach-in and lecture.

JANE REPETTI

18 White Space

An interview with installation artist Rebecca Rose Greene.

AMI LI

20 Secrets Can Be Fun An interview with Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret.

SUB M IS SIO N S Counterpoint welcomes all submissions of articles and letters. Email submissions to counterpoint@mit.edu. Counterpoint encourages cooperation between writers and editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

The Forgotten Faith Awareness of Hinduism takes a backseat on campus.

TR U S TE ES Matt Burns MIT ’05, Brian Dunagan MIT ’03, Minying Tan WC ’08, Vivi Vasudevan MIT ’07

The Seven Stages of Procrastination The first step is admitting that you have a problem. The second step is looking it up on Wikipedia for five hours.

Kevin DiGenova ’07, Ken Haggerty ’11, Adam Nolte G, Durga Prasad Pandey G, Vivi Vasudevan ’07, Mike Yee ’08 Elana Altman ’11, Alexandra Cahill ’11, May Chen ’10, Megan Cunniff ’11, Ellis Friedman ’08, Rayla Heide ’10, Ellen Huerta ’08, Jenny Kim ’08, Cammie Lewis ’09, Sarika Narula ’11, Elizabeth Pan ’11, Jane Repetti ’09, Nancy Sandoval ’08, Katherine Scafuri ’11, Caroline Sun ’11, Minying Tan ’08, Alyssa Torres ’09, Melissa Woods ’08

l i f e

r e g u l a r s /etc

ELANA ALTMAN & EDWARD SUMMERS

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THE BEAV

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VERONICA COLE

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A Jewish student longs for Christmas; reflections on the state of emergency in Pakistan

Ask the Beaver Advice from Counterpoint’s sex and dating expert

The worst Christmas-related media of all time.

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L’Chaim to Christmas All I want for Hanukkah is my Christmas tree

{ by elana altman}

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hristmastime is my favorite time of year. I love the sight of pretty little lights on all the houses; I love the smell of warm, toasty gingerbread baking on a cold night; I love the sound of cheesy, overplayed music in grandly decorated department stores; and I love the joy in children’s smiles as they tear glittering red and green wrapping paper off their presents. I love that they still believe in Santa Claus and Christmas magic, and it makes the Christmas spirit live just a little bit longer in my heart. And no, none of that was sarcastic in the least. I know it sounds silly, but my

love for Christmas makes more sense when you consider that I have never had a chance to celebrate it. I am Jewish, so while all my friends are busy decorating their trees, I am celebrating a dull, unimportant holiday called Hanukkah, which no one even has any idea how to spell. Sure, the candles are pretty and the presents always welcome, but as Christmas-ized as it has become in America, it doesn’t have the same wakeup-early-to-be-the-first-one-down-at-thetree excitement that Christmas does. In fact, waking up on Christmas Day is one of the worst feelings in the world for me.

Emergency! Pakistan gives up democracy for a while, and people are OK with it { by edward summers}

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he world watched as Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule that stalled Pakistan’s path toward democracy. With the emergency declared the judiciary was dismissed and the media suppressed, with newspapers stopped and private TV stations dropped from cable carriers. The West looked on with anxiety, as the country that is so key in the fight against Islamic militancy underwent domestic political unrest that could turn disastrous and undo the efforts of the U.S. and U.K. to control militancy in the region. The domestic situation is different. Despite the portrayal in Western media of 4

massive unrest, most people in Pakistan go about their daily life unfazed. Those most affected, like judges, lawyers, people in the media and those who actively support Musharraf ’s political opponents are out in the streets protesting, but the majority of Pakistanis seem not to care. Reading reactions on blogs across the web, I noticed that many people who live in Pakistan think Musharraf has done good things for Pakistan. He has worked toward peace with India, and presided over the period of greatest economic growth in the nation’s history. One blogger called Musharraf “good for business,” and another called him “the only choice for Pakistan”

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I spend the weeks leading up to Christmas getting in the Christmas spirit, going to local treelightings with friends and participating in secret Santas. My family’s stereotypical Christmas Eve Chinese food meal with other Jewish families in our area is also a beloved holiday tradition. The next day I wake up to nothing: no presents under the tree, no Christmas brunch served in the kitchen, no little obnoxious cousins running around. There’s no Christmas in my house, only four bored Jews and the sound of me whining on and on about how I am going to marry a Christian so I can one day justify celebrating Christmas while remaining true to my Jewish faith. However, I was looking forward to this year as the first year I could have a Christmas tree of my own. I figured I’d set up a mini one in my dorm room, and I’d have an excuse because my roommate would be Christian. It was my one chance to celebrate Christmas. My roommate, of course, is Jewish. Elana Altman ’11 (ealtman@wellesley.edu)

Pakistanis who identified themselves as ex-pats abroad also seemed to agree. Historically speaking, this makes sense. In Pakistan military governments have been far more successful than democratic ones. Democratic governments have been riddled with corruption and have been seen as weak. That is maybe why the West has been very circumspect in their criticism of the emergency, as Musharraf has been a strong ruler and is seen as the best ally in the fight against militants. Even India, Pakistan’s main rival, has been tacitly supporting the emergency, as Musharraf has assured that Pakistan’s guns are pointed at Islamist militants in the Northwest and not at Indian Kashmir. As the emergency goes into its second, and perhaps final, month, it will be interesting to see how the West, and Pakistan’s silent majority, which is currently supporting Musharraf, will react and how the balance of power will shift. Edward Summers ’08 (esummers@mit.edu


CAMPUS LIFE

The Seven Stages of Procrastination As inevitable in life as death and taxes

{ by rayla heide}

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ure, we all do it. But do those of us who admit to procrastinating fully understand the seven stages? No, no we don’t. So I went on an “expedition,” if you will, a sort of “learning quest” to discover the tidal waves of passion—and insanity—that can be experienced with the aid of just a simple incomplete task. In the words of my alter ego: “Procrastination is like chocolate; it serves as a temporary break from stress and makes your tongue feel chalky and look brown.” Is procrastination a guilty pleasure? Yes. Is it also necessary? Yes. And so, in studying this cultural phenomenon, I became quite swept up in its various systems of belief and ways of life (certain individuals might attest that my fervor ensued to a rather unhealthy extent). Stage 1. Denial. Nah, you aren’t procrastinating. You are multitasking. There’s a difference. You are just checking Facebook to see if your friends have sent you any important messages, and reading Community on FirstClass to catch up on the latest campus “news” so you won’t get too far behind. OK, so now you are cleaning your desk. Why not also make your bed? And tidy up your room? Go ahead and fix your roommate’s closet. She’ll love you for it. So what if it’s the fourth time you’ve done it today. No biggie. Heck, you’ve gotta do it sometime. It might even make doing the old homework that much more efficient, and enjoyable. Field notes: This first stage of procrastination is the most difficult to get out of and can last for a very, very long time. Stage 2. Realization. After a while, your consciousness begins to accept the fact that you have been staring at a Word document with your name, the date, the professor’s

name and perhaps a centered line at the top with the word “Title” (so you don’t have to waste time with the details when you actually get to the writing part, duh). Field notes: During this stage you may begin to suffer physical externalizations of this godforsaken disease, such as mild trembling of the fingers and mild-to-moderate shaking of the back. Stage 3. Panic. This is the stage that can sometimes lead to the curing of procrastination, if guided properly. Try to gain control of your panic by pushing down a tunnel in the depths of your mind. Use this inertia as momentum to start your project. Or, use it as energy to meet up with your friends at the campus center. Field notes: The physical feelings you experienced during Stage 2 will only get worse from here. Symptoms can include but are not limited to a reddening of the eyes, a darkening of the pupils, a moistening of the palms and a desire to “scream” to your friends on IM (“A;LKSDJF;LKJPOWIEUR!!!!” or “X JIELWJA;LSKDJFOIWER;ALSKDJF!!!!”). You may want to warn them in advance, or they may think you are having a seizure. Stage 4. Fight or Flight response. “I don’t believe in deadlines!” leads to “I don’t believe in assignments!” which leads to “I don’t believe in the academic system!” Once the initial fervor of your chant subsides, you can feel free to begin Googling like mad. Here are some to get you started: “happy and healthy alternatives to college,” “what the [insert four-letter-word here] can I do with my life?” and “list of billionaires who dropped out.” Field notes: Symptoms of overconfidence may occur at this point, often followed by a wave of despair. And again, warn your friends.

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Stage 5. Acceptance and Hope. When you finally surface from the abyss, you happily realize that in spite of all your procrastination, you have completed a glorious three pages! (OK, three pages of your eight page paper that was due last Wednesday. But it’s a start.) Now it is time to do what we call “Thinking About Turning That Shit In” (TATTSI), during which you contemplate the monstrous task that lies ahead. Field notes: If you need to get an assignment done, consider doing a smaller assignment as a form of procrastination. You may find yourself becoming really, really good at this, which may lead to large revelations. For instance, procrastinating on a paper may lead you to believe that you hate writing papers, which may help you decide that instead of majoring in sociology, you actually want to major in computer science. In my life, writing this article is certainly pressing, but far less pressing than my essay that was due two weeks ago. Perhaps I will major in Counterpoint. Stage 6. TTSI. That’s right. It is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It is the moment you’ve been dreading. Simply turn in what you have, whatever you have. Your future self will thank you for it. Field notes: It is always important to tailor your work for your specific audience. Feel free to manipulate what you have to achieve the best possible result. What does this mean for you? Change the title! Change the thesis! Change the class you are handing in the assignment for! It is not against the Honor Code as long as you only turn the piece in to one class. Stage 7. Withdrawal. You’re done! Well, woot-woot for you. But now what? Life seems meaningless and empty without that assignment hanging over your head. The answer: there is a whole universe of work to be done. Be patient. Enjoy this ever-brief moment of inhalation. The work will come to you. The final certainty in life is not just death and taxes, but also the fact that there is always more to do. Bathe in this knowledge of certainty…and move on. Rayla Heide ’10 (rheide@wellesley.edu) will come up with a good author blurb tomorrow. 5


CAMPUS LIFE

The Forgotten Faith What happened to Hinduism?

{ by sarika narula}

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y roommate stormed angrily into our room, exclaiming, “Did you know that Islamofascism week is coming up?” Displaying my obvious ignorance, I asked “Islamofascism week? What’s that?” She launched into a tirade about the anti-Islamic lectures and events that would prevail for a week at the end of October at Wellesley and at many other colleges throughout the country. Islamo-Fasicsm Awareness Week involved speakers discussing the negative implications of Islam, followed by a reactionary week, including a day on which many people decided to wear green to protest the idea of Islam as a fascist religion. While I sat there listening, I realized how much awareness there is of Islam as a religion—even so much as to merit a whole week dedicated to proving how others view Islam negatively because of its political associations. Though a completely biased and unfair event, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week demonstrated how much people recognize Islam as a major religion, at least enough to focus on it for that length of time. Since Islam is one of the five major religions of the world (the others are Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism), it makes sense that there would be a lot of awareness about it. Of course, this may have stemmed from the many terrorist attacks of Muslim extremist groups, but there is more than just negative awareness—throughout the month of Ramadan, from mid-September to mid-October, most people on campus knew Muslims who were observing. The dining halls at Wellesley even had a special “Ramadan table” with various snacks. Although it was 6

not incredibly helpful to Muslims observing Ramadan since most of the dining halls closed before sundown, when Muslims break their fast, it was still there as a symbol of people’s awareness of Islam. Hinduism, on the other hand, is also one of the five major religions but does not receive nearly as much attention as Islam. While many people on campus were aware of Ramadan, hardly anyone knows about Diwali, the major Hindu festival that occurs every fall to commemorate the Hindu new year. This apathy and lack of awareness extended to the point where the annual South Asian cultural show, Shruti Laya, occurred on Diwali (November 9), so the on-campus celebration had to be pushed back to the following week. According to a member of the Wellesley Association for South Asian Cultures (WASAC), the South Asian culture organization in charge of Shruti Laya, someone else in WASAC researched Diwali and somehow managed to get the date wrong, scheduling the show for the same day. How this happened is quite mystifying—by simply typing “Diwali 2007” in any search engine, the date November 9 shows up in most websites. If they wanted to be even more accurate, they could also have checked with Darshana, the Hindu group on campus. Tough as it was not to be able to go home for Diwali, the one religious festival I really care about, I could not even commemorate the occasion on that day—not even for a truly valid reason, either, but for some South Asian cultural show I only attended to do something somewhat Indian on Diwali. Most college campuses either held celebrations the week before (such as

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MIT) or the same week (as at Brown). At Wellesley, though, we did nothing that week, but instead had to push aside a major celebration for a badly timed culture show. The following week, an open celebration was held in Slater International House. It consisted of prayers, Indian food, dancing and henna—all of which are fun activities, but which lose their meaning somewhat when not performed on the actual holiday. Maybe Diwali was ignored relative to the acknowledgement of Ramadan because of Islam’s prevalence in the media. Still, terrorist attacks are not the right way for a religion to become well known, especially since the attacks only represent a minority extremist population. So in that sense, maybe it’s a good thing that Hinduism does not receive as much attention as Islam. Highlighting one religion, however, should not constitute ignoring another. In general at Wellesley, people’s knowledge of Hinduism, when contrasted to that of Islam, might as well be nonexistent. For a major religion, one that is fairly well-represented in Wellesley’s student body, how odd is that? Maybe awareness of Hinduism exists, but if so, it remains very well hidden, while awareness of Islam is by contrast exaggerated, brought to people’s attention by focusing on extremist groups. There is little proper awareness of Islam, as demonstrated by Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which was determined to prove Islam as a tyrannical religion. Conversely, there is hardly any awareness about Hinduism, either positive or negative. There exists a bizarre, skewed balance of knowledge surrounding both religions, with the scales constantly tipped to one side when they should be equalized. Sarika Narula ’11 (snarula@wellesley.edu) is looking forward to her werewolf bar mitzvah.


CAMPUS LIFE

Going “Incognegro” Opting out of Ethos

{ by macherie edwards}

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lthough some women may disagree with me, being a black woman at Wellesley College has several advantages: You’re unique, making up only 5.4 percent of the population. You are friended by the president of MIT’s brotherhood Chocolate City on Facebook. Citizens of the town of Wellesley are astounded by your presence. Most of your extracurricular activities take place in the same location – Harambee House. Your inbox is flooded with emails from black upperclasswomen whom you’ve never met. And most importantly, you are granted membership to Ethos, one of the most exclusive organizations on campus whose mission it is “to serve as a support group for women of African descent by enhancing the cul-

tural, political, social and academic experience of those women on campus.” But what happens when these privileges are rejected? Can a black woman refuse membership to her cultural organization and still maintain a cordial relationship with the women who don’t? According to several members of Ethos, the answer to this question is “No.” Upon my arrival to campus in August, I decided not to join Ethos out of a desire for more free time. The fallout began when this was falsely interpreted as a desire to separate myself from my heritage. It began the week of orientation. As I walked back to my dorm from one of the many scheduled events that took place that week, I was stopped by two upperclasswomen. They asked for

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my name and an explanation as to why I had not yet attended any of Ethos’ orientation activities. I searched my brain for a response, but was interrupted with, “I know I’ve sent you emails. I remember your name from the mailing list.” An awkward silence followed in which I tried to think of the best way to remove myself from the situation. The upperclasswomen solved this problem for me by walking away, saying they would see me later. Although I was taken aback, I dismissed the encounter, choosing not to criticize the organization based on an experience with two people. Several weeks later I received an email from my Ethos big sister. Funny, up until that point I didn’t know I had one. She wanted to set up a meeting on or around Flower Sunday, a multi-faith ceremony for which first years are voluntarily paired with an upper-class “big sister.” When I didn’t respond in a timely manner, I received an angry follow-up email in return. One of the benefits of Wellesley’s First Class email server is its history option. This option allows you to see when the recipient of an email you have sent reads the email. Annoyed by the tardiness of my response, my big sister sent me an email stating that if I didn’t want to participate in the program I should let her know so that I could be removed from her mailing list. I sent her an apology in return, but was met with no response. Although not responding to an email in a timely manner may be bad etiquette, chastising someone for not fulfilling an obligation that they did not sign up for is unreasonable. Many women on campus harbor resentment towards me based on my decision not to join Ethos. I sought support on this issue from an upperclasswoman who, after attending several meetings, decided not to join the organization. She confided in me that she faces the same discrimination, having been called names such as “Oreo” and “Incognegro.” She believes that her light skin tone and relaxed hair also drive this intolerance. This form of black-on-black racism comes from 7


the belief that the goodness of an individual is somehow related to the lightness of his or her skin. These issues are not new to the black community, stemming from the days of slavery. Despite this, I was surprised to hear that such issues exist on Wellesley College’s campus, especially within a group claiming to serve as my support group. I understand that the actions of a few may not necessarily reflect one group as a whole, but I believe that these is-

{

feel that joining the group would hinder my ability to make friends from different ethnic backgrounds. During Fall Open Campus, I hosted a prospective student who attended an Ethos meeting that ran long. As I stood in the back waiting for the meeting to adjourn, I listened to conversation on the subject of making friends at Wellesley. One member suggested making friends outside of Ethos “because you never know who her Daddy could be.” This comment alarmed

}

It is hard for me, even as a black woman, to make friends with my fellow black classmates because I do not participate in the usual social events.

sues should not exist on any scale. My decision not to join Ethos did not come from a desire to adopt a more mainstream culture or to reject my heritage. Ultimately, I did not join because I don’t think that the organization effectively promotes racial equality. A selfsegregation process takes place instead. I

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me. When I set out to make friends at Wellesley, it is because of what they can offer me intellectually and spiritually, not materially. Several weeks ago Wellesley College Government hosted Culture Shock week, four nights of discussion about topics ranging from socioeconomic sta-

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tus to race and how these issues affect life on campus. During the discussion entitled “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” several students expressed concern regarding making friends with minority groups on campus due to the intimidation they felt. Suggestions to counter this intimidation included ideas such as having these students “self-educate” before trying to befriend someone of a different ethnicity. Assuming that this means that the majority of students on campus should do their homework on black culture before addressing me or any other black student on campus as a friend, I disagree. In my opinion, addressing each other face-to-face is the best way to break down racial barriers. “Self-education” will only perpetuate stereotypes of black culture. I understand my classmates’ intimidation. It is hard for me, even as a black woman, to make friends with my fellow black classmates because I do not participate in the usual social events. I may not be present at Ethos meetings, frequent Harambee House or attend Chocolate City parties; every black Wellesley woman may not return my smile around campus (including my host from Spring Open Campus), but I don’t feel that this makes me any less of a black woman. Appropriate Kwanzaa gifts for MaCherie Edwards ‘11 (medwards@wellesley.edu) include fire extinguishers for all the flames she expects to read. Have you had an experience like MaCherie? Do you disagree with her perceptions? Write a letter to the editor at counterpoint@mit.edu.


A S K T H E B E AV E R

Relationship Woes Advice from Counterpoint’s sex and dating expert

{ by the beav} Dear Beaver, I am writing because I’ve found myself in a situation that I have absolutely no idea how to deal with. Let’s just say I have a crush on a guy I work with. I see him at most once a week, but am not sure how to approach him. I definitely don’t have the courage to make the first move to ask him out, but I do want to make it known that I’m “interested.” Problem is I have no idea where to start. Normally, I’m a pretty extroverted person, but when it comes to a guy I like, I completely shy up. Plus, he’s the first major crush I’ve had in years!! Needless to say, I lack experience. I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have a girlfriend, but he might like someone else. Again, I’m not 100% sure. I thought about telling the other people I work with (a.k.a. our mutual friends) about the situation, but am worried that it might backfire and make things awkward between him and me or worse, between me and everyone I work with. What can I do without coming off as being too “pushy” or “aggressive?” Drop hints? Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated. From, Girl in need of sound advice Hi Girl, Well, from the way you’ve framed the question, I’m still wondering if you’ve talked to him at all. I’m hoping you have, but if not, that’s a good place to start. The fact that you see him once a week doesn’t provide you with a lot of opportunity, so you have to make the most of the time you do have together. Do you collaborate on projects? Sit together at lunch? Take these times and use them to find out more about him, and make spending time together a regular occurrence when he comes in. Most people love talking

about themselves, so ask him questions. Flatter him. This is also an opportunity find out if he does have his sights on anyone. And trying to weasel yourself in as a topic of conversation never hurts. Show him that you care about him in subtle ways. Always greet him. If you’re going to the vending machine, ask if he wants something. Make your presence something he’ll miss if you’re not there. Then it won’t sound out of the blue if you invite him out to dinner or to the movies with some friends, because you “thought he might like tagging along.” Once you take your friendship out of the office, it could go anywhere. And the next time you ask him out it can just be the two of you… Good luck! Hi Beaver, I saw your flyer in the MIT student center and am kinda wondering if it was real, but I’m hoping so because the timing was absolutely serendipitous. My two previous girlfriends have both not liked sex - they say it hurts because I’m too big. I’ve read online that average is about 6.5”, and I’m not much bigger than that, so I’m guessing they are actually too small. Sex is a healthy part of a relationship, so how do you get around this? Too Big? Hey TB, A big penis is usually considered a gift (from God, your Dad, whomever), but for you it appears to be a burden. Question: were both of these girls virgins? Because if they were, it could have been any penis, not just yours, that made sex painful for them. And even if they weren’t virgins, they may have just not been ready for you. Women can push a

baby through that hole, so they can get bigger. Plenty of people have good sex all the time, so since some issues (like your partner’s size) may be out of your control, you have to do your best with the aspects that you can control. You have to keep in mind that most girls don’t get off from sex alone, so to quote an adolescent favorite, “You have to warm up the oven before you stick in the turkey!” Make sure you use lots of foreplay to make her ready for you, give her an orgasm of two, and it shouldn’t hurt as much, if at all. Also, try positions that don’t let you in that far, or that let her control how deep you get, like missionary or girl on top, respectively. Ask her to give you feedback, and hopefully you’ll be having good sex in no time.

Do you have questions about sex, dating, or relationships?

Ask the Beaver, Counterpoint’s own advice columnist! Email your question to askbeav@firstclass.wellesley.edu

or visit http://counterpoint.mit.edu

after the new year to submit a question on our newly revamped website!


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magine it’s 1 a.m. on a Saturday. You and your friends have just left a party and now find yourselves ambling along Commonwealth Avenue with nowhere to go. After a night of careless drinking and frenzied dancing, you and your company are in need of some serious refueling. Tonight the most important problem you face is not what to eat, but where to eat. After all, this is Boston, where most joints close promptly at 10 p.m. and those places that do stay open later aren’t open past midnight. But before you start to panic, please be assured that even in small Beantown and its neighboring cities, there are restaurants that operate into the ungodly, post-midnight hours. Since food is constantly on the minds of most of us college students we at Counterpoint thought it appropriate to hunt down hidden gems in the Boston area that dare to keep their doors open past midnight.

10 places l ffor a midnight snack m

’08 (jkim8@wellesley.edu) j y

10

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IHOP (Harvard Square) (617) 354-0999 16-18 Eliot Street (across from the Charles Hotel), Cambridge Open until 2a.m.

PINOCCHIO’S (Harvard Square) (617) 661-6188 74 Winthrop Street, Cambridge Mon-Thurs until 1a.m. Fri-Sat untill 2:30a.m.

SPIKE’S (Fenway) (617) 266-0909 1076 Boylston Street, Boston Sun-Wed until 1a.m. Thurs-Sat 2a.m.

CRAZY DOUGH (Hynes Con. Center) (617) 266-5656 1124 Boylston Street, Boston Sun-Thurs until 11p.m. Fri-Sat open until 2a.m.

IHOP caters mostly to the local students and the occasional clubgoer. What you get is a spacious, well- lit interior, and you rarely have to wait in line for more than 15 minutes. The menu consists of typical IHOP style breakfast food. Try out the famous “Pigs in Blankets,” four sausage links served with four buttermilk pancakes for only $5.99.

Pinocchio’s, or ’Noch’s as most people refer to it, is a small parlor that has served pizza and subs to students for the past 30 years. It has gained fame as one of the best pizza joints in the Cambridge area. The only drawback is it can get extremely crowded. The menu includes pizzas, subs, pasta dishes and more all for a very reasonable price.

Think Fenway. Think food. What do you get? Hot dogs! Claiming they sell the World’s Best Hot Dog and Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Spike’s has everything to satisfy even the pickiest of couch potatoes. With more than 20 hot dogs and nine different types of chicken sandwiches to choose from, your palate for junk food will never be bored again.

Voted America’s #1 Pizza, Crazy Dough offers a variety of pizzas ranging from Tuscan Tomato Basil to a crunchy Mexican-themed Nacho Pizza. It’s hard to resist the colorful array of pizza slices arranged side-by-side behind the glass panel. This pizza joint is the perfect place to spend a weekend night with your friends.

HI FI PIZZA (Central Sq.) (617) 492-4600 496 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge Sun-Tues until 2a.m. Wed-Thurs until 3a.m. Fri-Sat open till 4a.m. Hi Fi Pizza isn’t just another sketchy pizza place. While the dim fluorescent lighting and grungy tables don’t scream bon appetit, this joint’s cheese pizza is for the most part quite decent. Then again, you can’t go wrong with a warm slice of pizza after having walked around Central Square in the cold.

6 7

8 9 10

DESPINA’S (Commonwealth Ave.) (617) 536-1577 47 Massachusetts Ave, Boston Sun-Thurs until 12 a.m. Fri-Sat until 3 a.m.

BOVA’S (North End) (617) 523-5601 134 Salem Street, Boston Open all day, every day

SO. STREET DINER (South Station) (617) 350-0028 178 Kneeland Street, Boston Open all day, every day

What makes Bova’s Bakery unique among Italian bakeries is its operating hours. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this family-owned bakery is sure to please the late-night crowds. All their baked goods, from chocolate éclairs and tiramisu to cream puffs and Neopolitans, are home-made with the “healthiest ingredients.” Try out their whoopie pies or cannolis.

If you’re coming from South Station, exit toward Atlantic Avenue and walk toward the bus terminal onto Kneeland Street. You can’t miss the pink and blue neon signs that mark the front entrance. Whatever you do, DO NOT go by the map posted on the diner’s website. Once inside, try the Chocolate Fantasy French Toast. Their hot apple cider is surprisingly good, too.

Despina’s is the perfect place for students wishing to grab a quick bite while waiting for the bus. The parlor may seem sketchy, but ignore the group of men that stare at you as you enter, and order something without looking lost, as if you’ve done this many times before. Their amazing slice of cheese pizza makes it worthwhile.

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SONSIE (near Mass. Ave.) (617) 351-2500 327 Newbury Street, Boston Mon-Fri 11:30a.m.2:30p.m.; 6p.m.-1a.m. Sat-Sun 11:30a.m.3p.m.; 6p.m.-1a.m. Known for its ambient atmosphere and its topnotch international cuisine, Sonsie is one Boston’s most famous restaurants. Its claim to fame is its beautiful French doors, which during warmer seasons are left open. Try out the herb risotto cakes with goat cheese, baked portobello and frisee.

THE BURREN (Davis Square) (617) 776-6896 247 Elm Street, Somerville Sun-Thurs until 1a.m. Sat-Sun until 2a.m. The Burren provides everything you need for a fun night out at the pub: food, drinks and live music. The rustic interior and dim lighting are sure to remind visitors of Celtic pubs. The only drawback is the rowdy noise. For the 21 and older crowd, check out their “Raspberry Cider Jack” as well as the 20 different types of draught beers (21 + bring ID).

11


F E AT U R ES

TransWellesley It’s a women’s college. Right?

{ by may chen}

Finally, the recognition we deserve. It’s official: Wellesley College is the place to be if you are queer, according to college students. Every year since 1992, the Princeton Review conducts an annual survey of over 120,000 college students, asking a number of questions about the schools’ academics, campus life and student body before compiling the responses into categories that range from “greatest college towns” to “most gay-friendliness.” Wellesley may not exactly rock the “best college towns” list, but we can proudly say that the school appears near the top of the “most gay-friendly schools” list nearly every year, often ranking among the top ten. 12

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B

ut many of the colleges that we would expect to see on the list, the ones standing at the forefront in support of gay and—more specifically— transgender rights, were not there. How did Wellesley rank higher on the “gayfriendliness” scale than our sister school, Smith College, whose student government stirred great controversy four years ago by switching all the pronouns in their constitution to gender-neutral ones, when we have only begun to open dialogue about the subject? “That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Owen Kellaway, a student from Smith College, said upon hearing about the rankings. “Smith is proud and out in a way that Wellesley definitely is not and probably never will be.” Why were we placed seventh in the Princeton Review’s 2008 list in place of schools that are actively vying for trans rights but were omitted from the list, such as Oberlin College, whose gender-neutral bathrooms are labeled, “This restroom is open to everyone,” or Harvard University, which plans to add a checkbox labeled “transgender” next to male and female on their housing forms beginning next semester? That’s not to say that we haven’t had our moments under the sun— the infamous Dyke Ball, an annual party hosted by Spectrum (Wellesley’s GLBTQA organization), has certainly given Wellesley the appearance of “gay-friendliness” (to say the least). If it is indeed true that the Princeton Review’s assessment of “gayfriendliness” on campus falls exclusively on student opinion, then perhaps there is something to be said about how the student body perceives itself as an advocate for gay rights. Wellesley has rarely played an active role in gay rights on a large scale and we need to recognize that fact. Is an event like Dyke Ball really all it takes to validate the gay-friendly reputation we boast? While Wellesley may in some respects be a “gay-friendly” college, in our

*Some names have been changed

to protect the privacy of those interviewed.


own celebration of feminism and female sexuality, we tend to forget about our trans siblings, the men of Wellesley College.

Defining a Women’s College When it comes to gender identity, things can get a little hazy. “Because our language is still so rude, it’s hard to avoid thinking in terms of either male or female,” said Heather Barrett ’08, co-president of Wellesley for Equality, a group on campus dedicated to gay rights. The term “transgender” refers to a broad category of individuals whose personal identification challenges the traditional, binary notion of gender. Even then, the term does not encompass all aspects of gender identity. Many transgender youth now identify as “genderqueer,” a term used by those who identify as neither exclusively male nor female, but as both or somewhere in between. “I think it needs to be acknowledged that language related to identity can have different meanings for different people,” Barrett said. “The world forces us all to identify as…something. Even if we don’t even have the words for what that ‘something’ is yet. For those who don’t fall under the usual categories, trying to express your identity is extremely difficult.” Director and advisor to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, questioning and intersex (LGBTQQI) students, Judah Abijah-Dorrington, estimates that there are currently less than 10 out trans students at Wellesley College. Although the number of trans students at Wellesley remains small, their presence raises a number of questions about what it means to be a women’s college. After all, what distinguishes this single-sex institution from other liberal arts colleges is its aspiration to provide a space for educating women in a predominantly male society. If Wellesley is accepting and graduating students who identify as male, is the college betraying its original purpose of female empowerment? “There is an ongoing tension be-

Trans Terms to Know Gender: The social construction of masculinity and femininity in a specific culture. It involves gender assignment (the gender designation of someone at birth), gender roles (the expectations imposed on someone based on their gender), gender attribution (how others perceive someone’s gender), and gender identity (how someone defines their own gender). Trans or Transgender: Most commonly used as an umbrella term for someone whose selfidentification or expression challenges traditional notions of “male” and “female.” Transgender people include transsexuals, crossdressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, and others who cross or challenge traditional gender categories. Gender Variant, Gender Diverse, or Gender Non-Conforming: Alternative terms for transgender, meaning one who varies from traditional “masculine” and “feminine” gender roles. Genderqueer: A term used by individuals, especially transgender youth, who do not identify as either male or female and who often seek to blur gender lines. Among the dozens of more specific “genderqueer” terms are transboi, boydyke, third gendered, bi-gendered, multi-gendered, andro, androgyne, and gender bender. Transsexual: A person whose gender identity is different from their assigned gender at birth. Transsexuals often undergo hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgeries to align their anatomy with their core identity, but not all desire or are able to do so. Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others. Gender Identity Disorder (GID): The classification for transsexuality in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Edition, Text Revision, 2001). Most transsexuals strongly object to being considered mentally ill, arguing that it is a completely inaccurate diagnosis and serves to dehumanize and pathologize them. However, some transsexuals in countries such as Canada and Holland support GID being recognized as a mental disorder, because it enables them to have their gender reassignment surgeries covered by government health insurance (gender reassignment surgeries are rarely covered in the U.S.).

tween the school’s desire to remain a place for women while supporting its trans students,” Abijah-Dorrington, said. “Women need the support Wellesley offers, but how do you nurture maleness—what is good and great about it—and still nurture females? Clearly, this institution is heavily defined by gender,” she said. Students are also struggling with the implications of having matriculants at Wellesley College who do not identify as female. “While I do support transgender students on campus, I can’t help but wonder why someone who feels male would want to come to a place like Wellesley in the first place,” said one Wellesley student who chose to remain anonymous due to

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the sensitivity of the subject. “Wellesley is a place for women. Our unofficial school motto is to promote women who will make a difference in the world. Women, not men. It just doesn’t seem feasible to make all these changes for a small handful of students when their being here is questionable in the first place.” But others, such as sophomore Diane Seol, believe that it does make sense for trans students to attend a women’s college. “I think that being accepting and open is a central tenet of Wellesley’s philosophy, and it surpasses the importance of being female or female gendered.” she said. “If he was ever a part of this community, then he does belong here.” According to Wellesley’s Dean of Ad13


Trans Terms to Know (continued) Transitioning: The period during which a person begins to live as their new gender. It may include changing one’s name, taking hormones, having surgery, and altering legal documents. Intersex: A person who is born with “sex chromosomes,” external genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that is not considered “standard” for either male or female (preferred term to “hermaphrodite”). MTF: A male-to-female transsexual, a transsexual woman, a transwoman, or a transgrrl—individuals assigned male at birth who identify as female. Some transwomen reject being seen as “MTF,” arguing that they have always been female and are only making this identity visible to other people (instead, they may call themselves “FTF”). Other transwomen feel that “MTF” and similar language reinforces an either/or gender system. FTM: A female-to-male transsexual, a transsexual man, a transman, or a transguy— individuals assigned female at birth who identify as male. Some transmen reject being seen as “FTM,” arguing that they have always been male and are only making this identity visible to other people (instead, they may call themselves “MTM”). Other transmen feel that “FTM” and similar language reinforces an either/or gender system. Sie or Ze: A non-gender specific pronoun used instead of “she” and “he.” Hir: A non-gender specific pronoun used instead of “her” and “him.” The definitions on this page and the preceding page were developed by Brett Genny Beemyn, Director, The Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; 413545-4826; brettgenny@stuaf.umass.edu missions Jennifer Desjarlais, the college does not have any established or written policy regarding trans students. “As Wellesley is a women’s college and plans to remain one, we accept applications only from women,” Desjarlais stated. “Students identify their gender on the application, and we also note that the information is consistent with that provided on the other official documents in her file, e.g., the transcript, recommendations and score reports.” To date, Wellesley has graduated a number of biological females who transition to male (FTM) while attending or after graduating from Wellesley. Because of the school’s policy, Wellesley has never had a student come in as a male then transition to female (MTF) as most MTFs have not yet legally redefined themselves as female at the traditional college age. Additionally, there has been no known record of any MTF student having ever challenged this policy, according to Wellesley College archivist Wilma Slaight. 14

Acceptance and Activism During his junior year at Wellesley College, Jonah Anderson* decided that he could not live on Wellesley’s campus. “When I started asking people to call me Jonah last year,” he said, “it wasn’t as if I suddenly decided I was transgender. I just didn’t have the words for it before. When you finally do, it’s not something that you can hold off on or delay until after graduation.” But the name change made it clear that Anderson did not identify as female, and suddenly, Wellesley no longer felt like the welcoming environment it once was. “I couldn’t live on campus anymore because I felt very uncomfortable living in a place meant for women,” Anderson explained. “I was intruding in a women’s space, something that I wasn’t a part of. I didn’t belong there. Perhaps there are administrative things that can be done to make Wellesley a safer space, but it really is not the students’ responsibility to make

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me feel included.” For one year, Anderson lived off campus in Davis Square in Somerville, commuting back and forth for classes each week. Now a senior, Anderson has moved back on campus and is currently living at Instead, the feminist cooperative on campus. “When I applied to live in Instead, there were definitely some concerns over whether or not it is possible to be both trans and a feminist,” he said. “But you can. And it really is the best place for me to live since it isn’t structured like a typical college dorm.” However, not all trans students share the level of discomfort Anderson felt. Edward Stumpf, a junior at Wellesley, said that he had never encountered any problems himself on campus. “Generally, the people that I meet range from sympathetic to misunderstanding,” he said. “People slip up with pronouns once in a while, but it has never been malicious.” So how accepting is Wellesley of its trans population? Very limited information about the history of trans students at Wellesley exists. However, there is a trend toward inclusiveness over time as the student body’s notion of sexuality broadens. For example, one of the earliest queer organizations on campus, Wellesley Lesbians and Friends, went through several name changes, adding “bisexuals” to its title in the early ’90s and “transgenders” in 1996, before finally replacing it completely with its current title, Spectrum, in 2005. Additionally, high attendance at the recent “(Wo)men Who Will” panel put together by College Government as part of their “Culture Shock” discussion series showed that students are interested and do want to learn more about gender issues. To Wellesley alum Hadley Smith ’06, one of the speakers on the panel, a lack of awareness on campus indicated that there was still work to be done. Approximately one year ago, Hadley Smith co-founded a nonprofit organization called Translate Gender, an advocacy group that facilitates dialogue on the issues surrounding gender non-conformity at women’s colleges. Smith, along with several other members of Translate, has held several workshops and events at colleges on the East Coast. “How many here know where to go to find infor-


mation about the college’s policy on trans and gender non-conforming students?” Smith said. “What about administrators and staff? Would they be discriminated against? How many students understand the sort of problems gendered restrooms or locker rooms pose? There’s a big difference between passively accepting and understanding. The fortunate thing here is that the administration is listening and students are beginning to ask questions. ” Abijah-Dorrington agreed that there is not enough awareness of trans issues and added that there is a serious lack of resources at Wellesley for trans students. “This is one of the few places where you can actually lose female privilege,” she said. “Wellesley has a very diverse community of people with people coming from all walks of life. But that also means that there will be those who do not understand, who will not even subscribe to idea of someone being transgender. They

ary of next year, he plans on having top surgery, a double mastectomy. It wasn’t easy getting here. Most insurance plans do not cover medical and surgical procedures needed to transition, which means that the 7,000 dollars for the surgery as well as the cost of testosterone were all paid out of pocket. Additionally, anyone who chooses to transition physically must obtain a letter of consent from a therapist, a service that Wellesley College was unable to provide. “I went to the Stone Center to find a therapist, and they basically told me that they can’t do anything for me,” he said. “I was lucky to find someone off-campus to do it for me, but the Stone Center shouldn’t be turning anyone down who needs their help. The school is not equipped to handle transgender students. They say they offer support to anyone who is ‘queer,’ but they don’t really mean it.”

{

someone else’s childhood, as if the past was nothing up to this point. I mean, you can’t simply become someone new at age 20.” But for Anderson, all difficulties are ultimately worthwhile because, “I’m finally being seen as what I feel like,” he said.

Wo(men) who Will On November 7, the House of Representatives passed the Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA), making it illegal for employers to discriminate against any employee based on sexual orientation. Originally, the act also included protection for trans workers, but, fearing that the act would not pass, the sponsors removed gender identity altogether. What does this mean for our trans siblings at Wellesley? With a degree from a known women’s institution, they will be entering the work force without any safety net. Employers

}

“The school is not equipped to handle transgender students. They say they offer support to anyone who is ‘queer,’ but they don’t really mean it.” -Anderson

have to face their peers, their teachers, their families. They have to deal with the stress of figuring out where they fit at this institution and what they want to be called. They feel depressed, confused, objectified. Trans students carry a heavy burden that most students don’t have, but very few people to turn to. This institution has the potential to be head and shoulders above everybody else. We are the leading women’s college in the country. But why is it that when a journalist wants to profile a school about trans rights at a women’s college, they would go to Smith or Mount Holyoke and not us? We are lagging behind.” For several months now, Anderson has been taking testosterone and come Febru-

Alex Prior, a staff social worker at the Stone Center Counseling Service on campus, stated in an email, “Our mission here is short term counseling for all students. So a transgender student would access the counseling service like any other student...It is difficult for us to judge about issues of safety and acceptance [that] would be best addressed by members of the community who are transgender.” Still, the hardest part was not earning the money for surgery or the lack of resources on campus. It was the emotional strain involved in transitioning. “My parents do not know that I am having surgery yet,” he explained. “I’m trying to reconcile with the sense that I am slowly losing a part of my past and I often feel like I have lived

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have every right to hire, fire, promote or refuse to pay any employee based on their gender identity. Here at Wellesley, almost everyone is open to and accepts gender non-conforming students. However, acceptance is not the same as actively pushing for change. What will Wellesley, one of the most “gay-friendly” schools in the nation, do in a world that exhibits such very gay-unfriendly sentiments? Will Wellesley College help “make a difference” for transgender rights or not? May Chen ’10 (mchen2@wellesley.edu) wants a hippopotamus for Christmas. 15


Using the “F” Word Counterpoint knows a secret: the Guerilla Girls are not actually gorillas.

Upon being asked what fictional character would make a great Guerilla Girl, Chiyo Uno chose Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series.

{ by e.b. bartels}

Y

ou may have been confused by their hairy faces and the distribution of bananas during their lecture at Davis After Dark – a semi-annual event sponsored by the Davis Museum and Cultural Center and organized by the Davis Museum Student Advisory Committee on November 7 – but no, the Guerilla Girls are real live girls. And “girls” is the term they prefer, even if it upsets some feminists. As Guerilla Girl “Gertrude Stein” said, “Yeah. 16

We wanted to be shocking. We wanted people to be upset.” But “girls” does not accurately describe the force that is the Guerilla Girls. As anonymous women wearing gorilla masks and donning pseudonyms of dead female artists – such as “Chiyo Uno” and “Kathe Kollwitz,” the speakers who came to Davis After Dark – the Guerilla Girls could be anyone. In fact, one of their former members was a Wellesley College gradu-

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ate, so look out – future Guerillas may surround you at this very moment. That is the concept of the Guerilla Girls’ whole movement. By staying anonymous, their cause is not for their own personal benefit, but for that of all underrepresented artists. The Guerilla Girls do not want their personalities to overshadow their fight. They simply want to be any well-spoken, well-dressed woman who is fed up with how the art world deals with representing women and minority artists. The original Guerilla Girls – including founding members “Frida Kahlo” and “Kathe Kollwitz” – first got really pissed off in 1985. The Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted an exhibit called An International Survey of Painting and Sculpture. There were 169 artists represented in the exhibit, but only 13 of them were women. Not only that, but the curator, Kynaston McShine, said that any artist not in the show should rethink “his” career. Many women artists in New York were angry and picketed outside the museum in response, including Kahlo and Kollwitz. But passersby barely noticed the picketers, and Kollwitz and Kahlo realized something greater needed to be done. They did some research on the numbers of women artists represented in museums in New York. “When we showed the figures around, some said it was an issue of quality, not prejudice,” said Kahlo. “Others admitted there was discrimination, but considered the situation hopeless.” Nevertheless, they made posters with the facts, and late at night, women in gorilla masks plastered them all over the streets of SoHo. As “Romaine Brooks” put it, “We didn’t expect anything. We just wanted to have a little fun with our adversaries and to vent a little rage. But we also wanted to make feminism (that ‘f ’ word) fashionable again, with new tactics and strategies. It was really a surprise when so many people identified with us and felt we spoke for their collective anger. We didn’t have the wildest notion that women in Japan, Brazil, Europe and even Bali would be interested in what we were doing.” Twenty-two years later, the Guerilla Girls have not let any corner of the art world escape from their scrutiny. They

Image created by E.B. Bartels, ’10

A R T S & C U LT U R E


Courtesy of the Guerilla Girls. www.guerillagirls.com are not funded by any large benefactors – they do not want to have any obligations to the opinions of donors – and instead prefer that people get something in return for their donation. Thus, all their funds come from speaking at events such as Davis After Dark and the sale of their t-shirts and posters. Their strategy is always to use facts and humor to present the realities of the art world in unusual ways. They have put billboards up in Hollywood petitioning for an “anatomically correct Oscar” (“He’s white & male, just like the guys who win!”); they have spread their poster campaigns to other countries and they hold workshops at colleges all over the United States. The day after Davis After Dark, the Guerilla Girls held a workshop at Wellesley, during which they helped students develop activist art for issues they are interested in. Under the Guerilla Girls’ guidance, students designed posters and stickers about the representation of women in the media, recycling awareness and on-campus housing for student mothers at Wellesley. Sometimes the Guerilla Girls reflect on the fact that they are professional women running around in ape masks and wonder, as Kollwitz put it, “Is this really what a feminist has to do to get attention?” It seems incomprehensible that we live in a

society where feminists will only be taken seriously when they act in such a ridiculous manner. Kollwitz and Uno feel that their masks are actually the secret to their success; this crazy image has brought attention to their cause and kept the focus on their message, not their individual personalities. If the Guerilla Girls simply acted as themselves, it would be easy for them to be brushed aside as just pushy “bitches” without talent, whining because their art is not in MoMA. “When a man gives his opinion, he’s being a man, when a woman gives her opinion, she’s being a bitch,” said Uno at the Davis After Dark lecture. “Any successful woman who gets what she wants is considered a bitch… so

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we give up and say, bitches of the world, unite!” A Guerilla Girl’s gotta do what a Guerilla Girl’s gotta do to change things, be it acting like a bitch or a gorilla. Even if the masks do get hot. For more information, check out the Guerilla Girls’ books – Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerilla Girls’ Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes and The Guerilla Girls’ Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art – and their website: www.guerillagirls.com E.B. Bartels ’10 (ebartels@wellesley.edu) was born in every single town in Massachusetts.

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A R T S & C U LT U R E

White Space Artist Rebecca Rose Greene on her installation in Collins Cafe { by jane repetti}

T

he interior of Wellesley’s Collins Café looks much funkier than usual. White spheres hover just below the ceiling, emerge from the wall and hug the L-shaped architecture of the room. The space has been transformed by Ball, an installation created by local artist Rebecca Rose Greene. Greene is a recent graduate of The Art Institute of Boston and a resident artist at the Boston Center for the Arts. Her work has been displayed at galleries and events throughout the Boston area, as well as at Bonnaroo Music Festival. To view more of her work, visit her website: http://www.rebeccarosegreene.com. I talked to Greene in Collins about her background and her work one day in November as she began the third phase of Ball: Jane Repetti: Where are you from? Rebecca Rose Greene: I am originally from Brockton, [Mass.]. I graduated from Brockton High School and went to the Art Institute of Boston, so for the past six years I have been living in Boston—I live in Jamaica Plain. JR: How did you become an artist? RRG: Well, my brother was 13 years older than me. So when I was six he moved into Boston and pursued art. He always sent me these really great packages with art supplies and handmade cards. He really got me involved in doing art projects with him and musical projects—we used to perform in bands when I was young.…I don’t know if you’re familiar with Brockton, but it’s an awful, rundown city, with a lot of violence in some parts. There’s not 18

too much art happening there so getting us to come into Boston was great. Because he is 13 years older he’s really a role model, and later my art teacher in high school saw that I was really sort of funky. I had a backpack that I had sewed stuff on to and done painting on, and he saw that as a work of art. I hadn’t seen art in that way before; he saw that my doodling and painting on my backpack was a piece of art. So he saw that and encouraged me to take that on and see what I could do, to see if I could push that onto a canvas, or onto a sculpture. We had a great art department [at Brockton High]. It was awesome, we had a fine arts building and we had as many resources as we could possibly use. JR: What brings you to Wellesley? RRG: Actually, Rebecca [Marlin ’08, Michelle Wang ’08] and Gloria Choi [’08, all of the Davis Museum Student Advisory Committee]…came to Open Studios—I’m a resident artist at the Boston Center for the Arts--we have about 50 artist studios with about 40 artist residents as well as art organizations and a theatre company. So they just checked out BCA’s monthly Open Studios and then they sent me an email after they saw my work and checked out my website, and they asked me if I’d be interested. I only graduated a year and a half ago so if I get an opportunity I pounce on it, so this is perfect. But I’m familiar with Wellesley; I come here to check out the great sculptural books collection in your library, and I’ve been to the Davis a few times. It’s an honor to be here, why wouldn’t I [want to be here]?

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JR: Can you describe your thought process while doing an installation? RRG: I try not to over-think things; sometimes artists separate themselves by doing something that is just so personal, or it’s really politically charged, where it’s got a lot of controversy around it. Instead, I really like to approach art so that people can enjoy it and they don’t have to know art. I do think that comes from my background. Being from Brockton, a lot of my friends would come to see what I was working on and they just wouldn’t get it. And they probably wouldn’t get this either [gesturing at installation at Collins]. But I hope that it affects people in a different way than just looking at a painting. That’s why I didn’t pursue painting and drawing; I learned the fundamentals, but this affects your space—it alters your consciousness in a different way. It’s something that’s just so simple, but you can really explore it and there are so many little complexities. Still, it’s just basic and for me to build something like this – honestly, it feels so good to me, it’s just like a meditation, and its just fun for me and I hope that it’s fun for people to look at. I just want it to be a something but without a specific way to grasp onto it. JR: Why you did choose the color white? Does it have a specific meaning? RRG: Not particularly. I thought that… with expanding outside and with the onslaught of winter it could kind of have a snow-type feel. I hope that by making it take up the entire space it could almost… in the way that it’s altering your senses— just looking at the piece, it might also alter the way that you feel the temperature. It wouldn’t actually change the temperature, but it might make it feel a little bit cold in here just by using that basic white. I‘ve only built one other installation using the styrofoam balls and wanted to go with the white ones first before I explored further with color. I just wanted to learn more about how I’m building these first. JR: Since this is your second time doing this installation, did you have to modify


Staff Photo / Kara Hadge ‘08

Ball, Rebecca Rose Greene’s ongoing installation in Collins Cafe. to adapt to the cafe? RRG: Not really, it is a site-specific installation; you build based upon the site. It’s just simply a process of connecting the balls and hanging them It’s pretty similar [to what I’ve done before] except at the BCA I had to run lines to connect them to so I was a little bit more constricted with that….So it’s much easier here; there is a great ceiling—awesome to hang on. It’s so simple; it won’t cause any damage; it’s like the perfect ceiling for it. It’s the same idea but I got to play around a little more with the lighting there, and I had performers that performed sort of in and amongst it. Here, I had the luxury of having much more time to build, whereas the installation at the BCA was for a one night event, so I built throughout three or four days. I’d start at 10 at night and go until two or three in the morning so it was exhausting. It’s similar, but here I was able to step back--to leave and come back, so that approach is a little different.

JR: You work in many media, do you have a favorite? RRG: Not for right now. I like to make stuff, and I don’t restrict myself. I studied fine arts, and I went to school for fine arts. But I think that doing crafts and selling crafts at a fair is not taking away from that at all. It’s a way for me to connect with different people, so I like building masks for a party or making jewelry so that people can afford a piece of art rather than having to spend hundreds of dollars on it. For now, since I’m still young, and I’m still doing this, I really just want to explore so I build lots of different things, but mainly I am interested in moving more towards doing site-specific installations. Unfortunately, people don’t usually buy those; you have a residency and you get a small budget to do that. That’s more where I want to go, but I only get a chance to build maybe two a year. I don’t use my studios to build installations because I would like to try to make a little bit of money here

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and there just to pay for the studio, so it doesn’t really work for that. So I think that slowly, over time-- if you were to look at my website five years from now it would be more installation work and a cohesive body of work. After graduation I did a concentration, The Morphologies… It’s all based on insect exoskeletons. That was all the same material. I worked on that for a year—that whole series, so now I’m just playing around and having fun until I hanker down and focus more. I think that’s what people sort of look for--you recognize an artist for their work…Maybe this will be identified as my type of work at some point, but I don’t want to restrict myself that way either. I like to feel safe. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m not trying to solve any theories of my own.

Jane Repetti ’09 (jrepetti@wellesley.edu) is a raccoon who is waiting to strike. 19


A R T S & C U LT U R E

The Secret Keeper Frank Warren knows something you don’t know

{ by ami li}

The author in Harvard Square with Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret. PostSecret is a blog on which Warren posts anonymous weekly secrets, thousands of which arrive at his home in Maryland each week. You can visit the site at postsecret.blogspot.com.

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hy do 1,000 people a week feel safe sending their darkest secrets to one man? Earlier this fall, I posed this question and others to the world-famous secret-keeper Frank Warren, the founder of the PostSecret website. Each week, Warren uploads anonymous postcards to the website that have been sent in by people of all ages, from all walks of life, often decorated and always revealing a secret. In conjunction with the publication of his new book, a collection entitled A Lifetime of Secrets, Warren gave a read20

ing in October at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, where I met him for coffee. As Warren revealed the secrets behind the secrets, the first surprising fact to emerge was that he could, in fact, single out a few of the most memorable secrets he has received over the years. He had two favorite secrets: a “serious” one and a “funny” one. The first was this: “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 thinks that I’m dead.” Even coming out of his mouth, the words chilled me to the bone. And therein lies the heart of

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PostSecret: the ability for someone else’s secret to resonate among us all, the peculiar power of others’ hopes and fears to turn into our own. But his other favorite secret lightened the mood: “I serve decaf to customers who are rude to me,” sent in on a torn Starbucks coffee cup. Let that be a warning never to be mean to your barista again. Over the course of the interview, every answer he gave brought more surprises. He reads every single secret that arrives at 13345 Copper Ridge Road. Every book tour stops on Sundays so that he can read the thousand-plus postcards and other mixed media deposited without ceremony at his home address every week. It should be noted that where Warren finds the space for a thousand secrets a week is, of course, “a secret.” Warren has several criteria in selecting the 20 secrets to publish on the website each week. He looks for secrets that surprise him; secrets that express a common secret but maybe in a different and creative way and secrets that reflect all parts of our emotional lives. He tries to arrange them in a particular sequence, so that they form a story for the readers every week. One of Warren’s favorite parts of what he does is touring to promote the books – he has published four collections of secrets, compiled both from his website and from never-before-seen shots of confidence sent to his postbox. During one of his book tours, a young woman stood up wearing a homemade t-shirt with the statement, “20% of anorexics will die.” She had sent in a postcard to Warren’s house in Germantown, Maryland, with the same statistic but had never seen the postcard published on the website, so she ended up making these T-shirts herself, as an act of catharsis. She was determined to wear the shirt to school, to share her secret with the world, and even though she nearly lost the courage to do so, she did, in the end. What impressed Warren the most was that this girl had the courage to face her own secret in a very public way, and


A Lifetime of Secrets Frank Warren’s newest release is the fourth book in the PostSecret genre, A Lifetime of Secrets. It features never-before-seen secrets from individuals as young as eight and as old as 80, arranged in loosely chronological order to highlight the evolution of life and the universality of certain secrets and fears. I received an advance copy of A Lifetime of Secrets before my interview with Warren himself. As I skimmed through the pages of secrets the first time, I was struck by the number of secrets shared by people of all ages. For instance, adolescents as young as 15 were worried about the state of their necks, and the fear of never finding love affected as many 20-year olds as it did 80-year olds. In his last two published compilations of secrets, Warren has organized the books around loose themes. In The Secret Lives of Men and Women, which preceded A Lifetime of Secrets, Warren strove to include an equal proportion of men’s secrets along with those of women. For A Lifetime of Secrets, Warren ventures into the brave new world of secrets of all ages. By and large, he succeeds tremendously. Warren has had three books and countless weeks of editing experience with the postcards to know exactly which secrets to include and, more importantly, how to arrange them for greatest impact. Themes of love and loss, hope and happenstance give the secrets a built-in framework to speak for themselves. In A Lifetime of Secrets, age provides the frame readers need to guide themselves through the book. Other secrets are quintessentially ageless. The secret that spoke most to me was featured on the back cover of the book, a picture of ants frozen in amber with the caption, “Some times [sic] I miss Prison.” Secrets like that provide more than catharsis for the sender: they also provide dialogue for their other viewers, and the best secrets (in my opinion) arouse feelings of curiosity and empathy in the viewer through the universality of the shared secret. All in all, A Lifetime of Secrets is an excellent compilation of more of what we love from PostSecret: another volume of your own hopes and fears, projected onto someone else’s cardstock.

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by creating more of the same t-shirts, to bring a taboo subject such as anorexia to her entire community, creating a healing process for all. While on tour, Warren said that his stops on college campuses (and talking to college journalists!) “are the most gratifying parts of the process.” For him, the experience of sharing the most taboo and most inspirational stories with college students and hearing in reply their stories of hope and despair, stories of how secrets affected them and how their secrets affected others, is one of the things that makes the entire project worthwhile. When asked if he would continue PostSecret forever, Warren took a halfidealistic, half-fatalistic view: he wants the website either to continue forever and remain a homemade resource to all those who need an outlet, or to die a tragic death, so as not to lose its power among the community. For a man who said he so enjoys the book touring and interview process, I had one last question to ask Warren. Had he wished he were asked any questions during previous interviews that had never been asked? Indeed he did! “Frank, what are your secrets for saying so young and vibrant?” Maybe that is one secret that the secret-keeper will not reveal. Ami Li ’10 (ali@wellesley.edu) would have been named Helamans Warrior Alexavier if she had been born a Mormon, and a man.

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L A S T PA G E

The Worst Pieces of Holiday Media Ever Created by Anyone Ever A Counterpoint retrospective { by veronica cole}

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h, yes – it’s that time of year. Everyone comes together as the holiday spirit fills us all with warm fuzziness, or something like that. What better time for shameless, unchecked exploitation in the form of lameness masquerading as art? I’m talking about holiday-themed media: the sights, the sounds, and the resultant nausea. This is not to say that all holiday media is bad – listen to Sufjan Stevens’ box set or some old Bing Crosby, or watch It’s a Wonderful Life, for some good counterexamples. But, really, some of it sucks. So here’s Counterpoint’s worst of the worst:

“The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong You’re standing in line at CVS, just minding your own business – then, suddenly, this god-awful easy-listening tune, which is about some kid buying some shoes for someone who’s dying or something, comes on. As tears begin to well in the eyes of the woman behind you in line, you realize the true meaning of Christmas. Or you just feel guilty for being able to afford shoes.

Eight Crazy Nights Adam Sandler’s 2002 quasi-Chanukahthemed cartoon was crass, vulgar, and mean-spirited – and, of course, not even remotely funny. I don’t remember much about this movie, or even how Chanukah tied into it – all I remember is that there 22

was a lot of burping, and something about a lady with three boobs.

Black Christmas This 2006 remake is a true gem. It’s a formulaic horror movie, with one impossibly bold twist: it takes place – gasp – on Christmas! It features quaintly primitive special effects, that chick from Party of Five, and –most importantly– some crazy dude whose way of killing his mom involves a Christmas cookie cutter. Need I say more?

its subjects are people whom most of the show’s viewers – who typically pay hundreds to see it on Broadway – would actively avoid on any given day. The grim lives of these “bohemians,” some of whom are dying and none of whom can afford to live, seems like a grand old time when set to cheesy music. Exploitation, that’s the Christmas spirit.

“The Chanukah Song” by Adam Sandler So, as it turns out, my name rhymes with the word, “Chanukah.” So do the following: “harmonica,” “gin-and-tonic-a,” and “marijuanica.” For his constant ability to remind us of this fact, Adam Sandler makes it onto our list twice.

Tim Allen as an entity We can thank him for the tepidly-funny Santa Clause, the decidedly-unfunny Santa Clause 2, and the stomach-churning Santa Clause 3 – as well as the utterly incomprehensible Christmas with the Kranks. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d actually rather watch Home Improvement.

RENT I know what you’re thinking: RENT isn’t even about the holidays! But, you see, in a weird way, it is a Christmas pageant of sorts. Chock-full of themes of hope, love, miracles, and other Christmasy things,

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Veronica Cole ’09 (vcole@wellesley.edu), on the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: “Is this what Christian children listened to?” To which we say: Bah, humbug.


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December Issue 2007