THE SYCAMORE WELLS COLLEGEâ€™S STUDENT MAGAZINE / SPRING 2017
N U D E
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CONT features 8 52
NUDE MODELING EVOLVED CLEAN UP ON AISLE 8 ”Draw me like one of your French girls.”
White washing in the beauty industry
PHOTOGRAPHING BODIES IN MOTION PHOTOGRAPHING NATURAL BEAUTY A Sia inspired photo spread
Getting up close and personal with some beautiful Wells Women
INCLUSION AND BODY POSITIVITY NAKED GEOGRAPHY
A trans man’s dilemma with the Body Positivity Movement
Nudity in culture and history
(RE)DEFINING VULNERABILITY DREAM ANALYSIS An examination of society and redefinition
Your strangest sleep experiences explained
NUDITY & POPULAR CULTURE DRESS CODE VIOLATION TV-MA
Dress codes, sexism, and the perpetuation of rape culture
TENTS constants 6 92
EDITORS' NOTES WRITTEN WORK CONTEST A few opening remarks
Poetry left and right
HOW-TO DEAR MINERVA
Gender Rolls: A How-To-Skate Guide for Girls
Advice from Wells resident Goddess
VISUAL ARTS CONTEST
The lovely Nadia McCaryâ€™s winning artwork and photography
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THE SYCAMORE is Wells Collegeâ€™s student magazine. This is our seventeenth biannual issue. In keeping with our mission, we print on sustainably harvested paper and use nontoxic ink.
staff RAEA BENJAMIN
EMILY MARSHMAN MINERVA OLGA BABIJTCHOUK LEXI CASTIGLIONE CHRISTINE FANOURAKIS COURTNEY GOOD JOHN MILLS GREG MIRAGLIA KATIE MOURADIAN IAN RONAN ABIGAIL RUNDLE AUDREY WOOLEVER CATHERINE BURROUGHS
Editor in Chief Chief Design Editor Staff Writer Assistant to Editor in Chief Chief Copy Editor Staff Writer Advice Columnist Staff Photographer Staff Writer Copy Editor Model Assistant to Chief Design Editor Staff Designer Staff Writer Model Staff Writer Copy Editor Staff Designer Staff Writer Staff Writer Staff Writer Staff Writer Advisor
contributors CANDY BUTCHINO CARLY BARRY OLYVIA BRAZIER BETHANY GORE MAJESTI GRUBB BRIANA HANSON JENNALYN HERD NADIA MCCARY AALIYAH MCNAIR NADINE PERSHYN JAHAIRA POLANCO MACKENZIE PORTER KASSY RIVERA
Makeup Artist Model Model Model Model Model Model Model Model Model Model Model Model
contact Eâ€“MAIL WEB ADDRESS
WellsSycamore@gmail.com Issuu.com/WellsSycamore Wells College 170 Main Street Aurora, NY 13026
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Editor’s NOTE It’s been an entire semester since I wrote my last Editor’s Note, but a lot of things are the same now as they were then. I’m still pulling an all-nighter in the office finishing the issue, I’m still surrounded by loving friends who are here to keep me going when I feel like giving up is the only option left, and I’m still in disbelief of where I am today. The only difference is that last semester, I couldn’t believe I was Editor in Chief of The Sycamore, this semester, I can’t believe it’s all almost over. I felt a little like this issue was part of my farewell to Wells, and while I am heartbroken, I am also incredibly proud to pass the torch to Emily and the rest of our staff. I know you all will go on to do great things with this publication. Saying goodbye to my dedicated staff, my position as Editor in Chief, and to the magazine itself will all be really hard, but saying goodbye to Wells will be even harder. This publication is just one of the many pieces of Wells College that I’ve fallen deeply in love with. Signing up to join The Sycamore as a first year, I didn’t realize that I’d have such a hard time letting go as a senior. Whether I was ready for it or not, Wells quickly became my home. Moving on from something that has become a part of you the way Wells has me is always tough, but there are so many things I’ve learned in my time here that I am very lucky and extremely grateful to take with me when I go. Wells has left a huge mark on me and I am incredibly thankful for that. I’m also thankful that The Sycamore has allowed me to leave a small piece of myself here in return.
Copy Editor’s NOTE
Looking back on my first year on the editorial board of The Sycamore, I’d say it was a success. I’m very, very lucky, as chief copy editor, to have such a dedicated and hardworking editor-in-chief, to say the least. I’m going to have some pretty big shoes to fit into. At the start, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about the semester’s theme, mostly because I, personally, didn’t know which direction to go with it, but I know now that going with “nude” was the best idea for our current staff. They’ve all taken a general idea and turned it into something that came from their soul, and I’m even more proud of them this semester than I was the last. Thank you to our writers and to our contributing artists for giving us their all and coming up with beautiful pieces for our magazine. Thank you as well to everyone who participated in the contests! We received really incredible submissions, and we’re really pleased with those that won and will be included in the magazine. I’m really thrilled to be a part of the editorial board again next semester – this time as the editor-in-chief. The Sycamore has been a big part of my college career and has given me cause for immense internal growth. I can’t wait to spend my senior year at Wells in charge of such a beautiful publication.
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Society's Influence on the Evolution of Nude Modeling as an Art Form By Audrey Woolever If you had to define nude modeling, could you? Would you include body type, race, ethnicity or gender? Interestingly enough, when typing “nude modeling” into a Google search engine, there is no definition to be found. Instead, only the definition of nude pops up—so why is the word modeling dropped? Nude modeling has been present in America since Classical Antiquity when artists painted unclothed images of both male and females (“Nude Art, Male and Female, in the History of Depiction of Nudity” 1). Throughout time, the preferred genders for naked modeling has changed based on belief systems upheld in society. Nude modeling has also shifted from being seen in paintings or drawings to statues, to physical bodies in art classes to performance art. Although this type of modeling has had slight alterations over the years, one thing has remained the same for artists: the fascination of the human body as something to be studied and celebrated (“Nude Art, Male and Female, in the History of Depiction of Nudity” 3).
Classical Antiquity (eighth century BC-fifth century AD), centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, depicted male nudes more heavily than female nudes (Nude art, male and female, in the history of depiction of nudity 1). According to naturistart.com, it was the beauty of the standing unclothed male that signified moral protection. Along with this, it was male nudes that carried on the classical tradition of being known as the expression of virility. As a result, it is clear that people who lived during the Classical era gave their allegiance to “manly” men: men whose broad shoulders, muscular arms and legs and tousled hair dominated the art world. If this isn’t gentrified enough, the article also explains, “With the exception of the standing statues of Venus, goddess of love, carved with her genitals modestly covered by her hand, the Greeks were not interested in the nude female body, seeing women as ill proportioned creatures who could not be made to fit into the pattern of male perfection,” (Nude art, male and female, in the history of depiction of nudity 1). However, with the development and eventual dominance of Christianity in Late Antiquity (300-600), Christianity (unlike paganism) required no images of naked divinities, and new attitudes cast doubt and scorn on nude athletics, public bathing, and the very value of the human body (Sorabella 1). This transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Middle East, is where we see early Christian emphasis on chastity and celibacy further discounting depictions of nakedness in art. Because of this, there was little motive to study the nude throughout the Middle Ages (fifth-fifteenth century), and unclothed figures are thus rare in medieval art (with the exception of Adam and Eve).
It wasn’t until the rediscovery of Greco-Roman culture in the Renaissance (1400-1600) that nudity was restored to the heart of creative endeavor. Unclothed figures based on antique models appear in Italy as early as the mid-thirteenth century, and by the mid-fifteenth century, nudes had become symbols of antiquity and its reincarnation. Venus, the female nude of classical inspiration also returned in the Renaissance by way of Venetian painters. These painters invented a new image of the goddess of love as a recumbent figure, lying naked in a landscape or domestic interior. Although the female nudes reflect the proportions of ancient statuary, such figures as Titian‘s Venus and the Lute Player (36.29) and Venus of Urbino (1538; Uffizi, Florence) highlight the seductive warmth of the female body rather than its ideal geometry. The rise of Humanism also played a large part in the way artists now depicted their naked models. During this time, artists were starting to become more interested in centering their work on the human individual and the Earthly experience rather than the heavenly realms.
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With this newfound appreciation for the human body, artists began to pursue realism in the figures they drew. And what better way to embark on creating a work of realism than to have a real life model to draw? Beginning in the mid twentieth century, nude modeling expanded its horizons to incorporate its art form into an art student’s education. For instance, Ken Szmagaj, a professor in the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison University in Virginia created a figure drawing class in 1970 (Smith 1). He claims in Smith’s article, “I was the one who started it [figure drawing class]. It’s a staple in art schools, drawing the figure... Many students take it and many love it” (1). Figure drawing at JMU meets twice a week from 1:30 to 5 p.m., and is a requirement for the painting and drawing concentration of the studio art major. In another article titled “Nude models are crucial figures in CSU art class,” the author, Coloradoan, explains, “These people [nude models] are muses, subjects of intense scrutiny by budding art students learning the idiosyncrasies of the human form” (1). Coloradoan then asks Gracie Stamps, a 20-year-old sophomore studying art and journalism at CSU, about the difficulties of putting a naked model to paper. “It’s a different way of drawing than using a picture,” she answers, explaining the challenge of visualizing a person’s mathematically complex proportions or using reality to break preconceived notions of what a head or arm really looks like. “There’s something intricate, different about taking a model from the third- to second-dimension,” (Coloradoan 2). Nude modeling then, if not already taken seriously as an art form, maintains its importance in helping artists make their drawings as realistic as possible.
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So what kind of models are artists looking for? Szmagaj from JMU states that “Body types of all shapes, sizes and colors are welcome…we have some models that are maybe more skeletal, which are good for different types of drawing problems. The harder models to get are muscular males for when we study anatomy and muscles. All the varying human body types that you can possibly imagine — each one is unique and has an application at some point,” (Smith 2). Various art authorities would agree, including ArtModelTips.com, a website that states, “Anyone can find regular work as a figure model. Most serious figurative artists and instructors want to practice drawing a wide range of body types. Often figure drawing groups strive to go out of their way to provide models of all shapes and sizes over time,” (2). Some artists, the website continues, “only like to work with certain body types (such as females only), but this is the minority. Anyone who wants to be a figure model should be able to find steady work over time,” (2). In comparison to classical nudity where males were predominantly depicted in the nude, we can make the connection that modern artists are much more accepting of women and are unbiased of a person’s body type when it comes to nudity in art. In fact, despite all the text to be read on the topic, not one mentions an ideal standard model type that artists look for in nude models to draw. Nonetheless, there are certain aspects in a model that artists look for that will make them more likely to get the position than others. For example, Szmagaj explains how before he makes a decision determining which nude model he wants to come into his classroom, either himself or a graduate assistant will interview him/her about prior modeling or dancing experience. He says, “What makes potential models stand out is their grasp of movement and gesture, both of which are integral to posing for abstract figure drawing,” (Smith 3). THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
So why then, if there are no qualifications to be met, is modeling in today’s society so heavily focused on body types? One answer for this can be found in how nude modeling is considered a performance art today. In the twentieth century during the 1960s, the rise of feminism ignited female nude modeling as performance art. Throughout this wave of feminism, women were seeking freedom, equality, and liberation—liberation of their own bodies. “Cut Piece” by Yoko Ono in 1965 is an example of not only nude performance art but a performance art that’s been hailed as a deeply symbolic feminist work (Halliday 1). Throughout this performance (which took place in a theater) Ono remained motionless as she sat on the floor while audience members were invited to cut away her clothing (a cardigan, bra, and skirt) until she was naked. According to openculture. com, it has been represented in the press of the time as an “uninhibited, interactive strip show” (Halliday 3). Openculture.com mentions how “She [Ono] also took inspiration from a familiar childhood story about the Buddha selflessly giving his own body to provide food for a hungry tiger. It seems an apt metaphor, given the facial expressions of certain audience participants. Were they faking a confidence they didn’t feel, or were they just jerks?” (Halliday 4). “Cut Piece” then works to show how nude modeling became a type of performance art at a price. Nude modeling was no longer confined to spaces with artists; spaces with people who understood the true value of the art form. Now, modeling nudity has entered the public domain where people judge what they see, and they decide what is acceptable and what is not. It is the public, not the artists who have set this unrealistic standard to what characteristics a model must have in order to be considered acceptable.
People also heavily form their opinions on nude modeling based on what they see in magazines today such as Playboy and Penthouse. On their website, Playboy lists what they are looking for in their “Playmates.” Under the category of “Beauty,” the website states “A Playmate is stunning both inside and out, her natural beauty turns heads worldwide with her body language exuding her character. She is of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ethnicities. One thing we favor above all else is REAL” (Snider 1). But do we see a variety of these characteristics in Playboy magazines? These types of magazines that “will always be a lifestyle brand focused on men’s interests,” affect people’s take on nude modeling for the worst by being exclusive in their choices of which models are included in the magazine (despite their claim for diversity). In addition, such magazines influence our view of modeling in the nude to be seen as erotic rather than art worthy (Snider 2). According to ArtModelTips.com, in response to the question “Is nude modeling erotic?” they answer, “Only to those who know nothing about what a life drawing session is really like. Anyone who has participated in a modeling session, either as a model or an artist, has a very different — and more womanlike — view of modeling sessions” (ArtModelTips.com 3). How the term “womanlike” is used here is both interesting and upsetting. It infers that men are the cause, or at least part of the reason why nude modeling has been blown out of proportion to have an air of promiscuity to it. I am not saying that nude modeling is meant for art and art’s sake only, but rather that nude modeling as an art form is to celebrate and better understand the human body as opposed to looking at it as a form of pornography. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
While modeling in the nude remains an aspect of our culture today, it continues to be stereotyped into something it is not. A large part of this is due to our personal bombardment of social media platforms, magazines, commercials, billboards, etc., that sexualize nudity and predicate body types that are acceptable in society. But the stereotyping of nude modeling as an art form also has to do with how we handle that information. Do we give in to it and trick ourselves into believing what we see? Or, do we roll our eyes knowing how unrealistic and untrue these stereotypes are? Perception is everything, and in a world that is too often consumed by the commercial culture in which we live, we are losing track of the beauty in ourselves, and losing touch of the sincerity in what makes nude modeling something to be fascinated by and celebrated rather than sexualized when the clothes come off. •
WORKS CITED “Artist Model FAQs.” ArtModelTips.com, Wordpress, 2012, www.artmodeltips.com/ models/faqs/. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. Coloradoan. “Nude Models Are Crucial Figures in CSU Art Class.” The Denver Post, Digital First Media, 2013, www.denverpost.com/ 2013/04/26/nude-models-are-crucial-figures in-csu-art-class/. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. Halliday, Ayun. “Yoko Ono Lets Audience Cut Up Her Clothes in Conceptual Art Performance (Carnegie Hall, 1965).” Open Culture, Open Culture, 2015, www.openculture.com/2015/05/ yoko-ono-lets-audience-cut-up-her-clothes. html. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. “Nude Art, Male and Female, in the History of Depiction of Nudity.” Naturist Art Gallery Experience Nude Art, Naturist Art Gallery, 2015, www.naturistart.com/nude-art/. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. Smith, Robyn. “Nude Models Provide Art Classes with a Different Perspective .” The Breeze, 19 Nov. 2014, www.breezejmu.org/life/nude models-provide-art-classes-with-a-different perspective/article_6a6b4a4c-705b-11e4 b90d-a387687f199b.html. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. Snider, Mike. “'Playboy' Brings Nudity Back to Magazine.” USA TODAY, 2016, www.usatoday. com/story/money/business/2017/02/13/ playboy-brings-nudity-back-magazine/ 97868038/. Accessed 5 Mar. 2017. Sorabella, Jean. “The Nude in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum. org/toah/hd/numr/hd_numr.htm ( January 2008) 14
Naked Rhythm By Olga Babijtchouk
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“You Look So Beautiful in a Dress “:
A Trans Man’s Dilemma with The Body Positivity Movement By John Mills
Society still hasn’t been able to grasp, in full, the idea of the gender binary. There is still hate and confusion revolving around those who don’t identify with the strict two-gendered system in which we presently live. We currently have a better understanding of gender and sexuality than in the past, but let’s think of the idea of gender as a web. A web is complex, interconnected, and beautiful. The gender web, however has yet to be finished because there are different gender identities being created and evolving every day. This is why we need to be constantly evolving as well. I’d like to further address the necessity of social evolution by discussing the process of becoming a trans man and the ways in which the Body Positivity Movement lacks inclusivity in regard to trans-identifying people. Transgender is a term used to describe individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate (Glaad.org). A female to male (FTM) transgendered individual describes someone who was born biologically female, but who does not identify as a female; they see themselves as a male and start identifying as a male. Keep in mind that I can only explain what it is like to be a transgender man in my own view; I cannot express other transgender identifying individuals’ views. 26
A major turning point in everyone’s lives is puberty. During puberty, we start developing certain attributes that solidify the biological sex that we were assigned— breasts and hips, for example, if you are assigned female, and a deeper voice and body hair if you are assigned male. Puberty can be a difficult time if you identify as transgender. You start developing in ways that you didn’t choose to develop and therefore feel a disconnect from your body and the need to hide the parts of yourself that you disagree with. One way that a majority of trans men hide their breasts is through the process of binding. A common method of binding is purchasing a binder according to the size of your breasts. A binder looks just like a sports bra and works to give the appearance of a flat chest. One of the main issues with binders is that they can partially restrict your breathing and cause your back to ache from the pressure. Giving off the impression of having a flat chest allows trans men to “pass” in public. “Passing” is a term used when a trans person can look, sound, dress and behave in ways that match their chosen gender, and, more importantly, comply with society's expectations of said gender (Renard). While it sounds like a positive, to be perceived as the sex you wish to be, trans men still want to actually be that sex, not just be perceived as such. Sometimes, in order to achieve this goal and to feel good in their own body, trans men have Sex reassignment Surgery (SRS). The process of changing from female to male is a process that ranges depending on each person’s tastes. The major changes that take place come from taking testosterone, which helps with growing body hair; deepening your voice; and giving you more of an overall male appearance. There are also the options of undergoing Top Surgery, where the breasts and breast tissue are removed, or Bottom Surgery, which attempts to give the individual a working penis (most trans men do not decide to undergo Bottom Surgery).
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I’d like to further explain Top Surgery because it is a surgery that trans men commonly decide to undergo. There are four different types of Top Surgery procedures: Double Incision, Inverted T, Pre-areolar, and Keyhole (Top Surgery Midwest). Double Incision Top Surgery is done by making horizontal incisions along the top and bottom of the chest muscles and breast tissue. Along with this, the nipple and areola are removed and grafted onto the breast after a majority of the tissue has been removed first. Once tissue is removed, the top and bottom incisions are stitched together, leaving a scar under the pectoral muscles. Double Incision Top Surgery is generally performed on trans men with medium-to-large chests. The result of this surgery is that it leaves the individual with a flatter, more male-looking chest. The individual, however, will no longer have nipple or areola sensitivity due to nerves being cut during the procedure (Top Surgery Midwest).
Inverted-T Top Surgery is similar to Double Incision because there are two incisions made, but with Inverted-T there is an additional incision made from the areola down to the incision below the breast tissue on each side. This additional incision allows the nipple and areola to stay attached and be reduced and repositioned without the individual having to worry about losing sensitivity post-surgery. Inverted-T provides a great male contour like Double Incision and is also performed on trans men with medium-to-large chests (Top Surgery Midwest). The third type of procedure is Periareolar Top Surgery. Unlike Inverted-T and Double Incision, Periareolar is done by making two circular incisions around the areolas and then removing the breast tissue. Chest skin is then stitched together, but the areolas and nipples are not removed, preserving sensitivity. While there is minimal scarring from this procedure, revisions such as liposuction often need to be done to remove excess tissue buildup post-surgery. Periareolar is often performed on trans men with medium-to-small chests (Top Surgery Midwest). Lastly, Keyhole Top Surgery, is more similar to Periareolar surgery due to the semicircular incisions made at the base of the areolas. Breast tissue is then removed and the nipples and areolas are resized, maintaining sensation. Also, like Periareolar, revisions are often needed after surgery to accommodate for tissue buildup. Keyhole is performed on trans men with small chests. All of these surgeries take between one and three hours to perform (Top Surgery Midwest).
So how does this apply to The Body Positivity Movement? The Body Positivity Movement can be described as a movement that focuses on the reclamation and love for one’s own body in different ways, such as promoting self-love and acceptance. The Body Positivity Movement has become very popular in recent years; more and more people are showing off their bodies without worrying what others think. I, for one, am a huge supporter of the movement because I feel we, as a society, need to move past this age of looking down on people because they aren’t the “perfection” that is shown to us daily. One criticism of this movement, however, is that it isn’t inclusive to trans-identifying individuals. Many of these individuals go through something called body dysphoria, which can be described as a feeling of distress regarding certain parts of your body that leads to associating those parts of your body with the gender that you don’t identify with (i.e. having female breasts but identifying as a man) (Finch). This makes it hard for some trans-identifying individuals, including myself, to identify with the Body Positivity movement. There are also some phrases in the movement that can be a bit off-putting to some trans individuals. Some examples of phrases are: “Your body is already perfect,” “All bodies are good bodies,” “Don’t change your body, change your perspective,” and “There’s nothing wrong with your body - there’s something wrong with society” (Finch). Clearly these phrases aren’t the most inclusive towards trans individuals because, for some, our bodies can be a source of trauma and sadness, because we didn’t ask to be given the bodies that we have been Some people want to change their bodies due to the disconnect they feel, but people still choose to say that “our bodies are already perfect” when we know that is far from the case.
Don’t change your body, change your perspective!
Your body is already perfect!
There’s nothing wrong with your body there’s something wrong with society!
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Personally, I have heard some of these phrases as well as others that have rubbed me the wrong way. Some have even caused a greater disconnect from my body. I’ve heard things like “you should love your body because it looks so good on you” or “but you look so beautiful in a dress.” I have had days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed because, even though I generally get mistaken for a man in public (which I actually really enjoy), people usually notice that I have breasts and automatically assume that means I’m a girl. I can’t be angry with these people though; we have all, at one time or another, been taught what a boy is and what a girl is and that there is nothing else. I have never been able to identify with the Body Positivity Movement because it is generally geared towards women and, given the fact that I am technically still biologically a woman, it is perceived that I should love my body. I think the movement needs to become more inclusive because everyone deserves body positivity.
“I think the movement needs to become more inclusive because
everyone deserves body positivity.”
While thinking about this movement and how it is affecting me and other trans individuals, I thought a lot about how much society has been changing and how much more progressive we have gotten as a country, despite recent trends in the administration. However, society is still far away from being totally accepting of others. We need to stop assuming the gender identity of someone in the first ten seconds of meeting them. One way of addressing this issue would be to say both our name and our preferred pronouns when introducing ourselves as well as asking for the other person’s. Transgender has been becoming a popular term recently due to more people understanding what it means and just by looking more in depth at how they identify and think of themselves. Parents have even started looking at signs given by their children that indicate that they don’t identify with their biological gender. We are slowly making improvements and I think a good way to keep improving is to work toward making The Body Positivity Movement more inclusive and educating others on “the gender web.” •
WORKS CITED Finch, Sam Dylan. “I’m Transgender and I Need Body Positivity, Too.” The Huffington Post, 2 Aug. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2017. --. “4 ‘Body Positive’ Phrases That Exclude Trans People (And What to Say Instead)”. Everyday Feminism, 17 Mar. 2016. Web. 3 Mar. 2017. “FTM Top Surgery.” Top Surgery Midwest. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017. Renard, Elijah. “I’m a Trans Man Who Stripped Down to Show the Importance of Top Surgery”. XOJane, 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2017. “Transgender FAQ.” GLAAD. 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.
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Nude: Vulnerability Defined
By Ian Ronan
Think about the word “nude” for a moment. Repeat it. Say it once more. Continue this until it has lost any sort of meaning. Now, what does it mean to be nude? According to an article in the Huffington Post entitled “Why Merriam-Webster Changed Its Racist Definition of ‘Nude,’” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “nude” as an adjective that means “having no clothes on” and “of or involving people with no clothes on.” Until recently, the definition used to include, “having the color of a white person’s skin.” While it should be evident to anyone that the latter is racist, it is also a lie. Luis Torres was a sophomore studying at Ithaca College in the fall semester of 2015 when she realized this and started a movement. Using the hashtag NudeAwakening, she started an online revolution and received an outpouring of support from the online community. As her followers took to social media in pursuit of having the definition changed, they not only hoped but expected that they would be heard. Merriam-Webster not only heard their commanding voice, but decided to listen. They not only did away with the racist definition, but altered it to be more inclusive:
nude 1. lacking something essential especially to legal validity <a nude contract> 2. a : devoid of a natural or conventional covering; especially : not covered by clothing or a drape. b (1) : having a color (as pale beige or tan) that matches the wearer’s skin tones <nude pantyhose> <nude lipstick> (2) : giving the appearance of nudity <a nude dress> c : featuring nudes <a nude movie> d : frequented by naked people <a nude beach>
This is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to inclusivity and language, but total inclusiveness is still lacking here. As we apply language, we begin to perceive people in terms of the words we use and how we define them. No matter how scholarly a person might be, they can still begin to understand something by the root of its meaning. To many, the root of understanding is based on experience and the connotative definitions or perceived meaning that something has. That thing will shape the meaning that the word representing it also has. The denotative definition is just as important for understanding what a word means to the larger English speaking world. The fact that we draw our own meaning and develop more abstract thoughts and conceptual ideas from the language that we use is a fascinating thing. Taking control of your world and redefining the rigid denotative definitions that develop our language is important to further understanding and deepening meaning. We begin to study meaning by becoming more knowledgeable and studying knowledge (epistemology). Begin by asking yourself what something means to you, and engage in conversation with your peers about it. For example, what does education mean to you? Each person will have a marginally different idea of education based on past experience and future potential. Learning in this context will not only be stimulating, but fun, and “solving the world’s problems” does not seem so daunting. It can even begin to feel like there is hope left for the world.
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Nude is not simply an adjective used to describe physical appearance or lack of clothing. Bearing a nude body for another person is an extremely intimate and trustworthy thing. The act of bearing nude puts a person in a vulnerable state, no matter the confidence in physical appearance or prowess of beauty. The millennial generation has come to be known as promiscuous and vulnerable to many others. Use of the term “vulnerability” implies weakness. We as human beings do not want to be thought of as weak. As we do for many other words, we should be working to redefine the connotations of the word “vulnerable.” The ability to bear nude in confidence and trust in another person is still an act of vulnerability, even when weakness is removed from the situation. Thinking of “nude” in the context of a loved one and the shared experience you have together is a special thing. Now, think of it in the context of a one night stand - might you be more or less willing to bear nude? The state of mind you are in (when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, for example) contributes to your sense of vulnerability. Experiences may differ greatly for people depending on these circumstances. According to the book “Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World” by David D. Burstein, millennials think of themselves as a commodity to be shared with others in order to achieve companionship. There is a notable difference between the millennial generation and their parent generation, Gen X. Just as millennials are more willing to risk feeling vulnerable by exposing themselves emotionally and physically, their parents remain a generation fraught with insecurities that they are unwilling to share, and a sacred feeling toward their privacy as a right and a necessity. Generation X does not support the public display of their vulnerability as a method of self improvement, as they believe it to be a private matter and thus a shameful thing to consider.
A certain amount of naive bliss comes with the urge to expose the body in this manner. Just as we learn to strip down our defenses for others, the concept is distorted by evolving technology. It is almost as if the intimacy is being torn away from the act of being naked for another person. The physical closeness is separated by a technological medium and great distance. This distance is symbolic of the relationship that one might share with the receiver of their nude photos. The opposite is also true, as people are more inclined to take and share photos with other people that they in fact may not know and live a great distance from, thus bringing them closer together by doing so. Many people, including millennials, participate in the exchange of nude photos for the arousal of a spouse, partner, or intended suitor. One must think that at least the illusion of trust in the person receiving said “nudes” would be a prerequisite to sending such sensitive material. However, the risk is seemingly worth the reward for many participants. According to the Mastercard Safety and Security Survey, of 1,001 participants, 305 were millennials, and 62 percent of millennials preferred to have their nude photos leaked online as opposed to having their credit card information stolen. This makes each of us vulnerable in every sense of the word.
The acknowledgment of emotional vulnerability and necessity for self improvement by millennials is an act of redefining what it means to be “vulnerable.” Although we think of being “vulnerable” as weak, to accept such a definition would deny the notion that those bearing their inner selves to their friends and family are courageous for doing so. These people are reshaping the way we look at ourselves. By redefining the meaning of the words that fuel the way we interact with each other, we shape what it means to be human. The denotative definitions of words are ever changing, and words are added to our vocabulary every day. The dictionary must constantly evolve to incorporate our slang and account for the changing landscape of media communications. In 1991, the World Wide Web became publicly available, and the world has not been the same ever since. Having been born into a time when Internet communications are almost literally the center of the world, millennials have grown to adapt easily to and even thrive in a technology-dependent world. Whether in a relationship or intending on seeing someone for purely sexual pleasure, the “nude” has become increasingly more popular with the advent of the camera phone, and has created a new form of self expression and liberation for those that choose to take part in what can be an artistic self reflection. This has all come about with the frequency by which we rely on phones for business and pleasure. Millennials expose themselves to strangers and loved ones more easily by using forms of social media and the smartphone that has become like another appendage to us - encapsulating the idea of bearing nude through all of its definitions.
social media INFLUENCES IMAGE
Vulnerabilities related to self image have a lot to do with living in a world full of snapshots of life along the threads of social media. With the latest and supposedly greatest gadgets coming out month after month, our society craves the best. Forget about the meaning of bearing nude for our loved ones in person anymore, everything is going digital, even our most intimate moments. In reference to Instagram and its abundance of users, “THREE HUNDRED MILLION people now express thoughts, feelings and emotions through snapshots filtered to perfection,” as stated in Candice Jalili’s article entitled “No Feelings: Why This Generation Has So Much Trouble Being Vulnerable.” Snapshots of an alternate life do not reflect the cruel reality that is our emotions. Like everything else in life, emotions are not straightforward; they are increasingly complex. In conjunction with our emotional behavior stems deep rooted vulnerability, and we take this in stride. Being vulnerable is a beautiful and wonderful thing when in the presence of a loved one, as they support you and keep your confidence high. Otherwise, the need to bear nude is nothing but a robotic and impersonal act riddled with risk and uncertainty. The use of technology has normalized the act of bearing nude in terms of both body and mind. Not only are we redefining what it means to be “nude,” but so are the tools and services we have created to feed our carnal nature to be in constant contact with other humans. The relationship between our vulnerability and our connotations of the word “nude” will define the way we go about interacting interpersonally and intimately with others. A casual approach to our sexual relationships with others prevents a connection from being intimate on all levels. Being “nude” in this context involves sharing the body, but not exposing the mind, for lack of trust. However, bearing “nude” for someone that you have invested a great deal of time in and someone you genuinely care for means that you are “nude” on all levels with them.
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PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS & VULNERABILITY Emotional vulnerability with a partner comes from great trust in them as a confidant. The lack of such intimate emotional and physical support contributes to emotional instability and poor mental health. Millennials feel pressured to take part in a culture that centers itself around “hooking up,” however they choose to define it, rather than participating in more traditional dating circumstances (Kerner). Consequently, we put up “walls” (in the form of technology as a medium) to protect ourselves from becoming too vulnerable because we are afraid of feeling exposed. Utilizing technology in various ways disconnects us from deeper emotional connections to those around us, and this has infected the intimacy that the dating experience today so seldom reflects. Being that millennials are seen by many as “the vulnerable generation,” having a long-time partner can be an anxiety ridden ordeal that we fear facing. “Nude” is a rough state for people to reach when they perceive that most of the population is happy with a string of one night stands and attention garnered from social media interactions (Ansari & Klinenberg). We know that Millennials are representative of 1 in every 3 working Americans thanks to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data conducted by Pew Research. The stigma surrounding our vulnerability is likely to continue being removed from social norms. Open channels of communication will facilitate this. Redefining words will still be the norm of the generation and the relationship between “nude” and “vulnerability” will not cease to exist.
Think about what “nude” means to you (yes YOU). Engage your mind in an intrapersonal conversation to discuss the meaning of your vulnerability and what it means in the context of being nude. Reflect on personal experience and redefine what these terms mean to you. Question everything. That is what it means to have the opportunities and resources that we do, living in such a transformative era of human history. Words are no longer merely what the dictionary has defined them to be. Just like the boundaries that encompass our personality and define who we are, they are ever changing. Meaning is, therefore, meant to be studied and discussed. Just as we read and write, we use conjecture and discussion to define and redefine words that shape our lives. Each and every word in our vocabulary has multiple denotative and connotative definitions, and with discussion and added life experience, we develop new definitions important to us individually and as a society. Has “nude” lost all meaning to you? Good. Maybe you have begun to think of it and all other words in a different way. Shared experiences change the way we look at and use our language. We can identify with every word in some way. Possibly the most vulnerable act of nudity is the stripping away of conventional definitions and expectations that allow you to redefine the world. Be nude. Now, ask yourself again, what does NUDE mean to you? •
WORKS CITED Ansari, Aziz, and Klinenberg, Eric. Modern Romance. London: Penguin, 2016. Print. Burns, Janet. “Millennials Are Having Less Sex Than Other Gens, But Experts Say It’s (Probably) Fine.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 03 Mar. 2017. Burstein, David D. Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping Our World. Boston: Beacon, 2014. Print. Finley, Taryn. "Why These People Got The Dictionary To Change The Definition Of 'Nude'."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 11 Feb. 2017. Fry, Richard. “Millennials Surpass Gen Xers as the Largest Generation in U.S. Labor Force.” Census Bureau Analysis. Pew Research Center, 11 May 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2017. Jalili, Candice. “No Feelings: Why This Generation Has So Much Trouble Being Vulnerable.”Elite Daily. N.p., 18 Nov. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2017. Kerner, Ian. “Young Adults and a Hookup Culture.” CNN. Cable News Network, 16 May 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2017. Shoemaker, Stephen. "‘Nude’ Redefined: Ithaca College Sophomore Petitions Merriam-Webster to Change Word Meaning." Ithaca College. N.p., 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2017. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Nudity in Popular Culture:
Outlander vs. Game of Thrones
by Emily Marshman
When you think of nudity in television, what usually comes to mind? Game of Thrones, right? And maybe, if you’re seriously into fantasy series, Outlander, too? Mainly channels where more adult television, per se, is broadcasted: HBO and Starz, specifically. Even Showtime, sometimes. Although almost every show on these networks contains some form of nudity, I’d like to focus on the two mentioned, which are both set in the past, and which both use nudity and sex for their own purposes, however different they may be. A lot of television shows utilize nudity for a number of reasons. For example, one of the reasons they would showcase nudity – female nudity, in particular – is because it increases audience viewing. Plain and simple, human beings are animals and we’re interested in what excites us, and what excites us is sex. Occasionally, however, it is taken too far. One television show in which nudity is showcased – sometimes a little too explicitly – is Game of Thrones, an HBO program. According to Vulture.com writer Maria Elena Fernandez, shows like Game of Thrones “gauge an actor’s comfort with undressing during auditions and require that all hired actors sign clauses in their contracts stating they are willing to be naked on camera” – this adds to the argument that they use nudity in order to draw in an audience, that they are willing to sacrifice any actors who are not comfortable being nude on the show. Even if every ounce of nudity in the show isn’t overtly sexual, nudity will draw viewers. HBO in general seems to show female characters in the nude much more often than male characters and, when the women are nude, they are often in positions of vulnerability or even positions where they are very, very afraid. Women’s bodies exist in the realm of explicit television in order to serve men, and this entitlement men in the show feel to women’s bodies often leads to the violence on the show (Pacific Standard).
Game of Thrones is a show based heavily around violence in general, and nudity in general, and most of the time when the two are featured on-screen, they are used – emphasis on used – in conjunction. Vulture.com calls the popular HBO feature “the poster child for female nudity.” They also say, “When men undress, it’s for artistic reasons, not salacious ones;” men on Game of Thrones (with the sole exception of Theon Greyjoy, whose sexuality was exploited for the masochistic pleasure of one of the villains of the show) are not exposed for the pleasure of women but the ‘intrigue’ that comes with a storyline that uses sexual violence for its own furthering. One of the only specific accounts on Game of Thrones of a man who is nude specifically for a woman’s pleasure that I can recall is in season five when Daenerys Targaryen’s lover Daario Naharis is made to undress in front of her. Daenerys herself, however, had been nude in front of many men for the male characters’ (and arguably the male audience’s) own consumption many times in the shows six seasons. One writer for the Huffington Post even claims they can barely stomach the show because of the amount of sexual violence involved in the plot (or not; some of the sexual violence does nothing for the plot, as a matter of fact). On one hand, “part of HBO’s allure is its ability to say and show things that couldn’t be said or shown on cable,” (Okundaye) but the things it says and shows are taboo for a reason. The overt sexuality or violence (or both) of some of the episodes can, in fact, be revolting, especially for female viewers forced to watch a woman in a vulnerable position. And it’s not that the show-runners aren’t aware of the fact that their knack from writing violent scenes from the book as more violent for the screen has generated a not-so-positive response among female members of their audience; Lili Loofbourow, writer for salon.com, says that there are “some reasons to read the show charitably: it’s glorious fun to watch, it seems to respect women in other contexts, it takes some of its female characters seriously, and it certainly spreads its violence around; women are far from the only ones tortured, abused and displayed.” The same article poses a few important questions about the creators of the television show: “Are [they] cynically ramping up the sexual violence because they think it’s good for ratings? Are they just blasé and careless when it comes to the subject? Or do they feel that by rendering Martin’s material even more extreme they are somehow increasing its moral heft?” (Loofbourow).
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One of the more frighteningly masochistic characters in both the books and the television show is Lord Roose Bolton’s bastard son Ramsay Bolton (née Snow). Rather than keep his tendencies to sexually assault other characters at a distance, like George R. R. Martin does in the books, Benioff and Weiss decided to make him a central character in the show, bringing sexual violence to the forefront with him. It seems, to me, that Outlander is more popular among female viewers because of its treatment of women (or, rather, the main character Jamie Fraser’s treatment of our protagonist, Claire Fraser). The scenes in which characters are naked are very sensual. The scenes where the nudity is non-consensual are treated as revolting and unacceptable, acknowledged by other characters as well as the show’s viewers. The show handles all of its sex scenes – from the consensual and tender to the non-consensual and horrific – in a very real way. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore says that, rather than writing “TV sex,” they have tried to write “real sex” – sexual experiences that real human beings have. On the non-consensual scene in the season one episode titled “Lallybroch” featuring Jenny Fraser and Jonathan Randall, commonly known as “Black Jack,” because he is so unpredictable a character, a writer for salon.com has said that it is “an embodiment of the now rather famous line, possibly apocryphally attributed to Margaret Atwood: ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’ Jenny’s laughter in the face of her attacker is an act of defiance even Game of Thrones has not dared to present in a female character.
Outlander star Sam Heughan says, of the nudity in the show, “…I don’t think we’re anywhere near as gratuitous as other shows on television or films, I think we’re just, maybe, more intimate.” Where the nudity in Game of Thrones usually does nothing to further the plot, the sex scenes in Outlander are about a man and a woman, recently married, trying to get to know one another. In the world of Outlander, sex “almost always has a purpose…even when it might seem gratuitous” (E! Online). Heughan’s own character, Jamie Fraser, undergoes intense sexual trauma at the end of season one, and most of season two is devoted to his healing; Diana Gabaldon, the creator of Outlander, and the producers of the television show worked together to make sure that Fraser’s healing was a slow, steady, natural process, and that it did not move any faster than it needed to. Catriona Balfe, who plays Clare, says of Jamie’s sexual trauma: "I think it was really important to all of us that he doesn't just snap out of it and recover immediately, because that's not how it would have been. What happened to him was absolutely horrific, and I think we all felt it was really important that we allow the space for him to grow and that you show that not only does it affect him but it affects the people close to him” (E! Online). My biased inclination to adore Outlander for its lack of sexual violence might be because I am completely caught up on every episode of Game of Thrones, and I am still only halfway through the first season of Outlander, but from what I’ve seen so far, the show is about shirtless Scots (particularly Jamie Fraser) who care about their wives and women. Salon.com’s Sonia Saraiya calls the show “a stereotypically feminine fantasy, as suits both the author of the original book (Diana Gabaldon) and her female heroine, Claire Randall/Fraser (Caitriona Balfe in the show) — a nostalgic callback to an idyllic landscape, a constrained role in life, a simpler time.” As I stated before, any non-consensual nudity has been addressed as the incorrect way for a character to be nude in the show. As the show goes on, however, the plot gets more political, and as it does, so does the sex. Clare and Jamie only marry so that Clare is not sentenced to death for treason against the King of England. Black Jack Randall, arguably the main antagonist of the first season, has a tendency to latch onto the things he cannot have, and therefore makes it his sole purpose to find Clare and Jamie, and to terrorize them.
‘“‘‘“Men are afraid that
women will laugh at them. Women aremenafraid that will kill them.” THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
YXa The argument could be made by those who read the books (a group in which I am not included) that Game of Thrones’s sexual violence is relevant to the plot. But why is it relevant to the plot? And why is this sexual violence directed so often at young girls and women? George R. R. Martin, the author of the series, has stated, more or less, that in A Song of Ice and Fire, he wished to portray “an accurately medieval sense of how the powerful prey upon the powerless, including men preying on women” (Orr). Martin may wish to portray the power that men held over the weak, but the way in which he does so is misogynistic; the women in his series are powerful, but they are preyed upon for the viewing pleasure of an audience (a mostly male audience). This argument, in my opinion, is irrelevant, simply because both television series are based upon a series of books. Gabaldon says of the sexual nudity in her books: "Sex is always communication and you can use that for any purpose…I would say sex is just a dialogue scene with action cues. They have the emotional context that they are acting out in their bodies, but you can do anything from violence and hatefulness…” (E! Online). I, however, still watch both of these shows. I think it’s important to note that, while you should acknowledge that the ways in which Game of Thrones treats the women on its show can be problematic, you can still watch the program. The most important thing is addressing that it is misogynistic, and that arguing that it’s only misogynistic because of the time period that it is set in does not make it acceptable for it to be misogynistic. Women, as well as men, watch both shows; it is evident, however, that more women watch Outlander, and more men watch Game of Thrones, simply because men are – unfairly – exposed to violence and sex at a younger age than most women. Outlander, according to Saraiya, “has become a show that is about women’s bodies — the struggle for the women involved to have ownership over themselves, when the handsome laird proves tiresome and the tartan wool dresses, suffocating” (salon.com), and I wholeheartedly believe this to be true.
WORKS CITED "How Outlander’s Sex Will Be Different In Season 2". E! Online. N. p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017. "It's Not Porn. It's HBO.". The Huffington Post. N. p., 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2017. Loofbourow, Lili. "“Game Of Thrones” Fails The Female Gaze: Why Does Prestige TV Refuse To Cater Erotically To Women?". Salon. N. p., 2017. Web. 7 Apr. 2017. Orr, Christopher. "Why Does ‘Game Of Thrones’ Feature So Much Sexual Violence?". The Atlantic. N. p., 2015. Web. 5 Apr. 2017. Saraiya, Sonia. "“Outlander” Shows Full Male Nudity — And Laughs In The Face Of Rape". Salon. N. p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017. "The Sexual Politics Of Nudity On HBO’S Hit Television Shows". Pacific Standard. N. p., 2014.Web. 4 Apr. 2017. "Why Full-Frontal Male Nudity Was All Over TV In 2015". Vulture. N. p., 2015. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. "Why I Can't Watch 'Game Of Thrones'". The Huffington Post. N. p., 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.
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Gender Rolls: ( ) 1: Go to the skate park.
The moment you arrive at the edge of the skate park, squinting through the late afternoon sun at its unforgiving facade for the first time, it will be clear that there is a prestigious fraternity here. Newcomers are not entertained. This notion will dawn on you gracelessly when the Tony Hawk decal on your deck beckons the wheezing laughter of a pod of high schoolers near the stairs. Before you can even get your board on the ground, someone will comment on the helmet strapped to your head as well. Reputable sources can tell you that girls occupy 16.6 percent of the skateboarding hierarchy (publicskateparkguide.org). But these sources do not acknowledge the dichotomy of this small demographic, which becomes evident to you rather quickly. The majority 16 percent of those girls will always be sans skateboard, those who the boys look at with saliva-sticky jowls, only identifiable in the skater hierarchy because of the physical space they occupy at the edges of all the quarter pipes. (These girls will later become known to you as “ramp tramps,” and it will take years for the nasty name to disappear from your vocabulary.) The remaining .6 percent is represented by you alone, gathering courage and speed with feet at uncouth angles on the board, pushing sweaty hair back beneath the helmet. You are six-tenths of a girl on wheels. The only helmet in the park. You are just now learning to add decimals in your 6th grade math class, but still, this equation doesn’t seem to sum up fair. The dissection of the boys at the park, however, is far simpler. They too have only two poles: those who mercifully ignore you, and those that deliver loud helmet jokes and toss pebbles in the path of your wheels until you flee misty-eyed from the park on foot. In the alleyway on your route home, you take the helmet off and hurl it at the buckled pavement, fracturing it in two. Your head will feel nude without it. No visor to hide the mangled shame in your brow. Tear and sweat droplets to be seen by the world. But the utter lonesomeness is what makes you feel most naked. 44
An How Gui
Academic w-to-Skate ide for Girls
By lexi Castiglione
THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
2: No hands.
Two summers and three springs later, your mother will accuse you of being a masochist, something you have to ask her to define. When she does, laugh it off so that she doesn’t grow suspicious. You are groaning when you move, hobbling while you walk. It doesn’t look good. Falling has become unavoidable at this point. The street that runs beside your house is not so kind to you, and the secluded patch of concrete behind the Dollar General is even worse. But they are the only places you can ride in solitude. Recently, you have learned to stop protecting yourself when the board bucks you off. At first, it will begin as a courtesy to your wrists, which you imagine splintering like plywood underneath the full impact of your weight. Of all possible debauched skating injuries, three out of four times it’s the wrists, hands, or arms that are demolished (Rethnam). For the female cruiser who learns not to land on her hands, however, areas of compromised safety are most commonly the head, elbows, and knees. Eventually, though, you begin to pray for the collisions. Your body will become an altar of burst blood vessels. When you’re in your bedroom at home after school on rainy days, you do not watch the television. You instead wonder if anyone will ever want to touch you. If the bloated pyramid shape of your body will ever deflate into a girl someone will long to hold in their arms, skin begging for familiarity. The definition of intimacy evades you. But when the sun shines, you think not of the people who will never hold you. You kick and push and ride the street beside your house and willingly eject from the board as if disfigurement were the goal.
By the time you are officially a teenager, you will learn to care less about the dullness of your knees. They will look more angular like the other girls’ when crusted in a cap of diamond-cut scabs, peeking out from beneath your desk in the 8th grade homeroom line up. You will get to know well the burst-grape gray of tortured elbows and find the wreckage charming. Somewhere between afternoons of practice, you will somehow stumble across the sweet spot of skating: the success in all your failures. Sitting on the curb shoulders and hips all a mess, you will realize how the reward system works, unlocked through turbulence and contrite hindsight. Though initially it will drain you of your spirit, you eventually find that the breathlessness and pain bring you euphoria. The flight from the board leaves your fear austere, your courage unadorned - every nerve of you exposed. And then the sudden impact with the blacktop - that intimacy of touch you have been missing, that unadulterated caress, aggressive in its eagerness - that is what leaves you wanting more. You drag yourself back onto seaman’s legs, climb aboard, and sail again into danger.
3: Wear the shirt.
Your first paycheck from your after-school job will leave you in your room one night, staring into a laptop screen featuring the same online checkout page you’ve been scrutinizing for days. The “confirm order” button has been taunting you. But you grit your teeth long enough that you convince yourself you don’t care; two weeks later when your peach tie-dye Stussy shirt comes in the mail, wear it to school as if you have just dug it from the forgotten pits of some old clothing stash because you’d had no other clean options. Somehow, it takes until the middle of second period Tech for Marcus Voorhees to start throwing pieces of eraser from the desk behind you. You will be able to feel them bounce off your back and then hear them dance along the floor, but the Tech teacher will not once look up from his desktop. Keep your eyes forward. Assuming it will get a more satisfying reaction, he and the boy next to him will start whispering, “Poser, poser, poser.”
Slide your forearms off the table and rest your palms on the edge so that your dark, tar-capped elbows point back at them like turrets. You will find the boys come to a stalemate rather quickly. From nearly indistinguishable whispers you will grab the words “really?” and “I don’t think so.” The smile on your face will be so sweet it cramps your cheeks like Lemonheads. The older boys tell the younger ones that you just have to get up and try again. Get up and try again. Even academia recognizes this - “vigor may be a requisite demanded of the skateboard warrior, who must navigate innumerable spills and mishaps in order to improve to the next subjective level of boarding proficiency” (Boyd 33). It’s all about falling off, over and over again, and relishing the concrete sting enough to want to fall off some more. Maybe a scholar who’s never touched a board in his life calls it “vigor.” Your mom calls it piss and vinegar. Eventually, you’ll come to learn it colloquially as “doing whatever the fuck I want.” By lunch, when your brother’s football friend smirks down at you and asks in that familiar fashion, “What are you, Tony Hawk Pro Skater?” you’ll find that all you do is squeeze the lemon juice smile and keep your mouth shut. For years, your silence acts as your armor. Blueblooded boarders will become blue-balled boys t he moment you get tits and an ass. They will suddenly forget the stripping of your pride and instead focus on stripping you of your jeans, as if they haven’t been harassing you for years already. But still, even when one of them has cozied up to you at some party five years later, you will find him asking you, his beer breath creeping up from beneath your snarled hair, “Do you, like, wear that shirt for attention? ‘Cause Tomboys are kinda hot.” And, with no words at all, you will show him the whiskey-colored pit stains and the pinot noir blood specks along the collar. And you will walk away before he gets the chance.
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4: Bruise inventory.
Vanity will strike around age sixteen. A floor-length mirror will find its way into the crevice between your dresser and your bed. Stand before it naked each night prior to bedtime, taking inventory of injuries. Feel the textured map of your skin: mountain ranges of clot blood on elbows, knees, shoulders, palms; swamps of bruises on shins and thighs, hips and ribs. There will be something satisfying in pressing a finger into the purple pools. Allow yourself the fulfillment. Be a cartographer of your own fear. This will always feel like one part reward, one part punishment. No one has seen you this way before. Nudity always occurs with careless boys in the dark of neglect; it is touching, not feeling. No other person has yet taken the time to explore you in the way you do yourself. Maybe no one ever will. This part of you has become so serenely private that you do not know if you would ever want to share it with someone else. They will see the flawed beauty in you, the nearly imperceivable perfections. They might like the dimpling of your thighs, or maybe how your lashes sleep on your cheeks. But they will not get to know the ugliest parts of you. The parts that resemble failure, you will cherish for your own. Every night before you go to sleep, you feel and discover, and remind yourself that you are not the salt of the earth. You are simply the stones. Your breath will lie low like fog in the shallow valley of your lungs as your hands hike and hike.
“They might like the dimpling of your thighs, or maybe how your lashes sleep on your cheeks. But they will not get to know the ugliest parts of you. The parts that resemble failure, you will cherish for your own.”
5: Bomb the hill.
Do it because the boy you’re sleeping with said it was impossible. On a July morning, you will find yourself standing at the top of the asphalt fun slide that is West 14th Street. Your intention is to plummet down toward the plateau at the bottom, which will either brake you or break your teeth. At first, you wonder why it is called “bombing.” Now, looking at the flat hump at the bottom, your body indeed feels like an explosive. Pulsing and ticking, you see the bottom and can only imagine yourself detonating into gory shrapnel along the crosswalk. Yet for once, you feel every bit the textbook definition of who you should be - respiration deepening, heart galloping, hot thumping blood fleeing the stomach to nest in the muscles, trembling fire seeping from the adrenal medulla (Reed 223-225). The very neurons of your skin are building sandbags around themselves in preparation. It will all hurt. Knowing this is half the battle. The visceral terror is what makes you feel most alienated from yourself, a tourist in your own body. But it’s always difficult leaving home. To bomb the hill and take the ride - that is the vacation.
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Allow the fear to undress you until you are unrecognizable, but a body upon a board. Do not think. Force your back foot from the ground. Do not ease into the descent. Dive. Wait for speed to pick up and leave your stomach behind. It’s just loose baggage now. They say the only way to conquer a fear is to face it, and they also say that humans go their entire lives without being able to truly look into their own face. But when you are reeling down that hill for the first of many times, leaving ground more each moment you gain speed, you will find the truth: sometimes, the face of fear is your own, and it is all you can see as you blow blindly past cars and mailboxes on your way to rock bottom. It will happen before and after you know it, because you’ve known it all along. The vessel beneath your feet will begin to take you as loose baggage too. It will writhe and rear beneath you. You are no longer wanted, and part of you no longer wants this, either. Let the fall feel like a termination of sorts. Falling is finality, the end of fear. This is the easy part. This, you have done before. Fling yourself into it headlong. In the fleeting moment you are airborne, take stock of the things you love most about your skull: every single one of your teeth, starting with the first and ending with the twenty-eighth. Years ago your mother dished out child support dollars for braces. When they were removed, the orthodontist gave you a mouth-guard to wear in times of potential dental peril to protect your pretty new mug, and now all you can think of is how the sight of that rubber retainer lying discarded on your dresser will make you laugh hysterically later tonight when you’re sitting in bed toothless. Hold a funeral service for your smile as you fall, and mourn the loss of your helmet while you’re at it.
You will be so occupied with frantic thoughts of headgear and mouth guards that you’ll hardly notice you’re still alive after the solid bounce of hip, shoulder, and cheek on the ground. Breath will come back in a gasp, like you’ve just been tumbled ashore by a menacing wave. Above you, the sky will be bluer than any beautiful bruise you’ve had to date. Beneath you, a little pool of red fills the craters in the road’s complexion. Your right cheek has been grated like mozzarella by the barbed road. Your lips are a mangled mess of skin, diced by teeth. Something about the blood is as savory as sunshine. You think about how the brackets of your braces used to chew angrily at the inside of your lips. Despite losing pieces of yourself to the concrete, every beating bit of you feels whole. Sitting in the street with scrapes sanded into your smile, you watch without care as your board reaches the bottom of the hill and continues to roll onward into traffic. Everything about this feels like getting braces off: barren, but beautiful, with a healthy dose of facial agony as well. It takes a moment before you are able to get up. As you walk down the rest of 14th Street, you relish the way your anguished skin wraps itself around your battered meat and knotted bones, almost like a hug. You need not wear anything else. •
WORKS CITED Boyd, Michael P. and Kim Mi-Sook. “Goal orientation and sensation seeking in relation to optimal mood states among skateboarders.” Journal of Sport Behavior, vol. 30, no. 30. Mar 2007, pp. 21-35, https://goo.gl/WcZ1NT. Accessed 21 Feb 2017. Reed, Charles Frederick, et al. Psychopathology: A Source Book, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 223-225. Accessed 20 Feb 2017. Rethnam, Ulfin, et al. “Skateboards: Are they really perilous? A retrospective study from a district hospital.” BMC Research Notes, 31 July 2008, 10.1186/1756-0500-1-59. Accessed 21 Feb 2017. “Who Are Skateboarders?” publicskateparkguide. org, 2017, http://publicskateparkguide.org/ vision/who-are-skateboarders/. Accessed 21 Feb 2017.
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Clean Up on Aisle 8::
How Makeup Companies “White Wash” the Beauty Industry By Abigail Rundle
Makeup has been a huge part of my life since I was a young girl. Whether it was with dancing, cheerleading, or becoming a young woman in general, makeup has always been involved. It was a safety blanket for my poor self-esteem for such a long time, but the older I get, the lazier I get, and so I’ve stopped wearing makeup everyday (but I still beat this face from time to time). In any store, the makeup aisle will always be my favorite. The more I pay attention to social problems, however, the more I understand that not everyone is like me. Not everyone feels as free to opt out of wearing makeup on their lazy days. As a white female in constant search of makeup, I’ve never really had a problem finding shades for my pale skin. This is not the case for everyone. Makeup companies stock limited shades of foundation on their shelves — shades that are primarily compatible with white skin. Although many companies, such as Maybelline New York, promote diversity among their products, they still fall short when it comes to producing a wide range of shades for people of color (POC). Buyers are having to go the extra mile just to get a foundation that matches their skin tone when they should have easy access to products like these at local drugstores in the same way white individuals do. 52
THE MAKEUP AISLE::
When looking for new makeup, I always go to the drugstore because it’s cheaper and I know what I’m looking for there. Unfortunately, not everyone can walk into a drug store and expect the same convenience and utility. Drugstore makeup brands don’t often cater to POC, giving privilege to white individuals by carrying makeup products that, for the most part, only represent them. According to Cosmopolitan, this problem is related to geography; retailers will stock more of the darker shades in Los Angeles, California than in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for example. And with African Americans making up almost 15% of the United States population, you would think that makeup brands would “stick with the pace of the country” (Arterberry). There are four pigments used to create a particular shade of makeup: white, yellow, red, and black. When creating deeper hues, some chemists mix too much black, creating a bruised effect on the skin. For more caramel hues, chemists might mix too much red or yellow, which gives an orange undertone. They also mix in titanium dioxide, which leaves an ashy finish on the skin. This is why more women (and men) of color end up reaching for high-end beauty products, such as MAC, Lancôme, Chanel, and Bobbi Brown (Arterberry). It is commonly suggested that you go to the department store first when looking for new makeup. The people there will help color match you, tell you what brands/formulas would work best, and they can give you samples. While all of that is great and super helpful, it is also expensive and not everyone has the money to buy such high-end beauty products. You are paying for what you get (quality over quantity), but, even if you can afford it, these big time beauty stores aren’t going to be in Small Town, USA. When we take all of this into consideration, it’s easy to understand how it is that women of color (WOC) spend 80% more on cosmetic products than the general market (Tutt). There is a serious commitment to cosmetics across the country, but even in well established stores like Sephora or Ulta, it is very apparent that not all high-end companies carry makeup for darker skin tones, adding another difficulty to finding makeup that works for you.
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When the price tag at the high-end beauty stores becomes too much, everyone turns to drugstore brands. Maybelline New York, L’Oreal, CoverGirl, and many others take over the shelves at Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, and other common drugstores. Now, while all of these companies promote diversity, the products they sell do not. Some of these companies will even hire a POC as a spokesperson, selling the diversity of the brand in advertisements, but not reflecting this diversity on their shelves. In 2016, Maybelline N.Y. (a common drugstore makeup brand) released only one darker shade for their new Dream Velvet foundation collection (Bryant). As a company, you have to deliver the product you’re trying to market. As we grapple between drugstore and high-end products, we must notice that even high-end brands don’t always provide shades for all skin tones. Marc Jacobs Beauty just released their new “Remarcable” foundation collection. The problem? Out of the 22 shades, only three shades were suitable for POC (“Why This Photo…”). All makeup brands are overlooking the various undertones and skin tones of POC.
Across the beauty world, there are some companies that specifically target women of color with their marketing while also selling the products to match, consistently releasing new shades and collections of makeup for darker skin tones. Black’Up, Iman Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Black Radiance are all examples of companies that have been catering to WOC since the ‘90s and haven’t failed to deliver yet. “Brands like Iman, Black Opal, and Black Radiance exist because they’re thinking about way more than just adding new shades to their collection” (Segran). Where these companies cater directly to WOC, other brands depend on their diverse models and spokespeople to make up for their lack of actual product diversity. Lionel Durand, CEO of Black’Up, asserts that companies who market their brand using models of color but don’t promote much diversity when it comes to what’s actually being sold “are fake because they aren’t specified for women of color” (Tutt). 54
OPI recently hired three WOC ambassadors; Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong’o, and Queen Latifah. These companies need to convince mainstream beauty brands that WOC are spending money on luxury beauty items for their products themselves, not their diverse marketing. Companies need to work toward better understanding the influence that WOC have on the market. Make Up For Ever, Clinique, Chanel, Revlon, and L’Oreal Paris plan on releasing new, darker shades of foundation in the future. MAC and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics have a loyal Black, Asian, and Latina consumer bases because of their “comprehensive color palettes” (Segran). Consumers can enter their stores and have makeup artists address their specific concerns like hyper-pigmentation and uneven skin tone, both of which are common among women with darker skin. Brands like Cocotique, The Essence Beauty Box, Onyx, and Curlbox and Curlkit have released beauty boxes specifically for WOC. These boxes contain samples of beauty products for different ethnicities at low monthly rates (Tutt). In addition, there are beauty supply stores, resources commonly used and promoted by the Beauty Guru community. Beauty supply stores feature brands and a variety of products that aren’t sold at normal retail stores (i.e. Walmart and Rite Aid). They cater to ALL people of color and there products are sold at reasonable prices. “There are brands that have been able to make inroads with women of color without explicitly focusing on race” (Segran). Makeup companies aren’t the same as they were fifteen years ago. Brands are introducing new color matching technology and new means of marketing. In 2014, L’Oreal created a “Women of Color Lab,” specifically used for matching makeup products to the skin color of different ethnicities (Arterberry). Actress Lupita Nyong’o endorses this new foundation matcher and Lancôme is releasing twenty new foundation sticks with this new technology. MAC relies heavily on makeup artists to tell them what is needed (Arterberry). They base their shades off of who shops at their stores — basic supply and demand. This is helping companies realize that women of color aren’t all the same shade; imagine that! The Internet is a big contributor to all of the new things happening within the makeup industry today. Women are coming together, forming alliances, and demanding representation (Bryant).
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THE ETHNIC AISLE:: In any supermarket–Walmart, Target, etc.–you can find an “ethnic section” located within the cosmetics/beauty section. It’s typically really small–only a few shelves–and contains various products that are made specifically for POC. Hair oil, hair dyes, lotions, shower caps, etc. Some brands, however, don’t want to be placed in this section for fear of not selling enough of their product; they want to be placed next to their big competitors (Bryant). Some companies are concerned that their products don’t sell enough, but that’s because big box stores aren’t trying to sell them. If companies advertised these products, they would sell more and the products wouldn’t need to be taken off the shelves. But, because these products are separated from the rest, they don’t sell as well.
Still, many companies try to be as inclusive with their products as they can be. Dove and Head & Shoulders have released “textured” hair-care collections and promote natural beauty for all people, for example. In addition, companies like Ouidad and DevaCurl sell products for girls with natural curls (Bryant). Waker & Co. brands are also developing products that tackle razor bumps and irritation and are sold in Target and endorsed by Nas, John Legend, and many others (Tutt). Maya Brown, vice president of Black Opal, believes that brands are too focused on quick fixes rather than actually meeting the needs and concerns of people of color (Bryant). There shouldn’t have to be a separate section for people of color, but there should be a wide range of products for all! People of color should be thought of as a collective part of the beauty industry, not an extension of it. We are all consumers, not categories. “If you’re not listening to your consumers, you’re going to lose part of your market” (Bryant). Women of color don’t want special treatment; like all women, they just want to have their beauty issues solved.
THE FASHION INDUSTRY::: Recently, the runway has been under fire for cultural appropriation all across the board. From hairstyles to embroidered boots, the fashion industry can’t seem to tastefully create looks that are influenced by specific cultures. Kanye West has found himself in the spotlight once more, but not for his incredible lyrics. The release of Yeezy Season 4 (West’s personal clothing line) was a great step up for West, but was immediately followed by him requesting “multicultural women only” as models for the line (Spedding). What Kanye doesn’t understand is that multicultural people can look like anything and everything. One woman stood outside the casting call, shirtless, with a banner that read “multicultural only… lightskin only… you ain’t slick ye… ‘we call them mutts’ -Kanye West” (Spedding). At the event, guards stood at the door and even let in light-skinned women after the casting was closed. But Kanye isn’t the only designer that has been problematic. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, for several years in a row, has been called out for its relentless acts of cultural appropriation. This past year they introduced “The Road Ahead” section, which was supposed to represent multicultural and worldly views (Matera). Instead, this section of the show featured a Chinese dragon, Chinese embroidered boots, and traditional Chinese lingerie (Matera). Viewers thought that the Chinese pieces should have been worn by one of the Chinese models, as they had four Chinese models in their show this year (Matera). Critics view actions like these as “cheap tricks” used to try and appeal to the Chinese customers as brands expand their market in that part of the world (Matera). This was exemplified again when model Kendall Jenner wore a Native American headdress while walking down the runway one year (Matera). Another case of cultural appropriation occurred during Marc Jacobs’ New York Fashion Week show. His show featured models with pastel colored dreadlocks (Avins). At first, Jacobs tried to defend himself by comparing fake dreads on white people to “black people straightening their hair,” and then said, “I don’t see color or race” (Avins). The same designer that created a 22 shade foundation collection with only three shades for POC said he doesn’t see color or race. Neither Jacobs nor his hair stylist acknowledged the hairstyle’s origins in Africa or the Rastafarian influences (Avins). Last year during the New York Fashion Week, Valentino also sent out models with cornrows (Avins).
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Cultural appropriation has been a rising problem within big box companies and it only continues to grow. This isn’t a call to boycott makeup brands and clothing designers; this is a call to fix the problem. “It’s not that customers were silent, companies weren’t listening” said Desiree Reed, Vice President of Iman Cosmetics. If companies never hear the complaints and problems, they won’t be able to fix them. This has become about companies not delivering on what they are selling. “But it's not enough to slap Lupita or Kerry or Zendaya's face on your ad and call it a day—you have to also deliver with the product” (Bryant). It is important that companies equally represent everyone they say they represent; it is needed now more than ever. There is a constant demand for change in almost every aspect of today’s modern society; even in your everyday life. Beauty and cosmetics have transformed from just an everyday task to an art form, creating a more diverse consumer ratio. Makeup companies need to adapt to the change in diversity within the industry in order to meet the needs of their consumers. Change takes action, and there has never been a better time for change than right now. Companies need to not only support and promote diversity, but they need to fully accept it within their product lines and present it to their consumers. POC shouldn’t have to demand anything from makeup companies, it should already be provided and available. •
WORKS CITED Arterberry, Andrea. "Why Are Women of Color Still Having Trouble Finding Foundation?" Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan, 06 Jan. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <http://www.cosmopolitan. com/style-beauty/beauty/news/a50647/ women-of-color-makeup-foundation/>. Avins, Jenni. "The rainbow dreadlocks on Marc Jacobs’ runway have reopened the Pandora’s Box of cultural appropriation." Quartz. Quartz, 17 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017. <https://qz.com/783614/the-rainbow dreadlocks-on-marc-jacobs-runway-have reopened-the-pandoras-box-of-cultural appropriation/>. Bryant, Taylor. "The Beauty Industry Needs To Stop Doing This." Refinery29. Refinery29, 27 Feb. 2016. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <http:// www.refinery29.com/2016/02/103964/black hair-care-makeup-business>. Matera, Avery. "Victoria's Secret Accused of Cultural Appropriation for VS Show 2016 Costumes." Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue, 1 Dec. 2016. Web. 4 Mar. 2017. <http://www.teenvo gue.com/story/victorias-secret-fashion-show cultural-appropriation-chinese-vs-show-2016>. Segran, Elizabeth. "Is the Makeup Industry Finally Embracing Diversity?" Racked. Racked, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <http:// www.racked.com/2015/3/10/8176275/beauty industry-women-of-color-makeup-cosmetics>. Spedding, Emma. "Kanye West causes controversy with 'multiracial women only' model casting." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 05 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/ people/kanye-west-under-fire-for-multiracial women-only-model-casting/>. Tutt, Paige. "When It Comes to Beauty Products for Women and Men of Color, Indie Brands Are Winning." Mic. Mic Network Inc., 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <https:// mic.com/articles/130284/when-it-comes-to beauty-products-for-women-and-men-of-color indie-brands-are-winning#.8UBo7777V>. "Why This Photo of Marc Jacobs Foundations Is Upsetting People." Yahoo! Yahoo!, 19 Dec. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. <https:// www.yahoo.com/style/why-this-photo of-marc-1324813807099958.html>. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Bare Beauty By Olga Babijtchouk
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Nudity in Culture By Courtney Good
Beginning in a world where nudity was an art form, nudity has transformed into a topic of controversy. Today, nudity is widely seen in mass media outlets such as movies, magazines, and pornography. But even today, some countries freely express the beauty of nudity where others criticize those who expose too much skin. Europe reigns praise upon those who share their bodies with the world while America casts sideways glances and reprimands people who want to display their physical beauty. Why is nudity in America so scandalous in comparison to Europe? As someone who has been to multiple European countries, I’ve found that Europeans tend to be more comfortable with their bodies. Laying on nude beaches, publicly breast-feeding children. These things don’t seem to faze the minds of Europeans, but if they were done in America? That would be a whole other story. In our culture, a celebrity wearing a dress that’s just a bit too revealing, a woman breastfeeding her child in public, or even a character on television who is partially naked. These are the things that we focus on in media and instead of them fading away after a day, they last for a week, maybe even two. It even goes to the extreme of some American towns broadcasting shows that contain any sort of nudity, whether it be that of a person or a statue, after ten o’clock at night.
Nudity used to be an art form inspiring artists of Europe to continue using nude models as their muses for sculptures, statues, and paintings. Examining pieces of artwork from both Europe and America, the difference in subject matter is monumental. As an example, let’s compare two of the most well-known artworks in the world: Michelangelo’s “David” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”. “David” is a Renaissance sculpture created in the early 1500’s. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, nude and holding a rock in preparation for his battle with Goliath. Whereas in the 1930 painting “American Gothic”, depicting a farmer standing next to a woman, which is undetermined whether it is his daughter or wife; they are covered in stiff clothing all the way to their necks, exposing only their faces and hands. Wood’s purpose was to create a painting in which he depicted what type of people would live in the house that is in the background. However, this painting was completed during the beginning of the Great Depression. Why paint farmers completely covered in clothing when Wood could have made a beautiful piece about the Roaring Twenties? Wouldn’t it have been better to try and encourage Americans that they would escape their economic troubles? Regardless, there is a visual difference in what Americans are willing to reveal to their audiences, compared to the lack of censorship and known openness towards nudity by Europeans. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Within the past century, art displayed in America has had various negative reactions. Starting in 1913, a combination of American and European abstract nude art exhibition filled a New York City armory. How the segments of art came together puzzled viewers, wondering where the nudity was displayed in the art. Yet, 87,000 people lined up to see these pieces in the exhibition. Some American artists felt threatened by what they saw, afraid of the new art styles they saw on display in the European works. However, Americans organized the show, but with the press paying attention to works done by European artists such as Duchamp and Matisse, Americans were not happy. Yet, they promoted the displays of nudity at the armory show. In 1942, a legal case came forward: Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. During this case, the United States Supreme Court declared “obscenity” was a type of speech not protected by the First Amendment. But what is obscenity? How can one define what is or is not obscene when it’s usually perceived differently from one person to another?
It’s been made clear that through precise terms that nudity alone does not make an image obscene. In another court case, The United States of America v. Ten Erotic Paintings in 1969, United States Customs seized ten drawings and paintings in Baltimore, Maryland that were being shipped from Europe for an American art exhibition. The works were part of a much larger collection consisting of erotic art and had been displayed previously in various museums in Scandinavia. Under the authority of federal law, United States Customs could seize the works due to a law prohibiting importation of obscene material. These works showed both male and female sex organs, deeming it too obscene to display in an American exhibition. By seizing these works, isn’t the government limiting what we, as a society, can be exposed to in our lives? Does having this law on art work show that America does not properly value all art forms?
In the last decade, art has been criticized and taken down for what viewers state, to them, is obscene due to nudity. In 2007, Catholic protesters shut down an exhibit in New York displaying a naked, life-size form of Jesus sculpted in chocolate. The protests were no surprise. Critics labeled the pieces as offensive, hitting a nerve with the public by pushing nudity and religion – two completely different platforms that generally don’t mix – into the spotlight. The media was eager to exploit the story, it also expressed surprising amounts of modesty when it came to the nudity of the chocolate Christ, opting only to show photos of the sculptures backside to avoid a full-frontal view.
For The American Conservative, one father wrote of the challenges that bringing an American child through art museums poses. A large question that this father, Rod Dreher, proposes from the upbringing of his children is the following: “You have taught your children to respect the ideal of modesty, and then there are statues and paintings of naked people everywhere. How do you explain that?” (Dreher). Exposing children to nudity may be a line that some parents are not willing to cross. Dreher states that he explains to his children that the human body contains beauty, that the art his children are seeing was created to explore this beauty. Sometimes people draw or photograph the human form in a way to expose its ugliness. That, Dreher states, is what he tells his children to turn away from, to reject. “But the body itself was created by God, who said it was good. When we have true art, we are taught to think of the body as beautiful” (Dreher).
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What largely impacts children is what they see. Increasing full-frontal views of men in movies, seeing nude statues, and news outlets covering TV stars having a wardrobe malfunction can cause various thoughts to run through a child’s head. Most American children today seemed to be raised with the idea that sex and nudity are “dirty”, causing them to be more prone to having problems with both their sexuality and their bodies in the future. When curiosity arises, children tend to look for answers. If their parents aren’t willing to give them these answers, then they’ll go straight to the Internet to look for themselves. Young boys will go on the computer and find violent pornography, nudity that has a stigma of being repulsive to our society, and think that this is how they should treat their own bodies and bodies of their future sexual partners. I suspect that by not giving children the answers they need or proper sexual education; we are allowing an increase of violence in the future instead of having kids learn that they should love their bodies and treat their future partners with respect. I’m not saying we should give children unlimited knowledge about nudity, run around naked, and give them Playboys for Christmas. I have a hunch that if we gave children the knowledge they needed at a steady pace, it would allow them to be more open about themselves and their bodies.
Highlighting the scandalization on American’s view of “nude”, as both a word and an idea, has allowed a broader view of how much society limits the amounts of nudity. Maintaining a focus on art within society creates a more pronounced contrast of nudity in America versus the exposure to nudity in Europe. While different areas of the world maintain various views regarding nudity; it seems that these areas have one thing in common: their general attitudes towards nudity have all experienced some type of transformation throughout history. Whether these transformations are for the better or for the worse, I believe that we should be proud of who we are and embrace the nude form. Doing this will allow us, as individuals and as a society, to appreciate nudity, gain comfort in discussing sexuality, and strengthen our thoughts on body types and body positivity. Without transforming from our current views, we will not be able to accomplish these things. • WORKS CITED Dreher, Rod. "Nudity And Culture." The American Conservative. The American Conservative, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/ dreher/nudity-and-culture/.
WORKS REFERENCED “Art on Trial: Obscenity.” Art on Trial: The Arts, the First Amendment, and the Courts. The Thomas Jefferson Center, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. http://www.tjcenter.org/ ArtOnTrial/obscenity.html. Colwell, Dara. “Why Are Americans Afraid of Being Naked?” Alternet. Alternet, 18 Apr. 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. http://www.alternet.org/story/50732/ why_are_americans_afraid_of_being_naked. Drexler, Peggy. “Nudity Doesn’t Shock Us Anymore.” CNN. Cable News Network, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/25/opinion/ drexler-paris-fashion-shock/. Stamberg, Susan. "In 1913, A New York Armory Filled With Art Stunned The Nation." NPR. NPR, 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/11/243732924/in 1913-a-new-york-armory-filled-with-art stunned-the-nation. Steves, Rick. “European Flesh and the American Prude.” Rick Steves Travel Blog. Rick Steves’ Europe, 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 Feb. 2017. http://blog.ricksteves.com/ blog/european-flesh-and-the-american-prude/. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
By Katie Mouradian
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Fully Exposed: Common Dreams and their Meanings
Have you ever woken up from a dream confused and kind of terrified because you showed up to your high school geometry exam in your underwear 7 years too late? Have you ever woken up from a dream that seemed so vivid and clear that it had to be true but it makes you think, “What the f**k?” Me too. I’ve been having – and remembering – dreams for most of my life. I’ve also been trying to figure out why I dream and what my dreams mean since the first time I dreamed about geometry tests. I’ve bought dream analysis books; I have a dream dictionary app. on my phone; I even watch those Netflix documentaries. As far as I can tell, scientists aren’t exactly sure why I have repeating dreams about being in a bongo duet with Paul Rudd.
d What are dreams?
What even are dreams? They’re subconscious images, sounds, and other sensations that you can experience while you’re asleep. They usually occur during REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement. REM is exactly what it sounds like; it’s the stage of sleep where your eyes move, rapidly. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. We go through the different stages of sleep, including REM, a few times a night. It’s easier to remember the details of a dream if we wake up during this stage over other stages (National Sleep Foundation). Dreams can be of anything at all, any people, place, or situation. And sometimes, our brains really run with it. Scientists, however can’t exactly understand why we dream. People have been trying to understand why we dream for as long as we have been dreaming. There are a couple different theories, but what researchers keep coming back to is the connection between dreams and emotions (Scientific American). Do dreams even mean anything at all? We don’t know. But we like to believe People have been interpreting dreams for forever. Some of the earliest records of dream interpretations are so old that they’re recorded on clay tablets. In the Greek and Roman eras, dreams were viewed in a primarily religious context. People believed that their dreams held solutions to their daily problems or messages from the spiritual realm. In ancient Egypt, people who could interpret dreams were considered to have divine gifts and the ability to see into the future. Even the bible has hundreds of mentions of dreams. Today though, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are most well known for dream analysis in this country (Dreammoods 2013).
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I mostly use Jungian dream theory in my interpretations. Carl Jung, although a follower of Freud who championed psychoanalysis, developed his own theories on dreams. The core idea of Jungian dream theory is that dreams reveal more about us than what they conceal. Freud’s theory, however, claims that dreams are designed to be secretive and an expression of our tabooed sexual impulses. Jung on the other hand believed that dreams are the integration of our conscious and unconscious lives. Dreams can tell us what needs we have that aren’t being met (Hurd 2017). I use some of Jung’s dream theory but I also interpret dreams based on the symbols in them. I interpret dreams by asking the person to describe their dreams in as much detail as possible. When I interpret my own dreams, I like to write them down as soon as possible in a dream journal. Once you have the entire dream down, I focus in on which parts of the dream are the most important to the person who dreamed. Then I try to interpret the major symbols in the dream the way people interpret poems or literature. There are a couple really good dream dictionaries online; my favorite is dreammoods.com. I’ve helped many people interpret their own dreams over the past 8 years I’ve been doing this. I’ve noticed that there are a couple major dream themes that pop up. I’m gonna try my best to describe what these themes could mean, but it depends on many different factors what the symbol could mean. For instance, if you dream about being naked in public it would mean something different if you were a nudist than if you were ashamed of being naked.
Dreams about being naked are very common. It can mean different things based on what’s going on in your real life. If you have a dream where you are naked in public, if you’re just going through your daily routine and realize that you’re naked then consider what is going on in your own life. Nudity can indicate vulnerability, a fear of exposure, or insecurity. Being naked is a very vulnerable position. People can see all of you. It’s possible that there is a situation in your daily life that you revealed something that you’ve been hiding to another person. Or it could mean you’re scared to do this and your dream is actually telling you that it’s time to be yourself and to stop hiding your identity in a situation where you are trying to impress someone else. Naked dreams can also indicate being unprepared. The dreams where you show up for a math test in your tighty whities? Turns out that it means you might not feel ready for a project that’s coming up. It could also mean that you might be setting goals that are a little unrealistic for your abilities at this time. You might be scared that your failure will be publicized. Your dreams could be telling you that even though you feel insecure, that most of the time, all eyes aren’t on you. It’s okay to fail a test, or present a project before you’re ready. You might be making an issue out of something that isn’t as big of deal as it seems. If you dream that someone else is naked, it can mean that they’re hiding something from you that you’re nervous to find out about. It can represent a lot of different things depending on what other symbols pop up in your dream. It can represent that you’re losing respect for someone; maybe you’ve already learned something about them that has changed your perspective. It can also mean that you are being too critical of someone else. Maybe you’re paying too much attention to their flaws and should try to see the whole person instead. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Sex dreams are my favorite to interpret. They can mean so many different things depending on who you’re having sex with, how you’re having sex, and how you felt about the dream. Even how passionate, how fast, and where you have sex can be significant to interpreting your dream. But, it can also be just a sex dream. It might just be your libido’s way of telling you that you’ve been neglecting your sexual needs. Or that you want someone to be emotionally close to and are ready to take a current relationship further or that you are ready to be in a romantic relationship with someone. It’s important to note that just because you have sex with someone in a dream, doesn’t mean that you might even want to have sex with them. If you have a sex dream about someone that you’re friends or acquaintances with, then that could just be how your brain decided to tell you that you’re ready to learn more about someone else and improve your friendship. It can mean that you’re getting closer to someone and learning more about them. If you’re in a relationship, and you dream about having sex with someone who isn’t your partner, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to break up with them or cheat on them. It can mean that you’re nervous or excited about your relationship. Especially if you have recently had a major milestone in your relationship or have recently become more open and honest with them. Who you’re having sex can help you figure out what your dream means. If you have a sex dream with your ex, don’t freak out. It could mean that you’re already nervous about a new, different relationship. It could also mean that you’re remembering how you used to feel in the relationship with the person you’re dreaming about. If the relationship with your ex was bad, it could be your subconscious reminding you to not fall back into the same unhealthy patterns that affected your old relationship. Sex dreams about celebrities indicate that you want to be successful and that you’re striving for recognition. What does that celebrity signify in popular culture? Maybe your dream is telling you to express those qualities in your everyday life more. Dreams about sex with your boss are all about power. You want authority and control. Maybe you’re feeling helpless in your life right now or that things are just happening to you. You should be more proactive in your life rather than reactive. Sex can also mean that different aspects of yourself are coming together. Dream interpretations tend to be heteronormative, meaning that interpretations assume that people are in relationships with one other person of the opposite gender. This is a very big assumption to make. So for a lot of dream dictionaries, you’ll have to alter what the symbols mean based on who you are. If the person that you’re having sex with doesn’t fit your sexuality, think about the traits or qualities that the other person has and how they might complement or clash with the traits you have. Is there something you admire about the other person that you could try to replicate?
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So what does the kind of sex you have in your dream mean? The sex act could represent different aspects of yourself that you want to express. Like if you were having slow sex, it could be your subconscious telling you to slow down and savor things more. If it was passionate sex, it could mean that you haven’t been allowing yourself to fully feel and process your emotions. Wild sex can mean that you should be more adventurous. It could mean more adventurous in your daily life or in your sex life. Maybe you need to take a chance, be more vulnerable with someone, or pack up your life and move to a new place. But it could also mean that you have repressed sexual desires. Maybe you’re playing it too safe in your love life. Oral sex and anal sex can mean different things too. Oral sex can represent your willingness to give or receive pleasure. This is another symbol that really depends on the rest of the dream to try to interpret. It could also mean that you need to talk about sex more. Maybe you aren’t communicating your needs and desires. Oral sex is also a symbol of creative energy. Dreaming about oral can mean that you’re heading in the right direction. Anal sex is about power. This might signify that you’re afraid to give up control over something. Or that you’re unwilling to put others desires ahead of yours. Did you orgasm in your dream? It could represent an exciting end to something. Think about the things that you’ve recently accomplished. Your dreams may be telling you good job! But, if you don’t finish, it could suggest that you’re frustrated in your waking life. There’s something going on that’s leaving you dissatisfied. Orgasms in dreams don’t necessarily mean that you're frustrated or accomplished sexually; it can be any part of your life. Where you have sex is also pretty significant. If you’re having sex in your dream in public, then it can mean that people are talking about your private information in public. It can also be like the naked in public dreams where you might be feeling insecure about your relationship with the person you’re having sex with or with your own body. If you’re looking for a place to have sex that can mean that you want a relationship and are trying to find emotional intimacy. Is the place that you’re having sex significant to you?
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A lot of people actually report having dreams of their teeth falling out. These can be very horrifying. A dream about teeth is a dream about anxieties. Teeth dreams can mean powerlessness, embarrassment, and even about money. They’re most likely to occur when people start a new relationship, switching jobs, or during any transitional period in your life. Teeth dreams can reflect anxieties about your appearance. In American culture, appearance of teeth are heavily connected to attractiveness and health. If you dream about your teeth falling out, it could be an expression of your fear of embarrassment. Taking a look at what’s going on in your waking life could give you clues. You might be feeling unprepared for something or afraid that you’ll be called out for making a mistake. A lot of times, it’s an expression of our anxieties and what we imagine as the worst case scenario is actually a lot worse than what really happens. Teeth dreams could also be power dreams. A lot of people rely very heavily on their teeth to bite, chew, and gnaw. If you lose teeth in your dreams, how do you feel? If in your dream, you feel powerless then maybe there’s a situation in your life where you feel like your voice isn’t being heard. Your dream might be telling you to be more assertive and trust in your voice. It’s much harder to communicate vocally without using teeth, a dream where your teeth fall out could be telling you that you feeling like you’re having a hard time communicating with someone.
Dreams are pretty awesome. They’re this weird image sensation thing that plays in our heads when we sleep. Scientists are still pretty split on why we dream and what purpose they serve. I like to think of dreams as a better way for me to understand myself and as messages that my subconscious tries to communicate. There’s not really a formula or a set way to interpret your own dreams. They really can only be understood in the context of you. Even dream dictionaries may not be the best way to interpret your dreams. Some symbols have universal meanings but what’s more important is what those symbols mean to you. You’re the expert of your dreams. If an interpretation feels right, then maybe that’s what it means. If it doesn’t feel exactly true to you then maybe it’s a different meaning. Or maybe, just maybe, dreams are just dreams. I don’t think it’s that though. •
WORKS CITED Dream Moods. Dream Moods Inc. January 1, 2017. http://www.dreammoods.com. Accessed March 7, 2017. Hurd, Ryan. “The Dream Theories of Carl Jung.” Dream Studies Press. http:// dreamstudies.org/2009/11/25/carl-jung-dream interpretation/. Accessed March 7, 2017. Tartakovsky, Maragarita. “How to Analyze Your Dreams (And Why It’s Important.)” Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/how to-analyze-your-dreams-and-why-its important/.Accessed March 7, 2017. van der Linden, Sander. “The Science Behind Dreaming.” Scientific American. July 26 2011. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the science-behind-dreaming/. Accessed March 7, 2017. “What Are Dreams?” National Sleep Foundation. https://sleep.org/articles/dreams/. Accessed March 7, 2017. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Dress Code Violation:
Hypersexualization of the Female Body & the Perpetuation of Rape Culture By Raea Benjamin
The first instances in history during which dress codes were enforced came out of Sumptuary laws (“Sumptuary law”). A sumptuary law is any law designed to restrict excessive personal expenditures in attempts to prevent extravagance and luxury in society. Sumptuary laws work to restrict extravagance when it comes to things like food, drink, household equipment, and dress, usually on religious or moral grounds. Such laws, however, have proved consistently difficult and even impossible to enforce over long period of time (“Sumptuary law”). Sumptuary laws originated in ancient societies such as that of Ancient Greece. The Spartan inhabitants of Laconia, for example, were forbidden to attend drinking entertainments and were also forbidden to own a house or furniture that was created by tools more advanced than the ax and saw. The possession of gold or silver by the Spartans was also forbidden, their legislation permitting only the use of iron money. A system of sumptuary laws was extensively developed in ancient Rome as well. A series of laws beginning in 215 BC governed the materials of which garments could be made, the number of guests allowed at public events, and forbade the consumption of certain foods (“Sumptuary law”). 86
Sumptuary laws were also enforced in many European countries during the Middle Ages, though they were no more effective than they had been in ancient civilizations. In France, Philip IV issued regulations regarding the dress and social lives of the different orders within his kingdom. Under later French kings the use of gold and silver embroidery, silk fabrics, and fine linen was restricted as well. In England, during the reign of Edward II, a proclamation was issued against the “outrageous and excessive multitude of meats and dishes which the great men of the Kingdom had used, and still used, in their castles.” In addition to the regulations regarding dress already being enforced, in 1336 Edward III tried to restrict merchants and servants from eating more than one meal per day (“Sumptuary law”). The first recorded use of standardized dress in education may have been in England in 1222, when the Archbishop of Canterbury declared that students wear a robe-like outfit called the "cappa clausa." The origin of the modern school uniform, however, can be traced to 16th Century England, when impoverished children attending the Christ's Hospital boarding school were assigned to wear blue cloaks and yellow stockings. In later centuries, school uniforms became associated with the upper class. At one of England's most prestigious schools, Eton, students were required to wear black top hats and tails both on and off campus. This rule was enforced until 1972, when the dress code finally became more relaxed (“School Uniforms”).
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In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that would later be used as both an argument and a defense against school uniforms. In the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District case, the Court ruled 7-2 that schools could not stifle students' freedom of expression as long as the students' choices were "not disruptive, and did not impinge upon the rights of others." The students in question had worn black armbands to protest America's involvement in the Vietnam War, and school uniform opponents use this decision to argue that students' choice of what to wear is protected by the Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Uniform proponents, however, cite a passage in Tinker's majority opinion that states, "The problem posed by the present case does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing..." (“School Uniforms”). History reflects school uniforms and dress codes as a means to instill discipline, structure, and a sense of community in the day-to-day lives of students. So when did these regulations start to become less about order and more about the sexualization of the body, females bodies in particular. Schools often respond to this question by citing the importance of maintaining a “distraction free” learning environment. The answer to the first question raises another: why is the human body (especially parts of it that are not inherently related to sex) a sexual distraction? As is the case for dress codes in schools, the sexualization of the human body (especially that of the female) has a long history, a lot of which consists of the sexual objectification of women.
Schools in the United States followed the traditional use of uniforms established in England, but the practice was generally used only in private schools. One of the first U.S. public schools to institute uniform policies was Cherry Hill Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, in the fall of 1987 (“School Uniforms”). According to a New York Times report from December of that same year, most parents supported the idea and "almost all" students wore the uniforms. School officials and other advocates of the new uniform policies noted improvements in students' "frame of mind" and stated that uniforms had "sharply reduced discipline problems." They also reported that uniforms had "already reduced the preoccupation of students with expensive designer clothing for school wear and eased the financial burden that placed on the students' families." The origin of Baltimore’s school uniform policies has been linked to a 1986 shooting, in which a local public school student was wounded during a fight over a pair of $95 sunglasses (“School Uniforms”). By the fall of 1988, 39 public elementary schools and two public junior high schools in Washington, DC, had instituted mandatory uniform policies. The movement quickly spread to other states, including Connecticut and New Jersey, and was most common among schools whose students were mainly a part of families with low incomes. The first school district in the United States to require all its K-8 students to wear uniforms was the Long Beach Unified School District of CA, in 1994. Later that same year, California Governor Pete Wilson signed a bill officially allowing schools to implement mandatory uniform policies (“School Uniforms”).
Sitting down in homeroom on the first day of my senior year of high school, I was asked to stand up, in front of my classmates, and hold my hands at my sides so Mrs. Sullivan, my homeroom advisor, could check to see if my shorts came past my fingertips. They didn’t. I was then instructed to either change into my P.E. clothes if I had any with me (I didn’t) or go home and change there. Fortunately, I had a car, and so I drove the twenty-five minutes home, changed into something “more appropriate,” and then drove the twenty-five minutes back to school. I missed two classes in the process. In the car, I remember asking myself how Mrs. Sullivan could have justified sending me home over an inch of material, how she could be so strict on the first day back from summer vacation, and, most importantly, why she had chosen me as her target. Looking back now, I realize I was asking myself the wrong questions. I shouldn’t have been angry with Mrs. Sullivan for choosing to punish me rather than some other girl whose shorts were “way shorter than mine,” I should have been angry that society had chosen to ostracize women for dressing in a way that could be sexually distracting rather than re-educate the population so as to reduce sexual objectification and the hypersexualization of the female body. I should have been angry that my kneecaps and lower thigh could possibly have been seen as a sexual distraction in the first place. Students should be able to get up in the morning and get dressed without worrying about how many inches above the knee their skirt ends or whether or not their shirt exposes their collarbones. They should be thought of as students, not objects. When schools enforce rules governing dress based on avoiding sexual distractions and aimed primarily at females, they aren’t encouraging structure or professionalism, they are perpetuating rape culture.
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Regulating the dress of female students based on the hypersexualization of their bodies works to preserve gender stereotypes. The claim that imposing dress codes on girls is necessary hinges on the belief that boys will be distracted by violations of them, when, in fact, they often aren't. Parents, teachers, and administrators who enforce dress codes are often objectifying girls more than the boys they're supposedly protecting. By claiming that boys' minds will be filled with sexual thoughts if they see someone's shoulder blades, thighs, or even their stomach, dress code advocates are contributing to the same stereotypes often used to excuse rape: that men are more visual beings and have sexual impulses they can't control. This is insulting to everyone, regardless of gender. In addition, enforcing these kind of rules in a way that generally only inconveniences females makes them seem at fault for society’s sexist tendencies and is misogynistic in itself. Since boys aren’t the ones typically paying the price for society’s hypersexualization of the human body, guess who ends up taking the blame? That’s right, girls. Claiming that a woman's body is by nature "distracting" implies that it's her fault if she "allows" someone else to be distracted by it. Not only are female students often blamed for their own harassment, they are shamed for it as well. While male students are portrayed as voracious sexual beasts, dress code supporters commonly portray females as objects whose purpose is to cater to the desires of men. Under this logic, a woman who violates a dress code chose her outfit not for the sake of wearing something she likes or is most comfortable in, but for male attention. These women are sometimes wrongly viewed as individuals who are not adequately protecting their purity, which, to some, implies a lack of self-respect and deserve objectification.
Any regulation of women's clothing encourages the idea that a woman's appearance reflects her character, which it doesn’t. Women in our culture are already taught that their looks are the most important thing about them, so it's difficult for a lot of women (including myself ) to get up in the morning and not obsess over her outfit. Let's not make that task any harder by forcing girls to think about something that actually has no bearing on their education or that of their classmates. Let’s work to stop further female objectification and the normalization of misogyny and sexism by paying attention to those things about women that really shape who they are rather than the length of their skirt. •
WORKS CITED “School Uniforms.” ProCon.org, 25 May 2016, http://school-uniforms.procon.org/view. resource.php?resourceID=006507. Accessed March 20, 2017 “Sumptuary law.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 20 Jul. 1998, https://www.britannica.com/topic/ sumptuary-law. Accessed March 20, 2017. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
Black DahliaBy Katelin Pierce My wife is an apricot, with velvet flesh and learned erotica. A rich barack brandy I lap off my chin. Her fingers, like leaves, scramble then subside, giving up arms, landing on thighs. Me, insistence, her legs, weary unshield the dusky pit inside. Incisors to inguinal, flex of the jaw then iron, a heady taste on the tongue. I bite imagining the apricot altar, somewhere in China. She screams.
She wore a bike chain around her neck And when I asked her why she said My mind works like a wheel If I take the chain off, my head is liable to roll right off my shoulders Onto a great adventure of its own And I would hate to miss it So I forgot about it But when she came home again With fishing lures for earrings, I had to ask She said You can catch more flies with honey And you can catch more fish with a worm But I have no interest in flies or fish Iâ€™d rather catch you It worked didnâ€™t it? Five days later she appeared in the kitchen with four packs of red Kool-aide Locked herself in the bathroom and appeared an hour and 15 minutes later Her wavy blonde hair had turned a sweet shade of pink Before I could ask her she said The first time I met you I had bubble gum on my shoe And there was bubblegum under the table And there was bubble gum in your mouth Now there is bubblegum in my hair So she continued with her bike chain necklace and fishing lure earrings and Kool aid hair And then one day she came home again With no bike chain, no fishing lures, and her hair was back to wheat And she cried and cried and cried and said I have never felt more naked Do you like me nude? I backed out of the doorway Tore through the cupboard Found my old fishing gear and Huffy And one by one, we put her pieces back together ----
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WELLSâ€™S RESIDENT GODDESS ANSWERS YOUR BURNING QUESTIONS.
With everything that has happened on campus this year, it sometimes feels like the Wells spirit is dying. What can students do to keep it alive? Sincerely,
Worried Wellsian Dear Worried for Wells,
The best way for you to keep the Wells spirit alive and well is for you to remember those things about Wells that give it its spirit. Pinpoint a handful of things about Wells that are especially influential and important to you, and then do your best to encourage those things in both yourself and the community.
How do I politely tell my friends to chill when they’re being extra? Sincerely,
Frustrated Friend Dear Anonymous and Annoyed,
If you only find yourself irritated by your friends’ seemingly dramatic actions once in a while, it might be best to brush it off and spend some time alone. If you’re constantly being put off by your friends’ behavior, however, you might want to try talking to them about what’s bothering you. Help them to better understand which behaviors of theirs you find to be annoying by politely explaining your point of view.
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How do you feel about the graffiti in the bathroom stalls? Sincerely,
Opportunistic Artist Dear Art Enthusiast,
While I’m sure it is quite the annoyance to clean inappropriate messages off of the bathroom stalls, I am an advocate for artistic expression and love seeing it from Wells students. As long as the graffiti is not thought by anyone to be inappropriate or harmful, I don’t have a problem with it; keep creating!
Are you a vegetarian? Do you condone animal violence? Sincerely,
Very Vegan Dear Animal Advocate,
Although I am not a vegetarian, I most definitely do not condone animal violence or cruelty. When I do eat meat, I prefer for it to have been the product of as little suffering as possible. 96
Ho do I keep myself from drinking on week nights? I’m so bored all of the time. What else is there to do? Sincerely,
Drunk as a Skunk Dear Bored and Boozin’,
Wells is a great place to take part in extracurricular activities. Rather than spend night after night drinking, look into the variety of interests Wells’ clubs and organizations cater to and get involved! What are you waiting for?
How do you deal with the bad Dining Hall food? Sincerely,
Hopelessly Hungry Dear Disappointed by Dinner,
It’s true that sometimes the Dining Hall can seem like a bit of a let down, but the staff seems to be very open to suggestions. Try voicing your opinions at the comment board. The Dining Hall staff will most likely do their best to address your concerns. In the meantime, check out the specials at The Well and see if they seem any more appetizing.
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I think I’m only with my boyfriend because it was convenient at the time. I also feel like I’ve lost some of my independence since the relationship began. What should I do? Sincerely,
Rethinking my Relationship Dear Date ‘Em or Dump ‘Em,
It seems to me that you’ve outgrown your current relationship, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Situations change, and if you feel like you’re less invested in your partner now than you were in the past, it’s probably because you are. It can be difficult, but try listening to what your gut tells you and make the decision that feels right. Sometimes letting go is the best way to regain your own independence.
How did you become the statue of Wells College? Sincerely,
Curious College Student Dear Statue Skeptic,
I am the Roman Goddess of wisdom . I encourage the arts, trade, and strategy. These characteristics, not to mention my cunning wit and exceptional charm, are representative of some of the key values upheld at Wells College. 98
Will you miss the class of 2017 after they’re gone? Sincerely,
Dear Almost Alumni,
Of course I will miss the class of 2017! It’s always hard to say goodbye to students whose faces you’ve grown so accustomed to seeing. But, as always, I know this year’s graduating class has great things waiting for them ahead and I’m excited for this new chapter to begin!
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sincerely,
Pizza Princess Dear Food Fanatic,
If I had to, I would choose chicken fingers. Like I said before, I am no vegetarian. THE SYCAMORE / SPRING 2017
“STANDING FEMALE NUDE: REFLECTION”
VISUAL ARTS CONTEST WINNER
ARTIST: NADIA MCCARY ‘20
NADIA MCCARY ‘20
OIL ON CANVAS