University of Michigan
WHAT THE F Your Irregular Periodical Issue 10
Stretch Marks This publication is meant to start conversations - it’s an open channel for all voices. The more voices, the richer the conversation. Because of how we’re raised and who we are, it can be difficult to see past our own experiences. So if, when reading anything in this magazine, you find you have a disagreement, a critique, or another viewpoint, write to us and we’ll publish it. Stretch marks: Stretch past your own head. Talk to us at WhatTheFMag@umich.edu.
These photographs are neabt to “highlignt” a persons flaws. It brings attention to something that they would rather not while at the same time showcasing the beauty within their flaws.
Jacqueline Saplicki Hannah Engler Erica Liao Paige Wilson Sydney Bagnall Tori Wilbur Amanda Hampton Allie Rubin Becca Langsam Miranda Hency Molly Munsell
President Editor in Chief Creative Head Assistant Creative Head Layout Editor Buisness Manager Assistant Buisness Manager Social Media Coordinator Campus Coordinator Social Chair Community Outreach Chair
What the F is a non-partisan, non-profit publication operated by students
at the University of Michigan. What the F’s purpose is to encourage discussion on significant issues of campus, national, and world interest. The magazine, the executive board, and our sponsors do not endorse the ideas presented by the writers. We do, however, support and encourage different ideas into our community and into campus discussion.
All writings are real, found in bathrooms on campus, because sometimes we just need to talk to each other.
WHAT THE F
Your Irregular Periodical Issue 10
Letter from the Editor 01 Health 02 Sh*t Iâ€™m Afraid to Ask My Doctor 03 Angela Davis Opinions 04 05 06 08 10 12 14 Poetry 16 18 19 20 22
Feminist Feelings Catholic School My (Slow) Sexual Revolution Appropriate Attire Damp Feminism Loving Yourself A Mutual Understanding An Ode to the Feminine Over Stimulation When I Didnâ€™t Want to Go Home With You Hand Print Bruise The Morning I Asked Her to Leave
Sources and Sponsors 25
FUNNY, FRESH, fearless, feminist & FUCK Contributing Illustrators Taylor Landeryou, Sareena Kamath, Molly
Munsell, Amanda Donovan, Katie Raymond, Edith Zhang, Erica Liao, Destiny Franks, Sydney Bagnall, Shreya Patel, Srishti Gupta, Tegwyn John, and Paige Wilson Contributing writers Rachael Lacey, MacKenzie Campbell, Hannah Gordon, Molly Munsell, Catherine Audette, Deirdre McGovern, Sierra Hansen, Allie Rubin, Rebecca Rosen, Angelica Esquivel, Sareena Kamath, and Hannah Bates Keep the conversation going online! Visit our website at WhatTheFMagazine.wix.com/umich Like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WhatTheFMag Follow us on Twitter @WhatTheFMag and on Instagram @ WhatTheFMagazine Find our Tumblr at WhatTheFMag.tumblr.com
Letters from the Editors
Welcome to What The F, your feminist periodical!
May, 2016 Lately – maybe because it’s spring - I have been thinking a lot about love. Not romantic love, necessarily, but all the different types of love. Like the love I have for a good cup of coffee, or one of my favorite books, or the love I feel for Ann Arbor sometimes when I’m walking down the street on a sunny day. Of course, the love I have for my friends and my family. And the love I have for myself, which might be the most complicated and rewarding kind of love there is. Everybody says that love isn’t easy, and that’s true. Even the simplest kinds of love can be work. The thing is, the people or the things we love don’t always love us back. Pouring love into something doesn’t guarantee a good outcome. So, knowing this, what does it mean for something to be a labor of love? For me, for the rest of e-Board, and, I hope, for our readers, What the F is a true labor of love. Our love for this mag, this organization, and the community our foremothers dreamed of creating influences every decision we make. Work that is done out of love still feels like work, but it’s a different kind of labor. For many of us, What the F is our “thing.” We’re all involved in other organizations, but this is where our hearts lie. We’re completely student run. We need our passion to keep us going; without it, none of the work would be worthwhile. Issue 10, in a lot of ways, is an issue about love. We have articles about self-care (including a fitnessthemed edition of Shit I’m Afraid to Ask My Doctor), and about discovering or exploring one’s sexuality. We have lots of poetry in this issue, poems that are raw, that are sometimes
angry, that are honest. Pieces like this, full of tenderness, are always a gesture of love to the reader. They say: know me, know yourself, or simply I’ve been there. Sometimes they say: fight for me. Mostly, they say: fight with me. In that sense, though, our magazine is always about love, even when it seems angry or frustrated. Activism is love. When we write about workplace sexual harassment, for example, yes, we’re angry, but we’re also reaching out. We’re searching for connection, for agreement, for partners in a revolution. When we protest, we are saying to the world: care about us as we care about you. I think this especially applies to campus activism. When I complain about this university’s shortcomings, the ways it can improve various protections for its students, it’s because I know how much better things can be. We who are trying to change the world do so partially out of love and respect for ourselves/others in the present, and partially out of love and hope for the future. And, yes, I love this school a little more because this is where What the F is and (I sincerely hope) always will be. I will always love this magazine and the people it has allowed me to come to know, whether through their writing (thank you, contributors!) or on e-Board (to Becca, Allie, Hannah G., and Taylor, who are graduating: I’ll miss you and look forward to seeing y’all take over the world). Yes, love is labor. But when you read issue 10, I promise it will touch your very hardworking heart. Yours in feminism and friendship,
Hannah Engler Editor-in-Chief
Sh*t I’m Afraid to Ask My Doctor: Workout Edition! By Allie Rubin
Is it ok to work out if I’m a little sick? It depends. One general rule is that if your symptoms are above the neck (ie: runny nose, cough, etc.) and you feel up to it, you’re okay for some light to moderate exercise. If you have symptoms like fever, nausea, or diarrhea you’re better off avoiding exercise until you’re feeling healthy again. It’s also important to think about where you’re working out: you might be better off avoiding the public gym and sticking to working out alone or outside to reduce your exposure to more possible sources of illness and to avoid spreading yours to others. As always, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Pushing yourself too hard can make you sicker, so take a break if that feels like the best thing for you.
Do I really need to stretch before and after working out? The importance of stretching is up for debate. Some studies have found that stretching before physical activity doesn’t do much to help and that you’re better off doing dynamic rather than static stretches before you work out (think jumping jacks and jogging in place instead of staying still and trying to touch your toes). While static stretching might not be particularly important before a work out, stretching after a work out when your muscles are warm may improve flexibility and relieve muscle soreness. Still, these rules about stretching aren’t completely set in stone. Stretching can be relaxing and a nice moment to reflect on your workout/how your body feels. So if a certain stretching method makes you feel good, I’d say go for it.
What the hell is lactic acid? Is working out giving me butt acne? You might be more prone to buttne if you work out in leggings or yoga pants. The tight material traps sweat and bacteria which can clog pores and make your skin break out. If you wear a thong or no underwear with tight pants like this, you’re even more likely to get buttne because there’s no barrier between your skin and that tight, sweat-sealing fabric. I’m a big fan of leggings, but to avoid buttne try wearing something looser and more breathable (like cotton) or at the least wear full undies (panty lines are irrelevant tbh).To treat current break outs, try using a body wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide and exfoliating with a loofah. Be sure to shower as soon as possible after getting super sweaty and to dry off completely after.
Our cells break down our food and convert it into a usable form of energy. This process uses two different pathways depending on whether sufficient oxygen is present in the cell or not. Most often, cells use the oxygen-requiring pathway which allows muscles to work normally. When muscles work really hard, like during a sprint, and need energy faster than oxygen is delievered to the cells, our muscles rely on a different food to fuel pathway that does not require oxygen. Lactic acid is a byproduct of this pathway and can accumulate in a muscle until the muscle has sufficient oxygen. Lactic acid doesn’t cause your muscles to be sore, though: lactic acid and other metabolites instead cause a burning, often painful sensation in the muscles.
What is the best regimen for getting a perfect spring break bikini body? Put on a bikini.
Feminist Feelings By Angelica Esquivel
Feminism requires that we look at things through a different lens than most, that we see the systems of oppression that were previously invisible, and that we take action to dismantle them. Simply looking at the world differently is difficult. We realize how much we have been conditioned to believe, how many qualities of society we take as innate when really they were constructed. So we try to share feminism:, it does benefit everyone, after all. “Hey! You can have body hair if you want!” “Masculinity can be toxic!” “Sexuality and gender are fluid!” Sometimes, we can inspire someone. But most of the time it just ends in bitterness at how blissfully unaware others choose to remain. So we end up in this cycle of uncertainty: asking ourselves if we are being over-analytical, if we are projecting, if there is really anything we can do. Still, the micro-aggressions, everyday sexism, and gender norms are unavoidable, and we remember that we have to be angry and we have a right to be heard. As Gloria Steinem once said, “the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Being a feminist is undeniably emotional. And it’s important to know that if it becomes too exhausting, you can always step back and try to forget the woes of the world for a while. As a fellow feminist, I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years to help me feel hopeful, happy, and productive while kicking the patriarchy’s butt at the same time. If I’m debating with someone and realize they are only on the defense, not actually taking in anything in anything I’ve said, and find myself getting angry and losing my chill (understandably), I find it helpful to internally connect to my five senses. For example, right now I see a lamp, smell cookies baking, hear the Arctic Monkeys, feel the warmth of my comforter, and touch the keys as I type this out. Recognizing your “now” can often be instantly calming, and this simple exercise also serves as a reminder that you are separate from your emotions. This doesn’t just apply to arguments:, trying to connect with your senses can be helpful any time you are feeling out of control. It’s also super important to surround yourself
with supportive feminists friends. Find a positive environment where you would feel not only comfortable, but encouraged, to discuss social issues from a feminist perspective. For me this is found in several places: At What The F? meetings, naturally; with my housemates in my co-op; with a few of my old friends; and with my siblings, at home. These environments can serve as starting points to a larger discussion, helping you build up the confidence to be vocal in other settings as well. Feminism also better equips us to recognize toxic relationships: abuse, projected insecurities, controlling behaviors, etc., so never feel bad if you have to burn some bridges, be they romantic or platonic. Channelling your emotions into something you’re passionate about is a fun way to make a difference. I like writing, so I write about feminism. Take whatever you love, apply a feminist lens, and allow it to guide your creative process. If you don’t have the time for this, you can always look up feminist victories and and quickly renew your hope that way. Here’s a few right now: In 2014 when 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize, and used her new platform to discuss the inaccessibility of education to women. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she wants an all-female Supreme Court (also when she visited the University of Michigan!) When the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry anywhere in the United States. Also Shondaland
Catholic School By Molly Munsell My high school taught me that I can and should have it all, as long as I keep my hemlines below my fingertips.
reference to “drama.” I find these attitudes surprising, since my own social concept of an all-girls school is more utopia than hellscape.
The nuns (technically, sisters) who led my all-girls Catholic high school ran a tight ship. No, no rulers or wimples. They were cool nuns – sort of. One rapped at school assemblies (not wholly a great thing, but that’s a talk for another day). Another taught me senior theology in a wellconsidered, accepting, and truly scholastic way. Our principal had a simultaneous warmth and gravity in speaking that I’ve never seen equaled in anyone else.
My high school was run, inhabited, and constantly improved by women. 100% of the school leadership were women. 100% of my classmates in AP Physics and Calc were women. 100% of class clowns, jocks, alternative loners, and socially inept overachievers were women. The social landscape and course catalog largely mirrored those of co-ed schools, but girls filled every seat in the caf and the classrooms. Women doing it all for themselves, truly.
The nuns embody the conundrum central to my Catholic schoolgirl experience: the same women who warned us not to go around dressing like “women of the streets” modeled charisma, professionalism, and a variety of talents in a way that couldn’t help but have some positive effect.
Of course, I’ve been a little bit rosy.
Somewhat logically, there was often bland, girl power-type feminism to be found at the dear old Academy. My years there included at least one Powerful Womenthemed spirit day. Career Day speakers discussed the breaking of glass ceilings and the future potential of the school community as a career support. Teachers and students alike made serious and joking references to female superiority. When I tell people about my all-girls school origins, their reactions often suggest a Gossip Girl vision. Some say that the presence of boys in high school made things less catty and more fun, always with some
My high school allocated an entire semester of an entire class to a textbook and video series by some prominent chastity speakers. My high school barred political partyaffiliated student organizations point blank. Public support for or even ambivalence about abortion rights inside school walls would be unthinkable, sure to raise the
ire of both the archdiocese and a small but vocal cadre of ultraconservative parents. I was 1984-level nervous the day I led a club meeting about feminism, afraid that sharing links to mainstream websites could lead to some major shit if someone betrayed me to the Church Police. Yet the Pro-Life Club sent all-school emails charting the growth of an adopted online fetus without suffering anything but private ridicule. Hmm. Most egregiously and most importantly, my high school was a treacherous place for its nonnegligible LGBT population. My high school fired two lesbian teachers after insurance paperwork revealed they were living together. My high school made Cosmo. My high school was praised by the archbishop for toeing the line. While reprehensible, this incident was not without redemption. Alumnae were furious, withdrawing donations, picketing the school, and launching a Facebook page with waves and waves of sincere testimony and support. It seems that many others who once walked, plaid-skirted, through the halls of my high school did not quite absorb the explicit messages of theology class and all those dress code assemblies. As evidenced by the firing, the messaging of these classes and assemblies can be real and harmful. As evidenced by the response, there might be a deeper takeaway from four years of living in a community entirely led and populated by women.
My (Slow) Sexual Revolution By Hannah Gordon
I am getting better at having sex. I say this not meaning that I have discovered tricks or new positions to make me phenomenal in the sack. I only mean that I am getting better at dealing with the emotional and mental tolls and repercussions sex has had on me in the past. Sex and I have a complicated relationship. I blame most of this on my sexual education, or, really, lack thereof. While sex-ed is dismal in the United States education system as a whole, it is even worse if you receive that sex-ed at a private, conservative, Christian school. We were taught not of condoms or the pill or of consent or STDs. Instead, we were taught of a woman’s virtue. Of how God wouldn’t allow us into Heaven if we had premarital sex. We were taught to save ourselves, like a gift, for our future husbands, lest we burn in Hell for all eternity to atone for our sin. And then we prayed. Because of this, I’ve always felt as though I am leaving pieces of myself behind each and every time I sleep with someone new. That some integral part of who I am as a human being is left in that bed, with that person. The first time I had sex, I walked home in the freezing, Michigan cold, crying and feeling empty, wearing only a thin leather jacket, while the boy I lost my virginity slept peacefully, drunkenly, warmly. I remember his words, right before we consummated our love (or lack thereof): “Are you ever going to sleep with me, or what?” Man, were those the magic words to unlock my chastity belt. I was a late bloomer, you could say; I lost my virginity at nineteen, while the rest of my friends had lost it our first year of college or, in the cases of some, in high school. I, however, almost made it out of my teens before finding that special someone to take my virginity and thus seal my fate burning for all eternity in Hell. Imagine that: burning in Hell all for three, underwhelming minutes of some boy drunkenly thrusting himself in and out of me, while I lay, motionless on the mattress, asking myself if this was really all there was. Hey, at least that chill I caught on the way home would be eradicated by hellfire, right? Here is the thing: logically I, a liberal, educated college student and feminist, knew that I had every right to have sex, so long as it was consensual. Logically. Deep down, though, I could not escape the feeling that I had let someone down. There was a deep, unrelenting dissonance between my logic and my emotions. After losing my virginity, I comforted myself with the delusion that this boy loved me. That, perhaps, I had not let anyone down, after all, because maybe he’d be the only boy I’d ever sleep with. Why I was condemning myself to such pitiful sex for the rest of my life, I’ll never be able to reconcile. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out to be so. That boy did not want to sleep with me for the rest of my life, let alone for the rest of the month.
What the hell was a sexually awoken girl to do, but accrue more tally marks on her ever-growing list of sins? Reminding myself of the beliefs I held to be true, I slept with others. Some I was in committed relationships with, others not. Some I wanted to eat breakfast with in the morning, others I snuck out on, dressing as quickly as I could and getting the hell out of there. I was a sexual being. And that was okay. Yet I could not shake that ever-present, nagging feeling that I was wrong. Some deep, intrinsic guilt that shouldn’t be there. Here lies the problem: when you teach kids— young kids—that any expression of their sexuality before marriage is a sin, you are condemning them to a life of discomfort. You are brainwashing them, causing a cognitive dissonance in how they feel and how they have been taught to feel. I wonder how many adults are royally fucked-up in the bedroom because of abstinence, Heaven-oriented sexual education. Sex is a huge aspect of the human experience, and now, because of my raising in a religious, oppressive setting, I have to work harder than I should to experience it. It is such a conscious effort now—thinking of sex, talking about sex, and having sex. But I am getting better at having sex. I am no longer that girl, walking home in the cold, crying for that part of her forever lost, because I realize that part never existed. I realize that virginity is a made up concept to further police our bodies. I realize that I never lost anything, though I am in the process of losing that warped way of thinking about sex. I’ve met a boy that I can easily admit I love. I don’t know if I’ll marry him. The other day, though, I caught myself thinking, I wish I lost my virginity to him. It came out of nowhere; originating from a place I recognize as not my own thought. It came from that part of me that is still afraid of sex. That part that is slowly becoming irrelevant. Because losing my virginity to him would make no difference. My having slept with others in the past does not define the worth of my person. It does not diminish the quality of partner I will be in the future. If we teach a proper sex education course to kids, then they won’t have to reconcile it as adults. If my teacher had taught me of consent and proper protection and how it’s very important to pee after sex, perhaps I wouldn’t hesitate whenever my boyfriend tries to touch me. Maybe I could touch, and be touched, without feeling the flames of hell lick my heels. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell my past self this. I’d tell her she could wait. I’d tell her she didn’t have to walk home in the cold. Most importantly, I’d tell her that it gets better. I’d tell her I am getting better at having sex.
Office-Appropriate Attire Doesn’t Make a Difference: Why Men Dont Really Care About Our Secret Struggles By Sierra Hansen
Sometimes, when I don’t feel that I’m adulting enough, I rearrange furniture and buy a plant. I find excuses to swing a hammer, and I buy electrical cords and apps for my phone. Right now I’m learning to code on codecademy.com, at a desk I proudly remind others I bought with this very activity in mind. While lugging a large desk into the two-door Ford Focus I borrowed from my parents, I was tickled by the idea of visibly caring about making my room suitable for the drudgery of the rest of my life. Being independent is unglamorous, and it involves activities like flossing and discovering the fragmented skin of a grape we didn’t know was still stuck back there, being rejected by companies that aren’t even those we necessarily want to work for, and waxing our lady-staches (I pluck mine, because I’m a masochist). Today, more women attend college than men, but when we graduate we don’t exactly have the pick of the litter. Case in point is my friend Valerie*, who after graduating from the University of Michigan with an English degree, took a job with a 3D printing company doing social media. Initially, it seemed like the perfect transitional job. She took part in office culture, tried to enjoy a daily commute on the highway despite the polar vortex’s paralyzing effects, and attended meetings. She punched in and she punched out. Everything seemed fine. That is, until her boss invited her over for a drink to discuss business after a work outing. He drunkenly informed her that the reason he’d hired her was because he found her attractive. She tolerated that, and then he asked her if she minded if he jerked off next to her. She left, feigning illness, but came to work at nine the next morning. Even crazier, she continued to work there for five more months before quitting to do freelance. She allowed herself to cringe inside when he conveniently forced rides to company events outside the office on her, but refused to let anyone else see her reality. Her field is one where there are plenty of women around the office, but even that does not stop unwanted sexual advances in professional settings. These stories are not unusual, yet I find myself wondering if the men in my life understand the importance of talking about these massively not okay, but still not unusual, events. They wouldn’t know otherwise. Sexualized female independence is linked to the marketing value of women. When I read about second-
wave feminists who proffered their bodies for their own pleasure, as pushback to a society that had demonized their natural sex drives for so long, I see very little difference between the patriarchy of their era and today’s. They were responding, just as today’s feminists are, to mens’ appropriation of womens’ sexuality for their own purposes. When Marx and Engels were pondering human value and capital, women had already been on the market for over a millennium. Dowries had for so long defined artificially constructed unions between people of the opposite sex. This dowrie morphed into the MRS. degree, with not much else different. The idea of romantic love, in which two people choose each other for their compatibility as opposed to for financial reasons, came way later. The insidious appropriation of the female form, however, has laced itself into society like a prion disease: Prions are protein-linked ailments that reproduce like wildfire, and unlike viruses and bacterium they cannot be contained, isolated, or destroyed. The ways in which womens’ bodies are used as selling points have changed, yes. While Betty Draper and the Mad Men women were put on display at home as well as in the office, the modern woman is subjected to conflicting ideals due to the fact that the rhetoric behind beating the glass ceiling has changed dramatically. Nowadays we live in an insidious rape culture where a button-up white dress shirt is still, illogically, an invitation for unwanted attention in the workplace and elsewhere. Beginning in the ‘60s, sexual politics underwent a major shift. Due to feminists’ striving for autonomy and control over their sexuality, the advertising industry began to turn to more openly sexual methods of drawing a target audience to their product. There, you had a strong precedent being set for using the sexual power of women for the benefit of advertising. The photos of Bettie Page that were called illegal by the FBI became the casting couch of modern Hollywood, and
respect for her intelligence, but for her ability to be successful in such a traditionally masculine field and still have sex appeal. A rugby-playing ex-boyfriend of a friend, who has wound up pursuing medicine, had this to say about a woman he knew peripherally: “Kaitlynn* is beautiful, but she’s studying computer science. I think that’s badass. There aren’t many beautiful women in fields like that.” There it is, the relegation of an intelligent, financially independent woman to object. There is the “but,” and the prefacing of her professional interests with what she looks like. Instead of being served to us in pill form down the tubes to the heart, where the subliminal message finds the solvent of our lived experience, there it is in precisely objectifying language. While doing research for her New York Times article “Why Are There Still So Few Women In Science?”, Eileen Pollack found that even in an environment where there are women in such professions actively offering support to other women in their field, these man-onwoman aggressions stand out enough to cause great amounts of internal discomfort. The point of this observation is not that women cannot and will not attempt to align themselves with this paradigm of the competent, independent worker in order to avoid conflict; It is that despite Pollack’s audience for a tea consisting of some of the best and brightest, most promising young scientists this country has to offer, the room of voluntarily assembled, eightyplus female undergraduates in STEM fields offered consistent examples of pushback to their success across the board. Keep in mind, these women had all been offered admission to the most prestigious Ivy League institutions in the country, specifically due to their demonstrated high ability in STEM fields. In response to feminist-y cries for autonomy and complete independence, financial and otherwise, the counterpoint of the opposition has become objecting to any complaints that accurately paint that power differential. Since the aggressions we experience in the workplace are largely invisible to everyone else, there is the case of the missing perpetrator Rebecca Solnit
recently expounded on which allows men to dismiss our office woes as being, you guessed it, our fault. Why? Complaints that accurately paint that lopsided power dynamic then place individual men in oppressive positions, much to their chagrin. Part of this chagrin involves an active fear of being penalized by outside judicial forces, and part of this shift is due to the fact that though accusations of rape and sexual harassment used to be easily suppressed before anything came of them, currently these accusations can and do go to trial. Such accusations going to trial can create publicity storms that represent nightmares for any PR executive. The larger part of that chagrin involves the privilege white men have which would be called into question if they were to acknowledge the fact that they experience very little pushback, if any, to their success. Ultimately, this would call into question the legitimacy of their success over other, perhaps more inherently competent people. Men in high places are able to will away individuals who create a disturbance in their smoothly running operation. In the eyes of high-powered, financially sustained America, the competent female professional does her job and stays as quiet as possible about anything else while doing it. If she presents too much opposition to the status quo, in their eyes she isn’t standing up for her boundaries and sexual autonomy, she’s actively denigrating a set of principles that have worked for the overwhelming majority of workers for far longer than her kind has been around. Obviously, that overwhelming majority is historically male. The absence of further aggression on the part of men in the office is a direct trade-off for our silence, but here’s what the rugby asshole and any other man asking us to quiet down doesn’t get: Silence in exchange for financial independence isn’t independence at all.
Damp Feminism By Deirdre McGovern
“Text us when you get home. Be safe!” This innocent concern of friends we’re all too familiar with annoyed me one night this past October. It was around 2:00am and I was walking home alone, but I was less than a quarter of a mile from my house. Any of us who have partaken in drinking culture (either as a participant or an observer) know that the mixture of
alcohol, nighttime, and heading out alone sets friends into a worry. It’s understandable; we’re conditioned to assume the worst will happen to us when we’re hurriedly marching down South University in the dark. Yet, statistically I’m much more likely to have just left a would be attacker at the party.. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, “82% of sexual
assults were perpetrated by the non-stranger”. So why then are we more concerned about the fifteen walk home than that persistent someone we spent forty-five minutes dodging on the dance floor? It was a few months later I was directed to read an article by a University of Michigan professor, Michelle McClellan. Her article uses a sharp analysis of different schools of feminist thought that originated and evolved from the Temperance Movement. She combines “’dry’ feminists [who] focus on health, risky, and moderation” (McClellan, 3) and “‘wet’ feminists [who] see women’s access to alcohol, drugs and other forms of public recreation and pleasure as progressive and emancipatory” (McClellen, 3), into a new grey area unfortunately named “damp feminism”. Hey, at least it’s not moist feminism. Regardless of title, we’re all familiar with these schools of thought in our daily college lives whether or not we proudly declare ourselves damp feminists. Both “dry” and “wet” feminists can be found throughout college drinking culture. Dry feminists might be found belting out Alessia’s “Here” with new friends, choosing to abstain from alcohol at the party where they don’t feel comfortable not knowing everyone. The wet feminist (oh get your mind out of the gutter) drinks because she can, damn it. I see this array of thoughts as a representation of “damp feminism”, and sometimes we cycle through them in a single night. We all know we have the right to partake in drinking culture without social or physical repercussions. The end. Yet, as I’m walking home, I have to keep in mind that I have the muscle tone of Squidward and so keep a wary eye. We feminists who partake in college drinking culture are all too familiar with wanting and knowing it is our right to enjoy ourselves, but understanding
that society and that little voice in our heads (the one that tells me I’m Squidward) warns us that our actions have consequences. The crucial difference is understanding that our choice to drink or not drink does not make us accountable for the actions of others. With a raised awareness and movement against sexual assault on campuses, most administrative officials have remained silent on the matter of alcohol and how it relates to sexual assault, because for “health education experts and university administrators… the combination [is] a “third rail of discourse, to be avoided at all costs” (McClellen, 1). Perhaps to those of us women within the college drinking culture, the answer is too simple: we know that alcohol is never an excuse nor a persecuting factor, but that is not what social and legal convictions have historically decided. So how do we marry the current world with the one we hope to live in? We need to keep speaking, acting, and pushing for the world we want. It’s telling those who say “women shouldn’t drink” that that’s a terrible pick up line, and sticking up for ourselves and others when there’s pressure to drink. The compromise created by damp feminism is a much needed grey area that articulates how we navigate the subtler issues surrounding drinking culture and campus life. When I get home, I texted my friends, and hoped for a day no one would worry if I hadn’t.
“our choice to drink or not drink does not make us accountable for the actions of others”
Loving Yourself: A Tale of Self-Discovery By Catherine Audette
I don’t know exactly how. I don’t know exactly when. But it happened. I learned what it means to truly love myself. Let me back-track a bit. I’ve always been someone who has had a considerably sound self-esteem. Aside from looking in the mirror and wishing my thighs were slimmer every now and again, I’ve always been relatively secure with who I am. Little did I know, I had a lot to learn. There was a virus running through my veins that I had no awareness of. It coursed through me attacking my self-esteem at its very core and sucking my joys and self-awareness into a black, endless void. It struck without permission and made my heart its home. It was my inability to live for myself. It was — in all essence — my inability to let go of lost love. People — men…young men…boys…that were the virus. The dark void with no feasible end or beginning. My unhappiness. I loved the “him” — you know, the “him” that everyone has had at some point or another — since we were starry-eyed adolescents playing dress up and games of pretend onstage in high school. I looked at him and he looked back. Something within our looks was real and tangible. I felt like I had heard about it in a song somewhere or seen it in a movie. It felt juicy and thrilling and dangerous and deserved and all of the things that you expect love to be. But it wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought we were on the same page. Turns out, we were reading different books. For two years. And a parade followed. Others came along who stroked my cheek and uttered sweet words. The Dead End Coffee Dates. The “You’re-A-Grad-StudentAnd-I’m-A-Sophomore-But-You’re-Paying-For-MyDinner-So-I’m-Not-Complaining.” The Fruitless Tinder Matches. The “I-Think-You’re-Perfect…ForSomeone-Else.” But none were the “him” from before. While I was fortunate for that, the “him” still followed me everywhere I went. This autumn. Sitting in an ice-cream parlor with my best friend, a red headed force of a woman. The human version of a hearty Irish laugh. A night of revels and silliness and twirling and spinning around the rain soaked streets of Ann Arbor like we were the only ones alive that night.
Then he walked in. He walked into my life again. Like the cancer cells I thought had gone away. My virus stood in line for a scoop of ice-cream not knowing his
power over me still. I turned and looked at my North Star, my best friend, Clare, and asked, “Is it time for me to be a grown up?” She gave me a tilted glance with caring eyes: “It’s up to you,” she said. It’s up to me? I turned to him. I met his gaze. But this time, the gaze was just a gaze. There were no constellations or hopes or excitements or dates. There were just smiles and polite conversation. I should mention, for the sake of irony, that the ice cream parlor’s name was Blank Slate. And a blank slate it was. Two months later, the virus and I sat on a couch at a party clutching red cups. This time, he was just a boy and I just a girl. We talked and laughed as humans do. It felt comfortable and natural. This was someone that I would have crossed the street to avoid just a few months before. No, seriously; it actually happened once. I panicked and jaywalked across the street nearly escaping being tackled by a Ford Explorer. But now, he was no longer the scary monster for which my heart raced just thinking about running into as I walked to class everyday. He wasn’t some villain from an old noir ﬁlm who threw his head back and cackled holding my broken heart in a lockbox in his dorm room. He was just another person. A handprint left on a pillow that disappears within a few moments. The ﬁzz at the top of a freshly-poured soda that disappears into a non-existent oblivion within a matter of seconds so you can enjoy the cool, refreshing beverage beneath. I had changed. I decided that I was above letting the past control my present. I was more than a boy’s opinion. I was me and that is something mighty. Loving yourself is making yourself food barefoot in the kitchen. Pushing veggies around in a sea of olive oil on your stovetop. Melting chocolate pieces onto a bed of popcorn just because it’s Saturday night and the comfort of your couch is far more inviting than the dance ﬂoor of Skeeps. Loving yourself is running through the sidewalks and pathways of this little town just to be a part of what’s happening out there. To feel the bristle of a bright orange leaf encouraging you to keep going. To feel the chill entering your lungs as you propel onward. Feeling strong in every part of your body.
Loving yourself is listening to Enya while you read a book of poetry. Wearing a mud mask and waiting for your red nails to dry. Sipping tea and telling yourself that you will stop working when the clock strikes twelve because you are a fragile being who needs to rest from the trials of a long day. Loving yourself is being chatty and full of life. Seeking adventure like it’s the last chocolate chip cookie. Treating each face and each body with care and attention and curiosity because everyone deserves that.
Loving yourself is sitting in a cozy apartment with wine and pizza. Vivacious women surround you who contain multitudes. Stories and thoughts and heartbreaks are tossed around like blown kisses into the air. We laugh and cry. Loving yourself takes effort and time and patience and commitment. It’s not easy but it’s beautiful and it’s worth it. Just like I am. Just like you are.
A Mutual Understanding Anonymous
There is a scene from my childhood that I can remember more vividly than most other memories. It took place on a family trip to India during which we went on a boat trip with fishing. I remember that the boat docked on a narrow island (and I mean narrow as in about two feet across in some spots), and the captain of the ship told us that wherever there were strange ripples in the water was where we would find the most fish. I recall looking down the length of this island and noticing a large tree by which there was more rippling of the water than where my family was. I ended up slipping away from my family to sit behind this tree and fish. As I was fishing, I noticed an older man walking towards me; he was wearing a lungi and had dark skin and a gray beard, and because the island was so narrow, I had to move to the side to let him pass by. Except he didn’t walk on by. He stopped to grope my chest. I was 10. And as I screamed for my brother, this fucking pervert turned and smiled at me. The most sickening, wide smile. And then, he ambled away. Past my family, who wasn’t aware anything had changed. When I ran back to the boat and told my mom she told me to be quiet. She scolded me for wandering and for wearing a yellow tank top and knee length shorts. She said my outfit invited that man to do what he did. She told me that I shouldn’t tell my dad because he would “make a big deal about it” and that she “didn’t want any
trouble” and that that man “probably had a family who needed him”. And so I kept my mouth shut. I had always noticed things were a little off between the relationships my mother had with my siblings and me. However, up until this point, it was always the little things. She had told me I had to dress girlier, keep my hair long, help her in the kitchen, and clean. And of course, there were no such rules for my brothers. And because I always wanted to play with them, cut my hair short, and not sit with my legs crossed, I was the bad kid. The disobedient one. The one who was always a little too outspoken for her liking. But I always did try to conform. Who does a little girl have if not her mother? Not her father, at least in my case. My father was always on the outskirts of the picture, coming home late from work almost every day. Raising children was decidedly my mother’s domain while making money was my father’s. And so as a child, and well into my teens, I resented my father. I thought of him as ignoring me while my mother took too much of an interest in me. And as the years went on into my early teens, that interest and general disfavor turned into what I thought at the time was outright hatred. Appearances were everything growing up and even now in the Indian community, I had to dress a certain way every time we went to church, and I was invariably yelled at for something when we returned back home. There was a proper way to wear your hair, do your makeup, and wear your outfit, and I simply had trouble with it. I was introduced to feminism by a now good friend after entering high school. To me, it was revolutionary. I had grown up under a well-established patriarchy, and the only woman in my immediate family, my mother, bowed to it. It was common in my extended family also to give up working, good jobs, and higher education to have a family, and as the new generation, my cousins and I were expected to do the same.
But as the years passed I think something occurred to my mother. I would never be her perfect idea of a daughter. I would never dress how she wanted me to, have lighter skin, or say the things that she wanted. My shorts would always be a little too short, my makeup a little too heavy, and my love life a little too active. Yes, my mother is not a feminist. I would even say that she actively condemns feminism as stupid and unnecessary, and as a child, this definitely hindered my development into a selfconfident, self-sufficient daughter, but now my resentment of her and my father have turned to an acceptance of sorts. Yes, I will never be treated equally. I will always be asked questions like: “Why would you want to go to school for that many years? When are you going to have a family? Can you choose a career where you have time to have kids?” in response to my wish to go to medical school. And now, I’m okay with that. We now have a mutual understanding (though it is weak). I accept her comments because she is a product of her surroundings as I also am. She was raised in a conservative Indian family and went to religious schooling, and I cannot say that I wouldn’t
be the same way if I wasn’t raised in the United States amongst liberal friends. On her part, well, she holds her tongue in some cases. Last year when we went to India I went shopping with my mother. As soon as we got out of the taxi I heard shouting coming from somewhere. When I was looking around for the source, my mom told me to keep my head down and just ignore it. Ignoring her, I found the source: a group of guys on top of a building making lewd gestures. I looked back at my mother and threw up two middle fingers and told them to fuck off. The boys slinked away, ashamed. And as I turned around ready to face the repercussions for such a gesture and language from my mother, I caught her trying not to smile and laugh as she told me to quit it.
An Ode to the Feminine By Rebecca Rosen
I am soft in all the right places. My pink lips curl when they want to, guided by the gentle tugs of my want. A plush exterior hugs a pointed desire. Push me and I do not move so gracefully for you. I do not move for you. I am strong because I am motivated from within, where you cannot see. Give me toys, and they become a part of me. Give me toys, for hearts already belong within me. I can talk to your being before I bat an eyelash. My interest in you is not superficial. I care not for fingertips as I do the electricity hidden within them. My neck cohabitates with the air. They dance as a unit of incalculable glory. Charged with the grace of the moon, feel my glory as you close your eyes. Feel my joy when you think of me. Move your waves in rhythm with my pulsation. Let me suck you inward. If you surrender yourself, my body can claim yours. Do you not want to be claimed? Subsumed? Taken over? Guided again by the thought you thought your mother wouldnâ€™t want you to have? I am your mother. I am your heart. I am your seed. I am success and I am explosion. Attained by those thorough, by those who know attainment as nothing more than the momentary touch of love. My asymmetry only reminds you of the boundaries I cover. I reflect bounty in many forms.
Overstimulated By Sareena Kamath
Overstimulated by people and noise and faces and smells and suddenly he appears, drowning out the fast paced blur with his Sharpness. Overstimulated once more but now all her senses are him. As he leads her away, she is unfazed and stumbles along. After all, this is just a dream, Right? Wrong. Because it was real and it happened. And it was not nice and pleasant as imagined in girlish fantasies of true love. And it was not sexy and passionate as described in cheesy romance novels read at the beach. But it was real and it happened. Though she tried to protest though she wishes it hadnâ€™t though she will try to forget. Wrong.
When I Didn’t Want to Go Home With You By Rachael Lacey
Dear every guy who has told me, “Stop thinking so much, and have a little fun!” I wonder if you’ve thought for so much as one second That the one thing I am thinking is “This. Is not. Fun.” I wonder if you think it’s fun to feel someone come up from behind And squeeze your behind, and stick their fingers places they shouldn’t go, So you don’t even know What to do. And when I hear you, Random dance floor companion, Say, “I would fuck the shit out of you,” Is that supposed to sound like fun to me? More than once I have been demanded, On darkened dance floor, sweaty chest pressed against mine, “Hey.” “Give me a kiss” By random strangers, and it’s stranger that I’m mad at Myself For sometimes listening. And sometimes, I’ve tried. Tried to stop thinking so much. This is how it’s supposed to be, right? This is fun...right? But I can’t, I can’t just stop thinking, Because it’s not fun to wake up wrapped in silence’s sheets And slip out of shame’s door, No, it’s not fun to feel like a means to an end, It is not fun to see you on the street Using those same fingers to high-five a friend, Or to never see you again, but replay and rearrange that night over and over in my head To make me A badass. I think it’s fun to dance like a fool, and you Can’t steal my moves, because I’ve learned, Been forced to learn, How to turn around, and hold my ground, and watch you walk away. I’m no longer afraid to say No, No. No. It’s still No. But I’m not afraid to say Yes, either. But just because I said Yes to them Doesn’t mean I’ll say Yes to you Or even if I do, that can change if I want it to. And don’t you dare tell me to Smile. Because if you knew me, you’d know That I cannot count the times I’ve been asked, “Why are you always smiling?” You see, it’s what I do when I’m having fun. If you’re here to have a good time, that’s fine, Just don’t ever try to turn off my mind— That’s all mine.
Handprint Bruise By Hannah Bates
The dog scratched me and left a handprint bruise. My lover grabbed the flesh above my elbow, bluegreen yellowbrown, dot dot dots the exact length of a thumb, pressed roughly into an arm. He told me not to wear a tank top to dinner the handprint bruise shared a story with the waiter who eyed it. I’m not waiting for it to fade, but he is. A dog marked me with a story that I’ve never owned, but I can wear a beer-stained tank top to show off my purpled hues, let them all wonder, let him shift in his seat. I like the attention, the eyes that shift because they know, I like being the woman with the handprint bruise. “Who grabbed you?” she asked me as I rang her up for two potted plants. They were Pussy Ears, fuzzy things with a cringe-name. The bruise had faded but its fingerprints remained, peeping out from underneath my short sleeves. The deep-voiced woman sported a long blond ponytail, and small wrinkles around her bluegreen eyes. When I told her about the dog, she didn’t believe me; my face flushed magenta. Did I look like the kind of woman who got grabbed, or do the dot dot dots surprise people? (who grabbed you?) I wondered if she’d ever had a handprint bruise. It’s easier to have one when I’m in my beer-stained tank top. It fits with the low light, with my hands cupped around my lover’s neck rather than in an apron sticking price tags on Pussy Ears; a lady with a double life, it seems. I don’t want to be that woman in the daylight, at the store where the rich wives talk about their recent trips to Whole Foods for organic baby food, who don’t ask questions about handprint bruises when I ring them up for Scented Geraniums. Duckfoot Ivy. Baby Tears. It’s not about the grabbing; it’s about the who and the you. It must surprise them: dot dot dot.
The Morning I Asked Her To Leave By MacKenzie Campbell
He paces circles around me. He mumbles to himself, what am I doing? what am I doing? I lay, relaxed in front of him smiling. Completely comfortable in my body. It’s okay, I say. This is not for everyone or every body. He is embarrassed his body isn’t responding the way he would like it to. This is supposed to be for fun, I remind him. Lay down with me – I want you to relax. I try to coach him into calm. There can be no pleasure when there is emotional disconnect. He lays down beside me, and lets me gingerly kiss him on the mouth and down his neck. He stops me. I can’t do this. He throws on his shoes, and bolts from the room. He may not have left his shoe behind, but he did leave a piece of himself with me. How was it she asks Terrible, I laugh. She looks confused. It wasn’t for him, I quip. Understandable, she laments. Terrible, I repeat. So terrible he fell to his knees to pray.
Loving yourself, pg. 12-13,
A Mutual understanding, pg. 14-15,
Illustration by Erica Liao
Photo by Elizabeth Feldbruegge
Illustration by Sareena Kamath
Illustration by Katie Raymond
an ode to the feminine, pg. 16-17,
Letter from the editor, pg. 1,
Overstimulation, pg. 18,
Illustration by Erica Liao
Illustration by Erica Liao
Sh*t Iâ€™m afraid to ask My Doctor, pg. 2,
When i didnt want to go home with you, pg. 19,
Illustration by Srishti Gupta
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/working-out-when-sick http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/butt-acne http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/your-yoga-pants-might-be-giving-youbutt-acne.html http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/injury-proof-yourself-effectiveexercise?page=3&context=ages-and-stages/14&context_title= http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/the-right-reasons-to-stretchbefore-exercise/ https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-lactic-acid-buil/
Illustration by Paige Wilson
Illustration by Destiny Franks
handprint bruise, pg. 20-21, Illustration by Edith Zhang
The morning I asked her to leave, pg 22 Embroidery by Sydney Bagnall
Sources and Sponsors, Pg 23 Illustrations by Amanda Donovan
Illustration by Shreya Patel
Feminist Feelings, pg.3,
Illustration by Erica Liao
Illustration by Taylor Landeryou
quote, pg. 4,
Illistration by Tegwyn John
Catholic School, pg. 5,
Central Student Government East Quad Hall Council South Quad Hall Council Markley Hall Council
Illustration by Molly Munsell
My Slow sexual revolution, pg. 6-7, Illistration by Edith Zhang
Appropriate Attire, pg. 8-9,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/betty-page-documentary_n_4269102. html http://gizmodo.com/5466997/the-steam-powered-vibrator-and-other-terrifying-early-sex-machines-nsfw Illustration by Taylor Landeryou
Damp Feminism, pg. 10-11,
https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders%29 https://pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/drinking-and-sexualassault-the-third-rail-of-health-education/ Illustration by Sareena Kamath