MacMedia Magazine March 2020

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C O U N T E R - C U LT U R E

MARCH 2020 | ISSUE NO. 1


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WANTED: MacMedia staff for 2020 Fall-2021 Winter session, all positions Are you creative? Do you have a passion for storytelling and design? Do you want to be part of a decades-old literary tradition? If so, we want to hear from you! MacMedia Magazine is the official student publication of McLaughlin College at York University. As an officially recognized student club, it depends on volunteers to solicit submissions, edit pieces, design pages and publish the magazine. While the magazine has historically published monthly, as the editorial team you get to set your own schedule. We are seeking enthusiastic, passionate York University students to take MacMedia into its next season. This is an excellent opportunity to share your story, becoming involved in McLaughlin College, make friends, and bolster your resume. And, as an accredited club through Student Community & Leadership Development, MacMedia Magazine is able to award unlimited volunteer hours for any contributor’s official cocurricular record. What are you waiting for? Apply today!

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President & Editor-In-Chief: Responsible for the club’s financial matters, ratification, internal/external liaison, hiring and executive committee member, write editorial for each issue, set the theme and tone for content. Vice President: Responsible for deadlines, style, harmonious working environment, regulatory standards, hiring and executive committee member. Layout & Production Manager: Responsible for the overall image of the publication, maintaining the components of layout, contribute to the publication, hiring and executive committee member. Features Editor: Responsible for recruiting external writers, editing pieces, hiring and executive committee member.

Also looking for occasional contributors, photographers, visual artists (traditional or digital), designers, and anyone else interested in contributing to a group effort on a regular or limited basis.

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Any prospective applicant may send a resume, two writing samples and cover letter to the current President and Editor in Chief to be considered for an Editor (Member), Features Editor, President and Editor in Chief or Vice President position. Prospective applicants seeking a Designer (Member) or Productions & Layout Manager position may submit a resume, two design samples and cover letter to the current President and Editor in Chief. All applicants will be given a fair assessment of qualifications by the current President and Editor in Chief and Vice President. All successful applicants will be required to commit to an in-person interview to determine whether they would be a good fit for the organization's needs. Hiring for Executive Members will take place from March to April. Hiring Editors and Writers will take place from May to June. Hiring for MacMedia will be determined by need, skills, qualifications, experience and creative ideas. All are encouraged to apply.

Every Member hired through the hiring process must be a student of York University. They: Must maintain at least three (3) credits per term, excluding the summer term. Must provide proof of required qualifications when asked.

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EDITOR’S LETTER

MARCH 2020 | IISSUE NO. 1

PRESIDENT & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gil Segev VICE PRESIDENT Collin Zinn LAYOUT & PRODUCTION MANAGER Alexa Gregoris FEATURES EDITOR Shoshana Sherrington CONTRIBUTORS Michael Karpati Noah Myles Grayson Sage England Emily Norton Darren A. Mc Almont Amanda Rowsell Sandra Moey Dalton Moreau Silja Mitange EDITORS Adam Nizam Shavon Simpson Oyindamola Esho Emmanuel John Meron Teweldemedhin WITH GRATITUDE Michael O’Connor COVER ART Luke Miles

GET IN TOUCH macmediamagazine@gmail.com

Counter-Culture

Science has achieved the impossible, and MacMedia Magazine has been resurrected from an early grave. The official student publication of McLaughlin College since the 1990s is proud to present its first issue of the 2020s after faltering out last fall - and a spectacular double issue, at that! Going forward, MacMedia Magazine will operate as an officially recognized club, independent of McLaughlin College Council. I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy to revive the magazine. What started out as a passion project to keep a literary tradition alive turned into many sleepless nights of editing, designing and chasing down publishing contracts. It turns out that it takes a village to raise a magazine! This couldn’t have happened without the generous support of the students of WRIT 4001, who took the magazine under their wings and put together the issue before you. I am so proud to share our hard work with you. In these pages you will find a variety of pieces on the topic of “counter-culture.” When our editors sat together and picked this theme, they defined it as anything that goes against the mainstream narrative. With the backdrop of Trump’s re-election campaign and Indigenous railway blockades shaking the country, we felt that it was important to give a platform to dissenting views. Our liberal arts background demanded it… And of course, we had to include the always-popular “sex issue” in our revival of the magazine. For years this has been MacMedia Magazine’s most famous issue, so we’re thrilled to include a few pieces on the subject, too. Proceed with caution and protection. What will come next for MacMedia Magazine? As of April 1st I will be an alumni of York University, and will not be able to carry forward my role. Our club’s constitution calls for interviews with interested parties to carry the responsibilities of publishing this magazine, so please see the opposing page for the official job posting list. It is my hope that MacMedia Magazine will continue to be a treasured tradition in our college for many years to come. Amidst the unprecedented times we find ourselves in with the rise of COVID-19 and other plagues, my team and I hope that you will find solace in the pages of MacMedia Magazine. Perhaps you’ll have a cackle over Shoshana Sherrington’s “A Modest Proposal” (pages 12 and 13), or snap your fingers along to Luke Miles’s “Keep Your Subculture Labels, I Don’t Want Them” (page 8). Maybe you’ll be interested in Amanda Rowsell’s inner struggle with “Invisible Chains” (page 3) or my own take on safe and sexy fun with “Bathhouses 101” (pages 17 and 18). Whatever your kink, you’re bound to find something worth your time in this issue. Wishing you a warm spring and happy reading!

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Invisible Chains Coming out in a repressive environment is never easy, and can feel suffocating and limiting. Here, the author writes about learning to accept herself despite her religious upbringing. BY AMANDA ROWSELL

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ears later I still remember the moment I stopped putting my faith in invisible chains like it was only yesterday.

I was at my desk in grade twelve religion class, with a teacher who told us that being Catholic was not a pick-andchoose deal. He meant that you could either be only all-in religious, or you were all gone (and likely a heathen, too). I thought that this didn’t make sense because people choose things all the time, like to show skin and to get married outside of churches and to have sex of all kinds regardless of whether they’re married. People even chose who can have rights and who is an outcast based on nothing tangible at all. With his lesson on choices my teacher had intended to reach us, and he succeeded in doing so, just not in the way he imagined. I was never devout before this, but I had my reasons for believing in something, at least to a degree. But in that moment in that class, I felt like I had been chained to my desk based on

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what I had been raised with and what I had done and continue to do in the name of my faith. The fact that I wasn’t, and would never be, the “perfect woman” that this man was describing hit me like a truck full of bricks. Still, it was only the beginning. At that age I was already positive that my sexual thoughts and feelings towards both men and women were not out of place, but a perfectly natural thing that no one had the right to tell me to control. Nor, in fact, could I control them. My bisexuality had slid into place by the time I turned fifteen, though I wasn’t yet ready to say so out loud or knew to what degree I liked one gender or another. All I knew was this girl — the girl with chopsticks in her hair who carried around a sketch-

“I now feel nothing but freedom to love” book filled with anime style drawings — who didn’t seem to acknowledge my existence, and still I liked her. The knowledge of my feelings ran loud in my head for much longer than they have escaped my lips. I thought that there was nothing I could do but pretend — just sit at that desk and pretend I agreed with what my teacher had told us. I would let myself be seen with people who countered everything I believed in and would continue pretending to pray to a deity that I wasn’t sure was listening to me. But I had reached a point where I could no longer pretend.

I came out as agnostic and now, I believe what I want to what feels right. Miraculously, it doesn’t look like anyone (or anything) has struck me down in spite yet, giving me further proof that organized religion is only a construct. Instead, I now feel nothing but freedom to love that I never would have felt if I had hid my true self, never said that I loved a woman, never had sex or worn what makes me feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I respect your religion. But, I don’t respect the people who like to twist what it stands for just so they can be right whenever there’s something they don’t understand. Fear will never work for me, not again, and I intend to keep it that way as long as I live. I am freed of my invisible chains. MM

AMANDA ROWSELL is a fourth-year English and professional writing major and a member of MacMedia Magazine. Find her on Instagram at @thisamanda14


The Chase for Perfection Social media brings us together, but also pushes us apart. How do we achieve that fine balance of keeping in touch with friends without getting too far into our own heads? The author explores her own experience. BY SANDRA MOEY

day. The illusion of my “ideal life” that I try so hard to maintain is thanks to peer pressure , to please (ironically) the same “friends” that break me internally.

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et me ask you a question. What is your definition of perfection ? Most importantly, how does one achieve it? In my eyes, perfection is a myth. However, the people who follow me on my social media platforms won’t know that. Why, you ask? because they only see the “best parts” of me, online. The tip of the iceberg. There is a formula for the virtual “perfect life.” Like others, I follow the three crucial steps; first, I plaster a smile on my face. Then, I give the illusion of a petite figure by sucking in air to make my stomach seem flat, with the aid of Photoshop. Lastly, I only go to “bougie” places like the 360 Restaurant in the CN Tower to take aesthetically pleasing photos - not for the food or the experience. As terrifying as it may sound, my self-worth is determined by only

one factor: the number of “likes” I receive on social media. Kahlil Gibran, a famous LebaneseAmerican writer, once said, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” However, I can’t help but feel that what he said cannot be further from the truth… because the reality is, people only care about appearances, money and power. Like capitalism, it’s what makes the world go round.

My “friends” have never shown interest in getting to know the real me. Their likes and superficial comments that falsely hype me up are just obligations that they tick off from their “I’m a good friend” checklist. They have never bothered to know my personality, fears, or ambitions... the important parts that make me, me. On rare occasions, if I shared my flaws with them due to a lapse in judgement, I would receive 50 shades of piercing stares the next

When I was sixteen, I used to believe that my “friends” were genuinely happy for my accomplishments in life, whether it be that I graduated from school or for eating ice-cream. But I soon realized that behind every nice comment they posted, lay hidden a poisonous venom called envy . However, if it weren’t for their negativity and hypocrisy, I would still be chasing the myth of “perfection” caused by the plague called obsession , to prove my self-worth. Most of all, I wouldn’t have realized that there are people out there who really care for me. I would have pushed away my family and real friends away, that have been with me through thick and thin. As cliché as it may sound, I realize now, three years later, that it is important to cherish the valuable things in life. Popularity and adoration online will never be worth pushing away the people closest to me, who will always be there for me when others won’t. I much rather be imperfectly perfect, but at least I’ll be happy. MM SANDRA MOEY is a first-year English and professional writing major. Find her on Instagram at @san.dcm MacMedia Magazine | 4


White Girl BY SAGE ENGLAND

White girl, That’s you, girl— Even if you were only born half, girl. Half white, half black— Half white coming from half white, half black. Half black coming from half black, half white. And that quarter white also coming from half white, half black. But that’s you, girl— White girl! Despite being born half, girl. But what’s one half to a whole? Or better yet, The half that actually shows. Because look at your skin, girl, That’s white, girl. You’re not black, girl You’re white, girl. Now repeat it until it’s ingrained in your head, girl. Now repeat it until it’s ingrained in your head, girl. Now repeat it until it’s ingrained in your head, girl. You’re white, girl. You’re white, girl. You’re white, girl.

But the thing about being white girl when you’re actually half girl is You forget the other half to your whole, girl. White girl covers up black girl like it’s hiding a secret. Like no one’s meant to see it. Like, “Even if you’re mixed race, you’re still not black enough, girl.” Like,

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“Even if you’re mixed race, you’re still not white enough, girl.” Like, “Even if you’re mixed race, it’s still not enough, girl.” Because no one wants to hear about racism, From someone who has never felt the sting of a slur, girl

Or the pain of discrimination, girl, Or had to grow up watching shows about ‘Real Life’ that didn’t include Anyone that looked like you, girl. But the first time someone called me black girl, I thought they were talking to another girl. Because that’s how I grew up— Always being white girl. And that’s fine, girl, Because who would ever look at you and think ‘black girl’ anyway. So it’s fine, girl, It’s whatever, girl. You’ll never feel like white girl And you’ll never look like black girl. But that’s because you’ve only ever been

Half, girl. MM

SAGE ENGLAND is a INSERT PROGRAM AND YEAR major. Find her on Instagram at @INSERT HANDLE

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The Unconventional Country Boy Do we ever really leave our past behind? The author explores his sense of belonging and identity when confronting his childhood home and the expectations he’s left behind. BY DARREN A. MC ALMONT

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f you ask my people who I am, you will hear many things.

Perhaps you will learn that I am an awardwinning thespian and playwright, or that I have traveled to cities and countries that many will only dream of. Maybe you’ll even hear them say in their most polished English that “he attends York University in Toronto.” Now, all these things are true, but what they will tell you is very different from what I hear. Let me give you a bit of my backstory. I grew up in a small countryside village with Guyanese culture, so why do sometimes feel like an roughly 300 people. We didn’t have electricity for outcast among my own people? I am a young, Black most of the years I lived there. To get water for even man who has defied the odds of what my life was our most basic needs, we would have to line up at the supposed to be coming out of small countryside vilone standpipe that served my street with our buckets lage on the West Coast of Demerara. in hand to fetch back and forth. I slept on a doublesized mattress with my two younger brothers and older cousin. Before I hit the double digits in age, I had I made it a point to break the generational read countless juvenile and adult curse for the men in my village that novels. In fact, reading was my fashould not amount to any greater “Every bit of Guya- we vourite thing to do while all my than a labourer or construction workpeers played street cricket and footnese culture still er. I don’t drink or do drugs, and I ball. So, I always was always a bit myself in having never been arrushes through my pride different. rested. But these are only because I veins.” am on a mission to break the negative stereotypes of Black men. My purpose Now that you know a little is greater than the mud dams of my village. bit about my history from my own mouth, let me tell you the things I hear and get asked about myself from my own people who would proudly list for you my So, my people, don’t resent me. In my heart, I “accolades” and accomplishments. am still a “country” man, and every bit of the Guyanese culture still rushes through my veins. MM “Why [do] you speak American?” they ask, because to them, my not speaking in the mesolectal creole dialect of my people somehow makes me un-Guyanese and un-like one of them. “You’re a sellout,” they say, but Guyana is where they have buried my navel string – I can’t be anymore Guyanese than that. I still believe that there is no Christmas without pepper-pot DARREN A. MC ALMONT is a fourth-year English and professional writing major and a member of MacMedia Magazine. and ginger beer. And cook-up rice is still my favourFind him on Instagram at @darren_mcalmont ite meal to cook on Sundays. These are things rich in 7 | MacMedia Magazine


Keep Your Subculture Labels, I Don’t Want Them Are labels for clothes and fruits at the store, or are they suitable for people? The author writes about his discomfort with the labels he has been assigned by society and proposes an alternative viewpoint. BY LUKE MILES

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he first subculture, counterculture, whatever-you-want -to-call-it-culture label that I got slapped on me was in the 10th grade.

People saw my dyed black hair and raccoon-like black eyeliner, heard that my favourite band was My Chemical Romance, and they instantly called me “emo.” Since the end of my “emo” days, I’ve shuffled through many fresh labels, and I’ve still got some floating above my head; if I show you my MBTI test results, you might only ever see me as an “INTJ.” If I showed you my mother’s DNA test and you hear about my grandmother’s family history, you might call me a “Jew.” If you see my pharmacy receipts, you’ll know I’m a “transman.” If you see my grocery bills, you’ll know I’m a “vegan.” These are my labels, and they come with a host of expectations and assumptions, and I can guarantee that I meet very few of them. While it might be fair to call me transgender on account of my medical transition and my gender dysphoria, and while it might be fair to call me vegan because I don’t consume any animal products, it wouldn’t be fair to assume that I might be some beacon of counter-culture revolution just because I have a handful of qualities that some people with a lot of power happen to hate. I am not a jumble of stereotypes, I am just me. I am not interested in going to the frontlines for you just because we’re part of the same

demographic group; I just happen to have been born in certain ways and believe in certain thing. Defining parts of the world may be important. In that sense, I can get behind labels. It’s smart to have a word that encapsulates an idea, for efficiency purposes. What’s irritating is the obsession with trying to cram a universal experience under the umbrella of a single label; it’s the obsessive belief that I should agree with every single point a member of my communities makes or I’m a bad example of the community. For example, I’ve lost count of the amount of times other trans people have expected me to whine about how much of a victim I am. And granted, being trans isn’t always fun, and maybe I’m privileged, but from my own personal perspective I don’t feel as if every day of my life is some kind of walking nightmare, and if I am having one of those kinds of days, it’s usually entirely about something other than my gender identity. Creating the narrative that any one person’s life is that simple should not be encouraged, even though it might make sense to do that. For certain subcultural identities, some activists might want to pump out the victim narrative to win people’s sympathy. The problem is, stories where these people overcome adversity or take the world by storm don’t fit that narrative, meaning they end up ignored and overlooked. The experiences of a whole group gets simplified. The individuality of the singular people within the group gets stripped away. All oth-

er people begin to see is the narrative. If someone less than openminded got wind of one or two of my labels, they might never be able to shake this feeling that I’m some sort of one-dimensional counter-culture stand-in for a living sentient being. They might think I have an agenda before they even talk to me—and well, yeah, plenty of times I do have an agenda, but sometimes I just want to watch Netflix and be left in peace. My entire existence isn’t defined by the parts of me you might think are revolutionary. We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “the personal is the political,” and sometimes that’s true, but many times the personal is just the personal. It’s not connected to the subcultural groups I belong in, it’s just me being a human. So I ask you to ditch the labels and trade them for the assumption that when you talk to me, you’re talking to a human being first and foremost. MM

LUKE MILES is a fourth-year professional writing major and a member of MacMedia Magazine. Find him on Instagram at @l_0909_ke MacMedia Magazine | 8


I Will Not Be Forgotten In this short story, the female protagonist fights against the patriarchy and lives up to her name, meaning “I will not be forgotten.” BY SILJA MITANGE

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y name is Afamefuna. I do not yet understand why my parents gave me such a masculine name, but the elders of the village say that it is because they were expecting a boy.

Afamefuna means, I will not be forgotten. Perhaps it is because I will be part of the last generation of my peoples, I do not know. What I do know is that day and night, my playmates tease me for it, saying, “certainly your name will not be forgotten, because you will go down in history as the first woman with a male name.” My mother, the queen of our peoples, says that as a princess I have the right to rebuke them, but I do not think that is a wise thing to do if my goal is to become friends with them. My mother says this is a foolish decision that I have made, because I must crave respect over friendship. But my father calls me wise, because I have chosen to become friends with my enemies. It is the royal way. I adore my father. Yes, I am a princess. Princess Afamefuna of the Igbo tribe, because I am a woman and my parents’ only child. This means I am sometimes treated like a fragile vase, even though I do not wish it. So, I have made the decision to become the fiercest, most courageous women the people of Igbo have ever come across. I have asked my father for his help in becoming a fighter, but he said females must not be intrigued in such masculine matters, that we are too weak for war. It broke my heart. I will prove him wrong. One night, when my peoples are leaving to fight the village down from us, to punish them for the constant stealing of our goods, I secretly go with them. I trail behind the men in the darkness, hiding behind trees and swiftly disappearing each time a warrior turns to look back like he has heard me. Each man carries a sword and a torch, or a knife strapped around their waist. I hold my spear, a beautiful one stolen from my father’s storage, tightly in my fist. Quick, we arrive in the border of the neighboring village, and I climb to the top of a tree to 9 | MacMedia Magazine

hide, planning to watch the fight before joining. Suddenly, I hear a scream coming from one of our men. “We have been ambushed! Spread out!!” I see little flashes as the light from the torches reflects off the surfaces of blades. Each warrior is engaged in a fight for their lives, our enemies jumping around them like demons in the night, stabbing and piercing flesh. We were losing, but I can’t move for fear. I spot my father, locked in a fierce battle with the enemy. He looks as though he is losing. I can’t bear to lose him. Desperate, I throw my spear from the top of the tree, and it quickly extinguishes his opponent. He turns around wildly, looking for the source of the spear. As the fight dies down and the defeated village retreats back to their homes, our warriors gather around the bottom of my tree. My father looks up in apprehension, breathing hard. I refuse to be caught looking so vulnerable, so I jump down to make myself present with the other warriors. As soon as the fighters see me, they bow in surprised respect. Still, my father looks furious. “Afamefuna, what disgrace have you brought upon your peoples? How will anyone respect us if we force our women to fight for us?” As my father spoke, he didn’t notice a lone villager creeping behind him with the spear I had thrown earlier. He came out of nowhere, and I was too slow to notice.

“Papa, watch out!” But I am too late. My spear had killed my father. I stare in horror and grief as he falls to the ground with the spear stuck deep inside his chest, his hand stretched towards to me. As the warriors chased the king-slayer in fury, my father said with his last breath, “Afamefuna, surely you will not be forgotten now, for you will go down in history as the princess who killed her king.” MM


Like Everyone Else BY GIL SEGEV

I am like everyone else. I wake up, turn off my alarm, and wish I had died in my sleep. I lock myself in the bathroom, even though the front door is also locked and I live alone. I turn on the hot water tap and wait seven minutes until it reaches a tolerable lukewarm temperature. At the sound of the rushing water, my bladder wakes up. I stand on the mat at a 90-degree angle and I pee in one unbroken stream directly in the middle of the toilet bowl. It is thunderously loud. I flush with the tip of my left pointer finger, and then I wash my hands just so, and when I get it wrong, I start over again. Repeat three times.

I splash water onto my face and pretend I am drowning, but I like the thrill of knowing I am dying more than the absence of any sensation. I pat my face dry, but the towel is rough and still soggy from yesterday. I make a mental note to replace it but spoiler alert, I never do. I pour boiling water into my mug and stir three spoons of solitude, a dash of loneliness on top. The neighbors upstairs are quite this morning. It is 2AM. Appropriately caffeinated, I sit at my desk and begin to type letters and numbers on the keyboard, which is not connected to the computer which is not connected to the monitor which is not connected to the power grid which is not connected to the universe in any meaningful way. I am very productive, and in no time at all I have accomplished nothing. Another day’s work complete. Satisfied, I take a break.

I check my phone but there’s nothing though, only memes and ads. I wonder through an online shop and order a lovely red blouse from Amazon.com in size medium. It costs $39.28, free two-day shipping and returns are included. At 4AM my phone rings, and for the briefest of moments I am both surprised and thrilled. A rush of sensation of something other than dread breaks through the surface, a flame of emotion in the dark licking at the wet ambers around it, but then I see that it is only my alarm going off to remind me I am not worth the air I breathe. The something that arose within me sinks back down to the pits of despair from where it came. The surface tension returns to the lake of my suppression, all is calm. The flame extinguishes completely. I walk past a mirror and pause slowly. I squint at the grey figure vaguely shaped like me behind the glass. Is that what I looked like yesterday? Were the bags under my eyes always so prominent? When was the last time I changed this shirt? I attempt to piece together the last few days but there is only now, now, now. No has, had, will, could, only is, am, somebody please send help. “You are fine,” I tell the thing in the mirror. “You are normal, everyone feels this way. Things are exactly as they’re meant to be.” After a long day of emptiness I finally crawl into bed, but the bed is a full bathtub and I am drunk. I set my alarm but the alarm is a toaster positioned on the ledge of the slippery porcelain, and I drift into a lesser nightmare. I am like everyone else. MM MacMedia Magazine | 10


Bury Your Gays BY DALTON MOREAU

When I’m looking at the media I’m sick of this shit troping, Like ‘Bury Your Gays’, or all this ‘Queer Coding’. I’m sick of hearing only stories filled with tragedy, Because some straight cis man is disgusted by the look of me. I hate how gay men are always hairless and a model, To be kept in the background and are pretty much hollow. Or if he’s fat, hairy, or fem, He’s only comic relief, and he comes off quite dim. But who fucking cares? He’ll be dead by the end, Or he’s alone forever time and again. And what about the women who like women? Well if they dress boyish, then they’re a villain. That or they are corrupting your children, Stealing your daughters and turning them into hellions. Unless we see these women as conventionally attractive, Then they are ogled, to be thought of when you whack it. And what about my trans and fluid family? They never get into relationships or taken fucking seriously. The story is always about if they pass or if they don’t, Because that’s the story ‘most want’, even if we won’t. I hate it even more when it’s not clear, That these relatable characters are actually queer And those ones survive because straights don’t have to fear, Of knowing someone is different, because that makes them feel weird. This is not an awards show, it’s not an honour to be nominated, Because there’s a diverse myriad of shows that are straight-dominated. I understand that things used to be worse, That if we were there we were treated like a curse. “You’ll take it and you’ll like it” said to a man who was just hit, Who was originally written gay, but they took out that clip. I’ve lived unique stories that I wish I could share, That even straight people could learn from and care. Our experiences are interesting, beautiful, and wonderous, But how can we share them if you won’t fucking show us. I shouldn’t have to dig through lies and piss, To find an independent movie that barely gives a glimpse. We are at a point now where it’s not all bad, Where some of the stories don’t leave me so sad. But a token background character is no longer enough, Just so you can say that we were thought of. MM

DALTON MOREAU is a first-year sociology major. Find him on Instagram at @itzkindahazy

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A Modest Proposal “For the prevention of the students of York University from submitting negative end of year reviews so that they will benefit the continued employment of professors and operation of redundant departments.” BY SHOSHANA SHERRINGTON

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t is a melancholy object to those who serve this great institution in its classrooms and offices, when they see departments closed, staff dismissed, and staff and student organizations prevented from continuing due to provincial budget cuts. University programs and institutions are unable to operate as they see fit. Instead, they are forced— shockingly—to give evidence that they are beneficial to student learning and community growth if they want to receive funding. Students, as they progress in their university education, will give increasingly negative end of year reviews, bashing professors, courses, and the university itself, for not fulfilling their expectations for the tuition paid; and this has consequences for the university. I think it is agreed by all parties that these negative student reviews are, in the present state of deplorable underfunding, a very great additional grievance. Student dissatisfaction provides evidence to the board and the government that the university is not fulfilling its mandate, causing the firing of professors and the cutting of funding to dear redundant departments. Therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these students change their tune and become generous with their praise would deserve so well of the public as to achieve tenure and do nothing for the rest of their lives. As to my own part, having suffered through four years of listening to a professorial cast of academics and retirees from pro-

fessional life and completing their readings and assignments, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their approach to appealing to students. The number of students in this university being usually reckoned upwards of fifty-thousand, of these I calculate that their may be forty-thousand dissatisfied students; from which number I subtract twenty-five thousand who never fill out course review forms or other assessment forms, but this being granted, there will remain fifteen hundred who will annually submit negative, even damning reviews. The question therefore is, how is this number to be silenced? Which, as I have already said, is utterly impossible by all the methods—services, amenities and activities—hitherto used by the administration. I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. I have been assured by venerable scholars who have spent an entire career in academia that young students, who have not yet published anything peer reviewed nor attended an academic conference, have no understanding of the purpose of university and their perspectives are insignificant.

nificant. I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that to neutralize the fifteen-thousand dissenters, it would be best to no longer ask for any student feedback, opinion, ideas, feelings, or input. Those surveys that are required by the government will be completed by the compliant student body who will benefit funding prospects. I have reckoned upon a medium, that a discontented first year student, in four to five years, if tolerably ignored, will move on with their life. A student made so despondent by neglect will lose motivation to speak out, and upon achieving graduation—or falling out and flipping burgers at McDonald’s as the case may be, it hardly matters—will no longer create a problem for the institution. I have already computed the consequential student drop-out rate to be significant amongst dissenters and insignificant amongst compliant students who do well academically. Thus, the university will be rid of negative reviews and academic failures. This will greatly improve York’s rankings so that they won’t have to stretch the truth as far when referring to themselves as Canada’s or Toronto’s number one. (continued on back) MacMedia Magazine | 12


The overall effect of this plan will be to ensure that all reports of the university are overwhelmingly positive. Compliant students will select satisfied replies whether or not the stated criteria have been met. The average student is lazy and unintelligent and will not meditate over their responses, choosing benign to ambivalent options. This docility is beneficial to the institution’s image. I can think of not one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal considering that the impact of unhappy students will thereby be much lessened in the university. I desire the reader will observe that I calculate my remedy for York University alone, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore, let no one talk to me of

other expedients. Of making tenured professors who rest on their ego and laurels accountable for teaching effectively; of recognizing that students do not wish to follow in the path of their professors, pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake so that after a lifetime of living on the university dime they can claim with ironic authority that they are an expert in the field because they wrote articles for peer-reviewed journals on the subject; of teaching practical skills and assigning relevant projects, no longer trusting that an academic, theoretical approach will benefit their students; of acknowledging that students today do not live in the blissful, responsibility-free learning their professors enjoyed and instead work multiple jobs to support them-

First Time BY MICHAEL KARPATI

He was uncertain. Why had he come to her apartment? He didn’t know what to do. He never did. He felt strange. Afterwards, everything felt the same. And he wondered why he had done it. MM

13 | MacMedia Magazine

selves; of understanding that a degree alone is no longer sufficient for employment and that resumes must be stacked with relevant experience; of therefore offering that experience in the coursework; and of questioning students as to the resources they feel are important instead of wasting funds on departments, buildings and programs that no one but theoretical research enthusiasts asked for Therefore I repeat, let no one talk to me of these and the like expedients until they have at least some glimpse of hope that there will ever be a sincere attempt to put them into practice. But as for myself, having been wearied out for many years of reading theory and doing assignments on the topic of my future career instead of practicing the career itself, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal of ignoring my needs entirely, so that I will incur no danger to university funding and professor employment with my complaints. I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer, proposed by those esteemed career academics, which shall be found equally effective and beneficial to the future of the university as a center of learning and growth. But before ideas of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, I desire the author or authors to consider this: real, foundational change takes so much time, commitment and humility, and it is simpler by far to feel secure in the belief in your academic superiority, and that you know what is best. MM SHOSHANA SHERRINGTON is a fourthyear English and professional writing major and an executive member of MacMedia Magazine. Find her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/shoshana-sherrington/


To Put It Simply BY EMILY NORTON

i want to be reborn the sweet riesling slipping from your stemless glass i want the warmth of your mouth as i cool its roof chilled

i am cheap ten percent alcohol dry and licking sting the crack in the corner of your lips your lips plush and smothered in sticky gloss stick with me lips you chew i grip gently my taste is wasted without you i taste wasted your leftover blood on my sweater my moscato thighs

EMILY NORTON is a fourth-year professional writing major. Find her on Twitter at @_emnorton

tremble with want sweet riesling to put it simply: desire. MM MacMedia Magazine | 14


I Don’t See Who You See Self identity is constructed through our interactions with others. But, what if what others tell you about yourself doesn’t reflect how you really feel? The author writes about his experience as a “mixed” person. BY COLLIN ZINN

I

am not who you see. My skin defines my privilege but does not define my ancestry. Your perceptions of me do not define my identity. I am mixed race.

I have always struggled with my racial identity. I was born to interracial parents. My mother is white and my father is South African Coloured. I was always told that I am different but I have never fit into a singular box. When I was very young I experienced racism for the first time. I remember asking my mother why my Great-grandmother didn’t like me. I asked her “is it because I am not white.” You see she never hated me because of my skin colour. I’ve always been tanned but perceived as white. So it wasn’t that. It was because of who my father is. She never hated me for my

15 | MacMedia Magazine

skin, she hated me because my father wasn’t white.

Yet many continued to question me. Question my heritage, my ancestors, my culture and my race.

As I grew older I continued to struggle to define my own racial identity. To the white folks in the small towns I grew up in I was not like them. I was something else. I was ambiguous but still the other. I was my father's son. I accepted this identity and moved on.

I grew to accept the perception of my identity in this world. I acknowledge that I am “white passing.” I know I walk through this world differently than other racialized folk. My race is hidden from those who do not know me. Something interesting came about in this struggle for my identity.

When I moved to Toronto suddenly the identity I was so sure was mine was questioned and challenged. I was no longer my father's son, I was my mother’s. A white man in Toronto, I was shocked by the label I was given. But yet again I accepted this new identity and moved on. Now, my father is South African Coloured; a race within South Africa that is already considered mixed. We were Black, we were Indian, and we were the Indigenous people of South Africa known as the Khoisan. After hundreds of years of colonization and interracial mixing all those identities were lost and we became the Coloureds. As I grew older my knowledge of my people grew as well. The pride I have for my people’s experiences, resilience, and culture grew. My pride as an African grew.

I realized something very important. I do not see who you see. When friends and strangers alike look at me they see something else. They see my skin is tanned. They see my nose as thin. They see my hair as straight. They see my eyes as light. They see my body as white. They see someone I don’t see. I see someone very different. I see my tanned skin as a mix between my mother’s and father’s. I see my South African grandfather's nose. I see my thick South African hair. I see my South African grandmother’s eyes. I see the thick bones of my South African ancestors. I see myself as South African. But both are true. Both perceptions create my identity. Both define who I am in this world. I am white but I am not. I am Coloured but I am not. I am South African. I am Canadian. I am mixed. MM

COLLIN ZINN is a fourth-year English and professional writing major and an executive member of MacMedia Magazine. Find him on Instagram at @zinncollin


Re: Hands BY EMILY NORTON

we a

re skin or stardust or something like it: exposed, embarrassed, glitter-

ing. we

are

hands

afraid

we

of

what

they

can

hold.

afraid

are

of the blooming between us and what we can make with it.

make me. make me into a flower: a carnation, spread ope ward make

to

the me

sun. the

offering offering

nothing

n, palms held upbut you

myself. need.

let me show you what these hands can do. MM

EMILY NORTON is a fourth-year professional writing major. Find her on Twitter at @_emnorton MacMedia Magazine | 16


Bathhouses 101 Ever wondered what lies beyond the steamy doors of a sauna? Our Editor-in-Chief breaks down how to have safe and sexy fun in a historically queer institution. BY GIL SEGEV

S

team rooms. Saunas. Tubs.

Call them what you want, but let’s not ignore them. For many they represent a fantasy of anonymous sex, a fleeting connection with a stranger or even a chance to find love. For others, however, they’re a mysterious cloud that hangs over the queer community, filled with images of ambiguous consent and weird stuff floating in the hot tub. As your resident editor of an unapologetic magazine, I’m here to break it down for you. Whether you had never heard of bathhouses before today or have been too shy to visit one, this will be your crash course in what to expect, what to do and what to bring to your next bathhouse adventure. What is a bathhouse? A bathhouse is, in short, a commercial establishment that legally acts as a club. Once you obtain a (often paid) membership, you can use the facilities, which frequently include a functional gym, bar, common areas, wet and dry saunas, and lots of private rooms. What’s different in a bathhouse from a standard club is what happens inside and the people that frequent them. Bathhouse attendees are most often gay, bisexual or otherwise curious men looking for casual sex with other men. Female and bisexual clubs exist, but they’re rarer. Bathhouses are not brothels, be-

17 | MacMedia Magazine

cause the purchase of a membership doesn’t buy members sex with anyone so much as the right to use the facilities. Any sex that happens within is with other members only, not staff. Bathhouses have a long history in Toronto and beyond. I’d recommend reading up on the bathhouse raids of 1981, which are beyond the scope of this piece. They might seem like a relic of the past in the age of apps like Grindr, but you might be surprised at how varied the crowd is. For instance, at the popular “Steamworks” club in Toronto men under 25 years old get in free on Tuesdays… What to expect in a bathhouse? People come in a lot of shapes and sizes, so it’s hard to predict who exactly you’ll find in a given bathhouse. The demographic will also depend on the time of day, location and whether there’s a special event (“bears night,” for instance). You should expect to see people of all walks of life, and you never know what or who will spark your fancy. Don’t be surprised if you see a wedding band or two, either. What happens in the bathhouse, stays in the bathhouse. Expect to get undressed when you arrive. You’ll be given a towel to wear around your waist, but let’s not for-

get that the purpose is to get named. The bathhouse is decisively not the place for long talks – it’s all about eye contact and body language. Slowly trail someone you fancy or slide close to them in the hot tub. If they’re interested, they’ll reciprocate. If not, don’t take it to heart – there’s plenty of fish in the, er, sauna. You may inadvertently walk into some sticky situations over the course of your stay. This is one of those rare places where joining an impromptu orgy in the locker room is considered polite… What to do in the bathhouse? If the above wasn’t explicit enough, here’s the deal: you’re there for a reason, so let your inhibitions go. It’s unlikely you’ll see the people inside again (or recognize them in the light), which makes this the perfect place to try new things. Many bathhouses have so-called “glory holes,” harnesses and porn playing on large screens. Try a bit of everything until you find what floats your boat. Be aware that in the dark, steamy atmosphere consent be-

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comes a slippery slope. If someone gropes you out of turn, it is acceptable to move away or move their hand off – they’ll get the hint and move on. If you feel harassed or threatened, the staff are trained to handle such situations. You’ll also want to act with some common sense – if you’re strapped into a harness and blindfolded in the common area, you don’t exactly get to be choosy about who approaches. What to bring to the bathhouse? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s generally a good idea to bring condoms and lube if you plan to get frisky. A douche doesn’t hurt, either (hypothetically). Wet wipes are a good idea, as is a bottle of water if

you plan to be in there for a while. Essentially, bring anything you need to have a sexy and safe experience. At least you know you don’t have to worry over what to wear! You might also consider bringing a friend. I know – to a bathhouse?! Seriously, if it’s your first time especially you’ll want to have someone watching out for you. Don’t worry, in the semidark you shouldn’t be staring at each other – much. Setting hourly check-ins is great if you plan to spend the night jumping from room to room.

ways (most don’t allow women or trans men to use the facilities), they can be fun and sexy. Maybe I’ll see you there. MM

GIL SEGEV is a fourth-year criminology and professional writing major and an executive member of MacMedia Magazine. Find him on Instagram at @gsiproductions

In conclusion, bathhouses are not only relevant in 2020, they’re an exciting opportunity to explore queer culture and your own sexuality. While problematic in many

After Image BY NOAH MYLES GRAYSON

The Persian rug that patterns my glassy retinas every time we meet gains my recognition over any proficiencies shown off on the wall — they whittle away after a while. Seduced into a retrogressed state with his gossamer words ossifying even self-denying thoughts, his head eventually dips below my natural field of view to wield himself as liberator of my plan to give up our ghost.

NOAH MYLES GRAYSON is a fourth-year professional writing major.

Surrounding me in this condensed place are impulses, Their seams holding me here, so empty yet so fulfilling as they orient me. They do not do justice for him, with the fabrication they provide. But with the opening of his door into a life not entire this but not entirely undue of death, I retire back into a mind less prone to scrutiny. MM

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SEX

MARCH 2020 | ISSUE NO. 1