Your Magazine Volume 18 Issue 3: December 2022

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Recognized in Spring 2012, YOUR


's goal is to promote knowledge of the magazine and media industry by giving students the opportunity to be responsible for all aspects of a monthly lifestyle publication. With an audience of urban college students in mind, members create content across a broad range of topics and mediums, including style, romance, music, pop culture, personal identity and experiences. Your Mag's overarching aim is to foster positive, inclusive community of writers, editors, and artists.


ISA LUZARRAGA Managing Editor

LILY BROWN Creative Director

MOLLY HOWARD Editorial Director

AMYA DIGGS Head Stylist

ELIE LARGURA Director of Photography


EYIWUNMI AJAO Asst. Art Director



ASHLEY FERRER Editor-in-Chief

HAILEY KROLL Co-Head Designer

WILLOW TORRES Co-Head Designer

KATHERINE ASSELIN Co-Asst. Head Designer

T É A PEREZ Co-Asst. Head Designer


SOPHIE BOYCE Asst. Copy Chief

GRIFFIN WILLNER Head Proofreader

SARA FERGANG Asst. Head Proofreader


ABIGAIL ROSS Romance Editor


LAUREN SMITH Living Editor


DHARVI GOPAL Marketing Director


GABBY GOODE Social Media Coordinator

ELLIE BELCASTRO Asst. Social Media Coordinator




VOLUME 18 | ISSUE 3 | FALL 2022

ROMANCE TWO LOVE LANGUAGES, ONE BED THE BOUNDRY BETWEEN SEXUAL FANTASY AND THE REAL WORLD the most sex positive shop in boston, and possibly america regifting a broken heart sex advice love bugs our facial constellations lament of the overly influenced ibtc street style as if! be fucking for real to my younger self #trending: in the market for interracial dating REDEFINING TRAUMA BOND EMERSON NIGHTLIFE FEAR AND LOATHING driving off the disney road: the evolution of disney girls killer looks no one likes a mad woman your call songs for going home best gift you’ve ever given the debut album little lamb jewelry

6 8 10 12 14 16 22 24 26 28 30 38 40 42 44 46 48 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 74 LIVING EDITORIAL STYLE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Y.MP3 YM ADVISES ARTIST STATEMENT 4 | YOURMAG EDITORIAL EDITORIAL


Within the past year or so, we witnessed three generations of Spider-mans on the big screens at once, the resurgence of casual posting on Instagram, countless reboots, Bennifer reuniting after 18 years, and the adoration of retro shows like Stranger Things and Freaks and Geeks

As the year comes to an end, we produce this issue as an ornament of nostalgia, paying homage to the classic style phenomena that is Clueless, taking inspiration from the neverending reiteration of the boy band, and embracing new love that feels all too familiar.

Within our living section, our writers explore the complexities of our relationships with the media, one another, and ourselves. Confronting the gendered perception of human emotion and the fatal attraction of certain roles, a larger conversation of unjust media portrayal consumes our arts & entertainment section. Our style writers find community and empowerment in vulnerability, yet beg the question of if endless inspiration and relatability could ever be too much. Read more on page 16. Finally, our romantic authors tiptoe around the boundaries of their own hearts and desires.

We are also very excited to introduce two new section additives in this issue! Affixing our Arts and Entertainment section is a “Choose your own Path” quiz, throwing it back to the likes of J-14 and Tiger Beat. Following the insightful narratives of living is an Emerson nightlife segment entirely made up of submissions by you guys. We include this additive in hopes of getting our student body more involved and providing a place for Emersonians to look back on their nightly adventures.

To all our collaborators and consumers, you are what makes us who we are. We are Your Magazine, and want to reflect that name accurately. To those who haven’t worked with us before, we’d love to have you explore your talents with us!

Until then, Ashley Ferrer



My boyfriend and I both took a love language test really early in our relationship for fun. It turned out that my love language is quality time whereas his is physical touch. Although we acknowledged that our love languages were different, we didn’t read into the results too much. I never thought a spontaneous idea could provide an explanation for issues that would occur in the future.

Love languages have become a popular topic in various social and digital fields, but what exactly are they? There are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. People express and experience love differently depending on their preferred love language. Occasionally, love languages can even explain why there might be a conflict in a relationship—this is something that I experienced this semester.

When my boyfriend moved back to Boston University’s campus in September after we had spent four months apart, I was excited. After all, our relationship had only gotten stronger over the summer, and, sure, our schedules would be busy with classes and extracurriculars, but at least we were in the same city again. I figured that if being long distance had not been an issue, then we’d be just fine now that we were only a T ride away.

So I was troubled when I started to feel dissatisfied with the way our relationship was going over the next month. It wasn’t that I didn’t love him anymore or that I’d lost feelings. In fact, I was now certain that what I felt for him wasn’t just puppy love or the honeymoon phase, but real, genuine love. I could see a future with him. When we were together in person, everything was wonderful. My boyfriend has always been able to make me laugh like no one else can, and we have always had great conversations. But for some reason, whenever we were apart, I felt incredibly lonely. It was as though there was a disconnect between the version of me when I was with him and the version of me without him. I felt like there was something wrong with me for having a problem when he was treating me so well.

About a week before our six month anniversary, I was swamped with classwork and all I wanted to do was be comforted by my boyfriend. Instead, he sent me a text a couple hours later saying he couldn’t call because he was studying. I immediately got upset upon reading the text. It wasn’t because he wasn’t able to call; rather, this happened to be the most recent occurrence where my boyfriend had taken forever to respond to my texts only to give me a dry answer. Coming to this realization opened my eyes to exactly why I was feeling unhappy: my needs were not being met.

My primary love language being quality time means that I enjoy spending meaningful time with my partner.

Obviously, because we don’t go to the same school, and cannot be together most of the time, we rely on texting and FaceTime to keep in contact with each other. This was something we really prioritized over the summer, as we both knew daily communication was required or else our relationship would come to an end. While I didn’t realize it at the time, this was satisfying a personal need. What I also did not realize, however, was that it was temporary. Throughout his life, my boyfriend has never been a huge texter, preferring to save his most meaningful interactions for when he is in person. The result of our two contrasting approaches meant that I ended up feeling like he was becoming complacent and didn’t care about me as much anymore.

The only way to solve this misunderstanding of communication was, ironically, through communicating. My boyfriend and I had a talk about how my love language affected my relationship needs a few days after I had my realization, and he listened. Then he talked to me about his own personal issues with digital communication (he has ADHD and often doesn’t remember things unless reminded), and I listened. Being able to listen to one another with an open mind is important in a relationship, especially if partners have different love languages. It shows that at the end of the day, neither person is trying to start a fight and we just want to solve our issues and have our relationship grow. We both made sure to be honest while still being respectful of one another, which worked wonders. Our conversation resulted in me no longer feeling awkward to remind him if he doesn’t respond for an extended period of time. Moreover, this discussion helped me understand that sometimes my boyfriend will just forget to text back or call—but that does not mean he doesn’t love me any less. I know it’s cliché to say, but communication really is key in a relationship. The additional bonus of knowing how our different love languages affect ourselves and each other has only helped our relationship get stronger.

So maybe I would have figured out why I was feeling so dissatisfied even if I didn’t know about love languages, and everything would have been okay in the end. Or, maybe, I would have kept struggling until there was no other option except to break up. Either way, I am glad that I knew about love languages and what each individual way of expression meant because it helped my boyfriend and I figure out our difficulties and solve the problem quickly. Since then, we have been very happy, and things are going great. I’m confident when I say that both of us love each other, flaws and all. YM


The Boundary Between Sexual Fantasy and the Real WorlD

It’s midnight. You are texting “Hung Verse Daddy 54” on Grindr. He’s telling you all about being a professor and an editor, and you think the two of you have so much in common! He suggests meeting and exploring your little teacher-student fantasy, and you consider this. Sitting in your dorm room in darkness only lit by fairy lights and the spark of your desire to try something crazy and exciting, you truly think about traversing the city to explore your deepest fantasies. Just as you are about to consider ordering an Uber to get to this total stranger’s apartment, your roommate walks in and a wind of clarity hits you. The question is glaring: “What was I thinking?”

Stop judging yourself! The world of sex can be all-consuming, and the boundary between sexual fantasy and the real world is thin. Most people have little things that get them going that no person would speak of or consider bringing up to other people, including friends. Fetishes are a common phenomenon in our world. With the greater acceptance of sex positivity in our culture through mainstream media like Sex and the City from the ‘90s all the way to the recent revival of Queer as Folk—Gen-Z is on track to become the most sex positive generation of all time. In the ongoing series Sex Education, every character is involved in sexual acts of all forms—straight or queer, kinky or not kinky—with the protagonist’s mother working as a licensed sex therapist. With a show like this receiving a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it is clear that the world is finally ready to talk about sex, but is it ready to understand the frequency of fetishes?

According to a 2016 article from “The Journal of Sex Research,” nearly half of participants said they were interested in fetishes. However, less than a third made their fantasies a reality. Why do we think this is? While getting into kink culture can be a whole lot of fun and has even shown signs of improving sexual pleasure, often what we want privately does not match up with what we would actually do with a partner. For example, I used to hook up with this one guy who would often talk about spanking and how much he enjoyed watching spanking porn. So much of his interest lay within the type

of porn he enjoyed, but when we finally tried it out, he ended up being confused with his lack of interest. In that moment, he realized that the line between sexual fantasy and reality, while thin, exists and could hold him back from arousal.

While we hate to admit this, so many of us have ended up on sides of the internet with submissive men in leather and a gag in their mouths. Though funny from an outside perspective, while in our private sessions, these seemingly crazy videos of dominatrices and butt plugs light fires beneath our hormones (and prostates). Porn is a real part of the lives of many people regardless of gender. While there is a stigma that only men watch porn, people of all identities may use porn while masturbating or even while having sex. Porn is often seen as dirty or as cheating for those in relationships, but with porn comes the exploration of fetishes and sexual practices that are typically considered unusual, and with that comes the need to try these practices out.

When considering our desires, we need to keep our own safety in mind. Yes, it’s just as fun as you would think to text people far older than your parents, but it can be a bit reckless to take the T to their condominium in the Back Bay. Some fetishes might be dangerous to one’s health, so it is best to understand the consequences that things like consensual torture can entail. And even more, once we find ourselves in front of wrinkles and lingerie, we might not even be turned on or interested at all. Instead, find sexual partners that you trust to try fantasies out on. Make sure that they verbally consent to whatever you are interested in, whether that be role play, orgies, voyeurism, or even sadomasochism. We all know our little fantasies light a fire in our souls and in our orgasms, but we may not be sure whether they translate safely and comfortably into the real world. Some people may judge, but go ahead! I’ll take my flaming hot hickey-covered hookups and secret, saucy porn sessions over stone cold sex any day. YM


The Most Sex-Positive Shop in Boston, And Possibly America

Ibegan going to sex shops when I turned eighteen. They were mostly shabby storefronts with neon signs in the windows shouting “ADULT MOVIES” or “LINGERIE.” The employees never smiled, just watched me as I browsed the store. I could never tell if their stares were out of judgment towards my interests or an effort to prevent theft. The stores themselves were not any more welcoming. The walls were typically the shade of white that resembled a hospital room, but with pictures of naked people having rough sex hung up on them. There was never any music playing, just the sound of my footsteps. When I would go up to the counter with my purchases, the cashier would sometimes ask to see my ID, but that would be the extent of our conversation as I would watch their eyes graze my purchases, glancing into intimate parts of my sex life.

I experienced culture shock when I visited Amsterdam with my partner. We walked around the Red Light District at nine in the morning. We saw sex workers posing in the windows and various sex shops with displays of lingerie and toys that were unhidden, with no traces of shame attached. The first shop we visited was decorated with patterned wallpaper, and there was music playing. The employee was eager to greet us. She helped with our specific interests, and even recommended certain products. This felt freeing to me. I didn’t feel like I should be embarrassed about my sex life. I quickly realized that all the sex shops in Amsterdam were like this due to their accepting and positive views of sex.

While discussing this dichotomy with Emerson student Georgia Howe ‘23 who has visited Amsterdam and passed by sex shops, we compared our experiences with sex shops in America. She said, “I think America’s a country that has a lot of conservative and Christian influences in certain parts and I think that’s reflected in how topics of sex and sex education are ‘brushed under the bed’ and not really touched on; and you see that reflected in sex shops [in America]. Everything is focused on being discreet… In Amsterdam specifically, it is much more open and much more accepting that it, [sex], is simply a part of life and it’s nothing really to be ashamed of.”

After experiencing a sex-positive culture abroad, I thought that was something I wouldn’t be able to experience in America because of collective cultural stigmas surrounding sex. However, a month ago, I decided to shop in the Boston area. I went to a sex shop called “Good Vibrations” in Brookline. From the exterior, I noticed the shop looked different from the usual American sex shops. There were sex toys and lingerie on display in the windows. Upon entering, I was welcomed by two employees who asked if I needed any help finding anything specific. They gave me a quick tour of the store and told me that all the toys on display include the price and information regarding use and safety while offering to answer any questions I might have. There was music playing, warm colors in the interior, and multiple educational infographics. I never felt the employees' eyes following me with any glare of judgment. Instead, I experienced friendly smiles offering genuine care. I felt the ability to buy products suited for my interests without any attachment of shame.

Howe has also visited Good Vibrations, and noticed the impact of shopping at a local and sex positive store. After going to Good Vibrations, Howe said, “Going to [a store] based around sex positivity can create such an amazing safe space for you to explore parts about yourself and know yourself better. I know at Good Vibrations, most of the people that work there are sex educators or at least have some sort of background in it. They also have a lot of information for LGBTQ+ people who go there… They are not just trying to sell you a product. They are trying to educate and inform you and make sure that you are able to explore these different parts of yourself.”

By the end of my shopping experience, the employees offered to wrap my purchase in a gift box for my partner. I thanked them for creating such a welcoming environment. We then shared our experiences about the stigmatization of sex shops in America versus the freedom of sex shops in other countries. It amazed me that a sex-positive shop was only a train ride away from campus. I didn’t need my passport to experience an environment full of sex positivity. YM


Regifting a Broken Heart

Most romantic comedies revolve around the chase. Cher grows to like Josh who she previously couldn’t stand, Margaret pretends to be engaged to Andrew for a green card and falls in love with him in the process, Kat eventually finds the ridiculous efforts of Patrick attempting to win her over endearing. They kiss, the credits roll, and they live happily ever after.

But what if Cher went to college in a different state, and Margaret realized she loves her work more than she loves Andrew? Maybe Kat reaffirms her strong sense of feminism by breaking up with Patrick to explore her own identity without a man. What happens after happily ever after, and how do you move on from your first love?

My first love was my ex-boyfriend who I dated during my freshman year and part of my sophomore year. We quickly became close and did almost everything together. It was the height of the pandemic, so we couldn’t see a lot of people and had endless time to

be around each other with few responsibilities. We traveled around Boston together, finding all the little secrets in hidden alleyways and benches by the water. I loved him and loved being in love.

I grew up a hopeless romantic, waiting for my prince (or princess) in shining armor to sweep me off my feet and love me forever. I had high expectations and waited for who I thought was the person. This man was my first boyfriend—my first kiss even—so the idea of letting him go felt strange and scary.

Our relationship was all I had ever known in terms of romance. Many times I questioned my own intuition, thinking maybe the signs that we shouldn’t be together were just me not understanding what a relationship was supposed to be. When we fought, we never reached a clear resolution. I struggled to share my emotions, and when I did, I didn’t always feel that they were validated. I felt anxious and uneasy instead of light and happy. I never told anyone or even admitted it to myself because I thought maybe those feelings would


go away with time. However, they never left, piling on top of each other, forming a constant weight in my chest until I couldn’t breathe.

We almost broke up about a month before we actually did, but decided not to because we loved and cared about each other so much. No one told me that sometimes love isn’t enough to maintain a relationship. Sometimes you still have to walk away, so both people can grow on their own.

I don’t feel any ill will towards my ex, and we still talk occasionally. But the truth is, we just weren’t right for each other. It has been about nine months since we broke up, and I moved on. I downloaded dating apps for the first time in my life and have been on varying levels of good and not-so-great dates with new people—learning more about what I do and don’t want in a potential partner.

I am enjoying being on my own and returning to some of the activities I forgot about in my all-consuming romantic relationship. However, sometimes I still feel the need to find my person, someone to last.

Through much self-reflection and vigorous journaling, I’ve realized that there is no reason to rush into another relationship. I spent most of my college experience with another person, and it is okay to take time to just be me. I like meeting new people, going on dates, and having new experiences. Someday, one of those dates might lead to something more, but for now, I don’t need a romantic partner to feel fulfilled.

I have more time to spend with friends, to write and grow my portfolio, and to learn more about myself as cliché as that may sound. I have always worked tirelessly and done whatever I could to make my dreams a reality. Some of this motivation and drive left when I was in a relationship because I became so caught up in caring for someone else. In spending time by myself, I have relearned the value of prioritizing my own wants and needs. When the time comes to give my heart to someone new, I will be ready to love them and take care of myself in the process. YM


- The most important thing to remember in a sexual situation is that consent is EVERYTHING. Consent, consent, consent. Not only is a little “is this okay?” question totally sexy, but no sexual relationship can function without active consent from any/all parties! If you have ever experienced a situation where you feel as though you did not consent, it is okay to get help at your own pace!

- If you are having sex, why not try out lube? Although lube is something that is mostly only used by gay men for anal, a lubricant can really make sex work more smoothly. Using lube can help for participants to move faster with less pain especially when having pentrative sex. And remember that silicone-based lube can break down toys! Stick to water-based lubricants!

- Make sure your partner doesn’t have any STD’s or STI’s (become educated on that BS) and pee after sex!

- Experiment! And try to get out of your comfort zone! But not too far. It can help you become more in contact with your body and your preferences.

- Check in with your partner about what they’re liking and not liking! Needs and wants change over time and it’s important to have those conversations!

- There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with a trusted partner. Even if you’re worried you won’t like something, it doesn’t hurt to try it once. (Within both of your set boundaries, of course.) You might end up liking it! It’s always helpful to figure out your kinks, trust me. ;)

- It’s always important to listen to the other person’s boundaries and to check in before, during, and after. You can’t read each other’s minds. Communication is key, and being able to communicate openly is the best way for you and your partner to both feel comfortable and safe.

- Put your needs first above your partner. Yes, you want your partner to feel comfortable and to be happy but you have to first look out for yourself and if that means saying no, then do that. Make sure to always put yourself and your needs first.

- Ladies, prop yourself up! Aligning your parts with your partner will help stimulate the best parts



love bugs

our facial constellations

From the moment our T-zones turn oily, we are overwhelmed with acne horror stories and trite skin care tips. Between friends lauding their favorite cleansers and Vogue breaking down the best concealers, young adults are conditioned to shamefully hide their blemishes.

We have continually battled our blemishes behind closed doors, but now, a new skin care trend is shifting perspectives and helping acne-prone individuals feel comfortable in their own skin.

It’s not uncommon to see people rocking colorful stars on their faces, whether standing in line at Starbucks or reading in the Common. Described as star-shaped, hydrocolloid pimple protectors, skincare brand Starface sells their Hydro-Stars worldwide. Ranging from neon yellow to electric blue, the stars add a vivid pop to any look. The product has quickly become a staple of both skin care regimens and style choices, encouraging every skin type to express their individuality.

For Stella De Tergo ‘25, Hydro-Stars have evolved from just an acne patch to an accessory complementing her daily looks.

“I’m a big fan of stars and glitter in my makeup, so I have

always felt like they [Hydro-Stars] go nicely with the aesthetic I’m aiming for,” De Tergo said. “I recently bought a pack that comes with pink, purple, green, and blue, and I have been loving the ability to coordinate with them.”

Aisling McDermott ‘24 started using Hydro-Stars this past summer and also incorporates the patches into their kidcore fashion choices. When wearing masks started to become less common, McDermott was initially hesitant to show their skin.

“I was anxious about my flare ups being stared at again,” McDermott said. “These [Hydro-Stars] are a nice way to express myself. Because it’s commonly known that they are for acne, I don’t feel as though I am hiding that part of myself.”

Indeed, beyond the cutesy aesthetic of the star-shaped patches, wearing Hydro-Stars in public spaces acknowledges acne, relating to anyone struggling with skin conditions.

“It really embraces the fact that people deal with blemishes on the daily,” Erin Norton ‘25 said. “It’s a normal thing that should be welcomed—and why not do exactly that in the most adorable and colorful way possible! Even though the star itself does hide the acne,

22 | STYLE

I think it highlights the fact that it’s there in general, but it’s being almost accentuated.”

This is exactly what the founders of Starface intended when creating their brand. In a 2020 interview with fashion blog HYPEBAE, founders Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick discussed how Starface seeks to reframe the narrative surrounding acne.

“For us it was just really important to approach acne with kindness and acceptance, and also give it some visibility,” Schott said. “I think we are so used to covering it up… [and] the first way to feel better is to be open and to stop hiding.”

Schott also acknowledged that acne-prone individuals are constantly being told what they’re doing wrong with their skincare regimens, further invalidating those who have tried anything and everything to improve their skin.

“What I ended up finding is that 95% of people experience [acne]. It’s not your fault, so what if we just rethought our attitude towards this experience?” Scott said. “With Starface, it really just came from this idea of what if instead of putting on makeup, which I always found really irritated my breakouts, what if I could put on

a treatment that looked cute and got the job done, all while making me feel better.”

McDermott echoes these sentiments.

“I think, perhaps, it does shift the societal image [of acne] because it catches the eye in the same way acne does,” McDermott said. “But when you look, you go, ‘Oh! A star!’”

In a 2018 study for the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, researchers identified that 85% of adolescents and nearly two-thirds of people over 18 struggle with acne. They also noted a correlation between acne and lower rates of self-esteem, particularly among female-identifying individuals.

Societal perceptions and opinions surrounding skin conditions undoubtedly contribute to acne-prone individuals feeling like they have to hide their imperfections. However, with the increased popularity of colorful, geometric acne solutions like Hydro-Stars, we can all take a collective step forward towards acceptance.

Whether worn solely as an accessory, a blemish solution, or both, Hydro-Stars are turning faces nationwide into colorful constellations of recognition and compassion. ym

STYLE | 23

Lament of the Overly Influenced

According to the obligatory “Apps You Have Been Spending Too Much Time On” report for last week, Pinterest and TikTok were nearly tied for first place. Of course, I am not surprised, as these apps are my gateway to style school, where I am bound to the lectures of the mysterious fashionistas who profess their fashion knowledge to me. My form of relaxation and decompression is to relinquish myself to the scriptures of Vogue and Instagram; they are God, and I am a disciple. As I fall asleep to the blue light from my phone shining on my face, I am tucked in by “What I Wore to the Office This Week” videos and dream of the stylish SSENSE and Condé Nast employees dancing through my head.

I am addicted to niche micro-influencers who get 300 likes on their videos and always appear on my ‘for you’ page thanks to the unrelenting algorithm that knows my sense of style better than I do. The accessibility of these people has led me to formulate a level of parasocial relationships and obsessions to dress like them. Their influence has surpassed the level of inspiration and has reached a point of utter infatuation. I am so absorbed by their clothes and overall aura that it has paralyzed my ability to make my own outfit choices and be comfortable with the clothes I wear and have chosen for myself.

Clothes are my way of expressing myself, but at some point, I have let other people take control of my outfit autonomy. In an ideal world, I would just let influencers take the wheel and dictate my outfits so I can take a backseat and not have to make a decisive choice because suddenly it is time to get ready and the clock is ticking and my bed looks like my closet regurgitated itself onto it because I have forgotten how to get dressed. Desperate for someone to make my outfit choice for me, I ferociously swipe through my likes and pins, furious that I do not have the same pair of vintage Miu Miu flats as User1834930, or the same long denim skirt as some girl who has infiltrated my Pinterest board. And just like that, the outfit is ruined! My plans are foiled! But what could I expect? The disappointment I get is no surprise, as I am a broke college student who can not afford Tom Ford-era Gucci on The Real Real. Something’s gotta bend.

My impressionable mind cannot release the ties of an outfit I saw some two weeks ago. Luckily, a lot of what I see begs for a vintage store trip, which takes time and intentionality. Gone are the days of a suburban shopping day at Urban Outfitters where I would suck up every microtrend, and in are the tears trickling over my laptop because I cannot find a pair of vintage Frye boots in my size. Yeah, okay, so I can’t get what I want. That is fine. No really it is. So

24 | STYLE

I hit the thrift stores and the Depop shops to find similar articles of those that I have yearned for (Have you ever stalked an influencer so hard you found their kept-private Depop account? I have.) But at least this way, I am having to do some of the work. I have to put on my thinking cap and get creative to throw my own unique spin on the outfit.

Simply put, I have become overly influenced. I cannot put an outfit together without at least subconsciously copying something I saw on Instagram four days ago. It takes me a painfully long time to put an outfit together because I have forgotten who I am in fashion. But let’s cut the bullshit. Why do I care if I look like a walking Pinterest board or not? It really must come down to self-esteem issues (take a seat, body dysmorphia!) and my caring too much of how people perceive me. I have been plagued with the need to put in so much effort and look “cool” all the time, which in reality is a waste of my energy and completely subjective. Okay, but what if someone with a tiny microphone wants to ask me about my outfit for a TikTok video? Tough luck, kid.

I am trying to find more ways to take my style back. If that means I look like “New York City Cigarette-Core Low Rise Jeans Girl” one day and “Scandinavian Mom of Seven” the next, that is

okay! I need to find ways to embrace that and have some fun with it. After all, I have already been taught so much from “Outfits of the Week” TikToks that I can grow my wings and fly into my own personal nest full of original outfit concepts that aren’t coming directly from someone else’s closet.

To continue my way out of my heavily influenced rabbit hole, I have decided to become more intentional when I make a purchase. It is hard to not let the anxieties of a curated flea market wear out my wallet, but it is important to really question an overpriced jacket or pair of jeans before going all in. One of the proudest moments I have had in the past six months was resisting the rise of Adidas Sambas via Bella Hadid’s trendsetting abilities until I was sure they were here to stay for a while (and Wales Bonner x Adidas were restocked…) Now they are my favorite shoes and I wear them all the time! Change is possible!

In order to make some of this hard work last, I have to find what makes me feel confident in myself. What are my “signature” outfits? What can I put together that makes me feel like me and makes me want to dance on a table? When do I look in the mirror and think “Damn, Cam!?” This is what matters. YM

STYLE | 25

Middle school was a fever dream of acne, awkwardness and insecurity. I remember wishing, alongside the other girls, that my body would transform as I grew older. I wanted boobs. I dreamt, particularly, of growing into at least a C cup because that’s what the world, the patriarchy, and social media had convinced me was “desirable.” As I matured, I remember holding out hope that I was simply behind all the other girls and would soon catch up. Now, I’m 21 and still only an AA cup. Coming to terms with being a small-chested woman was hard; I quickly realized that the fashion world wasn’t designed for women who look like me.

In early high school, while all of my friends had already gone through the rite of passage of buying their own “adult” bras, I was still—shamefully—shopping in the tween “training bra” section. Every time I was forced into Victoria’s Secret, a place I despise, I’d hide my chest with crossed arms to ward off the pushy saleswomen brandishing measuring tapes. I didn’t need them telling me that nothing in that store, or any store, would fit me—I already knew that. And it didn’t just stop with lingerie. I hated clothes shopping. No matter how many tops or dresses I’d try on, things never seemed to fit right. There was always awkward gapping or loose space around my chest, and nothing was flattering.

For most of my life, I wore loose, baggy clothing or high necklines, even though these silhouettes didn’t flatter me either. But at least I didn’t feel like people were always looking at my boobs, or (non)boobs, as I liked to call them. Even as I continued to get older, I still felt like I looked like a child, which I’d joke about with my friends in an attempt to use humor to cover up my shame and body dysmorphia.

For so long, I felt like I was the only one feeling insecure about my body. Standing alone in dressing rooms donning ill-fitting clothes, or scrolling through social media looking at perfect “hourglass” shaped bodies in bikinis, it felt like the world was screaming at me that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t pretty or desirable, and that I didn’t deserve cute clothes. I didn’t even feel like a real


Something changed for me in the last three years or so, however. I had started to find, interspersed in my Explore Page on Instagram, flat-chested influencers who modeled cute, even sexy outfits, and fully embraced their chest size. Every time I’d find a woman with a similar body type to myself, I’d stalk her page with a glimmer of hope, taking note of how each top fit and what I could, quite possibly, look good in. That’s when I found the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” community.

Honestly, when I was younger I thought I was one of the only women with a small chest. But, as it turns out, there’s a whole world of women with small chests and varying body types. Boobs really do come in all shapes and sizes. As silly as the name sounds, the “IBTC” is a beautiful place of acceptance and understanding. Women with smaller chests have come together to share styling and fashion tips to accent our unique bodies, encourage self love and nurture a community of body positivity. Influencers like Yolanda Espericueta (@yolandainthecity), Zoe Roe (@zozoroe), and Clara Dao (@clara_dao) urge their followers to find the beauty inside themselves in spite of what the online world, ruled by the male gaze, tries to tell us about which cup sizes and body types are most desirable. These women helped me reclaim not only my own body, but my sense of womanhood and my sense of style.

Although I still occasionally get frustrated by shopping due to the lack of inclusive sizes, I have learned so much from these women and this community about what looks good on my body. This has not only boosted my self-confidence, but it’s also allowed me to explore my personal style. Before, I felt that my body type held me back from expressing myself through fashion. Now, because I am learning to love my small chest, I feel more free to experiment and step outside of my comfort zone with my wardrobe. At the end of the day, I’ve learned that all bodies are beautiful and we deserve to wear what we want. I only wish I could tell my younger self that small-chested women are beautiful, and sexy, too. YM

26 | STYLE
STYLE | 27

Street Style

Val garvey, it/she/he

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Everchanging, layered, and androgynous

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

I don’t know where I get my outfit inspiration from honestly. I just play dress up in my room until I find something I like

If you could only shop at one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

I would probably shop at Savers for the rest of my life if I had to choose one place. They have pretty much everything and it’s budget friendly

Celebrity style icon?

My best friend Pieper Meccia. She’s a celebrity to me; I can’t think of any real celebrities

What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

My platform Doc Martens, my necklaces, and my “Not gay as in happy, but queer as in f*ck you” sweater from sleepybbybutt. It’s my favorite

kyra Badger, any pronouns

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Maybe new wave goth

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

I get a lot of fashion inspiration from movies, other people at Emerson, different music eras like punk, goth, grunge, etc.

If you could only shop at one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

This is a hard one! In Boston, probably Viviant Vintage. But ever maybe Dover Street Market Celebrity style icon?

Daria Morgendorffer

What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

Cannot live without my black afghan coat, my leather duster, and my brown corduroy pants

28 | STYLE

Eloise Campisi, she/they

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Fun, varied, comfortable

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

People I see on the street and characters on T.V.

If you could only shop at one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?


Celebrity style icon?

Devon Aoki

What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

My platform Doc Marten sandals, oversized black leather blazer, plain white button down dress shirt

Laura Howe, she/her

How would you describe your personal style in three words?


Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

Pinterest or vintage clothing patterns mostly

If you could only shop at one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Little Ghost Vintage, Portland Maiwiggy to Karen Carpenter

What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

White high neck button-up, black mary janes, and a brown suede coat

breanna nesbeth, she/her

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Eccentric, bold, bright

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

Based around color palettes that I like! I’ll see some colors that look great next to one another and try and make an outfit of of the pieces i have of those colors

If you could only shop at one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

The thrift!!

Celebrity style icon?


What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

My cowboy boots, my Telfar, and a white tank top!

STYLE | 29



As If! As If!

be fuckingreal. for

Smile, hold it...5…4…3…2…1. If you had just two minutes to explain the entirety of who you are, your values, achievements, highs and lows, there’d be so much that didn’t make the cut. So why do we subject ourselves to that condensed and inaccurate way of showcasing our lives, or at least the parts we share, on social media? Just when media platforms seemed to rebrand themselves as authentic and intimate, I quickly realized most content people were posting was still fabricated. Apps like BeReal and TikTok have sent us down a rabbit hole of consuming everything at once, constantly knowing what other people are up to and what is new or trending. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can educate others, it leads to a lot more self-reflection. And not always the good kind. Receiving comments that say “this makes me wanna get my shit together” or “you’re so aesthetically pleasing” should be compliments, but instead it dawned on me that other people online feel as I do.

Why do we look at a set of photos from strangers or friends online and compare them to our own lives? Despite living under completely different circumstances we tell ourselves we are not active enough, social enough, or productive enough. Suddenly we should be better parents, siblings, friends, or significant others because of a snapshot or 60-second video. We’ve all seen people go from flat expressions to wide beaming smiles when a phone is propped up. Fixing hair, adjusting clothes, and so on. Although I know no one can constantly be with their friends or working on studies while having a smoothie bowl, I feel like I have to. I’ve subjected myself to these chronically online ideals too. I don’t claim to be above it all or excluded, but I’m ready to be real.

“Nirvana, keep up!”

“Nirvana, watch your screen time!”

“Nirvana, get more sleep!”

“Nirvana, eat more greens!”

Motivating? Maybe. Unhealthy? Absolutely.

Hustle culture has conditioned me to feel like I’ve got to make the most out of my 24 hours every single day. If I’m not working or applying myself, is it a smart use of my time? I’m guilty of picking

a seven hour shift over plans with my friends, or if we’re being real… my bed. The green light mode monetizes life for young adults who are easily swept up by the idea that money is always the answer. Order yourself that aesthetic coffee, and get the new shoes. You’ll be tired and emotionally unfulfilled but what’s that matter? Organize your desk with several minimalist containers. To separate your perfectly placed pastel pencils and unnecessary gadgets. Make sure everything shines with that freshly cleaned gleam—iron your sheets. Buy books about managing money and pilates.

The reality is, it’s a facade. No one in particular is to blame. It’s something many of us have fed into at one point or another. Some people instill healthy and productive habits into their daily lives but also skip the gym, cave into their favorite foods, sleep in every once in a while, and ultimately…fall off their game sometimes too.

No matter what bosses, teachers and family members say it all comes down to what YOU can fit on your plate. All our plates are different. Some plates are evenly divided into sections, others are wide for a smorgasbord of things, and many have tiny, round plates that hold small portions. I’ve found solace in the fact that no one shares a plate quite like mine and no one has it all figured out. It makes me happy to see more people sharing their stories about everything from not having a license, living at home, or taking a gap year. If you ask me, fearmongering ourselves into overexertion has no benefits. If I can be cheesy for a moment, our time is limited and never guaranteed.

If we’ve learned anything from the monthly recap posts and BeReal snapshots it’s that there are so many things to admire and appreciate even in our cheap lunches, nights out with friends, or being bundled up in bed. Let’s spend less time focusing on what we should do and more time celebrating what we have. You made it through another day, just remember not every moment needs to be shared, not every moment is worth sharing, and yet here you are, and that’s enough. YM


Hey, where’s your swimsuit, aren’t you swimming?”

I asked one of my closest friends (I’ll call her Hannah) this on the last-day-of-school pool party I held every year. We had just completed sixth grade.

“Oh…no I, uh, I’m on my period.”

We were 11 and closer than sisters, so I knew she was lying—I felt betrayed.

Being the only other fat girl in our friend group, she was my confidante. Now I was alone. I was the only fat girl in a swimsuit, and I felt humiliated amongst the rest of our friends. Hannah sat with her feet in the pool for the rest of the party.

I would find myself sitting on the edge of someone else’s pool, feet dangling in, using the same false excuse Hannah had used in middle school, six years later.

Flash forward to our sophomore year of high school; Hannah came back from the summer with a new quality: thinness. It felt as though she had shed the skin we shared and seemingly conformed to societal standards. Once again, this feeling of abandonment filled me.

Immediately, I noticed the way our classmates and friends awkwardly pointed out her weight loss, and complimented her excessively. The way she was suddenly accepted by the rest of her dance team. The way boys at school started taking interest in her. She was the same person, just in a different body. Yet, so much had changed in one summer.

I wasn’t necessarily shocked to see the way people treated her. I knew what it would be like if I could also shed my skin and re-enter the gates of our high school wearing one-size-fits-all Brandy Melville pants. Still, I was envious of her. She achieved everything I had ever wanted, yet I felt betrayed, just like that day in June many years prior.

I have always faced this internal battle, nitpicking every corner of my body, stuck in a never-ending cycle of guilt. Reflecting now—as I am still reckoning with body dysmorphia, going through phases of despising or praising everything I see in the mirror—I

mourn for my younger self.

Looking back, trying to undo the damage done to my psyche, there are many moments I can recall as if I’m still living them. I remember picking up my sister from dance class, at seven-yearsold, comparing my own body to the rest of the girls in their black leotards and pink tights. Hearing other moms remind us to suck in our stomachs during team photos. I remember my aunt pointing out a girl’s stomach in the mall, expressing how disgusted she was by her wearing a crop top. It all still sticks to me like gum on the bottom of my shoe.

The body positivity community has praised mid-sized and plus-sized women for their bravery and confidence for merely existing. In reality, this sends the message that there is something inherently wrong with them to begin with. The ultimate truth is that there is nothing wrong with any of our bodies. The body positivity movement should be about knowing that your existence is worth something by simply being a human. There is nothing you have to do, or say, or eat, or wear to make you worthy of love.

This past summer, I was spending the day with a close family friend of mine, a seven-year-old girl. I learned that she had been crying over how fat she was in comparison to her classmates, cousins, and the sixteen-year-old girls who are her brothers’ friends. It stunned me—how could she, so young, feel such hate for herself?

I think in many ways I’ll never change. I’ll never outgrow this mindset. I’ll never be at peace with my body. But, I will be sure to not pass that hatred to anyone else. I will leave those fights to play out in my own head, and not spread them to my friends, my children, or anyone—not any other soul.

I can’t entirely blame any of her feelings on one particular moment or comment anyone made, but what I am certain of is that it isn’t that shocking. Because I used to be the exact same girl. So instead I try to undo the harm already done.

The pain of hating the one home that will never leave you is a curse. To those who have found solace in any part of my story, know you are not alone, and we will find peace together. YM


Less than 60 years ago, interracial marriage in America was illegal. Though this precedent has since been abolished, the thrill of dipping your toes into something “taboo” prevails. Dating a non-white person often translates to dating someone “exotic” or “foreign,” someone different from you who makes many feel cultured or in touch. Being this so-called “exotic” partner often makes people feel special, chosen in a way in which they’ve been overwhelmingly excluded from in the past. Are these feelings genuine? Or is there a deeper, darker root issue that needs to be discussed?

Social media and influencers on such platforms have enhanced and furthered such feelings by depicting the concept of interracial dating as trendy. One of the most obvious examples of this is the Kardashian-Jenner family, who are notorious for dating and marrying black men, and then having mixed children with them. They’ve built a lot of their image around the relationships they’ve formed with prominent black celebrities, such as NBA stars Devin Booker and Tristan Thompson, and rappers Travis Scott and Kanye West. Why do the Kardashians love black men so much? White women online will express their desire for mixed children, but do they actually appreciate the culture and history of the race they’re “mixing” with, or are they simply trying to achieve a racially ambiguous kid? How would they react if their baby came out with dark skin and 4C hair texturing?

Other social media influencers, ranging in gender and ethnicity, will use minorities for clout in a more overt way. They’ll post videos declaring their desire to be with a BIPOC partner in a romantic and/or sexual nature. Why? Because it’s the cool thing to do. It’s in fashion.

This can be a dehumanizing and tiring feeling for BIPOC viewers. Even more so, colorism, prejudice, or discriminiation against individuals with dark skin tones and the praising of those with lighter complexions can play into fetishization as well. Rebecca Calvar ‘25 details an experience she had where she was told she was, “one of the ‘good looking Filipinas,’ because she doesn’t have the ‘stereotypical Southeast Asian facial features.’” For Calvar, this comment solidified that colorism still has a massive impact in society and how women of color such as herself are often looked at as objects. This ingenuine attraction can translate outside of social media as well; Kazi Stafford ‘26 talks about his experience being specifically fetishized by women and a few men for his curly hair and brown skin: “It felt like they only liked me for my physical appearance and culture rather than my personality and character.”

Platforms like YouTube and TikTok are festering grounds for performative interracial dating as well. Couples will create entire accounts dedicated to the “interracial-ness” of their relationships, making sure to focus their content on what it’s like to date outside of their race and to include ‘My Korean Boyfriend’ in the title of their

videos. This isn’t a bad thing; interracial couples are still couples. They’re people, not trends, and it can be educational and interesting to hear about interracial romance, cross-culturalism, and differing dynamics. Rachel Chu ‘25, who is Chinese while her boyfriend is Latino, says that, “It’s fun in the sense that we come from different cultures so we [can do] cultural exchanges and introduce songs in our own languages and food to each other.”

That being said, most of the niche accounts on social media today aren’t doing this, which can be problematic. Instead of exhibiting healthy habits, many influencers are creating a superficial brand built on fetishization, and in doing so, they’re molding the way interracial dating operates in our contemporary society.

Because of this, many BIPOC people will fall victim to being “trendy” themselves, even if that’s not their intention. They become hyper-fixated on the idea of being the minority with a white partner, or the minority who claims superiority because they are down to date outside of their race despite traditional familial and cultural values.

Interracial dating can be beautiful, but it’s not this easy walk in the park that social media makes it out to be. Sometimes it’s dangerous: when you don’t know if someone is fetishizing you early on, you can find out about their racist tendencies too late. A white guy I was talking to the summer before freshman year would make comments that were stereotypical, but I ignored the red flags. It wasn’t until he delivered serious racist insults and invalidated my black experience that I left the situation. No matter how much I tried to educate him on these topics of race and privilege, he didn’t care to listen. He liked the idea of dating a black girl, kissing her, and being seen with her, but not the realities of it. Many BIPOC people have had to consider this situation as well as other possible issues when dating interracially, such as the social perceptions. Abby Meacham ‘25, who comes from a biracial background ponders, “Is their culture openly discriminatory towards black people? If I meet their family, will they see me as ‘the black girlfriend?’ And that matters.” In the same vein, interracial dating can conjure up feelings of anxiety and caution because of historical factors. Stafford says, “It’s hard to identify a potential partner’s intentions, especially if they are white, with the history and current state of oppression, prejudice and racism in this country.”

Dating outside of your race is not an internet trend. Elements of racism, colorism, and so much more are all aspects of interracial dating. No matter who you love or are attracted to, it’s important not to get lost in the trendiness of interracial dating and to reflect on how you carry your relationship to ensure that you’re respecting your partner and whatever identity they may have. It’s an active choice when you decide to be and grow with someone culturally and ethnically different than you. YM


#Trending: In The Market for Interracial Dating




After experiencing what seemed to be hours of torture and not knowing how to process any of what I had just witnessed, I ran out of the freshman building, briefly meeting with random classmates and friends. I immediately called my mom to tell her the shooting just happened. She told me to meet in front of our neighborhood which was a short walk from the school. I saw my mom and hugged her, then more and more kids from my school were flooding in front of my community. I remember trying to distract myself as much as possible, I hadn’t processed anything I had just witnessed. I remember seeing Ashley Ferrer. I see Brooke Harrison. I will never forget that moment; the highlight of an otherwise fucked up day.

Brooke was my newfound friend that year, my study hall buddy who would share hilarious anecdotes and spill the tea on the inner happenings of their life with me. Every day, we would come into that class and become best friends for an hour and a half, then part ways until the next day. When I saw Brooke, there was blood on them, which I questioned, ensuring she was alright. To which I answered, “No, don’t worry it’s not mine.” A moment of silence occurred, and in it, a mutual understanding. We were so desensitized during that whole interaction, I don’t think we even processed what I had said. I gave Ashley my phone to call her family and let them know I had invited her back to my house. My startled parents urged me to stay where I was. I waited in that exact spot as the sun escaped the day. By the time I got home, I begged for it all to have been a dream.

In all of that numbness, one thing that resonated with me was the way I saw Brooke at their core. I saw her as a human instead of a peer, as bizarre as that sounds. I felt the humility, compassion, care, and decency in her, and my admiration for her only strengthened once I learned what she had done that day.

After only two weeks of barely processing our immense trauma, we went back to school. I remember being excited to see my friends again. When Ashley and I were in class together, it was nothing but laughing and smiling. She was a source of happiness at a time of my life when I was surrounded by sadness. Ashley made me feel like I could still act normal. It felt like nothing had changed from when we would giggle and talk in class before.

Since then, Brooke has always given me a sense of peace. They felt like a childhood friend that moved away, but I still had so much love for. In reality, I had only been her friend for less than a school year, and the only move was us moving forward with our own lives. Throughout the rest of high school, I barely saw Brooke. When our paths did cross, it was as if no time had passed. I felt relieved, safe, and like I could fully be myself because she had already seen me in my most vulnerable state (and I, hers) and embraced me tightly. While we didn’t further our friendship in high school much, my opinion of Ashley remained the same as when I first started talking

to her. She is one of the sweetest, most caring, and most unproblematic people I know. To this day, there’s not a bad thing I could say about her.

A couple months before graduation, I noticed that Brooke followed Emerson on Instagram and reached out. So I asked her if she wanted to be roommates and here we are. We hung out a little that summer, and before I knew it, we were living together.

Ashley and I have never had a fight or even a heated discussion. We communicate everything, listen to each other, respect each other’s boundaries, and most importantly, we have a deep love and admiration for one another.

That day, although we were classrooms apart, we etched a bond that only those within that building could understand. There’s so much nuance in what we individually experienced and how it continues to affect us today, yet we share an indescribable understanding for one another that makes us the perfect source of comfort. I’ve gotten really intense anxiety attacks since the shooting happened and they don’t have a specific trigger, so they happen at any time and I never know what will trigger it. Ashley is one of the only people that always knows exactly what to say when I’m having an attack. I’m not one to show others my feelings or even admit to myself when something’s wrong, but somehow Brooke can always sense it and is there for me without forcing me to speak if I’m not ready to. She understands how everyday things can suddenly morph into triggers or unsightly reminders.

Ashley and I get each other in a way that truly no one else can. We have a type of shared trauma that binds us for life whether we like it or not. Even last Valentine’s Day, the fourth anniversary of the shooting, we helped each other draft emails to our professors and had ourselves a very chill day where we allowed ourselves and each other to feel whatever emotions came our way.

I never would have thought that we’d be roommates now, but it seems so fated. Ashley and I have talked about how we think we were always fated to be in each other’s lives in some way, and I’m so happy the universe gave me her.

I know this will sound corny, but every day I feel so lucky to live with Ashley. Not just because I get to live with one of my best friends. But because we can lean on each other; if either one of us needs to go for a walk, go get something to eat, vent, cry, punch a pillow, or do anything, we’re there for each other with no judgment always. I have such profound love, respect, and appreciation for this human being, and I’m so grateful I get to grow with them every day. It’s a relationship that from the outside may seem like it could be hard work or emotionally draining, but our relationship has always been peaceful and effortless. Our bond truly makes living over 1,400 miles from home feel so much closer.

I couldn’t do it without her YM


emerson night life



Driving off the Disney Road: The Evolution of Disney Girls


On her latest tour, former Disney actress Sabrina Carpenter joked on stage about her lack of tits and her desire to have someone “rearrange her organs.” Months earlier, another former Disney star, Olivia Rodrigo, sang a cover of Lily Allen’s “Fuck You” at the Glastonbury Festival while waving her middle fingers in the air. In the mid-2010s, the two were known best for their Disney Channel roles, on Girl Meets World and Bizaardvark, respectively. Now, their quirky sitcom personas have been shed, revealing spunky and bold young women.

Yet, the transition away from Disney Channel hasn’t been smooth sailing for its past female stars—consider Miley Cyrus. The Hannah Montana star started on Disney when she was just 14, and struggled to break away from the box she was put in. Every one of her supposed scandalous moves (including twerking, nudity, and drug use) was placed under incredible scrutiny because they contradicted the pure image that Disney crafted around her.

In general, Disney’s nature has been quite conservative, which explains the expectations that were put on Cyrus. The actresses were to be role models to younger girls watching at home, promoting purity culture through the way they dressed (think the multi-layered Disney girl fits) and spoke about relationships. Selena Gomez, who starred on Wizards of Waverly Place in the same years as Hannah Montana’s run, publicly showed off her purity ring in 2008 while still working for Disney, swearing to keep her promise to her family and God.

With the culture that Cyrus and the others worked in throughout the early 2000s, it’s unsurprising that she faced such strong backlash when she began to challenge the image that was expected of her. Young adult rebellion comes from the desire to establish an individual identity—something that Cyrus was unable to have growing up. She couldn’t be Miley Cyrus, she had to be Miley Stewart, the “ideal” teenage girl. While her actions may have seemed like an extreme jump away from her TV persona, they were really just her first public attempts at finding herself, especially because Cyrus had already left Disney Channel when these controversies began.

When the stars from the early 2000s left the channel, the gen-

eral public seemed to struggle to separate Cyrus and Gomez from their beloved characters. Viewers had been spoon-fed a false reality, and few bothered to question it. For some reason, it was difficult for people to comprehend that these actresses were employees for one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, expected to follow strict conduct every moment they were in the public eye.

Yet, over the years, it seems that this code of conduct has loosened up significantly based on the public treatment of stars like Carpenter and Rodrigo. They have certainly faced scrutiny for insignificant little things, like the way that they look and the men that they date, though that can be chalked up to the general misogyny faced by women in the music industry. The public treatment, on the other hand, can be attributed to the increased progressivity of Disney.

With the launch of Disney+ in 2019, the company made notable strides pushing back on their conservative ways. Rodrigo was still part of the Disney company, starring in the Disney+ original High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, when she released her first album, which featured explicit language never seen by an artist still employed by Disney. Even the show itself demonstrates the decrease in conservatism, considering its representation of openly queer characters, occasional use of bleeped-out expletives, and inclusion of scenes that appear quite intimate compared to Disney’s past productions. As Disney continues to move forward, they certainly have a lot more work to do to ensure inclusivity is promoted by their company. But it seems the struggles that older generations of stars faced are beginning to decrease.

Maybe this is because Disney is growing more progressive, maybe this is because audiences are more aware of the differences between characters and actors, or maybe it’s a little bit of both. Regardless, the greater ease in which current stars like Carpenter and Rodrigo have had in expressing their individuality exists as proof that progress will still be made, and future generations will not have to go through the same experiences as stars like Cyrus. Perhaps the women of Disney will see that their poor experiences were not in vain as the world becomes a bit kinder to the products of the Disney machine.YM


Mass media has a standard for what makes a man suitable for film or television: to what degree he is attractive? These stars are commonly white, tall, and lean, strictly abiding by Western beauty standards. More recent media, however, promotes a less traditional—though increasingly romanticized—quality in these men: the (potential) presence of a dark side.

Two of the most prominent leading men in Hollywood, Harry Styles and Evan Peters, recently gained massive attention with their respective roles in Don’t Worry Darling and the Netflix series Dahmer Though they play villainous characters, one an abusive husband, and the other a cannibalistic killer, their fans, primarily young women, seem to be more interested in their looks than in their performances. Fans have been vocal on social media, especially TikTok, about their attraction to these actors and the characters they play, sometimes conflating the two. These young women’s responses are potentially harmful, as they promote a dangerous display of attraction.

Films and television use actors’ looks, and conventional attractiveness to their advantage. Beyond Styles or Peters, this has been observed with Zac Efron as Ted Bundy and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren who have similarly been the subjects of adoring fans. When the media glorifies actors for their looks, fans are encouraged to do the same.

Theater & performance major Ellie Karris ‘24 finds this unsurprising, saying, “I think as long as they [actors] are attractive by societal standards, they will be liked. Everyone always likes to find an excuse to like people who are attractive. I just think that as long as they are attractive or have some sort of good media behind them, there will always be a part of the public that defends them.”

Karris is correct; the public almost always comes to these actors’ defense because of their attractiveness. Audiences want to root for the “good guy,” and will view actors as such because of their image, ignoring their on-screen actions. This idea of “goodness” is intertwined with attraction, as well as sympathy. In regard to Styles—whose fan base, according to Warner Bros., helped propel Don’t Worry Darling to $19.2 million in opening weekend sales—many fans had difficulty separating him from his character.

Stage & Production management major Jamie Nickerson ‘24, saw the film because of Styles, but was surprised by his role in it. Nickerson says, “I guess, knowing Harry, and knowing that he doesn’t have any acting [experience], him being one of the main villains of this story didn’t really come across as well as I think it should have. . . I just think I left not really seeing him as a villain, more seeing Chris Pine’s character as the villain, and I don’t think that’s how it should have played out.” However, as Nickerson felt Style’s villainy didn’t come across, more radical fans expressed their support for his character on TikTok, and said that they would devote themselves to Styles as housewives, thus equating him with his character and ignoring the character’s abusive mistreatment of his

on-screen wife.

In regard to Dahmer’s and Peters’ iteration of the serial killer, fans have expressed less devotion than those of Don’t Worry Darling, but maintain a sense of sympathy toward Peters and Dahmer. Their response upholds the idea that the public will defend those deemed attractive as fans are focusing on Dahmer as a character, and not an actual killer. Visual media arts major Nicole Spirito ‘24 felt the Dahmer series presented him “backwards” by using Peters’ image to their advantage. Romanticizing villainous characters, according to Spirito, “makes you have sympathy for them because it’s like a subconscious type thing. You’re not really aware of how much it’s actually making you want to root for them because you know them. But I also feel like Evan Peters has played really terrible characters in American Horror Story, so you’re not that subconsciously rooting for him. But it’s also the fact they’re attractive people. You don’t want the attractive people to be the bad guys… You’re charmed.”

The public certainly was charmed by Peters, as Dahmer quickly became Netflix’s second most-watched English-language series within a week of its debut, one slot behind Stranger Things 4. Its success, as well as that of Don’t Worry Darling and projects like them, are notable for their public influence, especially given young women’s responses to these characters.

In focusing on looks over performances, fans demonstrate the societal value invested in image. Their interest in characters with dangerous habits may indicate a tendency to seek toxic relationships, but Karris believes these factors are not directly related. Still, she finds a common distinction between media representation and real relationships. In regard to how negative media portrayals may influence toxic relationships, Karris says, “It doesn’t help the situation, but I don’t think it necessarily elevates it. I just think it keeps feeding into the norms we value in a relationship that may not necessarily be right. I mean, look at dating apps—the first thing you see is a picture of their face. . . and then usually people, including myself, will make a decision based on that.” This overlap between real connections and fictional ones demonstrates the significance infused in attractiveness as it has come to define a person’s character. Spirito also believes this connection may not cause young women to gravitate toward toxic relationships because of their media exposure, but the romanticism around performances like Styles’ and Peters’ creates a level of interest in toxicity. This behavior is not treated as a warning sign, but a quirk.

Media representation plays a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions of the world around them, which is why it is dangerous to grant sympathy towards villainous characters solely on behalf of their attractiveness. Film and television should be careful when presenting people with killer looks and killer tendencies, just as audiences should be more mindful that fact and fiction are not one and the same. YM





In film, men are allowed to express their anger freely. Simply put, women are not. They must be calculated and interesting, but are still villainized.

Female rage must be more conniving, clever, or cathartic than male rage. It’s celebrated only if it looks interesting—whether it’s a well-constructed plan or some fascinating sort of body horror.

I’ve been thinking about the film Marriage Story recently. Specifically, the scene where Charlie (Adam Driver) punches a wall. I have been angry enough to punch a wall before, but I have never done it—I have never even fathomed it. And, both in media and in real life, I don’t remember ever seeing a woman do it. Discussions about the film often frame Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) as the villain, turning a nuanced story about divorce into a two-sided debate. Despite Charlie’s anger, he is still well-liked, rooted for, and humanized by the audience.

David Cronenberg’s The Brood paints female rage as the villain of the story, personifying it into a horde of ferocious and terrifying young children. Nola’s (Samantha Eggar) villainy exists only in her loss of the love she had for her husband and her pain from losing her child in the divorce. She is monstrous, angry, and sad. That is what makes her the antagonist—the foil to the regular, happy life her husband is trying to have without her. Depictions of female rage are often tied to motherhood, demonstrating that feminine rage is never solely about the woman, but about her relationship to others.

In Gone Girl, both the novel and the film adaptation, Amy

Dunne (Rosamund Pike) is filled with rage, but she is calculated. She does not unleash her anger through pure violence, but through a developed, intricate plan for revenge. However, viewers are encouraged to sympathize with her victim, her husband, despite all his flaws. Although she is far from a good person, unequivocally choosing one side—deciding a villain or a hero—proves that female rage is not free to exist in the same way that male rage is. There will always be a double standard.

“Final girls” in horror and slasher films are sometimes an exception to this. However, they can only scream primally and be fully angry because they have absolutely nothing left. They are an example of the anger that women have, but are never placed under proper circumstances to show. They kill because they need to do so to survive, not because they begin their stories angry. Male anger doesn’t require circumstances; it’s allowed to exist freely.

The 2022 film Pearl, the prequel to the 2022 Ti West movie X, depicts a woman filled entirely with rage and pain unleashed upon many who cross her path. Though she is aware of her rage and acts on it, she is characterized by her insanity—her unrelenting smile that plays while the end credits roll. She is angry because she is hurt, and because of this, she becomes the villain. Angry women are never heroes.

Female rage in art is not celebrated or admired in the way male rage often is. It is not enthralling unless it is self-inflicting—unless it is tied to others and able to be villainized. YM

anger doesn’t require
it’s allowed to exist freely.”
YOUR Call Find your perfect song, show, movie, and book recommendations Directions: Answer each question and total up the amount of A’s, B’s, and c’s you chose to find out your recs! My favorite season is... A. Fall/winter B. Summer C. Spring Im in the mood to... A. Relax and decompress b. Laugh out loud c. Have a good cry I would describe my taste as... A. Cool and understated B. Bright and bold C. Moody and sophisticated 60 | ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT MY FAVORITE MOVIE GENRE IS... A. DRAMA B. COMEDY C. ROMANCE MY GO TO DRINK IS... A. COFFEE B. BOBA C. ICED TEA

Mostly A’s... Mostly b’s... Mostly c’s...

Songs: “Paint” by The Paper Kites “First Time” by Lucy Dacus “Uncomfortable” by Wallows

TV Shows: Haunting of Hill House Only Murders in the Building Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movies: Dead Poets Society Pride and Prejudice How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Books: The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Songs: “Feels Like” by Gracie Abrams “Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1” by Marvin Gaye “Malibu 1992” by COIN

TV Shows: Heartstopper The Good Place The Summer I Turned Pretty Movies: Little Miss Sunshine Love, Rosie Mamma Mia  Books: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz  This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Songs: “IDK You Yet” by Alexander 23 “Ivy” by Frank Ocean “Same Boat” by Lizzy McAlpine

TV Shows: Money Heist the Vampire Diaries Modern Love Movies: Good Will Hunting Once Moonlight Books: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I got mostly... A’s B’s C’s

Add them up!
62 | YMP3
YMP3 | 63

What is your favorite gift you’ve ever given? How do you approach gift giving?

My approach to gift giving is definitely to go with the meaningful route. I usually either get something that says, “I was thinking of you when I saw this,” or aim for something even deeper. My favorite gift I’ve ever given was a scrapbook of memories with my best friend for her 16th birthday. I cried making it and she cried opening it. It was so fun reminiscing and now we have a physical book that documents our almost 10 year friendship. It meant so much to us and still does four years later.

I like to think of myself as a very thoughtful gift giver. During the holiday season, I always have a running list on my phone of gift options for all of my family and friends. Whenever I come across something that reminds me of someone, I usually always buy it. I am also a big fan of gifting multiple little things that are random or follow a certain theme. If I am ever in need of gift inspiration, I love looking at gift lists or compilations from Buzzfeed, The Strategist, Teen Vogue, Uncommon Goods and other sites. The best gift I have ever given is probably the Maya Angelou scarf I gave my mother for her birthday. Angelou is one of her favorite poets, and the scarf I found had a poem of hers printed on the fabric. It meant a lot to her. I get more excitement from watching others open gifts than when I am the one unwrapping. –Isa Luzarraga, Managing Editor

Gift giving is such a delight for me. I’m someone that lives from the heart, so the gifts that I tend to give always reflect that. I will always lean towards a more meaningful gift since those are the types of gifts that I love to receive as well. There’s something so tender and special about knowing the time and effort that someone put into crafting or sourcing something for you. The best gifts that I give are always some form of art—sometimes I make it, but I like sourcing fun pieces for people too. I painted a piece of Amy Winehouse last year and gave it to my girlfriend as an early birthday gift since I had to leave for school a few days before she turned 18. On the back of the piece are the lyrics to Winehouse’s, “Our Day Will Come,” which over the years has become “our song.” We go to school about five hours away from each other, so this piece serves as a reminder that one day we will not have to be what feels like is an entire world away from each other for half of the year. –

A tradition that I have for gift giving for relatives in my family is writing letters. Ever since I was little, I had started writing letters to my grandmother instead of giving her something material. She does not really care for a material gift and would rather receive a letter, and looks forward to it every Christmas. –Sofia Verani, Co-YMTV

Amya Diggs, Style Director

Gift giving has always been such a joy because I am able to show my adoration and appreciation to somebody through making them something special that is very meaningful. I usually gift people in my life a painting I’ve made for them and a handwritten letter. I consider myself to be a very creative and artistic person, as well as sappy because I love creating art especially for people I love. I think it makes the gift more memorable and valuable. My favorite gift I’ve ever given was a painting of my family for my dad as his Christmas gift and a little appreciation letter. He still has the painting hanging in his home office and every time I see it, it really warms my heart. –Rebecca

Growing up, my parents showed their love for me by gift giving, and now my love language is gift giving. I feel the most joy when giving gifts to others because I know that I will make them happy and appreciated. The thoughtfulness behind the gifts I give, big or small, shows that I value that person in my life in one way or another. When thinking of my favorite gifts I have received, it would be when my parents surprised my sibling and me with pet hamsters when we were eight years old. For some reason, I was obsessed with hamsters at the time, and this was the kindest gesture they could have done for me. I had four hamsters growing up: a guinea pig, dogs, and cats. However, the gift that started my love for having animals was a hamster named Twinkle (do not judge my hamster’s name, I was eight). Though I do not give hamsters to my friends, I enjoy giving them gifts they will care about and know I care about them. –Gabby

Since coming to college, I have fallen in love with sending cards and notes in the mail. Whether it is a silly postcard to my friends at home, a thank you note, a love letter, or anything in between, I think it is a sweet way to brighten someone’s day. I have found it is an incredibly intentional way of communicating to someone thoughtfully. There doesn’t have to be an occasion to tell someone you love them, and with the beauty of the postal service, a loved one across the country can tangibly feel my words I write to them.

I love channeling my inner child when gift giving. A yearly tradition between my father and me has been giving each other some sort of toy as a present. Whether it was a holiday collectable doll, a figurine from one of our favorite television shows, or simply a stuffed animal, we would always find something nostalgic to give. As silly as it is, I love how it allows others and me to feel like a kid during the holidays again. These touching toys also help to relieve stress, provide comfort, and keep people happy as they were when they were younger. Even though this will always be something special to my dad and me, I have now started this tradition with all of my friends. –Lily Brown, Creative Director

Some of the best gifts I’ve given have been to my dad. Every year, I like to get him silly little socks or a water bottle or candy— things I know that he’ll actually use. They’re definitely really simple and easy gifts, but I’ve seen how they make him happy. Whether they say something stupid like, “I’m busy in a meeting,” or maybe just decorated with a basic wood pattern, I see how much they mean to him. Yes, he has lost some of the things I’ve gotten him in the past, but I know he’s thankful anyway!

Whenever I give gifts, I love getting things that are more out-of-the-box. I think it means a lot when it’s a gift that didn’t cross someone’s mind rather than an item they specifically asked for. I also love accumulating a lot of smaller gifts that go together, and putting them in a basket. Usually, these items have some deeper meaning, and I’ll put little index cards on them, explaining why I chose that gift in the first place. I honestly prefer giving gifts rather than receiving them because it lets me unleash my creativity and think about how much I know and love the people in my life. –Sara

Fergang, Assistant Head Proofreader






What is your name?

My name is Zuoweiyi Yang, but I go by Stacy.

Describe Little Lamb.

Little Lamb is my small business for accessories including earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. Collected from various resources such as crafters, factories or stores, Little Lamb includes as many styles as possible for all people. Besides getting accessories products directly from the mentioned sources, the brand now includes my handmade, self-designed pieces for sale.

How and when did you get into accessories?

My relationship with accessories has changed over the years. My obsession with accessories all started with my earring collections even before I got my ears pierced. When I was a 15-year-old high school girl, I had my ears finally pierced for the second time and got so obsessed with it, but as a consumer. After entering college, a new environment allowed me to realize my wish to view accessories from the perspective of a producer. Over summer vacation, I began to select products of different styles and plan my own brand Little Lamb on Instagram. In September 2022, I came back to Boston and got down to exhibit and sell all of my accessories in public.


What inspires you?

My inspiration definitely comes from my own obsession with accessories and my willingness to share beautiful and unique jewelry with people. In addition, my inspiration also comes from buyers that I have come across. I still remember the parents that picked a pair of matching smiley face necklace and ring for their 13-year-old daughter and said ‘I’m sure she’s gonna love it’ and a girl who chose a pair of red balloon dog earrings for her best friend as a souvenir for her visit to Boston. Those are all moments that motivate me to continue Little Lamb.

Why jewelry?

Jewelry, as a representative of one’s attitude in fashion, makes a huge difference to one’s outfit. As an international college student, I found it so difficult to get affordable jewelry of good style and quality in Boston. With not many choices left in buying jewelry, I thought about creating Little Lamb as a place for everyone to attain jewelry that is inexpensive and stylish.

Who are some of your favorite creators/artists?

Kristy Chu and Marc Jacobs

What is your favorite accessory you’ve made or collected?

What makes it special to you?

This feels like asking a mother who her favorite kid is. My favorite accessory is from my mom, a Mickey Mouse earring, which is also my first pair of earrings.

What advice would you give other/new small business owners?

Based on my experiences in the small business of accessories field, my

suggestion is to first find something that you really love and are passionate about. Then, research on the market and try to find a balance between something you personally love and something that’s demanded. Lastly, to spend some time and effort on building your brand image that’s personal and unique. It doesn’t have to be big. What I did is to design some stickers with a lamb figure and put it on the wrapping paper before handing it to my customers. This whole experience is gonna be fun.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Currently, my major has nothing to do with accessory or designing, but in 10 years, if I’m in a stable financial situation, I’ll be more than willing to continue Little Lamb as an accessory brand, possibly all designed and made by myself.

Where can readers see more of your work?

Follow Little Lamb Instagram @littlelamb_1205

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