VOLUME 6 | ISSUE 3 | DECEMBER 2016
YOUR MAG VOLUME 6 | ISSUE 3 | DECEMBER 2016
YAS M I N A H I L A L
C L A I R E TO R R E S
Co-Creative Director Photo Editor
TA Y L O R R O B E R T S
Assistant Editor-in-Chief Head Stylist
M E G A N C AT H E Y
ARIELA RUDY ZALTZMAN
Assistant Romance Editor
Assistant Head Copyeditor
S H AW N M C N U L T Y - KOWA L
Assistant Talent Manager
SAVA N N A H S T R A N G E & GINA BRAZO
K AT J A V U J I Ć
KALA SLADE & KARIN YEHOUDIAN
MARKETING: KARIN YEHOUDIAN, EVAN MCCRORY, ALYSSA LYLES, MARNI ZIPPER, CHRISTINE HACHEM, TAYLOR CARLINGTON, ANNIE HUANG, EMILY PARK, ANNIE MASHBERG, SAMANTHA GOODMAN COPY EDITORS: JULIA ROBERTO, NATALIE GALE, HANNAH MCKENNETT, LINDSAY HOWARD, IRIS PEÑA, ALICIA TOPOLNYCKY, EMILY CROWE PROOFREADERS: LINDSAY HOWARD, NATALIE GALE, AND HANNAH MCKENNETT DESIGN TEAM: LVWENYU ZHANG, AMANDA GUTIERREZ, NATALIE GALE, BECCA CHAIRIN, VANNI GODFREY
YMEMERSON.COM | INSTAGRAM: YOUR.MAG | TWITTER: @YOURMAGEMERSON
t’s a little past noon on November 9 and
sincere, palpable presence amidst apprehension
Barack Obama is speaking to me through my
and uncertainty. If your thoughts and words
earphones. Today, however, his cadence does
ever seem like weightless vessels stumbling into
not soothe and his charisma does not reach me.
boundless space, we are here to fill that void.
Today feels unsalvageable.
We will try to retrieve those words. We will hear
Less than 12 hours ago, America elected a
them, and we will listen.
man who has built an empire of hate, ignorance,
And so I end this year, my college career,
and prejudice—a tower of triumphant oppression
and my position as editor-in-chief on a(nother)
on top of which he will perch for the next four
solemn note. The reality is that we cannot escape
years, peering down at a splintered nation.
reality. What we can do is chisel and carve spaces
Ripples of collective unease caused by the
for each other, for our thoughts and ideas to be
election made everyday life seem numbingly in-
recognized, challenged, and heard. We cannot
consequential. Coping the only way I knew how,
deny reality. At least not for ever. We must rest,
I turned to the people I knew best. We ate Oreos
we must recover, and then we must return.
and sangria, belted hits from the early 2000s,
I hope that this issue—featuring Mitksi,
and desperately laughed away our desperation.
Joni Mitchell tattoos, a roller derby-inspired
In our exasperated laughter I realized that often-
senior shoot, and a lot more—at least serves as a
times what was needed in order to wade through
reminder of the humanity and sincerity that exists
meaninglessness and fear can be as simple as
even in a landscape marred by injustice, inequal-
ity, and intimidation.
And that’s what I hope this magazine is: a
2017 will be brighter,
Bootleg: A Sexual Miseducation
Tangled, But Not Really Touching
The Secret Relationship No One Is Talking About
Q's for Quotes
Man Made Up
What I Wish I Could Pull Off But Can't
arts & entertainment 56
In Review: 2016
The Life and Death of An Original Story
Pillow Thoughts Creating Collaborative Sexual Experiences
WRITTEN BY JESSICA KASPARIAN PHOTOS BY ALLEN MOU AND DANIEL CLEMENS
4 | YOURMAG
s if sex wasn’t complicated enough already, imagine
satisfying sexual experiences have been with people who are actu-
having a partner who only thinks of themselves in bed.
ally anxious,” Cunningham says, “because they’re always thinking,
When there is an imbalance of focus during sex, one
‘what if they’re not being pleasured enough.’”
partner might feel less pleasure or even dissatisfied. And while or-
According to a 2011 study conducted by the National
gasms are great, sexual pleasure is not synonymous with climaxes.
Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, “People who can better
Collaborative, pleasurable sex is enjoying the experience as it is
communicate and understand another person's emotions are more
happening and walking away feeling like you and your partner
likely to have a satisfying sex life.”
were equally cared for throughout. Orgasms do not indicate equal pleasure between partners. If a person is focused on arousing their partner and the partner
Asking a partner what makes them feel good and making suggestions for what they could do to get your rocks off, all falls under healthy sexual communication.
is also focused on their own arousal, a pleasure gap is created; one
Sophomore Visual & Media Arts major, and Vice President
person’s pleasure is being prioritized and the other person simply
of EAGLE (Emerson's Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone),
feels a ricochet off of their partner’s. In a scenario where your plea-
Jade DeRose attributes pleasurable sexual experiences to a combi-
sure is not a priority for your partner, maybe you decide to engage in
nation of intuition and connection. She says, “A good sexual expe-
self-prioritizing—taking charge of your own pleasures. This might be
rience is shared with someone who is in tune with you, someone
a solution to the imbalance, but it lacks the collaborative part of sex.
who can listen to your body and move with you and vice versa.”
Being in charge of your own pleasure is definitely not a bad
A common thought is that intuition for same sex couples
thing. It could even be the first step. We know our bodies best and
comes easier because the partners have a good understanding of
investing in our own pleasure through self-experimentation allows
the other person’s pleasure spots based on their own self-explora-
us to learn what is best for ourselves, which then helps us commu-
tion. In 2014, news outlets such as Huffington Post reported that a
nicate in bed. Once we know how to pleasure ourselves, we can
Kinsey study proved that lesbian couples had better sex. The study
guide our partner to our hotspots during intercourse.
found that women in heterosexual couples have less orgasms than
The ideal would be to have both partners feel comfortable enough to guide the other through their own sexual thrills. We want to know what drives our partner wild!
those in same sex couples. Keeping in mind that orgasms are not an accurate way to gauge pleasure, it is important to understand that while same
However, sometimes we worry that focusing on our partner’s
sex couples might have better sex, it is not because sex comes
pleasure will mean neglecting our own. That isn’t necessarily true.
easier. Having the same anatomy as your partner might help you
“Regardless of whether it’s a one night stand or you’re emotion-
understand how their body responds to pleasure, but everyone
ally connected, [personally,] I like to make my partner feel good.
has their own particular desires and ways of being aroused.
That makes me happy and I’m getting pleasure from it,” Ashley Cunningham, Emerson alum and sexual health advocate, shares. The most important part of any pleasurable sex experience is communication; ask questions!
“Sexual experiences are unique, special and specific to the partners and shouldn’t be moderated or defined by just ‘understanding bodies,’” Derose says. “It is much more than that.” In the ideal scenario, your partner will want to learn about
We can ask our one-night-stand partner questions such as,
your desires and will be aroused when fulfilling them. “When we’re
“Does this feel good? Do you like what I’m doing? Would you like
talking about giving partner’s attention and making sure you have
me to ____? Would you rather me ____?” It is entirely possible to
a desire to understand what they need, that can also be fulfilling
have pleasurable, partner-focused sex without a strong emotional
on your end,” Cunningham says. “Sex isn’t a one person act; it’s a
bond to your partner just by being in tune with your own pleasures
and willing to learn about your partner’s.
If collaboration during sex is just not happening despite your
And the fear of “killing the mood” will fly right out the win-
best efforts, you might consider new sexual endeavors. After all, we
dow once your partner responds excitedly saying that what you’re
all deserve to have good sex. “If you have a sense that they are not
doing feels good for them.
caring about your pleasure, you have three options,” Cunningham
If you feel that your partner is less engaged or just not in tune
says, “You can communicate that [your lack of pleasure] to them,
with your pleasure, try making suggestions. Whether your part-
and they can [or not] give a shit, and decide whether or not to
ner is your significant other or not, communicating about pleasure
respond; you can ask for things in bed and see if they do them; or
can be nerve-racking, but it will be worth it. “Some of my most
you can not have sex with that person.” YM
ROMANCE | 5
A Sexual Miseducation WRITTEN BY RODJYNA BEAUVILE PHOTO BY EMME HARRIS
uring the 1920s, the 18th Amendment became the law
continued horseback riding, one cannot lose their virginity unless
of the land, and the manufacture, transport, and sale of
engaged in sexual intercourse.)
alcoholic beverages were illegal. While Prohibition for-
“Girls have secret holes, there’s one behind the knee!” (There’s
mally ended the sale of intoxicating beverages, it did not halt its
no secret hole behind the knee. The only ones you can fuck are
consumption. Liquor was sold and consumed behind closed doors
the mouth, the vagina, and the anus. The other hole is the urethra
in speakeasies and were made by homebrewers and moonshiners
where you pee. There’s your secret hole.)
all across the nation. In middle school I became a homebrewer, but instead of alco-
“I got my cootie shots in the second grade so I don’t have to wear a condom.” (No...just no.)
hol I served sex. At the ripe age of 11, I taught sexual health to all
I asked my science teacher about these things but was dis-
my friends and others who were curious about their body and how
missed immediately. I was told that sex education did not in-
to use it with another. We all read the chapter on reproduction in
clude those things and quite frankly, I didn’t need to worry about
our comprehensive science classes or got the talk from our parents,
them. Instead, we ran through a PowerPoint on genital warts and
but we knew that those lessons didn’t tell us everything we wanted
watched a step-by-step video on how to properly dispose of maxi
I held sessions in speakeasies that didn’t require an ID or a se-
I didn’t see my first vagina in a classroom until the eighth
cret knock. We gathered at the lunch table or on the portable steps
grade. We watched a woman give birth. The only reason we saw
near the basketball court to teach each other with our experiences
the video was to show the girls how much it hurt. The boys didn’t
get any more than the girls did; their sexual education started and
Most of us were introduced to sex through television and/or
ended with the PowerPoint.
the internet, memorizing sex scenes in movies and watching porn
Students around the country share similar experiences. “I
religiously to come back and tell the stories of our vicarious sexual
came from a pretty conservative place,” says Olivia, ‘20. “Sex ed for
experiences. Of course there were those in my middle school who
me was like a woman came to talk to us about how she was a virgin
had been sexually active, giving blowjobs on the staircase or hand-
and how great it was to be a virgin [sic]. Then we signed cards to
jobs during class, but everyone was pretty much on the same page:
pledge to keep our virginities.”
no one really knew what they were doing. I became interested in sex when I heard some things that didn’t quite make sense to me: “You can lose your virginity by riding a horse, riding a bike, or doing gymnastics.” (Although one can rupture their hymen with 6 | YOURMAG
“A December report by the CDC found that less than half of U.S. high schools and only one-fifth of middle schools are meeting the CDC's recommendations for educating kids about sex,” a writer for Governing translates. Some public schools don’t even include sexual education in their curriculum.
Journalism major Cassandre ‘20, says, “We didn’t have that [sex ed class]. You just did it and learned from it.” My brief introduction to sexual health didn’t do much to an-
They were skeptical about the information I gave but my explanations were more thorough than any they’d heard before. Since then I was confronted with sex-related questions constantly.
swer my questions, so I did the research myself and learned every-
But I didn’t just take sciencey questions about sex. Many stu-
thing I could, from mitosis to G-spots. I brought everything back
dents found talking to me about what they liked to be comforting.
to school with me.
Before I knew it, my sex educating turned into sex counseling. I’d
I taught my first lesson during lunch. A friend of mine fin-
spend my after school hours telling girls that it didn’t make them a
gered his mac and cheese to produce the swooshy sound a wet
slut to let a guy cum on their face nor did it make them a prude to
pussy would make. Another friend turned and said, “You know
say no to anything they didn’t want to do. My advocation for sexual
if you’re fucking a girl and she’s not wet you can just use vaseline.
positivity even helped a few people come out the closet.
That’s what my brother did. He said you can use it in her butt, too.”
Sexual education should not be a pledge of abstinence, a brief
I immediately halted the conversation and told them that under no
explanation of the pubescent stage of adolescence, nor a scare ses-
circumstances should anyone be using vaseline as a lubricant. The
sion on the consequences of sex. Students should be familiar with
average woman takes 20-40 minutes to become aroused, and with
things like contraception, and encouraged to share their sexual
proper foreplay she’ll be wet enough to put up a caution sign! I then
experiences and interests (sexuality, kinks, fetishes), especially in
proceeded to explain how natural lubrication and arousal worked.
a safe environment like a classroom. It’s important to become com-
Of course they looked at me like I was insane, but I felt proud. I saved a life that day. No one should be putting petroleum jelly in an anus. That’s just not where that stuff goes.
fortable with such a natural part of life. Imagine how many buttholes we could save if we just talked about a few things. YM ROMANCE | 7
TANGLED BUT NOT REALLY TOUCHING WRITTEN BY MM FARIS I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y B E C C A C H A I R I N
his is gonna sound weird. But, can I—can I kiss your
Hence, me not realizing I liked boys until I was confronted with
nose?” We were on the open road. Cars hovered passed
Live Males at an integrated American afterschool program.
us. A few pedestrians walked along the path we were
At the time I was figuring out my feelings for Arizona
standing on. Women in niqabs and dudes actively trolling for
Robbins, and my friends and I were on our school’s Robotics
girls seemed to challenge us.
team, heading into the state regionals.
All I could think was, “If I say no, I’ll look like a prudish
That’s when I met her: Aaliyah. (“Rock The Boat” was ev-
weirdo in front of her friends. If I say yes, I’m saying yes to some-
erything to me as a kid—super weird, I know—and Aaliyah is an
thing else, too. I don’t know what exactly, but I know it’s some-
Arabic name. By the way, I’m Arab guys.)
thing I’m absolutely terrified of.”
I was introduced to her at a Robotics project-pitching
I nodded: Yes.
workshop held at her school that week. The first thing that she
She put her hands behind the small of her back, as if hold-
said to me was, “You look like Curly Sue, but like, an adult.”
ing herself from doing anything more. We were so close to
You can imagine my instant attraction.
each other now, I was surprised no one pulled us apart—which could’ve easily happened if one of us was a guy. She puts her lips on my nose.
The next time we met, at my school where the championships were held, Aaliyah and her teammates claimed a table in the gymnasium, right next to the breakfast buffet.
Everything stopped making sense. Tangled, but not really touching.
She was wearing her school uniform: a gross charcoal-colored getup that looked like it belonged on the set of Little
It was… kind of hot.
Women. It didn’t matter though, she made it work. No makeup,
I want to make it perfectly clear that this story is not a gen-
just some bomb-ass eyeliner that made her full lips pop.
eralized, Arab LGBTQIA+ exposé. This is not about every international kid trying to figure out their sexuality. It’s just my own account, my own dumb/mushy/funny ac-
I had just arrived, glimpsing Her on my way to the buffet, and thought, “Okay, she’s cute. I’m fucked. Food. I need food.” As I was scooping up a heaping spoon of fool, there she was.
count of figuring my shit out. The experience just happens to
Her teammates kept staring at me like they were just telling
take place in a country that is very Not Cool with me being who
each other a joke about my Freshly-Electrocuted-Looking Hair.
She said hello. I vomited a few letters that sounded like the same.
During my first year of high school, I realized I liked girls. I didn’t know I would like boys just as much until my last year, but
My heart was trying to punch through my boobs. I tried slowly exiting the conversation but she just followed me out.
I found the prospect of that confrontation scary as fuck. I was
Before we parted ways, she offered me her number. I liter-
born and raised in a very religious society. As a woman in Saudi
ally had no idea what to do with this information. She took my
Arabia, I am a second-class citizen under law. As anything else,
phone and put in it in herself before I could say or do anything
there is legal jurisdiction over my sexual orientation.
So obviously, I was terrified of what I already knew about myself.
I knew I found her attractive. But I didn’t want to make things weird.
I went to a gender-segregated school that separated the
At the time, she knew more about romantic relationships
boys’ and girls’ sides with a fifteen foot wall, like a fucking moat.
than I did. She was a year younger than me, and—without me
8 | YOURMAG
realizing it—was trying to ease me into this whole new terrain. I wanted to know everything.
She said it back, and we just waited for someone to say something else.
As we burrowed into this virtual mind-fuck of a flirtation, I
Her eyes were staring straight into my forehead. Focused,
got insight into Aaliyah’s life. Her past relationships, mostly guys,
as if she was about to pop a pimple on my T-zone or something.
and casual flings with girls. How much Hash she smoked in a
“This is gonna sound weird. But, can I—can I kiss your
week. At one point, she asked me if I was into smoking weed— which I didn’t think was available where we were. She was a rebel and it scared the shit out of me. I didn’t see her or speak to her again until the end of that year at the national championships. My school won and we were about to head off to an after-party at our captain’s house. I told our chaperone that I was going to the bathroom and would meet her out front. Aaliyah’s school placed last. I had a plan. Go up to her and say hi. That was it. The Plan.
nose?” That’s when it happened. It’s my nose. I mean, it’s weird that I felt sexy-vibes from a nose kiss. But I don’t know, if you find someone who makes a gross nose smooch kind of hot, you’ve got something special. I pulled away numbly, saying goodbye as I walked towards my bus. . . We haven't seen each other since. In retrospect, I’m not sure if I was ever in love with her. I know that I was very much into her. That I wanted something more than friendship. Sex was definitely a factor there, too.
She was hanging out with her team by the same sidewalk we
In a place like the one I grew up in, you only have so many
used to sit on, smoking a communal cigarette, not giving a shit.
ways to seek something outside of yourself. To find power in
As I walked up to them, Aaliyah turned around. Her cheeks
who you are, despite where you are. To understand the world
were getting a little red again. I didn’t know what to do, so I coughed like I had phlegm in my throat. Smooth. My palms were sweaty; her face was luminous. Shit. Feelings and things. She laughed at me, at how naive I seemed maybe. I’m not sure. I said hi, as planned. End of plan.
beyond yours and how you fit or don’t fit within it. Every so often, I’m reminded of what I owe to Aaliyah. Even though I would be living a more safe and sheltered life without knowing this part of myself, I cannot imagine who I would be if she hadn’t placed a sloppy smooch on my nose that Wednesday night. Thank you, dude, for rocking the boat. YM ROMANCE | 9
Your Body WRITTEN BY ALLYSON FLORIDIA I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y X I A R O N D E A U
nce a year we face a host of small check-ups to make sure
their testicles. According to the Illinois Department of Public
we’re just as healthy as all the years before. We go to our
Health, “for young men aged 15-34, testicular cancer is the most
primary care physician, get the dreaded finger-prick for blood,
common cancer…in the United States.”
turn in a urine sample when we don’t need to pee, and answer
1. Stand in front of mirror and study for swelling of skin on
uncomfortable questions our adult company waits eagerly to hear.
When we entered college, we transitioned from pediatrics to
2. Test each testicle for lumps by rolling gently between fin-
adult primary care. However, this transition may have caused an
gers. Place index and middle fingers under each testicle with
extended period of time between doctor visits because life gets in
thumb on top.
the way and you never end up booking that appointment. In this
3. Check epidermis for lumps. Be careful that you don’t mis-
case, it’s now been over a year since your last check-up, and you
take this for an abnormal lump; it’s located behind the testicle
may not recognize your body’s something-isn’t-right signals.
and most cancerous lumps are found on the sides.
Anything can happen and sometimes the symptoms are so small, we don’t notice until it’s too late. The numerous walk-in clin-
VULVA: Vulva self-examinations are simple tests that may help
ics that have popped up are great for getting a quick look-over, but
women discover some sexually transmitted diseases.
there are a few things we should check regularly at home.
1. Using a mirror, check the vulva area for reddish or fleshcolored bumps or blisters, open sores, or warts. Be wary,
BREASTS: One of the best times to check your breasts is during
some may look like pimples.
or after a shower. This applies to males and females; yes, males can
2. Spread outer lips and inspect clitoris for same signs as
get breast cancer.
1. Look at your breasts in the mirror with shoulders straight
3. Next, look at inner lips and urinary and vaginal openings.
and arms at hips. Note if your breasts are their usual size,
4. Check for unusual or foul smelling discharge.
shape, and color, and if there’s swelling. Check for dim-
A common practice among women to clean their vagina is
pling, puckering of skin, a nipple that has moved position,
douching. However, many doctors recommend not doing so as
it can disrupt the balance of bacteria and acidity naturally found
2. Repeat with arms raised.
in the vagina, which protects against harmful irritations and
3. Gently squeeze nipples and look for any fluid—whether
this is watery, milky or yellow fluid or blood. 4. While lying down, use your opposite hand to check your
MOLES: Skin cancer: the three most common types are basal cell
left or right breasts with a firm touch and circular motion.
carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Make sure to cover from collarbone to top of abdomen and
1. Scan the front and back of body in front of mirror, check-
from cleavage to underarm.
ing both sides with arms raised.
5. Repeat while sitting.
2. Examine face, especially the nose, lips, mouth, and ears.
If you feel any strange lumps during your examination, have
3. With a blow dryer, section off hair to check the scalp for
unusual liquid coming from your nipple, or are experiencing
any other pain, you should visit a gynecologist or primary care
4. It’s important to examine hard to see places such as the
lower back, buttocks, back of legs, scalp, and behind the ears.
TESTICLES: In addition to inspecting breasts, males should check
During this check, look for skin growths that have increased
10 | YOURMAG
CHECKLIST: BREASTS TESTICLES V U L VA MOLES HEART MOUTH
in size or appear unusually brown or black, multi-colored, pearly,
or mouthwash because of the extra time it adds to our routine.
or translucent. Note any changes in birth or beauty marks, particu-
Mouth diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer
larly changes in color, size, thickness, texture, or if it is bigger than
can result from poor mouth regimen.
¼”. Sores that last longer than three weeks, continue to itch, scab,
1. Press the fronts and sides of neck for lumps or tenderness.
or bleed should be reviewed by a dermatologist.
2. Pull lower and upper lips to look and feel for changes in texture, lumps, or sores. Make sure to also check inside of the
HEART: In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
cheeks and the roof of your mouth for the same signs.
found heart disease to be the leading cause of death for both men
3. Extend tongue and inspect for color or texture changes or
and women in America. This test is probably one of the easiest and
4. Lastly, look at gum lines for tenderness, bleeding while
1. Count pulse for ten seconds by placing the first two fingers
flossing, receding gums, or inflammation and redness.
on the base of your opposite hand wrist. (If this is difficult, you can check underneath your jaw in the crook of your
Considering how much we put in our mouths, it’s all too
easy for mouth diseases to run amok. Most of these can easily
2. Multiply number by six.
be prevented with thorough brushing and routine cleanings by a
The National Institute of Health suggests the average resting
dentist, which are a much deeper cleaning than anything we can
heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. If it’s
do at home.
high, you should visit your doctor. You should also pay attention
These self-examinations should generally be done once a
to irregularities in the space between beats as this could be a sign
month and are beneficial for early detection and treatment. If you
of atrial fibrillation or other heart issues.
see anything abnormal, health care professionals urge you to set up an appointment because it’s better to be on the safe side than
MOUTH: We’re recommended to get a teeth cleaning every six
potentially letting something harmful go. Also, if you have a family
months and regularly brush, floss, and swish mouthwash between
history of any serious health issue, you should routinely visit your
appointments. However, it’s not uncommon to forgo flossing and/
physician. YM ROMANCE | 11
THE POPULARITY SPIKE OF NECK CHOKERS THIS YEAR DEMONSTRATED THAT ACCESSORIES THAT HAVE A ROLE IN THE BEDROOM CAN ALSO HAVE A ROLE IN EVERYDAY OUTFITS. FOR THIS DECEMBER ISSUE, CAMBRIDGE'S ALTERNATIVE ADULT BOUTIQUE, HUBBA HUBBA, PROVIDED YM WITH BONDAGE TOYS SO THAT WE COULD BREAK FASHION NORMS.
S T Y L I N G A N D C R E AT I V E D I R E C T I O N B Y MIA ZARRELLA PHOTOGRAPHY BY VISHWANG GOWARIKER MODELS TYLER BREEN, KE NA HARNESSES, CHOKERS, AND CUFFS FROM HUBBA HUBBA 2 ELLERY STREET, CAMBRIDGE
12 | YOURMAG
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ost seventeen-year-olds are applying to college, or schem-
razor-sharp winged eyeliner. They also remind us that makeup is
ing to pilfer some of their parents’ liquor cabinet without
not a necessary chore to remediate flaws, but rather it’s a tool for
getting caught—not acquiring 860K Instagram follow-
creative expression. Watching Starrr transform himself into a shim-
ers and landing a major makeup modeling contract. That’s just
mery, iridescent alien in a Halloween tutorial is nothing short of
seventeen-year-old James Charles. In October, makeup monolith
magical. Makeup is captivating, transformative, and overall fun—
COVERGIRL announced that Charles would be their first male
things that shouldn’t be limited to just one gender.
model, or what some have called their first “Coverboy.”
The makeup industry is taking notice that there’s a huge market
Charles’ contract represents how society is becoming more
in men. COVERGIRL was not the first makeup company to feature
accepting of men in makeup. Men wearing makeup is not a new
male models. For example, Milk Makeup and Anastasia Beverly
or novel concept; they’ve been wearing makeup for decades:
Hills have had multiple male models in their advertisements. As
David Bowie rocked bright blue eyeshadow and coral lipstick,
the cool kid company, Milk offers a slew of innovative products:
Steven Tyler still wears his signature smudged black eyeliner, and
holographic highlighter that gives the holographic Pokemon cards
of course there’s the drag community and its artistry. When some
of your childhood a run for their money, eye vinyl pens that make
people think of men wearing makeup, they probably think of men
your eyelids glisten and glow, and face gloss that’ll make your face
in drag, performing in extravagant makeup—false lashes, dramatic
so shiny (in a good way) that you’ll look extraterrestrial. Yet, per-
eyeshadow, full coverage foundation, contour, the works. However,
haps one of the more groundbreaking aspects of Milk Makeup is
men in makeup go beyond those in the spotlight. So many men, of
their advertising. They feature models of all genders—some with
all sexualities, wear makeup on a day-to-day basis—and you may
gapped teeth, or shaved heads. One of their recurring models is
not even notice.
Thistle Brown, a male stylist and artist from New Zealand.
On the double-edged sword that is the Internet, there is a
However, there are negatives tacked on to this progress. Like
strong community of male beauty Instagrammers and YouTubers
their female counterparts, male makeup artists endure online ha-
reaching a wide audience of all genders. Some like James Charles
rassment. Bullying is unfortunately a constant, regardless of gender.
have captured the attention of hundreds of thousands with
Except that with male makeup artists, the harassment is unsur-
eye-catching makeup looks. YouTube tutorials by male artists range
prisingly homophobic. Scrolling through the void of YouTube
from extravagant to simplistic. In his “Fat Bitch Friday” series, Tim
comments, most of the negative posts aren’t necessarily founded
Owens, aka “Skelotim,” transforms himself to match the packag-
in blatant hatred, but rather in ignorance. “Why does a boy wear
ing of snacks like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Smucker’s Uncrustables
makeup like a girl?” writes one user. A man wearing makeup chal-
sandwiches. Meanwhile, Jake-Jamie Ward, or “Beauty Boy,” offers
lenges the status quo, and some have problems adjusting to the
more practical advice, like how to apply foundation over acne and
Makeup may be liberating for many men, but wearing makeup
Beyond teaching their audiences how to properly blend in
in some communities can pose a risk. There’s a theme among com-
contour or set undereye concealer, they also teach self-acceptance
ments on male beauty videos: men saying that they would love to
and self-discovery. In Patrick Starrr’s “The Power of Makeup” video
wear makeup but live in a conservative household or community
(which has been viewed over 6.4 million times), he says, “I want
that wouldn’t accept them if they did, or boys who want to wear
to let you guys know that I love you and it’s okay to be yourself.”
makeup to school but are afraid of being bullied by their class-
In another video titled, “I Am a Man,” he addresses specifically
mates. In some YouTube and Instagram comments, men ask if
men—but also anyone—who might be afraid to wear makeup. He
wearing makeup makes them gay. “No,” numerous people reply.
says, “To those of you who are discouraged…if you want to wear
But these responses don’t always translate to the real world behind
makeup, do it...But I know it’s easier said than done.” He then ad-
the screens, with people judging others' sexuality based on appear-
vised on how to build up the confidence to wear makeup: find-
ance, including whether they wear makeup or not.
ing a supportive community and practicing to see what works for
A male COVERGIRL model and a supportive online com-
you. His positive message reached many—his YouTube channel
munity of male makeup artists is not going to erase the ingrained
currently has 1.8 million subscribers, while his Instagram has 2.6
homophobia and sexism in our society. But it’s a step in a more
positive, accepting direction where all genders can wear as much
Male makeup artists show us you can rock stubble and 22 | YOURMAG
or as little makeup as they desire. YM
M AN MADE U P W R I T T E N B Y M E G A N C AT H E Y PHOTO BY ALLISON NGUYEN I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
What i Wish I could Pull Off but can't WRITTEN BY DAVID CARLINER P H O TO B Y C A I T L I N S TA S S A AND MONIKA DAVIS I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
have never owned an article of clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch. Whenever friends commiserate about their cringe-worthy middle school wardrobes, I can brag that I
avoided the trend of buying $50 shirts from stores that double as sensory deprivation chambers. While I wish this was because 13-year-old David didn’t care about what was “cool” to wear and marched to the beat of his own drum, the truth is that my drum was definitely rented from someone else. I would’ve loved to wear Abercrombie, Hollister, or Limited Too For Boys, but I self-identified as too dorky to wear the first two and the third one is made up. Rather than run the risk of being called a fraud, I self-policed and didn’t even try to dress cool. Boys like my classmate Drew could wear A&F graphic tees that said “You look like my next ex-girlfriend,” but I knew I wasn’t meant to rock that (or have a ton of next ex-girlfriends). I’m now an Adult Person who doesn’t care as much what other people think of my style choices—it’s been years since I would ask seven people for advice before buying a striped polo at Old Navy. That being said, there are still plenty of clothes I’d love to rock that I just don’t think I can pull off. Here are a few.
24 | YOURMAG
ANY HAT. For the eight years I spent as a Boy Scout, I had to wear
JORTERALLS. Here’s the thing: I’m not meant to pull off jorteralls.
a red beret as part of my uniform, which was an issue on several
They basically don’t exist in my size, which I know from a year’s
accounts. For one thing, I wasn’t an adorable French orphan or a
worth of scouring the internet for a pair. Still, I refuse to lose hope
hunky military man, which are the only two groups who should ever
that one day I’ll be browsing at The Gap and stumble upon size 35
wear berets. More pressing was the fact that my head's too big for any
jorteralls that make me look resplendent. What could be more fun
hat. For eight years I wore a beret with the back cut out of it so it was
than a clothing item that obscures my front, showcases my calves,
wide enough so I didn’t look exactly like an acorn. Rough stuff, y’all.
and incorporates denim? People have pointed out to me that I could
The two big hat trends I currently feel excluded from are dad
just buy overalls and cut them, but I guess I’m a jorteralls purist.
hats and those black, wide-brimmed hats everyone either started wearing because of Beyoncé or American Horror Story: Coven.
A VARSITY JACKET. I promise I wasn’t a total loser my entire
A note on dad hats: aren’t these just baseball hats? Like, why are
childhood, but I feel like any guy who at one point hid in the unlit
we suddenly calling them dad hats when they’ve been around as
crevice of the locker room to change for gym class secretly wishes
baseball hats forever? I’m not making it up that we’re doing that,
they were sporty enough to earn a jacket with a football patch on
right? Okay cool, thanks for making me feel less gaslighted. I can’t
it. In 2010, I almost bought a McKinley High School varsity jacket
wear those, and I can’t wear Beyoncé hats that make me look like
when I attended the Glee concert for the second time (too much to
a YouTuber who hasn’t realized yet that he’s not going to sustain
unpack there in 1,100 words). I ultimately decided against purchas-
himself financially on Ariana Grande parody videos.
ing it, which is a decision almost as good as deciding not to sign up for Emerson’s First Kiss video back in 2014. My low-key fantasies
A TATTOO OF JONI MITCHELL. As much as I’d love to
of being #masc enough to wear this status symbol may have to wait
ink my favorite Canadian songstress on my arm, I don’t anticipate
until my next life when my Moon Volleyball team wins the space
my body staying shaped like a human body for more than another
thirty years or so. Nobody wants to see Joni’s face sag as my skin sinks, just like how no one wants to see me weep to Court and Spark
SEPTUM RINGS. Can these come out when you sneeze? If so,
as I walk around in public.
I’d end up doing that. And if not, I’d make my septum ring really gross. I breathe through my mouth more than I’d like to admit,
BIG SCARVES. There are certain prerequisite skills for pull-
and I don’t think blocking off a chunk of my nasal space would
ing off a scarf, such as an understanding of layered outfits, strong
shoulders, or knowing how to tie a scarf. I lack all of these, plus I don’t trust myself to wear a big scarf because I’m afraid I’ll use it
CHOKERS. I’m the kind of trend follower who likes to follow
as a pillow, fall asleep on the T, and wake up at the end of the line.
trends lightly, so that it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to fit in when in fact I am. I feel like it’s too late in the game for me to get into
SKINNY JEANS. I wish I could rock these on principle, even
chokers, even though I really like the ribbon ones that make every-
though every beauty campaign now tells me I Am Still A Person
one look like they’re pledging Kappa.
Who Should Buy Clothes Even Though I Have Pudge. If I ever become exorbitantly wealthy I’m going to pay a tailor to sew me into
ROMPERS. There’s something about these glorified onesies that
a pair of skinny jeans that I normally wouldn’t be able to pull on
I’m obsessed with, and in my heart, I’m holding on to the hope
over my birthing hips.
that there’ll be Men’s Rompers within the next ten years. Gender is a myth, let me have this! I’m pretty prone to moose knuckle so
DIVA CUPS. Not really a style thing and not applicable to me
that may be a problem, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get
for self-explanatory reasons, but a lot of my menstruating pals are
into these and I think they’re awesome in theory.
STYLE | 25
Commuter Shoes Commuter Shoes Commuter Shoes
WRITTEN BY DELIA CURTIS I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y A L Y S S A G E I S S L E R
26 | YOURMAG
t’s raining—hard. You live in Allston, but you need to get
Is it raining? Snowing? If this is the case, your shoes should be able
downtown. The nearest T stop is a 10-minute walk from your
to get you where you need to be without getting ruined. A shoe
apartment. You could take an Uber or Lyft, but who wants to
made of weatherproof material like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or
dish out the extra cash to do that? Your feet are going to get wet,
rubber is great for temperamental weather. A Chelsea boot or other
but you want to look professional for the interview that you have
similar style will work wonders. Brands like Jeffrey Campbell and
later. Plus you have errands to run and classes to go to. You know
J. Crew make conventional, yet stylish alternatives to the clunky
that you’ll be walking quite a bit. The sky’s getting darker and the
clouds are closing in. The question on your mind: “What shoes am I going to wear?”
What’s complicated about finding great shoes is finding ones that look good, too. It’s all about trying different kinds until you
With everyone in a city running a tight schedule and T stops
discover what’s right for your feet. That might be an Oxford shoe,
spread sparsely across the greater Boston area, you become mind-
one that gives off the essence of professionalism, but is comfortable
ful of what you put on your feet. When dressing for any commute,
enough to walk in for a couple hours of the day. A saddle shoe has
it’s important to remember three key things: comfort, durability,
a similar effect. If you’re trying to add a bit of a heel to your look,
and style. By making sure that you have these elements covered,
mules are great. They are easy to slip on and off and can pair well
you’ll be able to dress with ease, while also keeping your feet warm
with almost any outfit. You might also want to consider wedges,
like ankle boots: they give you the height without the hurt and
Your shoes should feel comfortable. Your feet need to be cush-
will give you the support you need without the pain of stilettos in
ioned enough to avoid the sore red blisters of a too-tight, or too-
Boston, full of cobblestones and brick roads. If you are looking for
high shoe. Know your arches and become familiar with the types
variety, a loafer is the way to go. This type of shoe can be made out
of shoes that will work for you. Make sure that the shoes you pick
of any kind of material, but is usually made of leather. Often, this
for your commute will be your crutch and support you throughout
kind of shoe has a small wedge, but can also be flat. Sometimes they
the day, literally. If you’re looking for a little height, something with
have embellishments, like tassels or bows. To find loafers, saddle
a small heel or wedge can be comfortable and provide you with the
shoes, and Oxfords, check out G.H. Bass or Cole Haan online. For
cushioning that you need. An Oxford or saddle shoe can also get
mules, wedges, and boots, Madewell or Camper Shoes are great
the job done. These kinds of shoes are low to the ground, tend to be
choices. It’s important to find retailers that sell durable and quality
relatively flat, and cover the whole foot. Investing in a nice pair of
products if you’re going to invest in a nice pair of shoes.
patent leather Oxfords will ensure that your feet stay dry while also
By remembering to take care of your feet and dressing them
looking professional, stylish, and commuter-friendly. Many have
well, commuting will be a cinch. After finding your perfect com-
padding that will make sure your commute is comfortable.
muter shoe, you can take on the world and look damn fine while
Another important component to your footwear is durability.
STYLE | 27
D E T A I L
PHOTOGRAPHY TOM MCL AUGHLIN STYLING MIA ZARRELLA, ISABEL CRABTREE C R E AT I V E D I R E C T I O N ISABEL CRABTREE MODELS CONNER ABLES SONYA RIO GLICK MAKEUP RIJA REHAN CLOTHES REISS 132 NEWBURY STREET, BOSTON
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C WRITTEN BY SAVANNAH STRANGE
onsider the course of action you would take if a friend confided in you that her significant other was abusing her. Would you help her find resources? Or maybe help
her to find the confidence and fearlessness to leave her attacker? It has become common knowledge, at least for most individuals in today’s society, to not tell a person in this type of situation to “just leave them.” So why are we still telling people with eating disorders to “just eat?” If only it were that simple. My sophomore year I took a course on Human Health and Disease. A group of people did a presentation about the different types of eating disorders. The presentation didn’t go into depth about the disorders or talk about treatment, but instead listed off all the subtypes of anorexia and bulimia that exist. One group member started off her portion of the presentation by saying something along the lines of: “This next type of eating disorder is probably the weirdest yet. Pregorexia! Pregnant people with anorexia, can you imagine?” We were required to have an interactive portion of this project, and this group used a true/false exercise. One of the questions was “People with eating disorders are vain and self obsessed. True or false?”
36 | YOURMAG
As I thought about my past, not even knowing that I was on the verge of a relapse that would eventually lead me to my eating
my metabolism so badly that each pound hung for dear life, and it unfortunately fueled my self-hatred even more.
disorder recovery, I thought of all the packed lunches I had thrown
As I began my recovery journey in the spring of my sopho-
away as a child. The hours I spent examining the non-existent fat
more year, it was difficult to let this part of myself go. This is where
on my stomach. The nights after my sports practices when I would
people became confused, even became angry with me. If I hated
cry in the shower because of how disgusted I was with my body. I
what my eating disorder had done to me, then why was it so hard
immediately circled false.
to say goodbye to it?
“True! People with eating disorders become fixated on their ap-
If only it were that simple.
pearance, and are vain and self obsessed with the way that they look.”
Many people personify their disorder, call it Mia or Ana or Ed,
I felt sick to my stomach as everyone in the classroom nodded
and while this seemed odd and unnatural for me at the beginning
their heads in agreement.
of recovery, I soon understood why this is done. Ed was like a little
To me, this comment felt as twisted as saying something like
devil on my shoulder, like a bad boyfriend. A boyfriend who held
“People who have an abusive boyfriend like to be abused. They are
me in the arms of behaviors and told me I would be skinny and
obsessed with the bruises they have on their body because of it.” As
pretty and most of all happy but if I wronged him would throw me
drastic as that may be, misunderstanding is painful. And as much
to the floor and scream in my ears that I was worthless.
as we tell people that eating disorders are not just about the food, it often doesn’t click.
Ed does not like restaurants or pizza parties but loves hip bones and loose fitting clothing. Ed also likes eating food late at
But it needs to. Statistics show that eating disorder prevalence
night all alone when no one can see you, and chewing food up for
has been steadily increasing since 1950. Eating disorders have
the taste just to spit it out (one of the least known but most horrible
the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness, both from
symptoms of an eating disorder). While it was exciting to move to
complications of the illness and suicide. And they don’t discrim-
an apartment and no longer need to eat tasteless DH food, it was
inate—their prevalence is similar between Non-Hispanic Whites,
also incredibly difficult to do a grocery trip when the nutritional
Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians in the US. This is also
content of the entire store had long since been committed to mem-
a disorder that affects both men and women, despite the stigma
ory. It took lots of therapy, medicine, and proper nutrition to be
associated with men and anorexia or bulimia. It is not a disease of
able to start saying no to my eating disorder.
rich, vain, white girls. And it shouldn’t be treated as such.
And it wasn’t easy. Just as it is not easy for someone to leave an
When I started restricting calories and throwing my lunches
abusive relationship. Just as it is not easy for someone to put down
away as a 10-year-old, I had no idea the repercussions of what I
the bottle or get clean. Eating disorders are not a choice- they are
was doing to my body and how it would affect me by the age of
not a “diet gone wrong”. They are not a symptom of vanity, but a
20. For a while, I was in complete denial that my brittle bones
daily struggle that is experienced by individuals worldwide.
and stress fractures, shortness of breath, nerve pains, severe fa-
Everyone has their vice. I am not proud that restricting and
tigue, and heart palpitations had anything to do with my obses-
overexercising was mine, but I am proud that I decided to get bet-
sion with weight loss. But I didn’t choose to hurt my body in this
ter. It does come down to a choice whether to get better or not, but
way. Skipping a meal was like taking a hit, an empty stomach like
a key factor to understanding is knowing that it is not like flicking
a high. Before I knew it the carpet had slipped out from under
a light switch on and off.
me and I was a junkie- I couldn’t stop what I was doing even if I wanted to.
One of the most debilitating aspects of these diseases is how many never feel sick enough or worthy enough for help. But every-
And I was also absolutely seamless in hiding it, in flying
one is worthy of a life free of restrictions and self hate. Everyone
under the radar. Despite the images in the media of anorexia and
deserves happiness. And for some, whether they struggle with an-
bulimia, of stick thin girls with sunken faces, I was never under-
other person or a mental illness, this path to happiness goes against
weight enough to be picked up as having this disorder. This was
everything they once believed in.
also partly due to becoming ill when I was young- I screwed up
It is difficult. But it is also worth it. YM LIVING | 37
WRITTEN BY LINDSEY PARADIS PHOTO BY ANJA SCHWARZER I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
had been at my internship just about a month when one of
I said I was going out to dinner right after work for a friend’s
my male coworkers asked me if I wanted to grab lunch later
birthday, that I might just snack. “We can just grab something
that week. I replied with a polite maybe. I’m slightly socially
light.” He wouldn’t take the hint, or maybe he just wouldn’t ac-
awkward; I’ll admit it. And I wasn’t sure if he was asking me to be friendly—it was a small office after all—or if he was asking me in terms of a date. I immediately asked my group chat what to do.
cept it. I brought it up to my roommate that night. I was hunched over our kitchen island, and she was at the stove making din-
The verdict was to drop into the conversation that I had a boy-
ner. I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting when I told her. He wasn’t
friend and then grab lunch as friends if he was still interested. But
directly harassing me, at least in the ways I pictured harassment—
I didn’t want to get lunch with him as a friend. The conversations
explicitly sexual comments, physical touching. He was just making
he tried to initiate between us and just his general presence left me
me uncomfortable, albeit to the point where I dreaded going to
work and seeing him. That is harassment, she told me.
About two weeks later, I found myself in a room alone with him.
Dr. Melanie Matson, the Director of Emerson’s Violence Prevention and Response (VPR), agrees with that judgement. She
“You want to get that lunch with me Friday?” He asked. I re-
says, “I’m a big believer in trusting one’s gut. And so if I’m getting
sponded that I was probably going to bring something from home.
a feeling of something’s not quite right here, [I believe in] trusting
“Don’t bring something,” he continued. I started making up other
that even though sometimes society says not to trust that, [or says]
‘oh, it’s no big deal.’”
38 | YOURMAG
In a 2015 article, Psychology Today identified three different
of that job. A kind of a normalization that it’s okay for customers
categories of sexual harassment: unwanted sexual attention, gender
or coworkers to treat people disrespectfully. To say or do things
harassment, and sexual coercion.
that are not okay. [There is that thought], oh, I’m a customer so I’m
Unwanted sexual attention involves unwelcome or offensive sexual advances toward someone else in the workplace—this may include touching or pressuring for a date.
paying so I can say or do whatever I want.” Other industries that ranked high for reported harassment included retail, STEM, arts and entertainment, and legal.
Gender harassment entails vicious behavior toward workers
And with that being said, 71 percent of women don’t report
based on their gender. This can include inappropriate jokes that
sexual harassment at work. But of the 29 percent of women who do
mean to be offensive or mocking, belittling comments, and, in
report it, only 15 percent feel the report was handled fairly.
some cases, violent threats. Psychology Today states that while this
Seiner did not report the harassment she faced. She says, “I
is the most common form of sexual harassment in the workplace,
eventually switched store locations, and the harassment was defi-
it is also the least likely to be viewed as harassment.
nitely a big factor that caused me to do so. Almost all of my cowork-
Possibly the most extreme category of sexual harassment in
ers at the next store were men who were five to seven years older
the workplace is sexual coercion. This includes the harasser issuing
than me. I was afraid of them at first, especially because of what
job-related threats or bribes in order to force someone into enter-
had happened at the first location. But they weren't awful, at least,
ing a sexual relationship.
not in comparison.”
According to 2015 Cosmopolitan survey—which included
When it comes to reporting harassment, Dr. Matson of VPR
2,235 full and part-time female employees—one in three women
thinks people should do what they feel the most comfortable with.
has experienced one of these forms of sexual harassment at work.
That could include actions like reaching out to a place like VPR for
Eighty-one percent have experienced verbal harassment, 44 per-
support and site accommodations. “Know that you don’t have to
cent have encountered unwanted touching and sexual advances,
keep experiencing that,” she says.
and 25 percent say they’ve received lewd texts or emails.
Matson says it’s even possible to report the harassment
Writing, literature, and publishing major Mandy Seiner
after leaving the organization. This could include reaching out to
‘18 experienced extreme unwanted sexual attention at her job
state, local or federal authorities such as the Equal Employment
as a Counter Associate at a Bruegger’s Bagels in Pittsburgh,
Opportunity Commission, different human rights organizations,
Pennsylvania. She was 16 at the time and was being harassed by
and even associations for the field of work itself.
Greg, one of the bakers, who was in his 50s or 60s.
It is important to note that unpaid interns are not protected by
“He would make a lot of really gross comments and touch the
bodies like the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
girls who worked there,” Seiner says. “I remember it got to the point
(EEOC). This is because under the federal Civil Rights Act, they are
where if I dropped something on the floor, I wouldn't even pick it
not technically employees. There are a handful of individual states
up because if I bent over he'd jump over and stand right behind me
though that have come up with laws that protect unpaid interns to
as I stood up. If we passed each other in a hallway he would press up
against me on the wall even though the hallway wasn't that narrow.
While most of this article and society relates sexual harass-
He would generally just be so physically close and so touchy that I
ment to women, it is important to note that this is something that
wanted to crawl out of my skin.”
affects men as well. The 2015 Psychology Today article states that
In addition, he would make comments telling Seiner to get
about one-third of all working men reported at least one form of
on her knees and wouldn’t call her by her name, only “good girl,” a
sexual harassment in the previous year. And in 2013, 17.6 percent
phrase she finds disturbing.
of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC came from men.
This kind of behavior, while upsetting, isn’t all that surprising.
“One thing I would say is that sometimes it can feel very iso-
Foodservice and hospitality ranked as the field with the highest
lating and lonely when someone is experiencing workplace harass-
level of reported sexual harassment in Cosmopolitan’s survey—
ment,” says Matson. “But also know that when one person speaks
with a percentage of 42.
up, others also feel like they’re having an opportunity to share
Matson explains why this might be: “Especially [in] helping professions, there’s this myth in society that says oh well, it’s part
their voice and might oftentimes chime in, which can create great change.” YM LIVING | 39
BREAST E X P E C TAT I O N S WRITTEN BY JESSICA KASPARIAN PHOTO BY DELIA CURTIS I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y E M I L Y D R A K E
struggle to remember a time when I liked my breasts pre-surgery. Even when they were smaller than the uncomfortable size G that they were this past summer, I disliked them. In early highschool years, I was approximately the size I am now, fitting into a com-
fortable C cup, but that was still considered on the larger size for a 15 year old. When my breasts continued growing after the rest of my body stopped, my mom joked that I would get breast reduction surgery just like she did. The dread in my voice was apparent when I responded with, “I really hope not. I hope they shrink.” This article is confirmation that they did not shrink. About a year ago, I noticed my breasts starting to peak over the top of my already large bra cups, which frustrated me more than anything. Fussing with my boobs during class was not cute, but bras for bigger busts are not cheap, and the last thing I wanted to do was invest in new ones for boobs that I was not even happy with. To make matters worse, I sometimes experienced aches that made taking a bra on and off a painful part of my routine. Days where the aches were particularly bad, I would Google the surgery and text my mom saying that she may be right after all. I was only half joking. I started talking about the possibility of going under the knife last Spring and decided it was worth a consultation with a recommended plastic surgeon. At my first appointment, he immediately confirmed what I already knew: my breasts were not proportional to my body. He explained his plan to take a pound off of each breast and lift them. About a week later, I got a call from my surgeon saying that my health insurance company approved the entire procedure, and soon after we set the date for July 26. Two months from that initial consultation, I would have a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, literally. If you are reading this article and thinking of getting the surgery, I will spoil the ending for you: my reduction is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I have been thrilled with the results since first waking up in the hospital. My piece of advice: have the surgery. That bold statement being made, everyone has a different experience. The recovery process was not a rough one for me, but I know people who say that it was not easy for them the first week or two. I can only speak for my own experience.
SURGERY Once the surgery date was in my calendar, the worrying started. I had anxious nights and racing thoughts in the weeks before that caused me to toss and turn and eventually text my mom to talk about it. The day before my surgery, I went to my doctor to get my 40 | YOURMAG
surgical markings; my surgeon used a sharpie to outline where the
position to another during recovery. The best piece of advice I can
incisions would be and where my new breasts would sit on my chest.
give when it comes to coping with pain is asking yourself if this
My nerves made it hard to focus that day, but before I knew it, I
temporary pain is worth the results. I found that even the maxi-
was changing into a hospital gown and being fussed over by nurses.
mum amount of pain was not enough to make me wish I had not
I barely remember them lifting me onto the operating table;
gotten the surgery.
the next time I opened my eyes, I was smaller chested and clutching a stuffed animal from the gift shop.
I stayed in the hospital that night and had nurses checking in
For a lot of women, their breasts cause terrible back pain that
on me every few hours to change my drains. The drains were one
makes them slouch or have difficulty sleeping. I did not experience
of the unnerving partsâ€”I had one tube on each side of me con-
pain to this extreme before surgery, but I carried all of my tension
nected to an incision, and fluid drained through the tubes and into
in my neck as a result of the weight on my chest. Post surgery, my
plastic bubbles. Seeing them drain these tubes made me uneasy,
posture has improved, I sleep comfortably on my stomach, and my
and having them taken out the next day required a deep breath for
workouts require only one sports bra.
each tube removal, but it was such a small fraction of the surgery experience. I was discharged 24 hours after surgery, and I had my mom bring a pillow with her in the car so I could put it between my chest and the seat belt on my travels home.
My quality of life has improved immensely from just a three hour surgery and six weeks of a sedentary lifestyle. I am now able to wear clothing styles that I love and buy bras without annoying underwire. I am amazed by the self confidence that this procedure has given me. I am frequently asked about my
scars and whether they make me feel less confident, but the answer
The most pain I felt throughout the whole process was a result of
is a strong no. My scars are still a light red color and raised, but I
my incision splitting around five weeks post-op. That sounds scar-
barely even notice them, and they will become practically invisible
ier than it was, but it was an open woundâ€”and it hurt like one, too,
until I treated it properly. I had to put Aquaphor and a gauze pad
I may have been nervous every day leading up to the surgery,
on the incision, and within a few days it closed and never bothered
but I received copious amounts of encouragement from friends,
me again. Other than that incident, I felt uncomfortable the first
family, and medical professionals every step of the way.
week after the surgery because I had to lay on my back at night.
Now, I want to share my experience with anyone interested
My hips and lower back would stiffen and ache, which made me
in breast reduction because anyone getting the procedure for the
feel like I needed a good stretch when I woke up. I also sometimes
right reasons will find that every negative is outweighed by all of
experienced little aches and pains when transitioning from one
the positives. YM LIVING | 41
Your Things I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y P I M P L O Y P H O N G S I R I V E C H
YOUR MAG HEAD DESIGNER CLAIRE TORRES AND ROMANCE EDITOR ALLYSON FLORIDIA ON THEIR FAVORITE THINGS What are three objects that you can't live without and why?
What are three objects that you can't live without and why?
My angel necklace. I'm not sure when I was given this neck-
The three items I can't live without are my baby blankets,
like I’ve been wearing it for my entire life. It reminds me so
scarf my brother got me for Christmas. When my parents
lace and truthfully I’m not sure who gave it to me, but I feel much of my family, like they’re always with me.
My Texas sweatshirt. I basically stole this from my mom. It’s
a sweatshirt from her Alma Mater, University of Texas, which she found hiking a few years after she graduated. Practi-
cally fate. She’s had it since before I was born and it always reminds me of her and my home.
My stuffed giraffe. I got this giraffe at Borders (retro!) with
one of my best friends Sabrina, who got a stuffed tiger. I keep it around because it reminds me of her, which is nice
when she’s on the West Coast and I’m all the way here on the East Coast.
What’s the most original thing you’ve given as a present?
That would definitely have to be a set of handmade thank
the book Sweet Nothings by Catherine Anderson, and a adopted me, I was six months. Being so young and coming
from an orphanage, I didn't own or have anything to call mine. And so, the first thing they bought me were baby blankets. I still have them and keep them at the foot of my
bed as reminders of their comfort and love. Sweet Noth-
ings was the first romance novel-my now favorite genrethat inspired me on a personal level. I felt so connected to
the main character that her journey to self-acceptance and
love felt hopeful for me. The third item, a scarf, is important because it's one of the few material things I have from my
brother. And although we rarely see each other now-differ-
ing lives and locations-it reminds me how far we've come:
from fighting all the time to understanding one another, so much so that he gets my sense of style better than any other family member.
you cards I made for my grandmother. At the time, my
What's the most unusual thing you own?
lino-cut art (essentially, we carved stamps) so I carved a
GR500 in blue with a sliding keyboard and no internet ac-
design teacher brought tools to class so we could make scene with grass and flowers and a butterfly. Then I got pink and blue paint and stamped the image on a bunch of
plain thank you cards. I’m not usually very good at giving presents, so I’m glad she loved them. 42 | YOURMAG
The most unusual thing I own is my phone: a LG Xenon
cess. Incredibly out of date and a terrible battery life. But I'm too stubborn to change and get a smartphone. I know the time is coming quickly where I'll be forced to turn it in for a newer one, but I'll fight it with every breath.
LIVING | 43
PHOTOGRAPHY EBRIMA MANJANG STYLING PENNY JOHNSON MODELS YOHJI UCHIDA, EVAN CZYZ, EBRIMA MANJANG
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Growing up as a kid, a quote that stuck with me was, "Be the person you needed when you were growing up." I refuse to be anything but myself. I just want people to feel like it's okay to do what they want to do. â€”Ebrima Manjang
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Q'S FOR QUOTES WITH MANAGING EDITOR CHRISTIAN LOPEZ
I've recently accepted the fact that I'm bisexual. I'm a female- yet am still like, terrified of females. I also hate the stigma surrounding bisexuality. How do I explore this side of myself when it's still not something that I'm totally comfortable with?
I do a lot of freelance work and I'm finding it hard
—Bi the way
to communicate to my friends that, even though I want to help them, I won't for free anymore. How do
Any non-heteronormative sexuality holds a stigma that causes
I establish that relationship that allows me to keep
fear of the same gender, but building a queer/bisexual community
my friends and also advance my professional career? —Frazzled Freelancer
will help you process your sexuality with people who are just like you. Surround yourself with those you make you feel comfortable, and the rest will naturally. However, don’t be afraid to step outside
Towards the start of her career, Oprah would get a lot of phone
of your comfort zone. Dating apps like Tinder and Her are places
calls from friends asking her for money to donate to certain causes.
to find like-minded individuals to connect with. Sexuality is totally
After a while, she caught on to those calls and the “pre-calls before
fluid. Experimenting should be encouraged and accepted.
the actual begging” as Erykah Badu sings in Cellular Device. She
found that she couldn’t give to everyone and decided to start saying You must love in order to be loved.
“no.” She tried her first “no” with Stevie Wonder, after he asked her
You must be inclusive in order to feel yourself
to donate to a charity. “O.K., check you later,” he said.
among the included. You must give in order to receive. —Cheryl Strayed
You determine for yourself what your boundaries are. The rea-
son why people continue to ask of you and your talents is because you set your intention to be a nice person, please your friends, and all the other things we do to try to make everyone but ourselves happy. At the end of the day, you have the power to decide what you
Does it make me resourceful or immoral to guilt trip
want to put your time and effort into. Just because you receive all
a Grindr hook-up into buying me an air conditioning
of these requests does not mean you have to choose them. You will
find that you are no longer driven by what other people want you to
do, but instead, what feels like the right move for you.
Resourceful. Scam as many men as possible and email me tips.
What is happening to you, is happening for you.
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I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.
—William Ernest Henley
Mitski Leaks. WRITTEN BY SARA BARBER
spirit of hope is cradled in the melancholic music of
Mitski’s most popular song on Spotify, “Your Best American
Mitski. Her soft, quiet hums evolve into unfiltered yells
Girl,” has over two million listens and the sociopolitical impact of
in mere moments, leaving the audience clutching onto
her words rings with each note, “Your mother wouldn’t approve
each note as well as the intensity of each word. Her performance
of how my mother raised me / But I do, I finally do / And you’re
transcends physical space into the crowd’s emotional sphere. Roll-
an all-American boy / I guess I couldn’t help trying to be the best
ing Stones describes her music as “A slow-building breakthrough
American girl.” A prominent Boston-based poet, Melissa Loza-
at an indie-rock therapy session,” implying that the link between
da-Oliva, tweeted after Mitski’s show “s/o 2 all the kids of color @
her output of experiences, and the feeling they invoke in others is
the @mitskileaks show pointing 2 their chests & singing/screaming
undeniable. The crowd surrounding her performance in Boston,
‘but i do, i finally do.’”
Massachusetts on November 1 engulfs one another in a dizzying collective of sadness and warmth.
The impact of Mitski travels even further beyond relatably beautiful expressions of anguish, as she contemplates intimate is-
The person behind the performance is twenty-six year
sues within her lyrics. She is somehow able to keep herself vulner-
old Mitski Miyawaki, who carries her womanhood and Japa-
able in her art, yet distant from receiving too much attention to
nese-American lineage with hardened grace. This outlook appears
her personal life in the public eye. After being featured on a variety
transformed by her experiences, as her life has developed in an
of popular outlets, including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,
abundance of locations, with homes in countries surrounding the
she has mastered the ability to share and grow with an audience
world. She received her high school diploma ahead of schedule in
while not giving all of herself away to strangers. It is apparent that
Turkey and went on to graduate from SUNY Purchase Conserva-
she carefully crafts her boundaries between performer and person,
tory of Music only a few years ago. In the time since her higher ed-
while still fostering a safe space to learn and grow in the community
ucation, she has proceeded to take tunes to an unprecedented level.
she impacts. YM
In Review: 2016
W R I T T E N B Y K AT J A V U J I Ć I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
think we can all agree that 2016 has been quite a fucking year. We’ve collectively, as a planet, been through so much—lots of good, lots of bad, lots of WTF. Here’s a timeline of some of the highs and lows;
now we can all take a deep breath and hope that 2017 brings better days (It probably won’t).
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens overtook Avatar to become the highest-grossing film ever in the US and Canada. This is especially a big deal because it’s the most diverse Star Wars film to date. Starting the year off right with some representation!
We experienced the first of many tragic big-name deaths this year; we lost the Starman, David Bowie to cancer. The world seemed to come together in mourning. He was immediately followed by Alan Rickman, known for playing Severus Snape in Harry Potter, on January 14th. The mourning extended—a somber start to the year.
The EPA took over water testing in Flint, Michigan, where the water has been contaminated with lead. It doesn’t seem to have helped much, since Flint citizens are still struggling to this day.
The World Health Organization released the first major warning regarding the Zika virus, announcing that it’s likely to “spread across the Americas.” Honey, you’ve got a big storm coming. The virus, which causes birth defects when contracted by pregnant women, continues to be a problem. No cure has been found.
Kanye released The Life of Pablo, resulting in a frenzy of Ultralight Beams. It was his 7th album and a highly anticipated one. Reception was mixed, but mostly positive.
President Obama gave a speech in Selma, AL to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery. It has since gone down as one of the best speeches of his presidency.
Governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory signed into law the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, more colloquially known as the “bathroom bill.” The law places restrictions on who can enter a bathroom based on a gender binary, essentially erasing the identities of individuals who don’t conform to any gender, as well as being a giant detriment to trans rights. Many public figures have spoken out against this law, and many artists have refused to do shows in North Carolina because of it, but the law has yet to be repealed.
The Fader published its first interview with Branden Miller, also known as Joanne the Scammer. Joanne went viral in late December of 2015 in the video we’ve all seen: “I just want to let you girls know that I’m a real messy bitch. A liar. A scammer. I love robbery and fraud. I’m a messy bitch who lives for drama.” Joanne’s fame has lasted throughout 2016, with another Fader interview in the August/September issue, this time featuring a killer photoshoot.
The world experienced another tragic loss—Prince died due to a drug overdose. Stevie Wonder called him the “Emperor of Pop,” and videos of his interviews and reactions circulated the internet. We lost a true icon.
Beyoncé dropped her visual album, Lemonade. The album is an ode to black womanhood, and it was a landmark moment in pop culture. It explored a variety of genres, including country, and featured collaborations with everyone from Jack White to James Blake to Kendrick Lamar.
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT | 57
A three-year-old child ended up in a gorilla habitat in the Cincinnati Zoo. We all know what happened next: the gorilla, Harambe, was killed in order to protect the child. Cue month after month of seemingly endless jokes and memes regarding the incident. I want everyone reading this to make me a promise: in 2017, let Harambe rest in peace.
Early in the morning, we experienced one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history. At Pulse nightclub, a popular gay club in Orlando, FL, 53 were injured and 50, including the shooter, were killed. This was labeled as both a hate crime and an act of terrorism, and had an enormous impact on the country—culturally, socially, and politically.
On that same night, Lin-Manuel Miranda won a Tony Award for Best Score. His acceptance speech was a poem dedicated to victims of the Orlando shooting, with the memorable line “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.” For many, the speech provided comfort after a tragic event.
It was a turbulent summer. A video surfaced in which a police officer in Baton Rouge, LA, was shown shooting 37-year-old Alton Sterling five times at close range. Sterling was unarmed. The shooting sparked grief and anger, and protests started to spring up around the country.
The very next day, Diamond Reynolds used Facebook Live to document the aftermath of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, being shot by police in Minnesota. Castile had been reaching for his wallet when he was shot, while Reynolds’ three year old daughter was in the backseat. This only added fuel to the fire of the Black Lives Matter protests that had already started occurring. The movement for change is ongoing and has been throughout the year.
Netflix released Stranger Things, one of the most popular binge shows of the year. Watchers developed strong opinions on Barb, and even stronger opinions on favorite children.
The internet went wild when Kim Kardashian released a video in which Taylor Swift OK’d the lyrics of Kanye’s “Famous”, which she had previously spoken out against. The event resulted in the #KimExposedTaylorParty hashtag, as well as everyone’s fave meme, “I’d like to be excluded from this narrative.”
Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president. A tragic day.
One Direction’s Liam Payne signed a solo deal with Capitol Records. For many fans, this was a definitive sign that One Direction was breaking up for good.
On July 26, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for president. It was the end of a high-stakes primary, since Bernie Sanders’ grassroots campaign of passionate supporters kept Clinton on her toes. In the end, though, she did become the first female major party presidential nominee, and history was made.
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AUGUST 5 - 21
Brazil hosted the 29th Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympics were surrounded by controversy: the Brazilian government was in a state of turmoil at the time, the Zika virus posed a significant threat to many athletes, and favelas, or impoverished communities, in Rio had been destroyed to make room for Olympic facilities. Despite all this, it was a historic Olympics. Doaa Elghobashy became the first Olympian to wear the hijab while playing beach volleyball; Simone Manuel became the first black woman to win a gold medal in swimming for the USA; Simone Biles wowed us all and won pretty much everything.
The wait was finally over. Frank Ocean released Endless, his visual album, first in a livestream and then on Apple Music.
When it rains, it pours. But in a good way. Frank Ocean’s long-awaited album, Blonde, was released on Apple Music. Fans everywhere rejoiced, and “Nikes” was stuck in all our heads for at least a week.
Reports of clown sightings surfaced near the Fleetwood Manor apartment complex in Greenville County, South Carolina. This initial sighting was followed by many more all across the country. Some of these “killer clowns” were just out to scare people, but others seemed to pose a genuine threat, causing schools to shut down and government officials to keep residents on high alert. The only clown-related known death has been of a sixteen-year-old killed by someone in a clown mask in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C. Since Black history has historically been erased from school curriculums and mainstream media, it’s an important step towards better representation and a more accurate, fuller understanding of US history.
The Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions was officially ratified by the EU, which took it over the 55% threshold necessary to put it into action. This happened way earlier than expected, and it’s an encouraging sign of progress on climate change.
Ava DuVernay’s 13th was released on Netflix. The prison documentary explores the history of systemic racism and inequality in the US, especially in regards to the prison system. A must watch.
The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” It took a while for him to accept, but he eventually did. He became the first songwriter ever to win the award, and the first American since Toni Morrison in 1993.
America fucked us all over. We elected D*nald Tr*mp for president. A day of mourning.
The four-part Netflix series Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life was released. Gilmore Girls fans everywhere rejoiced, but also cried a lot. YM
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT | 59
WRITTEN BY JOANNE PAQUIN I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y S O P H I E P E T E R S - W I L S O N
he author writes a novel. The screenwriter finishes a
The novel wins some awards and the screenplay is nominated
script. Both are enchanting stories with incredible charac-
several times. Both creations have gathered a following of hard-
ters. Neither are like anything previously conceived. With
core, inquisitive fans. They tweet questions at the creators. What
the printed pages collected in the creator’s hands, the writers sit
happened to this person? Can you explain this worldly phenomenon?
back, pleased and proud. The story is theirs at the moment—only
But why, oh why, did that have to happen? The fans illustrate their
theirs—but tomorrow they will show others their work. Tomorrow
favorite characters and write short stories about them. Every night,
they will hand their stories off to the world.
the author and the screenwriter spend hours pouring through this
The publisher stays up all night reading this author’s manu-
fan art. I caused this, they think to themselves. They love my char-
script. She is ecstatic. Yes, she thinks, Yes! This is what we need.
acters as much as I do. When a person stops them on the street and
This is what our readers need. A Hollywood studio insists that this
says, “Your story changed my life,” they respond by saying, “Well,
screenplay will be at the center of every conversation. It’s engrossing,
you changed mine.”
they say. It’s full of passion. People won’t want to leave the theater!
But rather than settling down into this warmly established ac-
Soon the novel is on bookshelves and the author is touring
tuality, other creators—authors, screenwriters, studios—grasp onto
the country. “Where did you get the inspiration for this story?” fans
the originality of these stories. This is what people want, they think.
ask. “How did you make something so great?” The book appears in
So they push it. They push it well past its limit, drawing from the
The New York Times and in everyone’s must read list. It’s safe to say
originality until there is none left, creating franchises and tired fans
the novel is a hit. The author can almost hear thousands of pages of
along the way.
their book being turned.
The phenomenon of “making copies rather than something
There’s some buzz surrounding the announcement of a new
new” is becoming more and more common. The list of examples is
movie. People ponder at the unique plot. This could be interesting,
endless. Star Wars is not only in the midst of a new trilogy, but has
they think. And I love who they cast. When the movie is finally
planned “subplot” movies such as the upcoming Rogue One movie
released, their expectations are exceeded. People can’t get enough
and the announced young Han Solo film. Pirates of the Caribbean is
of it. Critics praise the film and movie theaters sell out. It’s genius,
starting to market its fifth installment. The success of Jurassic World
people say. Oscar-worthy! The screenwriter goes to bed every night,
will result in a trilogy. Despite the perfect ending in Toy Story 3, a
fourth animated adventure is planned. Disney is remaking all of
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their classics in the live-action style. And even though J.K. Rowling
putting superheroes together in films, further siphoning innova-
told us Pottermania would end with the final installment of Harry
tion from the superpower theme, as they build up to the biggest
Potter and the Deathly Hallows, November 18 marked the release of
superhero “get-together” in The Avengers: Infinity War.
the first of five films in the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Potter-based series.
This phenomenon of “copying” can also be seen in books. Divergent felt a little too much like The Hunger Games, and the
Hollywood seems to have taken an oath swearing by the
influence of Harry Potter can be seen heavily in Rainbow Rowell’s
words of Mae West: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”
Carry On. But rather than creating stories about the same char-
But unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Though remakes and
acters, books frequently copy tropes and storylines. The story of
reboots are not always bad—Ghostbusters managed its way to the
Romeo and Juliet has been told in countless ways. Love triangles
big screen once again, this time starring an all female cast, and it
have become cliché. And how many times have we seen the outgo-
was incredible—more often than not, these films feel tired when
ing boy save the shy girl?
they’re supposed to feel fresh, new, or modern.
It’s starting to feel like there are no new stories to tell, just
All of these movies—prequels, sequels, remakes, reboots,
old ones to remake. And while this is not a new concept—rather
franchises, and spin-offs—prove that it’s easier to try and resell
it’s something that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years—
something than it is to make something new. This diminishes the
it does feel like the amount of remakes and reboots are more
power of original creations and lowers the expectations of the mov-
prevalent today than they were even ten years ago. Even though
ie’s viewers. They walk in not expecting something wholly original
we love certain characters and want to know more about their
or captivating, but walk in wanting to see their favorite characters
adventures, the push to create more content often leaves writers
do something cool or to explore a fictional world a bit more.
struggling to produce genuine stories that feel original and cater
This is most evident in the Marvel movie franchises, where it
to the personalities fans know and love. Sometimes this is not the
feels as though the superhuman/superpower theme has been nearly
case, and the remakes are incredible, or that story with that trope
sucked dry of original concepts. But people keep returning to the
is exceptional. But more often than not, they feel lackluster. At a
theater to take stock of their favorite actors portraying their fa-
certain point, it becomes more about money than quality. And
vorite characters, ensuring that nothing horrible happened to their
at a certain point, people start to say—or should start to say—
“babies.” Marvel has recognized the power behind this, and started
enough is enough. YM ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT | 61
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LACE UP PHOTOGRAPHY STELLA CHOI C R E AT I V E D I R E C T I O N CHRISTIAN LOPEZ SENIORS PIMPLOY PHONGSIRIVECH, SAVANNAH STRANGE, CL AIRE TORRES, JOANNE PAQUIN, ALLYSON FLORIDIA, PERI LAPIDUS STYLING MIA ZARRELLA, DELIA CURTIS, LINDSEY GOLDIN, SHOSHANA BARASCHI EHRLICH
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