VOLUME 6 | ISSUE 1 | OCTOBER 2016
YOUR MAG V O L U M E 6 | I S S U E 1 | O C TO B E R 2 0 1 6
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
M E G A N C AT H E Y
ARIELA RUDY ZALTZMAN
S H AW N M C N U L T Y - KOWA L
TA Y L O R R O B E R T S
K AT J A V U J I A
SAVA N N A H S T R A N G E &
KALA SLADE &
Assistant Talent Manager
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 PEÃ‘A, ALICIA TOPOLNYCKY, DYLAN PEARL, EMILY CROWE DESIGN TEAM: DAYSIA TOLENTINO, MARYAM FASSIHI, VANNI GODFREY, AWING HUANG, LVWENYU ZHANG, BOBBY NICHOLAS III, AMANDA GUTIERREZ, NATALIE GALE, BENIC HAN
YMEMERSON.COM | INSTAGRAM: YOUR.MAG | TWITTER: @YOURMAGEMERSON
ot too long ago I visited World’s End, a
lingering uncertainty that dwelled in every deci-
conservation park in Hingham, MA, to
sion we made. But what uncertainty tends to do is
Instagram see a new installation aptly ti-
shove: it makes us think harder, push harder, ask
tled New End by Jeppe Hein. A labyrinth composed
more questions and grow more—or, well, begin
of mirrors placed in a secluded coastal landscape,
the artwork is meant to inspire one to become more
Without the individuals who trusted them-
present and at peace with oneself. With that in
selves and each other, Your Mag would cease to
mind, I went into the maze hoping that the nine-
exist. I’m not proposing some believe-in-each-oth-
feet-tall reflective panels would help pave way
er-and-all-will-be-all-right sentiment; rather, I’ve
towards self-discovery in my final semester.
come to learn that uncertainty and crippling doubt
Unlikely. What I saw in the reflections was not my true self deep within; instead, I saw my current
aren’t necessarily synonymous, especially with a phenomenally dedicated, loving team.
self, unsure about the present, unwilling to think
With that, I’m pleased to present to you the
about the future, facing impending unemploy-
beginning of us celebrating more ways in which
ment armed only with a houseplant named Virgil, a
we can write, photograph, design, illustrate, and
borrowed bicycle and a decapitated succulent.
create. Instead of operating within the super-
Several days after marinating in my state of
cluster of our own thoughts, we’re incorporating
disgruntled restlessness, I had a realization. I’d left
that of others through conversation and investiga-
World’s End less at peace with myself and the fu-
tion, reaching beyond the confines of exec.
ture, but fierce uncertainty oftentimes precedes one thing: growth. Last semester, Your Mag lost our editor in chief, managing, creative, and (two) web editors to the adult world, and so our semester began with
So if you read and see things you never thought to see in Your Mag (think: poems, recipes, nightcrawlers), remember that we’re growing. I couldn't be prouder of us and of our first issue of the year. I hope you take your time with it.
Working Creatively With Your Love Interest
If Only We Could Date Our Dogs
Avocado Blueberry Muffins
Song of Herself
Breathe, It's Just Anxiety
arts & entertainment 50
Everything is Everything
Not Longer A Teenager, Not Quite An Adult
Feminism in Football
Working Creatively with Your Love Interest WRITTEN BY ALICIA TOPOLNYCKY P H O TO B Y S A M A N T H A M U S TA R I
s a videographer and director he is more dom-
while filming). But for some reason I felt like Luke being
inant, less insecure, and a little less patient.
complimented for making a tin can twitch, while Yoda
This is the thing he takes ownership of, like I
was creating a steel castle with his mind.
take ownership of my writing, and it is obvious how we
The following recommendations were the missing
ended up in two different roles for our project. We were
links during my own experience: the things I needed but
two parts of a five person team entered into Emerson’s 48
didn’t act on.
Hour Film Competition. He, the leader and teacher. Me, the observer.
1. The most important thing is to carve out your own
The world is rife with advice about how to work
space in the project—claim a talent that the other
alongside your significant other. The most common com-
doesn’t have so you never feel superfluous. If you
mandment is Thou Shalt Not Mix Work and Play. You
don’t know about camera angles, focus on upholding
are encouraged to separate your creative life from your
the continuity of each shot—use your eye for detail.
romantic life; after all, it’s as easy to slip back into “profes-
Channel your ability to talk to people by organizing
sional colleague” as it is to pull on a raincoat at the door
marketing, or your artistic skills to design the poster.
of your suite. Tongues in mouths and pens on paper exist
This idea applies to any collaboration, like being in a
in two different dimensions, and for good reason: nothing
study group or group project with your partner.
would ever get done. Except that’s bullshit.
2. Above all, you need to talk to them: fear is nothing ex-
The cheap and obvious answer is that having a good
cept the absence of communication. There were times
relationship will mean having a good work relationship.
I should have spoken up, but chose not to and now I
But while our good relationship meant kisses after a suc-
can only wonder what would have happened if I did.
cessful shot, I was still left with other feelings, too: did I
Would we have gotten into a fight? Would he have liked
contribute at all? I was the journalism major posing as a
my idea, seen me in a new light? Confronting my in-
VMA, hoping desperately to learn and mimic what they
securities with him as they rose up might have slowed
did. Did I compromise and swallow criticisms because I
us down, but it also wouldn’t have hit me so hard after
was an outsider, or because I felt deferential to him?
I can’t help but feel smaller than him. I didn’t understand his reasoning for certain creative choices, cutting
3. And finally, set up an opportunity for them to watch
this, spending more time on that. I worry that he doesn’t
you doing something you’re great at. We had shared
think I’m smart because when he’s admiring classic direc-
our poetry with each other before but he didn’t truly
tors all I am qualified to do is admire his intellect. And,
see how I had a writer’s mind until I helped craft the
because he’s good, he’s given me reassurances about this.
film’s story. Someone in their element is someone at
He liked the fact that I wasn’t perturbed by his idiosyn-
their sexiest—and we could all stand to see a little more
crasies on set (like the orange socks he religiously wears
of that. YM
4 | YOURMAG
ROMANCE | 5
If Only We Could Date Our Dogs WRITTEN BY MIA EK P H O TO G R A P H Y B Y TA R I K T H O M P S O N
went on a Tinder date last night and surprise, it was a disaster.
The Spontaneous One: We all know that little doggies are always
At every awkward silence, she gushed over Kanye West and how
filled with energy and within the first few weeks of “dating” they’ll
she couldn’t believe she missed his Boston performance. As for
sweep you off your feet. Your Chihuahua or Shih Tzu will take you on
my opinion on the controversial rapper...let’s just say the date didn’t
the most adventurous walks you will ever be on, constantly chang-
ing direction and pulling ahead. As the weeks pass, you may even
Exhausted from another disappointing date, I started thinking
think to yourself that this is the kind of dog you’ve always wanted.
maybe I should give up on people all together. Be alone for the rest of
But as the months go by, you might start to realize this pup has no
my life, surrounded by cats. But this comes with its own issues, one
off switch. They’re always on the go and never seem to stop so you
being I’m allergic.
can just Netflix and chill. And as the binge watching netflixer you are,
As I contemplated what to do about my love life, my mom sent a
you feel like you have to say goodbye. Before letting the spontaneous
picture of my puppy. That’s when it hit me. What if I could I date my
little pup of your dreams go, you decide to give him one last chance.
dog? If I just take other people out of the equation then the problems
Unfortunately, she/he can’t even get through the episode without
would be erased, wouldn’t they?
having to go outside and pee every 5 minutes. You officially end it
6 | YOURMAG
because, let’s be honest, at the end of the day sometimes you just want
no better breed to fulfill this role than the pitbull. These pups have a
someone who will eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s with you while
hard exterior that makes people think they won’t let anyone in. Until
watching the entire season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, no ques-
one day you guys walk hand in hand and he seems to understand you
tions asked. I know I do.
instantly. You realize he’s actually the sweetest pup you’ve ever met. He cuddles with you, shows up at your apartment/dorm with ice cream
The Clinger: This dog is beyond loyal. Have you ever seen a golden re-
in hand, and to top it all off, he’ll snuggle and watch hours of Gossip
triever with their owner? They never leave their side and if the owner
Girl with you even though he knows you’ve already gone through the
ever leaves this dog at home he/she will sit and wait right by the door
season twice. These pups have a bad reputation because of how people
halting their whole day until their owner returns. Your relationship
have treated them, putting them into dog fights and subjecting them
with a golden would be just like this. You walk down the street and
to other abuse. This past has left them with major emotional scars that
they’ll be on your heels. You turn a corner and there they are. So, if
asks the owner to be patient enough to allow enough time for the trust
you’re feeling a little lonely, this pup is a perfect cure, always down
to build between them. Once this trust is built, you and your pup will
for a good ole’ stay-at-home-cuddle-and-order-Chinese-food kind of
have an undeniable connection. To be with this kind of dog you have
night. However, after the initial loneliness you felt while single, this
to be serious, ready for the time it’ll take for your pup to open up, and
dog’s constant presence can be a bit overwhelming. You go out for a
aware that some scars aren’t an easy fix.
girl’s night and he/she is waiting by the door for your return, not quite comprehending what “me” time is. In other words, he/she becomes a
The Cougar: To many, the sophistication of an older woman or man
clinger. Barking at you if you leave him/her in a room for longer than
can be alluring. This is no different with dogs. Older dogs are already
5 minutes, even if it’s only a trip to the restroom. By the end of this
potty trained, know exactly what to do during “play time”, and will
puppy relationship you’ll long for a day when you don’t have to hide
gladly take naps with you. Basically, all the hard work has been done in
out in your closet for some peace and quiet.
the doggies’ previous relationships. However, as you go on you realize that there are some downsides to this older pup. They always scatter
The Athlete: If you are the workout kind of gal then this pup is the one
food all over the floor when they eat and no matter how hard you try,
for you. Athletic dogs like boxers need a crazy amount of walking per
you can’t seem to get them to keep the food in the bowl. But that’s the
day to stay in shape, similar to one of those gym rats that likes to spend
price you have to pay with older dogs, they’re going to be set in their
at least an hour and a half in the gym every day to keep up their mus-
cle definition. This will be great at first if you feel like you need new motivation to exercise, but be wary that every date may turn itself into
After contemplating the different kinds of pups out there, I real-
a workout— whether it’s another hike, yoga in the dog park at sunset,
ized I needed a little mix of everything. A bit spontaneous, a bit of a
a run on the beach, or a trip to the gym when you’re both out of date
snuggler, slightly mysterious, and a whole lot of sophistication. Now, a
ideas. For some people who aren’t avid gym goers this may get tiring.
girl can’t have everything she wants, so I ended up with a cute 7-year-
You might want to just drive somewhere or go to the movies. If you ar-
old Chihuahua mix from the pound who yes, does take me on crazy
en’t up for the constant stream of strenuous activities, this is definitely
walks through the streets of Boston, but luckily, being a little older he
not the pup for you. But why not try him out? He is so gosh darn cute
gets tired before we go too far.
and plus he/she has abs…or I guess in the doggy world, calves?
And after a couple weeks I ended up downloading Tinder again because even though dogs are great and all, I started to miss the swip-
The Misunderstood Rebel: There is a time in every woman’s and
ing. And we’re all swiping addicts, aren’t we? This time around though,
man’s life where they date the rebel, and in the dog world there is
I’ll be sure to put NO KANYE LOVERS at the top of my bio.
ROMANCE | 7
A LETTER WRITTEN BY ANONYMOUS
i had a dream last night and you were there. saturday never happened, but then i woke up and it was sunday. emotions running wild for two months the inertia of it all finally coming to a grinding halt as i climbed aimlessly through a window thinking nothing but blank thoughts, melancholy madness, and a stubbornness to reject the truth that this was finally over. when you came i was unprepared but after all it was your space so that never was a possibility never a right i had. your eyes were glazed over with exhaustion as your friend yelled at me, (i won’t remind either of us of what was said, it’s permanently etched into memory) and all i did was nod. you know something is wrong when you have to beg love to stay would we have made it if life hadn’t been crazy? i want to believe in that possibility but memory is unreliable— a subjective conundrum that will bend truths tell white lies, anything to give you a good night’s sleep there is no way to sugarcoat abuse or romanticize toxic love rose tinted glasses staring at an eclipsed sun burning, burning, burning but not knowing it is blinding blinding blinding then there was another, standing in silence head shaking; they knew it would be like this— we ended in flames and it wasn’t a surprise i fulfilled a prophecy you’d been told you all along proving them right, humiliating you and myself both. 8 | YOURMAG
we were staring into each other's eyes in a new way, a terrible way. i wanted to mouth the words to you, “i love you”, and “i'm sorry” but you had no room for those utterances— so i laid completely still on your floor, forelegs pulsing from bruises inflicted by windowsill i remember the anthem of our last week together, it went “be gentle, be gentle, be gentle” my love had been a slow, steady strangulation when i finally thought i was getting it right you were heaving from another blow, from new york to your gut, you were then caught between two riptides of sickness: he and me until yours finally became equal in size (sickness has a way of permeating any and all sanity, rationality) i watched it drag you under— sleepless nights, sleep filled days you were preoccupied with a looming threat that grew bigger with every “are you okay”, “what’s on your mind” responding with agitation and frustration, saturated in anxiety from empty promises to you that i'd be better soon offering strength you knew i didn’t have trying to redeem myself as you slowly came undone— just a little too late in a very big way your blank stares, calling me baby, but i knew that was just for me, “please don’t call me that” you said it was high time for us to just move on my numb heart and dry eyes looking up at you in longing you, sick of my antics, i wanted to tell you you looked beautiful in your mustard yellow jumper god, you have always been so enchanting and i am calling you God, that that color was yours, it was made for you but i kept that inside and continued to mumble words you told me you had no time for my whispering i wanted to tell you i had no energy left to speak any louder
ROMANCE | 9
it was the best we could do trying to swim against tides so strong i wondered what we’d done to offend the moon so bad kicking back dark water beneath us we sent sos flares into a black sky that only swallowed them up trying desperately to speak languages so different all we accomplished was to waste our breath picturing you alone in that living room rolling into the center of an airbed that once brought our excited and timid lips together as it folded in on itself pushing me into you pushing into me mouths locked in a longing embrace and already i could taste the words “i love you” here i was, an uninvited guest barging in like a rebel without a cause you started to yell and i knew the whole world could hear but i deserved every word and the tug of your hand telling me to get up and get the fuck out get the fuck out, get the fuck out, fuck out of here the final fuck we never had today i mixed the color of your bed because i miss sleeping in it. cadmium yellow (medium), dioxazine purple. oil paints that stain, impossible to wash off without using chemicals clear as water light brown purple, or light purple brown i will never forget i went to wash my hands beads of oily water tinted purple-you. had to drench my hands in chemicals to clean you away still bit my fingers. then hearing your name, called out by the friend, rattling of thin walls as the front door slammed shut cocaine bravery making me invincible to the humiliation and realization that i'd gone too far and you were truly gone you had been for a very long time sitting beside you on that bed it was december 11th thinking about how long i had waited for someone like you to come my way open me up and pour me out 10 | YOURMAG
i felt humanity’s ageless desire to go back in time, before our love was a disaster-what you call a two way street what i call a double edged sword— neither interpretations any less right or wrong than the other to a time when all we saw was a clandestine beam of light, giddy from the prospects of love to come what a time that was what a time that was, baby before everyone looked at us and frowned before we looked at each other and cried i should’ve let you go, but then again i should’ve done a lot of things— things i should’ve done for the sake of me if i believed you i would’ve done the right thing did i ignore reality for all this time or did we never see eye to eye whatever it was, what a ride, huh what a crazy, instantaneous, wayward nirvana that brought us, here, i am now with bruised knees from a window sill, white stains on black pants, soiled dignity and broken heart, a sore body from this directionless and dreary war, haunting memories of what was, and painful, excruciatingly painful imaginations of what might have been— i say with stoicism, borrowed from a better time, without a single doubt in my mind, i loved you. i loved you fiercely.
ROMANCE | 11
PHOTOGRAPHY ALLISON NGUYEN
STYLING MIA ZARRELLA LINDSEY GOLDIN
C R E AT I V E D I R E C T I O N ERIK LY
NIGHTCRAWLER ISABEL CRABTREE ERIK LY
K AT YA K AT S N E L S O N MILES METCALF
COUPLING A LO O K AT CLOTHES + CLOSE R E L AT I O N S H I P S
24 | YOURMAG
W R I T T E N B Y M E G A N C AT H E Y P H O TO S B Y C A I T L I N S TA S S A , D E L I A C U R T I S , A L L E N M O U , A N D A L L I S O N N G U Y E N
e form emotional bonds to items of clothing. Maybe
Yet American culture seems to wrongly believe that the only
it’s the ratty sneakers that have been trashed from one
sharing of clothing within relationships is a woman wearing her
too many parties. Or a signature leather jacket that
boyfriend’s clothing. Clothing styles are named after this concept:
always garners compliments. We become attached to certain clothes
“boyfriend” jeans, “boyfriend” jackets, etc. Boyfriend clothing is
because they make us feel like the best versions of ourselves, but also
oversized and baggier and therefore supposed to give off the illusion
because they remind us of certain memories. Likewise, some cloth-
that a woman borrowed the item from her boyfriend (because the
ing can remind of us of the people we’re close to. We see an article
man in the relationship is supposed to be bigger of course!).
of clothing and think so-and-so would love that.
A woman wearing “boyfriend” clothing is stylish, whereas
In relationships, just as we learn about the nuances and ticks
a man wearing more fitted, feminine clothing is a punchline. But
of the other’s personality, we begin to understand their style—what
more men are starting to normalize wearing women’s clothing like
they like, what they would wear. At the beginning of their relation-
Jaden Smith, Young Thug, and Jared Leto to name a few.
ship, Annie Bojanowski ‘17 and Matthias Kelley ‘18 tried to buy clothes for each other, without success.
Matthias isn’t opposed to the idea of wearing Annie’s clothes. “I don’t think I’ve ever worn [her] clothes,” he says. “I should wear
“That was stupid,” says Matthias. “But now I feel like we could
your clothes,” he tells her. Matthias has a few ideas of what he would
[buy clothes for each other].” After dating for nearly two years,
borrow: Annie’s short overalls, her blue polo with a lobster on it,
Annie and Matthias understand what the other likes in terms of
and her cropped tee shirt with an alien design. Annie does borrow
style. “Matthias has a casual style but it’s interesting,” says Annie.
Matthias’ clothing. “I mostly wear his shirts and sweaters,” she says.
They haven’t bought clothes for each other in a while, but they do enjoy browsing vintage stores on Instagram together. Elise Van Heuven ‘19 and Sara Nagie ‘19 have been dating for six months and already have a good sense of the other’s style. “Sara’s
The “boyfriend” concept in women’s clothing is also heteronormative, because clearly not all women are interested in men. When some women borrow clothing from their significant other, it’s not always from a “boyfriend.”
style is bold, fun, and loud,” says Elise. “But she always manages to
The convenience of living close together means that Elise and
pull it off.” Elise’s style is more reserved, but that’s not to say it’s bor-
Sara share clothes often. “I steal her stuff a lot,” says Elise. In partic-
ing. “Elise’s style is sharp, put together, and clean cut,” says Sara. But
ular, borrowing Sara’s thrift store tee shirts. Sara likes to wear Elise’s
Elise also throws shirts with crazy patterns into the mix.
big sweaters and other comfortable clothing. “I like to borrow her
When we spend enough time with a person, we usually notice
comfy clothes because I don’t buy comfy clothes for myself.”
staple items in their wardrobe. “Matthias’ staple is an eye-catching
Just as we admire certain qualities about a significant other—
tee-shirt,” says Annie. “My shirts are simplistic, but not simple,”
their intelligence, their humor, their compassion—we also admire
Matthias adds. Meanwhile Annie’s staples are leggings. “Lots of
their style. Matthias thinks Annie has an amazing hat and shoe col-
leggings,” says Matthias. Elise says that Sara gravitates to funny
lection, while Annie loves his eclectic style and considers him to be
graphic tee shirts, whereas Elise’s go-to is her pair of pointed black
We may notice how our partner’s style is a reflection of their
Clothing has currency within romantic relationships. Sharing
personality. “Elise’s style is put together, and she has her life to-
clothes suggests a level of loyalty and intimacy. The high school ath-
gether,” says Sara. Or our partner may encourage us to step out-
lete giving his girlfriend his letterman jacket in the tired pop culture
side our comfort zones. Sara’s vibrant and fun wardrobe doesn’t just
trope shows that he’s serious about her. However, sharing clothing
compliment her outgoing personality, it also has inspired Elise to
within a relationship is definitely not just reserved for heterosexual
try new things. Elise says, “I admire how confident [Sara] is in her
clothes, and her skin.” YM
STYLE | 25
Buzz Off WRITTEN BY LINDSAY SIMMONS
I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
26 | YOURMAG
t is hard to find solace in a cold, overly-mirrored room that’s bursting with small talk and the smell of wet, dead hair. Lots of hair. There is nowhere to hide in a hair salon or barbershop, the
places where our hair goes to die. Should we look up and dare to lock
when she saw my shaved head. One of my grandma’s friends from
eyes with ourselves in the mirror? Is the path to safety hidden in one
church had asked her if I was gay,” Barber says. She pauses for a
of the billowing folds of our one-size-fits-all smocks?
beat before breaking into a beautiful grin and adding, “I said, ‘Yeah,
These moments of confusion, even fear—wherein we question
grandma, I’m queer as hell.’” Barber acknowledges that hair doesn’t
everything about our decision to cut away at our precious hairy
define who we are, but is fully aware of its power to change percep-
manes—are products of societal expectations of women. We are to
tions. Whether they are the perceptions others have of us or how
cherish, primp, and grow out our hair so it is the best replication of
we look at ourselves, the styling of our hair has an impact. In fact,
Shampoo Commercial Blake Lively or Sofia Vergara. Which, seeing
another woman was inspired by Barber’s cut. “I told her why I shaved
as there can only be one Blake and Sofia, this is quite the impossible
my head and the next day she sent me pictures of her own shaved
head.” The only reason masculinity and femininity are associated with
Like Barber’s acquaintance, many of us find courage in others—
hair length is because we’ve made it so. As with all gender norms, the
and with those who are inspired, come the inspirations. Xia Rondeau
policing of women’s hair is irrational and emotionally charged. We
‘17, is a muse for those of us seeking such innovation. When she
see contestants on America’s Next Top Model wailing in salon chairs
made the decision to shave her head, Rondeau did so in a quest for
as their hair is chopped off, piling up in a circle around their feet.
personal solace and art—two things that are hard to find in the four
What a cruel fate for their femininity! For long hair is womanly and
white walls of your local Supercuts. “I shaved my head in a room
beautiful—the perfect gender definer. To take that away is to alter the
with two of my best friends in the world, and they helped me film
world’s perception of a woman’s gender.
it,” Rondeau says.
Despite the gendered hair propaganda surrounding us, there
Rondeau speaks of a sense of freedom when her hair had been
are still women who dare to bare the head beneath their hair. Sara
at its shortest prior to being shaved. It was on Halloween, a night
Barber, ‘19, saw shaving her head as an opportunity for enhanced
where everyone around her was finding comfort in confused, cos-
self-love. “When I decided to shave my head, I was just walking
tumed conformity. She experienced a euphoria unique to when a
down Harvard Avenue in Allston. My friend asked me, ‘Do you want
woman cuts her hair. “It was like a switch turned on. I felt completely
to shave your head? I’ll pay.’ I thought, why not get a free haircut? So
different, and looking back I realized that if having short hair felt that
three years after I first contemplated shaving my head, I was finally
good, shaving my head would feel really really good,” she says.
brave enough to do it.”
On the night of shaving her hair, some months after the initial
Working up the courage to defy societal beauty standards un-
short haircut, Rondeau contemplated art and gender—both individ-
doubtedly takes time, not to mention an increased understanding as
ually and in tandem—with her two closest confidants. “When I had
to why such courage is necessary. Why are we, as women, trained to
long hair it felt like a masquerade of femininity. I didn’t feel like the
be so emotionally attached to our hair? “Hair is a shield to defend
woman I wanted to be. So when I was shaving my head I wanted it to
yourself from people. Without it you have to embrace who you are
feel like a release. [My friends] wanted to capture that release for me,”
and what you look like, not what people expect you to look like,”
Rondeau says. It was a success as individuals and artists. Rondeau
was thrilled with her newfound femininity and her friends saw the
Barber also knows from firsthand experience the surprisingly
beauty in her confidence.
political nature of a woman’s haircut. After going from a longer
Despite the obvious comfort that comes with many women’s
hairstyle to a shaved head, people—both those close to her and
decisions to shave their heads, the cut continues to raise questions
strangers—made assumptions about her identity. “My dad told me
for others. They insist women are losing their femininity by shaving
[shaving my head] made too big of a political statement,” Barber says.
their heads. Yet Barber, Rondeau, and many others have never felt
She had made the cut after some years of debate because Barber had
more womanly—or alive—than once they have shaved their heads.
reached a place of content and self-acceptance. What about that is so
“I did this to redefine what it means to be feminine, and it felt good
political? Apparently, our hair’s very sexual and gender-based nature.
to my soul,” says Rondeau.
Many people assume a woman with a shaved head is more masculine than feminine, or gay—both stereotypes that are often untrue. “My grandma, who goes to church every Sunday, called me
And what the naysayers don’t seem to understand is that bald women of the world can no longer sense the negativity around them. They are too damn happy feeling free. YM
STYLE | 27
N ATA L I E G A L E
ALI HASIB MARYAM FASSIHI
28 | YOURMAG
a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.
36 | YOURMAG
YOURMAG | 37
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 WEB DIRECTOR JOANNE PAQUIN’S FAVORITE THINGS
What are six objects that you can’t live without and why?
Massachusetts. We received a lot of strange looks, but we
ukulele, my notebook, my hedgehog lamp, and my fish,
the onesies were keeping us very warm.
Six objects I can’t live without are my plants, my iPod, my Gilbert. My plants—my succulents, my cacti, and my ferns—
accepted them with enthusiasm because it was fun and
keep me grounded. They add repose to my life. My iPod
Do you collect anything? If so, what?
dane moments of life. My ukulele and notebook help me
sticker and Mod Podge it to my little, blue carry-on suit-
keeps me creative. It adds emotion and stories to the mun-
express myself. I can scratch or strum my emotions away with a pen or pick in my hand. My hedgehog lamp reminds me of my closest friends and that there are people out there who know me incredibly well. My fish, Gilbert, keeps me humble. He reminds me that nobody is perfect, particularly when I forget to feed him first thing in the morning.
What’s the most memorable thing you’ve given someone?
When I travel to a different country, I like to purchase one
case. Usually the sticker is of the country’s flag or crest, but sometimes it’s a catchphrase, like iamsterdam. Either way, the sticker is a representation of the country I’ve been to. I started collecting these stickers during my semester
abroad and have amassed quite the collection. They hold
so many memories and make me feel thankful for all the travel opportunities I’ve had.
I once gave my friend a book published with letters and
What’s something you’ve had for the longest time? (Or,
and postcards were notes of struggle, pain, unexpected
postcards from the PostSecret campaign. In these letters
joy, and confusion. Compiled, these notes showed that
certain problems, feelings, and thoughts are collective.
They proved that other people experienced them, too, and I think my friend really needed to read that. The hug I received from her was so sincere and intense, it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
What’s the most unusual thing you own?
Probably my giant Stitch onesie. It was a gift from my friend
Torin last Christmas. She gave all of my friends one, and we
wore them to a Christmas light celebration in Springfield, 38 | YOURMAG
rather, what’s something you’ve had for as long as you
I’ve had my stuffed dog, Brownie, since I was four years old. He’s a puppet, and I vaguely remember seeing him in
a store when my family visited Nantucket Island one summer. I think my mom must have noticed my infatuation with the puppet, because a few minutes later she came out of
the store holding him as if he were a real dog, making him
yip and yap. I was so happy. I named him Brownie and brought him with me everywhere for years and years. His fur is now matted and his nose is scuffed up, but he still sits
on my bed. When I get home from school or work, I always give him a slight pat on the head. YM
LIVING | 39
40 | YOURMAG
PUBLIC TRUST PHOTOS BY AND WRITTEN BY SOPHIE PETERS-WILSON
“I promise to merge art and conversation” For the past three weeks, promises have circulated Boston. In an interactive local artwork titled “Public Trust” by Paul Ramirez Jonas, viewers are invited to make professional promises that are then plastered up on a billboard alongside daily headline promises from government figures, corporations, and celebrities. A rubbing with each person's promise is made as a basic contract. Participants are then asked to mark it either with their signature, thumbprint, or a drop of blood. The final step is confirming the promise by swearing on something personally sacred, among these options is the U.S. Constitution, the Bible, or a simple pinky promise. “I promise to never again apologize for who I am" “Public Trust” has travelled between three local places. After starting in Dudley, it then made its way to Kendall, and ultimately ended up in Copley Square in Boston. The promises made at each location were distinctly diverse. When I spoke with some of the volunteers, they mentioned a brief anecdote about a homeless man that participated in the piece when it was in Dudley Square. He powerfully promised to try and ‘change his attitude’ towards life and to become more motivated. The promises in Kendall were primarily from MIT students so they circulated around drastically different subjects. The same goes for Copley Square where mostly tourists visited the piece. “I promise not to be a silent bystander” The piece asks us to “consider the meaning of a promise during a time when words matter.” Not only is this something to consider in the context of the upcoming presidential election, but also with regard to so many other present global topics. While waiting in line to participate in the piece, I started to think carefully about the wording of my promise. The weight of my words truly mattered. My heart started beating so rapidly when I finally stepped up to the table. Though the promise was something that I had always held privately with the utmost intention, something about putting it out there, on a huge billboard for everyone to see, made my intimate vow so public. Hence the title, Public Trust. “I promise to be more present” This piece is not just about putting our trust in strangers around us. It is also about finding the confidence to embrace our own promises, however small they may be. The effect of Public Trust is almost therapeutic for both participants and observers. By embracing boldness and disregarding external judgment, we can open our hearts to both our local and global communities even more. This openness is especially important during a time when conversation matters most. “I promise to manifest the love and kindness I wish for everyone”
LIVING | 41
AV O C A D O BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WRITTEN BY ESTHER BLANCO PHOTOS BY BENIC HAN
henever I’m at a restaurant and there’s an item on the menu that has avocado, all the other plates instantly become inferior. To be honest, I never thought that avocados could be anything but savory, but to my surprise
they are incredibly versatile. It’s a great substitute for meat and butter, especially when you’re baking! Plus, it’s a good fatty food. It is often considered an aphrodisiac (and rightly so!); it has numerous vitamins, can be used in your hair and skin, and tastes delicious. I still haven’t come across a dish that isn’t improved when guacamole or avocado is added to it. What more could we ask for? In my quest for finding the perfect avocado-based pastry, I tried avocado brownies and plain avocado muffins, but nothing compares to these avocado blueberry muffins. It is the ideal amalgamation of velvety and fruity flavors. Besides being easy to make, they also last a long time. If you want them to last for a couple of days, I would suggest double wrapping them in Saran wrap.
*ORIGINAL RECIPE CAN BE FOUND ON GIMMESOMEOVEN.COM 42 | YOURMAG
Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners or reusable silicone cupcake cups (these are one of the best inventions in culinary history, it makes cleaning and removing the cupcakes out of the mold a thousand times easier!).
M U F F I N B AT T E R 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder
In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,
½ tsp. baking soda
and cinnamon. Hint: For the next part it would be helpful to use a hand mixer in order to
½ tsp. salt
blend the avocados into the mix better, but it is not necessary. However, it can quickly get
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
messy, so I would suggest mashing the avocado into a guacamole-like texture before adding
1 ripe avocado; seeded, peeled, and diced
any other ingredients.
¾cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Once the avocado is nice and smooth, add sugar, and mix until well blended. Add egg,
1½ cups fresh blueberries
vanilla, and yogurt, and continue beating until completely combined. Gradually, add
half of the flour mixture into the batter, beating until just combined. Gently fold in the
1 cup Greek yogurt
blueberries by hand; they could break if you use a hand mixer. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. To make the streusel, whisk the ingredients until crumbly, and layer on top of each muffin.
STREUSEL TOPPING 2 tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before eating.
¼ cup raw sugar
LIVING | 43
Song of Herself
i. I celebrate and sing myself, in this bluegold morning light, this religion of breaking down churches to flood with water from the Seine, Lake Michigan; the fountain in my grandparents’ front yard, Corona del Mar
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY
I celebrate: that stone angel, water pooled
in its hands while California dries like a too-thin model tanning in Death Valley with nothing to drink: thirst, skin peeling, this bluegold morning light, religion of breaking down, building, worship in accumulation:
hesitate to introduce singer-songwriter-guitarist-writer-
you, America—land of greenhouses, gas stations,
philosopher-poet Anne Malin Ringwalt as “artist.” The word
plaid skirts in private schools, grease from French fries
to me implies a kind of pretentious loftiness (think: artiste,
and shopping malls, land of grassy sprawl, this bluegold
auteur), which is precisely the opposite of Anne Malin, who is
morning: illuminating cemeteries of mashed cranberries,
incredibly—perhaps alarmingly—humble. And yet I still strug-
red pulp as ancestral drink, ghostconjuring,
gle to find a word that can encompass the creative genius of Anne Malin better than “artist.” Anne Malin creates deliberately, diligently, and with more
age-old thirst in night club or sauna: so America, dehydrated, to flood through with what I make with holy
passion and less self-promotion than anyone I’ve met. To say
accumulation: this Rimbaud, du Pre, Tom Waits, Cleopatra,
that she is prolific would be an understatement. Her poetry
this Bonaparte seducing Virgin Mary to a Britney Spears
and prose has appeared in more than twenty literary journals
song, radio static, wooly mammoth carnival, this bluegold
(both online and print), she’s received multiple awards for her
light when I drive through you listening to Fratres, Arvo Part
writing (think: YoungArts Finalist, U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts semi-finalist, a national gold medal for Scholastic Art
My body of many, gutted: to flood through
and Writing Awards), she’s performed her original music at a
with what I make, contain, accumulate: sweat on my collar-
plethora of shows (including Rookie Magazine’s Yearbook Two
bone, sweat on the backs of my thighs, sweat on my lips
launch at the New Yorker Festival and the YoungArts Backyard
even as I fuse landscape, sensation, O, body,
Ball), she was a fellow at the Beargrass Writing Retreat, and has
gutted: to sing itself
released four records (she’s currently working on a debut EP for her folk duo, Fawn, set to release next month). She most
recently read her poetry at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and will be presenting at the New York Theological Seminary later this
What I like, I fill with beyond fluorescent screen:
month. If anything, Anne Malin has earned an unironic ‘e’ at
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
the end of “artist.”
this sacrament, bleeding heart, this Cambridge flower shop,
At one of our lunches on a Thursday afternoon, I asked her if I could record our conversation, hoping it might reveal
this family portrait among flora, body lilting before stained glass, this funeral and baptism, cataclysmic fog, forest fire mountainside
what makes her both so lyrical and so grounded. Printed here is Anne Malin’s poem Song, which meditates on the act of writing,
—cut open by river:
inspired by Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. Directly following is a conversation she and I had, also (kind of) about writing. It
Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
has been transcribed here in (almost) its entire unedited glory.
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
It might not have answers, but it’s oddly fascinating nonetheless
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
to juxtapose a form of literature so meticulously composed with a pseudo-journalistic chat over orzo salads and tea.
—on a Sunday: nine hours, ten? Coffee-fueled in cathedral? Have I reckoned the earth? Have I—cut open by river?
44 | YOURMAG
iii. Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) —possess MacBooks propped open on library stacks, drunken walks through art museum halls, possess iPhones alit with the BBC News, violence illumine —possess, beyond fluorescent screen: privilege, protest, hands up, thinking how can I change —possess, on a Sunday: nine hours, ten? Coffee-fueled in cathedral? Have I reckoned the earth? —the good of the earth and sun, there are millions —the good of my body of many, to flood through in this bluegold morning light, O thirsty America, possess the good of the earth and sun, unknown bodies on rafts, unknown bodies at sea Have I created to change? iv. —the good, my body of many —the good that floods through in this bluegold morning light O America, thirsty Unknown bodies on rafts, unknown bodies at sea, to flood through in this bluegold morning light, O thirsty bodies at sea, unknown You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self— that stone angel, on a Sunday: cut open by prayer to filter poem like purified water, old jewelry turned to gold, old centuries, poem like: antiques mined, heart of sacrament, bleeding heart, Cambridge flower shop poem like: this funeral and baptism, this death/rebirth, this cleansing in California, oxymoronic: to accumulate water in a dry land, to write, to sweat and shape it v. Look up: beyond fluorescent screen —Here this family portrait of accumulation, pile of voices, diachronic choir, stone angels, grandmother, mother, baby in the womb Look up, up to the diachronic choir: I celebrate myself, and sing myself in this bluegold morning, light, old jewelry turned to gold, amethyst, quartz, these voices purified, to write, to sweat and shape it, to write, to sweat and shape it LIVING | 45
AMR: How was my weekend? It was good. This [gestures to her
PP: I saw that. Celebrating yourself and stuff.
quinoa] is also really good. AMR: Yeah! So I was approached by the YoungArts foundation. PP: What did you read from?
I had gotten an award for a short story I wrote when I was a senior in high school and they approached me again last fall and
AMR: I read from my poetry manuscript.
said, “We want you to write a poem to base our alumni performance on.” It was for their gala. I said, “Yes please.” They asked
PP: The one that’s going to be published soon.
me to write a poem about the process of writing poems. So that's why I thought Whitman was appropriate as this celebration. I
AMR: Hopefully. That's the dream.
really liked it when we read it in class.
PP: You have so many published poems I can't keep track. And
PP: Perfect timing.
so many albums out. How many records have you released again?
AMR: Totally. I was a very large hermit in the fall.
AMR: Four? Then Will and I have our new EP coming out so,
PP: I remember that. Right now I’m supposed to be reading
yeah. It’s been really fun–oops. [spills quinoa] If you're trying to
publish a manuscript ideally you need half of the poems in the manuscript placed in journals so when you send it to a pub-
AMR: Last semester I went to… somewhere in Ireland. I would
lisher or an agent they see what you're doing and they see that
have a good interview moment for you but I can't remember the
other people are receptive to it. I realized that I'm very close to
name. I went somewhere that was Heaney related.
having half of my poems in journals. PP: Wow. Okay. This is you before you get famous. AMR: No! This is me spilling quinoa on a napkin. PP: I printed out your poem. I’m not very profound or knowledgeable when it comes to poetry, but Song is beautiful. When did you write it? Wait. Was it when we were reading Whitman for class? AMR: Yeah! I based it [off of] Song of Myself.
46 | YOURMAG
PP: That’s okay. How’s Will [her boyfriend]?
back from New York. I get inspired by blurry landscapes a lot. And I write at my place.
AMR: Will's great. PP: Your new studio apartment! How is it? PP: Where do you write your poems? AMR: It's great! I feel it's important to create a space that's conAMR: Anywhere!
ducive to creating. It's definitely my sanctuary.
PP: Wait. Do you base your songs off your poems?
PP: It's a lovely space.
AMR: No, they're totally different. I was talking to my friend
AMR: Thank you. When you said I should hang plants from the
Casey, who you met, about this. We're both in bands and we
pipes from the ceiling I was imagining completely covered and
write poetry and we're talking about how it's so different. He and
I thought how much that would cost.
I both found that sometimes we turn bad poems we write into songs. They're really good songs but they're really bad poems.
PP: That's ideal, but you’re right. Plants are so expensive. How are yours doing?
PP: Does it ever go the other way round? AMR: The aloe? I love it. I love aloe and the idea that a plant AMR: No.
can be a soothing thing. I sing about aloe, actually, in the song version of the poem I sent you. I say something about my broth-
ers cracking aloe leaves and soothing my burns—and by that I mean emotional burns.
AMR: That question is sort of at the back of my mind and I'd like to understand it, but at the same time it's nice to not
PP: Yes. [laughs]
over-analyze all the time. But yeah, I write anywhere. I think the best poems I write when I feel like my mind is going to
AMR: [laughs] Not like literally rubbing aloe on me
explode if I can't get it down. This one time I was on a walk in
Wisconsin and I was visiting my family. I was on a walk along Lake Michigan and all of a sudden lines started forming in
PP: And now you have an [actual] one in your studio.
my mind but I was walking in and I didn't have anything with me so I just started talking to myself. [laughs] Luckily where I
AMR: Yeah, I think aloe is just a really fascinating plant.
live in Wisconsin isn't populated and so if someone saw me...
They're really easy. You only water them every 15 days. How are yours?
PP: It's not like Boylston. PP: My snake plant? He's well. Instead of a plate I bought this, I AMR: Yeah, exactly. You know how I can't run? My knees are
don’t know, this spinning plate type thing that you put fruit on
really messed up because I trained in ballet when I was younger
or something. Sometimes I'll walk past and spin it. Because liv-
and I had a teacher who forced our turnout so my knees are re-
ing alone—I love it so much, but sometimes I want movement,
ally bad. I can walk, but for exercise I don't run. Anyway, I found
such an urgent need to get home that I just sprinted. Sometimes it's like that. Sometimes… like I just wrote a poem on the bus
AMR: Totally. Me too. YM
LIVING | 47
B R E A T H E, WRITTEN BY JESSICA KASPARIAN
wake up every morning and ask myself the same question:
self-esteem plummeted when I sacrificed org meetings for anx-
Am I okay?
ious nights huddled in my room.
Ultimately, I know I am, but some days I wake up feel-
Many students grapple with the same pressure to prioritize
ing paralyzed. The sun is up, the city is stirring, and I am stuck
fully booked schedules over mental health. We have an innate
under my covers.
responsibility to soldier on even when our minds scream at us to
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is easily defined as excessive worrying, but every anxiety sufferer defines it differently based on individual experience.
get the hell out of a stressful situation. “My breathing is usually the give-away and I know I need to get out of a situation fast,” says Ashley Dunn, ‘18. “I've had
I was diagnosed with GAD and Panic Disorder when I was
to leave class, leave the tap desk in the Little Building, and even
11 years old. Under my psychiatrist’s advisement, I treated it with
leave my shared double to find a more private space to freak out.”
the same medication for eight years, until my life came to a halt
Dunn, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder nearly 10 years ago,
in December 2014.
describes panic attacks as terrifying. “The actual experience of
I woke up suddenly at 7 a.m. on a day when I was able to
a panic attack for me feels a little bit like drowning without the
sleep in with tense muscles and a familiar pit in my stomach. It
water. I cry every time and my throat closes up. My breathing is
was as if a switch had flipped in my head overnight and panic
very labored and sharp and it's hard for me to talk.”
had set in. I went to sleep a healthy college student and woke up an anxious wreck.
Panic Disorder sufferers often worry so much about the next attack that living in the moment becomes difficult. My own
I changed medications as soon as I went home on winter
anxiety causes me to feel like my world is imploding and I spend
break, but the holidays flew by and I still was not healthy when
my energy worrying about this improbable event rather than
the residence halls reopened. Home being just outside of the city,
I was able to go back and forth while rewiring my brain.
Dunn’s anxiety has limited her in everyday activities, “My
During this time, I could barely recognize myself. My appe-
anxiety always has to arrive uninvited to events like open mics
tite dramatically decreased, I vomited many mornings because
or parties or even just in class. I used to be unable to speak and
of my empty stomach and newly sensitive gag reflex, classes be-
contribute in some classes because my anxiety held me back.”
came hard to sit through, and I felt emotionally drained all the
Crippling anxiety can be conquered by constantly pursuing
time. Navigating college while bouncing from campus to home
the things that scare you. “I still make myself do things I don't
and from calm to panicky proved nearly impossible, and my
want to do,” says Alyssa Perkins, ‘19, another student affected by
48 | YOURMAG
IT’S JUST ANXIETY anxiety. “I wanted to be an Orientation Leader (OL) since before
have a very supportive community around me,” she says. She
I got to Emerson, before I had anxiety, and I didn't let the anxiety
also uses her anxiety as a source of inspiration, “Poetry is my
stop me from doing that. And even though some moments were
biggest form of therapy and I often write about my mental ill-
really awful, a lot of moments were well worth it.” Knowing that
ness, work that I then share at open mics,” she says. “Despite the
regret follows after every missed opportunity, Perkins won’t let
anxiety and worry I often get before performing, I feel a lot better
anxiety rob her of experiences. “As my therapist encouraged me
after sharing my work because I know others can relate.”
to, I can draw on the strength of knowing I did something once and got through it, so I'll be okay if I do another similar thing.”
Corless feels similarly about sharing her struggle. “Something that makes me feel stronger is telling my story,” she
Opportunities to power through anxiety do present them-
says. “I don't ever want people to get to the place I was at last
selves, but it’s important to recognize when outside help is
year, and if I help even one person with their own struggles, I
will have done my job.”
For Meghan Corless, ‘18, that realization came during a
I have recuperated from the anxiety flare up I had freshman
rocky semester last fall, “I just realized that I seriously needed
year, but traces of it linger in my every move. It’s in my shaky
help and if I didn’t get it, I was going to run myself off a cliff.”
legs during class, my blank stares during conversations, and my
Corless, diagnosed with anxiety at age eight, missed a month of
shifty jaw during work. I worry constantly about falling back into
school to receive help at home in Long Island. “I did fall behind,
that frantic state. I agonize over the finicky switch triggering an-
but I wound up making a class up in the summer so I'm fine
other anxiety attack.
now,” Corless says.The decision to go home was a difficult, but
Similar to Dunn and Corless, I feel that reflecting on my
necessary one for her, “Once you realize you deserve help, that's
experience by sharing it with others helps me grow. I’ve learned
like the greatest feeling in the whole world.”
to cope with my anxiety by anticipating it and breaking over-
Whether it’s at a downtown hospital or on campus, working
whelming tasks like traveling into smaller steps. I feel stronger
with a professional to treat anxiety is immensely helpful. Perkins
with each completed step and suddenly the process of flying to a
finds support in her friends and boyfriend while also working
new location isn’t daunting, it’s doable.
with professionals, “I went to ECAPS for a bit last year, and had a therapist over the summer,” she says. Dunn also seeks comfort in friendships, “My friends have all experienced the same anxiety at one point or another and I
The fear of my world imploding has ceased. I’ve stopped seeing my anxiety as destructive and started seeing it as a lesson in resilience. As my mom always says, anxiety cannot kill you. YM
LIVING | 49
50 | YOURMAG
EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING W R I T T E N B Y K AT J A V U J I C PHOTOS BY HANA ANTRIM, EMILY HARRIS, ALLEN MOU, S H A FA Q PAT E L A N D V I V I E N L I U
he music industry is changing rapidly. That’s nothing new—it’s a sentence we’ve all been reading in thousands of articles like this one over the past 10-15 years. I personally am not a music
industry expert. I don’t know the ins and outs of production or what it takes to sell an album. But I don’t have to be an expert to understand that the music industry is experiencing something of a revolution, brought on particularly by the rap and hip-hop sector. Rap has a long history of independent and underground music, but getting signed to a label has always been the indicator of success, the key to going mainstream—until Chance the Rapper came along and changed all that. To my knowledge, he’s the first to find widespread success as an independent artist, and has even prompted award shows to open up categories for albums available only through streaming services. That’s a major change, but even more remarkable is the door he is holding open for independent artists to go big on their own. Signing with a label doesn’t need to be a goal anymore. We’ve all heard stories of artists held back creatively by their labels, as well as those who were barred from making music at all—JoJo and Ke$ha both come to mind. The absence of a label allows artists complete creative control, as well as a more direct channel of communication with fans. And now that Chance has proved it can be done, I’m predicting (and desperately hoping) that more artists will be able achieve that power. Up until recently, it was hard to talk about Chicago-based rapper Noname without mentioning Chance. It still kind of is—her features on his songs have brought about the bulk of her current recognition. The two met as teenagers attending Chicago’s YOUmedia program, described on its official website as “a 21st century teen learning space at Chicago Public Library.” Both show a lot of love for Chicago in their music and on their respective twitter accounts—clearly, that shared space had a major creative impact.
ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT | 51
Noname started out as a poet—in an interview with General
“Warm Enough”, by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment,
Admission, she told John Taylor “Before I started rapping, [Chance]
she’s less of a feature and more of the main event, with Chance the
loved my poetry, so a lot of our relationship was started through our
Rapper and J Cole backing her up. It starts up with birds chirping
love for each other’s art. Like, he would sit and spit me whatever new
along to an ethereal melody, soon joined by Noname’s equally ethe-
raps he had, and I would recite new poetry that I had to him.” She
started to freestyle more and more, and eventually her focus shifted
“Who are you to tell me/I’m not warm enough for summer-
to making music. She started working on her album Telefone in 2013,
time?/I know that I can decide myself/But you don’t know
and blessed us with a long-awaited Soundcloud release on July 26.
me like the sun, you’ve never seen my horizon.”
Soon after, it became available on Apple Music and Spotify.
Then she starts rapping, and the listener is entranced. Noname explores the same duality that we see in her album, that delicate bal-
Telefone marks the start of a new conversation, one that’s all about Noname. There’s so much to analyze; her music is unique, espe-
ance between sun and shadow, in a narrative that focuses on a love story.
cially in a world where it feels like everything has been done at some
It’s not her first time focusing on love in a collaboration with
point or another. But she’s not without influences, of course; in rare
Chance—the first song that really shot her recognition up was his
interviews with Rolling Stone and The FADER, she names musicians
“Lost," in which he is addicted, and she is the drug. But these tracks
like Nina Simone, Andre 3000, and Missy Elliott. She also has literary
are never mere love stories. They explore the empty feeling that marks
influences—Toni Morrison and poet Patricia Smith—but her sound
our generation, how two people can unite to create something mean-
is completely her own. She has a light, almost airy vibe, but she’s able
ingful in the midst of an often miserable, harsh world.
to balance that relaxed sound with some pretty heavy topics. It’s easy
Noname does so well with these serious subjects, yet a lot of her
to hear her experience as a poet; every line fits, every word carries
music is anything but. You can hear how much fun she’s having when
intentionality. This is not an album you can listen to once and form
she freestyles on “Last Dance,” from Lil B and Chance’s Free Based
an opinion. I’ve been listening constantly for the past few weeks and I
Freestyles Mixtape. You know when you’re talking to someone on the
still have more to unpack. It’s got the staying power that three years of
phone, and you can hear them smiling? It’s like that but better.
work is bound to create. There’s a lot going on in the production—she
Born Fatimah Warner, Noname started her music career calling
worked with Saba, Cam O’bi, and Phoelix—it’s layer upon layer of
herself Noname Gypsy, but dropped that second part after learning
instrumentals and interesting sound effects.
of the negative impact of that word for many Romani and Romani-
The features that made her famous are important, too. In
descended people. Which is so cool of her—she is learning and growing just like the rest of us, and she’s honest with the public about that. She’s unafraid to admit flaws and make mistakes, and that’s why we are so ready to forgive her. We don’t often hear people in the public eye, especially artists, say “I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” “Everything is everything.” This is a phrase Noname uses a lot, and it’s a theme that much of her music explores. Nothing happens in a vacuum, everything in the world is connected, we all belong to each other. That sounds a little fake deep when I put it that way, but it’s so cool. She is spreading a philosophy on life that both accepts and questions, analyzes and finds peace. And she’s doing it without a label, in every sense of the word. There are plenty of other independent artists out there determined to make it without a label, and there are those, like Drake and Frank Ocean, who have recently created their own. It’s no surprise that a genre made up of majority black artists is starting this movement. The history of black musicians being exploited by white recording executives goes back as far as the concept of recording labels has existed. Now, it’s finally time for a change. YM
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Sweet Renditions ART BY AND WRITTEN BY SARA BARBER
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ith live music, amplifiers can be heard humming over the rowdiness of a crowd while musicians embrace the vulnerability of their performance. In scope of the DIY scene, personal
creations electrify intimacy and build a community founded in “Doing It Yourself ”. Shows are hosted in people’s basements, local art galleries, and low capacity venues. The audience is only inches away from the performers. Seeing a local show with 10-100 people crowded around, getting to know each other between sets offers a different kind of satisfaction that getting to see Beyoncé strut her stuff on stage in front of thousands of seated people. There is a consensus from avid DIY attendees that the majority of these musicians are approachable and kind, genuinely greeting the people who come out to their shows. This community bonds effortlessly over similar interests. Handmade patches, zines, buttons, and apparel quickly connect people. It is easy to spot someone who is from the DIY scene, as they similarly dress in quirky cute clothing. It is a close-knit yet welcoming and inclusive community. Everyone shares experiences that are outside of the norm and are cultured with underground material that many might not be familiar with. This creates bountiful Bandcamp links to obscure music that shares raw emotion. Many contributors begin as solo artists with a knack for music and evolve in supportive spaces that cultivate creativity. Persistence becomes a celebration of unique, underground art in the thriving DIY company. The heart of the DIY scene thumps to IAN SWEET, a trio of musicians from Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles, but where they’ve ended up is in between Boston and New York, speeding back and forth in their van. IAN SWEET isn’t so concerned with their wheels as they are with enjoying every experience the DIY community has to offer. As Jilian Medford, vocalist and guitarist, says, “For us, touring is about hanging out with our buds. It’s so fun to play every night and meet new people, but we just want to tour with people who want to have fun; like if we see a cliff we want to jump off it.” These memorable experiences also take place in Medford’s residency in Brooklyn with members of Girlpool, Ovlov, and LVL UP, a dynamic combination of artists. While writing IAN SWEET’s latest album, Shapeshifter, Medford was maladjusted to her surroundings. Melancholic tendencies come forth in the lyrics as Medford latches her words onto inanimate objects and creates a physical sense of nostalgic loneliness. As primary lyricist, Medford’s words can feel too heavy to hold, but the band produces a company of readiness for listeners. Words twinged with sadness still encourage listeners to be happy if they want to be. This is a common theme throughout the DIY community that IAN SWEET emphasizes through their music and performance. It is an environment cultivated by eager creativity. YM
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“ F i n d i n g a p l a c e f o r n e w a d u lt w o r k i n t r a d i t i o n a l b o o k s t o r e s c a n b e t r i c k y, i t d e f i e s t r a d i t i o n a l c l a s s i f i c at i o n .”
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No Longer a Teenager, Not Quite an Adult The Sweet Spot of New Adult WRITTEN BY LINDSEY PARADIS PHOTOS BY SOLEIL HYL AND
even years ago, St. Martin’s Press ran a contest requesting
Other authors, such as Jamie McGuire and Abbi Glines have
“cutting-edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly
followed suit in self-publishing their work, marking a trend for the
older than young adults (YA)... fiction similar to YA that
genre as a whole. That is to say, many new adult books are being
can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an older YA or new adult.”
released by the author, primarily in eBook format. This is because finding a place for new adult work in tradi-
Readers and writers alike clung to the phrase new adult—pub-
tional bookstores can be tricky, after all. A steamy and damaging
lishers and bookstores not so much. But the genre was born without
college football romance doesn’t belong on the same shelf as a John
them, with indie and self-published writers tapping away at their
Green novel. Nor does it belong with Nora Roberts or Junot Díaz. It
keys and doing it well themselves.
defies traditional classification.
The new adult genre, as it’s known today, typically focuses on
But, with the genre finding spots on the New York Time Bestseller
characters aged between eighteen and thirty. It involves mature
list, publishers have started to change their tune. Experimental pub-
themes that might be glossed over or not included in young adult
lisher Entangled even created a New Adult imprint titled Embrace.
literature —such as sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse, and sex and sexuality.
That’s not to say that the genre has gained complete recognition and acceptance. A lot of people in the industry still debate
Author Cora Carmack, one of the early new adult authors
about whether New Adult should be considered a standalone genre,
wrote on her blog in 2012, “New Adult is the ‘I’m officially an adult,
or if it should be lumped in as a subgenre of young adult or adult
now what?’ phase.” Carmack felt so connected to new adult that
fiction. There’s also controversy around the content, because some
when publishers were still wary of the genre, she self-published her
people describe New Adult as the bridge between Twilight and Fifty
first novel Losing It.
Shades of Grey.
Shortly after the publication, Carmack signed with an agent,
Yes, the books do have more explicit sex scenes than your
ended up on the New York Times eBook bestseller list, and received
typical Sarah Dessen novel. But, then there’s the fact that twen-
a six-figure, three book deal with HarperCollins. And it shouldn’t
ty-somethings have more relationships that result in sex than young
have been a surprise. A 2012 study by Bowker found that fifty-five
teenagers. And while there’s going to be a couple books that are just
percent of what publishers deem young adult books are bought by
overdone with the drama and sex—a couple books that just aren’t
people over eighteen with the highest concentration of buyers being
good, the same can be said for any genre.
between the ages of thirty and forty-four. And seventy-eight percent of the time they admitted they’re buying the book for themselves.
Personally, we like the sex scenes, but what does our opinion matter? YM
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Football W R I T T E N B Y K AT I E Z E P F I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y TAY L O R R O B E R T S
magine this—you are sixteen years old, trying to take part in
of two things: the wife who’s oppressing her husband’s love for the
a conversation about last night’s Patriots game in which Tom
game, or the girl who pretends to be interested in it in order to seem
Brady made some truly spectacular throws. You say something
like the “cool girl.”
about Brady’s ability to release the ball so quickly. The group of guys
Both of these stereotypes perpetuate the false assumptions
who have been loudly talking about the pass in front of you smirk.
about the relationship between football and women. In fact, 45
One turns to you with a weary expression on his face, like this is
percent of the NFL’s fan base are women. These fans spend money
something he’s had to deal with hundreds of times before. “Yeah
on tickets, products, and more. They encourage their friends, who
okay, we know you girls just think he’s cute.”
might have been discouraged by men to be interested in the sport, to
You’re surprised; you’ve followed the team for years and watched every game of the season, for nothing other than the way the intensity of the sport makes you feel. You want to tell him that you have their entire schedule memorized, can name the starting lineup, and know how many yards per carry Benjarvus Green-Ellis usually averages, but you don’t. What if you get something wrong? This is a silence female football fans live with their entire lives. Since the NFL’s official
become fans as well. Female viewership was the fastest growing de-
“SINCE THE NFL’S OFFICIAL CREATION IN 1920...IT HAS BEEN THE MAN’S GAME.”
creation in 1920, it hasn’t just been a man’s game—it has been the
mographic for the NFL in recent years, but after discontent expressed by many women, it seems unlikely that number will continue to grow. Imagine this—you are a feminist. You support, admire, and respect women; you believe society doesn’t give them the same opportunities and fair treatment that’s given to men. You fight to change this, for you and women everywhere. You should be allowed to watch football, you should be allowed to talk about it, because
no sport should exclude any sex. It is yours, too.
man’s game. In any form of media and in marketing all around us, it’s
Except it isn’t. You turn on the television and the announcers
emphasized that any “man card” carrying, self-respecting guy’s guy
are praising Ben Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexually assault-
is passionate about the sport. Football Sundays are a day spent with
ing two women. He was suspended for a total of four games. You
the guys, yelling at the television, and drinking beer, while there’s an
turn on the television and there is a video of Ray Rice punching his
annoying woman somewhere in the background. She is usually one
fiancée unconscious, suspended two games. There is CJ Spillman,
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who received no disciplinary action after being accused of sexual
as the harshest punishment for violence against women, for prob-
assault twice, and Johnny Manziel, who has not been punished for al-
ably “being generally aware” of plans to deflate footballs. When he
legedly physically assaulting his girlfriend. There is Jameis Winston,
appealed the decision and it was overturned, Goodell went so far as
who was the first overall draft pick in 2016, despite the investigation
to bring him to a higher appeals court to get the decision reinstated.
into a detailed, extensive rape accusation made against him the pre-
In a letter to Brady on his possible involvement in the incident, NFL
vious season. The list goes on and on.
executive president Troy Vincent wrote that his actions “clearly con-
The lack of support within the NFL for women who experience violence at the hands of professional football players should
stitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football.”
be the ignition for a firestorm of questions. NFL commissioner
Fans must ask themselves, however, what exactly the integrity
Roger Goodell has repeatedly assured the public that he is con-
of professional football is, and whether or not they should have
tinuing to alter the league’s personal conduct policy in order to en-
confidence in it. It seems that to the NFL, crimes against women re-
force stricter punishments. The proof, however, must be in action.
quire less time and more evidence than crimes involving footballs.
When defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting his
It seems that to the men who run the league, public confidence de-
girlfriend, Goodell suspended him indefinitely as an example of
flates only with the abuse of footballs, not with the abuse of women.
the league’s new low tolerance policy. The suspension, however, was
Admittedly, it’s difficult to prove the exact level of public outrage
recently expunged from Hardy’s record, and he currently plays for
on any issue. However, when it’s difficult to prove the difference be-
the Dallas Cowboys.
tween outrage over deflated footballs and violence against women,
In the midst of the many domestic violence and sexual assault complaints happening in the NFL in the past few years, it seems per-
there is a problem. When the question even has to be asked, there is a problem.
turbing that the league focused all its energies on one particular case:
You are a woman, you are a feminist, and you are watching the
Deflategate. Deflategate, the scandal that occurred when the New
league of your favorite sport care more about deflated footballs than
England Patriots were accused of underinflating footballs used in
they do about you and your fellow women. You are a fan, you want
the 2015 AFC Championship game, was a media frenzy. It remains
to continue to be a fan, because that is your right.
one of the most talked about topics in the sports world. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, the same amount of games
But it is time for professional football to do better, and the only way they will do better, is if we demand them to do so. YM
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