Your Magazine Volume 9 Issue 1: March 2018

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K AT J A V U J I Ć Editor in Chief

N ATA L I E G A L E Managing Editor



EMME HARRIS Co-Photo Director

MIKE ZAHAR Co-Photo Director






M O N I K A DAV I S Editorial Director

HANA ANTRIM YourMagTV Director

DAY S I A TO L E N T I N O Co-Head Designer


ANNIE HUANG Talent Manager

RANA SAIFI Talent Assistant

NICK BUNZICK Style Director

IRIS PEÑA Copy Chief

L I N D SAY H OWA R D Asst. Copy Chief


MIA MANNING Events Coordinator

FRANCISCO GUGLIELMINO Asst. Editorial Director

TA L L U L A H J O N E S Social Media Director




8 10 12 14 EDITORIAL 16 STYLE 22 24


LIVING 26 WHAT RIHANNA DID RIGHT by Ruby Vishnick 28 BEAUTY WATER by Callie Bisset



ACADEMIA WITH PAUL HACKETT by Daysia Tolentino HISTORY OF THE T-SHIRT by Lillian Cohen MYLART shot by Bobby Nicholas III YOUR THINGS with Bobby Nicholas III WHICH QUICK WICH? by Lillian Cohen WALKING THE EMERALD NECKLACE by Izzy Kings GRATITUDE JOURNAL by Madison Umina WHO IS MYRTLE THE TURTLE? by Izzy Kings REQUIRED READING by Natalie Gale BROCKHAMPTON by Julie Giffin and Jamie Galyas ART AND MENTAL ILLNESS by Melissa Gauger YM ADVISES QUEER SEX IN FILM by Teal Hall LIFE IMITATES ART shot by Sophie Peters-Wilson ARTIST STATEMENT with James Ammirato



love the spring. Plants grow, the sun shines, and we’re all still following through on our new year’s resolutions. And although the warm weather is not yet in full swing, spring offers a chance for refreshment. This semester, in particular, the YM staff has been revitalized with a ton of staff additions and our wonderful new managing editor, Natalie Gale. Your Mag TV, which was hibernating for a while, is coming back and better than ever with Hana Antrim at the helm - look out for BTS video content and more. We’ve added a new feature called “Academia,” in which we highlight Emerson’s most stylish professors, and we continue to explore what it means to be an artist with our “Artist’s Statement,” this month featuring songwriter James Ammirato. In these pages, I hope you’ll find a personal moment of refreshment: take a journey through Boston’s Emerald Necklace with Izzy Kings, dance along with Julie Giffin at the recent BROCKHAMPTON show, or join our photo team for a day trip to the beach (it’s never too early!). As always, our magnificent staff members have worked hard to bring us a March issue that I am so proud to present to you, full of beautiful images and ideas. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it. Happy spring.











ver winter break I was deep in the midst of a Sex and the City binge (I know, guilty pleasure television at its finest), following a girl gang living glamorous, kickass lives in ‘90s New York City. In this episode, Carrie turns 35 and is contemplating the idea of “soulmates.” Can people have more than one? Is there truly only one person out there waiting to spend the rest of their life with you? After all her friends fail to show up at her birthday dinner due to a surprise re-paving of 5th Avenue, she feels so alone without that one person. The four women wind up at a coffee shop and as Carrie exposes her feelings, and Charlotte, a firm believer of “the one” says, “Maybe we could be each other’s soulmates. And then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with.” Needless to say, I was shook. I thought about this notion for days. Maybe it was the gnawing feeling of separation from my friends during the break. Maybe it was my own saccharine nature (it’s not my fault I’m a Libra). Maybe it was a combination of both. The bottom line: I am in love with my friends. I mean this platonically, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less precious and life-altering than a romantic relationship. The term “soulmate” has such a romantic connotation in the first place. It has been built up throughout centuries of human existence to find some sort of explanation for that lifelong love and connection that seems to have materialized out of thin air. To get a deeper sense of what I’m talking about, let’s look at history. The concept of the idea that is the “soulmate” dates back to the days of Plato and Socrates, specifically in Plato’s Symposium, a collection of speeches by different philosophers and other men of stature drinking after a banquet one evening. The particular speech I’m referring to is that of Aristophanes, a comic playwright. He tells a tale of humanity existing as three genders originally: “man,” “woman,” and “androgynous.” They were these round beings made up of four arms, four legs, two faces, and two sets of genitalia. Essentially the “men” had the traditional male genitalia, the “women” had female genitalia, and the “androgynous” were made up of both. They possessed great strength—so great that they attempted to attack the gods. As punishment, Zeus decided to split these humans in half so the gods could continue to reap the fruits of sacrifice and praise, without the risk of being overpowered. This spurred the creation of the modern-day human. We are two parts of a whole, and are searching for our “other half ” for our entire lives until we find them and “embrace” to somewhat return to that four-armed, two-bellied monster state. I know this is a myth. But the fact that it is a myth explains the magical, magnetic quality that soulmates possess. It almost feels spiritual—like they were placed in our lives at a specific time for a reason. There are some things we truly cannot explain, and I like to attribute that to fate. Speaking of fate, I met my best friend, Khadijah, freshman year. We were randomly selected as roommates, and at first I thought she was just that—a roommate. But soon enough, we grew close. She and I quickly came to the realization that we shared similar interests, behaviors, and preferences. Truly a match made in heaven. We knew when and how to

discuss issues with one another—if we ever really had issues besides whose side of the room was getting too messy—and could spend hours together talking endlessly about our classes, what our families were bothering us about this time, or what Kylie Jenner had done as of late. We could even just sit in complete silence with each other and neither of us would consider it dull. We became attuned to each other’s needs and it was never a problem accommodating one another. It was comfortable. And it still is. She is the person I am the most myself with. This is the first full school year that I’m not living with her and both of us were uncertain of where that was going to take us. Neither of us are very good at texting back in a timely manner, which was never an issue before, but it was a bit worrying seeing as we weren’t living in the same room, or suite, or even building for that matter, anymore. We were almost an hour’s commute away on the T, consisting of two train transfers, which is crazy to think about. I thought that this might have been the end of an era, but it has proven to be quite the contrary—she and I have never been closer. We run into each other everywhere now, with the same exact Starbucks drink in hand. We are able to pick up where we left off, and have a three-hour conversation about everything and nothing. Somehow almost all our issues and experiences are the same. At the end of the conversation, it feels like we’re clean and calm, ready to take on whatever life throws at us until we see each other again. It’s like our souls never left each other. So the theory was true to my friendships, but I wanted to ask others if they believe in platonic soulmates. I talked with journalism major Sam Mangino ‘18 and political communications major Willa Bogoian-Mullen ‘19, best-friends and self-proclaimed “skincare soulmates.” They first met in Fundamentals of Speech Communication freshman year. “I told this horribly embarrassing story which literally put everything out there about myself for everyone to see; and that was a really brave moment for me—to do that in class. Willa told me that was the moment she wanted to be friends with me,” Mangino recalled. When asked what they think about the word soulmate, Bogoian-Mullen responded, “There’s no awkward getting-to-know-you stage. We’re already on the same page, the same wavelength, on all things.” She turned to Mangino, “It’s like, ‘Oh, haven’t you always been there?’” It’s that feeling of belonging, not necessarily belonging to each other but rather belonging with each other. It is a comforting thought that bonds like these last forever. Even after long periods of time, as their lives and environments change, nothing really changes between those two souls. That is when you know you have found a soulmate. Our friends are such an essential part of our existence. They help us grow to our fullest potential and support us through everything. They are our kindred spirits who somehow understand our eccentricities and flaws, but go a step further to also embrace them. It’s pure love—there’s no other way to put it. The relationship that spurs from that instant connection feels so random, but is still somehow part of this great, cosmic plan made just for us. It’s like we were walking the earth looking for parts of ourselves and we actually found them. YM






oxic relationships are not obvious at first, but over time, an imbalance of power forms within a couple that creates an opening for manipulation. You find that you are changing pieces of yourself to fit the mold they’re trying to build. You shrug it off as you just trying to better yourself, but in reality, you find that you’re dressing differently and acting different because you are trying to avoid an episode. I understand couples fight sometimes, but mostly they just have two-sided conversations over a subject of disagreement. An episode is one-sided when there is refusal to compromise. They find your weakness and use it against you through whatever means necessary in order to get what they want. Over time, you can get used to this. You excuse them for being overly emotional and not understanding the weight of their words. You begin to walk on eggshells, attempting not to do things that will cause a scene, and this walk becomes comfortable in your everyday life. Scenes can be as violent as physically harming your partner or simply degrading them in any manner. The thing about the art of manipulation is that once they successfully manage to get you to give up something of yourself, they will likely continue to repeat this endless cycle of taking advantage of you.

I never realized I was in an abusive relationship until after it was over. My friends would tell me it was abusive during that time. He was possessive, and every once in a while he would grab me a little too hard. He excused it all for being in love, and I believed him. He did not like me hanging out with my friends. He did not like me hanging out with his friends either. He did not like how I dressed. The worst part of not seeing the signs until now, is the fact that those whole two years he had me actually believing he was right. He was right when he told me that I should wear more baggy clothes so he wouldn’t be jealous. He was right when he said that I shouldn’t tell my friends about our relationship because they would only judge him. He was right when he said that our relationship was private and no one, especially my family, should hear about it. He was right when he said I was a whore and a worthless piece of shit. He was right when he told me I was not doing my job when I was too sick to fuck him. There are details of our relationship I cannot write down because I’m either ashamed or embarrassed. I refuse to believe I was simply ignorant enough to believe him without batting an eye. There is an art behind manipulation that exploits one’s weaknesses to serve the other’s interests, and when it is involved in a relationship, it doesn’t always have to be violent to be abusive. I believe emotional manipulation starts off as innocently as possible. The little things like the small comments, the episodes of pure rage, and the random acts of kindness after a brutal storm are all swept under the carpet. Things then evolve into something that leaves you wondering if it had been like that all along. Words are a slippery slope because at first they are just words, and the next thing you know things have taken a turn for the worse. I wish I could tell you the signs and you’d listen to me. I wish when people told me the signs, I listened to them. I ask myself all the time, “Why didn’t I just break up with him?” I bet a lot of people who have been in abusive relationships ask themselves that. I think in the moment it is completely different. From the outside, it seems so easy just to drop it and leave. In real life, you do not see how things escalate. All you hear are endless apologies after fits of rage. I wonder a lot about why I didn’t leave. I can’t come up with a single reason why I didn’t, except for the fact I lost my voice and mind in the midst of this abuse. I think it is easier than we all believe to become so consumed with someone; you believe they are bigger or smaller than they truly are. We all like to think we are such strong human beings. We believe that we all have a vision of our own self-awareness, but in the end, sometimes you can only see clearly when you look back into the past. YM





n Ancient Greece young men were encouraged to have relationships with older men as a way of gaining knowledge and experience. These young men later went on to marry women. Alexander the Great openly had both wives and male lovers. In ancient Japan, an “ideal” situation was to have partners with both young men and young women. Native Americans believe in “Two-Spirit” people (men and women born with both masculine and feminine spirits) who often had same-sex and heterosexual relationships.


In the West, bisexuality was first understood with the Kinsey Scale. Created in 1948 by Alfred Kinsey, the Kinsey Scale depicted human sexual behavior as a spectrum from 0 to 6, with 0 being completely heterosexual and 6 being completely homosexual. The Kinsey Scale drastically changed the way people self-identified. The 60s and 70s brought David Bowie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and news articles about “bisexual chic.” Bisexuality became trendy. But still, it wasn’t until the 21st

century that celebrities began to come out in large numbers and same-sex marriage finally became legal in the United States. But still, despite the progress made and the undeniable proof that bisexuality has existed for generations, bi-erasure is still extremely prevalent. Time and time again, a bisexual person is considered “gay” if they are with someone of the same-sex and “straight” if they are with someone of the opposite sex. This way of thinking excludes them from their own narratives and prevents them from establishing their own identities. if they are with someone of the same-sex and “straight” if they are with someone of the opposite sex. This way of thinking excludes them from their own narratives and prevents them from establishing their own identities. Lesbians and gays have a more definitive culture. Though it isn’t devoid of discrimination and intolerance by any means, they have made spaces for themselves that have given them a sense of identity. They’ve made bars, clubs, community centers, parades, television stations, shows, movies, etc. A concrete culture creates a more legitimate experience that others can see and in turn try to tangibly understand and validate. Culture legitimizes groups of people. Yes, the LGBTQ culture should be the same as bisexual culture and the LGBTQ community (to some degree) does accept them. But there are discrepancies and distinctions that exclude bisexuals within gay culture. One such thing is that gays and lesbians don’t see heterosexual sex as having value to their experience. Because of this, gays and lesbians have a habit of deeming bisexuality as nothing more than a stepping stone to being truly gay. Conversely, while gays might think of bisexuality as a stepping stone into gayness, heterosexuals can think of bisexuality as justification to experiment. According to an article featured on, eighty-four percent of self identified bisexuals (both males and female) end up in heterosexual relationships. This fact only fuels the fire behind that notion. One of the most tragic denouncements is society’s constant disbelief in bisexual men. Ridicule from male peers and even prospective female partners keeps bisexual men closeted. Toxic masculinity plays a large role in the way men perceive themselves and one another sexually. That, along with disbelief from gay peers, makes it hard for bisexual men to live freely. I asked Bobby Molinari, a bisexual male student at Brooklyn College, how he identifies. “It’s complicated,” he says. “And I’m always going through phases of liking one sex more than the other. I usually identify myself as ‘queer’ for this reason instead of ‘bi’ or ‘gay.’” He went on to say that calling himself gay “wouldn’t be accurate” and that the societal misconceptions around the word “bi” often make people assume he’s just going through a phase or “covering up for being gay.” Women don’t face the same kind of intolerance as men do when it comes to same sex relationships. They are generally much more

“Why can’t we call ourselves gay without hesitation? “ open about discussing it, seeing it, and taking part in it. Because of this, bisexual legitimacy in women can be blurred. It has become a stereotype propagated for male attention. Lesbianism has been sexualized by society to the point that experimentation is often expected (even encouraged) and therefore invalidates a bisexual woman’s experience. Her ability to sleep with women is merely an effect of society’s ideals. It’s something every woman can do. I found myself making a mental checklist to prove that I was bi. Yes, I’m attracted to women, but can I say I’m bisexual until I’ve slept with one? Dated one? Called her my girlfriend? Can she say it unless she’s done the same? Ashmita Malkani ‘19, a Stage Management major, also identifies as bisexual. “I think that I only call myself gay when I’m joking, like it’s just a way for me to connect with other people who aren’t straight because when we’re just joking around, ‘gay’ isn’t like homosexual it’s just not straight–like walking into a room and being like, ‘the gays are here, hello!’ But I don’t call myself gay in a serious way,” Malkani says. I then spoke to Taylor Zavala ‘19, a VMA major, who also identifies as bisexual. “I prefer no labels, but I don›t have a problem with calling myself gay. I feel like it’s just a descriptive used to explain something that people may not understand,” Zavala says. I noticed that all of the bisexuals I interviewed avoided using the word “gay” to describe themselves. They said they “don’t use labels” or “they’re queer” or gay but “not in a serious way.” But we are the “B” in LGBT. Why can’t we call ourselves gay without hesitation? It’s hard to consider yourself gay when society has such a rigid definition of what ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ should be. It’s important to keep this in mind when coming in contact with a bisexual person or even when assessing your own sexuality. Like the Kinsey Scale tells us, sexuality is on a spectrum. It can neither be defined or put into a specific box. So, accept all your bisexual peers and validate their gayness. If young men in Ancient Greece were bisexual, men in 21st century America can be as well. The perception of bisexual people is based on who they are with, not who they actually are, and this needs to change. YM

“The perception of bisexual people is based on who they are with, not who they actually are, and this needs to change.“




h God, they’re all looking at me. This was the only thought I remember having on the football field of my high school, as I turned away from the crowded bleachers to walk up to the stage where my girlfriend and I would be crowned Homecoming Queens. It wasn’t the first time I had the thought; in fact, this sentence pretty consistently ran through my mind throughout my relationship with my high school girlfriend. This occurred for a few reasons: we were both girls and we ended up dating for almost two years. Both of these things were quite a rarity when it came to our high school’s dating scene. Because of all this, we became sweethearts of the school. We won Homecoming Queens, we were runner-ups for Prom Queens, and we were described as a “power couple” of our grade. In everybody’s eyes we were completely defined by each other, a matching set, an example of what true love really looked like. Every time someone looked me in the eyes and said, “You guys make me believe in love,” I smiled and laughed automatically, like I was acting out a part in a play I had rehearsed so well. What I really wanted to do was shake them and tell them how I planned on breaking up with her before we went to college and I moved away. I wanted to tell them that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I wanted to tell them about the breakdowns and fights my girlfriend and I had, and how I was so afraid that she was going to tell me she loved me because I wasn’t sure if I could say it back



yet. I wanted to tell them that I didn’t know what love was, or if I was even in it. Instead, the words died before they even got to my throat, overridden by the part of me that insisted, “They’re right, they're right! You guys are perfect! If you don’t think you’re perfect, then something’s wrong with you, not the relationship. You should be grateful.” I was grateful. We were lucky; as first serious relationships go, ours was generally positive and healthy. But the two of us were blowing up at the seams in our personal lives. We were teenagers growing into ourselves, dealing with the stress of school, friends, family, mental health, and our budding romance with each other. We were a good match sometimes and we supported each other constantly, but no relationship is ever perfect. There are always things that go wrong, parts about the other person that just rub you the wrong way, and problems that arise. It felt like everyone around me— my girlfriend included—wanted to erase the bad parts because they weren’t romantic enough. It felt like my voice went unheard, lost in a sea of people who were endlessly trying to convince me just how perfect and ideal my relationship really was. It didn’t end up making my relationship perfect. All it ended up doing was make me feel like I had to keep everything inside until it became a pressure building up slowly in my chest, ready to burst. It made me resentful, but most of all, it made me lonely. By the time we turned eighteen and

college was on the horizon, I was exhausted. I watched people cry when I told them we were going to break up. I went to family gatherings and all they ever asked me about was my relationship, telling me how perfect we were, how perfect she was, how lucky we were. I smiled and agreed, automatically. My mother asked me if I wanted to display my Homecoming crown and sash somewhere in my room and I laughed. A few months ago, I was eating dinner with my friends, one of whom was in a longterm relationship. We were on the topic of love and boyfriends, and across the table, our other friend turned to her and sighed wistfully before she said, “You guys make me believe in love.” I felt my chest burst with pressure in the way it had always done when those words had been directed at me. Then I watched my friend, pause, smile wide, and laugh before she replied, “Aw, thank you!” They broke up a day later. Remember to be okay when your love isn’t always like a fairytale. Remember that it’s okay to admit when things make you feel uncomfortable. Most of all, talk to your significant other about how you feel, from the great things about the relationship to the worst of the worst. These conversations are hard to have and they might be scary to initiate, but a good relationship is based upon mutual love and trust. Admitting that things are hard or not how you thought they would be should not break these things, and if it does, maybe this relationship isn’t right for either of you at the moment. Remember that’s okay, too. YM






y first encounter with love was also my first encounter with a narcissist. Society often depicts narcissism as looking at yourself in the mirror or having a lot of self confidence. But narcissism can be far more insidious than that. True narcissists have an idealized self image that they use to mask the pain of feeling deeply inadequate. So narcissists, though seemingly self centered, are actually some of the most insecure people you’ll ever meet. They use people as props to lift themselves up because they can’t do it themselves. Their love, even if it feels genuine (and it will, they’re master manipulators) is contingent upon whether or not you do what they say. So, even though I’d fallen for a narcissist (and fallen hard), it took some time for me to realize that they were actually incapable of falling for me. My relationship followed the typical pattern of emotional abuse—immense love and praise followed by intermittent periods of uncertainty and dislike. By the time I realized I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, I didn't know how to get out. I had become a junkie, using my ex to quell a notion that kept popping into my head—that I wasn’t good enough. The power of a narcissist resides in this idea. They will make it seem like you’re everything to them, and their love for you is binding. But suddenly, just when they want it to be, everything becomes your fault and nothing you do is good enough. They manipulate, gaslight, and abuse. When they’ve finally had their fix of destruction, you’ll become “perfect” to them once again. It took two years for me to leave my ex. It was long and exhausting but the relationship did end. Maybe not with a bang, but with a slow, corrosive sizzle. Severing yourself from an abusive relationship seems like it’d be a relief, but the truth is, it actually feels worse. I’d gotten so used to someone else dictating how I should feel about myself that I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt the crushing blow of a breakup with the added trauma of having been emotionally abused. I didn’t know if I’d ever get over it and in some ways, being in that relationship felt better than being out of it. It’s okay to feel “crazy”. Post-breakup is a vulnerable time with a lot of contradictory emotions. You’ll miss your ex, but at the same time, you’ll hate them for everything they’ve put you through. Narcissists will never validate the hurt they've caused you, but this shouldn't

matter. Your own validation is crucial in reclaiming your life. Try to be alone sometimes. At first being alone feels scary because you’re left with all the thoughts you don’t want to dwell on. But I found that being alone (though incredibly painful) was vital to my healing process. It gave me time to think through the layers of denial and self-blame that come with leaving an abusive relationship. I found that the more I thought about it the more I was able to deconstruct and process. Exercise can help. I spoke with Melanie Matson, the Director of Emerson College’s Violence and Prevention Center, about how to heal after leaving an abusive relationship. She emphasized the importance of exercises like meditation and yoga. She said this allows victims to “recenter and be gentle” with themselves during a time of immense trauma. She also encouraged victims to repeat an encouraging mantra to themselves as they meditated; one that reminds them to have compassion for themselves, what they’ve been through, and the resiliency they’ve shown. Talk to friends. Re-establish relationships. Being with a narcissist was time-consuming. It made it hard for me to give my time to things that used to matter like family, friends, and school. I didn't know how to express my feelings and feared judgment from even being in the relationship in the first place. As a result, I ostracized myself from friends. Matson mentioned the importance of connecting with others. She says,“It’s not always relaying the whole experience, but the mere nurturing of being with others that make us feel comfortable.” Talking through trauma with people you love and trust can be a very cathartic step in the healing process. Doing what you used to love. After I left my ex I realized I had somehow stopped doing the things I used to love. For me, that was writing. I found that the unexplainable writer’s-block I used to have faded when I ditched the distraction, and I was able to jump into it again. Creativity thrives in pain and heartbreak. Use your hurt to do what you love. Time really does heal all wounds. I noticed that even six months after the breakup, I felt better than I thought I would. At first, the hurt feels encompassing and like it’ll never go away. But you’ll learn so much about yourself and about relationships (now I can spot a narcissist from a mile away) that the future will definitely be brighter. YM ROMANCE | 15








dolce & dali




ack home in warm, sunny Tampa, Florida for winter break, I struggled to find things to occupy my time. The weather was just drab enough to rule out the beach and I was quickly running through my collection of YA novels. Always the enthusiastic art nerd, my back up plan consisted of visiting local museums. It was a Wednesday morning when I woke up and decided I had to get out of the house, so off to the Dali museum I went. It’s a museum I’ve been to many times, and know well, but it had a surprise in store for me that day. Walking in, the first thing you notice is the white concrete spiral staircase, and the second is the jigsaw glass ceiling. I quickly decided to make my way to the top and briefly check out the visiting exhibit, and then work my way down to my favorites in the house collection. But, when I saw there was a new surrealist fashion exhibit, I knew my visit would be anything but brief. The exhibit was called Dali and Schiaparelli, the second name unfamiliar to me, but soon I learned exactly how influential it was. Elsa Schiaparelli was the most prominent fashion figure in the 1920’s and 30’s and was also a close cohort of Salvador Dali. Schiaparelli pioneered a brand of avant-garde fashion that utilized surrealistic themes and turned traditional notions of women’s roles and beauty on its head. The exhibit was strategically displayed so that each Schiaparelli piece was paired with a Dali work that either influenced it or represented the surrealist ideas Schiaparelli was striving to embody. Many of the pairings were even collaborations, created through mutual appreciation and mind melding between Dali and Schiaparelli. A perfect example of this is Elsa Schiaparelli’s Women’s Dinner Dress or better known as the Lobster Dress. Anyone who is familiar with Dali and the surrealist movement probably knows about the Lobster Telephone. Simply put, it is a sculpture made by Dali in which a rotary telephone receiver is replaced by a plaster lobster. It was a classic example of a surrealist object—the conjunction of two items not usually associated with each other—which Dali believed could reveal unconscious desires. Seeming on the outside to be a silly work of imagination, the sculpture is laden with secret sexual connotation. The

tale of the lobster, considered to be quite phallic in nature and biologically holding the reproductive organs of the animal, was placed strategically over the mouthpiece of the telephone. Dali held strong association between food (particularly seafood) and sex which was shown through the lobster phone and through many other pieces during his career. The Lobster Telephone in particular carved its place in surrealist history because of it’s clever and intriguing innuendo and its ability to confuse and completely astound the general public. Elsa Schiaparelli built on this success and, in collaboration with Dali, created her infamous Lobster Dress. Made out of printed silk organza and synthetic horse hair, the dress sported a cinched empire waist and a vibrantly coral lobster surrounded by sprigs of parsley. Staying with the theme of upsetting eroticism, Schiaparelli chose to place the tail of the lobster square between the legs of the dress wearer. This show of sexuality juxtaposed with the virginal white of the organza caused quite the stir in the fashion world. It’s controversy was heightened by the woman who ended up wearing the dress, Wallis Simpson. Simpson wore the dress as part of a collection Schiaparelli designed for her wedding to the Duke of Windsor. Quite the famous couple, the Duke abdicated the British crown in order to be with Simpson who was a non-royal. The dress and the spectacle were immortalized by photographer Cecil Beaton and a multipage spread in Vogue magazine. It was a love story and a movement that captured the world of fashion, art, and pop culture for the better part of two decades. Schiaparelli, Dali, and their collaborations continued to be prolific after the scandal of the Lobster Dress. Schiaparelli’s Skeleton Dress was inspired by a sketch of a female skeleton Dali gifted her embodying his fascination with “bones on the outside.” In classic Schiaparelli fashion, Elsa recreated this idea in a black rayon crepe dress with padded ridges creating a sort of exoskeleton look unprecedented in Haute Couture. It’s clear that Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dali brought not only pieces that strayed from normative styles to high fashion, but also a whole

new ideology to apply to clothing. But one question still remains, how far into the present does their influence, and that of surrealist thought, truly go? Throughout the 2000’s, the fashion industry saw many designs reviving Elsa Schiaparelli’s Skeleton Dress. In 2003, nearly 80 years later, Yves Saint Laurent sent pieces down the runway referencing Schiaparelli with subtle slashes on shirts and pants that mimicked a woman’s anatomy. And then again in 2006, Jean Paul Gaultier recreated the Skeleton Dress with his own purple twist, pairing it with a chapeau (a hat or cap) seemingly made of the model’s own hair— very Dali-esque. In 2009, Dolce and Gabbana created a whole ready-to-wear line called Heart Elsa Schiaparelli where they utilized and married her ideas and signature designs with those of pop artist Andy Warhol and surrealist photographer Man Ray. Schiaparelli’s surrealist influence on their designs can be seen through their use of misplaced gloves and head pieces reminiscent of shoes. Both Schiaparelli and Dali had an interesting fascination with wearing objects meant for feet on the head and vice versa. Turning anything inside out, Schiaparelli had a shoe hat and a pair of gloves with nail polish painted on the outside in her own collection. And, of course, Dolce and Gabbana included Schiaparelli’s signature shocking pink as a focal point. In 2012, this surrealist fascination with hands and their placement was seen again in Diane von Furstenberg’s show titled Rendezvous. The show’s title, coupled with the placement of many of the Schiaparellilike hands, exposed the viewer to the sexual connotation associated closely with the surrealist movement. To further cement the suspected influence, many of Furstenberg’s accessories donned lips, eyes, and clocks (Dali motifs). Though pioneered by the collaboration of two great artistic minds almost a century ago, the movement of surrealist ideology into the fashion world has been continuous and ongoing, with no sign of slowing down. So, when watching your next red carpet event, keep an eye out for the strange—it could be a sign of the unrelenting influence of Dali and Schiaparelli. YM

STYLE | 23




hether we would like to admit it or not, #TrackIsBack. We all love to hate on early 2000’s trends, but the iconic Juicy Couture tracksuit is slowly rising back to its former prominence. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Rihanna, and Hailey Baldwin have recently been spotted by the paparazzi in their velour sweats and have even taken to social media to display their bedazzled frocks. Fashion labels like Vetements and Khloe Kardashian’s ‘Good American’ have released similar looks within the past year. With this growing trend, the important question remains, which color Juicy suit are you?


As the magenta suit of the group, you are more often than not the mom friend. But you’re not just the average mom, you’re a cool mom. The kind that makes margs for the girls and pairs biscotti with a mimosa in the mornings. But you’re more than just our tipsy friend, magenta means that you are full of love, compassion, and self-respect.



The gray suits are the calm amongst a sea of vibrant, clashing juicy suits. You are the most practical, reserved, and laidback of the group. When a problem arises, you are often the mediator because of your maturity and easygoing nature. Despite being reserved, you still love to have a good time and take on a different persona when you are out with your friends.

The pale pink suit signals that you are fiercely confident, stubborn, and have a flair for dramatics. We mean this in the best way possible. You are a born leader and the most put together of the group, in your everyday style and life in general. We can always look to you for fashion inspo and to push us to be our best selves. While you can be a bit extra at times, it’s only because you don’t always get the credit that you deserve.



Being the green friend means that you are stable, but your edgy side leans toward average vodka aunt. Although you usually play it safe, you are also ambitious, energetic, and all about self-growth. The group often looks to you for advice when they are unsure of themselves––we all know we can tell you anything and you will most definitely forget it the next morning.

Black suits are for the self-driven and successful. You are the humble member of the group. You are bold and mysterious. You’re more of a homebody compared to the rest of the group, but when you go out you like to be the center of attention. You prefer to keep your circles small and value your close friendships.


As the baby blue of the group, you are the life of the party. Aside from your antics, you are extremely intelligent, confident, and loyal to the ones that you love. We can always count on you for a good time with your humor and attitude. Jokes aside, we can also count on you to be brutally honest and support everyone unconditionally, both in love and in life.

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f you are in touch with pop culture, even in the slightest, you will be aware of the influence of Rihanna. And if you are in touch with the beauty industry, if only minutely—for example, having stepped into a Sephora within the last year—you will be aware of Fenty Beauty. However, if you have been living under a rock since the summer I will give you a brief overview. Fenty Beauty is a cosmetics line created by Robyn Rihanna Fenty, professionally known as Rihanna. Rihanna is a singer turned actress turned designer and is now a beauty product creator. But Fenty Beauty is not your average celebrity cosmetics line. Rihanna has started an aesthetically pleasing, inclusive, innovative and easily accessible brand. As soon as it was launched, the brand was immediately praised for its inclusivity. The Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation has 40 shades. Not only is this shade range incredible, but it is a frequent topic of conversation in the beauty community because it does what other brands have yet to—achieve true diversity. Rihanna and her team have done their research and delivered what people want and deserve. All people. In a video created by Sephora, one of Fenty Beauty’s retailers, Rihanna stated, “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races. I wanted everyone to feel included, that’s the real reason I made this line.” Along with the foundation, the line includes Match Stix in a matte and a shimmer formula, providing a large range of contour, highlight and blush shades for all skin tones. The initial launch of Fenty Beauty was predominantly skin based. Foundation, stick products, and of course the powder highlights. Of the powder highlights, there are six different compacts, four of which contain two shades. The two single pans are the lightest and darkest shades. The deepest shade, called Trophy Wife, has a unique gold hue made with deep skin tones in mind, a choice that the internet highly praised. Trophy Wife was a standout product in the initial launch, and it is incredible to see a product specifically for deeper skin tones being in the limelight. This is not something that is occuring with other brands. A recent controversy in this realm of the beauty industry is the embarrassing release of Tarte’s highly anticipated Shape Tape Foundation. When the color selection was first published it was so appalling that people thought it was a meme. Out of the 20 available shades, there are only four deeper shades. The brand has been roasted on social media and this launch has definitely had a negative effect on their reputation. They have also delayed the release of the foundation with rumours spreading that they are going to add more shades. However, adding more shades at this point is a little too late. Another crucial inclusive element of the Fenty Beauty brand is their initial lip products. When the brand first launched, there were only two

lip products, the Gloss Bomb in the shade Fenty Glow and the Stunna Lip Paint in the shade Uncensored, both of which were marketed as universal products that anyone could use. The Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, a shimmery glitter gloss uses the angular packaging that runs through the whole line. Uncensored Stunna Lip Paint is described by the brand as a “perfect universal red.” This is a bold statement to make and one that brands have made the mistake of declaring before, but something about Rihanna’s red allows it to work perfectly on every skin tone. It seems to have a typical blue undertone in the red but with a little something more. This red being the first, and initially the only shade of Stunna Lip Paint released, emphasises the importance of inclusivity as a pillar of this brand. While the launch of Fenty Beauty on social media drew a lot of attention due to Rihanna’s name recognition, the social media upkeep since the launch has been very admirable and engaging. With Instagram ignoring their users complaints, the current algorithm makes it very difficult for followers to see content organically. There are two outstanding ways that Fenty Beauty is trying to counter the algorithm and keep up their engagement. The first being reposts. Members of the beauty community and all makeup lovers definitely enjoy snapping a selfie of their favorite products on a good makeup day and tagging the products used has become customary. And with the potential of being reposted by the brand, the incentive is even higher than receiving likes from their own followers. The followers of an account as large as Fenty Beauty could be seeing an average Instagram user’s look. Fenty Beauty reposts customers makeup looks almost everyday, creating a strong relationship with their shoppers and brand lovers. The captions are written with care and attention, playing with humor. Little details like this can really set a brand apart from the others. Another social media tactic Fenty Beauty has implemented is showing the products at work on their Instagram Stories. They take such care in showing each individual product and how it can be used on so many different skin tones and in unique ways, encouraging followers to purchase what they see. A third great way that the brand has used social media is to tease new products. Rihanna would Instagram a selfie wearing a periwinkle lipstick tagging Fenty Beauty, implying that this is a new product to come. This builds excitement before the product has even been announced. There is so much more to say about this modern and thriving brand but what’s most important is it’s inclusivity and innovation. Hopefully Fenty Beauty will be the catalyst for existing brands to up their shade ranges to include everyone. Pop into Sephora, even if just for a look, to explore the Fenty Beauty world. YM

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think that by now, most of us are tired of being told to “just drink more water,” especially by people with genetically flawless skin. While this beauty tip has become far overrated, there is still truth to it. We all know that what we eat has an effect on our body and our skin, and we’re reminded of this in little ways like the inevitable acne flare up after a junk food binge session. If you’re struggling with your skin, and your skincare routine doesn’t seem to be helping, you might want to consider reevaluating your diet. Glowing skin is definitely a trend that seems to be sticking around, so everyone can benefit from adding some more vitamins and antioxidants into their everyday lifestyle. There has been scientific debate over whether eight magical glasses of water is the actual amount we should be consuming daily. The amount of water you should drink everyday varies based on many factors, like your individual size and activity level. Still, even as active students, it’s likely most of us are not drinking enough, and if your body is dehydrated your skin will certainly show it. If you don’t already, try to carry a water bottle with you to class and place it within your line of sight. Just seeing it should be enough to remind you to keep drinking. Also, try to add a daily vitamin into your routine; look for something with Biotin in it. Biotin, or vitamin H, is known for its ability to strengthen hair, skin, and nails. Another vitamin to make sure you have in your arsenal is Vitamin C. Fruits, broccoli, or the childhood favorite—brussel sprouts—are all high in Vitamin C and work to boost your body’s collagen levels. Collagen, the protein found in your skin, is responsible for your skin’s elasticity. Your body naturally produces less collagen as you age, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles, but factors such as a high sugar or sun exposure can also deplete the body’s natural collagen levels. You can incorporate collagen into your diet directly via collagen powders which are often found in the vitamin section of drugstores.

While there are so many supposed “miracle fixes,” the largest issue with most supplements is their impact on your daily life, especially as a student. Erin Crowley ‘19 says she does see a difference in her skin when taking Biotin or collagen. Her struggle is consistency: “I always forget,” says Crowley. Between classes and internships, it’s hard for her to find time to remember the simple things like drinking water and taking vitamins. However, it’s important to try to find time to slow down and take care of our bodies, not just for clear skin. Unfortunately, there’s no magical water you can drink to make your skin glow overnight, but adding vitamins, vitamin rich foods, and that good ol’ H2O, in addition to your skincare regimen, can certainly help. Each person’s body is different so make sure to consult with your doctor if you have any health concerns that might interfere with adding supplements or vitamins into your diet. You don’t have to go to the extreme of a juice cleanse to help out your skin. Try to start by slowly incorporating healthier choices into your daily diet, and hopefully with time, you’ll feel more energized and confident, rocking your dewy complexion. YM

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ur favorite professors can teach us more than what’s on the class syllabus - in fact, they might even become your newest style icon. Paul Hackett, a marketing communications professor at Emerson College, is known for his sophisticated ensembles. Born in Birmingham, England, Hackett brought classic English style with him to the States. He sat down with Your Mag to discuss his tips, ties and tweed. COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE IN ONE WORD? One word? Um, hyphenated. English-countryside. WHY DO YOU SAY THAT? I like tweeds. I like classic pocket watches. I like old-fashioned things. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING IN YOUR WARDROBE? Ooh, probably a double-breasted tweed waistcoat that I have— what you call vests. WHAT COLOR IS IT? It’s a sort of browny-greeny tweed. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CLOTHING ITEM TO BUY? What I would like to buy in the future, you mean? Well, you can never have too many tweed jackets. WHO WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR STYLE ICON? There’s lots of people. I don’t think I have one style icon. Just pick any sort of British period drama from like 1920 through 1950 and take the lord of the manor. You’re there. DO YOU THINK THAT A PERSON’S STYLE TELLS A LOT ABOUT THEM? Yeah. WHAT DOES YOUR STYLE SAY ABOUT YOU? I’m English and I’m old-fashioned. ANY PARTING STYLE TIPS? A man can never have too many bow ties. Another tip: Always tie your own tie. Never have a pre-tied tie. YM


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he T-shirt is a timeless staple. The silhouette is simplistic and practical. There’s no question that a T-shirt with a pair of Levi jeans is more of an American classic than Diet Coke, and yet it wasn’t until fairly recently that this most valuable player in our extensive arsenal came to be. The origin of the T-shirt is far from its current status in western society. Originally, the T-shirt was only intended to be worn as an undershirt. Long-johns had previously been a popular choice, but the garment’s buttons were notorious for coming loose. Because of constricting gender norms, single men without the help of wives had trouble sewing buttons back on to their long-johns when they fell off. Instead, they’d use uncomfortable safety pins to fix the problem. In 1904, the T-shirt emerged; it was nicknamed “the bachelor shirt” by many. Seen as a more practical alternative, the T-shirt could be pulled over one’s head and tightened back upon the person’s body by the elasticity in the material. The first T-shirts had wider necks and shorter sleeves than the modern day version and were only ever worn as undergarments, but over time they became a favorite wardrobe piece for all genders. Soon after its introduction, the US Navy caught onto the new design and ordered the garment for their troops to wear under their uniforms, increasing the popularity of the simple cotton item. It wasn’t until the publication of This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald that the T-shirt was given its current name based on its shape and structure. The transition between the wearability of the T-shirt from an undergarment for men to a visible part of their wardrobe is quite blurry. But by the 1940s, T-shirts were everywhere. They had become common-place in high schools across the country. Teenagers had closets full of colorful favorites adorned with fringe and patches, while most adults still wore them as undershirts, preferring their buttoned frocks. “We have been slow to realize that the high school crowd needs to sit in with us, with all their jive talk, their ‘T’ shirts and ‘sloppy joes,’” Survey Graphic wrote in 1944, defining younger people by their fashion choices. In July 1942, LIFE Magazine debuted its first cover featuring a graphic tee, reading “Air Corps Gunnery School” with a winged rodent sitting on a cloud pictured in between the text and a man wearing a fishing hat and carrying a machine gun. The entire country slowly drifted from suits and fedoras to the classic T-shirt and jeans—the US symbol of comfort that other cultures around the world soon also adopted. But this trend wasn’t just for men. As button-up shirts were slowly done away with, so were fancy blouses and dresses. TIME Magazine quoted from the San Francisco Call and Post that “once a woman has known the joys and comfort of unrestricted movement, she will be very loath to go back to trailing cumbersome skirts.” The T-shirt marked the start of androgynous fashion, overlapping into the 60s and 70s and continuing to influence the gender-nonconforming timeless staples that walk the streets and runway today. YM

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YOUR MAG CO-HEAD DESIGNER BOBBY NICHOLAS III LEMON WATER I love drinking water. Nothing better than drinking water. Water makes the world go round and is essential to everyday life. But I like to pizazz it up a bit by throwing some lemon in there. No, not a squirt of lemon juice. Not even a simple lemon wedge. I throw in a whole half of a lemon in there that is squeezed to heck. It’s healthy, tasty, and good for the heart. And a good conversation starter! (Those conversations usually start with “Is that a lemon in your water?!”) CALHOUN STUFFED DOG I was about six/seven years old when I got this stuffed dog from my mother for Valentine’s day. The tag said “Calhoun Dog,” so we just named him “Cal.” Cal was a lot softer and prettier back then, but he’s been through a lot of love in the past 14 years or so. There are patches of fur taken off from when I was trying to give him a haircut once, beanies missing from when a hole ripped on his butt, and just general raggedness. I kept Cal in my room for years, moving from my bed to my shelf, and then in the closet when I thought I was “too cool.” When I moved to college freshman year, Cal got left at home because I didn’t need anybody to heckle me. But we reunited everytime I went home for break. Now that I have my own apartment, Cal happily sits on a shelf in my room and we hang out every night while I am up late doing work. BUTTER STICKER FLASK I had a Land O’ Lakes Butter label sitting around from lord knows where. It fit perfectly, so I stuck it on my flask without much of a second thought. Whenever somebody questions me at a party about it, I joke around and say that it’s full of butter. I keep it around for emergencies in case I come across a stray baked potato in the wild. A few months ago, somebody saw me drinking out of it and said “hey, you’re the guy with the butter flask!” And thus I have cemented my spot in the world of drinking.


NOTEBOOK Okay, yes. I use a Moleskine notebook. It makes me seem like a ‘typical artsy person’ with this notebook, but I do not care. It is a damned good notebook and I use it for everything. I’ve always been obsessed with taking notes. To me, a person’s notebook is a capture of a specific time of what and how that person was thinking. I love looking through people’s notebooks - they are never made to be seen, and the rawness of it gets to me. Why did they cross this out? What is this a doodle of ? What kind of coffee is this stain? All questions I love to ask myself when looking into a good notebook. Someday, somebody might open my old notebook from college. I hope they are just in awe of it as I am. Granted, it is mostly just meeting notes and checklists, but still. Sidenote: the Pilot G-2 pen is my life. POCKET KNIFE This is a new addition to my things. This was my father’s pocket knife that he’s had for my entire life. It was used for everything from cutting wires, to whittling down a stick, and even cutting tomatos. It’s so worn down from all of the sharpening he has done to it. My favorite little thing about this knife is that my father put a small little pebble in the opening so it was easier for him to flip out the knife in seconds. That was my father: always thinking of roundabout DIY ways to make life a bit easier. MASKING TAPE Ah, masking tape. My best friend. I use masking tape for everything. Need to put a temporary note up? Masking tape. Have to label something? Boom, masking tape. Just got a fun poster from the store and don’t want to put a hole in your wall? Masking tape! It (usually) doesn’t rip off paint or paper.





hile taking classes back-to-back can often be ideal in terms of homework time, sleep, and commuting, even if just from the dorms, packed schedules don’t leave much time to grab a bite to eat when hunger

strikes. So what is the fastest way to grab something cheap and of actual nutritional value for lunch between classes? Breaking down the 15 minute door-to-door window, I had five minutes to get from class to lunch spot, five minutes to order and pay, and then five minutes to head to class and eat it along the way. I got a turkey sandwich with two toppings and sauce at all of the places I went to, but not wanting to get sick of the same thing every day, I mixed it up a bit. At Subway, I had the sandwich toasted with ranch and spinach. At Jimmy Johns, I had their Turkey Tom (they don’t offer toasting). At the Dining Center I had it toasted with lettuce, tomato and ranch. SUBWAY $5.04 The toasting made it warm, which added a lot, tasting less rushed and like slimy lunch meat from elementary school. They have the widest selection of toppings and additives, which was nice. It took exactly five minutes to get from the Walker Building and down Tremont Street, passing construction and crossing the intersection. There was no line and multiple people to help me with what I wanted, so it was pretty quick, even with the added toasting time JIMMY JOHN’S $6.94 I always love Jimmy John’s bread. Their meat is cold and deli-like, but it seems fresh. It was pretty clean to eat, something I could have easily eaten on my way back to class. There was a good portion of mayonnaise on the sandwich, but I missed the warmth of Subway. This sandwich was just another deli sandwich, a good one at that, but still the same I’ve had a million times. And, they don’t have a very wide selection. It was definitely fast though, finished before I took my credit card out of the machine. THE DINING CENTER a meal swipe The sandwich itself was pretty good. The dining hall meats always seem a bit more like mundane lunch meat, but that’s understandable. Similar to Subway, I got to pick exactly what I wanted. The toasting didn’t do much though. It still came out cold. It also took the longest time because everyone was going to the DC at that time. If you’re passing the main entrance of the building, maybe check through the window first. I meant to go to D'angelos and Panera, but didn’t have time. The City Place was filled with lines so it was impractical and I wouldn’t have made it to class on time. Panera also generally just takes more time and being the farthest location it became impractical as well. In the end, I found myself continuing to go back to the Subway sandwich; I liked the taste and the variety. And since they offered a smaller size, it was easier to carry and eat. It was the perfect little size to eat on my way back. So, for the economically struggling but hungry Emersonian, Subway seems like the best choice, though Jimmy John’s was a very close second. YM





he Emerald Necklace is a chain of nine parks spanning throughout downtown Boston, Brookline, and Jamaica Plain. It was created in the late 1800s by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of other “greats” like Central Park, Golden Gate Park, and the first planned suburb. The Emerald Necklace was made to be an escape for people in the city who wanted a taste of the great outdoors. It begins at Boston Common and ends at Franklin Park. Walking the entire Emerald Necklace is something I’ve always wanted to cross off my bucket list but I was never sure that I’d actually do it. As a city dweller and a lover of parks, I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to see as much of Boston as I could. But it is seven miles and a pretty daunting walk. After months of winter, however, it was finally 50 degrees out, and my roommate and I decided we were up for the challenge. Our first stop was Boston Common. The Common is an Emerson College staple and a park I go to often, so I considered skipping it all together. Looking back, though, I’m glad I didn’t. It was good to begin my journey in the city so I could really feel the slow decline into suburbia later on. The Common is a park I hold very dear to my heart. It has been the home of so many memories; good, bad, and ugly. I can remember sitting on the grass and dog-watching with friends, or crying on the phone to my sister as I sat under the gazebo, lamenting about a bad break up. I’m sure any Emerson student would feel the same. It’s good to start with something familiar. Across the street was the Public Garden. I’ve always thought that the Garden was one of the most beautiful parks in Boston and now that I’ve walked the whole Emerald Necklace, I can still safely say that it is. The tune from a panhandler’s erhu served as the perfect song for the walk. The park’s graceful willows, picturesque bridge, serene ponds, charming flowers, and boisterous ducks all provided a safe space of perfection in what was a seemingly loud and dirty city around it. I love the way the surrounding buildings peak out behind the beautifully landscaped trees. Next was Commonwealth Ave, a 32 acre link in the chain. My roommate and I considered this link one of the “weakest” because it’s less of a park and more of an overt plan made to connect The Garden and The Fens. It doesn’t feel like a park in the conventional sense, but it’s still the backbone of the entire luxurious Back Bay area. I could feel the essence of downtown leaving me as I walked further down Commonwealth. Finally we reached the Fens. Unfortunately, since it rained the night before, we spent our entire walk trying to avoid mud puddles. The Fens is filled with a bunch of little community gardens. I imagine if the weather was warmer they’d be nice, but in the winter the gardens are, to put it nicely, ugly. Piles of undetectable debris were scattered throughout the area, wet leaves polluted the floor, and not a single flower was budding. I got a chance to talk to a gardener, though, and

I asked how he got his garden and how long he’d been gardening there. Nine years, he said and then, thinking I was interested, he urged that I sign up for a garden as soon as possible. Apparently it’s a great opportunity for young people to make new friends. Next was the Riverway, a park that scales alongside The Muddy River. Unlike its predecessors, this park definitely felt like more of a trail. It seemed very rural—the low hanging trees, the brown sludge-y river, the suburban houses dotting the horizon. It was at this moment when we left Boston and entered Brookline. Finally we got to Olmstead Park. Olmsted Park was a good change from the previous damp, desolate, and muddy Riverway Park. Families and their dogs were taking strolls while groups of people huddled around tripods by Leverett Pond. I even saw two men fishing who shrugged me off when I tried to talk to them. My roommate and I stopped to admire a swan gliding in the water nearby. Then we crossed the street. Entering reality was a bit shocking, but then the street dipped into a hill below the highway and formed into the park again. This was Olmsted Park, but different. Much more desolate and hilly. We could see people in the street below us, but our trail brought us higher, revealing the surrounding fields and infrastructure of the area. My roommate recommended we go off the path to climb an even steeper hill. He thought there’d be something cool up top. There was just a lot of broken glass and fallen tree trunks, the perfect “chill spot,” he said. Finally we reached Jamaica Pond. This is the part of the trip when I truly regretted not waiting until the spring. Jamaica Pond was covered in ice but it’s expansive in a way that is absolutely breathtaking. It takes up the entirety of the park and in my opinion, is the thing about Jamaica Pond that is most worth seeing. My roommate and I walked up John Hancock’s steps from the terrace of his (actual) mansion and were able to see the pond from a bird’s eye view. Besides that, we spent much of our time imagining sitting under the shade of the trees in warmer weather, taking in the beauty of the pond. We swore we’d come back. Next was the absolute weakest link in the chain—The Arborway, which was basically a strip of land between two highways. This bleak excuse for a park was also where I began to experience pain in my leg muscles. I already walked five miles from downtown Boston to Jamaica Plain. It’s a shame that such a large and informative park is one of the last stops of the Emerald Necklace. The Arboretum is home for thousands of different species of trees and each tree has a description about their attributes. By then I was tired, but I tried my hardest to read and learn about every tree that I could. The Arboretum spills out to the Forest Hills stop on the Orange Line. You could easily take this home after a long day of walking or you could go a little farther to Franklin Park. By the time we’d reached Franklin Park the zoo was closed but still, it’s the largest recreational park in the Emerald Necklace and worth a visit. It has a zoo, golf courses, picnic areas, and large spans of green. If you ever decide to make an Emerald Necklace trek of your own, I’d recommend dressing comfortably. The Emerald Necklace isn’t a journey for the faint of heart and you’ll probably want to Uber or take the T to get back home. Still, it’s something I’d recommend any Boston lover do, whether or not you consider exercise your forte. It is truly beautiful to watch the city of Boston unfold around you as you journey into its dips of quaint suburbia and forestry. YM LIVING | 45




n today’s climate, especially as a college student, it is so easy to get caught up in negativity and stress. While attending classes, keeping up with clubs, maintaining a social life, going (or pretending to go) to the gym, government shutdowns, social media controversies, and gross weather, it can almost feel like positivity is a myth that we all talk about, but will never obtain. Some seek refuge in athletics, hobbies, or trying new things, like yoga. But what about those of us who are already far too overwhelmed by their current schedules to even consider whipping out a mat and finding a class to attend? Recently Alexa Losey, a YouTuber I have been following for years, posted on her Instagram story about how writing in a gratitude journal has changed her life. Usually, I roll my eyes at a statement like that, but thinking I had nothing to lose, I dove into a blank journal and wrote down something I was thankful for: my family. I do not always remember to maintain contact with my family, as I’m too focused on all my other daily tasks, so taking this minimal amount of time to think about and appreciate them reminded me to connect with them more. I’ve been writing in my gratitude journal for a few months now, and I already see differences in the way my day goes. It is most helpful when I remember to start my day with it; I feel more of an obligation to leave behind my dreary mornings in bed and face the day. Hesitantly pulling the covers off myself and placing my feet on the cold floor, yes, I sometimes regret getting up, but as I journal I feel a sense of renewal. It reminds me that the world contains more than just dreaded essay drafting and loathsome laundry runs. Each day can contain whatever I put into it. Journaling has made me recognize that I live a fortunate life where I never have to worry about my next meal, finding a place to sleep, or if I have the support of my loved ones. Gratitude journaling allows me to embrace my blessings and feel lighter and happier. This activity serves as a therapeutic and creative outlet for me. Some days I do not know what to write, but by expressing positivity, I find that I can further explore my passions and release them onto the pages of my journal. So don’t worry, this practice might just cure your writer’s block.


The reach of the gratitude journal is far, even Oprah Winfrey has discussed her “ritual” of recording positive aspects of her life over the years. On her website, she says that she used to write down five things she felt grateful for each day, some as simple as, “eating a melon on a cold bench in the sun.” After becoming too busy and falling out of touch with her journaling tendencies, she looked back on these entries and realized she no longer found as much happiness in the little moments of life. Today, she is still busy (she’s Oprah!), but the difference comes with prioritizing gratitude. She’s now back to documenting events that make her smile or feel thankful each day, but this time electronically, so as not to forget what happens to her as she’s on the go. If Oprah has been doing it all these years, it’s definitely something worth trying. In her self-help book, Wake Up to the Joy of You, Agapi Stassinopoulos writes about how easily people can fall into the trap of negativity. She notes that complaining about life not going our way “takes us away from our gratitude.” The result? “Entitlement, blaming, and demanding.” Whenever I think my life should be going differently, I get defensive, looking outwards for reasons why the world treats me unfairly or why others are seeking to harm me. Stassinopoulos understands this human response to adversity, but advises us to practice thankfulness instead. When she takes time aside to write down what she is thankful for, she says she finds herself smiling, and even becomes more attune to the practice, noting she’s “exercising and strengthening her gratitude muscle.” She adds that constantly thanking people like flight attendants, waitresses, baristas (even those who serve bad coffee), and theater ushers can weave this positive attitude throughout mundane daily activities. Making a point to spread joy to those who are also just trying to endure their days can have a significant impact on other people’s days. Just like hitting a baseball or running laps, the more you repeat the routine of gratitude, the better you will become at it. YM





t the New England Aquarium you can pet stingrays, watch penguins play, and gaze at a giant Pacific octopus. The main attraction, however, is the giant ocean tank in the center of the aquarium. As you walk to the top of the aquarium the tank continues to rise with you, higher and higher, until you are able to look down into it from the top of the aquarium. The giant ocean tank is home to dozens of different species including eels, reefs, stingrays, and fish. Its oldest member of the tank is a green sea turtle. Her name is Myrtle. When I first met Myrtle she was at the top of the tank eating the pieces of lettuce being thrown into the water by an aquarium employee. Myrtle is easily the biggest animal in the tank. Her allure stems from her size and her ability to give off an air of wizened authority. While the other animals in the tank seemed to simply follow the flow of the water and swim uniformly with the current, Myrtle rebelled against the norm. She was hungry and whether she knew it or not, she was putting on a show for the people around her. My first thought was that I would love to swim with her or somehow get closer to her. I wondered how much bigger she was than me and how she’d respond to me touching the back of her hard shell. She was beautiful, exotic, and an animal that I would probably only ever interact with in my dreams. The fact that she was so unobtainable made the experience all the more magical. I could ponder the inner workings of her mind from my place above the tank while she glided swiftly below me. Myrtle would occasionally come up to the surface of the water for air or just to munch on lettuce. It felt surreal to me because I had never been that close to a giant green sea turtle before. Her gasp for air would make ripples in the water around her. It was loud and made a tangible sucking noise. After she’d had her fill, she retired back under the water to rest on a coral reef. Green sea turtles can hold their breath for up to two hours. When I first saw Myrtle I knew nothing about her, but I quickly realized I needed to. Unlike the other animals in the aquarium, Myrtle

had a quality about her that could be personified to something royal, almost like a queen. After watching her and attempting to take pictures of her (none of them could do her justice), I shyly approached an aquarium employee to bombard him with questions about her. That’s when she became known to me. She was Myrtle the Turtle. Myrtle came to the aquarium in 1970, a year after its initial open in 1969. Myrtle is the oldest resident at the aquarium and because of this, she’s the most famous. Generations of families come to see her so she’s become a household name around New England. It’s estimated that she’s around 90 years old. Myrtle loves vegetables and she’s fed them five times a day. Her favorite vegetable are brussels sprouts. Her favorite food, however, is squid (she’s even attempted to steal squid from a shark’s mouth before). When she’s not eating she’s sleeping on coral reefs. The staff member told me that most of the other animals in the tank stay out of her way. They don’t want to have any problems with her. What girl doesn’t want to sleep and eat all day while having the respect, admiration, (and even fear) of all her peers? I quickly realized that Myrtle is “bad” in the same way Rihanna is. That she exuded a type of confidence and grace that not only animals could feel, but humans too. I stayed for a while longer until I came to terms with the fact that she probably wasn’t going to resurface again. So I left, hoping that friends and family could understand her true beauty from just looking at the pictures I’d snapped of her on my iPhone. As I continued on through the aquarium, walking down the ramp that follows the giant ocean tank, I saw Myrtle occasionally swimming from reef to reef. I said my goodbyes, but I knew that even if she could answer, she probably wouldn’t care to say it back. Still, I will never forget Myrtle or the way she made me feel. She’s the only reason I’d ever pay close to $30 for an aquarium ticket. YM






hether or not we enjoyed the accompanying homework, there are some pretty phenomenal books we’ve been required to read in high school and college classrooms. We at Your Mag asked our staff about the best books they’ve ever had to read for a class. If you’re looking for a few renowned books to add to your reading list, look no further than this compilation. From our bookshelves to yours.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin If you weren’t begrudgingly forced to read this book for English class when you were fourteen, you should definitely read it now. Set and written in the late 1800s, Chopin’s novel details the summer of Edna, the wife of a wealthy New Orleans aristocrat, and her attempt to find independence from her domestic life. Sula by Toni Morrison Before Toni Morrison won her Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, she wrote Sula, a book about the friendship between two black women, Nel and Sula, living in the mostly black neighborhood of Bottom, Ohio in the first half of the twentieth century. It’s a book about gender, race, family relationships, romantic relationships, and tradition. Kindred by Octavia Butler Call it science fiction, historical fiction, or African-American literature, but Octavia Butler calls Kindred “a kind of grim fantasy.” A young writer, Dana, finds herself time traveling between her present 1976 California home and the home of her ancestors, a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. The novel explores the lasting legacy that antebellum slavery has left on America. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith The first in a five-book series, this novel introduces us to the suave sociopath Tom Ripley on his first adventure evading capture through Europe. Following Tom from his little brownstone in New York City to fortune and wealth in Greece, this face-paced book is not only a page-turner, but also a renowned work of literature. And when you’re finished reading it, check out the film with Matt Damon and Gwynethh Paltrow. White Teeth by Zadie Smith Smith’s novel is centered on two friends from World War II, a Bangladeshi and an English man, whose unlikely friendship fosters themes like Britain’s relationship with people from formerly colonized nations. The two men’s wives and children add another layer to the story as they grow up together. The book touches on issues of religion, science, love, war, and the past, just to name a few. Drown by Junot Díaz This collection of short stories by Dominican-American author Díaz focuses on the struggles of a Dominican family as they immigrant to American and attempt to build their own version of the American Dream. A book about hope, loss, and strength, Drown opens a world of poverty, uncertainty, and ultimately about love. YM

The New York Times bestseller for over two years follows the life of Amir, a character who grew up in Kabul during the fall of the Afghan monarchy and the rise of the Taliban. The novel is a father-son story with powerful themes of friendship, guilt, and redemption; it’s the kind of book that will stick with the reader for years to come.






ou’ve heard the name. BROCKHAMPTON. They’re probably on that new spotify playlist your friend sent you the other week, the muffled beats from “GOLD” escape the ear buds next to you in the elevator on the way to class, and all of the clout culture fiends are sporting the boy band’s freshest merch. However, it wasn’t long ago that the group was just another underground collective. A few guys chatting in a Kanye West forum in 2010 has transformed into a 15 member boy band that is gaining the most buzz since One Direction. BROCKHAMPTON is the brainchild of 21-year-old Kevin Abstract, who knew from the release of their debut mixtape All American Trash in 2016 that the group was stacked with star players who were making hip hop music in a way that had never been done before. BH includes rappers, producers, photographers, and creative designers. These behind-the-scenes visionaries are brought along on tour and swooned over just as much as the rappers. 2017 was BH’s most pivotal year of growth. The release of the SATURATION trilogy, the group’s first three studio albums has launched the guys into the limelight. In September they embarked on “Jennifer’s Tour,” their first, with SATURATION I and SATURATION II under their belt. SATURATION III was released in mid-December, and by this point every hip hop enthusiast and beyond already knew it wouldn’t be long until the “hipster version of Odd Future” engulfed mainstream listeners. BH’s ability to release three impeccable albums in six months demonstrated why they’re receiving critical acclaim. The trilogy infuses elements of smooth to gritty trap production underneath swirling falsetto choruses, verses packed with narratives dealing with drug addiction, social injustices, and what it’s like to be queer as a rapper. On February 5th, the guys played a sold-out show at the House of Blues Boston, a 2,500 capacity venue as opposed to the 575 capacity Middle East that they performed at last September. Before entering, I saw loads of fans decked out in orange jumpsuits and blue painted faces, looks inspired by BH’s SATURATION album covers. There was no shortage of sad bois wearing t-shirts from the original SATURATION album—they wanted everyone to know they were an OG fan, duh. I caught up with fellow Emerson student Nathan Graham, sophomore Visual & Media Arts major, in line. “BROCKHAMPTON

are by far the most inspiring artists that I’ve discovered in the past year,” says Graham. “I really love their fans, which I think is one of their best qualities as America’s Favorite Boy Band.” Inside, screams spilled down the balcony and mezzanine and producer Romil Hemnani’s parents waved as they took videos of the crowd’s pre-show shenanigans. From second row to the barricade I could hear the whispers and screams from the pit. “Bro I can’t wait to hear HOTTIE live!” “What no, Ameer is the hottest, not Matt!” “I can’t decide which of Dom’s verses is my favorite, they’re all mad good.” The house lights faded and a lanky figure emerged wearing a mask. Ameer took off his mask and “BOOGIE” started playing to open the show. “I was standing right in front of the speakers at the time and I could literally feel the bass in my chest, it was so sick!” says sophomore Visual & Media Arts major Eliot Lee. I was knocked into a whirlpool of jumping and screaming, a mix of groovy dance moves and trap rap thrashing. Witnessing the show from the second row, whilst trying to keep my balance and composure, was a very difficult task. “JELLO,” “QUEER,” AND “GOLD” were the crowd favorites. Ameer, Dom, Joba, Kevin, Matt, and Merlyn never stopped moving as they sweated and spit their verses even louder and with more fervor than the recorded versions. The guys paused for a few minutes as they looked into the crowd; they were embracing the epic storm of mosh pits that started with them. The wavy coos to “BLEACH,” a slower but fan favorite track off of SATURATION III, left the crowd pleading along as Kevin reached his microphone farther into the audience so that fans could be heard singing. After an hour and a half, BH closed the show with an encore of “STAR”, performing it not once but five times for a five star night. Kevin called for fans in the audience who had blue faces or orange jumpsuits during the fourth round of the song to join BH onstage. The energy was overflowing at that point; everyone would remember BH in Boston. The “best mosh pit of the tour” erupted in the middle of the pit as “STAR” was performed for the final time. To make it all official, Kevin took to Twitter after the show, writing, “Boston just beat Tampa. Best show all tour, hands down.” YM




his infamous phrase used to infect every Tumblr post, every “artsy” caption. But the quote is incorrect. According to Van Gogh’s physician, Dr. Peyron, the artist wanted to poison himself by eating paint, but he never succeeded. Despite the quote’s falsity, its existence raises a larger issue in regard to creativity and mental illness. Van Gogh’s own mental illnesses—allegedly depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder—are often romanticized or ignored in light of his famous works. As art critic William Wilson once wrote for the Los Angeles Times, “Van Gogh has been romanticized as the very model of the Mad Genius and made the focus of rationalization for every pathetic unknown artist who labored in unrewarded obscurity.” While that is true, Van Gogh has also become a catalyst for something deeper: a more universal idealization of struggling artists. For years, many have upheld a glamorized attitude towards the life of the mad, starving artist. As if recreating the 2000 film Almost Famous, some people assume life is simple: the key to happiness is to travel the world, to easily create art, and to live “in the moment.” In this Hollywood view of artistry, the word “depression” is translated to mean an emotion, rather than a mental condition. In a film like Almost Famous, viewers forget the depicted “artistic” lifestyle comes at the expense of poverty, addiction, and the occasional sexually transmitted disease. Groupies are too busy inspiring musicians, and musicians are too busy making powerful music for there to be a moment in which viewers can fully understand the mental and physical tolls their lifestyle perpetuates. Perhaps it is both media and technology that allows these modes of thinking. Consider that in today’s society, moments of romanticization tend to begin with an incorrect portrayal or even a simple misunderstanding. An assumption from someone’s Instagram post—such as assuming their life is perfect because they’re on vacation—can skew the idea of a “mad genius,” a “starving artist,” or even simply, a “mentally ill person.” People often think that if someone posts something positive, there is nothing else wrong. Popular culture can especially dictate society’s idea of what an artist is. Particularly in the media, a popular artist such as Elle King can be portrayed as a young, perfect, bubbly musician. However, despite her charming smiles and catchy music, King struggles with both PTSD and depression. Living in Patti Smith’s depiction of the Chelsea Hotel in her memoir Just Kids, sketching Bob Dylan and being evicted because the rent cannot be paid are two separate ideas. In her book, Smith reveals what the reader needs to know: how her relationships inspired her musical career. But in real life, one cannot live through struggle as poetically as her words portray. There is still rent to pay, there is sickness, and there is pain. While Smith struggled with all three, her poetic narrative can lead readers astray; one might think these struggles were not terribly difficult. Reality often plays out very differently from what one hopes or believes from novels and television. Depression is not beautiful; it is frustrating. Poverty is not carefree; it is immensely stressful. To be an outcast is to be devoid of necessary interpersonal connection. As one begins to idealize the “starving lifestyle,” they may tend to romanticize the influence of mental illness on creativity. Following the lines of the idealized “Mad Genius,” people perhaps





assume that inner struggle influences an artist’s work for the better. For someone like Van Gogh, the momentous struggle of balancing artistry and depression seems not so difficult: the artist releases his demons onto the canvas, and all is solved. In 2016, the Van Gogh museum presented an exhibition called “On the Verge of Insanity.” The exhibit hypothesizes that Van Gogh’s mental illness hindered his talent; rather than find inspiration in depression, Van Gogh struggled to work through it. One must never forget that Van Gogh’s career ended when he shot himself in the chest, ultimately dying two days later. Artists today suffer the same struggles as Van Gogh. In Modern Baseball’s YouTube documentary “Tripping in the Dark,” member Brendan Lukens discusses his personal connection between mental illness and creativity. The documentary explains how simply delving into one’s illnesses for artistic output is not always the healthiest method to create. In fact, it could impair creativity; if an artist suffers from illness, the artist should first seek treatment. Treatment may not solve every issue, but it may help the artist to view their emotions in a more honest fashion. Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds has dealt with mental illness for years, and she has publicly expressed her experiences with both anxiety and depression. In an essay penned for Mental Health Day in October 2017, Diamandis opened up about her experiences and coping mechanisms. “For me, life = experiences + reactions to those experiences,” Diamandis writes. “The only power I have is choosing how I react to them.” Diamandis’ third record FROOT doubled as a means of shedding her inner negativity. Through the record, Diamandis came to terms both lyrically and personally with her depression. “I think I used to believe that being depressed was part of my personality or that I was born like that, but it's quite shocking to realise that perhaps that isn't the case,” she told The Line of Best Fit in 2015. She controlled most of FROOT’s creative process herself, unlike the past two records. Through FROOT, Diamandis took time to understand her own identity. Despite using her third record as an outlet, Diamandis advocates for other practices to manage mental illness. As with any artist, simply creating may not be the most perfect or most effective coping mechanism. Her three highlights include practicing meditation, exercising, and identifying with thoughts. Identifying with thoughts, she expands, means to not take your thoughts so seriously. In the essay, Diamandis explains, “I try not to identify with a thought and interpret it as truth just because it came into my mind.” Her practices certainly make for more honest lyrics; on FROOT, Diamandis unveils a level of honesty and integrity not found on either Electra Heart or The Family Jewels. It is something to be said about our views towards struggle that people so readily accepted Van Gogh’s “yellow paint.” Perhaps onlookers truly want the struggle with mental illness to be something that can be solved with simple colors and motions. Perhaps some truly believe that art provides a sole outlet for illness. Sometimes art can, but not for every artist, and not in every format. We can appreciate art that is derived from pain—it provides a subject matter many can relate to. But sometimes, there emerges a line between a certain sadness and something deeper. YM 56 | YOURMAG

Ym advises POP-UP ART SHOWS YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE TO, BUT DIDN’T Ever wish you’d known about a pop-up art show, but by the time you find out it’s already over? That doesn’t happen to us. Enjoy. On the building formerly known as the John Hancock Building (the big glass one on Copley,) there was a painting of a man on a dock that spanned seven floors tall on floors 44 through 50. With the glass that appears blue (because of sky reflection,) it looked like the dock was in water. - Bobby Nicholas III, Co-Head Designer Pop up events and galleries are my ISH. Even if I can’t make it to one--which I never do--I ALWAYS make sure to hit ‘Interested’ on the Facebook events so people know that I’m into cool, quirky things, like the ‘Misadventures of a 21st Century Naturalist’ exhibit at the ICA. - Delia Curtis, Style Editor I guess I’d have to say this private exhibition I was at last month at Charcoal Haus in JP. It’s very lowkey. You have to be born into Scientology to be invited. I’m not gonna get into that now, though. The exhibit was called “I don’t drive” and it was just this man in a blazer riding a stationary bike the whole time. The exhibit was open for 48 hours nonstop. I don’t think he ever took a bathroom break. - Gloria Perez, Web Director Probably this really progressive and edgy artists pop-up back in LA. It was basically one large hanging installation in the middle of the room of non biodegradable products she found on the side of the 405. I couldn’t make it, but my friend said it inspired her to live a less trash filled life. She now has a 16 oz. mason jar half filled with all the trash she’s produced the past two years. - Rana Saifi, Assistant Talent Director






“It’s entirely possible to represent queer sex without overdoing it or completely erasing it”

nybody who’s seen straight romance movies knows that those types of films have no problem casually dropping a sex scene in the middle of a budding love story. These scenes are often expected and even revered as some of the most romantic in cinema, like the intimate sex scene between Jack and Rose in Titanic. However, the film industry seems to have a problem showing queer sex in the same light. Rather than being casual or romantic, queer sex is either grossly overdone or barely there at all. Blue Is the Warmest Color, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, is a French drama about two girls who fall in love. This film gained critical acclaim for its intense story, and won the Palme d’Or when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Despite this, it received a lot of backlash due to the nature of the film’s sex scenes. The problem derives not from the presence of sex in the movie, but from the way those scenes were filmed. Over the years, the scenes have been likened to pornography because of their camera angles and long, explicit nature. The movie features three sex scenes, which together add up to around twenty minutes. Although this is an indie, artsy film that totals up to about three hours, that amount of sex seems ridiculous in the big picture. Much of the backlash around those scenes was kickstarted when Julie Maroh, author of the 2010 graphic novel that the movie is based on, spoke about her feelings on the movie. Referring to its sex scenes, Maroh said in an interview with the New York Times, “This is all that it brings to my mind: a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and made me feel very ill at ease.” Many members of the LGBTQ+ community felt the same way that Maroh did. There’s a certain kind of fetishization that comes with these long, graphic shots that make it feel like the actresses’ bodies are on display for the audience. As a queer audience member, the close-ups on their faces when they moaned and orgasmed and the long shots of their naked bodies made me feel uncomfortable. They made me feel gross. This type of fetishization is apparent in other movies as well. Sexual discovery is a big theme in the 2010 hit Black Swan, which stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as professional ballerinas in a competitive dance company. This theme comes to a peak in the middle of the movie when there is a sex scene between Portman and Kunis’ characters that feels seemingly thrown in. Later, the scene is revealed to have been part of a dream from Portman’s character, and it is laughed off by Kunis’ character as “some kind of lezzy wet dream.” This movie treats queer sexuality with such a derogatory manner, and seems to feature this scene only to serve the male gaze. Not only was it featured in many of the movie’s trailers, but it too contains shots that emphasize the actresses’ faces of orgasmic pleasure, exaggerated moans, and states of undress. The scene is vacant of intimacy and queerness, despite the fact that it portrays queer sex, and instead everything about it screams, “Watch these hot girls have sex!” On the other hand, there are movies like Call Me By Your Name, which is a film that has recently been under fire for its lack of queer sex.

While Call Me By Your Name, a movie directed by Luca Guadagnino that came out a few months ago, features more direct references to sex between the two male characters than quite a few other queer movies do, the only time explicit sex occurs is when it’s between the main character and a girl. This is rather odd, considering that the focus of the movie is the main character’s relationship with the older man he falls in love with that summer. Sexual encounters between the two are also an important theme in the book written by André Aciman, which this film is based on. The problem that comes with this lack of queer sex is evident in an interview with Guadagnino about his exclusion of the scenes. “I didn’t want the audience to find any difference or discrimination toward these characters.” Guadagnino explains, “It was important to me to create this powerful universality, because the whole idea of the movie is that the other person makes you beautiful—enlightens you, elevates you.” Just the other day when I was listening to an episode of MTV’s podcast “Happy, Sad, Confused” where they interviewed the actors of this movie, the amount of times I heard the host reiterate how this film is one that everybody can relate to was exhausting. While a movie does need to be somewhat universally relatable to be successful, the exclusion of these scenes seems to suggest that by taking out any explicit queerness from the equation, the art becomes “better translatable to a wider audience.” These directors often cite that to not do so would be a betrayal to the art on their part, but perhaps we should start asking how they are betraying parts of their audience as well. After all, nobody has these reservations about putting straight sex into movies and they seem to be doing just fine. I don’t mean to suggest that queer sex should be explicit or even exist in every LGBTQ+ movie, or that these movies are inherently terrible because of the way they deal with queer sex. The demand for queer sex in film is the demand to normalize queer sex, which is something that has been seen as sinful for so many years in media, pop culture, and society. Right now, we need to find the middle ground between these two ends of the spectrum. We can look to movies like Carol, which is a love story between two women in 1950’s Manhattan. The sex scene in this film is a soft and intimate affair, and is not shot in a way that oversexualizes the actresses’ bodies or puts them in positions to seem attractive for the audience. It feels natural, like an of course moment in the film’s narrative. The way I felt watching Carol is the way I would like to feel when watching every queer sex scene. I did not feel like an aspect of my sexuality was being exploited or ignored. I did not feel ashamed or ridiculed. It’s entirely possible to represent queer sex without overdoing it or completely erasing it, and in a time where queerness is becoming more and more visible in media every day, the film industry needs to take steps toward more healthy and positive representation. No person of any identity or sexuality should feel ashamed or uncomfortable to explore sex, and being conscious of the way representation in art plays into the stigmas around queer sex is a step in the right direction. YM















artist statement:

JAMES AMMIRATO Describe your work in one sentence.

What's your favorite song?

I'd describe my work as acoustic folk/indie rock, with a touch of garage.

My favorite song is maybe the hardest question I have to answer, because it changes constantly and I don't know if I could ever really name my favorite song definitively. I listen to a fuck ton of music, from indie rock and folk to rap to metal to pop to grunge to experimental and industrial, so naming a favorite song is just so hard. However, for the purpose of the question, I'll say that right now my favorite song is "Nude" by Radiohead.

Who are some of your favorite musicians? My top musicians include Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Microphones, Radiohead, Frank Ocean, The Velvet Underground, Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Deafheaven, Modest Mouse, Julien Baker, Bon Iver, and many more. What inspires you? A lot inspires me. Many of the songs on Armadillo are about changes I've gone through in life and experiences I've had, but a lot of them are also just snapshots of a time in my life. I wrote "Needles Make Forests" after one night at a summer camp, "Space" is a fictional scene I created when I was feeling especially cinematic, "Kilter" is about a walk home I had where everything just seemed off. It's hard to say what inspires me because there's not a whole lot that doesn't inspire me. If I find something that I believe is worth writing about then I'll do it, I won't exclude something to write about because of a certain subject matter. As far as my new project goes, which hopefully will be released sometime in 2018, many of the songs on that are about relationships I've had in the past year or so. I've also gotten more into experimentation as far as guitar work goes, and I think the new project is gonna have some sort of post-rock ambient instrumentals, as well as the standard acoustic singer/songwriter tracks.

When are you most creative? I think I'm most creative at night when I'm alone, when I can really think about ideas in full and conceptualize what I'm writing about. However, there are also times when I'll revisit an idea the next day that I came up with at like 3 am, and I'm like "wtf this is ass." But as far as raw creativity goes, I'd say definitely at night when I'm alone is when I get the most done. Do you have an artistic process? I'm not sure I really have one. There's definitely no formula I follow when writing songs, it's kinda all over the place. Sometimes I'll write a poem and put a melody to it, then stack some chords on top, other times I'll have a guitar part that I'll just play over and over until I freestyle some words that would make sense, then build off of that. Sometimes I'll have a certain image in mind that I want to write about, and sometimes I have one line that can't find its place in a song for several months before finally falling into place somewhere. Also, with Armadillo, a lot of the lyrics were written over the course of a few years, that I kind of made a collage out of. So yeah, my process is pretty much nonexistent. Armadillo is available at, as well as on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. YM


"I listen to a fuck ton of music, from indie rock and folk to rap to metal to pop to grunge to experimental and industrial."