Your Magazine Volume 18 Issue 1: October 2022

Page 1


Recognized in Spring 2012, YOUR


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


ISA LUZARRAGA Managing Editor

LILY BROWN Creative Director

MOLLY HOWARD Editorial Director

AMYA DIGGS Head Stylist

ELIE LARGURA Director of Photography


EYIWUNMI AJAO Asst. Art Director



ASHLEY FERRER Editor-in-Chief

HAILEY KROLL Co-Head Designer

WILLOW TORRES Co-Head Designer

KATHERINE ASSELIN Co-Asst. Head Designer

T É A PEREZ Co-Asst. Head Designer


SOPHIE BOYCE Asst. Copy Chief

GRIFFIN WILLNER Head Proofreader

SARA FERGANG Asst. Head Proofreader


ABIGAIL ROSS Romance Editor

CAM CIANCIA Style Director

LAUREN SMITH Living Editor


DHARVI GOPAL Marketing Director


GABBY GOODE Social Media Coordinator

ELLIE BELCASTRO Asst. Social Media Coordinator




VOLUME 18 | ISSUE 1 | FALL 2022






Welcome October!

Coming back to Emerson as a sophomore, you would think that I’d be all settled in and adjusted to my life in Boston away from the Florida suburbs I escaped just last year. Yet, this year feels just as novel, just as exciting, and just as humbling. I learned so much my freshman year and I have no doubts that this year will be the same —in spookier ways—. I am no longer that wide-eyed, naive girl looking for her place in another predominately white establishment, but rather feel myself being welcomed back into an environment that has begun shaping me for life.

This month we visually explored the complexities of introspection, sat in the crossroads of desire and loneliness, and accepted our witchier wiles. Our romance section embraces a new attitude towards collegiate sex and the true beauty of being a third wheel, while our interactive additives open us up to scarily accurate pop

culture suggestions and the essential tunes to conjure our inner monsters.

Before signing off, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Your Mag team for supporting me in this role. This semester, the majority of our staff assumed new positions and we also welcomed a lot of new faces to our E-Board. I couldn’t be prouder of each and every person who has contributed to this issue and hope that you guys, our readers, welcome this issue with open arms.

Warm wishes, Ashley Ferrer


What’s your body count?


Aquestion that simmers in the pit of your stomach when someone you are falling for asks you. Your heart is throbbing, your breath quickens, and suddenly you are left wondering if this might be the last time you talk to them. You want to tell the truth out of respect for them, but you are unsure if your lover might turn their back on you once they know. Of course, the query is expressed through curiosity, interest, and perhaps the need for clarity in every relationship. But the societal pressures and stigmas around body count remain ever-present, creating an unmarked territory between you and the one you love. How much should I tell them about my past sexual experiences? Will they still view me with the same admiration as before? You find yourself thinking: why is it so difficult to admit to my body count?

Although the term “body count” has dual meanings, the phrase has been used among younger generations in college or postgraduate when talking about how many people they’ve slept with. Somehow, the question has become somewhat taboo, though many people seem obsessed with knowing that specific number. Women and feminine-presenting individuals are most often subjected to the harmful realities embedded in the question of body count because of how they may be perceived in their counterpart’s eyes. Body count, or the query, has transformed into a measure of sexual worth or value by others, attempting to address one’s level of promiscuity or prudery on a timetable. We are not goods. We are people. Our bodies and sexual encounters have become something to obtain or not obtain as we still continue to reclaim our feminine bodily autonomy over decades with little success.

Upon researching body count, some of Google’s most asked questions, such as “what’s a high body count for girls?” and “how can you tell if a woman has had many partners?” underline our preoccupation with authority over the body as a commodity. Subsequently, men are rarely ever exposed to the sexual oppressions associated with the question of body count, and on the flip side, women rarely ever ask. If anything, men are praised by their friends behind closed doors for “scoring” a person they have wanted to sleep with for some time and are just as quick to ask a woman about who she has slept with. Why is there an invisible boundary to sexual freedom? This creates a sexist and heteronormative double standard between groups, highlighting the strains of sexual inequalities that still prevail. According to Varsity, female writer Ceci Browning tells readers that men must “stop asking women for their body count” because “just like someone’s phone number, you are not entitled to ask for it.”

We have been likened to digits, as if there is an ideal number of bodies that make us matter. A fixation on sexual purity and impurity seems to exist in the social sphere of dating, where we are com-

mended if we have been less intimate with others. You are viewed as wholesome, innocent, and highly regarded when you have fewer bodies. From someone else’s perspective, you are seen as wild, irresponsible, and promiscuous when you have more bodies. Research has revealed that men often prefer a woman with a lower body count for “relationship reasons.” Moreover, on the contrary, some men fixate on the idea that having a lower body count denotes inexperience and lack of sexual appeal. Though the previously mentioned sexual ideologies may have a correlation or bearing in the social arena of dating, body count preoccupation becomes a lose-lose situation for women and feminine-presenting individuals. According to GirlsAskGuys, an anonymous user states, “Yes, guys do care about a girl’s body count. Mainly because it says a lot about her view on sex and if she is compatible with being loyal and committed or not.” Evidently, too many individuals share an undeniable infatuation with body count and how the premise equates to someone’s worth, carrying the ominous issues of sexualization even further. If someone truly loves you, why should that be a factor?

Does love or romance play a part in discussions about body count? Some agree that knowing their partner’s body count is essential, not only to protect their health, but to understand the hidden parts of their sexual history as a couple. Others do not. Jonalyn Carpenter ‘23, who has been in a woman x woman relationship for a few months, disagrees with the statement that body count matters. She says, “I don’t think anybody cares about who you’ve slept with. It’s so much different in the gay community than in the straight community. Women are still viewed as objects. Back in the day, a woman’s sole purpose was to procreate, and you were viewed genuinely as less valued. I would never view my girlfriend in this way. It’s a weird stigma to uphold now, and I believe it’s definitely a product of our time.” The sexual shame and doubt intertwined with body count perpetuates unhealthy dating stereotypes, no matter what the dynamic of your relationships might be.

The number standards are just a game. Whether your body count is 100 or one, whether you talk about it or choose not to, whether you crave the stability in knowing or not knowing–all of it does not matter. We are not something to be played with; we are all human. You cannot categorize someone’s worth based on their body count. Sex is natural and necessary for survival for a majority of people. People deserve unconditional affection despite the societal pressures we have faced about sex for the past several years. An individual’s sexual history does not define who they are on the inside, nor is this standard a reflection of their ability to love someone they care about. This internalization of what someone’s body count is and what their answer says about them has to stop. Sexual freedom is healthy as long as we are all happy. YM


Seeking Funny (and Why

“Hi, I’m *******, looking for a girl I can make laugh. Hobbies include: stand-up comedy, improv, and being a generally funny and silly guy.”

Most people can’t help but want to laugh, which is why they tend to seek a humorous partner. However, there is a pattern behind what attracts and what doesn’t.

Many studies find that women are more likely to seek a partner who will make them laugh, while men tend to offer humor more than they request it. This concept is referred to as the “Humor Gap,” where humor is appreciated differently by different gender identities.

Particularly in the comedy world, it is said that men don’t desire funny women—the unstated reason being that it threatens their sense of self. Men are typically thought of as more comical, since

they are often encouraged to be boisterous and rowdy from a young age.

On the contrary, women are encouraged to be quiet and restrained. Additionally, professional male comedians tend to have more fans than their female counterparts, enough that there’s a term for the women who sleep with them: “Chuckle F*ckers.”

Grace Twomey ‘23 claims: “it comes from an insecurity encouraged by toxic masculinity and the need to be the one in the relationship who’s smarter, since intelligence and power tend to be correlated with humor.” It stands to reason that for a woman to be a suitable partner, she should laugh more at her partner to boost


Why Does It Even Matter?)

his ego and reinforce his assumed power in the situation. Women, on the other hand, tend to make more self-deprecating jokes to cast themselves as less threatening.

In my own research via Instagram polls, 75 percent of people said they would rather have a partner make them laugh than vice versa. Yet, 65 percent of people also claimed that they were the funnier person in their relationship. This leads me to wonder how much humor really matters when choosing a partner.

As a woman studying comedy, I don’t really care if my partner is funnier than me. While humor is a significant factor in picking a partner, it’s more important to me that we are able to laugh together. If there is a mutual understanding that we can both be funny without tearing the other down, then why would it matter who gets

more laughs?

Regardless of gender, I’ve noticed a tendency for comedy majors at Emerson to claim they will never engage romantically with another comedian. However, I can also cite several instances of inter-major mingling, myself included. I see it as a win-win: either you find love, or a funny story to tell at your next show. Perhaps the appreciation of humor isn’t the driving force of these connections.

So imagine sharing a gut-shaking, breathtaking laugh with someone you love. The lines are blurred of whose joke ended where, but you couldn’t care less. You are giddy with love and giggling with someone who makes you happy. I ask you, does it even really matter which of you was seeking funny? YM


Driving as the third wheel

Iwake up relatively early on a Saturday morning and make my way toward the North End. It’s a cold morning, and as someone who is not an early bird, I’m selfishly groggy on my walk. I’m not meeting anyone for a lavish Italian breakfast or touring Paul Revere’s House. I’m going to work–an unpaid job. No networking, no stipend.

It sounds like a particularly dreary day for me, waking up early to attend an unpaid job. But it’s actually the opposite. I’m on my way to my best friend’s apartment, Jay, to help him shoot a class film. He asked me to help “supervise” his script (forgive me, I’m not a film student). By that, I mean I have to read aloud the script for the actors to respond to while they’re being filmed. This wasn’t my first time helping Jay out with his films, and certainly not the last.

Jay and I are an uncommon duo. For starters, he hates reading: the exact thing that I study. He’s a Tarantino film boy while I much prefer Greta Gerwig. And he sounds like a dad when he references Taylor Swift. Yet, here we are. Staying up late talking about boys, determining daily outfits together, and spraying Reddi-wip at each other like we’re at a slumber party.

Jay and I have one major commonality: Anusha. His girlfriend, my roommate, and best friend. Anusha is a small, fiery female, who’s our other half. The two have been dating for about a year, and every time someone asks me about them I can’t help being overwhelmed with emotions. Anusha was one of the first friends I made at Emerson, and she’s stuck with me through some especially dark times. To put it plainly, Anusha is a lifelong friend.

Anusha, Jay, and I do everything together. I join them in their weekly film endeavors, we eat dinner nightly like a family, and we have regularly scheduled movie nights. If they’re on a date, they text me when they’re on their way home. I text them when I’m on my way home from work. If they’re going out with friends, they’ll invite me. On Jay’s birthday last year, I showed up at the party late, and everyone collectively yelled “Lauren!” even though I didn’t know half of their friends. My friends at home joke that I’m in a throuple between the two, but we all know what I really am.

Queue, the third wheel. The spare tire, the deadwood, the odd one out. If Marco has Polo, then I’m the fish out of water. It’s a role I take on proudly.

Okay, I’m going to sound like a bridesmaid for a moment. But it’s utterly justified. It’s not difficult to look at Anusha and Jay and see a future between the two, even if you don’t know the couple. But if you’re me and you’re nearly a part of their relationship, then it’s rooted in your being. If that makes me a third wheel, then I’ve become an incredibly central one to their relationship. More importantly, though, being the third wheel to Anusha and Jay has become an incredibly rare relationship to cherish.

The lovable couple made it official after I had just gotten out of a serious relationship. I was heartbroken. And the best part? My ex and I lived in the same building on campus. I was miserable. At that time, Anusha and Jay could have left me. And why wouldn’t they? My dreadful taste in men wasn’t their burden to bear. Yet, here they were. Ready to tend to me at any given moment like parents. Making sure I wasn’t alone, holding my hand (quite literally), and teaching me what actual, valuable love looks like.

The third wheel doesn’t seem so out of place now, does it? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of both witnessing and participating in PDA. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by a couple, feeling like you’re the only person in the room while two people smother each other. On the other hand, I’ve also been that couple to make friends want to leave the room.

Anusha is just one of my many friends who will tell you how happy she is that I’m no longer with my ex-boyfriend, both for her sake and for mine. And yet, somehow the downfall of my relationship has led to the praising of another. I became happier as a third wheel than I was in a relationship. And I knew exactly why: love is a learning process. Sometimes you’re in it, and sometimes you are just a part of it.

Anusha and Jay are the friends I go grocery shopping with. They’re the couple who throw Squishmallows at me to wake me up in the morning. The people who drunkenly confess how much they care and worry about me. They’re my other half, and I’m their third wheel. YM


why settle when you can sample?

Like most women, from a young age, I was expected to be a people pleaser by many people. Female-identifying individuals are positioned as caregivers by a patriarchal society. As a woman’s job in society, you are made to care for others. There’s no room to be selfish. I realized that while I wanted to think I had so much control over my life, especially my love life, I gave up that control to many men I dated. I would let them set the tone for the relationship and would in a way, follow accordingly. I thought I was flexible, just going with the flow. But, in all honesty, I was being a pushover. I wasn’t taking control of my actual desires.

I was in a relationship last year and a lot of that relationship was of convenience. I didn’t want a relationship but a guy I was seeing did and I thought, “fuck it why not?”. I ended that relationship after I realized how emotionally draining and time-consuming being in one can be. I spent most of the last summer, following the end of that relationship, really working on making myself a priority and becoming much more confident regarding what I want for sex, relationships and my life. I know exactly what I want now, and I make sure to communicate it to my partners. This is not to say I have a five-year plan or anything, but I know that at this point in my life having a variety of partners that all bring different aspects and experiences is the best for me.

This assured attitude came from me truly reflecting on where I am in my life right now and from the relationships I’ve been in. I don’t have time for a relationship nor wish to make any time for someone exclusively. I want to have fun and have the freedom in my life to go after anyone and be pursued by anyone. This is also about making myself a priority. I want to get through college, learn, write, go out with friends whenever, get with whoever, graduate from college and find a semi-stable job and a living arrangement I’m comfortable with. A relationship is the last thing on my list. I’m not in a place in my life where I can really love someone in an all-consuming way. I can’t give the love and time a relationship truly deserves right now.

I am fully prioritizing myself, and I’ve never been happier.

With my partners now, I’m very upfront with what I want; I tell them I’m not open to a serious relationship and that having other partners doesn’t affect me, because it doesn’t. One thing that people don’t tell you about when you start being upfront with what you want is that people won’t believe you. I’ve had both men and women get mad that I’m not prioritiz-

ing seeing or talking to them because they didn’t take me seriously when I said I’m not jealous and don’t want monogamy.

I recently had quite a lengthy conversation with a partner of mine about how everyone’s idea of casual is different and how the problem comes when it’s not communicated. I completely agreed and gave him my definition straight up and he was confused. He suggested that there is a sort of expiration date to casual relationships, that at some point you don’t want to see them again, or you start to only want to see them exclusively. I said I would not fall into the latter and I could tell that was not quite the news he wanted. I told him I mean everything I’m saying and that it’s something I know about myself. I told him I’m always upfront with what I want with someone now, so they can’t get upset since I told them honestly what my intentions were.

He seemed a little skeptical about my answers.

I believe a degree of that skepticism has to do with my womanhood. Historically, women aren’t seen as non-committal or expressive with their sexuality without shame. When I say to men, “I see you as someone to fuck and hang out with occasionally, but I want nothing more than that,” they don’t usually take me at my word. They think that I’m blatantly lying and want a relationship, that I’m not really sure what I want, or I want something purely sexual without any degree of friendship or respect. The last one rarely gets guessed, but none of those options are what I state explicitly to them. They don’t take my words seriously and most of the time it ends up with me ghosting them because they’re trying to make us something else.

I’ve had a partner say that he considered my going out Wwith and sleeping with other people as a “turn-off.” I told him I wasn’t trying to make it a turn-on. Casual works for me so if you’re not comfortable with it, we’ll end it.

While not everyone takes what I’m saying as truth, I would say it dramatically changed the relationships and partners I have now. I tell them the first or second time we meet, and they can decide whether or not they’re okay with that. I now have partners in my life that I can talk with for hours, have sex with, and hang out with, without it heading towards anything monogamous.

What I’ve taken away from this introspection is that I now know myself and refuse to not put myself in the position to get exactly what I want.

If that makes me selfish or a slut, so be it. YM


The Drama of it All



The chunky, bulbous footwear which has been a heavy topic of debate, consistently existing at a controversial point of love and hate, is now cycling back into the trends. Crocs, the porous foam clogs that are often splashed with crayon-colored hues and highly customizable with Jibbitz, have recently become one of the year’s hottest shoes.

The brand has strategically collaborated with popular celebrities and brands, situating itself back into discourse. For example, Crocs has collaborated with Justin Bieber and his brand Drew House, designing a lavender Classic Clog with Jibbitz charms of characters from the brand. Post Malone has also contributed to the collaboration, teaming up with the footwear brand for the fifth time since 2018. His latest collection, Post Malone x Crocs Duet Max Clog II, included a pink and black colorway of crocs with Jibbitz charms like grapes and hearts, mostly inspired from his own tattoos. The brand had then furthermore launched a collaboration with fast food chains like KFC, where they came up with drumstick Jibbitz that actually smell like chicken!

While we may associate the Crocs revolution to be a more recent phenomena, the whole makeover was already kicking off back in 2016 when the British designer Christopher Kane made the first ever collaboration with the brand.

The Christopher Kane SS17 Crocs collaboration featured Crocs’ classic clog in earthy marble prints, with the holes all ornamented with chunky gem Jibbitz. Having the models in his runway show wear these special Crocs designed exclusively for the collaboration, Kane wanted to bring the everyday style into the luxury space. Michelle Poole–the current president of Crocs–recalls Kane’s runway

show in an interview with GQ –“‘We were watching the show live,’ Poole says, ‘and we saw the audience looking at the models, and then suddenly everyone’s gaze dropped to the floor.’” From then on, Crocs have been picked up by the fashion industry, marking the start of the current Crocs craze.

In 2017, its collaboration with Balenciaga brought the biggest dramatic makeover to the whole brand. It not only brought Crocs to make its name in the luxury space but also directed the brand to experiment with new silhouettes.

Since then, we saw the brand experimenting with and introducing new styles like the bolder, chunkier “Classic Crush Sandal” and the feet-melting “Mellow Slides.” Unlike all the collaboration with the high-fashion houses, these newly introduced styles now feel more readily available and suitable for the average shopper.

Still, behind all the sensational buzz of the brand with the high-fashion and celebrity collaborations, Crocs’ continued belief in its pop of color, interesting shape, and power of weirdness are all the most important in its resurgence to the fashion space. The idea of embracing comfort and simplicity by sticking to the brand’s iconic childlike shape but exciting and fun concept with charms is what brought the chunky clog to fashion’s favorite comfort slip-on. And Crocs does not intend to just stop there. The brand continues to push the craze momentum by being bold and going beyond the silhouettes of clogs and sandals, while also valuing its characteristic of versatility and allowing us to personalize and be expressive on its blank canvas. And most importantly, no matter how many collaborations the brand makes in its future, Crocs always want everybody to be comfortable in their own shoes. YM

STYLE | 23

Designed for life:

a retrospective on the work of Issey Miyake

24 | STYLE

How do you create a meaningful article of clothing in the seemingly endless landscape of fashion—a landscape where at some point in time everything has been thought of or created?

Issey Miyake’s approach to answering this crucial question is what has cemented him as one of the all-time greats. His process and design philosophy was like none other, and it yielded garments that looked out of this world, yet seamlessly integrated into everyday life. From the Miyake Design Studio website, “Issey Miyake’s ‘monozukuri’ or way of making things is an ongoing quest via research and experimentation for new innovations that can be harnessed, free from existing conventions.”

Miyake envisioned clothes fit for everyone, meant to be worn and embraced. He saw his clothes as items to be danced in, lived in, and loved. He believed in using good, meaningful design to make people’s lives better. Miyake’s iconic pleated garments stand as his most recognizable creation, wholeheartedly embodying his design philosophy and vision in creating clothes that were truly accepting.

Miyake was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1938 and was a student of Hubert de Givenchy in Paris after studying at the Tama Art University in Tokyo. In 1970, he returned to Japan to found the Miyake Design Studio, a place that would become his professional home for the rest of his life. On August 9, 2022, it was announced that the revolutionary designer had passed away from cancer at the age of 84.

Miyake presented his first full collection in Paris in 1973, three years after founding his design studio. There, he would start countless brands including Bao Bao Issey Miyake, which is known by its instantly recognizable geometric bags and accessories. In 1994, his iconic pleated clothing first launched through Pleats Please Issey Miyake, which was expanded to a men’s line in 2013 with the introduction of Homme Plissé Issey Miyake. He famously designed the black turtleneck shirts Steve Jobs wore.

Miyake worked outside of standing conventions in the fashion industry, and he championed technology in his design process to create thoroughly new items. His pleated clothes are one of his best examples of combining technological innovation and traditional techniques. His famous brand Pleats Please Issey Miyake was launched in 1993 (Miyake had been making machine-made pleats since 1988, but the first standalone pleats-focused line was launched in 1993).

Pleats Please presented light, flowing garments, bursting with color, complimented by the instantly recognizable garment pleats (‘garment pleat’ refers to a pleat over the entire garment, as opposed to a small section). Miyake worked for years to perfect the process of creating practically indestructible pleats that covered the entire garment. These pleats would become the foundation for some of his most revolutionary and celebrated garments. Not only were they fantastic for creating wild and wonderful shapes on the runway, but their light and stretchy nature allowed traditional garments to come to life when being worn. Large dresses danced and bounced along

with models as they walked, emphasizing the connection Miyake saw between clothes and the people wearing them.

The technique of pleating clothing has been around for ages, long before Miyake began his endeavors. At its most basic and utilitarian, a pleat was a technique used to better shape clothing around the body or create volume and texture within a garment. A simple pleat involves folds within a pattern piece that are often pressed with heat and then sewn into place. This is done with the understanding that the vast majority of pleats, especially over a cotton or wool textile and without sufficient sewn support, are fairly delicate and subject to flattening or unfolding—especially a full garment pleat such as those seen on Issey Miyake’s clothes. In couture and dressmaking, pleats can add a simple and elegant texture to a finished piece. In men’s clothing, pleats have been used as a more practical way to fit garments (a nod to the undying norm in menswear where function rules over fashion). Knowing how pleats are traditionally made and used is critical in understanding how Issey Miyake revolutionized the practice.

If you have ever held a pleated Issey Miyake piece, you would recognize two distinct traits of his clothes. Firstly, the fabric is extremely light but not soft or smooth to the touch, unlike a natural fiber such as cotton. Secondly, the garment pleats are practically indestructible. They can be stretched, pressed, sat on, and squished, but they’ll instantly bounce back to their pleated form. This was made possible by innovations in fabric technology, and Miyake developing an entirely new process of heat-pressed pleating. All of his pleated garments are 100 percent polyester, which aids in the pleats holding their shape, as polyester is a synthetic polymer, not a natural fiber. When the fabric is heated and then pressed, the polymer acts as a finely woven plastic: it softens with heat, the fold is applied, and then it holds its shape as it cools.

Miyake and his design studio fully developed the pleating machines used for all of their clothing. By recontextualizing the use of pleats in modern dress, Issey Miyake created some of the simplest yet visually striking pieces in recent memory: pieces such as the Minaret dress, where colorful pleated fabric was shaped by hoops from the waistline down, evoking the image of a tall tower, which would sway and gently bounce when worn. Many of Miyake’s clothes took inspiration from architecture; they were more shapely and structural rather than draped. The full effect of his work can only be experienced when his clothes are worn, a seamless symbiosis between humans and clothing, where living and breathing sculptures emerge.

In a manifesto of how Miyake saw his clothes, every seasonal presentation for Pleats Please and Homme Plissé rejects the notion of a dull runway show or catwalk. Instead, dancers and gymnasts flood an open stage where they perform wonderfully choreographed dances and routines. In an age where fashion has become more consumerist than ever before, Issey Miyake champions the belief that clothes, lived in and loved, should last a lifetime. YM

STYLE | 25


Ibegan wearing makeup when I was 11 years old. I fell in love with watching YouTubers with drawers full of expensive makeup transform their bare face into something entirely different. I went to a Catholic middle school where makeup wasn’t allowed, but I still wore it. I practiced a “natural” makeup look, where I was wearing just enough to make my appearance different. My parents saw my makeup use as a hobby, not as something that could potentially harm my self-esteem in the future. I don’t blame them for that, though I saw my use of makeup as something necessary to make me feel validated as a female. Looking back at my 11-yearold self, I wish I could tell her that she’s beautiful and doesn’t need makeup to fit in.

Similar to myself, Emerson students Mary Callanan ‘24 and Amanda Winters ‘24 both started wearing makeup at a fairly young age; Callanan beginning to wear makeup at age 12 and Winters at age 13. We all went to private schools growing up where makeup was not allowed, but we still found a way to wear it discreetly. We all were encouraged to start wearing makeup by the influence of

social media highlighting certain unachievable feminine features and establishing unrealistic expectations regarding beauty.

“I grew up in a very predominantly white town and I just didn’t really look like anybody, and I wanted to look more like people having bigger eyelashes, fuller eyebrows. I didn’t like some of my features and I wanted to change that. If you ask a lot of non-white girls that grew up in predominantly whiter areas, they will most likely say the same thing. You have more of a desire to fit in—that’s what got me wanting to wear makeup,” says Winters.

Eurocentric beauty standards have been pushed by society as the pinnacle of beauty. In Winters’ journey with makeup, she noticed there was no diversity in YouTube tutorials or makeup companies, as many of these videos or products were aimed for white users. She noticed that the makeup techniques she had been practicing did not fit her own features. “Makeup has somewhat helped me understand that I don’t fit this mold. I think that actually bothered me in the beginning, but now I kind of just accepted it and can appreciate my features,” says Winters.

26 | STYLE


When I began using makeup, I wanted to look like someone I wasn’t. I had a desire to look older and to possess more feminine qualities. I began creating a makeup routine that I practiced and perfected daily. I started with a little eyeshadow and mascara. Then, I felt that I needed to cover my skin in addition to emphasizing my eye look, so I added concealer and foundation. Eventually I was covering almost every part of my face. Practicing this makeup routine at such a formative and impressionable age clouded my judgment of my own worth. I only felt normal when I had a full face of makeup on. The reflection of my bare face in the mirror resembled a stranger who I couldn’t recognize and couldn’t fully love.

Callanan noticed a struggle with achieving beauty standards while maintaining skin care in her makeup experience. This cycle consisted of using makeup to emulate flawless skin, the makeup then causing acne, blemishes, and discoloration, and then using makeup to cover any acne or redness—instead of properly caring for her own skin.

“My acne got worse and worse, and then I felt even more like

I couldn’t go out without makeup because I had to cover the acne,” says Callanan.

This issue seems to be common among girls who began wearing makeup at a young age. During my freshman year of college, my skin was in its worst condition ever, and I knew I needed to make a change. I noticed people who wore little to no makeup had clear skin and I envied them, but I also realized that they had healthy skin due to the fact that they did not overuse makeup as I had.

I faced one of my biggest fears and tried to go certain days without wearing a full face of makeup to heal the years of damage that makeup had on both my skin and my self-image. This was something that frightened me, but I felt it was necessary and I began recognizing my face and the beauty that I possess without makeup. YM

STYLE | 27

Street style


Roy Gentes, he/him

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Americana, vintage, filthy

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

Stills of inebriated rockstars

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

My parents’ closet

Celebrity style icon?

James Dean

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

American Airlines jacket, diamond-encrusted tank top, fake bb belt

Flora Doremus, she/her

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Classic, versatile, thoughtful

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

Silhouettes and styles of old runways, my mom in the 90s, and European streets

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

Ebay baby. Versatile.

Celebrity style icon?

I love Paloma Elsesser’s style. And Zoe Kravitz (also crush). What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live without?

Vintage levi’s, my Lacoste cardigan, and a comfy pair of sneakers. Oh and my birth year necklace (it’s technically not wardrobe? but essential)

28 | STYLE

Jonah Hodari, he/him

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Grandpa, Nostalgic, Earthy

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

I am very inspired by menswear of the 1970s and 90s, I feel like these were great periods of fashion for men especially when it came to the brands and the variety of clothing.

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

Miu Miu’s brief 1998-2000 menswear collection

Celebrity style icon?

90s Lenny Kravitz

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

My oversized FUBU t-shirt, my jorts collection, and my FUBU Fat Albert denim jacket

Abigail Alyn, she/her

How would you describe your personal style in three words?

Classic, tasteful, subtle

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

I am inspired by Pinterest, many model-off-duty looks, certain fashion influencers

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

Either Ralph Lauren or Free People

Celebrity style icon?

Bella Hadid always

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

A good pair of jeans, a basic white tee, my everyday gold jewelry

Micki Porcaro, she/her

How would you describe your personal style in three

Ever-changing, chic, sultry

Where do you typically get outfit inspiration from?

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

Any flea market

Celebrity style icon?

Sofia Coppola & Sharon Tate

What are three pieces of your wardrobe you can’t live

Tweed mini skirt, brown lace-up knee high boots, Penny Lane coat

STYLE | 29





Black, White, and


Puberty Post-Mortem

According to my mom, I started showing signs of depression and anxiety at five years old. I’ve been in therapy ever since, and I cannot remember a life without weekly appointments. When my childhood got swallowed by mental illness, I didn’t know how to define myself outside of it. It was all I knew.

Nina Kahn: 20 years old. What else about me matters?

I turned to film and television to process the feelings I couldn’t deal with. I had my first kiss alongside Lady Bird and Rory Gilmore, smoked and drank with the cast of Freaks and Geeks, and ran away with the love of my life in Moonrise Kingdom. These characters could feel for me, could be messy, and loud, and earnest in a way I feared more than anything else.

Believing I deserved nothing, I denied myself the freedom to desire, to daydream about the life and the love I craved. Romance, wild parties, and indestructible friendships soon became as fictional to me as the worlds to which I escaped. So went middle school, then high school … The numbness began to consume me to degrees I had never experienced, reaching its worst during my freshman year at Emerson. I haunted my dark Little Building single without speaking to anyone besides my classmates (and only when I absolutely had to) for eight months.

Life was for other people, not me. A functioning person would never want to chaperone the 12-year-old girl playing dress-up as an adult and fooling nobody.

Only within the last year, did I begin to realize the magnitude of what I had gone through as a teenager. What I now recognize as a dissociative state felt like drifting through the world in a spacesuit; drifting untethered, too aware of my breathing, everything a million miles away. Suddenly I’ve crash-landed to Earth after years in the clouds.

When describing my experience to my therapist recently, I could still only equate myself to Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later,



coming out of a coma to discover a deserted London overtaken by a zombie apocalypse. Where had I been this whole time, and what had been happening while I was unconscious? You mean all of this was happening around me the entire time? Nothing felt real. I was nothing more than a character.

It was devastating to admit that I was not, in fact, cosmically cursed. I did this to myself, and now I have to reckon with the consequences. My sadness turned into a deep anger at myself for causing what I thought was irrevocable damage.

I am no longer angry at my younger self. Instead, I mourn for the childhood I never got to have. Adolescent Nina deserved to be herself. She deserved to do her hair and dress in ways that made her feel beautiful, even if she’d cringe at them today. Having crushes like every other teenager did not make her disgusting or crazy, nor should they have gone unadmitted—not even to friends—for years. More than anything, I wish I could tell her that it is not stupid, embarrassing, or dangerous to want something more.

It would be a complete lie if I said this new chapter in my life has resolved all of my personal struggles. I still feel the pressure of being “caught up” to my peers as a young adult. I’m far from being confident in my own skin. Every irrevocable way I’ve shrunk myself radiates phantom pain, even as I grow. Nonetheless, emerging from my arrested development has its highs as well as low moments. Despite the weight of reflecting on my past, there is a profound joy in finally feeling this intensely. I get to cry in my room to My Chemical Romance for the first time. I’m decorating my walls with pictures of everything I love. Whatever crushes I develop, I’ll allow them to flourish in all their giddy, gross glory. Vulnerability is so beautifully freeing.

I’m Nina Kahn. I am 20 years old. I don’t know who I am, but I know that I have full control over who I will become. And I can’t wait to meet her. YM


The Phone Works BOTH WAYS

Child support arguments, smack talking your custodial parent, and the tension that weighs above the roof you live under–this is a glimpse into what it’s like to be a kid in the middle of divorce. When it comes down to custody and you end up living with only one parent, there’s distance with your other parent: the non-custodial parent. The most infamous line of non-custodial parents is: “You know, the phone works both ways.” A lot of these same parents tend to push the responsibility of their relationship with their children onto their children. They fail to realize the anger and resentment of their 10-year-old not wanting to talk to them is in fact–and stay with me here–their own fault.

As a kid, I was subjected to bi-weekly visits and phone calls every week with my other parent. I grew up in a household where it felt like I was waiting for World War III to erupt every week. After my parents split, we were all still in the same apartment building. There was no distance, therefore, I would come home to the other parent sitting on my couch, eating the snacks (that they didn’t buy) for my sister and I.

“Hi girls! Did you miss me?”

No. We didn’t.

My other parent was selfish and erratic. I had no choice but to appease them when they were in my path. The screaming and fighting, the slamming of doors, and physical intimidation would make me bawl my eyes out when they would try to do something as simple as take me to bowling practice.

Once we moved out of the apartment and into a different part of town, I felt relief–somewhat. Now that I was 13 and had my own cell phone for the first time, I was being told it doesn’t end here–youhavetocallthemonce aweek.Keepthepeace.Don’tmakeitworsethanithastobe.

But as a child, why am I being forced to build this relationship? You owe me the rebuilding of trust and security.

Karina Montetna, a 21-one-year-old student at Miami Dade College recalls hearing this guilt inducing line: “As a kid, hearing ‘the phone works both ways’ didn’t make sense to me,” says Mon-

tetna. “I was a kid trying to live my little kid life. I would feel guilty believing it was my responsibility to have contact with the other. If I never called, the other parent wouldn’t call.”

Oftentimes, there seems to be a power imbalance with these relationships. Caitlin Ring, a 21-year-old new mother finds it hard to fathom treating her daughter the way she, herself, was treated–not as an individual.

“A lot of parents have a hard time seeing their kids as equals. It’s like you’re less than. It’s your responsibility as a parent to build on your relationship with your kids, not mine,” she says. “You gave birth to me, you have the responsibility to try and make this work.”

One thing lacking from these relationships is self-awareness. They also tend to victimize themselves, and flip their residual anger and sorrow from their failed marriage onto whatever they can. According to Sarah Epstein, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), this common guilt tripping tactic is a cheap and easy fix for parents who want to feel wanted. This is how they get what they want, when they want it. However, the long-term effect should make them think twice.

“An adult child who feels manipulated into contact, who feels compliant rather than excited to show up, may remain emotionally absent. Guilt erodes a relationship and creates resentment,” she writes.

When parents guilt their children into the relationship they desperately long for, it drives them away more than anything, Epstein goes onto say. This is the exact thing many adults fail to understand.

So parents, understand this–your kids are not your property. They may have your last name or your eyes, your little quirks or your tone of voice, but this does not make you entitled to a relationship with them. Kids don’t owe you their time to be your therapist. You have to put in the emotional labor the right way in order for your kids to call. Be involved in their life, their interests, their goals. Distract them from the mess going on, don’t throw them into it. YM


I Hate All Men


Ihate all men. Yes, that includes myself. We are born being told what we are, and then are supposed to follow a list of unspoken guidelines in order to be perceived as socially acceptable. Feminist philosopher Judith Butler states in Gender Troubles, “gender reality is created through sustained social performances.” If this is true, what actions have made masculinity so toxic, and is it salvagable?

Masculinity is not something that is easily defined. It is often associated with power (particularly over women), strength, the ability to provide, and stoicism. Over several centuries, masculinity has gone from hunting, instead of gathering, to political dominance. Men have taken control of our world by causing women to feel unsafe and gay men, like me, to feel unaccepted based on stereotypes. The weaponization of masculinity is constantly perpetuated when a man takes control or acts violently without consequences. Women and gay men are subsequently forced into a role of submission, purity, and emotionality, and are seen as the opposite of men.

I came out in eighth grade. From then on I was nothing more than “the gay kid” that men chose not to perceive as masculine. Boys began to disappear from my life out of fear. Due to this, I found myself identifying more with femininity. Gal pals, female teachers, and my feminist mother were at the epicenter of my world while masculine demons orbited my head, often calling me “fag” as I covered my ears. I was, and still am a man, but “he/him” seemed to melt away from me because all I could associate with manliness was the fear I felt towards men and their fear for me.

Of all the times I have felt bad around boys, one event proves my hate for men most of all. The summer before my junior year, I entered summer camp with a crush on my camp counselor. While he was seemingly straight, one night he chose to get into my bed, tell me he knew I liked him, made me touch him while forcing himself onto me, and told me how he had a girlfriend and how he did this for me. I was left stewing in silence for hours as I festered in his poison. From then on, I found it harder to make eye contact with men. I was assaulted, and I now feel that I have lost agency over my expression just like so many women. However, I will never fully understand how women and people raised as women feel.

Many women and gender-nonconforming individuals have voiced how uncomfortable they feel in the presence of men for similar reasons. When Brianna Young ‘23 was asked about her negative experiences around men, she brought up a personal anecdote from her old workplace. She recalls working with a now ex-boyfriend, Daniel, as well as a chef named Phil. She explains, “Phil was middle aged and he was only there for the summer. He started out just overly complimenting me saying how good I looked in a color…But then he would say ‘Oh, I shouldn’t say that. That’s Daniel’s girl.” She goes on to say, “Phil came up to me to say goodnight, but he hugged me and started kissing my neck. And this man was six foot two and over 200 pounds.” After she told her boyfriend about the situation, he refused to validate her experience. When they broke up he said, “I 100% believe Phil; Phil’s my homie.”

A large sum of women are hypersexualized and their outcries are ignored just as Young mentions. She was ridiculed in her workplace, and so how is she supposed to move forward knowing that she must work with other men like this?

Masculinity is not just sexual dominance; it can be in the context of mansplaining and manspreading, or the idea of men asserting dominance in conversations and in physical situations. Emma Cudahy ‘25 is studying political communications, and she feels as though she is unheard in her male-dominated field. She states, “[It’s] the idea that as a woman your perspective is inherently less valuable than the perspective of a man.” According to the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto, 41 percent of women echo Cudahy as they feel uncomfortable at work. Toxic masculinity burns all individuals who present femininely. Emma Boothroyd ‘25 is a nonbinary individual who has experienced disrespect and hypersexualization based on their femininity. They divulge by talking about a story where a man yelled that he wanted to put his dick in their mouth when they were just trying to walk their dog. They explain, “There have been so many instances of getting catcalled and misgendered…It adds a whole nother layer of intricacy when being perceived as a woman as a nonbinary person.” In being perceived hypersexually, their identity is ignored. Their gender was invalidated because a man believed that signs of femininity represent submission.

I hate being a man. Last night I dreamt that I cut my penis off just to feel more comfortable in my body. However, it made me feel further disconnected. Although I am gender nonconforming, it does not erase that I look and feel like a cisgender man. As a result, I hold a privileged position that scares others. I have accidentally hurt women in the past because of my privilege. As men, we must learn how to radically recontextualize masculinity’s definition. Men should acknowledge their privilege while also decentering themselves so other genders to take equal spotlight. Cudahy argues, “Regardless of how you feel about yourself and your masculinity, you have to realize and understand that women are going to perceive masculinity as something dangerous for them.” Societal norms are not just going to disappear, but they can be understood and transformed through active listening and accountability. It is lazy to write off all men as broken. I might hate all men right now, but we all must learn to accept the faults of modern masculinity while holding men accountable for change. YM




Ithink we’re all fools in love. In the best possible way. That even though our hearts get broken over and over, shattered into a hundred thousand pieces, we tape ourselves back together and try again. We rely on the chance of love. The chance you’ll find the one during your morning bagel trip. Or maybe that’s just me.

If I were to recap the absolute disaster my love life has been the past year, I would probably be committed. I want to fall in love so badly that I search every corner of my life to try and find it. And so far, not an ounce of success. But, despite all of that, I think there’s beauty in ruin. Even though nothing came out of these potential end-games, I’m still willing to keep trying.

Dolly Alderton wrote, “you were made so that someone could love you” in her memoir Everything I Know About Love. But, I don’t know much, if anything, about love. I don’t know what it means to wake up next to your partner and gaze into their sleepy eyes and feel at home. I don’t know how to get the guy. I don’t know how to completely open yourself up to another person and let them in or how to let yourself fall in love.

But, I do know how to love; in my own broken, irresponsible, 19-year-old way. I know how to memorize someone’s coffee order. I know how to hypothesize the future; a garden party wedding and my ball gown. I know how to write down recipes so one day I can pass them on to the family I created. And I find immense comfort in knowing one day that will be my reality. Though, why do I feel so much pressure to get there right now?

We tend to place so much pressure on the future. The married by 27, two kids by 30. The “if we’re not married by 35 I’ll marry you” pacts with childhood best friends. The promises to our classmates at seven years old to be one another’s bridesmaids.

My favorite band, Wallows, sings, “love, it isn’t life in your twenties/nothing much to look forward to” in their song “Treach-

erous Doctor.” This line specifically is geared toward the singers’ younger selves who are bright-eyed and ready to grow up so they can experience love and lets them know that it isn’t the most important part of exiting your youth, nor the most fruitful. In an interview discussing this song in particular, Wallows said their goal was to dive into the “insecurities of growing up” and insecurities associated with love (Genius). Much of their music represents what it’s like to be a teenager coming into adulthood, questioning youth, love, friendships—and everything associated with those feelings.

This societal pressure has also found its way into other forms of art besides music like movies or books, like Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice who famously talks about how not being married by 27 has made her an immense burden on her family.

And even though Pride and Prejudice is old and Wallows isn’t a world famous band, that doesn’t make these examples obsolete. It means people have been talking about it for centuries and still are today. Consequently, that means for those of us who do feel this pressure—it’s okay.

For myself, I want to fall in love to experience everything that comes with youthful love— even the heartbreak. But, searching for that has led me nowhere, except to hurting myself. Hurt by ignoring the red flags, trying to force things, trying to be someone I’m not.

This trainwreck has truly taught me that it’s perfectly fine to be alone and it’s also perfectly fine to want to fall in love. But most importantly, you have to take comfort in your own solitude. There is no missing piece. You are completely whole on your own.

For those of us who want to fall in love or are currently in love: I encourage you all to relish in your youth. And to write the stories of your lives which will one day be passed on to the rest of the world. YM

Do we, as a cultural standard, place an emphasis on falling in love because it’s a wonderful thing?
Or is it some primitive, pheromone-induced quest to find love to continue the human race?

Season of the Witch


Bending the Knee to the HBO Dynasty

In the years 2011 to 2019, HBO’s Game of Thrones (GOT) dominated pop culture. Fans clamored for each new fantastical episode, screamed and sobbed at each twist and sudden death, and formulated theories upon theories as hopes raised higher than flying dragons for the finale. Then, in 2019, the anticipated final season aired, but was filled with disappointment. HBO’s greatest small screen marvel since The Sopranos perished into dust.

However, the world of Westeros has been given another chance by the studio television gods. The prequel series, House of the Dragon, based on the book Fire and Blood is finally here. Week to week, former GOT fans can find their scorched hearts repaired by each disturbing, violent, and incestuous episode. Upon release, Billboard reported that––with 29 million viewers per episode––the show was HBO’s biggest series premiere ever. It was renewed for a second season not even one week after the first episode aired.

Twitter reactions and memes of House of the Dragon are especially nostalgic. Hearing familiar names such as Dracarys and the GOT theme song has fans reminiscing on the show they spent half a decade obsessing over. The world of Westeros is back in full force.

Just as HBO began to make a brilliant comeback, it immediately faltered. News of the network canceling the release of the already-filmed and edited Batgirl film in favor of tax credit hit Twitter, and the streaming platform faced immense backlash. Fans argued that this was not only entirely selfish and industrialization of art at

its absolute worst, but extremely disrespectful to the cast and crew. The news of HBO’s plans to merge with Discovery+ followed. This came with the possibility of dropping all scripted content, better known as Max Originals. Beloved shows like the Genera+ion and The Sex Lives of College Girls were at risk of being cancelled, despite their high viewership and positive ratings.

HBO’s ability to throw around original art for profit speaks to the supreme power in the hands of corporations rather than artists, and a complete lack of understanding what viewers want or care about. Capitalism reduces meaningful art into numbers and dollar values, removing the artist from their work.

HBO’s collection of phenomenal TV made me consider myself a fan of the corporation. My love for Succession, Barry, and Big Little Lies led me to proclaim HBO as the superior streaming service in the past. But supporting a media corporation is truly a meaningless, empty action; it does nothing to support the artists behind the work that allows a streaming service to thrive.

Are the bells chiming as HBO surrenders to profit-led decision making? Or will fan reactions prove powerful enough to maintain their entertaining originals? Only time will answer these questions, which is further proof that the viewer has such miniscule power against the corporation. We have no choice but to bend the knee. YM


He Need a HOT GIRL

Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.

That’s what rapper J. Cole said in his hit song “No Role Modelz,” in reference to the “L.A. hoes,” that can now be classified as “city girls.” What does that little lyric have to do with the conceptual rise in “city girls” and “hot girls” in the music industry? How might it be problematic?

First, let’s define what being a city girl means. Contemporarily, it refers to someone who lives in a major city and manipulates men into giving them money. You might often hear that these women are “for the streets” or fucking whoever to get what they ultimately want. Meggie Phan ‘25 associates city girls with a “‘baddie type of vibe: bodycon dresses and a ‘fuck you’ attitude where they do whatever they want whenever they want.” Similarly, a “hot girl” aims to spend a man’s money, even though she typically has her own bag. These terms revolve around finessing men out of their money by asserting their sexual assets and having their own fun. It does not involve an obsession with men, but a fixation on money and acquiring it by whatever means (usually sexual). Both ideas and their definitions blur together, and, in this piece, I’ll be using them interchangeably.

There are quite a few city girls in the music industry nowadays, notably Megan The Stallion, Saweetie, and City Girls (a female rap duo). They’ve made names for themselves by capitalizing on their sexuality, with the vast majority of their hit songs being about sex,

and their music videos accentuating the sexual aspects of their celebrity image. All of these artists categorized as city girls are revolutionary in their own right, supporting a specific feminism movement in which women are more publicly open with their sexuality. It’s important to note that Black female artists have been doing this for decades, but that now it is even more mainstream and widely accepted. Artists labeled as city girls aim to celebrate womanhood—and that’s a beautiful thing.

While not all Emerson students listen to city girl music, many have a positive perception about city girls. Nneamaka Odom ‘23 says, “I think we need more of them,” and that, “we can be city girls and successful together, with different sounds, different inputs and different creative outlets.”

Jennie Greco ‘25, who enjoys all kinds of music, also “doesn’t have any negative connotations, but knows some people in the media have viewed [city girls] on the side of trashy and hood.” This is true; most people who dislike “hot girls” associate them with conventionally unfavorable stereotypes about Black women. This leads to the issue of Black women only being seen as sexual goddesses or accessible vixens in real life, but especially in the media. This is a damaging form of typecasting, and has been for decades. And yet, it is still widely prominent.

It did not surprise anyone that I interviewed that Black women are the face of the city girl movement, or that they’re carrying


the female rap industry. Odom declares, “Rap is historically Black. We’ve been had the flow, we been had the rhythm, who’s going to do it if not we?”

So yes, it makes sense that Hollywood, and the record labels that run it, would pin Black women as the image they want to push of sexy city girls. And don’t get me wrong; we are sexy. But we’re so much more than that too! It’s frustrating that people think that Black women are finally getting their chance to show the world what they can do, but many of us are only getting that chance by showing our bodies off and being hypersexualized.

I find the industry especially vexing because for many darkskin Black women, hypersexuality is the only path to acquiring popularity and legitimacy as an artist in the music industry. The reason? Colorism is alive and well, but sex sells.

Lighter-skinned artists like Jhené Aiko and Beyoncé can get by based on their merit alone, and though they often tap into sexier parts of themselves, it is never a requirement of them. They’re often praised for their voices, lyricism, and charisma; while Black women who are not afforded light-skin privilege are expected to uphold much more intense expectations such as knowing how to dance, always wearing a full-face of makeup, and being voluptuous and sexy–like Chloe Bailey and Normani.

Mira Treish ‘25 asserts that this issue with city girls only arises when “people try to appeal to their own ideals and values that they

were raised with… That’s when there tends to be a bad connotation with it.” The unfortunate fact is that, systemically, this type of damaging outlook will always be present. The industry is built to objectify us, not empower us. Despite all obstacles, Black women are doing everything to celebrate themselves. Himank Agarwal ‘25 adds that, “As an artist myself, I feel that self expression is really important. They’re doing what they like.” As artists, Black women are shoving past barriers and continuing to make their unique mark on music and popular culture.

We are Grammy-award winning and we are the blueprint.

Now, back to J. Cole. The entire song “No Role Modelz” is a diss to all of the Black city girls of the modern era. And for what? As you’ve read, and as I’ve discovered, hot girls have positively influenced their audience in many different ways. They’re role models for all kinds of women growing into their own, defy the expectation that women should hide their sexiness and sexuality, and are harborers of creative expression. Personally, I think J. Cole is wrong. As Black women, as city girls from every diaspora, we don’t need saving, and we’re confident and sure in who we are. Hot girls are valuable, they’re important and they’re every bit as worthy as their counterparts and peers.

So go ahead ladies: act up! YM



Fandom. A word that you may not have heard since you were 13, while searching the Super-Who-Lock or Merthur tags, and scrolling endlessly on Tumblr. However, for others, fandom culture is still a central focus in their lives.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “fandoms” are groups of people with a shared interest in one topic, like books, movies, musicians, artists, or TV shows. Within fandoms, there are creatives who take inspiration from these pieces of media. This has led to the creation of fanfictions over 500,000 words long, fan art that has been developed into official promotional material, and even entire albums dedicated to a particular piece of media.

With the rise of platforms like TikTok which are largely centered around music, the fandom music phenomenon has grown exponentially. Artists like Charlie Bennett, Elena:, J. Maya, and The Whomping Willows all make music inspired by books, mythology and films. Chloe Ament and SAPPHIRE, who have written music about Stranger Things, the “Marauders Era” and the Spider-Man franchise, are two of the most notable names in the fandom music scene.

Chloe Ament is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter who writes about her favorite pieces of fiction. Her sophomore EP Broken Bodies, Broken Hearts, was written about the “Marauders Era,” an offshoot of mainstream Harry Potter fans who focus on the main characters’ parents’ generation. The EP has become a staple amongst “Marauders Era” fans, amassing 2.7 million streams on Spotify. Ament describes her process as, “Reading books and watching movies, finding the parts in it that resonate most with the people around me, and [writing] music inspired by it. In the same way that you can have a movie adaptation of a book… I try to provide a musical adaptation of the book.”

SAPPHIRE is a 19-year-old singer-songwriter who “turns [her] overthinking into songs.” The artist’s Stranger Things inspired singles “Eddie’s Song” and “Dear, Billy” have gained a lot of attention on TikTok, amassing 1.7 million views. The singer explains that she created these songs because she wanted to share her love for the media, but also in the hopes that, “[the songs] could connect on a deeper level, to even non-Stranger Things fans, because it’s about loss, really, and grief, and a sense of guilt, and that conflict between the two.” Some artists not only participate in fan bases, but are placed

into these spaces by their own fans. Charlie Bennett is a 22-yearold bedroom pop artist whose Instagram bio reads: “Peter Parker’s clone.” Bennett and Ament recorded the song “Stay Right Here” about Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s love story in The Amazing Spider-Man duology. What is most notable about this release, is that Bennett is a “fan cast” for the character. “Fan casting” refers to members of a fandom assigning a public figure as their ideal person to portray a fictional character. Not only did Bennett create the song with the Spider-Man franchise in mind, but his fan base pictures him as Spider-Man. Bennett says of himself that, “Honestly, there are too many [fan casts] to count at this point. In the Harry Potter fandom I’m either cast as James Potter or Remus, because Remus is the one that people compare Andrew Garfield with. Then Spider-Man’s another very big one that people say I should be. Also Milo from Atlantis. Those are the big three.”

While fandoms are generally viewed as supportive spaces, they are heavily criticized by others. Both SAPPHIRE and Ament have received backlash from the wider audiences that their music has reached. SAPPHIRE notes that, “[Fan media] is always going to be teetering on the edge of whether people are going to take it well or not. But I think if people are enjoying what they’re doing, they don’t need to stop showing the world that because someone doesn’t like it.” In Ament’s opinion, “If I’m getting hate, I’ve made it. But I think that it’s just a matter of letting people enjoy themselves. Life is so short and content is made to be enjoyed.”

There has always been a stigma surrounding fan media; cosplaying, fan expos, fan fiction, and fan art have rarely been taken seriously by the general public due to the stigmatization of the “fangirl” stereotype. Fan-made content is female-dominated, and receives a tremendous amount of scrutiny, which stems from deep-rooted misogyny. “It’s no different to dressing up at Halloween as the Ghostbusters because you’re a Ghostbusters fan,” SAPPHIRE explains. Artists like SAPPHIRE and Ament are breaking through this stigma, and calling out the double standards they face.

There is a rich history of art inspired by other art, and fandom music is no different. This is merely a new age of art inspired by art. YM


YMP3 Calling all the monsters

Songs that celebrate your inner monster

Calling All The Monsters — China Anne McClain Bad Romance — Lady Gaga The Monster — Eminem ft. Rihanna Look What You Made Me Do — Taylor Swift Cannibal — Kesha Demons — Hayley Kiyoko Monster — Dodie Can’t Be Tamed — Miley Cyrus Bad Guy — Billie Eilish Knife Under My Pillow — Maggie Lindemann Criminal — Fiona Apple Don’t Blame Me — Taylor Swift Breakfast — Dove Cameron You Should See Me in a Crown — Billie Eilish

Wicked Games — The Weeknd Gods & Monsters — Lana Del Rey Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked — Cage the Elephant Insane in the Brain — Cypress Hill I’m In Love With a Monster — Fifth Harmony Spooky, Scary Skeletons—Undead Tombstone Remix — Andrew Gold Thriller — Michael Jackson Heads Will Roll — Yeah Yeah Yeahs Control — Janet Jackson I Put A Spell On You — Annie Lennox Seven Nation Army — The White Stripes Bang! — AJR Dracula (Nate Sees Cassie) — Labrinth Anti-Hero — Taylor Swift YOURMAG | 61

YM Advises:

Our go-to fall coffee orders

Unfortunately, I am not a pumpkin spice gal. I have tried many times to get into the PSL latte, pumpkin cream cold foam, all of it. What can I say, I just don’t like pumpkin. Because of this, in the fall, I opt for a simple iced macchiato, sometimes with vanilla or caramel if I am feeling fancy. It is the perfect amount of sweetness, and I always love a crisp iced coffee. — Isa Luzarraga, Managing Editor

My favorite fall drink has always been an iced chai latte. As someone who doesn’t drink much coffee, it’s perfect. Especially if you pair it with a pumpkin cream cheese muffin. This year, though, I discovered the pumpkin cream cold brew from Starbucks… I highly recommend it. But for a general rule of thumb, chai + pumpkin = the epitome of fall. — Hailey Kroll, Co-Head Designer

I am a classic Starbucks iced pumpkin spice latte girl…sorry not sorry! So basic, but it’s a must-have for fall. I usually get decaf because I don’t like caffeine (I know that sounds crazy but that’s what is best for me). Oat milk is my alternative, although I love almond milk too. Sometimes I’ll switch back and forth. Most of the time I get a grande, but if I wanna treat myself I’ll get a venti :) — Abigail Ross, Romance Editor

My current go-to fall drink is the nutty pumpkin iced coffee from Dunkin’. BUT they make it too sweet, so instead I order it as a regular iced coffee with two shots of unsweetened hazelnut, two swirls of sweetened pumpkin, and a splash of oat milk. Best enjoyed while sitting on the floor listening to a fall playlist. — Katherine Asselin, Assistant Head Designer


I love the honey citrus mint tea from Starbucks. It has revived me from every cold or illness since 2021 and it feels like a pile of fresh warm laundry giving you a hug. Nothing more comforting for any non-coffee drinkers or very avid tea drinkers, you’re welcome in advance! — Nirvana Ragland, Diversity Chair

I love a good chai latte, especially a warm one when the weather gets cooler. I don’t drink coffee anymore, so chai has really filled the void for me. I usually get it from Starbucks with either oat milk or almond milk if I want it a bit sweeter. The spice notes from a chai latte really reminds me of that perfect fall day where you take a walk through the colored trees in the Boston Common and then cozy up with a book. — Sara Fergang, Assistant Head Proofreader Grande iced coffee with peppermint and vanilla sweet cream bc i’m a peppermint girl <3 — Willow Torres, Co-Head Designer

I am a barista and here are these are a few underrated fall drinks that I love: hot hazelnut almond milk chai, cold brew with brown sugar syrup & vanilla sweet cream foam, cinnamon dolce latte, and iced blonde latte with toffee nut syrup & oatmilk. — Lauren Smith, Living Editor

I always go for an oat milk latte or oat milk cappuccino, but in the fall I am pro-pumpkin. If I want a PSL, I order a small pumpkin spice latte with an extra shot of espresso and one less pump of the pumpkin sauce, oat milk, no whip of course (I am complicated and annoying). Be as creative or particular in your ordering; just remember to be nice and tip your baristas! — Gabby Goode, Social Media Coordinator


Doriana Spurnell




Describe your music in one sentence.

It is probably ever-changing. I always think it’s such a hard question to answer, and I’m sure many other musicians will say so, because it is hard to put yourself in a box.

How and when did you get into music?

I started playing in middle school, but I first got introduced to it by my dad who used to play guitar for us when we were little and I always admired it. He would play old folk tunes cause I’m from North Carolina. And so in middle school I decided to pick up the guitar one summer, so I basically taught myself. Then I started taking a few lessons, and then in highschool I decided to go to an art school and study classical guitar for two years.

Was your dad the main inspiration for your music?

Yeah that and growing up in North Carolina. I think North Carolina is a great state for local music and there’s so many cool venues, like outdoor venues and its good weather. And I just know a lot of local musicians and it is folk, bluegrass, and we got a lot of country singers-songwriters coming out of there. So it’s definitely inspired by my family and also by where I live.

How did you come to create your EP?

That came about senior year of high school, the height of the pandemic. I had made plans to record before that, but then all the songs I wrote in the pandemic. And then I was like let’s do it. Let’s go record an EP, let’s find a recording studio.

I had the help of one of my older guitar teachers. Her name is Billie Feather, and she’s just a music god. She’s like in so many different bands and she’s got so many connections, and so she was like: ‘I know of this studio in Carrboro.’ So we checked it out and the people there were just awesome, so we just did it with the help of my parents.

Which is why I say we, because they’ve been my rocks [parents]. And a lot of money goes into it, it’s a lot.

Your music has various instruments, did you just work with your teacher or did you collaborate with other musicians?

I hired a few. I hired three different people. We hired a guitarist, his name is Michael Buckly. We had a drummer. Then a cellist, Emma Dunlap, and my guitar teacher, Billie Feather, played bass for me.

And then all of the studio musicians we got through my producer, Megan Pierer, recommended them to me. It was super fun to work with everybody. I played the acoustic guitar, but everybody else contributed in their own way.

What’s your favorite song from the EP? And why is it special to you?

My favorite song is “Never Needed Words.” It’s about my grandfather who passed away from Covid in 2020. Writing this song was therapeutic to me because deaths in Covid were a little different. People couldn’t really come together and that was my case, we never had a real funeral for him. So it was really weird, and I was like what do I do with all this love that I have left over? And so I was okay, let me write a song, and I did, and I really love it.

So why music? Why did you decide to do music?

I don’t know. My parents always joke that they never did music, they don’t know where I got it from. I mean my dad plays guitar but he never got into it. So I don’t know, I guess it’s just something about music is fun for me because it includes writing and songs to listen to. I think that is just exciting, and an exciting way to just show my writing.


Were there any specific musicians or writers that inspired you? Or made you think “this is music?”

I’m obsessed with Brandi Carlile, who’s like this singer-songwriter, folk, country, absolute star and she’s been around for a long time. And she’s recently gotten recognition for just being an amazing songwriter. I think I definitely try to emulate her with my music and writing.

How would you see yourself in ten years? Do you see yourself as Brandi Carlile?

I don’t see myself as her, she’s a performer. A performer. And I think that’s great, but also I don’t think that I am particularly super excited about being the “big performer.” I think I just like the art.

But I hope in 10 years that I am performing, and I hope that I am able to live off of my music, and I hope that I am able to share much more in the future. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

What advice would you give to people that are just getting into music?

Just be open to all of the advice you’re going to be receiving from people and be open to working with other musicians. Since that is like the only way that you’re kind of going to get out there.

And being at an art school taught me how to collaborate with people in a really productive way in not trying to control a project solely on my own. And I think a big piece of knowledge that has helped me has been that music is not your own once you’ve written it. It’s for the people once you’ve done it. And so it’s cool to hear people figure out their own stuff off of your lyrics.

Is that the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding music?

I’d say so. I think it’s more of what I have learned I don’t think people have specifically said that to me but it’s there. Like it’s there in the teachings and what they set us up to do in school.

What was the hardest part of creating music and creating your EP?

The hardest part is probably picking which direction to go. There’s so many options and so many different sounds you could go for. And that can be overwhelming, but as I said, the music becomes not your own. It kinda takes its own form. So you just kinda have to take your hands off the wheel and let it go.

What is the message you are trying to express via your EP or music?

It was hard picking songs for my EP, because an EP is small. I think a big part of that was me picking songs that I thought drew off of each other. And so a big theme of the EP is focusing on the little things in life that we might overlook.

For instance, in “Never Needed Words” it’s a lot of me talking about moments with my grandfather. Moments that he didn’t have to say that he loved us because he was there with us in those moments. So kind of just embracing the little moments and just taking a step back from the grandness of life. I think that is something I want to come through in my EP.

Is that what inspired the name of your EP, Forward?

For sure, I actually deliberated for a long time what to call it. I was going to call it “Small Things” but I was sitting back and thinking about it, and I thought Forward was just the right way to go.

Where can readers see more of your work?

I got a website up and running, it’s, and I’m very active on Instagram. But I’m on Twitter and Facebook, and all of the socials. And I’ve got a linktree where you can read all of the various articles that have been written about me. Which just blows my mind that I’m here right now and I have all of that. But I’ve had really cool opportunities.

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