By Emily Haney
What do you know about your vagina? Eve Ensler set out to figure out just that from various women two decades ago. Through her sequence of interviews, asking women questions that typically aren’t talked about, The Vagina Monologues was born. Each monologue represents a different experience or response from all the answers women gave. The tone from the monologues range from funny to angry based on the topic, but each one signifies the fact that maybe we should have conversations about vaginas more often.
The Vagina Monologues arrived on UGA’s campus 17 years ago. The past couple of years the performance has been housed at the Chapel. Although all the rows haven’t necessarily been filled, the performance has drawn in a wide variety of women. Sitting in on a performance one could find veterans or newbies of the show, mothers and daughters and those of all different backgrounds. The performance this year began with “The Flood,” which was an accidental start. However, the skipping around of monologues worked.
“The Flood” opens with an older speaker talking about a kiss she had with a boy and how this one occurrence for her set the tone for the rest of her love life and how she viewed herself. In the middle of this particular monologue a younger version of the speaker walks out to join in on the story. At times the older and younger version speak together sharing their experience for all. The parallel between the two selves created a somber dynamic. The woman was never able to move on.
“The Flood” introduced the audience to what this performance was going to be all about— women talking about real life experiences of other women. “I like that they can joke about something but make a point at the same time about how important women’s pleasures are. They’re taking that even further,” says Elizabeth Callaway, a sophomore finance major from Atlanta. “The Flood” led into the introduction where the twenty-one women taking part in the show walked up onto the stage.
Each woman wore the color purple in some form. Some women had purple shoes, others purple scarves, and there was a meaning behind this fashion choice. “Purple is an awareness color for domestic violence. Since this was being put on by Project Safe, they’re doing it to keep in mind and remind people all proceeds go to this charity,” says Kristen Demonbreun a senior social work major from Atlanta. Project Safe works to end domestic violence through programs, advocacy, and support for survivors.
While The Vagina Monologues are meant to make most people a little uncomfortable, they really are all about women’s empowerment. “I’ve been re-energized to fight for the rights of women,” says Vivian Sellers a retired schoolteacher age 64 from Tifton. It really makes you think about where you stand and what you can do to make a difference. The best part of the night was that you got to enjoy a performance and donate to charity at the same time.
Sometimes it seems like no one cares. Fail a test? No one cares. Have relationship problems? No one cares. Drowning in debt? No one cares. How can a college with 26,882 undergraduates feel so isolated? Whether you’re struggling to study in the MLC at 2:30am or sitting in a three hundred-person lecture hall, a thousand problems probably flood your mind, other than the one sitting on your desk. A simple sentence of encouragement from a fellow classmate appears so far out of reach. Suddenly, while trudging to your next class you spot a handwritten letter hanging from a bulletin board. A sense of confusion and curiosity soon shifts to excitement and positivity. It’s time for a letter revolution.
Campus Cursive, an up and coming club at The University of Georgia, provides the unique opportunity for students to spread handwritten words of love, encouragement, and motivation to other UGA students. With over seventy successful chapters across the country, this community of love has finally come to UGA. Students can remember the exciting times of how fantastic it was to receive a handwritten letter during their childhood, before social media took control of communication.
Now, the volunteer process is simple. With no fees and very low time commitment, you can come to a Campus Cursive meeting, only twice a semester, to handwrite letters to be immediately distributed across areas like the MLC and throughout main campus. Students will stumble upon these letters in the bathroom, walking to class, or sitting in the hallway. Personal information and individual beliefs are discouraged to include in the notes, because the uplifting words written in these letters do not discriminate. The letters can be filled with anything from complex stories of journeys from hardship to success or simple words of inspiration. Everyone has their own tough times, but there are no high mountains without valleys. Whether your journey resembles a deep gorge or a slight dip, it is these low points in our life that make the high ones really shine. This low to high transition is the source of strength that Campus Cursive desires to target.
Emily Starling, 19, is a Public Relations major who co-founded Campus Cursive here at UGA. In charge of creating events and recruiting letter writers, Starling contains such passion for Campus Cursive. Starling claims, “We want to see love explode throughout campus. We’re so much more than just the number of people who show up. We are the combined capacity that all of our hearts have to love others.” Bound for success, Campus Cursive lets a simple yet power idea shine through stressful aspects of campus life. Imagine, instead of constantly seeing negative news, having hundreds of these letters of inspiration floating around. “We want everyone to know that no matter what they are going through, they have people rooting for them and standing in their corner,” Starling states. This reassurance represents the purpose of Campus Cursive: to spread love through letters.
Getting involved is just as easy as the process. Follow and message Campus Cursive on Instagram or Facebook to get on an email list that gives information on the next meeting time. Meetings last as long as you want to stay. Starling expressed her excitement to get as many people involved as possible because everyone is invited to join. Writing a letter can be just as rewarding as reading one. “I’ve found that those letters have often led to healing in my own heart, even if I’m writing them for others,” Starling says. Bringing back the art of handwritten letters is not an easy task; however, Starling mentioned that the first Campus Cursive meeting “has the potential to gain a lot of ground at UGA.”
With a growing number of involved students in this low time-commitment volunteer opportunity, Campus Cursive desires to have these letters circulate beyond the boundaries of main campus. With goals to begin delivering letters to specific locations, like homeless shelters, students will be able to touch the hearts of those beyond the arch. Also, as word of Campus Cursive increases, a program delivering letters to specific people will be implemented. Love letter “bundies,” as Starling describes, “are when people send request in for a loved one to receive a bundle of love letters to get through a tough time.” Not surprisingly, this selfless organization has further aspirations to reach as many people as possible.
Next time you walk through the MLC, instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed to view the tragic news of the day, keep an eye out for a handwritten letter. Inspiration and words of love from a stranger might be all you need to make it through that next test, the next relationship failure, or your next financial crisis. Essentially, this incredible volunteer opportunity has come to UGA to spread encouragement through handwritten words. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the letter revolution.
In a world where vampires and werewolves are constantly being written about, it is refreshing to find something that is a little off the beaten path. It is even more revitalizing when it involves a creature that is not widely known.
In Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Scorpio Races, centers around two young adult characters, who unexpectedly cross paths, and the fantastical creatures, capaill uisce (pronounced copple ooshka). If you are familiar with kelpies, or “water horses”, this may ring a bell.
The book is a compelling read about the capaill uisce, a dangerous and vicious species, and a race among local men who attempt to tame the wild beasts long enough to ride them. For teenager and underdog, Puck Connelly, who is a struggling orphan, the race is the only way to ensure that what is left of her family remains in one piece. On the other hand, Sean Kendrick, the one who knows the species by heart, is riding to ensure his financial freedom.
After Puck Connelly’s parents were killed when their boat capsized, she remained in the small family’s house with both her older and younger brother. Her older brother attempted to bring in enough money for the rest of the remaining family pieces to thrive on. However, he dropped a bomb on the struggling siblings when he announced that he would be moving away from the island where they lived.
This instigated Puck’s decision to enter the race — something a woman had never done before. The strong and determined young woman was refused to be taken seriously among the other men who entered in the race. True to her character’s development, she did not let that stop her. As one who never grew up around the capaill uisce, she was at a major disadvantage. However, as the plot progressed, she adapted to the disadvantages and gave the local racers a run for their money.
Opposite Puck was Sean Kendrick, another rider in the novel. Like Puck, he had lost his father due to a racing accident with the water horses. After his father’s death, Sean was taken in by the island’s biggest stable owner. There, he was employed as a stablehand with the kelpies who had been captured and tamed over the years. With this experience, and his natural ability with the creatures, Sean Kendrick had always been the top dog to win the races, bringing in money for his employer. Sick of working for another and not having his own freedom, Sean rides in the race to break free.
The entire novel is an engrossing piece that envelops the reader from the start — both from the fresh idea, as well as the well-penned paragraphs that fill each chapter.
From an author who previously wrote a trilogy revolving around temperature sensitive werewolves, I was a bit wary to delve into The Scorpio Races. While her former Shiver book trilogy was less than stellar, Stiefvater has completely redeemed herself with the idea behind the capaill uisce. She has taken a unique idea and turned it into a fantasy world filled with emotion.
The two main riders of the novel cross paths and find each other’s help in the training phases of the race. That being said, romance is a mere undertone and does not stand in the way of the plot. Thank God, finally a novel that does not center solely around someone dating someone else. Instead, each character is developed enough to be independent from each other and still prove to be interesting enough to read about. Most of the novel actually depicts the two separated from each other. However, as their paths do cross, Sean Kendrick welcomes Puck under his tutelage and the two develop a fine friendship.
Stiefvater has done an excellent job of developing two characters and allowing their lives to intersect, instead of depending on their “romance” to further the plot along. In fact, the plot would be able to stand alone without the small flame entirely.
Overall, this novel is a compelling read with a fresh and unique take on the fantastical world of literature. It utilizes a penmanship that reads smoothly throughout it’s entirety. With the plot and character development, which took years to create, the novel has come together almost perfectly. It is definitely a book to read to broaden the sense of the fantasy world.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
As finals week approaches as it always does, anxious UGA students consistently flock to the crowded Miller Learning Center (MLC). Some visit the study rooms for the first time all semester, while others consider this building their second home. However, during a certain 4-hour period the already packed MLC reaches extreme levels of busy. While students attempt to cram months’ worth of material into a week, “Stressed Dogs for Stressed Dawgs,” an event sponsored by the University Health Center, has brought rescue dogs inside the MLC. The students’ response is overwhelming to the point where a single person is considered lucky if they get to play with a puppy for more than a minute.
Such an overwhelming response is not surprising, considering the pre-existing obsession UGA students have with the guide dogs in-training all over campus. The popular phrase “guide dog puppies” fills photos, posts, and comments across various forms of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Yik Yak.
With all the hype and the strong obsession of cute dogs circulating UGA campus, it’s surprising that more students don’t know about the unique and non-commitment- based volunteer opportunity at Athens- Clarke County Animal Control, which is located only 4.2 miles from UGA campus. Once at the shelter, the simple process begins with a short orientation from the friendly and helpful staff, which is only required on the first visit. After much anticipation, you can proceed to pick out a dog from their concrete kennel. After reading a first person description of the dog, such as, “I am very playful and love to be held” or “I am very shy so take it slow,” you may take the dog out to an interactive play area equipped with benches, soft grass and open space. This lucky puppy can also play with toys and treats you bring in from the front office. Here you can spend time with the dog in a playful environment for as long as you wish while the shelter is open, instead of just for a second on your way to cram for finals. You can continue taking out dogs of various age, breed and personality one at a time for the duration of the visit.
Sarah Halstead, a caretaker and front office worker at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control, emphasized the importance of volunteers in regards to the future of dogs in this temporary home. “It is important that they socialize, get used to other people, and to go out and get exercise,” she says. Halstead further explains the success of this volunteer opportunity by stating how the dogs are, “not nearly as pent up” and have exhibited “better behavior and a quicker rescue.” Essentially, volunteers are necessary because these abandoned, beaten or surrendered dogs need to gain adoptable qualities that display promise for a happy and healthy life. The faster these dogs exhibit these traits, the faster they will get picked up by a local rescue group or even adopted to avoid the horrific fate of being put down.
Assisting at Animal Control is not only easy, fun, and a great item to include on a resume under volunteer work, but it’s personally rewarding as well. Kristine Hicks, a UGA student, volunteer and future foster dog owner states, “I hang out for the dogs, but it is more for me.” Animal Control allows volunteers to foster the successful future of an innocent animal by giving time and love to the dogs, while getting some back in return. For instance, a 2-month old tri-colored hound puppy named Dolly, with such a horrendous past, contained such a positive personality when playing. Despite being abandoned by an abusive owner at such a young age, her floppy ears and long wagging tail wipe away any sad memories. I felt such happiness travel between the both of us, especially after her little nose nuzzled against my knee as I knelt down to rub her spotted belly.
Hicks continues by claiming how volunteering at Animal Control “is addicting” and “an emotional experience.” I wanted to adopt every dog I saw, which made leaving difficult; however, the ability to return and live this same incredible experience again is always uplifting, without fail.
Now, let’s use the dog fascination that UGA students have created through the years to make a difference for dogs in need. Hopefully, word of this non-commitment- based volunteer opportunity will travel fast, so when life is ruff, both dog and human can sneak in a smile on a stressful day.
Athens Clarke County Animal Shelter
125 Buddy Christian Way, Athens, Ga, 30605
Open Thursday-Tuesday 10:00am-4:00pm, closed Wednesday
To all my bisexuals, September 23 is known as the day the Purple People raise their flags, take off their invisible cloaks and wreak havoc on the world. The day is, essentially, a ‘buzz off’ (for lack of a less professional word)’ to the persecution that bisexuals face both inside the LGBTQ+ community and out. But why do bisexuals need their own day?* How are they not already noticed? Where is Frank Ocean’s album? All questions a curious mind should ask (however, only two I can answer).
Quite frankly, most of the world rejects the idea that bisexuality actually exists. We are looked at as unicorns, and more times than none, erased from the media and life in general based on our current partner’s perceived sex/gender at the time. Bisexuals face a fair amount of bierasure—or the tendency to ignore, remove or falsify evidence of bisexuality—in TV, film and literature. Quickly name three straight/gay TV characters. Now, name three bisexual TV characters. See, that pause you took to think? That’s my point. Unless you watch “Grey’s Anatomy” and say Callie Torres, your chances of saying a character who is explicitly bisexual (especially a bisexual man), are slim. Sure, it’s implied that Piper from “Orange is the New Black” might be bi or Clarke and Lexa from “The 100,” but that’s the problem. The bisexual identity should not result from implication. We are real and Bi Visibility Day is our time to, for the hundredth time since 1999, showcase our existence.
However, while Bi Visibility Day is a great day to parade in the pink, purple and blue that make up our flag, bisexuals deserve longer than one day. This orientation, along with pansexuality and all other polysexualities, all deserve constant recognition. Some monosexuals, those attracted to only one sex/gender (i.e. straight and gay people), love to invalidate our sexuality through biphobic remarks such as “bisexuals are promiscuous,” “bisexuals can’t be trusted in relationships” and the oh-so-classic, “bisexuals are confused.” Misconceptions surrounding bisexuality can’t be combatted with only one day. Hell, I can’t even reference all of them in one column.
Yet, what can be done by those who aren’t bisexual is to continue learning about the sexuality and to learn to accept bisexuals for what they are: simply people attracted to two or more genders. What can be done by everyone, is to carry on the awareness of the ‘bi’ identity further than September 23. Bisexuals, it’s about time we give our invisible cloaks a rest.
*If you ask this question, you are probably one of the people who asks ‘why do black people need their own month?’ and should seek your local library/African American for assistance.
After a deeply rooted memory comes rushing back to the surface, Elizabeth Burns investigates her childhood best friend’s disappearance. The mystery becomes an obsession of discovering the truth after she finds a 35-year-old newspaper clipping that reveals a secret kept from her about her friend’s mother, Adele Cassidy.
Elizabeth, who is now a mother herself, sets out on a quest to find anyone who once came in contact with Adele Cassidy, in order to find out what exactly happened 35 years ago when her best friend, April Cassidy, failed to come to school. In searching for answers, questions about Elizabeth’s own life begin to surface. She is forced to face the challenges that she currently deals with about her husband, her children, her job and herself.
Between Here and April, by Deborah Copaken Kogan, is centered around mystery, as the basic plot entails finding evidence of April Cassidy’s disappearance. However, the novel also touches on mental illness and its effects on the life of a person. Mental illness is a recurring theme that many characters face throughout the novel. Several characters deal with illnesses that go undiagnosed, such as depression and postpartum psychosis. The novel conveys a gritty and haunting tone in its depiction of psychosis and mental disorders.
The center plot, consisting of April Cassidy’s disappearance, is appealing in the beginning of the novel. At one point, April and Elizabeth were best friends in grade school, and the next April was never heard from again. The disappearance of a small child is enough to pique the reader’s interest for the rest of the novel and it drives the plot.
As Between Here and April progresses, the author introduces several different thematic threads. In the beginning, the disappearance of April Cassidy was the main plotline. However, Kogan introduced plenty of other aspects to the book, such as dealing with marriage and kids and struggling with depression and psychosis. By the middle of the book, there are so many threads going on that the one central idea, April’s disappearance, seems to disappear itself.
Kogan has an interesting way of portraying her characters, as well. She takes two genders and forms them into two separate categories: women in the novel have depression and suicidal thoughts; and the men in the novel are incessant workaholics who make no time for their families. The main character, Elizabeth, is written as passive, just going through the motions. She never deals directly with any struggles or troubles that she faces in her life. Paralleling Elizabeth, even though Adele Cassidy also fights depression, she doesn’t seem to deal with her problems, either. Instead, all characters tiptoe around their issues and nothing gets resolved.
The overall plot would be a decent idea, if it had been developed further by the author. Although there were engaging topics to discuss, such as that of mental illness, Kogan seemed to have too many ideas running through her head all at one time. She failed to develop one wholly, which left the novel lacking in many areas.
On the plus side, it’s a relatively quick read and very well written. Kogan has an excellent style of writing that flows smoothly with no choppiness involved. Still, the novel would have benefitted from some serious plot and character development.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Please stop the bickering. It’s not arguing or passionately defending your beliefs—it has now verged into nitpicking territory. Because this is what modern society has become. We’re just breaking down words or making inane attack comments online.
Because whichever side you choose to be on, left or right, conservative or liberal, both sides have their crazies and their fanatics and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But it now seems the camps are fighting just as much if not more within themselves than between them.
I’ve seen this on social media, or more often the regular broadcast media, where someone does not completely kowtow the exact right way someone likes they then get barraged with how they’re wrong. That is not proper debate or a proper way to help someone understand the error in what they are saying. That is being a thick bully.
If what you are saying is intelligent and follows a sensible line of thinking then go for it. If you can back up what you are saying then shoot. But please let us stop making ourselves hoarse by shouting over the other guy or gal speaking.
It seems that there is a new story out every other week about a fraternity (usually) or sorority making a big mistake. Whether it’s University of Oklahoma’s racist chant video or University of Florida’s blackface party members, it all shows a lack of progression that still has not been made in society overall.
There are, of course, fantastic organizations and socially aware demographics on every college campus. But when societies like this are allowed to exist or are shut down without proper explanation on ways to fix the behavior—it seems like a lost cause.
Racism is still alive and well and these instances only demonstrate that too keenly. When we turn a blind eye to behavior that dehumanizes a group or dredges up the worst of our past only to be revered, it allows for implicit racism to fester on. Sure, we might not be the one singing along or putting on that makeup, but if we act as bystanders we are only perpetuating the hate.
Of course the administration of these schools should know that too. It is their job to foster the growth of their student population and help prepare them for the real world. If we allow the implicit (and sometimes explicit) racism to go on that only pumps it into our adult and daily lives.
It is hard to change old ways and the old racism that permeates this country, but in universities and on campuses everywhere, it is possible to shape young minds and thoughts for the better.
Let me break this down slightly.
Welcome to high school, here’s your agenda and your social category. You’re definitely going to lose your agenda or at least ruin it in some capacity but your social category you will have for life. At least your high school life.
Because in high school you have your name and you have your place.
But here comes the hipster movement. It’s the movement that celebrates the bizarre and off-beat. It lauds the absurd. It highlights the unknown. It makes a lot of people wear fake glasses.
So now poor high school students around the United States have to navigate between two constraints. Do they conform and look like everyone else so they don’t risk scrutiny and possible alienation? Or do they join this popular movement and show off their quirky, less well-known hobbies and clothing?
It seems this generation is struggling (riding that struggle bus) far more than other generations. But why? Didn’t we solve all those pesky problems back in our grandparents’ days?
There are arguments for either side of that question, but now we’re struggling with something more internal. We’re struggling between our different identities and the hipster movement is a perfect encapsulation of that struggle.
We all want to fit in, we want to be accepted. But the hipster movement is all about standing out and doing your own thing. It’s been popularized and homogenized but at its core it is about true self-expression.
And because of the hipster movement, it seems the system of placing people in boxes and constraining them to their limiting positions is starting to crumble ever so slightly. People will always be stereotyped because that’s how the brain deals with the world around it. But now maybe we can loosen the edges of the boxes we, and the people around us, are so tightly packaged in.
Being a regular human being that enjoys talking about herself when provoked, I always thought the most glamorous part of a celebrity’s job was getting to talk hours on end about their daily lives, their current projects, their history, just everything. But until recently, I had not noticed how gender biased the questions can be.
From women constantly being asked how they manage to balance work and family (because really, something must be falling through the cracks) to how they managed to drop so much weight for their Catwoman role/ getting back to “normal” post baby shape. Women are frequently asked very static questions about their appearance. Or very judgmental questions about their home lives.
That rarely happens to men.
Sure, male celebrities get their fair share of stupid and superficial questions, but they also get their fair share of tough and thought-provoking questions.
Which is why the #AskHerMore campaign made me so excited. Women are more than just their dresses and diet routines. We all know that.
Sure, people love gobbling up fashion and diet tips and there is nothing wrong with enjoying that facet of celebrity life. But the moment we relegate women to having these few and vain topics to talk about is the moment girls and women think that is all they should care about.
Which we all know is not true.
So hopefully the handful of journalists that actually care to write thought-provoking pieces (and hopefully those haven’t been fired yet) will take this campaign seriously and start leading the conversations to more interesting waters that don’t exclusively deal with liposuction and Louboutins.