Alice Vol. 7 No. 5

Volume 7 Issue 5 will renew your sense of vitality. Vitality is defined by the capacity to live, grow and develop, so we covered all our bases. We are obsessed with the award-winning drama “Pose” and the fashion surrounding ballroom culture, so we took a trip to the 70s in New York. No need to stress about your 21st birthday; we talked to students about how they spend milestone birthdays. We investigated the complex reality of pole dancing, illuminated Asian influence in media, analyzed child labor abuses in the beauty industry and talked with researchers about period poverty in the United States.

Volume 7 Issue 5 will renew your sense of vitality. Vitality is defined by the capacity to live, grow and develop, so we covered all our bases. We are obsessed with the award-winning drama “Pose” and the fashion surrounding ballroom culture, so we took a trip to the 70s in New York. No need to stress about your 21st birthday; we talked to students about how they spend milestone birthdays. We investigated the complex reality of pole dancing, illuminated Asian influence in media, analyzed child labor abuses in the beauty industry and talked with researchers about period poverty in the United States.


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SPRING 2022<br />

V I T A L I T Y<br />

$5.99 <strong>Vol</strong>. 7 <strong>No</strong>. 5

#LovetheloftstyleL o v e t h e l o f t s t y l e<br />

o n t a c t u s t o d a y a b o u t o u r s p e c i a l f o r f a l l 2 0 2 2<br />



table of<br />

10 12<br />

14<br />

lifestyle<br />

the importance of girl gangs: why we need to have each other’s backs<br />

34<br />

36<br />

how to help those who have experienced crisis trauma<br />

26<br />

30<br />

22<br />

24<br />

rebuilding yourself post breakup<br />

16<br />

18<br />

milestone birthdays<br />

pre-graduation panic<br />

beauty<br />

bama rushtok: where they are now<br />

the benefits of lash extensions<br />

secrets, lies and disguise in the industry<br />

28<br />

the mrs. degree<br />

the hidden hazards of children’s makeup<br />

fashion<br />

the overall effect: a look inside ballroom fashion<br />

the crossroads of cultural attire and fashion influence<br />

38<br />

40<br />

42<br />

unisex fashion: rejection of the gender binary<br />

which style icon of the big screen are you?<br />

a guide to Y2K fashion in 2022<br />


features<br />

the curation of sustainable fashion<br />

asian influence in the industry<br />

tattoo taboo<br />

the evolution of musical theater<br />

the complex reality of pole dancing<br />

photostory: vitality<br />

entertainment<br />

which kpop fandom do you belong in?<br />

it’s in the details: the moving parts of storytelling in tv<br />

protest music<br />

into the hyper-realm<br />

sex sells: women and sex representation in hollywood<br />

food and health<br />

nothing good happens after midnight<br />

76<br />

veganism and meat lovers: the truth about our food<br />

the importance of knowing what’s in your air<br />

going against society’s standards: achieving a healthy lifestyle<br />

period poverty<br />

50<br />

66<br />

84<br />

58<br />

70<br />

48<br />

46<br />

54<br />

56<br />

62<br />

64<br />

72<br />

78<br />

80<br />

82<br />

contents contents<br />


[ letter from the editor ]<br />

Vitality.<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>ume 7 Issue 5 will renew your sense of vitality. Vitality is<br />

defined by the capacity to live, grow and develop, so we covered<br />

all our bases. We are obsessed with the award-winning drama “Pose”<br />

and the fashion surrounding ballroom culture, so we took a trip to the<br />

70s in New York. <strong>No</strong> need to stress about your 21st birthday; we talked to<br />

students about how they spend milestone birthdays. We investigated the<br />

complex reality of pole dancing, illuminated Asian influence in media,<br />

analyzed child labor abuses in the beauty industry and talked with<br />

researchers about period poverty in the United States.<br />

It’s no secret we’ve been busy here at <strong>Alice</strong>. Our writing department<br />

has written 80 stories for our five issues. Our creative department filled<br />

almost 300 pages with dynamic, captivating photos and strong, charming<br />

designs. I wish I could tell you how many views the past four issues had,<br />

but as I’m writing this Issue 4 has yet to be released.<br />

In addition to five issues, we’ve been keeping readers up-todate<br />

over on socials and web. We’ve released over 20 YouTube videos<br />

showing behind the scenes of issues, reviewed local restaurants, created<br />

beauty tutorials and more. We took on TikTok and reached almost three<br />

thousand accounts. On Instagram, we hit and surpassed two thousand<br />

followers. On our website, we continued to keep our readers informed by<br />

publishing over 20 stories.<br />

When we realized we would be working on three issues<br />

simultaneously, I wish we could say that we didn’t panic, but we did.<br />

Never fear, every single person on staff quickly rose to the challenge and<br />

ascended every expectation. Despite the added pressures and deadlines,<br />

our creators put vast amounts of their time, energy and creativity into<br />

every piece we produced, and our readers get to reap the rewards.<br />

When you read a story in this issue, know that it has been touched<br />

by at least five students. Our writers, photographers, models, designers<br />

and editors all have a hand in making <strong>Alice</strong> a respected, thriving, beautiful<br />

publication for the women on our campus and beyond. Words cannot<br />

express how proud and grateful I am to have led such talented people.<br />

When I stumbled, this staff had grace and bloomed right alongside me.<br />

This has been an experience of a lifetime, and serving as Editor-in-Chief<br />

at <strong>Alice</strong> will always be one of my greatest honors.<br />

For the readers and my staff who continue to renew my sense of<br />

vitality,<br />

Lindsey Wilkinson<br />


[editors]<br />




















PHOTO<br />


MODELS<br />




Lindsey Wilkinson<br />

Jennafer Bowman<br />

Rebecca Martin<br />

Ella Smyth<br />

Sarah Hartsell<br />

Wesley Picard<br />

Emma Kate Standard<br />

Mary Groninger<br />

Ta’Kyla Bates<br />

Beth Wheeler<br />

Cat Clinton<br />

Jeffrey Kelly<br />

Evy Gallagher<br />

Kendall Frisbee<br />

Katie Morris<br />

Sophia Surrett<br />

Emily Rabbideau<br />

Jane Lipp, Savannah Dorriety,<br />

Caitlin Neill, Kierra Thomas,<br />

Emie Garrett, Morinsola Kukoyi,<br />

Annabelle Blomeley, Alexxa<br />

Clausen, Baylie Smithson, Tory<br />

Elliott, Victoria Whitcomb, Caroline<br />

Branch, Mary Claire Wooten,<br />

Morgan Byerley. Ashley Clemente,<br />

Bella Carpino, McKenzie Stevens,<br />

Hadley Elsesser, Lucy Barrow,<br />

Jolie Money<br />

Sarah Smith, Katie Nebbia, Kayla<br />

Roberson, Katie Harmon,<br />

Jennifer Stroud, Grayson<br />

Byrd<br />

<strong>Alice</strong> Choup, Megan Davis,<br />

Laura Fecanin, Sami LaCount,<br />

Jocelyn Claborn, Ashley Clemente<br />

Ariel Yavuncu, Sa’Niah Dawson,<br />

Analise Chambers, Emily Enes, Des<br />

Davis, Morgan Barnum, Hasten<br />

Howard, Julie Newton, Abinandhan<br />

Narayanan, Kefentse P. Kubanga,<br />

Abigail Sunday, Anna Snider,<br />

Marcus Johnson<br />

Monique Fields<br />

Julie Salter<br />

Jessie Jones<br />

Editorial and Advertising offices for <strong>Alice</strong> Magazine are located at 414 Campus<br />

Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. The mailing address is P.O. Box 870170,<br />

Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Phone: (205) 348-7257. <strong>Alice</strong> is published by the Office<br />

of Student Media at The University of Alabama. All content and design are<br />

produced by students in consultation with professional staff advisers. All<br />

material contained herein, except advertising or where indicated otherwise, is<br />

copyrighted © 2022 by <strong>Alice</strong> magazine. Material herein may not be reprinted<br />


10<br />

the importance of girl gangs: why we need to have each other’s backs<br />

12<br />

how to help those who have experienced crisis trauma<br />

14<br />

rebuilding yourself post- break-up<br />

16<br />

18<br />

milestone birthdays<br />

pre-graduation panic<br />



The Importance of<br />

Girl Gangs:<br />

why we need to have each other’s backs<br />

By Victoria Whitcomb<br />

Photo Sarah Hartsell<br />


Having a group of girls doesn’t just increase the<br />

number of people to watch Euphoria or the<br />

Bachelor alongside. The females who add value<br />

to one’s life can impact individual wellness and<br />

improve quality of life.<br />

The importance of girl gangs is more<br />

than having people to gossip with and tell secrets<br />

to; it’s being confident in the support system and<br />

having friends who always know the right thing to<br />

say.<br />

Everyone has been through friendships<br />

where someone has caused pain and treatment<br />

the other party would never inflict back. In those<br />

moments, it is important to look towards the<br />

people who have consistently been there to help<br />

recover.<br />

“I learned the importance of having<br />

female friendships from a young age because I<br />

have an older sister who has always been there<br />

for me. The scariest part of going to college was<br />

knowing I would have to start over and find a<br />

group of girls I felt comfortable with,” said Lydia<br />

Jackson, a junior interior design major at The<br />

University of Alabama. “I quickly met girls who<br />

I knew would be my life long friends. They are<br />

people I can call at any minor inconvenience<br />

and offer me new perspectives on life. Female<br />

friendships are the most rewarding, fulfilling and<br />

intentional relationships we can have.”<br />

In situations like these, girl gangs can<br />

ease the stress and anxiety by allowing individuals<br />

to vent and share emotions. When talking to<br />

someone trusted full-heartedly, people tend to<br />

get a sense of home. It’s comforting to know that<br />

certain girls would never participate in activities<br />

that leave others feeling betrayed.<br />

Although men are also great to have<br />

close friendships with, there is a difference.<br />

Females understand each other in ways men<br />

do not. Women often have more emotional<br />

motivations than men, causing multiple divides<br />

in the way people act, think and problem solve.<br />

Therefore, it is incredibly beneficial for women to<br />

create strong bonds with one another.<br />

“Having girlfriends is an essential part<br />

to having the best college experience. After a hard<br />

day in school, being able to hang out with friends<br />

is the thing that can cheer me up,” said Patricia<br />

Dyer, a junior accounting major at The University<br />

of Alabama. “Also, having friends in your classes<br />

can make learning easier and more enjoyable.”<br />

Women can serve as each other’s<br />

emotional support system. Without a doubt, a<br />

huge part of a girl’s emotional and mental strength<br />

comes from the power of how close the girlfriend’s<br />

relationships with other women are. These friends<br />

can brighten any day and comfort every sorrow.<br />

Although finding friends like these cannot always<br />

be easy, once found, it is important to never let go.<br />

“Having a girl gang in college has been<br />

beneficial for me because they are my home away<br />

from home,” said Lauren Jolly, a junior psychology<br />

major at The University of Alabama. “They are the<br />

people I can always rely on and confide in when<br />

I have a good or bad day. At the end of the day, I<br />

know I have someone in my corner.”<br />

Unfortunately, today’s world can often<br />

make it a goal to tear other women apart. Tearing<br />

women down is too often rumored to bring<br />

validation. Too often are women categorized as too<br />

sensitive, too dramatic and too emotional.<br />

Supporting other women can only<br />

benefit the gender as a whole, especially when<br />

others underestimate women. The idea that close<br />

friends can be the love of our lives has been<br />

prevalent since it was declared on Sex in the City.<br />

Carrie Bradshaw said, “They say nothing lasts<br />

forever, dreams change, trends come and go, but<br />

friendship never goes out of style.”<br />




*Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault<br />

By Jennafer Bowman<br />

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673<br />

In late August of 2021, the University<br />

of Nebraska Lincoln came under fire after<br />

a fraternity member allegedly sexually<br />

assaulted an underage girl at an offcampus<br />

dwelling. In early September of<br />

2021, reports of three separate incidents<br />

of sexual assault in less than one week<br />

at Auburn University surfaced. One in<br />

five women in the United States has<br />

experienced some form of sexual assault,<br />

according to the National Sexual Violence<br />

Resource Center. While these reports and<br />

their details are spread across the news,<br />

their resources are attached at the bottom<br />

of the page. This is not one of those articles.<br />

Women and Gender Resources Center: 205-348-5040<br />

[12]<br />

Design Ella Smyth<br />

Robin Taylor is an independent<br />

clinical social worker at The University of<br />

Alabama’s Women and Gender Resources<br />

Center (WGRC). Her job starts as soon as<br />

a report is received.<br />

“The key to crisis intervention<br />

is always to first try to help whoever the<br />

survivor is,” said Taylor. “The second step<br />

is to make sure that person feels safe, we<br />

are there to support them.”<br />

She said, in one case, a survivor was<br />

extremely overwhelmed and had their<br />

senses heightened. When the police were<br />

questioning the survivor, they became<br />

overwhelmed.<br />

“During questioning, I could<br />

tell it was a lot for them,” said Taylor. “I<br />

stepped in and pulled them aside and just<br />

tried to help the person understand what<br />

was going on and take some time to take it<br />

all in.”<br />

After any crisis event, survivors<br />

will have a hard time understanding what is<br />

going on. Taylor said that they also explain<br />

the resources available to survivors. The<br />

SAFE Center of Tuscaloosa, a 24/7 sexual<br />

assault crisis center that provides care to<br />

survivors, is one of those resources.<br />

SAFE Center of Tuscaloosa 24/7<br />

Hotline: 205-860-SAFE (7233)<br />

“The one thing our community can<br />

do to help survivors is acknowledging that<br />

it is a real thing and it’s happening in all<br />

communities,” said Taylor.<br />

Only 20% of female survivors report<br />

their assault to law enforcement, according<br />

to RAINN. Many women become afraid to<br />

report sexual assault for several reasons,<br />

including thinking they won’t be believed,<br />

self-blame or their relationship with their<br />

assaulter.<br />

End the Silence:<br />

https://officialendthesilence.org/<br />

Rachel Jakovac is the CEO of End the<br />

Silence, a nonprofit organization dedicated<br />

to giving survivors of interpersonal<br />

violence room to heal. The organization<br />

has three goals: raise awareness about<br />

“the prevalence of abuse so we can end<br />

it.” raise money for aid for survivors of<br />

interpersonal violence and take action by<br />

using your voice to make a change.<br />

“As long as we get out here and<br />

we show that we care for all survivors,<br />

especially those that don’t automatically<br />

report it, then we’re doing the right thing,”<br />

said Jakovac.<br />

Protests such as those that happened<br />

on the University of Nebraska Lincoln<br />

and Auburn University campuses show<br />

survivors that people care and hold the<br />

administration accountable to address<br />

these events.<br />

“There are so many unreported cases<br />

and we need to keep this energy for them,”<br />

said Jakovac. “A way that we can really do<br />

this is creating awareness and culture shift<br />

that says ‘We do not tolerate this.’”<br />

Many people don’t know how to<br />

respond when someone comes forward.

Online, there are many instances of<br />

jokes about sexual assault, inappropriate<br />

questions and dismissive tactics. While<br />

these responses are wrong, many don’t<br />

know where to continue the conversation.<br />

“When someone is coming forward<br />

to you to share their story, the first step<br />

is just to listen and believe even when it’s<br />

not the story that you necessarily want to<br />

hear, even if it makes you or your idols or<br />

your friends look bad, it’s important to decenter<br />

yourself and let the survivor share<br />

their story,” explained Jakovac.<br />

Both Jakovac and Taylor agreed that<br />

the best thing to do to support survivors is<br />

to listen. However, sometimes they might<br />

just want some space. Everyone copes<br />

differently when experiencing trauma.<br />

Alex Nail is a senior psychology and<br />

social work major at The University of<br />

Alabama. She said listeners should also<br />

be aware that their mental health could be<br />

affected by listening to stories.<br />

“It can be just as traumatic to be<br />

the listener,” said Nail. “It is a traumatic<br />

experience to hear a traumatic experience<br />

but try to remove your emotions from their<br />

experience.”<br />

The next step after listening is<br />

asking what the survivor wants the listener<br />

to do. Nail said that survivors might be<br />

scared to report because they don’t know<br />

what happens after they report it and<br />

sitting in an office waiting room can be<br />

uncomfortable.<br />

They could want the listener to share<br />

a personal experience, want the listener<br />

to go with them to appointments or help<br />

them file a police report. Even if survivors<br />

don’t want to talk to anyone, still give them<br />

access to resources.<br />

Survivors and their supporters<br />

should know there are people out there<br />

that want to help. If you or someone<br />

you love has experienced crisis trauma,<br />

encourage them to talk to you or someone<br />

they trust. Everyone can contribute to<br />

stopping the stigma surrounding sexual<br />

assault survivors and creating a safe<br />

environment for women on every campus.<br />


[14]<br />

Photo Emma Kate Standard

People often put their hearts out there. Most<br />

people have loved someone wholeheartedly<br />

and thought it would work. Then one day the<br />

relationship is over, and the lovers become<br />

strangers. It’s easy to feel at a loss for words. As<br />

if life has crumbled before everyone’s very eyes.<br />

It feels like a pit in the stomach, and ultimately<br />

staying in this state will only end in misery and<br />

heartache.<br />

A breakup is never easy, especially for those<br />

who have been together for quite some time.<br />

When people love each other, parting ways can<br />

feel crippling. Rebuilding is hard, but there are a<br />

few things that may help.<br />

When dating someone, it becomes<br />

second nature to invest time. Nights full of<br />

conversations, phone calls and endless plans.<br />

It seems normal to spend time together and,<br />

suddenly, lives become intertwined. After<br />

breaking up, it may feel as if nothing will ever be<br />

normal. It is difficult coming to terms with the<br />

fact that newly singles are forced to seek some<br />

sense of normalcy.<br />

<strong>No</strong>rmal looks different for everyone, but it is<br />

okay to ease into the normal that works best.<br />

Adapting to a new way of life takes some getting<br />

used to. Identities are not tied to relationships<br />

or significant others but what people do and say.<br />

The key to progress is to appreciate the person in<br />

the mirror who has grown through experiences.<br />

“After you are emotionally dependent<br />

on someone for so long it is hard to take<br />

accountability for your own emotions. I didn’t<br />

have him to blame anymore, I had to learn<br />

how to be alone with my own thoughts,” said<br />

Grace Skelton, junior social work major at The<br />

University of South Alabama.<br />

Breakups bring a lot of change. Whether for the<br />

best or the worst, there is no denying that life<br />

will change. Regaining independence is exciting,<br />

and it’s important to take the time to get to know<br />

oneself. Taking care of emotional and physical<br />

needs is an essential way to heal.<br />

“I am a much different person than who I<br />

was before, and I think that it’s for the better.<br />

There are definitely parts of me I see now that<br />

I never knew existed before,” said Eli Bruce, a<br />

finance and economics senior at The University<br />

of Alabama.<br />

Everyone handles breakups differently. One<br />

may end messy while another ends mutually.<br />

Regardless of how things ended, communicate<br />

and reach out to people. Having a good support<br />

system will truly save some tears. By hanging<br />

out with friends and family, people get the<br />

opportunity to make good memories. Sometimes<br />

it can be easy to lose any sense of practicality<br />

when having a bad breakup. Talking with friends<br />

helps bring a new perspective. Friends and loved<br />

ones can usually relate or at the very least listen.<br />

In addition to reaching out to friends, carve<br />

out some personal time. By implementing metime,<br />

people should find new things that spark<br />

joy. Breakups typically bring heavy and dull<br />

emotions that cloud thoughts and make people<br />

feel gloomy or uninspired. By simply trying<br />

something new, like a pottery class or going to<br />

a restaurant, inspiration can spark. Everyone<br />

should also attempt to set aside time each week<br />

and find something<br />

That creates a reason to smile. The best thing<br />

for self-care is to put in the effort when taking<br />

time alone.<br />

Said Emma McGowan, senior at the University<br />

of Alabama, “I really started to focus on myself<br />

after my breakup. I went to the gym, I spent time<br />

with friends, and I finally learned how to enjoy<br />

being with myself again.”<br />

In order to rebuild, everyone needs time to<br />

mourn. Taking the extra time to mourn the<br />

past selves who dated each former partner. Be<br />

gentle with self-criticism and pay attention to<br />

the growing pains often experienced. Once a<br />

relationship comes to a close, there are a few<br />

ways to look at what has happened. The best<br />

way is to take the experience of the relationship<br />

and use it as an advantage. It takes time to heal<br />

and adjust to being someone with no romantic<br />

attachment.<br />

Rebuilding a foundation and finding the<br />

person we are and want to take time. There is<br />

no timeline for someone to fully move on and<br />

feel normal. Post-breakup growth is not linear.<br />

Getting up and rediscovering personalities,<br />

quirks and personal interests may not be easy,<br />

but it is beneficial. By remembering time heals<br />

all, the post-breakup feeling will slowly but<br />

surely become more comfortable.<br />


By Mary Claire Wooten<br />

Photo Sarah Hartsell<br />

Everyone has preconceived notions of<br />

what a milestone birthday looks like.<br />

Sweet sixteens and sign nights surrounded<br />

by friends, family and everyone in between.<br />

More often than not, these milestones are<br />

accompanied by a new found freedom.<br />

Freedom the celebrated guest has often<br />

counted down the days until receiving.<br />

The freedoms, commonly associated with<br />

generic milestone birthdays, come from a<br />

legal perspective. The ability to drive, vote<br />

or even drink are rights gifted to those<br />

in the corresponding years. These big<br />

responsibilities can cloud the important<br />

things accompanying them, like the lessons<br />

learned in the wake. Responsibilities that<br />

have the potential to be more beneficial<br />

than the skill it accompanies. <strong>No</strong>body has<br />

ever fully adapted to a concept without<br />

bumps in the road (or the car itself in some<br />

cases).<br />

Augie Barnette, a sophomore majoring<br />

in creative media at The University of<br />

Alabama, did not pursue his drivers license<br />

for months after his milestone sixteenth<br />

birthday.<br />

“I wasn’t really in any rush,” said<br />

Barnette. This would come as a shock to<br />

many of his peers, given his early birthday<br />

and access to the one form of freedom<br />

every adolescent thinks will change their<br />

lives.<br />

In Barnette’s hometown, multiple<br />

serious accidents involving people his<br />

age occurred, resulting in a realization<br />

that simple mistakes can have long-term<br />

consequences. Amongst these lessons,<br />

and as a plus on his birthday, he was also<br />

permitted to legally drive himself and one<br />

friend until a set curfew.<br />

Any year can represent a milestone<br />

and every year offers the opportunity to<br />

grow. As opposed to learning lessons,<br />

sometimes a new year can help people<br />

gain experiences to better self-reflect and<br />

understand personal preferences and<br />

values.<br />

Christian Mckee, a junior majoring in<br />

psychology at The University of Alabama,<br />

[16]<br />

at the time of his nineteenth birthday, was<br />

navigating a new environment, hours from<br />

home, in his first year at The University of<br />

Alabama.<br />

“It was the first time I had lived by myself,<br />

I learned a lot about my priorities and<br />

standards for personal relationships,” said<br />

Mckee.<br />

Everything is not so open and closed<br />

as it seems though. Mckee recounts this<br />

was the age he had to decide what to do<br />

with his life, an issue common for many<br />

entering a new phase of life with so many<br />

new freedoms, ones that weren’t planned<br />

out based on age.<br />

The age varies for people of the moment<br />

first launched from the comfort of one’s<br />

childhood home’s and parents, forced<br />

alone into the world. <strong>No</strong>t everyone moves<br />

out at 19, nor does everyone experience the<br />

first dose of reality at 19. For those that do,<br />

the learning curve can be overwhelming.<br />

Some people have career paths chosen<br />

from diapers. Others get three years into<br />

a degree and are still struggling with<br />

doubts about their plans. Neither path<br />

is better. People discover personal goals<br />

and ambitions during many different<br />

experiences and events and sometimes<br />

these aspects of growing up take you by<br />

surprise.<br />

While questioning abilities are normal,<br />

the feeling resulting in years of secondguessing<br />

and self-doubt can cause<br />

emotional turmoil. A birthday can lead to<br />

questioning personal identities and values<br />

completely.<br />

At the age of 21, Katie Henry had just<br />

graduated college from Auburn University<br />

with an architecture degree and was<br />

entering the workforce with a lot of<br />

decisions to make. Most importantly, the<br />

question persisted, where now? Henry<br />

runs her own business doing contract<br />

architecture and design work from her<br />

home.<br />

“The entire business has been a huge<br />

learning curve,” said Henry.<br />

To date, Henry has been living in a<br />

booming college town and enjoying her<br />

life, as if overnight, she transitioned from<br />

a girl and student into a woman with a<br />

degree and business. The transition was<br />

just about as easy as you would expect.<br />

“Within the first couple of paychecks I had<br />

to learn to actually budget and balance a<br />

checkbook which I had never experienced<br />

before,” said Henry.<br />

It’s commonplace to think that everyone<br />

around is ahead of you on a nonexistent<br />

path, but adjustment is hard and everyone,<br />

in some shape or form, has had to adapt.<br />

While specific ages and events in life come<br />

without an outline, no person experiences<br />

life the same way. Everyone has different<br />

backgrounds and upbringings. The<br />

surroundings and experiences in life<br />

can affect people differently. Maybe a<br />

driver’s license means a good opportunity<br />

to grasp independence, but sometimes<br />

these milestone birthdays bring the gift<br />

of a valuable life lesson. Everyone has to<br />

learn somehow, but the age and birthday<br />

it occurs on depends on the person<br />

experiencing it.


PRE-<br />


PANIC<br />

BY<br />

SOPHIA<br />




As graduation season is<br />

approaching at full speed, panic<br />

for seniors can begin to set in as their<br />

college expiration date is closing in.<br />

Whether you are a senior in college<br />

or high school, not knowing whether<br />

the future holds a job, an internship, a<br />

degree or a gap year can be taxing and<br />

scary. However, these anxieties occur in<br />

most graduates and can dissipate with<br />

planning and a support system.<br />

“What is important for graduates<br />

to know, is that experiencing stress,<br />

anxiety, and/or depression during this<br />

transition in life is not only natural but<br />

also a typical part of human and social<br />

development,” said Melissa Boudin,<br />

Psy.D, clinical director of Choosing<br />

Therapy, an online therapy platform<br />

that serves clients across the U.S. ages<br />

13 and up.<br />

Graduation ceremonies themselves<br />

can be daunting if stage fright is on the<br />

top ten fear list, let alone what follows<br />

the ceremony. Although change is scary,<br />

it can be good as well. This is the next<br />

stepping stone in life, and concurring<br />

it can become a challenge. However,<br />

throughout the college career, small<br />

experiences mature a student and<br />

prepare them for the future.<br />

An University of Alabama (UA) student<br />

studying News Media and <strong>Alice</strong>’s<br />

Editor-in-Chief, Lindsey Wilkinson<br />

is an upcoming senior graduating<br />

May 2022. Wilkinson said she is not<br />

prepared as she has not gotten her cap<br />

and gown or her class ring yet, but she<br />

feels her time in college has come to an<br />

end naturally.<br />

“I’m prepared in the sense that my<br />

time as a student is over. The transition<br />

feels like the next step,” said Wilkinson.<br />

“I’ve grown a lot, learned a lot and<br />

grown as a person. I’m also looking<br />

forward to being paid for work instead<br />

of classwork.”<br />

Wilkinson went on to say that she<br />

knows everyone has anxiety about<br />

graduating. She doesn’t know where<br />

she is going after she graduates or if she<br />

will know anyone when she gets there;<br />

these are her main anxieties.<br />

This is one of the main stressors for<br />

most college graduates, especially since<br />

the pandemic. COVID-19 raised the<br />

unemployment rate to 14.7% in April<br />

2020, but now the unemployment<br />

rate is down to 4%, according to the<br />

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which<br />

is about 6.5 million people. On the last<br />

day of December 2021, there were 10.9<br />

million job openings available in the<br />

U.S. the BLS reported. This means that<br />

there are still roughly 4.4 million jobs<br />

out there.<br />

UA’s Interim Executive Director<br />

at the Career Center, Schernavia<br />

Hall, encourages students to start<br />

early regarding their professional<br />

development and reach out to the<br />

UA Career Center or an equivalent<br />

career service. They can help line up<br />

internships, full-time jobs and more.<br />

Hall said she talked with an advisor<br />

and later her mentor, and those<br />

conversations helped guide her towards<br />

what she wanted to do that was best for<br />

her.<br />

“Years ago, I was probably like some<br />

students, and I was debating on whether<br />

I wanted to enter the job market or go<br />

back to school, so I was very nervous<br />

[because] I didn’t know if I was making<br />

the right decision,” said Hall.<br />

UA’s Career Center provides career<br />

fairs, Handshake guidance and more to<br />

help prepare students for their future<br />

careers or to navigate their career<br />

interests. To talk to an advisor, call<br />

(205) 348 - 5848 or visit https://career.<br />

sa.ua.edu/. Hall said to take advantage<br />

of these services as they are ready and<br />

willing to help students, but know<br />

many students might not be thinking of<br />

graduation so soon.<br />

“Enjoy the moment, but have a plan,”<br />

said Hall.<br />

Having a good support system<br />

around can decrease stress levels with<br />

graduation approaching. Hall said her<br />

family and her advisor as her support<br />

system were one way her anxieties were<br />

eased.<br />

“Finding a group and just going for it<br />

is the best way to invest your time in<br />

college,” said Wilkinson.<br />

Wilkinson encourages students to not<br />

surround themselves with people who<br />

make you feel less than.<br />

“The most important things to do, to<br />

cope in a healthy way, include focusing<br />

on maintaining positive social support,<br />

engaging in interests, creating plans<br />

centered around things you have<br />

control of, talking to a trusted mentor<br />

or support person and in some cases,<br />

talking to a professional about how you<br />

are feeling,” Boudin said.<br />

Talking to a therapist or a counselor<br />

can help ease anxieties and help<br />

determine the right plan for the student<br />

and what’s next. UA’s Counseling<br />

Center can provide those services<br />

to students looking for guidance as<br />

graduation is approaching, or any<br />

season that might seem daunting. To<br />

set up an appointment, call (205) 348 -<br />

3863 or visit https://counselingcenter.<br />

sa.ua.edu/.<br />


22<br />

24<br />

bama rushtok: where they are now<br />

the benefits of lash extensions<br />

26<br />

30<br />

secrets, lies and disguise in the industry<br />

28<br />

the mrs. degree<br />

the hidden hazards of children’s makeup<br />



Bama RushTok:<br />

Where Are They <strong>No</strong>w?<br />

By Alexxa Clausen<br />

Photo Rebecca Martin<br />


Attending a university and<br />

obtaining a degree is one of the<br />

biggest accomplishments for many.<br />

Though the journey of acquiring a<br />

degree is irreplaceable, it has never<br />

been deemed as easy. Despite the<br />

difficulty, college students manage to<br />

pursue many different extracurricular<br />

activities while maintaining their<br />

education. One of the most popular<br />

extracurriculars that most universities<br />

have to offer is Greek life.<br />

In August of 2021, girls participating<br />

in rush at The University of Alabama<br />

(UA) quickly became viral on TikTok.<br />

Celebrities and brands, like Addison<br />

Rae and Kendra Scott, posted content<br />

related to the phenomenon. Taking<br />

on sorority rush similar to a reality<br />

tv show, the girls attended different<br />

houses each day and the potential new<br />

members (PNMs) and houses would<br />

rank each other. Unfortunately, this<br />

experience was not the best for some.<br />

For others, it was life-changing. PNMs<br />

would log into TikTok each day to<br />

show their daily outfits and tell their<br />

audience where they got their clothing<br />

items and trendy accessories.<br />

When it comes to the south, Greek<br />

life is a one-of-a-kind experience.<br />

Sorority and fraternity culture holds<br />

a special place in a lot of college<br />

students’ hearts. In 2021, many girls<br />

from UA shared their rush experience<br />

on TikTok. Soon enough, everyone<br />

from all around the United States<br />

was invested in Bama RushTok.<br />

Fascinated viewers refreshed their<br />

pages constantly wondering what the<br />

girls wore that day and where they<br />

could buy it.<br />

“[It was] exhausting,” said Annie<br />

Clarke, former UA student and<br />

sorority member.<br />

Clarke, from Huntsville Alabama,<br />

participated in rush at UA last fall.<br />

Unlike the masses watching online,<br />

Clarke grew up surrounded by her<br />

family and friends’ southern rush<br />

experience. Because of this, when<br />

Clarke noticed Bama rush rapidly<br />

going viral on TikTok, she could not<br />

help but think it was “crazy” because<br />

that was normal to her.<br />

Just like that, rush was over, the girls<br />

had found their forever homes and<br />

school started. Posting content while<br />

maintaining academics and sorority<br />

activities is not a simple task.<br />

When it came to managing school<br />

and sorority life, Clarke struggled at<br />

first. Clarke said her sorority would<br />

bring in tutors and conduct study halls<br />

for those struggling with academics.<br />

Clarke said, “Being in a sorority at<br />

Bama was exciting, but my sorority is<br />

pretty quick to catch who is succeeding<br />

and who is not’.’<br />

For many students, there is a large<br />

learning curve when they first get to<br />

college. Sara Beth Cotton, a junior at<br />

UA and TikTok personality with 19.1<br />

thousand followers, is no stranger<br />

when it comes to maintaining many<br />

different responsibilities all at once.<br />

When it came to settling into college<br />

life, Cotton found herself struggling<br />

at first. Since balancing multiple<br />

responsibilities was a challenge, her<br />

freshman year was quite sporadic.<br />

Google calendar soon became<br />

her best friend. Cotton used the<br />

online calendar to color-code her<br />

assignments and help her manage her<br />

time better. After finding a consistent<br />

routine, she quickly saw a huge change<br />

in her mental health. Another method<br />

she used to better her schedule was to<br />

treat her extracurriculars like a reward<br />

for completing schoolwork.<br />

Within the hundreds of girls<br />

participating in Bama RushTok, some<br />

rapidly became fan favorites. Emma<br />

McGowin, a freshman at UA who<br />

goes by @Dollypartonwannabe02,<br />

accepted her bid to Alpha Delta Pi.<br />

McGowin has managed to reach 148.5<br />

thousand on TikTok and around<br />

32.9 thousand on her Instagram and<br />

started an online boutique, Butterfly<br />

Girlie Boutique.<br />

@Whatwouldjimmybuffetdo,<br />

Makayla Culpepper, also participated<br />

in Bama RushTok. Culpepper is<br />

from Pike Road, Alabama and is<br />

currently pursuing a job in real estate<br />

Unfortunately, her experience was not<br />

the smoothest. While participating,<br />

Culpepper was dropped from<br />

every house which left the TikTok<br />

community filled with anger. During<br />

this situation, hashtags and hundreds<br />

of videos demanding justice for<br />

Culpepper were created. Currently,<br />

she has a total of 145.7 thousand on<br />

TikTok and 17 thousand Instagram<br />

followers.<br />

Haylee Golden, UA Apparel<br />

and Textiles major, is a TikTok<br />

personality that goes by @<br />

haygoldenrayofsunshine. Golden<br />

hit ten thousand followers during<br />

rush. Since then, Golden has reached<br />

56.1 thousand on TikTok and 13.8<br />

thousand on Instagram.<br />

Next year there are sure to be<br />

participants hoping for TikTok fame.<br />

Cotton said, “[You need to] post<br />

consistently and find your niche.”<br />

The exclusiveness of Bama rush<br />

quickly reeled in the majority of<br />

TikTok users. A previously mysterious<br />

process was brought to light for<br />

everyone on the platform to see. The<br />

ups and downs created a unique<br />

form of entertainment that was<br />

irreplaceable. As well, balancing a<br />

school and social life in the public eye<br />

is a real accomplishment for these<br />

freshman girls. The TikToks have<br />

inspired girls in different colleges in<br />

America to recreate the trend. The<br />

University of Alabama’s rush TikToks<br />

will forever be known for the sorority<br />

recruitment experience.<br />


The Benefits of Lash Extensions<br />

By Baylie Smithson<br />

Design Katie Nebbia<br />

Lash extensions have grown significantly<br />

in popularity over the last few years,<br />

not only for their aesthetics but for the<br />

many benefits they offer.<br />

Lash extensions are not a new<br />

beauty invention. The first record of women<br />

attaching lashes to their eyelids was in<br />

1882 when Parisian women sewed hairs on<br />

their eyelids, according to lashlovers.com’s<br />

Kara Marlene. However, the 21st century<br />

has seen the most advancement in the<br />

technology behind lash extensions.<br />

Lash extensions are applied professionally<br />

by certified lash technicians and require<br />

strategic upkeep. The desirable aesthetics<br />

of long and full-looking lashes for most<br />

outweigh the cost and time it takes to<br />

build a beautiful set of lashes. For the right<br />

person, the list of lash extension pros is<br />

endless.<br />

The most obvious pro to lash<br />

extensions is longevity. Lash extensions<br />

can last “about 4-6 weeks,” according to<br />

Sara, staff writer at hip2save.com. Lash<br />

extensions will naturally fall out over<br />

time, but don’t need daily application and<br />

removal. They do require daily cleaning<br />

and grooming to maintain.<br />

JoAnna Walker, professional<br />

lash technician for 11 years and owner of<br />

Teased, a Tuscaloosa-based salon, said,<br />

“You’re not having to constantly worry<br />

about the lashes lifting at all throughout<br />

your day, especially if it is a big event like<br />

[24]<br />

your wedding or if you’re just going to the<br />

gym.”<br />

The second most desirable pro to<br />

lash extensions is their time-saving ability<br />

in the mornings. Walker listed one of the<br />

main pros of extensions as “cutting down<br />

on makeup application.”<br />

Many don’t have the time to<br />

spend every morning glamming for a<br />

day in class, at the office or just going for<br />

a coffee run, but still want to look fresh,<br />

awake and put together. The University<br />

of Alabama’s Director of Nursing Clinics,<br />

Professor Kacie Duncan, has worn<br />

extensions for a couple of years. Duncan is<br />

a full-time professor, mom and nurse. The<br />

extensions’ lifestyle definitely suits her, as<br />

she wears many hats and doesn’t have the<br />

time to add “daily application of lashes”<br />

or “fifty coats of mascara every morning”<br />

onto her plate.<br />

“[For me] they look more natural.<br />

They’re easier to upkeep because I don’t<br />

have to worry about them coming off when<br />

I’m out and about,” said Duncan. “It feels<br />

more expensive because it’s about $70 [at<br />

the salon I go to] about every two weeks<br />

to keep up. If I’m doing the fake lashes,<br />

however, then I’m spending around $12<br />

on a set and those are only lasting me a<br />

day. All in all, I like the extensions better,<br />

and I feel like they irritate my eyes less.”<br />

Another pro of extensions is their comfort.<br />

Lash extensions, though a foreign object<br />

on the eye, should not be uncomfortable or<br />

immensely heavy.<br />

“The procedure should never be<br />

painful or uncomfortable,” Walker said.<br />

There should not be any intense burning<br />

from the prep process if so, the lash tech<br />

should stop immediately. The placement<br />

of the lashes shouldn’t bring any feeling<br />

of discomfort to the lash line. Walker said<br />

every lash tech should be knowledgeable<br />

on the science behind eyelashes in order to<br />

properly apply and maintain them.<br />

“There are three phases of the<br />

eyelash cycle: anagen (the improper time<br />

for application), catagen (the right time for<br />

application), and telogen (the shedding of<br />

the eyelash). Unlike hair, eyelashes do not<br />

grow the same way; they shed, or else we’d<br />

have to trim them not replace them,” said<br />

Walker.<br />

Adding to the list of benefits,<br />

another is the customizability of extensions.<br />

There can be many variations, but there<br />

are three main types of extensions: classic,<br />

hybrid, and full-volume.<br />

“We customize each set for<br />

each person, we have a 15-20 minute<br />

consultation before each appointment<br />

and chat about weight and length that<br />

the natural lashes can manage. There’s a<br />

difference in preference and expectations<br />

and as professionals, we need to guide our<br />

clients with what is proper for their natural<br />

eyelashes,” said Walker.

Although, where there are<br />

pros, there are always cons. The biggest<br />

con of lash extensions is the time and<br />

cost. Most of the time, pricing and<br />

amount of time come down to the<br />

technicians’ experience.<br />

“Application is anywhere<br />

between 1 1/2 to 3 hours, but each client<br />

is different. It depends on how much<br />

experience the lash tech has. Removal–<br />

as long as your set was done by a<br />

professional–should only take about<br />

15-30 minutes. When done properly, it<br />

should feel like butter coming off your<br />

eyelashes,” Walker said.<br />

Walker has been a lash tech for<br />

11 years, one of the first in Tuscaloosa.<br />

Her prices range depending on which<br />

lash style, “For classics, it’s typically<br />

$200, classic-hybrid $250, full volume<br />

$300”.<br />

Some people are lower priced<br />

due to experience and materials.<br />

Walkers’ prices are the average price in<br />

Tuscaloosa.<br />

Despite being a lash<br />

technician, Walker would discourage<br />

stress lash pickers, avid swimmers and<br />

deep sleepers (to name a few) from<br />

getting lash extensions.<br />

“It depends on the person–do<br />

your research,” says Walker.<br />

The main reasons come<br />

down to oil and friction that break<br />

down extensions. Oil and friction from<br />

the fingers of stress lash pickers and<br />

pillows of the deepest of sleepers will<br />

ultimately break down the extensions<br />

quicker. Chlorine and saltwater will<br />

also break down the bonds of the<br />

adhesive used to attach the extensions.<br />

<strong>No</strong>table mentions are athletes; sweat,<br />

which contains sodium, will break<br />

down the lashes the same.<br />

The biggest mistake Walker said she<br />

sees her clients make is not cleaning<br />

the extensions.<br />

“The majority think they’re<br />

not supposed to clean them, but that<br />

can create build up. Lash mites help<br />

clean lash follicles, but when you’re not<br />

cleaning your eyes and eyelashes those<br />

lash mites can become abundant,” said<br />

Walker.<br />

Thoroughly and gently cleansing<br />

off oil, dirt and makeup will help keep your<br />

lashes in tip-top shape.<br />

“I’ll be the first to say, heck yes<br />

the extensions can ruin your lashes,” said<br />

Walker. “The lash expert has to know what<br />

they are doing in application and removal,<br />

and the clients also have to know how to<br />

care for them.”<br />

It is obvious why lash extensions<br />

are such a hot commodity today as the<br />

list of benefits is as long as a set of lashes.<br />

From their longevity, comfort and style,<br />

lash extensions are one of the most soughtafter<br />

beauty procedures today.<br />



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Beauty is timeless, and so is the<br />

makeup industry. Unfortunately,<br />

the makeup industry is not as ethical as it<br />

may make itself out to be. With the push<br />

towards natural products, people are now,<br />

more than ever, more interested in what is<br />

in their makeup, but many fail to consider<br />

who sources the ingredients. Child labor is<br />

the makeup industry’s darkest secret.<br />

Mica is a mineral dust that occurs<br />

naturally and is commonly used in<br />

eyeshadows, highlighters and other<br />

popular products. Children are used to<br />

mining this hard-to-find mineral, and the<br />

beauty industry alone accounts for about<br />

18% of the mica mined globally each year,<br />

as stated by Jocelyn C. Zuckerman, writer<br />

for Marie Claire magazine in her article “Is<br />

Your Makeup the Result of Child Labor?”<br />

Many have no idea the makeup<br />

industry is heavily involved in child labor.<br />

Consumers should learn more about the<br />

companies that utilize this material and<br />

seek to end this heinous crime, but it is up<br />

to the beauty companies to seek alternate<br />

solutions to this problem ultimately.<br />

An article from Terre des Hommes<br />

gives consumers insight into the reality<br />

of mica production in Madagascar by<br />

informing consumers that “in the three<br />

main mica regions, the percentage of<br />

children between the ages of five and 17<br />

that are working varies between 56% and<br />

62%.”<br />

Lexy Lebsack, writer for Refinery29,<br />

exposed these mines in their article: “The<br />

Makeup Industry’s Darkest Secret Is<br />

Hiding In Your Makeup Bag”.<br />

As reported by Lebsack, children<br />

wake up early in the morning and spend<br />

the rest of the day in small, man-made<br />

tunnels armed with ice picks, hammers<br />

and baskets.<br />

“They carefully chip into the sides<br />

and backs of the small pits to loosen<br />

rock and dirt before carefully hauling<br />

it out of the mine,” said Lesack. “The<br />

children take turns dumping their baskets<br />

over a rudimentary sifting tool that<br />

reveals handfuls of mica, a shimmery<br />

mineral composite that’s been forming<br />

underground for hundreds of years.”<br />

These children, forced to work all<br />

day in unsafe conditions, will make 43<br />

cents a day. School and playtime are not<br />

norms to them—all to make a foundation<br />

that will be thrown away in 3 weeks.<br />

The beauty industry is not only<br />

allowing this; they are actively hiding it<br />

from consumers. They crouch behind their<br />

vows of “ethically-made” products and<br />

clean beauty, but they are not following<br />

through with their promises. Mica might<br />

serve as a natural product, but using<br />

children and endangering their safety<br />

to get the product does not solve any<br />

problems. This is the reality that goes<br />

behind shimmery makeup.<br />

People use makeup to express<br />

themselves, and it’s important to buy from<br />

a company with similar values. According<br />

to “​Child Labor: The Ugly Truth About the<br />

Beauty Industry” by Kavitha Kavy, brands<br />

that have been linked to Mica’s child labor<br />

include L’Oreal, Maybelline, Lancôme,<br />

Garnier, Yves Saint Laurent Beauty,<br />

Kiehls, Urban Decay, Estée Lauder, MAC,<br />

Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Too Faced.<br />

These well-known corporations go against<br />

the transparency of their makeup products<br />

promoted on social media and through<br />

self-proclaimed clean beauty influencers.<br />

Amie Ray, a mother of two children,<br />

actively researches makeup products<br />

before using them.<br />

“I dislike it because they [the<br />

children] are exploited and paid poorly<br />

in the cosmetics industry, which is worth<br />

over $500 billion,” said Ray.<br />

Beautycounter, a makeup company<br />

that strives to adhere to clean beauty<br />

standards, has found solutions to this<br />

problem. Bryant Wood, managing director<br />

with Beautycounter, manages a team<br />

across the nation that spreads the mission<br />

of Beautycounter.<br />

“We make sure that the ingredients<br />

we source are clean and safe but where<br />

they are sourced and how they are<br />

sourced matters so much as well. We are<br />

a B Corporation that is doing good for the<br />

people, planet and profit,” said Wood.<br />

“The work that we do behind the<br />

scenes goes beyond clean beauty. We<br />

recognize that child labor is an issue<br />

and therefore at Beautycounter we<br />

have worked to source [mica] from a<br />

manufacturer in Georgia, where we can<br />

trust the practices and screen for safety.<br />

We also go beyond clean by assuring that<br />

the ingredients that we source nationally<br />

and internationally meet our high ethical<br />

and safety standards. We, for example,<br />

joined forces with a foundation in India<br />

that is trying to eradicate child enforced<br />

labor throughout the world.”<br />

With this knowledge, the makeup<br />

industry can change for the better.<br />

Consumers can actively work to stop the<br />

brands that still use unethically sourced<br />

mica in their products. Consumers can sign<br />

petitions, stop buying their products and<br />

educate others on using ethical products.<br />

April Turner, a senior at The<br />

University of Alabama majoring in public<br />

relations, actively buys from beauty brands<br />

and enjoys doing her makeup daily.<br />

“To make sure my makeup is crueltyfree;<br />

I usually do research on the company<br />

before and check the label while in the<br />

store because most packaging will tell you<br />

if it’s cruelty-free. If it’s not, I usually don’t<br />

buy it unless I absolutely need it, but I<br />

think most makeup companies are crueltyfree<br />

now,” said Turner.<br />

She said she realizes that she<br />

should be buying cruelty-free makeup,<br />

but the issue is most companies are<br />

advertising animal cruelty-free, not child<br />

cruelty-free. Consumers can check their<br />

products for mica and start using brands<br />

that are transparent and working to pass<br />

legislation restricting unethical mica<br />

mining. Here is a small list of brands that<br />

are cruelty-free and ethical mica makeup<br />

brands: Adorn Cosmetics, Beautycounter,<br />

Love The Planet, Milk Makeup and Red<br />

Apple Lipstick.<br />

Ethically mindful companies are<br />

using ways to mine natural mica without<br />

the use of child labor, One example is<br />

synthetic fluorphlogopite, a lab-produced,<br />

eco-friendly chemical that enables a wide<br />

range of colors and intensities in products.<br />

A blog by Beautycounter said, “By<br />

the end of 2020, we will have conducted<br />

third-party traceability audits of all of<br />

our mica mine locations—a radical step<br />

towards transparency in the beauty<br />

industry.”<br />

Beautycounter is one of the leaders<br />

in this movement, and hopefully, others<br />

will follow soon. The European Union<br />

bans 1,400 ingredients from being in<br />

beauty products—the United States only<br />

bans 30 of these products. According to<br />

Wood, the beauty industry is not regulated<br />

by what ingredients they use or how they<br />

source them. It is up to these corporations<br />

to transition from unethically derived mica<br />

to clean beauty cosmetics. ​<br />

Child labor is not only a severe<br />

problem, but it is also a violent act<br />

that is actively happening today. Using<br />

unethically sourced mica is contributing<br />

to child labor. People can learn about this<br />

and seek to actively alter this industry,<br />

but it is the cosmetics companies’ burden.<br />

Transparency in beauty is not just a trend;<br />

it is a necessary standard.<br />


The MRS.<br />

“She’s just here to get her Mrs.<br />

Degree,” is a quote overheard a little too<br />

often as a junior in college. This comment<br />

typically goes over everyone’s heads,<br />

but can pierce the hearts of some college<br />

women. Condescending in its nature, the<br />

meaning behind a Mrs. degree is that a<br />

woman is going to college to get a degree<br />

that some would label as pointless in order<br />

to find a partner to marry that will provide<br />

for them with their degree that actually<br />

means something.<br />

It seems the root of these Mrs.<br />

degrees are degrees with feminine<br />

undertones or not under the S.T.E.M<br />

(Science, Technology, Engineering and<br />

Mathematics) list. Creative majors and<br />

others, such as social sciences, deal with<br />

questions regarding their degree’s validity<br />

and worth.<br />

“I think business majors, not just<br />

for females, but for any gender are cut<br />

short,” said Reese McGee, The University<br />

of Alabama junior and business major. “I<br />

came into the business school expecting<br />

it to be a piece-of-cake like how it is often<br />

stereotyped, and instead was faced with<br />

economics and accounting classes that<br />

require a great deal of time and effort.”<br />

Business majors get the reputation<br />

for what some deem to be a less demanding<br />

degree. People use a negative connotation<br />

when citing instances of attending social<br />

events and many other perceived benefits.<br />

Despite the bad press, gaining a<br />

business degree can allow an individual<br />

to explore many paths, such as becoming<br />

a CEO and managing or working on Wall<br />

Street, the holy grail of the business world.<br />

Many successful women have business<br />

degrees to back them, such as comedian<br />

and actress Wanda Sykes, who graduated<br />

from Hampton University with a degree<br />

in marketing and even worked for the<br />

National Security Agency before diving<br />

into entertainment. A few other names to<br />

mention are Melinda Gates who is current<br />

General Manager at Microsoft, Mary Barra<br />

who is current CEO of General Motors and<br />

Amy Hood, current Chief Financial Officer<br />

of Microsoft.<br />

According to mba.com, “87%<br />

of female graduates say their return on<br />

investment has been positive, and 84%<br />

say their professional situation is better or<br />

much better as a result of their business<br />

school degree.”<br />

Another commonly misunderstood<br />

major is communications. The stereotypes<br />

around this area of study are most likely<br />

due to people’s lack of knowledge about<br />

what the major entails. Communications<br />

is a basis for most transactions in the<br />

world. Successful women that have<br />

studied communications are famous<br />

talk-show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Ellen<br />

DeGeneres.<br />

“It’s much more than watching<br />

‘Cocomellon’ like TikTok seems to say.<br />

We learn case studies, analyze in real-time<br />

what reactions are, how humans respond<br />

to events and what their upbringing can<br />

evolve into when they become adults,”<br />

said <strong>Alice</strong> Helms, communications major<br />

at the University of Alabama.<br />

A key component of communications<br />

is learning to read people and their<br />

behaviors–a task not easily obtained.<br />

“There are many organizations like<br />

the FBI and CIA that rely so much on<br />

communication in order to complete their<br />

missions. Proper communication can be<br />

the difference between multi-billion dollar<br />

deals or interviews for a one-in-a-lifetime<br />

job,” said Helmss<br />

Dr. Barely of The University of<br />

Alabama, a favorite of Helms, once said,<br />

“If you want something done, give it to a<br />


Degree<br />

By Beth Wheeler<br />

Design Katie Nebbia<br />

communications major.”<br />

Fashion majors have a bad Mrs.<br />

reputation, too. However, if anyone takes<br />

a quick peek into a classroom for design<br />

students, they will see a team of extremely<br />

disciplined students engineering a design<br />

that they’ve probably been working on<br />

day-in and day-out for weeks to finish.<br />

The drive and motivation to carry out<br />

a career in fashion is inspiring, and<br />

many successful men and women have<br />

dominated the world of fashion. Some<br />

of these leaders, with degrees in fashion,<br />

are Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein and<br />

Marc Jacobs.<br />

“The typical response that I get from<br />

someone when I tell them I am majoring<br />

in apparel design is ‘Oh? And what do you<br />

think you are going to do with that?” said<br />

Grace Federico, junior at The University of<br />

Alabama studying apparel and textiles with<br />

a concentration in apparel design. “It is<br />

typically delivered very condescendingly.”<br />

The daunting question rises yet<br />

again, intending to discourage women in<br />

fashion by making them think that their<br />

degree would amount to nothing–an<br />

opinion that just isn’t true.<br />

“What people don’t realize is that<br />

every single person uses fashion and<br />

apparel design every day. Everyone, no<br />

matter who they are, has a sense of fashion.<br />

Majoring in apparel design and working<br />

in the fashion industry is the complete<br />

opposite of useless–it is extremely<br />

necessary for everyday self-expression,”<br />

said Federico.<br />

<strong>No</strong> matter if the major someone<br />

chooses is in the S.T.E.M field, creative<br />

field or wherever their passion lies, all<br />

majors are valid. All paths are valid. As<br />

long as the industry that is chosen is<br />

an industry that is fulfilling mentally,<br />

emotionally and spiritually, it is the right<br />

path. Each major–no matter what it is–<br />

requires hard work. The commitment to<br />

finishing a degree (or committing to the<br />

non-traditional route) is hard work for<br />

anyone successful in what they do. And<br />

that, itself, is enough to be proud of.<br />


Photo Jennifer Stroud<br />

Burning rashes and severe skin<br />

reactions caused by makeup<br />

products can be incredibly painful and<br />

embarrassing. Insecurities caused by<br />

skin problems are common. The culprit<br />

is the exact products used to cover skin<br />

irritation and discoloration in the first<br />

place.<br />

Certain beauty products sold<br />

at Claire’s have warnings instructing<br />

consumers to discontinue use if the<br />

product causes irritation. Knowing<br />

the dangers of ingredients before<br />

irritation occurs, however, should not be<br />

something that requires complaints and<br />

a call to action from consumers. There<br />

is a current demand for safer children’s<br />

beauty products, without parents having<br />

to search through a hidden list of unsafe<br />

ingredients.<br />

Sharyl Donegan, a nurse<br />

practitioner and mother of three,<br />

had her own experience dealing and<br />

experimenting with children’s makeup.<br />

“Anything citrus stay away.<br />

Citrus face washes or grapefruit scrubs<br />

can cause a reaction in sensitive skin, and<br />

it made my daughter develop a horrible<br />

rash,” said Donegan. “Those egg-shaped<br />

EOS chapsticks would also cause a<br />

terrible reaction.”<br />

Colorful, fruity-themed products<br />

are placed on the end of shopping aisles<br />

and at checkout areas because the<br />

packaging is bright and enticing, but that<br />

does not mean the ingredients are healthy<br />

and safe.<br />

“Make sure to do research.<br />

Some people break out because they mix<br />

products and acids. Mixing certain acids<br />

can cause a reaction. It’s important to<br />

know what you are using and what works<br />

for you,” said Antonio Hernandez, a local<br />

makeup consultant.<br />

E veryone’s skin is different, but<br />

it is a well-known fact children have a<br />

weaker immune system and a higher<br />

surface-to-volume ratio. This makes<br />

children more prone to breakouts and<br />

skin irritation than adults or individuals<br />

with a more experienced immune system.<br />

“Anything scented or that has<br />

fragrance will likely make you break out,”<br />

said Kamiya Holifield, Claire’s employee.<br />

“If the child is incredibly young, I<br />


ecommend skipping skin coverage<br />

altogether. Instead, stick to lip gloss and<br />

eyeshadow.”<br />

Makeup producers know how<br />

to target the desired audience. Children’s<br />

makeup likely spends more budgeting on<br />

packaging and marketing than on safety<br />

concerns and featured ingredients.<br />

“I recommend younger girls<br />

start with brands like Clinique or Benefit.<br />

These brands put an emphasis on the<br />

skincare side of makeup. Anything that<br />

has alcohol listed in the beginning of the<br />

ingredients is a red flag,” said Kay Bolten,<br />

a Tuscaloosa makeup artist.<br />

Makeup is fun to play with, and<br />

a lot of little girls love to play dress-up.<br />

Even adult women have themed social<br />

events. Makeup can be a pleasure, but<br />

pleasure can evolve into a problem when<br />

made with harmful products and cheap<br />

ingredients. Bacterial, talc, alcohol and<br />

acids can all be dangerous components of<br />

makeup, making the benefit of a natural<br />

glow come at the cost of having healthy<br />

skin.<br />

“Younger girls with good skin<br />

should try to avoid foundation. A sheer<br />

powder is lighter, and most people don’t<br />

need a lot,” said Chelsea Shepard, The<br />

University of Alabama alumni and beauty<br />

consultant. “If you are new to makeup,<br />

really just have three good products;<br />

cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen.”<br />

Choosing the products to use on<br />

a child’s face during Halloween or events<br />

like face painting should not be a scary<br />

decision. Research is the best way to be<br />

cautious when applying new products.<br />

Don’t be afraid to read articles,<br />

sample the product on less sensitive areas<br />

of skin and scan the popular reviews.<br />

Poor quality products often get critiqued<br />

by consumers before critics are aware of<br />

the problem, so google the product before<br />

purchase. Eventually, these products may<br />

be discontinued, leaving options that are<br />

safe, reliable and appealing.<br />


34<br />

36<br />

the overall effect: a look inside the fashion of ballroom<br />

the crossroads of cultural attire and fashion influence<br />

38<br />

40<br />

unisex fashion: rejection of the gender binary<br />

which style icon of the big screen are you?<br />

42<br />

a guide to Y2K fashion in 2022<br />



The hit series “Pose” introduced the world of<br />

ballroom, a subculture of everything fashion,<br />

face and voguing. Ballroom is a haven for young<br />

Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ individuals to escape<br />

from a world where they aren’t always accepted.<br />

House balls emerged from a marginalized group<br />

of people who found a way to express themselves<br />

freely and unapologetically. Many people believe<br />

ballroom is a relatively new thing that emerged<br />

in the 1970s in New York, but ballroom has been<br />

around for over a century..<br />

Ricky Turner, the author of “And the Category<br />

is…,” writes about what ballroom Culture is and<br />

the history of the ballroom scene.<br />

“What my book is trying to do is make it so that<br />

people know about the history of ballroom so that<br />

everyone doesn’t feel like it’s a brand-new thing,<br />

and that it belongs to whoever appropriates that<br />

every four or five years, which tends to end up<br />

happening,” said Turner.<br />

In Turner’s book, he recalls his personal<br />

experience with ballroom, specifically voguing.<br />

History.com defines voguing as an<br />

“improvisational dance inspired by the poses of<br />

models in fashion magazines.” Originating from<br />

trans and gay Black people.<br />

Turner explained how he went to voguing<br />

workshops and saw people vogue for the first<br />

time. Turner makes voguing seem more than<br />

just dancing, but an expression of the body and<br />

building self-esteem and processes those bodily,<br />

racial and generational traumas.<br />

“Going to do research for the book and going to<br />

a ball conference in Toronto, and I was feeling<br />

all out of sorts, and like a little bit dislocated and<br />

remote, then I got there, and finally I got to the<br />

voguing workshop that I signed up for. I was like,<br />

Design Wesley Picard<br />

oh, I’m home,’ said Turner.<br />

In the U.S. alone approximately 4.2 million<br />

youth experience homelessness and among<br />

those 4.2 million 40% are a part of the LGBTQ+<br />

community, according to True Colors United, an<br />

organization whose goal is to find a solution for<br />

LGBTQ+ youth homelessness.<br />

Twiggy Pucci Garcon, Chief Program Officer<br />

of True Colors United, writer, director and<br />

producer, co-wrote a documentary, “KIKI,”<br />

that explores the New York ballroom scene. The<br />

documentary follows seven young people of color<br />

who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and<br />

their navigation of identity, family and ballroom.<br />

Garcon is no stranger to the ballroom scene,<br />

they began her ballroom journey in 2004 where<br />

they attended their first ball and eventually<br />

walked their first category. Garcon fell in love<br />

and has been walking categories ever since.<br />

“Ballroom literally saved my life,” said Garcon.<br />

Garcon expressed their gratitude to ballroom<br />

for creating a place where they were accepted<br />

for being them. They said they owe their life to<br />

ballroom, and they will pour whatever they can<br />

to keep it alive and thriving.<br />

Garcon is no stranger to the world of ballroom<br />

fashion either.<br />

“So in ballroom, the outfit or costume that<br />

you walk in, and it’s called an effect,” explained<br />

Garcon.<br />

Garcon produced their first high school fashion<br />

show and uses fashion as self-expression in<br />

ballroom.<br />

“I went to school for fashion. I just have always<br />

been enamored by fashion and the intricacies<br />

and details of it all. Like when we get up, we<br />

put on our clothes in the morning, go out into<br />


the world and it’s like you are saying something,<br />

whether it’s conscious or subconscious; you’re<br />

saying something. I think it’s no different in<br />

ballroom,” said Garcon.<br />

Stepping into the ballroom is like stepping onto<br />

a runway, where cheers, screams and snaps are<br />

always present and sometimes a few boos and<br />

laughs. It is all part of the culture, and at the end<br />

of the day, the Ball is full of family and friends.<br />

“When you put in your effect, you’re saying<br />

something to the ballroom, and the feeling that<br />

one gets when competing, or when putting on<br />

that costume to step out. I think I can’t really put<br />

it into words,” said Garcon. “The closest thing I<br />

can think of is affirmation. You are presenting<br />

yourself to your peers and loved ones, family,<br />

people for you, against you and the statement<br />

that you’re making is like I am here,” said Garcon.<br />

Many people aren’t familiar with the difference<br />

between ballroom culture and drag culture.<br />

Garcon said they would describe them as sisters,<br />

and Tucker said he would describe them as<br />

cousins that just so happen to maybe share the<br />

same grandparents.<br />

“I think this is where ballroom and drag have<br />

sort of the same grounding. It’s all DIY. You<br />

make your own dress, you source the fabric, do<br />

your own wigs, or it was a collective sort of thing<br />

where the community would come together and<br />

help you do all those things,” said Tucker.<br />

Tony Sinclair, drag queen by the name of Capri<br />

Dupree, highlighted the differences between<br />

drag and ballroom culture. Sinclair also walks<br />

the vogue category at many balls. In ballroom<br />

culture, belonging to a house and living together<br />

is a major element, and walking and participating<br />

in balls “is an escapism.” While in drag culture<br />

the pageantry life is very similar, just without the<br />

house. Whether it’s ballroom or Drag, love and<br />

creativity are very important elements to these<br />

two cultures.<br />

“I feel like all LGBTQ+ people are born with<br />

these creative genes, and if they see something<br />

creative, they want to capitalize on their<br />

creativity and just go crazy with creativity on top<br />

of creativity,” Sinclair said.<br />

Many houses are named after fashion brands,<br />

for example, House of Mugler, House of Gucci,<br />

House of Dior and even the House of Old Navy.<br />

“Being super creative on all levels, whether it<br />

comes to tailoring, being a seamstress, dyeing<br />

things, doing hair, you have to know how to do<br />

a lot of different things. There’s that element,<br />

but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t couture. A lot<br />

of the dresses I see on runways and stuff now,<br />

rival with your Dior’s and your Prada’s, but<br />

they’re made by the House of Garcon rather than<br />

Comme des Garcons,” Tucker said.<br />

Most of the extravagant, beautiful pieces are<br />

made by ballroom members, correlating to the<br />

theme of the category. Ballroom has been around<br />

for such a long time. The fashion is timeless, so<br />

much so that big fashion brands steal ballroom<br />

fashion without crediting ballroom.<br />

“I think the unfortunate thing is ballroom has<br />

been around so long, and so people have been<br />

secretly influenced [by the culture],” said Garcon.<br />

This phenomenon can sometimes happen<br />

unknowingly. Garcon said people could be<br />

inspired by a coworker or friend’s outfit and not<br />

know they were a part of ballroom culture.<br />

“I think the unfortunate part of many of the<br />

last few decades is so many mainstream fashion<br />

moments have come from ballroom have not<br />

been credited,” said Garcon<br />

As ballroom has made its way into mainstream<br />

culture, many houses and fashion brands have<br />

started to collaborate. Garcon said they hope<br />

that with more visibility, ballroom will begin to<br />

receive recognition and the collaborative work<br />

continues.<br />

“We’re at a time when fashion houses are<br />

acknowledging the ballroom houses named after<br />

them and collaborating, so things are shifting<br />

in a way that I dreamt. I don’t even know that<br />

that had gotten to the part of my mind where I<br />

thought it was possible,” said Garcon.<br />

Ballroom culture has changed the way fashion<br />

exists. Whether its low-end brands like Old Navy<br />

or high fashion like Dior, these brands represent<br />

a major entity of the ballroom scene. The world of<br />

fashion and ballroom are continuing to make an<br />

imprint on the world, and the Black and Latinx<br />

LGBTQ+ communities are making themselves<br />

seen and heard. As Elecktra Abundance-<br />

Evangelista said, “I look too good not to be seen.”<br />


The Crossroads of Cultural Attire and<br />

Fashion Influence<br />

By Jane Lipp<br />

Photo Emma Kate Standard<br />

Traditional cultural attire<br />

tells a story through physical<br />

adornment and designs rich in<br />

significance. Each item of dress holds<br />

purpose, history and meaning when worn<br />

by Native Africans, Indians, and a diversity<br />

of races throughout the world. Clothing<br />

and accessories that express a specific<br />

culture offer an opportunity to celebrate<br />

and exhibit pride. While the origin of<br />

traditional cultural attire is not grounded<br />

in fashion, the garments are undoubtedly<br />

beautiful.<br />

Indian ceremonial saris sparkle<br />

with intricate beading, glittery trims and<br />

metallic materials. African cultural attire<br />

often combines unique patterns inspired<br />

by nature, with richly ornate accessories.<br />

In a society where people admire beauty<br />

and are curious about other cultures, the<br />

urge to embrace a culturally-inspired style<br />

exists among many. Traditional cultural<br />

attire is increasingly serving as a source<br />

of inspiration for fashion designers and<br />

aficionados, whether they are drawing<br />

upon their own personal backgrounds, or<br />

incorporating the influence of a specific<br />

culture’s clothing into their style brand.<br />

Sabyasachi Mukherjee is an Indian<br />

fashion and jewelry designer from Kolkata,<br />

India. He launched his Sabyasachi label in<br />

1999, featuring high-end luxury Indian<br />

textiles and design techniques such as<br />

block printing and hand dyeing, all reimagined<br />

into modernized silhouettes.<br />

For almost two decades, his clients<br />

were primarily of Indian descent. More<br />

recently, his designs launched to the<br />

forefront of high fashion because of a<br />

partnership with Christian Louboutin,<br />

of red-heeled fame. In 2017, Louboutin<br />

collaborated with Sabyasachi to<br />

incorporate sari materials and the craft<br />


of Indian beading into a capsule shoe<br />

collection, showcased in an article that<br />

can be found on his website titled “Behind<br />

the Collaboration: Christian Louboutin<br />

x Sabyasachi.” The attention elevated<br />

Sabyasachi’s entire brand, and now his<br />

clothing designs are worn by American<br />

and Western European fashion setters and<br />

celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon<br />

and Renée Zellweger.<br />

A common thread connecting<br />

cultural attire is that each piece of clothing<br />

offers its unique detail and meaning.<br />

Clothing is much more than what meets the<br />

eye. It’s inspired by memories, traditions<br />

or historic significance. Cultural attire<br />

opens up the doors to new conversations,<br />

often allowing people from different places<br />

throughout the world to make a connection<br />

and share their backgrounds. Traditional<br />

cultural attire serves as a platform for<br />

people to express their identity, heritage<br />

and culture.<br />

The members of the Indian Students<br />

Association of Tuscaloosa wear traditional<br />

cultural attire to celebrate their Indian<br />

traditions at The University of Alabama.<br />

They invite students of all backgrounds to<br />

participate.<br />

Abhinandhan Narayanan, a native of<br />

India, serves as president of the association.<br />

Narayanan said he acknowledges the<br />

differences that exist within a culture,<br />

while also highlighting the role traditional<br />

clothing plays in creating community.<br />

“Every state in India has a different<br />

language, a different cuisine and different<br />

attire, so you can tell from a person’s attire<br />

whether they are from the northern part<br />

of India or the southern part of India,”<br />

said Narayanan. “Attire is something that<br />

is very intrinsic to Indian culture. When<br />

you see people going to the temples, their<br />

places of worship, they will all be dressed<br />

in similar attire, offering a huge sense of<br />

community.”<br />

With a population of 1.4 billion<br />

people, India has the second-largest<br />

population in the world and is home to<br />

thousands of ethnic groups, hundreds of<br />

languages and numerous religions. The<br />

country has more than 29 states, and<br />

as Narayanan explained, the traditional<br />

cultural attire can vary from state to state<br />

and region to region. But regardless of<br />

where in India a person is from, Narayanan<br />

said he feels “flattered” when people from<br />

non-Indian cultures wear traditional<br />

clothes from India because he sees that as<br />

a sign of respect.<br />

“If I see someone else wearing<br />

Indian clothes, I feel really happy and<br />

glad that Indian culture has reached other<br />

people,” said Narayanan.<br />

Narayanan was excited and proud<br />

to share memories celebrating his favorite<br />

Indian celebration, Diwali. Narayanan<br />

said the traditional events that take place<br />

for this celebration include wearing new<br />

cultural attire and celebrating with food,<br />

family and friends. Diwali is known as the<br />

festival of lights and is a five-day event<br />

held in late fall that celebrates the triumph<br />

of light over dark and good over evil.<br />

Narayanan said he and his Indian friends<br />

look forward to sharing the traditions of<br />

Diwali with their non-Indian friends at The<br />

University of Alabama. Last fall, leading<br />

up to the Diwali celebration, members of<br />

the association accumulated all of their<br />

traditional Indian clothing and encouraged<br />

their non-Indian friends to wear the attire<br />

to attend the Diwali festivities.<br />

“It was just amazing. You feel very<br />

happy, especially when you are so many<br />

miles away from home, and you see<br />

someone who is not from your country or<br />

culture wearing clothes from your country,<br />

you feel a sense of gratification,” said<br />

Narayanan.<br />

In March of 2018- just five months<br />

after the Sabyasachi and Louboutin<br />

partnership launched the term cultural<br />

appropriation was added to the Oxford<br />

Dictionary. According to the Oxford<br />

Dictionary, cultural appropriation is<br />

“the unacknowledged or inappropriate<br />

adoption of the practices, customs,<br />

or aesthetics of one social or ethnic<br />

group by members of another typically<br />

dominantcommunity or society.”<br />

Cultural appropriation is a new term<br />

and is a subject people are still exploring<br />

and considering, especially regarding<br />

how it relates to style and fashion. The<br />

concept of cultural appropriation is<br />

complicated, and there are very few clear<br />

lines in determining or understanding why<br />

something is or isn’t appropriate to wear<br />

based on one’s cultural background.<br />

“As a general rule, I think it’s a<br />

good idea to listen and be deferential<br />

to members of the source culture of<br />

the clothing in question,” said Erich<br />

Hatala Matthes, an assistant professor of<br />

philosophy studying the ethics of cultural<br />

heritage at The University of Alabama.<br />

“We also shouldn’t assume that<br />

every member of a particular cultural<br />

group will have the same views about who<br />

wears what clothes, so things are often not<br />

so simple,” said Matthes.<br />

The continent of Africa has a<br />

population of 1.2 billion, with 54 countries,<br />

and more than 3,000 tribal communities,<br />

according to Think Africa’s, “10 largest<br />

tribes in Africa.”<br />

“My attire is me, it represents who I<br />

am as a Botswana woman,” said Kefentse<br />

Kubanga, Vice resident of the African<br />

Students Association at the University of<br />

Alabama. “And whenever I see someone<br />

else wearing it, I know the person is also<br />

a Botswana woman because the clothing<br />

is very different from any other person or<br />

any other culture.”<br />

Botswana traditional clothing is rich<br />

in ornamental objects, with necklaces,<br />

bracelets, armlets, rings and earrings, all<br />

easy pieces for individuals of other cultures<br />

to wear as everyday accessories. Kubanga<br />

said she believes knowledge and respect<br />

play an important role when someone not<br />

from her culture is wearing clothing or<br />

jewelry that are or resemble her culture’s<br />

attire.<br />

“It shows someone is appreciating<br />

and embracing a culture that is different<br />

from their own. So it is flattering in that<br />

sense. I don’t think you can really feel<br />

insulted, but you just ask yourself if the<br />

person really understands the significance<br />

behind that attire,” said Kubanga.<br />

Careful thought and the context<br />

surrounding the adoption or imitation of<br />

aspects of cultural attire within a fashion<br />

style seem to be the guiding considerations<br />

when deciding if what you or what someone<br />

else is wearing is culturally appropriating.<br />

“When it comes to fashion in<br />

particular, you want to make sure that<br />

you’re not enforcing norms that limit<br />

the success of culturally marginalized<br />

designers,” said Matthes. “So, for example,<br />

it would plausibly be a bad thing if worries<br />

about cultural appropriation made people<br />

disinclined to buy clothes from Native<br />

designers: if the work is being produced<br />

for the market, the designers probably<br />

want people to buy it and wear it.”<br />

As a whole, clothing provides people<br />

of all different ethnicities and experiences<br />

a method to display and celebrate their<br />

culture. The beauty of clothing is it can be<br />

more than what meets the eye. Traditional<br />

cultural clothing has meaning, in the way<br />

it represents history, power, community,<br />

and identity. One of the most valuable<br />

lessons to learn in life is that there is<br />

great joy, education, and friendship that<br />

is gained from learning about another<br />

person’s culture.<br />

Traditional cultural attire tells a<br />

story, and if you’re lucky enough in life,<br />

you will have the opportunity to listen to<br />

an individual’s own telling of what their<br />

traditional cultural attire means to them<br />

personally.<br />


Unisex Fashion<br />

Rejection of the Gender Binary<br />

By Savannah Dorietty<br />

Photo Rebecca Martin<br />

2020 was a year of many firsts. Kamala Harris became<br />

the first woman vice president, Katie Sowers, the first<br />

woman and openly gay person, coached at the Super Bowl<br />

and Harry Styles was the first man to appear solo on the<br />

cover of Vogue in December, an added bonus, he was<br />

wearing a dress.<br />

Despite the significant backlash, celebrities like Harry<br />

Styles, Lil Nas X and Billy Porter have taken to the runway<br />

and red carpet in flowing gowns and feminine silhouettes,<br />

making a big statement about the place of unisex in<br />

mainstream fashion.<br />

The trend towards genderless fashion has been gaining<br />

momentum for hundreds of years, according to fashion<br />

historian, Kimberley Chrisman-Campbell.<br />

“If you look at the history of fashion it’s become gradually<br />

more casual, more gender-neutral, more unisex, and that’s<br />

been happening for centuries so this is an ongoing trend<br />

that pops up in different ways,” said Chrisman-Campbell.<br />

“It is interesting though because men’s clothing and<br />

women’s clothing are so alike in the late 20th, early 21st<br />

century that you can wear jeans and a t-shirt [whatever<br />

your gender].”<br />

Fashion has evolved significantly since a woman in pants<br />

was deemed inappropriate for the public eye, though<br />

most of this evolution has involved the masculinization<br />

of women’s clothing. Women have been the ones pushing<br />

gender boundaries by adopting more masculine wardrobes,<br />

while gender expression for men has remained largely the<br />

same, until recently, that is.<br />

“When we talk about unisex or gender-less fashion we<br />

see women wearing clothes traditionally reserved for men.<br />

[Then] suddenly it’s about men taking on traditionally<br />

female garments like skirts, and doing it in a way that was<br />

not meant to blur boundaries or create confusion about<br />

gender but to present a kind of masculine femininity,” said<br />

Chrisman-Campbell.<br />

This shift has brought a whole new meaning to the idea<br />

of unisex.<br />

“It was mostly in one direction, whereas now, to say<br />

unisex I’m not sure what that means anymore,” said Jo<br />

Paoletti, former fashion historian with a focus on gender.<br />

The evolving definition of unisex fashion could be rooted<br />

in shifting perceptions of gender in today’s society. In the<br />

past, women fought to be recognized as equals of men,<br />

thus using them as a basis for evaluating that equality and<br />

potentially influencing the masculinization of women’s<br />

fashion.<br />

Today, feminist goals recognize women as women,<br />

abandoning that previous evaluation. The concepts of<br />

toxic masculinity and repression of male femininity have<br />

also become hot topics in our recent social climate. These<br />

factors may have contributed to the shift in fashion,<br />

however, that is not to say masculinity and femininity are<br />

simply trading places.<br />

“What I’m seeing is less a rejection of one thing being<br />

replaced by another [than] a rejection of something that<br />

was very rigid and trying to replace it with something that<br />

is much more fluid,” said Paoletti.<br />

This ideal calls into question the title of genderless fashion<br />

itself.<br />

“I don’t necessarily think genderless fashion exists. I kind<br />

of take issue with that title. I want to advocate for more of<br />

a spectrum or maybe a sphere,” said Aidan Miles-Jamison,<br />

a junior majoring in art history at The University of<br />

Alabama who frequently experiments with the boundaries<br />

of gendered fashion. “I think of the x and y-axis, what is the<br />

z that makes it 3-dimensional versus a binary.”<br />

Rather than seeking gender neutrality or rejecting one<br />

gender identity for another, the new era of unisex fashion<br />

works to embody that fluidity. It recognizes gender as<br />


a spectrum rather than the binary that society has<br />

pushed in the past.<br />

Though the idea of gender as a social construct<br />

was adopted by Second Wave feminists and used to<br />

promote gender expression, it came out of science that<br />

is, at its core, problematic.<br />

Contrary to its connotation today, this concept<br />

stemmed from the research of John Money, a<br />

psychologist whose practice was built on assigning<br />

binary sex to intersex children and essentially training<br />

them to follow the norms associated with that sex. One<br />

famous example of Money’s research is the involuntary<br />

sex reassignment of David Reimer that eventually led<br />

to the adult suicides of both David and his brother.<br />

“Both sex and gender are in part social constructs, but<br />

they take place in the body, and so are simultaneously<br />

biological,” said Anne Fausto-Sterling, a sexologist<br />

and professor of biology and gender studies at Brown<br />

University, said. “Cultural experience has physiological<br />

effects.”<br />

The implications of this conclusion support the<br />

fluidity of gender that modern fashion promotes by<br />

suggesting a mix of underlying motivations. Gender<br />

and sex are not solely socialized, nor solely biological.<br />

Just as gender-fluid fashion is not solely masculine or<br />

feminine. It is a choice while also being predetermined,<br />

the ultimate symbolic representation of identity.<br />

The impact of this interpretation of unisex fashion on<br />

the communities most concerned with gender identity<br />

varies.<br />

“There are a lot of people for whom identifying<br />

something as feminine [or masculine] and then<br />

aspiring towards that is really important,” said<br />

Paoletti. “For example, there are transgender women<br />

who would hate to see something that masks gender<br />

because for their identity, it’s very important to adopt<br />

clothing that automatically identifies them as female.<br />

For some people, the binary is very real and very<br />

necessary, and for other people, it’s meaningless.”<br />

In this way, it is important that the idea of genderfluid<br />

fashion does not fall too far into gender neutrality<br />

or the rejection of gender but preserves the fluidity<br />

seen today. The goal must remain focused on inclusion<br />

and acceptance rather than drawing strict lines.<br />

Unisex fashion, despite its inclusive and uplifting<br />

message, has its flaws. One of those is the fit.<br />

“The biggest issue has always been the body and<br />

sizing,” said Paoletti. “If you want clothes that fit,<br />

the human body has such variations that it would be<br />

difficult, and then there’s society too.”<br />

The societal connotation of pushing these gendered<br />

boundaries can be intense. Miles-Jamison reported<br />

several drive-by verbal assaults for being openly queer<br />

and feminine with a masculine body.<br />

“UA has a very normative dress culture, and I’m not<br />

saying that’s bad, but for me as a gay person wearing<br />

very ‘weird’ clothing, I was shunned for doing that,”<br />

Miles-Jamison said. “I was definitely intimidated<br />

and scared by their actions … but it also made me<br />

reactionary.”<br />

Though met with such resistance from society,<br />

gender-fluid fashion has the potential to change the<br />

face of the fashion industry as we know it.<br />

“The fashion industry now has a lot of people who<br />

can reach a niche audience,” said Paoletti. “There is<br />

more opportunity to identify, [for example] say we<br />

create suits for trans men who might have a particular<br />

concern about the fit, details, sizing, and they can<br />

market their design for that niche.”<br />

This niche-focused business model will turn away<br />

from the mass market that dominates the industry<br />

today. As identities and interests are further explored<br />

and defined, the effectiveness of mass-marketed<br />

fashion diminishes significantly. Paoletti believes<br />

that if unisex fashion continues to grow as it is today,<br />

fashion’s mass market may become obsolete.<br />

In its place could be services that allow total<br />

customization. Paoletti speculates about a future<br />

where fashion shopping is as simple as inputting your<br />

measurements and customizing the product. The main<br />

concern then is sustainability.<br />

“Being able to totally customize clothes seems like<br />

something that’s not easily transferable to other<br />

people for hand-me-downs or reuse, so everything has<br />

a downside,” said Paoletti.<br />

Another concern is that gender identity will become<br />

a mere commodity.<br />

“I think [the fashion industry] would corrupt it and<br />

commodify it like you have to buy these things in order<br />

to be a part of this identity,” said Miles-Jamison. “It’s<br />

all about having to spend capital to gain entrance, like<br />

Pride Fest charging money.”<br />

Despite its flaws, gender-fluid fashion has<br />

opened a new conversation in fashion. A conversation<br />

that questions our very understanding of gender and<br />

expression; that subverts the binary and allows for the<br />

expression of diverse identities.<br />


Which S T Y L E Icon<br />

Are You?<br />

By Caitlin Neill<br />

Design Ella Smyth<br />

Our style is influenced by so many things in life, but one of the biggest influences in the fashion world is the style icons we see<br />

on the big screen. Whether it be the classics such as Carrie Bradshaw or Blair Waldorf or newcomers like Maddy Perez or Zoey<br />

Johnson, everyone has a style icon they want to be just like!<br />

1.) Your favorite accessory is…<br />

2.) Your ideal night out includes…<br />

3.) At the beach, you love to wear…<br />

A Purses<br />

B Shoes<br />

A<br />

House Party B<br />

An exclusive party<br />

in the city<br />

A<br />

Anything with<br />

some cutouts,<br />

I’m here to<br />

impress<br />

B<br />

A floral bikini<br />

and fun pair of<br />

sunglasses<br />

C<br />

A Strand of<br />

Pearls<br />

E Layered<br />

necklaces<br />

D Statement<br />

Earrings<br />

C<br />

Drinks at a hotel<br />

bar.<br />

D<br />

Going to the<br />

nearest bar on<br />

campus with<br />

friends<br />

C<br />

A classic and<br />

simple black<br />

one-piece<br />

E Bonfire on the beach E Whatever swimsuit<br />

I have laying around<br />

with my favorite pair<br />

of denim shorts<br />

D<br />

A one-piece with<br />

a cute slit, but<br />

a hat and cute<br />

cover-up is where<br />

it’s at<br />

4.) You would describe your<br />

style as…<br />

5.) You forgot you had a big test<br />

and you didn’t study at all, you…<br />

6.) Your dream job is…<br />

A<br />

Bold<br />

B Timeless<br />

A<br />

I’m just skipping<br />

class<br />

B<br />

I honestly didn’t<br />

need to study<br />

anyway<br />

A<br />

I just wanna<br />

be rich<br />

B<br />

Journalist<br />

C<br />

Preppy<br />

E Casual<br />

D Playful<br />

C<br />

Charm my way<br />

into my teacher<br />

letting me retake<br />

it<br />

E<br />

D<br />

Cheat Just wing<br />

it and hope for<br />

the best<br />

I literally don’t go<br />

to school<br />

C<br />

CEO D Stylist<br />

E<br />

Honestly just<br />

want to graduate<br />

first<br />

7.) Your friends would describe you as…..<br />

8.) Your favorite color is…<br />

A Feisty<br />

B Self-obsessed<br />

A Black<br />

B Pink<br />

C Loyal<br />

E Adventurous<br />

D Popular<br />

C Purple D Blue<br />

E Yellow<br />


A<br />

C<br />

9.) Your go-to make-up look is…<br />

Full Glam B<br />

Mostly As<br />

The <strong>No</strong> Makeup-Makeup<br />

Look<br />

Classic with a Bold Lip D Simple with a Winged Liner<br />

10.) Your ex calls you and says they want to get<br />

back together, you…<br />

A<br />

B<br />

C<br />

Hear them out, but call<br />

your best friend and ask<br />

for their advice<br />

E <strong>No</strong> makeup at all E<br />

Give it a shot, but don’t<br />

make any promises<br />

D<br />

Play hard to get, but<br />

secretly are still in love with<br />

them<br />

You are Maddy Perez - “Euphoria”<br />

You’re confident and bold with your fashion statements, and<br />

you don’t shy away from wearing something to get people’s<br />

attention. Maddy Perez is very extroverted and will tell you how<br />

it is; she is not afraid to speak her mind. Despite being unfiltered,<br />

she is still very loyal to her friends and will never back down<br />

when defending them.<br />

Immediately plan a date with<br />

him and start again where you<br />

left off<br />

Tell them no, but you can still<br />

be friends<br />

Mostly Bs<br />

You are Carrie Bradshaw - “Sex and the City”<br />

Your closet is full of timeless pieces, but you also like to add a<br />

fun flair to any outfit. Carrie Bradshaw is an optimist in life, and<br />

with her wardrobe, she is youthful and bright. She can charm<br />

her way through anything life throws at her and always seems<br />

to be laughing.<br />

Mostly Cs<br />

You are Veronica Lodge - “Riverdale”<br />

You keep your outfits classy, and you’ll never get caught without<br />

looking completely put together. Veronica Lodge is charismatic and<br />

determined; she is fiercely loyal to her friends and can accomplish<br />

anything she chooses.<br />

Mostly Ds<br />

Mostly Es<br />

You are Zoey Johnson - “Grown-ish”<br />

Any outfit you put together gets compliments. Your style is fun,<br />

youthful, and creative, and you can pull anything off with a little<br />

bit of confidence. Zoey Johnson is pretty, smart, popular and the<br />

absolute “it girl.” Even though she can be a little entitled, she still<br />

makes time for her friends and doesn’t judge them for who they<br />

are.<br />

You are Sarah Cameron - “Outerbanks”<br />

Your style is simple and laid back, so you can live life to the<br />

fullest and go on any adventures you want. Sarah Cameron is a<br />

free spirit, and she doesn’t play by the rules. While she is kind,<br />

she won’t shy away from a fight when someone messes with her<br />

and her friends.<br />


By Ta’Kyla Bates<br />

Design Wesley Picard<br />

Photo Grayson Byrd<br />

A favorite saying for many historians is “Don’t let history repeat itself,” but in the case of fashion, history is once<br />

again repeating itself. Trends from the 80s and 90s have seen a major resurgence in the past 10 years. <strong>No</strong>w, the<br />

y2k era is taking over the 2020s. From statement sunglasses to velour tracksuits, y2k fashion making a comeback is<br />

probably the greatest thing to happen to fashion since, well, y2k. At this rate, flip phones are going to be back in style.<br />

The year 2000 is when it all began, celebrities became the face of some of the biggest y2k fashion trends. From<br />

Destiny’s Child to Britney Spears to Paris Hilton, early 2000s fashion was an unstoppable force. Here’s a guide to<br />

emulating those queens while also staying with the times.<br />

Tip #1: Throw those<br />

skinny jeans away.<br />

Tip #2: Get a Velour Tracksuit.<br />

One iconic woman who wasn’t<br />

afraid to sport a velour tracksuit back in<br />

the day was Paris Hilton. There wasn’t a day<br />

that went by that Hilton wasn’t caught rocking<br />

a velour tracksuit. Brands like Juicy Couture<br />

and Baby Phat were huge and are making a<br />

comeback. <strong>No</strong> one said the tracksuit had to be<br />

name-brand; it just has to look good.<br />

Tip #3: Sunglasses<br />

make or break the outfit.<br />

Whether we realize it or not<br />

skinny jeans are slowly going out of<br />

style. It’s all about mom jeans, dad jeans<br />

and wide-legged jeans. A quick thrift store<br />

visit and a wide array of wide-legged jeans<br />

will line the aisles. Many big brands such as<br />

Hollister, ASOS and Urban Outfitters have<br />

sections dedicated to y2k inspired jeans. Lowrise<br />

jeans were the thing in the 2000s, but<br />

society is on the fence about them now.<br />

Tiny sunglasses and frameless sunglasses are<br />

where it’s at, and they will make the outfit.<br />

They’ll make you look like you just walked<br />

out of the year 2000, so get rid of the aviators<br />

and the Ray-Bans. If you want to look like y2k<br />

Britney and J LO, frameless is the way to go.<br />

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid of<br />

a little color, glitz and glam.<br />

The 2000s was all about color, glitter and the most glamorous pieces.<br />

Stay away from the warm tones and bring in some pastels. Pinks,<br />

purples and lime greens will have you looking like you belong in an<br />

early 2000s teen rom-com.<br />


Tip #5: Graphics, graphics<br />

and more graphics.<br />

Back in 2000, everybody had something to say on their shirts.<br />

From their favorite cartoon or tv show to a simple smiley face, a<br />

graphic on a baby tee was the style of the 2000s. It has started to<br />

make its way back into fashion now, especially with a pair of big<br />

pants. Don’t be afraid to sport that cropped tank with the cherry<br />

on it; you’re making a statement!<br />

Tip #7: Have something<br />

on your head.<br />

Tip #6: Always have at least<br />

one shoulder purse.<br />

<strong>No</strong> crossbodies, no mini<br />

backpacks! A shoulder purse can<br />

make the dullest outfit pop. It creates a<br />

statement, and they are cute and lightweight.<br />

Whether you want to go name brand with<br />

Prada or thrift a shoulder bag, always have one<br />

handy to get that y2k aesthetic.<br />

Put a bandana or a trucker hat on your head, and<br />

you’re set to go. We’ve seen trucker hats trend their<br />

way to mainstream fashion, especially the iconic Von<br />

Dutch popularized in the 2000s. It’s now a high fashion<br />

statement. Bandanas are another option and can be a<br />

lifesaver. Throw on a bandana and a cute outfit to solve<br />

any bad hair day.<br />

Tip #8: A platform shoe is<br />

just what you have to do.<br />

Whether it’s a Doc Marten<br />

or a heel, shoes at least 2 inches off<br />

the ground are the epitome of a statement<br />

shoe. If you want to buy those platform<br />

sandals, go for it. It’s what all the fashionistas<br />

of the 2000s were wearing.<br />

Brands have started to capitalize<br />

off of fashion from decades ago, and<br />

it seems to be working in their favor.<br />

People are getting bored with the<br />

same old skinny jeans and oversized<br />

tees. Designers are pulling from times<br />

when the world wasn’t so divided,<br />

and the debate about climate change<br />

wasn’t as heated. It’s nostalgic to go<br />

back in time, and since there are no<br />

time machines, the best way we can<br />

go back is through fashion. The great<br />

Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is<br />

not something that exists in dresses<br />

only. Fashion is in the sky, in the<br />

street, fashion has to do with ideas,<br />

the way we live, what is happening.”<br />


46<br />

the curation of sustainable fashion<br />

48<br />

54<br />

asian influence in the industry<br />

50<br />

tattoo taboo<br />

the evolution of musical theater<br />

[44]<br />

56<br />

the complex reality of pole dancing<br />

58<br />

photostory: vitality


The Curation of<br />

Sustainable Fashion<br />

By McKenzie Stevens<br />

Design Ella Smyth<br />


TikTok trends, Instagram<br />

influencers and corporations<br />

have created a landscape of global fashion<br />

that evolves at an astronomical rate. The<br />

current state of fashion, encouraged by<br />

brands like Shein, Princess Polly and<br />

Zara, has created a life cycle of fashion<br />

that creates and retires trends at an<br />

unsustainable pace.<br />

Birmingham-based Samra Michael,<br />

known as “Samra, The Curator” on<br />

Instagram, has initiated sustainable<br />

fashion efforts with her brand Cross<br />

Dressin’ among a young generation of<br />

consumers in the Birmingham area.<br />

While balancing her nine-to-five job, she<br />

was inspired by vintage stores and small<br />

businesses in the Birmingham area. This<br />

inspiration led to her creating a passion<br />

project and creative outlet over a year ago<br />

for her photography, fashion and styling.<br />

With sustainability and fashion at<br />

the forefront of Cross Dressin’, Michael<br />

aims to service all genders ages 16 to<br />

30-years-old at affordable prices to combat<br />

fast fashion. Many young adults want to<br />

invest in sustainability but don’t have the<br />

expendable income to spend on expensive<br />

clothing. Vintage stores and brands that<br />

are sustainable, such as Reformation and<br />

Everlane, are often expensive, making<br />

sustainable shopping unattractive for<br />

younger individuals despite being ethically<br />

made.<br />

“Cross Dressin’ can be for everyone,<br />

really just anyone who is looking for<br />

affordable, lightly used, sustainable<br />

clothing,” said Michael. Her mission is to<br />

“focus on basic pieces that you can wear<br />

like that you can layer in the winter, that<br />

you can dress down in the summer, just<br />

stuff that’s going to last next season.”<br />

Michael says that Basic., a slow<br />

fashion shop based in Birmingham,<br />

Alabama, taught her a lot about<br />

sustainability, why it is important to focus<br />

on timeless pieces rather than trends and<br />

the importance of knowing how ethical the<br />

clothes you buy are.<br />

“Fast fashion is the antithesis of<br />

sustainability,” said Lacey Woodroof,<br />

Owner of Basic.<br />

Fast fashion refers to the low-cost,<br />

mass-produced clothing business model<br />

that many brands emulate. These trends<br />

are regularly in high-fashion runway<br />

shows, then they are recreated and sold at<br />

a low cost to consumers.<br />

Finding staple pieces that you can<br />

wear and style differently throughout the<br />

year is vital in aiding the fashion industry<br />

to become more sustainable.<br />

The implications of this practice<br />

translate to an increasing amount of<br />

waste globally, poor manufacturing<br />

practices and inhumane labor facilities.<br />

As brands outsource their suppliers and<br />

manufacturers, the laborers in these<br />

countries experience poor working<br />

conditions as a ramification.<br />

“A big misconception inside the<br />

fashion world is that if it says “Made in<br />

the USA,” it’s automatically going to be<br />

more sustainable or ethical and that’s<br />

just not the case,” said Woodroof. “There<br />

are plenty of places in the USA that are<br />

doing large-scale manufacturing that are<br />

not doing it in a way that respects human<br />

beings in any kind of way.”<br />

Sustainability and ethical practices<br />

can help manufacturers globally with<br />

ethical working conditions and slow the<br />

rate of negative environmental impacts the<br />

fashion industry has on the planet.<br />

“I think sustainable fashion is such<br />

a great and effective way to help the<br />

planet,” said The University of Alabama<br />

Student Fashion Association President<br />

Anaya McCullum. “It also benefits those<br />

in developing countries who work in<br />

harsh conditions and are paid under the<br />

living wage to make clothes that aren’t<br />

sustainable.”<br />

Brands such as H&M have a<br />

reputation for greenwashing or claiming<br />

to be sustainable despite unethical and<br />

unsustainable practices.<br />

“Greenwashing is such a big<br />

problem. I feel like sustainability is almost<br />

just a buzzword that people are using,”<br />

said Michael.<br />

Focusing on second-hand, thrift,<br />

vintage and shopping locally are the focus<br />

of many sustainable brands to reverse<br />

the effects of fast fashion trends and stop<br />

greenwashing.<br />

Another aspect of fast fashion is<br />

overconsumption, a prominent issue in the<br />

fashion industry because of consumers’<br />

habits of getting rid of old, trendy clothing<br />

and replacing it with new trends.<br />

“The reality of it is that we have<br />

enough clothes out there as it is,” said<br />

Woodroof. “We’ve got plenty of clothes<br />

to go around tenfold, so if we want to<br />

continue having a fashion industry that’s<br />

interesting, we’re going to have to produce<br />

things that work for people’s wardrobes<br />

for a long time.”<br />

Sustainable Brands said that as<br />

Gen-Z’s buying power grows, brands<br />

are going to have to put corporate social<br />

responsibility at the forefront to grow with<br />

the sustainability demands. Gen-Z is now<br />

leading the way in changing unethical<br />

fashion and business practices globally.<br />

Michael said Gen-Z cares more<br />

about brand transparency and researches<br />

ethically sourced clothing more than<br />

previous generations have.<br />

“This fast fashion, major<br />

overproduction, overconsumption,<br />

mass consumption society we’ve lived, I<br />

think, is going to naturally start shifting<br />

because of younger generations having<br />

conversations,” said Woodroof.<br />

As an agent of change, Michael is<br />

sourcing the clothing she sells through<br />

various ethical outlets such as thrifting,<br />

donations and buying vintage pieces.<br />

“I had so much clothing because I<br />

love fashion and clothes, and I just felt like<br />

other people could get a lot of wear out of<br />

my pieces,” said Michael.<br />

Her desire to learn how to sew and<br />

take herself more seriously as a young<br />

fashion designer also influenced her to<br />

start Cross Dressin’. She said she felt<br />

like she had pieces that she could mend<br />

and sell, and was in a good place to start<br />

producing content despite feeling like<br />

Cross Dressin’ was not perfect yet.<br />

“It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s<br />

actually cooler when it’s not perfect,” said<br />

Michael.<br />

Michael is currently using Depop<br />

as an online store for Cross Dressin’<br />

and promotes it through Instagram and<br />

pop-ups in Birmingham in stores such<br />

as Urban Outfitters. Because she is only<br />

selling individual pieces currently, she<br />

said a challenge she has faced is getting<br />

people to go from Instagram to Depop.<br />

She has considered starting doing drops,<br />

a limited release of merchandise, despite<br />

feeling unethical. Because of the limited<br />

nature of drops, Michael said it felt wrong<br />

to promote purchasing a piece now before<br />

it sells out and is gone forever.<br />

As her brand continues to grow, she<br />

encourages everyone who wants to shop<br />

sustainably to support small businesses<br />

and do their research. Websites such as<br />

Good On You are valuable tools to help<br />

consumers do their research to find the<br />

best sustainable brands.<br />

“Every little bit helps. It feels better<br />

to support a real person,” said Michael. “I<br />

think that the world needs it.”<br />


Asian Influence<br />

in The Industry<br />

By Hadley Elsesser<br />

Photo Jennifer Stroud<br />


Asia is one of the largest social<br />

media markets and represents<br />

a vast number of social media users.<br />

Countries filled with tons of young<br />

individuals, such as China, have gotten<br />

social media down to a science by<br />

staying right on the pulse and targeting<br />

all the right media platforms. With<br />

social media expanding daily, Asian<br />

influencers have been right on-trend,<br />

growing along with the media.<br />

The pandemic, while exhausting, has<br />

actually helped the influencers greatly.<br />

Individuals engage in social media<br />

much more than ever before. Young<br />

individuals have turned to social media<br />

to find creative ways to expand their<br />

style, life choices and entertainment.<br />

With less face-to-face communication,<br />

Asian influencers have utilized social<br />

media as an outlet for individuals to get<br />

feedback on what is new and on-trend.<br />

One Asian influencer who created<br />

a trend that reached millions was<br />

Chloe Ting. During the pandemic,<br />

millions of teens and young adults<br />

everywhere participated in the Chloe<br />

Ting Challenge. Ting’s workout videos<br />

inspired people to get moving despite<br />

having nowhere to go. Based on the<br />

intensity of her workouts, followers<br />

took to Tik Tok starting the “what hell<br />

sounds like” trend with the music from<br />

Ting’s workout videos. Ting responded<br />

to her followers, ecstatic about the<br />

impact she made on individuals’<br />

lifestyles.<br />

Haley Slampak, Michigan State<br />

University freshman and business<br />

management major, was one of the<br />

individuals impacted by Ting.<br />

“I found Chloe during quarantine<br />

when I was looking for at-home<br />

workouts, as the gyms were closed.<br />

Tik Tok had taken a liking to her, and<br />

I really liked her workouts. I felt they<br />

were effective and entertaining. The<br />

videos were very streamlined and cool<br />

with good music in the background,”<br />

said Slampak. “Along with that, her<br />

programs are timed and tell you exactly<br />

how much time you will be committing<br />

daily. It definitely helped me to stay<br />

consistent and motivated while working<br />

out.”<br />

Along with Ting, other Asian<br />

influencers such as Aimee Song,<br />

Brigitte Truong and Aja Dang have also<br />

been trending. From fashion to lifestyle<br />

and even to business influence, these<br />

women have it all covered.<br />

Aimee Song is American-born and<br />

raised of Asian descent. She is a bestselling<br />

author and has been featured<br />

on three Forbes lists, including the 30<br />

under 30 list. Song is an international<br />

influencer whose unique style attracted<br />

millions of followers. Song’s Instagram<br />

is full of creative and aesthetic images<br />

of beautiful outfits, interior design and<br />

sceneries. Visiting Song’s page is a great<br />

way to find outfit concepts, ideas for<br />

cool trips and photoshoot ideas.<br />

Maddie Dishman, freshman<br />

majoring in public relations at the<br />

University of Alabama, often visits<br />

Song’s page.<br />

“Aimee Song portrays a story<br />

throughout her Instagram posts that<br />

have been really cool to follow along<br />

with. She recently announced her<br />

pregnancy, and it has been interesting<br />

to feel like I was part of that journey,”<br />

said Dishman.<br />

A big part of why individuals follow<br />

influencers is to ride along with them on<br />

their journey. Viewers, like Dishman,<br />

enjoy watching them grow and take on<br />

new experiences in life.<br />

In Dishman’s view, “Aimee Song will<br />

now be able to gain a new audience<br />

in addition to her current followers<br />

because of the new products and<br />

brands she will be able to endorse with<br />

her baby on the way.”<br />

Without brands, there would be<br />

nothing to influence. With the everevolving<br />

pandemic, brands have stayed<br />

wary of volatile business. With no<br />

guarantee jobs can stay operative, there<br />

is no guarantee brands will continue to<br />

have customers able to purchase their<br />

products. New marketing tactics have<br />

helped brands to stay on top of the<br />

changing market.<br />

One tactic is embracing different<br />

cultures and allowing themselves to<br />

stand apart from others. Asian brands<br />

have become quite popular in the U.S.<br />

recently because of this, and people<br />

cannot seem to get enough of their<br />

products. An Asian brand that has hit<br />

the U.S. market–in almost all stores–<br />

is Shiseido, a Japanese cosmetics<br />

company. Shiseido is actually one of<br />

the oldest cosmetics companies in the<br />

world and has many raving reviews.<br />

Sarah Wray, freshman physics major<br />

at The University of Alabama, can<br />

personally review Shiseido Products.<br />

Wray came about this product<br />

while shopping around Sephora one<br />

day. With super dry skin, she had<br />

experimented with numerous products.<br />

Wray heard of Shiseido previously, so<br />

when a sample was offered, she jumped<br />

at the opportunity to try something<br />

new. While she found that she loved the<br />

products, they can be a bit pricey for the<br />

average college budget.<br />

“I felt the products worked well<br />

for my skin. I purchased the Vital<br />

Protection Cream. I really appreciated<br />

that the product contained SPF, which<br />

was very important to me,” said Wray.<br />

Asian culture is becoming more<br />

prevalent in everyday brands and<br />

influencing. A few of them are above.<br />

Every brand and influencer has its<br />

own origin story, so it is essential, as<br />

a consumer, to investigate brands that<br />

they are financially supporting.<br />


y Lucy Barrow<br />

Design Wesley Picard<br />

Photo Sarah<br />

Hartsell<br />


Through generations, American<br />

society created an environment<br />

balanced on the stigma surrounding<br />

tattoos, known as button-up culture.<br />

Button-up culture is the belief<br />

that tattoos should be covered<br />

in professional settings. This<br />

culture stigmatized the creative<br />

self-expression of tattoos with the<br />

unsavory characteristics of lazy,<br />

unmotivated, underqualified and<br />

worst of all, unworthy.<br />

Professionals across varying<br />

industries took to physically buttoning<br />

up tattoos under neatly ironed shirts<br />

and suits to prevent falling victim to<br />

such stigmatization. Many parents<br />

emphasize the perceived dangers<br />

of tattoos due to their assumed<br />

relationship with risque, counterculture<br />

behaviors. This discriminatory<br />

way of thinking ignores the traditions<br />

of underrepresented cultures and<br />

the origins of nontraditional selfexpression.<br />

Nancy Einhart, previous Executive<br />

Editor and Vice President of Content<br />

for Popsugar in New York City and<br />

current Editor-in-Chief of House<br />

of Wise, remembers her parents<br />

condemning tattoos. Attributing them<br />

to something only men, prisoners<br />

or soldiers ventured to have. They<br />

warned her that she would never<br />

become the CEO of a company with<br />

the permanent “stain” of a tattoo.<br />

Defying her parents’ advice, Einhart<br />

received her first tattoo in 2001, right<br />

as she debuted into the professional<br />

world. Following the current societal<br />

rules for the early 2000s acceptable<br />

tattoo culture, Einhart strategically<br />

placed her ink to ensure it could be<br />

covered when the time came to be<br />

perceived as professional. Twenty<br />

years later, her tattoo collection has<br />

grown in number and indifference<br />

for what society deems proper or<br />

deserving in a professional setting.<br />

“People who work in the media or<br />

other creative industries often see<br />

their tattoos as ways to signal their<br />

counter-cultural perspective,” said<br />

Einhart.<br />

While her own class of professionals<br />

entered the creative field with<br />

tattoos hidden from society, the next<br />

generations approached interviews<br />

with their tattoos on display, proud<br />

of their significance. Because many<br />

jobs in the creative industry revolve<br />

around the internet–predicting<br />

cultural trends, maintaining media<br />

presence and tracking media<br />

attention– employees often begin<br />

to normalize tattoos and other nontraditional<br />

lifestyle expressions.<br />

Unlike job environments within<br />

the creative fields, those in more<br />

traditional, often conservative<br />

industries such as investment banking<br />

or finance are more likely to uphold<br />


the expectation of a button-up culture. While the surface<br />

level expectation for these traditional work environments<br />

appears harmless, the employees outside the norm could<br />

be subject to unintentional ostracization.<br />

“Many times, I believe I have been addressed as a laidback<br />

surfer guy,” said Caio Fernandez, a current Equities<br />

Derivatives trader for Morgan Stanley in New York City.<br />

“The tattoos definitely impact the way the older generation<br />

see me, even if quietly.”<br />

Fernandez explained that the office fitness center became<br />

his only indicator of his colleagues’ tattoos. Being born<br />

and raised in Brazil, Fernandez experienced both cultures’<br />

professional fields, which he said have their individual<br />

setbacks. He said Brazil has an overall more relaxed culture<br />

that is accepting, while America offers a place for individuals<br />

to express themselves, to a certain extent.<br />

“[Tattoo culture] is definitely an area that is being developed<br />

in the industry, as the younger generations are using tattoos<br />

as a way of expressing themselves more and more,” said<br />

Fernandez. “I believe that improvement will always have a<br />

limitation because face or hands tattoos will likely never be<br />

accepted.”<br />


Mark Pigilia, a recent audit associate hired<br />

for a firm in Dallas, Texas, said he has yet<br />

to encounter any tattoos while in his new<br />

position but would feel comfortable if he had<br />

any himself.<br />

It seems the traditional branches of the<br />

professional world have improved from<br />

staunch button-up culture, however, it’s not<br />

on par with their creative or international<br />

industry peers. Einhart said while older<br />

generations brand tattoos as something<br />

individuals are “stuck” with, younger<br />

generations embrace the significance and<br />

honor of having something permanently on<br />

their bodies.<br />

There are many reasons someone might<br />

get a tattoo. People worldwide and through<br />

different cultures are getting tattoos in<br />

remembrance of passing family members.<br />

Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people of<br />

mainland New Zealand, receive Tā moko, the<br />

use of tattoos as a signifier of personal growth<br />

to adulthood. Female survivors of breast<br />

cancer have taken to getting beautiful tattoos<br />

on their breasts to cover mastectomy scars,<br />

highlighting the sheer power of women.<br />

“Almost every fashion trend, slang, music<br />

starts in some small community, and you<br />

may not know what that community is,” said<br />

Einhart. “You may not understand everyone<br />

else’s cultural aesthetics, but that does not<br />

mean they are wrong.”<br />

With time, American society has grown to<br />

be slightly more accepting of less mainstream<br />

culture, gaining a greater understanding<br />

of the people that inspires its culture. This<br />

growth created space for professional<br />

settings to take account of their diverse<br />

group of employees and create conversation<br />

to establish an environment as diverse and<br />

inclusive as the people it includes. Buttonup<br />

culture is disappearing from professional<br />

environments, and businesses are creating<br />

rules to meet the needs of their employees.<br />


evolution<br />

of musical theater<br />

On Dec. 25, 2020, the Netflix original<br />

series “Bridgerton” debuted to 82<br />

million households. Based on Julia Quinn’s<br />

popular romance series of the same name, the TV<br />

show became the second most-watched Netflix<br />

series by total watch time on the platform.<br />

The show, which is set in Regency-era<br />

England, became a huge hit on TikTok. From<br />

reactions to the series to fan edits, the title has<br />

gained over 430 million mentions on the app.<br />

However, one of the most popular series of videos<br />

came from creators Abigail Barlow and Emily<br />

Bear, who began to create videos entitled “What If<br />

Bridgerton Was a Musical?”<br />

Barlow, a singer/songwriter, and Bear, a<br />

composer, producer and singer/songwriter,<br />

gained millions of views from their songs<br />

based on the Bridgerton characters. Within<br />

two months of collaborating over their first<br />

song, “Ocean Away,” the duo composed and<br />

recorded 15 tracks to create “The Unofficial<br />

Bridgerton Musical.”<br />

The album debuted in the top 10 iTunes of<br />

worldwide pop albums, and in 2021, it was<br />

nominated for a Grammy for best musical<br />

theater album.<br />

Keith Cromwell, executive director of Red<br />

Mountain Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama,<br />

has witnessed Barlow’s genius firsthand.<br />

Barlow, who was a member of Red Mountain<br />

Theatre’s youth ensemble for many years,<br />

once attended an alumni concert at the<br />

theatre and created live recordings with a<br />

small amount of equipment.<br />

“I remember coming out after she finished<br />

her set and saying, ‘This is someone who we<br />

will be hearing a lot about in the future,’” said<br />

Cromwell.<br />

Barlow and Bear’s success with “The<br />

Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” has brought<br />

legitimacy to a quickly-growing form of<br />

musical theater, Tik-Tok driven projects.<br />

“Musical Without a Cool Acronym,” an<br />

By Jolie Money<br />

Design Sarah Smith<br />

unofficial parody musical based on Disney’s<br />

animated TV show “Phineas & Ferb,” is<br />

another musical that found popularity on<br />

TikTok with over 5 million mentions.<br />

Caitlin Garnett, a sophomore hospitality<br />

management major at The University of<br />

Alabama, was scrolling through Tik Tok when<br />

she came across a casting call for “Musical<br />

Without a Cool Acronym.”<br />

“They had a site where you sent in an<br />

audition tape singing a few bars of music for<br />

whatever character you wanted. Then, they<br />

emailed us. When I got my email, I was cast in<br />

the ensemble, so I got to play a lot of different<br />

characters, which was exciting,” said Garnett.<br />

Andrew Grabowski, the writer of “Musical<br />

Without a Cool Acronym,” had previously<br />

performed the show in person, but during the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to move the<br />

musical online. This way, performers from all<br />

over the world could get involved.<br />

“One of my favorite things about the show is<br />

that I have castmates from Argentina, China,<br />

Indonesia, Canada and all over the states,”<br />

said Garnett. “People from all over the world<br />

came together in a way that they never would<br />

have been able to otherwise.”<br />

Most of the musical was recorded on the<br />

video call app, Discord. When cast members<br />

lived close enough to record together, they<br />

would meet up and film together. After a year<br />

of recording and promoting on TikTok and<br />

Instagram, the full musical was posted to<br />

YouTube and has now gained over 52,000<br />

views.<br />

Garnett attributed some of the musical’s<br />

success to being released soon after<br />

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical,” which was<br />

a crowdsourced musical based on Disney’s<br />

animated movie “Ratatouille.”<br />

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” began<br />

as one song by TikTok user Emily Jacobsen,<br />


ut soon grew into a full cast that performed<br />

a benefit presentation of the musical on<br />

January 1, 2021. The presentation was<br />

viewed by 350,000 people and raised $2<br />

million for The Actors Fund.<br />

“The whole TikTok musical phenomenon<br />

was buzzing after the ‘Ratatouille’ musical,<br />

so right after people were watching it, they<br />

wanted to know what was next. We were<br />

next, and we were ready to go,” said Garnett.<br />

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people<br />

craved interaction, and virtual musicals<br />

allowed for people to feel a part of a larger<br />

project.<br />

The craving for social interaction has<br />

continued, even as restrictions have become<br />

more relaxed.<br />

“Right now, we seem to have a real desire<br />

for adults who want to take classes. Several<br />

of our adult classes ended up having<br />

waitlists, or we had to add more programs<br />

to our roster,” said Cromwell about Red<br />

Mountain Theatre programs. “I think it may<br />

be a product of, we haven’t been able to be<br />

social, and we haven’t been able to do things<br />

with people. When 16-20 people get into a<br />

room with tap shoes on for the first time in<br />

their lives, they’re just having a ball. It feels<br />

good to get out again.”<br />

The pandemic has shown us that now more<br />

than ever, community is vital. Whether<br />

virtually or in person, the theater gives<br />

people solidarity.<br />

With the success of virtual shows, it is clear<br />

that musical theater has found a market<br />

on TikTok. TikTok allows for creativity to<br />

shine and for creators to be able to interact<br />

and build off of each other’s work. While<br />

virtual musicals may never be able to reach<br />

the experience of in-person productions,<br />

TikTok creators have endless opportunities<br />

to create new and exciting changes to the<br />

world of musical theater.<br />


The Complex<br />

Reality of<br />

Pole<br />

Dancing<br />

By<br />

Jeffrey Kelly<br />

Design Kayla Roberson<br />

Whether it’s defying gravity on a 50<br />

mm titanium pole in a dance studio<br />

or gracefully twirling on a club’s stage<br />

under glimmering luminescent lights,<br />

pole dancing has been an art form that has<br />

consistently captivated attention.<br />

And although its connotation hasn’t<br />

always been positive in society, recently<br />

pole dancing has seen an emergence in<br />

positive representation through its use in<br />

television shows like American playwright<br />

Katori Hall’s “P-Valley” and music videos<br />

like FKA Twigs’ “Cellophane,” SZA’s “Good<br />

Days” and Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me<br />

By Your Name).”<br />

Elle Camembert, the owner of Studio<br />

Steel, a pole dancing studio in Birmingham,<br />

Alabama, said she loves the exposure pole<br />

dancing has been getting. She had been so<br />

captivated by pole dancing after her first<br />

class; she decided to make it her life.<br />

Yet, as pole dancing garners a rise in<br />

popularity, it’s important to note how<br />

impactful the art form has always been.<br />

Micayla Goodgame, a 22-year-old<br />

woman, began pole dancing in 2019 for<br />

money and fun at a gentleman’s club in<br />

Savannah, Georgia. Yet, soon after, it<br />

evolved into a chance to express herself<br />

and embrace the “divine feminine.”<br />

“I’m kind of introverted and shy. [Pole<br />

dancing] brought out a more confident<br />

outspoken me, and a lot of times you don’t<br />

even have to speak through words; you can<br />

just speak through your movements,” said<br />

Goodgame.<br />

Camembert agreed with Goodgame’s<br />

sentiment.<br />

“Pole is very empowering,” she said. “It<br />

focuses on what we can do, rather than<br />

how we look, which might surprise you to<br />

hear.”<br />

She noted technical reasoning behind<br />

what dancers wear while on the pole.<br />

[56]<br />

Though people might assume pole dancers<br />

wear less clothing for attention or just for<br />

the look, it’s mainly so they can stick to the<br />

pole.<br />

“Skin will stick to the pole tights will not,<br />

so this is not a thing that can be done in<br />

leggings,” she said.<br />

Camembert said while teaching pole<br />

classes, her best experiences have<br />

been moments where people surprise<br />

themselves and realize they can do things<br />

they didn’t think they could do.<br />

While pole dancing is empowering and<br />

looks glamourous, it isn’t an easy activity<br />

on the body or mind.<br />

“It’s really the art of making it look like<br />

it doesn’t hurt,” said Goodgame. “You just<br />

have to push through; a lot of girls get<br />

bruises… and it’s a pain that never goes<br />

away.”<br />

Goodgame said pole dancing also takes a<br />

toll on a person’s mental health if they’re<br />

pole dancing for monetary reasons.<br />

“It’s just a draining job,” she said. “There’s

a lot of days where it might be hard to take<br />

rejection, or it might be hard to not leave<br />

with the amount of money that you felt<br />

like you were worth leaving with, and you<br />

have to just go home, leave everything that<br />

happened at the club behind and go back<br />

in the next day.”<br />

Though Goodgame said the rejection<br />

helped her build her confidence, she<br />

learned how to take a no and give one.<br />

However, the physical and mental toll<br />

stripping has isn’t exactly quantifiable.<br />

Each person’s experience is different, and<br />

each experience has certain nuances that<br />

must be noted.<br />

Catherine Roach, a University of Alabama<br />

New College professor of cultural and<br />

gender studies, said after doing interviews<br />

for her book “Stripping, Sex, and Popular<br />

Culture,” which follows strippers’ journeys<br />

through the industry and raises questions<br />

about gender, sexuality, fantasy, feminism<br />

and spirituality, she found that stripping<br />

doesn’t adhere to a binary.<br />

She said it’s not completely negative or<br />

positive; it’s a “complex reality at play.”<br />

“Particularly if you are a woman without<br />

a college education, it can be the most<br />

lucrative legal job available to you, but<br />

there’s a lot of ways that it can go wrong.<br />

So it’s important not to romanticize the<br />

world of the strip club. Strip clubs can be<br />

badly run, badly managed, and in which<br />

case, they can be quite dangerous sites for<br />

women with a lot of potential for sexual<br />

abuse,” said Roach. “So, I’m not claiming<br />

this is a wonderful sex-positive feminist<br />

space, but there is potential to explore<br />

themes of such. It all depends on a lot of<br />

factors.”<br />

Goodgame agreed that while she has<br />

had positive experiences at her club in<br />

Savannah, Georgia, every experience is<br />

different, and it’s important to know what<br />

type of environment you’re in.<br />

And due to its rise to mainstream<br />

awareness, many of the complexities that<br />

surround the strip club are being explored<br />

in different stories like “P-Valley,”<br />

“Strippers” and “Naked Hustle,” which<br />

then allow people to take more of a critical<br />

look at the environment and people’s<br />

experiences.<br />

Roach said when people criticize a young<br />

woman for becoming a stripper; one<br />

response that people can have is that we<br />

live in a patriarchal world, where women<br />

face many problems that limit their<br />

economic employment growth.<br />

“[So,] one way a young woman wins at<br />

this game is by taking what it most values,<br />

her youth and beauty and using it against<br />

the system to maximize her economic<br />

potential,” said Roach. “Stripping can feel<br />

like a way to win. We live in this stupid<br />

world of racism and sexism and sexual<br />

harassment, then use what’s valued by<br />

those in power against them to make<br />

money off them.”<br />

She said we could also think about<br />

stripping through a feminist or economic<br />

critique of the labor market.<br />

“Like why aren’t there better employment<br />

possibilities out there? Why is college so<br />

expensive, so that people might go into<br />

sex work in order to pay for their college<br />

education?” said Roach.<br />

Yet, while the media has allowed people<br />

to take in those complexities, the attention<br />

has been a double-edged sword for strip<br />

clubs.<br />

“From my perspective, as a dancer, it’s<br />

become harder to make money because<br />

there’s more competition because there’s<br />

more girls interested, but on the other<br />

hand, there’s more diversity in the club.<br />

Everybody doesn’t look the same,” said<br />

Goodgame. “So, I feel like it’s helping<br />

to make people just be confident in<br />

themselves and show up as they are. I<br />

feel like people have had this idea to be a<br />

dancer; you have to have this perfect body<br />

or even know how to do a lot on the pole<br />

when in reality you don’t have to know<br />

how to do either. It’s just about being<br />

confident in whatever you’re going to do.<br />

So, I’ve seen that shift over the past two<br />

years of me dancing.”<br />

While connotations about stripping are<br />

being dispelled in some spaces, stigma and<br />

stereotypes are persisting and infiltrating<br />

the strip club environment.<br />

“Even now, when I tell people that I<br />

dance, it’s kind of already perceived in the<br />

way you see in music videos,” Goodgame<br />

said.<br />

Though she said it isn’t just an issue of<br />

the connotations developed from media,<br />

it’s also a discussion of race.<br />

“There’s a lot of clubs that turn me down<br />

and tell me because I look too Black or the<br />

girls will tell me like, ‘oh, the managers<br />

don’t like you dancinga nd the hip hop<br />

music because they say it’s ghetto.’ So, I<br />

feel like clubs are trying to steer away from<br />

that negative connotation, but they’re not<br />

realizing how negative they’re making<br />

it for the dancers who are [Black],” said<br />

Goodgame.<br />

While the connotation and overall<br />

experience of strippers can be debated, for<br />

Goodgame, the main focus is artistry.<br />

Goodgame said she believes that a lot<br />

more people are starting to realize that<br />

things deemed negative in society are just<br />

things people are programmed to think so.<br />

Pole dancing has allowed people to express<br />

themselves confidently and authentically.<br />

She advised those interested in pole<br />

dancing to work on their body strength<br />

and have fun.<br />

“I know for me; I could have probably<br />

learned a lot quicker if I wasn’t scared<br />

to just slink around and have fun. Don’t<br />

make it too serious like literally look at<br />

it as art, and create and let yourself feel<br />

awkward. Let yourself try new shapes,”<br />

said Goodgame.<br />


Photo Sarah Hartsell<br />



64<br />

72<br />

62<br />

which kpop fandom do you belong in?<br />

it’s in the details: the moving parts of storytelling in tv<br />

70<br />

66<br />

protest music<br />

into the hyper-realm<br />

sex sells: women and sex representation in hollywood<br />






In Korean pop music culture, each group creates a fun, catchy and unique official name or nickname for their fan base. There’s<br />

usually a deep and emotional meaning behind each name because the name is associated with the particular group’s sound, colors or<br />

text. Take the quiz to see which fandom and group you should join.<br />

What song title would you choose to describe<br />

your life at this point in time?<br />

A. “Mic Drop”<br />

B. “Kill This Love”<br />

C. “I CAN’T STOP ME”<br />

D. “Magic”<br />

E. “God’s Menu”<br />

By Kierra Thomas<br />

1 2<br />

What is your favorite type of music?<br />

A. Hip Pop<br />

B. Pop<br />

C. Dance<br />

D. EDM<br />

E. Rap<br />

3 4<br />

When you wake up, what’s the first thing you’re<br />

doing?<br />

You want to change your hairstyle, what are<br />

you doing to it?<br />

5<br />

A. You’re washing your face and<br />

brushing the teeth<br />

B. You’re still in the bed, half asleep<br />

hitting the snooze button<br />

C. You’re in your closet, picking out<br />

your clothes for the day<br />

D. You’re getting up fixing your bed,<br />

then it’s off to the kitchen to make<br />

breakfast<br />

E. You’re still in bed scrolling through<br />

social media (TikTok, Twitter,<br />

Instagram)<br />

What is your favorite color to wear?<br />

6<br />

A. Feeling bold! You’re dyeing your hair<br />

a different color<br />

B. Get the scissors! You’re cutting your<br />

hair<br />

C. Adding extensions and curling your<br />

hair<br />

D. <strong>No</strong>thing, you can’t decide so you’re<br />

keeping the same<br />

E. You’re getting a perm<br />

What emoji best describes you?<br />

A. Red: represents determination,<br />

excitement and power<br />

B. Black: represents power, elegance and<br />

strength<br />

C. Pink: represents youth, playful and<br />

good health<br />

D. Blue: represents freedom, freshness<br />

and loyalty<br />

E. Yellow: represents joy, happiness and<br />

positivity<br />

A. Purple heart: you’re supportive and<br />

passionate<br />

B. Pink heart: you’re very loving and<br />

empathetic<br />

C. Peace sign: you’re chill and peaceful<br />

D. Smiley face: you’re always happy and<br />

energetic<br />

E. Flame: you’re tough and awesome to<br />

be around<br />


7<br />

You’re at a party, what dance are you<br />

doing?<br />

8<br />

What<br />

topping is going on your pizza?<br />

A. The Floss dance<br />

B. Dougie<br />

C. The Jerk<br />

D. Tik Tok dances<br />

E. The Woah<br />

9<br />

You’re in the pet store looking for a new<br />

pet, which pet are you taking home?<br />

A. Dog<br />

B. Cat<br />

C. Guinea pig<br />

D. Fish<br />

E. Lizard<br />

A. Pepperoni<br />

B. Cheese<br />

C. Pineapple<br />

D. Veggies<br />

E. Meat Lovers<br />

If you chose mostly A’s - BTS (ARMY)<br />

You’re definitely a fan of BTS! Welcome to the<br />

A.R.M.Y., which stands for “Adorable Representative<br />

M.C. for Youth.” A.R.M.Y. correlates with “Bangtan<br />

Boys” which stands for “bulletproof boy scouts.” BTS<br />

consists of seven members, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM,<br />

Jimin, V, and Jungkook. BTS are the biggestK-pop<br />

stars in the world that are known for storytelling by<br />

creating diverse songs and concepts.<br />

If you chose mostly B’s - BLACKPINK<br />

(BLINK)<br />

You’re a blink! BLINK is a portmanteau of black<br />

and pink. Blackpink consists of four members: Jennie,<br />

Lisa, Rose, and Jisoo. The girls are known for their<br />

concepts for each song. Blackpink has about five or six<br />

completely different concepts with different hair colors<br />

and clothing featured in their videos. They’re known for<br />

their independent, strong women aesthetic.<br />

If you chose mostly C’s - TWICE (ONCE)<br />

You’re definitely a ONCE! If fans love the group<br />

just once, the girls will repay their fans with TWICE<br />

the love! Twice is a girl group that consists of nine<br />

members: Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana,<br />

Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group<br />

is known for its cute personalities, catchy songs and<br />

creative and colorful aesthetic.<br />

If you chose mostly D’s - TXT (MOA)<br />

Welcome to the world of MOA! MOA means<br />

“gather/collect every Moment of Alwaysness. TXT<br />

(Tomorrow X Together) represents the fourth<br />

generation of K-pop. TXT consists of five members:<br />

Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun and Huening Kai.<br />

They’re considered the “little brothers” of BTS but with<br />

different styles of music and concepts.<br />

If you chose mostly E’s - STRAY KIDS<br />

(STAY)<br />

STAY is Stray without the r. The r in STAY stands<br />

for reason, meaning that their fans are their reason and<br />

where they stay. Stray Kids is one of the most successful<br />

4th generation K-pop groups with an exciting and fun<br />

dynamic. Stray Kids consists of eight members: Bang<br />

Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix,<br />

Seungmin, and I.N. They’re known for their different<br />

tempos, sick beats, rap styles and languages.<br />





[64]<br />

When viewers sit down to watch<br />

television and movies, few question<br />

how many moving parts go into creating<br />

the art on their screens, however, one must<br />

wonder what would “Euphoria” be without<br />

Maddy’s dress-code-annihilating outfits<br />

or Orville Peck’s dreamy track “Dead of<br />

Night” punctuating a pivotal scene or<br />

Jules’ ethereal makeup. It likely would be<br />

an entirely different series and a much less<br />

beautiful, enticing and tragic one at that.<br />

Many don’t recognize what massive<br />

roles’ makeup, hair, costume design and<br />

sound design play in breathing life into<br />

the stories people love and creating the<br />

iconic cinematic moments throughout<br />

generations.<br />

The costume, makeup and hair<br />

design of characters changes as they evolve<br />

within the show, following the writing and<br />

direction of that character.<br />


For example, in the second season<br />

of “Euphoria,” we see Cassie Howard,<br />

portrayed by Sydney Sweeney, go from<br />

her normal, sweet style to waking up at<br />

4 a.m. every morning before school to<br />

do elaborate hair and makeup and wear<br />

clothes untrue to the character’s original<br />

style.<br />

Cassie’s spiral into this overlydone-up<br />

version of herself is all to attract<br />

attention from her toxic love interest. She<br />

is in a manic state and quickly unraveling<br />

emotionally, all of which is greatly shown<br />

through the hair, makeup and costume<br />

design, as well as the cinematography.<br />

In an interview with Decider, Sweeney<br />

spoke of the attention to detail director,<br />

Sam Levinson, has when filming.<br />

“What I love about [Levinson] is<br />

every shot he wanted her to be drinking<br />

a different bottle. So if you notice, every

single shot she has a completely<br />

different bottle in her hands,” said<br />

Sweeney.<br />

Fashion and trend analyst on<br />

TikTok, Mandy Lee, recently created<br />

a TikTok analyzing the significance of<br />

Euphoria costume designers choosing<br />

to dress Lexi Howard, portrayed by<br />

Maude Apatow, almost exclusively in<br />

the designer brand, Miu Miu.<br />

“Miu Miu’s unofficial<br />

nickname is Prada’s little sister, like<br />

Lexi is little sister to Cassie, who is<br />

much more of a main character based<br />

on screen time alone,” said Lee. “Prada<br />

is typically thought of as the more<br />

luxurious, glamorous brand in the<br />

sisterhood. Miu Miu is more creative,<br />

playful and witty. Miu Miu’s brand fits<br />

Lexi’s character archetype.”<br />

With reboots happening right<br />

and left, it’s important for costume<br />

designers to show, especially in fashioncentric<br />

series, that while the characters<br />

have matured and grown, there is still<br />

a vein of their younger self that viewers<br />

grew to love, running through them.<br />

Morgan Igou, the president<br />

of The University of Alabama’s<br />

National Retail Federation Student<br />

Association and a junior majoring in<br />

fashion merchandising, said she loves<br />

how costume design can show viewers<br />

where characters are in their lives and<br />

how they have evolved.<br />

“The costuming in “And Just<br />

Like That…” so seamlessly transitioned<br />

Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte into<br />

this new period of their lives while<br />

staying true to their original style,”<br />

said Igou. “Miranda went through such<br />

huge, amazing changes throughout<br />

this first season and the costume<br />

designers beautifully showed that while<br />

maintaining her style as this strong,<br />

independent woman.”<br />

In an interview with Variety,<br />

“And Just Like That…” costume<br />

designer, Molly Rogers, said since<br />

everyone is so familiar with the “Sex<br />

and the City” girls, the “DNA of their<br />

clothing was really set in stone from<br />

the original show, so it was just about<br />

finding new designers and seeing who’s<br />

out there now … and, of course, their<br />

classic go-to’s.”<br />

Makeup, or even the lack<br />

thereof, also tells a lot about where a<br />

character is at mentally.<br />

Brooke Bivens, a UA<br />

sophomore majoring in criminal justice<br />

who works as a freelance makeup<br />

artist, said in “Euphoria,” viewers<br />

can see when Rue Bennett, portrayed<br />

by Zendaya, is going through drug<br />

withdrawal, has relapsed or is sober<br />

based off of her skin alone.<br />

“When Rue is having<br />

withdrawals, [the makeup artists] use<br />

more oil on her skin to make her look<br />

sweaty, and her hair is super disheveled<br />

and messy, but when she has relapsed<br />

or is clean and isn’t experiencing<br />

withdrawals anymore, she’s way more<br />

put together… makeup is a great way<br />

to see where a character is at mentally,”<br />

said Bivens.<br />

In an interview with W<br />

Magazine, Euphoria makeup director,<br />

Doniella Davy, said the process for<br />

creating Rue’s makeup looks start with<br />

accentuating what’s already there.<br />

“I would just accentuate the<br />

bags under her eyes, or put this red<br />

eyeshadow around her eyelash line,<br />

or even trace over her veins on her<br />

temple and her brow bone using this<br />

watercolor-style special effects makeup<br />

and a really skinny brush,” said Davy.<br />

Davy said her approach to<br />

each character is to make sure the<br />

makeup visually communicates with<br />

the characters’ states of mind because<br />

“the looks give more insight into that<br />

character in that moment.”<br />

Any bookworm will talk about<br />

how the “book is always better than the<br />

movie,” and this often has to do with<br />

the fact that, in books, readers get the<br />

internal monologue of characters and,<br />

therefore, a better understanding of<br />

their motives and emotions, which is<br />

difficult to portray in film.<br />

Brandi Stephney, a composer<br />

studying African American studies with<br />

a minor in creative media, said sound<br />

design in film conveys pieces of a story<br />

that can’t be said aloud by the actors.<br />

“The point of cinema is for<br />

the story to be told visually. If you take<br />

away the music in a film, there really<br />

isn’t as much dialogue as people think,”<br />

said Stepheny. “The music composed<br />

or chosen for scenes acts as a means<br />

of amplifying emotions the actors are<br />

trying to portray…music helps tell the<br />

whole story. It speaks when no one else<br />

can.”<br />

In a 2017 Vox article entitled,<br />

“How music supervisors create iconic<br />

TV moments,” Maggie Phillips, who<br />

at the time worked on three different<br />

FX series– “Fargo,” “Legion” and<br />

“Snowfall”– said that it’s crucial to be<br />

able to “occupy a character’s state of<br />

mind” and one must have a heightened<br />

sense of empathy to do that.<br />

“You have to be very<br />

empathetic to do this because you have<br />

to be able to put yourself in all these<br />

characters’ lives and feel what they’re<br />

feeling,” said Phillips.<br />

While many may think being<br />

a music supervisor simply requires<br />

having great taste in music and<br />

scrolling through Spotify for hours<br />

on end, it actually involves extensive<br />

collaboration and jumping through<br />

creative and legal hoops– due to<br />

copyright laws.<br />

In the same Vox article, Kerry<br />

Drootin, an Emmy-nominated music<br />

supervisor, said that there is often<br />

disagreement between supervisors<br />

and producers that happens during the<br />

creative process.<br />

“A lot of people think you just<br />

get to put in your favorite songs and<br />

it’s super cool and ‘I have great taste,<br />

so I’m going to show it off,’” Drootin<br />

said. “In reality, you’re working for the<br />

producers, and you have to help make<br />

the show that they want. A lot of times<br />

you’re dealing with music that might<br />

not be your favorite, and you really<br />

have to get your ego out of the way a lot<br />

more than a lot of people expect.”<br />

Actors, writers and directors<br />

frequently, rightfully, get praise for<br />

creating beautiful stories that deeply<br />

connect with viewers, but it’s important<br />

to recognize those who help further<br />

paint the picture in ways many viewers<br />

can’t exactly put their finger on.<br />

The talent, creativity and<br />

ingenuity required to produce<br />

outstanding work in costume, hair,<br />

makeup and sound design are truly art<br />

forms to be applauded– hell, they’re<br />

standing ovation-worthy.<br />


not a genre, not a<br />

style, but a method of<br />

engagement<br />

[66] Design Wesley Picard

For many, music is more than just<br />

something to listen to, it’s a way<br />

to express grief, pain, anger and truth.<br />

These words have been synonymous<br />

with how people have felt while suffering<br />

from racism, oppression and<br />

injustice throughout history. While<br />

searching for change and accountability,<br />

musicians have used protest music<br />

to critique administrations, express<br />

their feelings and call for societal<br />

change.<br />

“Songs express values; they articulate<br />

and encapsulate cares, what we<br />

stand for and what we stand against,”<br />

said Theodore Trost, The University of<br />

Alabama New College professor who<br />

specializes in music and social protest.<br />

“Probably the most typical kind<br />

of popular song and even religious<br />

song is the love song because love is a<br />

value people long for and try to hold<br />

onto, but there is much in our society<br />

that undoes love. Protest songs arise<br />

to oppose this injury to both the self<br />

and to society.”<br />

Protest music has spanned across<br />

history dating back as far as the 18th<br />

century, yet one of the most notable<br />

periods of protest music was the civil<br />

rights movement.<br />

In an article for PBS, Bernice Johnson<br />

Reagon, a composer, song leader,<br />

scholar, social activist, and producer,<br />

said while discussing protest music<br />

during the civil rights movement, it’s<br />

important not to think of protest music<br />

as a strategic move of the movement.<br />

“Like the collective breath of the<br />

movement, they were a natural outpouring,<br />

evidencing the life force of<br />

the fight for freedom,” said Reagon.<br />

One example of this outpouring of<br />

“life force” is “Strange Fruit,” a 1939<br />

song originally written as a poem by<br />

Abel Meeropol, also known as Lewis<br />

Allan, in 1937. The poem “Bitter<br />

Fruit” stemmed from Meeropol seeing<br />

a picture of the lynchings of two<br />

Black men. Two years later, Jazz singer<br />

Billie Holiday recorded those lyrics,<br />

and one of the most notable protest<br />

songs was born.<br />

According to Biography, Holiday<br />

didn’t enjoy singing “Strange Fruit.” It<br />

reminded her of her father, who was<br />

turned away from a hospital because<br />

he was Black and later died of pneumonia.<br />

Even though the song brought<br />

back terrible memories for Holiday,<br />

she did it to remember her father and<br />

remind people that the discrimination<br />

he faced continued to happen to<br />

other Black people decades later.<br />

“[‘Strange Fruit’] preserves a portrait<br />

of America that we still have not come<br />

to terms with despite the civil rights<br />

movement and despite the work of the<br />

Equal Justice Initiative, for example,<br />

or the Legacy Museum in Montgomery,”<br />

said Trost.<br />

This was a movement that developed<br />

over decades during which a<br />

repertoire of songs emerged, including<br />

John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” Nina<br />

Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Sam<br />

Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”<br />

and Mahalia Jackson’s performances<br />

of several gospel songs like “How I<br />

Got Over” at the March on Washington.<br />

However, protest music didn’t only<br />

exist during the civil rights movement.<br />

Jennifer Caputo, The University<br />

of Alabama New College and New<br />

College life track senior instructor<br />

who specializes in music and social<br />

protest, said music has been utilized<br />

throughout history in different social<br />

movements, labor unions, geographical<br />

locations and historical periods;<br />

for example, during the Holocaust.<br />

According to the United States Holocaust<br />

Memorial Museum, during the<br />

Holocaust, many Jewish people living<br />

in ghettos and concentration camps<br />

turned to music as a way to preserve<br />

their humanity. Operas and art songs<br />

were produced and performed by<br />

prisoners of some of the camps.<br />

“It helped not only the people<br />

who were living under such terrible<br />

conditions, and helped them have<br />

something to live for, but it also still<br />

reminded those who were forced to<br />

work as the security forces, soldiers,<br />

etc. that these people are human and<br />

they’re doing human things, they have<br />

culture, they’re producing music,” Caputo<br />

said. “So it’s one of the things we<br />

look at in terms of music, it may not<br />

be that the music itself is the protest,<br />

but the act of singing the act of performing<br />

music makes you human,<br />

and it could make others empathize<br />

with you as a human being.”<br />

<strong>No</strong>t only did protest music showcase<br />

the plight of people who were facing<br />

horrific experiences, but it also created<br />

a sense of community in times of<br />

adversity.<br />

For Anne Powers, a music critic at<br />

NPR, her first foray into protest music<br />

was an anti-nuclear proliferation<br />

rally in Seattle when she was in high<br />

school.<br />

At the protest, they sang along to<br />

anthems like “My Mom’s a Feminist,”<br />

and Powers has been interested in<br />

protest music ever since.<br />

“As I became aware of the diversity<br />

and global reach of protest music,<br />

I came to understand that it’s not a<br />

genre or a style, but a method of engagement,”<br />

said Powers.<br />

Powers said protest music can take<br />

the form of spirituals like “We Shall<br />

Overcome,” pop anthems like Helen<br />

Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” funk<br />

breakdowns like James Brown’s “Say<br />

It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),”<br />

punk rants like the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy<br />

in the U.K.,” and hip hop joints<br />

like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.”<br />

While protest music is a genreless<br />

sound that has stood the test of time<br />

when discussing protest music and its<br />

evolution, it’s important to consider<br />

an artist’s intent.<br />

Powers said music becomes protest<br />

music through the intention of the<br />


artist and the passion of the audience<br />

who embrace it, and while<br />

times change, Powers doesn’t believe<br />

protest music changes; it’s<br />

more of a “cyclical presence.”<br />

“Protest is always renewing itself<br />

within music and taking new<br />

shapes,” she said.<br />

Trost agreed that he didn’t think<br />

protest music had changed that<br />

much “apart from the appropriation<br />

of different musical styles.”<br />

He said a number of “good protest<br />

songs” appeared in 2020 like<br />

Amy Ray’s “Tear it Down,” Lil Baby’s<br />

“The Bigger Picture” and Chris<br />

Pierce’s “American Silence” which<br />

all addressed the issues of 2020, but<br />

also the historical racism and injustice<br />

leading up to 2020.<br />

He said in “Tear it Down,” Ray,<br />

a member of the Indigo Girl’s, addresses<br />

the nostalgic and false picture<br />

of the South that is conjured<br />

by films like “Gone With the Wind”<br />

and her childhood in the South.<br />

Then Trost explained how Pierce’s<br />

“American Silence” is a direct appeal<br />

to traditional folk protest<br />

music, and it questions the “effectiveness<br />

of protest music itself.”<br />

Juggling with keeping the listener’s<br />

attention and alluding to the unjust<br />

things happening to people being<br />

arrested.<br />

“A third song that sort of draws<br />

the tensions of the whole year together<br />

is ‘The Bigger Picture,’ by<br />

Lil Baby. With a majestic assault of<br />

words written in the aftermath of<br />

the George Floyd killing, the song<br />

is an indictment of the ‘whole way<br />

of life’ in America that perpetuates<br />

violence, hatred and fear,” said<br />

Trost. “Lil Baby resolves, in the end,<br />

to change things, to make it count<br />

while I’m here.”<br />

To further highlight protest music<br />

during 2020, NPR’s own Bobby<br />

Carter, Nate Chinen, Shana L. Redmond,<br />

Oliver Wang and Powers<br />

collaborated on a series titled “We<br />

Insist: A Century of Black Music<br />

Against State Violence,” a timeline<br />

of 50 songs that together constructed<br />

a “kind of timeline of an ongoing<br />

movement within American music,<br />

stretching back more than a century.”<br />

Powers said she was specifically<br />

looking for songs that would tell the<br />

story of how people of color exposed<br />

and resisted state violence through<br />

song.<br />

“The project grew and changed as I<br />

teamed up with my great group of collaborators<br />

on the project. We wanted<br />

to show that, just as sanctioned violence<br />

has been a reality for non-white<br />

people from the very dawn of American<br />

history onward, so music has told<br />

of the horrors official history omitted<br />

and helped people sustain energy to<br />

fight against such oppression,” said<br />

Powers.<br />

She said the response to the timeline<br />

was “great,” and people’s engagement<br />

with the project inspired the “We Insist:<br />

A Timeline of Protest Music in<br />

2020,” which documented the songs<br />

and videos that defined the summer<br />

of 2020 and the months leading up to<br />

the presidential election.<br />

Powers said she’s always been interested<br />

in how music can serve resistance,<br />

and creating this timeline in<br />

collaboration with other scholars and<br />

writers reinforced the importance of<br />

protest music in music’s history.<br />

However, before the summer of<br />

2020, she said she was sometimes unsure<br />

if protest music would ever be<br />

central to pop culture again, “especially<br />

because younger generations are as<br />

engaged with gaming culture and social<br />

media platforms as they are with<br />

music. You’ve got to really love something<br />

to see it as a means to protest.”<br />

Yet, she said during the pandemic,<br />

when artists found themselves with<br />

more time, all they needed was a<br />

prompt.<br />

“Once this new movement coalesced,<br />

the floodgates just opened. It’s been a<br />

very exciting few years. Protest music<br />

is now, again, interwoven into many<br />

different musical genres and scenes,”<br />

said Powers.<br />

However, some question the relevance<br />

and importance of protest music,<br />

wondering if, in this time, it is still<br />

relevant and genuine.<br />

“There is likely an implicit protest<br />

in many of the songs people listen to;<br />

the songs just don’t seem to fall into<br />

the category, or maybe the category<br />

itself is a problem at the moment—in<br />

the aftermath of wokeness, or political<br />

correctness, or prejudice against the<br />

term social justice warrior,” said Trost.<br />

Powers said for those who are indifferent<br />

about protest music, it’s possible<br />

they don’t realize they’re listening<br />

to it because “protest can inform all<br />

kinds of music and inspire change<br />

within the most surprising contexts.”<br />

Powers said some protest songs like<br />

Tyler Childers, “Long Violent History”<br />

where the song’s explicit message<br />

challenges his white audience to “cultivate<br />

solidarity with their BIPOC<br />

neighbors,” and Lil Nas X’s hit record<br />

“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”<br />

is a form of protest music because it<br />

expresses the message of queer liberation<br />

which has been its own movement<br />

since the Stonewall Riots, a six<br />

day long protest in New York City that<br />

served as a catalyst for the gay rights<br />

movement in 1969.<br />

In a time where unity is most important,<br />

music has brought people<br />

together for centuries and continues<br />

to do so.<br />

“It doesn’t matter if the song is a<br />

protest song. If it’s a song that is unifying<br />

a group of people, it’s also empowering,<br />

and it’s also can become representative<br />

of a particular movement or<br />

time period or particular message,”<br />

said Caputo.<br />



INTO THE<br />


[70]<br />

By Morinsola Kukoyi<br />

Design Ella Smyth<br />

Emerging in the 2010s, hyper<br />

pop is a microgenre of pop<br />

that has been steadily gaining visibility<br />

in the music industry. This vibrant genre<br />

incorporates pop and electronic music<br />

themes that blend together to create a<br />

whole new avant-garde and expressive<br />

sound full of colorful beats.<br />

In an article by The Atlantic, hyper<br />

pop’s sound was described as a “Janet<br />

Jackson drum slam here, a Depeche Mode<br />

synth squeal there, the overblown pep of<br />

novelty jingles throughout.”<br />

Queer EDM producer, Antoine<br />

Buisson described hyper pop as an<br />

amalgamation of all the new styles of<br />

music that have emerged over the past<br />

decade, including SoundCloud/mumble<br />

rap, EDM, pop music, pop-pun and new<br />

school metal.<br />

“Mash it all up, and that would<br />

pretty much give you hyper pop,” Buisson<br />

said. “I think it’s pretty hard to strictly<br />

define hyper pop.”<br />

Spotify does have a playlist that<br />

fans and new listeners can experience for<br />

themselves and come up with their own<br />

definition of hyper pop, but Buisson said<br />

there’s “so much more of it.”<br />

“Since hyper pop is so many things<br />

and has so many influences, I would<br />

almost say that it’s not really a genre, but<br />

the departure from any adherence to a<br />

certain way of making music,” he said.<br />

“the departure from any adherence<br />

to a certain way of making music,” he said.<br />

This experimental sound’s<br />

beginning has been linked with PC Music,<br />

a label created by British producer AG<br />

Cook in 2013. Cook founded his record<br />

company because he wanted to have an<br />

A&R role. He wanted to take musicians<br />

who dabbled in music and make them<br />

feel like A-list musicians. A couple of<br />

years later, his record label got big, and he<br />

started signing other artists. PC Music is

esponsible for different artists, including<br />

Namasenda, Hannah Diamond, umru,<br />

etc. The label first started streaming their<br />

artists’ songs on Soundcloud and when<br />

it became bigger, it started to take their<br />

opportunities to get their artists bigger.<br />

There are many different artists that<br />

make up the musical face of hyper pop,<br />

including 100 Gecs, Dorian Electra, Charli<br />

XCX and more, but one that many think<br />

of when thinking of hyper pop is SOPHIE<br />

Xeon, known as SOPHIE, a Scottish<br />

musician, record producer, DJ and trans<br />

icon.<br />

SOPHIE was a very prominent figure<br />

in the musical movement of hyper pop.<br />

She was a popular singer and producer<br />

that carried hyper pop music. She was<br />

a key figure in hyper pop, and her mind<br />

was a working industry of gears that was<br />

able to produce so many unique sounding<br />

songs. “Sunscreen” and “My Forever”<br />

are some incredible songs to listen to if<br />

you want to learn more about SOPHIE’s<br />

musical direction. Some of her other<br />

highly recommended and popular songs<br />

include “PonyBoy” and “It’s OK to Cry.”<br />

Critics from Gender Amplified<br />

described “PonyBoy” as a “dramatic,<br />

reverberant, percussive bridge [like<br />

sound],” while they contrasted “It’s OK to<br />

Cry” as a comparatively quiet, vulnerable<br />

overture.”<br />

According to an article in The<br />

Michigan Daily, SOPHIE labeled her music<br />

as an advertisement. Her music came<br />

“across like a promotion, not of herself<br />

or even of the music itself, but rather of<br />

the philosophy of emotive reconstruction<br />

behind the music.”<br />

She tragically passed away in 2021<br />

after falling from the balcony of her Athens<br />

apartment while trying to see the moon in<br />

Athens, Greece.<br />

“She’s a musical genius on the<br />

level of historical music acts like Mozart,<br />

Beethoven, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson,<br />

Hans Zimmer, etc.,” said Buisson. “In<br />

my opinion, she’s the most influential<br />

and important musical figure of the 21st<br />

century, and I don’t think you’d find many<br />

people with good music knowledge that<br />

would dispute that.”<br />

SOPHIE’s talent and hard work will<br />

always be remembered in the hyper pop<br />

community. Hyper pop is still thriving, but<br />

it will never be the same without her too<br />

many fans.<br />

Many of the artists of this genre are<br />

members of the LGBTQ+ community. In<br />

most genres, there is a heavy presence<br />

of straight cisgender artists and a lower<br />

presence of LGBTQ+ members.<br />

With hyper pop, many of these<br />

artists can be who they truly want to be.<br />

They can have fun expressing gender<br />

identity, not only through their looks<br />

but with their sound as well. It is a genre<br />

where the artists and fans can feel like they<br />

belong somewhere and feel accepted by<br />

everyone around them. Finding comfort in<br />

music is such an important part of being a<br />

fan, and hyper pop does such a meaningful<br />

job of becoming that type of haven.<br />

“So many of the originators of [hyper<br />

pop] are queer, and so many of the current<br />

artists pushing it forward are queer. If you<br />

go to a hyper pop show like HEAV3N or<br />

Subculture in LA, I would guess at least<br />

90% of the crowd is queer,” said Buisson.<br />

He said there’s a deep connection to<br />

queer culture and music, especially Black<br />

queer culture.<br />

“At the end of the day, my peers and<br />

I wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing or<br />

making the music we’re making if Black<br />

and queer artists hadn’t pushed music<br />

forward throughout history and anyone<br />

who doesn’t think so has some studying to<br />

do,” said Buisson.<br />

Another popular artist in this unique<br />

genre is Charli XCX, a British singer known<br />

for hit songs like “Boom Clap” and “Gold<br />

Coins.” The critically acclaimed singer<br />

mainly stayed in the typical pop realm,<br />

but fully stepped into the hyper pop realm<br />

with her 2019 album “Charli.”<br />

The album “Charli” can be defined<br />

as hyper pop because it contains elements<br />

of the musical sound. It contained hints<br />

of EDM and pop that presented a new<br />

extravagant sound. The singer worked<br />

with producers like A.G. Cook to achieve<br />

the hyper pop sound she was going for,<br />

and overall, the album did fairly well.<br />

According to a review from Rolling<br />

Stone, the album was described as “a<br />

spectacle of people broadcasting their<br />

rightness 24/7, where apologies are never<br />

made.”<br />

“I love Charli’s music because it’s<br />

such a great blend of hyper pop elements<br />

and the modern pop style that hyper pop<br />

genre often satirizes. She’s definitely seen<br />

as one of the most ‘mainstream’ hyper pop<br />

artists, but it’s easy for me to see why she<br />

has such an appeal given her talent and<br />

song construction,” said Watson Coker,<br />

a senior at The University of Alabama,<br />

majoring in political science and Spanish.<br />

Charli brings a fresh and bright<br />

perspective to her music that keeps her<br />

fans on their toes and has them singing<br />

along anywhere they go. Some hyper popinfused<br />

songs of hers to check out would<br />

be “Backseat” featuring Carlie Rae Jepsen<br />

and “Crash.” These songs have catchy<br />

beats and lyrics that will get fans nodding<br />

their heads along as they listen.<br />

The fanbase of hyper pop is very<br />

diverse and is welcoming to everyone. It is<br />

a musical home where people can find an<br />

artist they love listening to.<br />

The atmosphere of the fanbase is not<br />

only countercultural but very connected.<br />

Its heavy presence can be found online<br />

and makes it easier for people to access it<br />

and find new artists and songs to discover.<br />

Many of the genre’s fans are always<br />

welcoming to give recommendations and<br />

advice when listening to hyper pop for the<br />

first time.<br />

Coker is one of those fans who loves<br />

helping people discover the electric genre<br />

of hyper pop because he, too, was once<br />

new to the hyper pop fandom.<br />

“My biggest advice though is to<br />

come back to it if you don’t like what you’re<br />

listening to the first time. It’s such a wide<br />

genre, and there are so many different<br />

styles, you’re bound to find something<br />

that suits your taste if you look for it,”<br />

said Coker. “The first time I listened to<br />

hyper pop, it didn’t click with me. It wasn’t<br />

until I came back to it after my music<br />

taste evolved slightly that I began really<br />

enjoying the genre.”<br />

Buisson recommends Galen<br />

Tipton, an “underrated and still fairly<br />

underground” artist to those interested in<br />

learning more about the genre.<br />

“She’s been at the forefront of hyper<br />

pop since the genre’s inception and has<br />

incredible sound design; labeling her<br />

music as hyper pop is understating her<br />

artistry, in my opinion,” said Buisson.<br />

Hyper pop seems to have the<br />

potential to become a long-lasting genre in<br />

the music industry.<br />

“It’s influencing some of the biggest<br />

pop artists around the world, but the<br />

region and culture/market also will play a<br />

big role,” said Clay Woods, a Nashville pop<br />

and EDM producer.<br />

There are so many determining<br />

factors that will decide whether or not<br />

hyper pop will succeed. Still, with a strong<br />

fanbase and diverse artists, hyper pop<br />

does have a high chance of dominating<br />

the music industry and making a name for<br />

itself.<br />


From children’s cartoons and<br />

romantic comedies to high school<br />

dramas and superhero movies,<br />

there’s a clear distinction between the<br />

way women are portrayed versus men<br />

in films. According to a report by the<br />

American Psychological Association, girls<br />

are depicted in a sexual manner more<br />

often than boys, whether that is shown<br />

through the way they dress or through<br />

their storylines. Beyond this, many of the<br />

sexualized women in Hollywood do not<br />

fully represent the population, with most<br />

of them being thin, straight white women.<br />

Questionable movies can often depict<br />

women in revealing clothing when in job<br />

positions that don’t require i or female<br />

characters who only serve as love interests<br />

to the main male characters, like the girl<br />

next door character tropes.<br />

However, recently movies and television<br />

shows have been struggling to balance the<br />

male gaze with the ongoing sector of the<br />

feminist movement that strives to include<br />

three-dimensional, dynamic female<br />

characters.<br />

One of the most popular ways to tell if a<br />

female character is there for the enjoyment<br />

of sexual fantasy or for actual storyline<br />

purposes is the famous “Bechdel Test.”<br />

Created by Alison Bechdel and Liz Wallace<br />

in 1985, the Bechdel Test includes three<br />

criteria for a movie or television show to<br />

be included in healthy representation for<br />

women. First, there have to be two female<br />

characters. Secondly, these women have to<br />

talk to each other, and third, they have to<br />

talk about something other than a man.<br />

Popular blockbusters that fail the<br />

Bechdel Test include the entire “Lord of the<br />

Rings” trilogy, “The Avengers,” “Avatar,”<br />

“A Star is Born,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,”<br />

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and<br />

“Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back.”<br />

Priscilla Shreve, a junior majoring in<br />

creative media and anthropology at The<br />

University of Alabama, said she often<br />

looks back at shows she loved when she<br />

was younger, only to realize the beloved<br />

female characters weren’t as dynamic as<br />

she once thought.<br />

“As a [bisexual] woman, when I was<br />

younger I was drawn to these characters<br />

that honestly looking back now weren’t<br />

well-written characters,” said Shreve. “I<br />

just thought they were very attractive and<br />

hot. Young Priscilla was like, ‘Oh, this<br />

character is very cool, and I think they’re<br />

the best character in the show,’ when really<br />

they were a flat surface character and just<br />

had like skimpy clothes basically.”<br />

A study conducted by the Geena Davis<br />

Institute on Gender in Media found that<br />

[72]<br />

sex<br />

sells<br />

Women and Sex Representation in Hollywood<br />

By Annabelle Blomeley<br />

Design Kayla Roberson<br />

women are four times as likely to be shown<br />

undressed in films and television shows<br />

than male characters. Male characters also<br />

receive around two times the screen time<br />

as their counterparts and speak twice as<br />

often.<br />

“It’s not enough for you to be an<br />

interesting character, but it is enough for<br />

you to be an attractive character that’s<br />

boring,” said Shreve.<br />

For Shreve, her favorite television show<br />

as a child demonstrates this perfectly.<br />

“Kim Possible,” a show about a teenage<br />

girl turned spy, depicts one of the villains,<br />

Shego, with skin-tight clothing and a not<br />

like other girls attitude.<br />

Shreve said one way she tests the<br />

attractive female characters in television<br />

shows is by looking at the male<br />

counterparts. In “Kim Possible,” this<br />

comes in the form of the villain Drakken,<br />

who is not nearly as sexualized as his<br />

partner Shego. Even with the heroes of the<br />

show, Kim is a beautiful spy in tight clothes<br />

while her male friend, Ron, is shown as an<br />

average, nerdy teenage boy.<br />

“It’s fine to have attractive girls, but<br />

when that’s all you have, it is a concern,<br />

especially since it was supposed to be a<br />

show for young girls to aspire to be spies<br />

and try to be the hero of their own story,”<br />

said Shreve. “It’s like you have to be the<br />

hero of your own story, but you also have<br />

to be hot while you’re doing it. You’re not<br />

allowed to just be a person; you have to be<br />

an item of sexual fantasies or be attractive<br />

while you’re doing all these other things.<br />

Your sexuality to other people is your<br />

worth.”<br />

People watching shows with only<br />

conventionally attractive characters<br />

often struggle to find themselves in the<br />

characters they love, which in turn leads to<br />

body and sexual health issues.<br />

Ariane Prohaska, an associate professor<br />

of sociology, specializes in researching<br />

gender at The University of Alabama,<br />

bodies and the concept of beauty,<br />

particularly in a research area minted “fat<br />

studies,” which explores the stereotypes<br />

and oppression of plus-sized individuals.<br />

Prohaska explained the detrimental<br />

effects of one-sided representation in the<br />

media as a real problem that many people<br />

face.<br />

“It can make [people] feel as if they are<br />

not sexy,” said Prohaska. “We do know that<br />

our beauty standards and the United States<br />

have been very white and westernized and<br />

the idea of the thin white woman. We<br />

have been lucky to have an acceptance of<br />

more diverse beauty standards, more body<br />

positivity, but there still is the focus on the<br />

thin body, even if it’s not the hyper-thin<br />

body that has been if you think, the 1990s<br />

and early 2000s.”<br />

In fact, according to a study in<br />

Bloomberg, 67% of American women are<br />

above a size 14 in clothes, but only 2% of<br />

images of women in the media are of plus-

size women.<br />

Many plus-size women in movies and<br />

television play roles meant to poke fun at<br />

people with bigger bodies, like Fat Amy<br />

in “Pitch Perfect” and Regina George’s<br />

weight gain plotline in “Mean Girls.” In<br />

other movies and television shows, the fat<br />

friend plays the funny side character to an<br />

attractive, thin person, like Julie in “Lady<br />

Bird” and Megan in “Bridesmaids.”<br />

“Women do not fit the mold of the thin<br />

body type are very underrepresented in<br />

romantic roles in TV and movies,” said<br />

Prohaska. “And sometimes when they are<br />

in romantic roles, there’s a lot of humor<br />

involved that may not be funny to people<br />

of larger body sizes.”<br />

The over-sexualization of girls and<br />

women in television also applies to young<br />

women, particularly those who don’t meet<br />

the rigid standards of beauty, to struggle<br />

with self-acceptance and confidence.<br />

Prohaska said one of the only<br />

representations of a plus-size woman<br />

navigating sex and romance on current<br />

television is Hulu’s “Shrill,” which stars<br />

“Saturday Night Live” alumna Aidy Bryant<br />

as a young journalist who is determined<br />

to enhance her life without changing her<br />

body.<br />

“It’s a stereotype that every fat woman<br />

wants to be thin, and that undermines<br />

body acceptance and undermines that<br />

with our body size, a lot of it is not under<br />

our control. A lot of it has to do with our<br />

genetics and our social class and if we had<br />

access to exercise and healthy foods and<br />

things like that,” Prohaska said.<br />

However, representation doesn’t just<br />

stop with body size. Women of color are<br />

often sexualized in different ways than<br />

white women in television and movies.<br />

For example, in the classic “Taxi Driver,”<br />

a black woman has sex with a white<br />

businessman in the back of a taxi, which<br />

was supposed to represent the moral<br />

decline of America. Other examples<br />

include Beyonce as Foxxy Cleopatra in<br />

“Austin Powers in Goldmember,” Halle<br />

Berry in “Monster’s Ball” and more.<br />

Prohaska said many stereotypes revolve<br />

around the hypersexualized woman of<br />

color, particularly in depictions of Black<br />

women and Asian women, which can lead<br />

to people in the real world viewing these<br />

women as “sexually available.”<br />

On television, women of color are twice<br />

as likely to be portrayed nude than white<br />

women. However, only 19% of Black<br />

leading actresses are dark-skinned, and<br />

the majority are shown with hairstyles that<br />

“conform to European standards of beauty<br />

as opposed to natural Black hairstyles,<br />

according to the Geena Davis Institute<br />

on Gender in Media.<br />

For many, the representation<br />

problem doesn’t just happen on screen.<br />

Women, people of color, and members<br />

of the LGBTQ+ community are found<br />

significantly less frequently in other<br />

positions across Hollywood.<br />

Vannah Smalley, a junior creative<br />

media major at The University of<br />

Alabama, hopes to be a screenwriter for<br />

a comedy sitcom television show when<br />

she graduates. As a theater minor at<br />

the university, she’s seen firsthand the<br />

sexualization pushed on young female<br />

actors.<br />

Smalley said she recently had a<br />

marketing internship where she was<br />

told she was “too nice” and that “people<br />

were going to run her over” if she<br />

continued to pursue screenwriting.<br />

“Behind the camera, in the writers’<br />

rooms, a lot of women are just thrown<br />

to the back burner, or if they’re<br />

considered, they’re taken advantage of,<br />

and they’ll be just used for girl topics<br />

and things like that. They don’t get<br />

to expand themselves,” said Smalley.<br />

“People need to stop not taking the<br />

woman’s opinion and running it over<br />

and reusing the same six topics about<br />

women that they have in their drawer<br />

over and over again. They need to let<br />

women write and act and direct.”<br />

One of Smalley’s favorite television<br />

characters is Zooey Deschanel’s<br />

character Jess Day on the sitcom “New<br />

Girl.” For Smalley, Jess is upbeat,<br />

positive, sensitive and emotional, while<br />

also exploring sexual and romantic<br />

interests.<br />

On the other end of the spectrum,<br />

both Smalley and Shreve cited the<br />

popular show “Riverdale” as being a<br />

bad example of over-sexualization in<br />

media. The show, which has characters<br />

who are shown in high school, features<br />

the teenagers having sex often and on<br />

camera, girls stripteasing in front of<br />

older men as a gang initiation, a male<br />

teenager having a romantic and sexual<br />

relationship with a teacher at his school,<br />

a teenager becoming pregnant, being<br />

sent to a “Home for Troubled Youths”<br />

and many more.<br />

While some online commentators<br />

have praised parts of “Riverdale”<br />

for showing healthy sex in romantic<br />

relationships, others have been taken<br />

aback by the creators’ obsession with the<br />

sex lives of teenagers. From the release<br />

of Betty and Jughead’s sex tape to<br />

Betty’s turn towards BDSM as roleplay<br />

character “Dark Betty,” “Riverdale” is<br />

often slammed for sexualizing teens in<br />

a way that could negatively impact real<br />

teenagers and their sex lives.<br />

“The portrayal of sex in the way they<br />

[Riverdale] do it and how unhealthy it<br />

is, when you see straight, skinny white<br />

people having unhealthy sex, I think that<br />

makes you feel like ‘So how’s it going to<br />

be for me as someone who isn’t white,<br />

someone who isn’t straight, and someone<br />

who’s plus size?’ What is sex going to<br />

be like for me when all these straight,<br />

white, skinny people are having a hard<br />

time either having sex or when they do it,<br />

their partner is pressuring them to do it,<br />

or the sex causes all this drama; it causes<br />

conflict and turmoil. ‘Is it going to be so<br />

much worse for me if I look different than<br />

them?’” said Shreve.<br />

While the over-sexualization of women<br />

comes at a cost, specifically when the only<br />

representation involved is straight, thin<br />

white women, depicting sex in media isn’t<br />

always a bad thing.<br />

Shreve said sex can be done well<br />

in media when it’s only one aspect of<br />

a person’s personality and character<br />

development.<br />

However, healthy sex discussions and<br />

representation is difficult to achieve when<br />

the people writing the shows, directing<br />

and producing the shows, and others, are<br />

not involved in the creation process.<br />

“We need to have more women creators<br />

who can accurately portray what it’s like<br />

to be a female sexual being, or a queer<br />

sexual being, or a woman of color who is a<br />

sexual being,” said Prohaska. “It’s not just<br />

white men or white women writing stories<br />

because depending on your social status,<br />

your race, your class, your ethnicity, your<br />

gender, your sexuality, once there are<br />

more people who look like you writing the<br />

stories, then they will represent more and<br />

they may be less exploitative.”<br />

Although Hollywood still has a long<br />

way to go in depicting an accurate<br />

representation of female bodies and<br />

sexuality, more women than ever are<br />

pushing back. With more women and<br />

diverse voices present in every aspect of<br />

media, some movies and television shows<br />

are moving away from the male gaze and<br />

into a new Hollywood.<br />


82<br />

78<br />

nothing good happens after midnight<br />

veganism and meat lovers: the truth about our food<br />

80<br />

76<br />

the importance of knowing what’s in your air<br />

going against society’s standards: achieving a healthy lifestyle<br />

84<br />

period poverty<br />



<strong>No</strong>thing Good<br />

Happens After<br />

Midnight<br />

By Evy Gallagher<br />

Design Ella Smyth<br />


Sleep is an aspect of human health that<br />

is often wildly overlooked, especially<br />

by college-age students. The culture of<br />

college seems to revolve around hours of<br />

homework and studying, balancing a social<br />

life with academics and sometimes even<br />

working a full-time job, all of which can<br />

lead to a lack of sleep. It can be difficult to<br />

prioritize sleep, especially when people’s<br />

lives are so busy, but the most important<br />

aspect of sleep may not be what first comes<br />

to mind. While getting the suggested six<br />

to eight hours of sleep every night is a<br />

principle in health and wellness, the most<br />

crucial aspect of sleep is actually going to<br />

bed before midnight.<br />

The body’s circadian rhythm is an<br />

internal clock that helps to regulate<br />

sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation,<br />

“circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles<br />

that are part of the body’s internal clock,<br />

running in the background to carry out<br />

essential functions and processes.” The<br />

sleep-wake cycle is the most well-known<br />

part of the circadian rhythm which keeps<br />

people awake during the day, and at night,<br />

signals to the brain to start producing<br />

melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, for<br />

sleep. When this system gets thrown off<br />

because of an irregular sleep schedule,<br />

the body’s functions and processes do not<br />

work properly and therefore, can start to<br />

negatively affect someone’s health. The<br />

difficult part about this circadian rhythm<br />

is that each person has their own circadian<br />

preference, meaning an individualized<br />

time of when they go to sleep and wake up.<br />

Dr. Heather Gunn, assistant professor and<br />

Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine<br />

Training Program at The University of<br />

Alabama, said that people can range from<br />

a night-owl to a morning-lark to an inbetween<br />

circadian preference. This can<br />

make it hard for everyone to be asleep<br />

before midnight.<br />

“People in the sleep field believe it’s best<br />

to be asleep between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m,”<br />

said Gunn. “The other piece of info that’s<br />

important to consider is that wake time<br />

matters a lot for bedtime. Consistent wake<br />

time is also really important if you want<br />

consistent bedtimes.”<br />

According to Ergo Flex, fourteen to<br />

eighteen hours is the average amount of<br />

time adults are awake during the day.<br />

Waking up between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.,<br />

depending on one’s circadian preference,<br />

would be the best schedule for allowing<br />

the body to start producing melatonin<br />

around 9 p.m. in order to be asleep before<br />

midnight.<br />

Going to bed before midnight can seem<br />

intimidating or even impossible for college<br />

students, but this positive lifestyle change<br />

may be a very big part of living a healthy life<br />

without future complications. In an article<br />

by The Ladders, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan,<br />

a sleep expert and author of “Tired But<br />

Wired,” said the 90-minute phase before<br />

midnight is the most crucial phase because<br />

that is when the body is replenished. The<br />

deepest and most valuable sleep happens<br />

earlier in the night, a couple of hours before<br />

midnight.<br />

In an article by Health.com, Dr. Shelby<br />

Harris, Clinical Psychologist and Board<br />

Certified Behavioral Sleep Medicine<br />

Specialist in private practice, and author<br />

of “The Women’s Guide to Overcoming<br />

Insomnia,” said “when you’re sleeping<br />

you’re regulating hormone levels, you’re<br />

regulating insulin levels, your blood<br />

pressure is being kept under control, there<br />

are a lot of things going on, and if you’re<br />

not getting enough sleep you’re throwing<br />

these things out of whack”.<br />

Some of the other important processes<br />

that happen during sleep are when the<br />

brain encodes memories, hormones release<br />

to rebuild muscle, the immune system<br />

releases cytokines to support the immune<br />

system and cortisol levels decrease<br />

significantly. All of these functions are<br />

essential for the body to get prepped and<br />

ready for the following day.<br />

“If you go to bed too late for your normal<br />

bedtime it can cause negative health effects<br />

(poorer attention/concentration, more<br />

mood issues and health effects depending<br />

on how long you sleep deprived yourself)<br />

but only if you’re doing that later than<br />

you normally sleep and causing sleep<br />

deprivation,” said Harris.<br />

Madi Boudreaux, a junior psychology<br />

major at The University of Alabama,<br />

further proved the latter quote from Harris<br />

with her own experiences.<br />

“When I have things to do really early in<br />

the morning, like yoga at the recreation<br />

center, I won’t make it through the day if<br />

I don’t go to bed before midnight,” said<br />

Boudreaux.<br />

Feeling exhausted after going to bed after<br />

midnight is only one of the negative side<br />

effects of an inconsistent sleep schedule.<br />

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the<br />

major health issues linked with going to<br />

bed at the wrong time and a lack of sleep.<br />

According to an Oxford Academic article,<br />

“an age- and sex-controlled base analysis<br />

found that a sleep onset time of 10:00<br />

p.m. to 10:59 p.m. was associated with the<br />

lowest CVD incidence.”<br />

Going to sleep both before 10 p.m. and<br />

after midnight was both associated with<br />

a higher risk of CVD. Sleep allows organs<br />

to rest, especially when the most healing<br />

part of the night happens before midnight.<br />

This way, the heart will have enough time<br />

to recover and heal before the next day. On<br />

top of that, the immunity system can suffer<br />

when one goes to bed too late.<br />

According to the Sleep Foundation,<br />

getting the proper amount of high-quality<br />

sleep allows the immune system to gain<br />

its best defensive mechanisms, as well as<br />

adaptive immunity, efficient response to<br />

vaccines and less severe allergic reactions.<br />

The 21st-century has come a long way with<br />

science and medicine, yet still, no medicinal<br />

feats seem to come as close to preventing<br />

a disease-free and overall healthy life as<br />

going to bed before midnight. Listen to the<br />

generations of grandmothers and mothers<br />

when they say, nothing good happens after<br />

midnight.<br />


[78]<br />


Imagine a salad filled to the brim with<br />

vegetables of all colors: red peppers,<br />

carrots, cucumbers, tofu, and more.<br />

Imagine another kind of meal: a surf<br />

and turf dinner with a steak and a side<br />

of salmon. Two very different meals and<br />

two very different ways of thinking about<br />

food. Many people have an idea of the<br />

vegan movement and the commitment to<br />

no meat and no animal by-products. The<br />

term “plant-based” has been trending in<br />

recent years making people think more<br />

deeply about where their food comes from<br />

and what they are putting in their bodies.<br />

Many people enjoy meat for its protein and<br />

taste, while others have found a healthier<br />

lifestyle by becoming vegetarian or even<br />

vegan. What are the benefits of being vegan<br />

and what does it look like to enjoy a diet<br />

with meat?<br />

Grace Dorsey, is a student at The<br />

University of Alabama and president of the<br />

club Vegan Voices. The club, open to anyone<br />

interested in veganism, is a community of<br />

members committed to the vegan lifestyle.<br />

Dorsey began her vegan journey seven<br />

years ago when she started cutting out<br />

meat and fully committed to being vegan.<br />

One of her driving motivations was ethical<br />

concerns with the killing of animals and<br />

meat farms.<br />

“My philosophy is to avoid harm<br />

whenever possible,” said Dorsey. “So if<br />

it’s unnecessary and I can eat something<br />

different then I’ll do that because I would<br />

prefer my actions not to harm anyone.”<br />

Veganism also appeals to people for<br />

many other reasons such as environmental<br />

concerns and the processes used in meat<br />

farms. Dorsey said that concentrated<br />

animal feeding operations, known as<br />

CAFOs, are essentially farms with a large<br />

population of animals used to produce<br />

meat. These feeding operations can cause<br />

large amounts of pollution and raise<br />

concerns about the quality of the meat<br />

produced.<br />

“They’re [animals] stuffed in cages,<br />

can’t even move and we just pump them<br />

with antibiotics so they don’t get sick,”<br />

said Dorsey. “And then we’re ingesting<br />

antibiotics. Then those antibiotics are now<br />

leaching into the waterways and causing<br />

problems in the natural ecosystems. There<br />

are just so many ripple effects on the<br />

system that we have currently in place.”<br />

Another driving motivation of veganism<br />

is the health benefits associated with<br />

cutting out meat. Vegetarian diets can also<br />

have similar benefits from getting protein<br />

and nutrients from plants alone.<br />

“Plant-based diets, including a vegan<br />

diet, can provide a number of key nutrients<br />

and health benefits along with it,” said<br />

Lori Greene, a registered dietician and<br />

professor at The University of Alabama.<br />

Greene described that there are many<br />

benefits to eating plants.<br />

“These may include cardiovascular<br />

benefits, decreasing cancer risk and weight<br />

loss,” said Greene. ​”Of course, these<br />

benefits can also occur in those who eat<br />

animal proteins but also have a diet full of<br />

many plant-based foods.”<br />

Although eating plants have many health<br />

benefits, meat also has its own merits.<br />

Many enjoy meat for the taste and find it<br />

to be a good source of protein. Although<br />

plants can also supply a good source of<br />

protein, there are several key differences<br />

between meat and plant proteins.<br />

“Animal proteins provide all nine<br />

essential amino acids (the building blocks<br />

of protein) that our body needs, but most<br />

plant proteins only have some, not all<br />

nine,” said Greene. “Plant proteins may<br />

also not include important trace minerals,<br />

iron and zinc, whereas they tend to be rich<br />

in animal proteins. However, some plant<br />

proteins may be high in fiber, which is not<br />

typical of an animal protein.”<br />

It’s important to recognize that there<br />

are some benefits to eating meat since<br />

it is a complete source of protein. At the<br />

same time, there are many benefits to<br />

incorporating plants into a meat diet.<br />

Eating meat along with some plants can<br />

help with having a balanced diet and<br />

getting necessary nutrients.<br />

Eating meat and being vegan are two very<br />

different diets with positives and negatives<br />

on both sides. There are many other diets<br />

and ways of eating that lie between these<br />

two diets. It’s possible to eat more “plantbased”<br />

while consuming smaller portions<br />

of meat or even become vegetarian.<br />

Holly Waite is a freshman at The<br />

University of Alabama majoring in food<br />

and nutrition. Several years ago, Waite<br />

started slowly cutting out meat until<br />

she was completely vegetarian. Unlike<br />

veganism, vegetarians do eat animal<br />

products like milk and eggs but still<br />

avoid meat. One criticism that sometimes<br />

arises with veganism or vegetarianism is<br />

not being able to get enough calories or<br />

nutrients from plants alone. Waite said,<br />

however, it’s possible to have balanced<br />

meals with plenty of nutrients.<br />

“To make sure I’m getting enough<br />

nutrients, I take a multivitamin that<br />

includes B12 and Vitamin D,” said Waite.<br />

“I also make sure to have protein-rich<br />

meals with calorie-dense foods often since<br />

fruits and vegetables normally are lower in<br />

calories.”<br />

Like anything in life, veganism and<br />

vegetarianism may have challenges, but it’s<br />

possible to overcome those challenges with<br />

planning and preparation. For someone<br />

even remotely interested in veganism, it’s<br />

important to do your research and talk to<br />

a dietician or doctor. Many people slowly<br />

start cutting out meat and start trying to<br />

find vegan options.<br />

“I would say start slowly if you have any<br />

interest,” said Waite. “Talk to your doctor<br />

or a registered dietician. Include more<br />

plant-based foods before taking away all<br />

animal products at once. Ease into it if<br />

you like it-- don’t put a ton of pressure on<br />

yourself. It can be really fun to explore all<br />

the plant-based options nowadays.”<br />

From vegan to vegetarian to meat lovers,<br />

everyone has a different way of thinking<br />

about and enjoying food. At the end of<br />

the day, it’s important to recognize the<br />

source of food since it influences not<br />

just a person’s body but can also have<br />

environmental consequences. Without<br />

going completely vegan, incorporating<br />

more plants and vegetables into meals can<br />

bring many positive and healthy effects.<br />

Even a meat lover can enjoy meat while<br />

also enjoying the benefits and nutrients of<br />

plants. <strong>No</strong> matter the diet, thinking about<br />

the impacts of food is crucial to a person’s<br />

health and wellbeing.<br />




YOUR AIR<br />




With the number of threats posed to<br />

human life and success, among the most<br />

hidden are the effects of air pollution.<br />

It is believed that the biggest threats are<br />

visible, however, air pollution is a silent<br />

killer, permeating large cities, populous<br />

regions and industrial plants. As Earth’s<br />

population continues to grow, air pollution<br />

levels increase, the quality of air decreases<br />

and premature death and disease run<br />

rampant.<br />

Air pollution is defined by any physical<br />

or chemical changes in the atmosphere.<br />

Air exists in a balance of gasses, including<br />

nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and<br />

argon. Pollution occurs when other<br />

particles like dust, smoke, exhaust and<br />

smog are mixed into this composition.<br />

Other factors include heat and methane<br />

emissions. According to the Environmental<br />

Pollution Centers, the presence of these or<br />

any foreign chemicals can cause damage to<br />

the ozone layer. The ozone is the protective<br />

layer of the atmosphere that absorbs<br />

ultraviolet radiation emitted from the sun.<br />

The ozone layer is crucial to all species on<br />

Earth, as excessive ultraviolet radiation is<br />

harmful to living organisms. When there<br />

is an excessive amount of pollution in<br />

the atmosphere, the ozone layer becomes<br />

depleted and UV radiation reaches Earth’s<br />

surface in greater amounts.<br />

There are many causes of air pollution.<br />

Some of the most widely known include<br />

traffic and factories. The chemicals<br />

released from buses, cars, trains and other<br />

transportation vehicles cause build-ups<br />

of smog in cities and populated areas.<br />

Industrial factories that manufacture<br />

anything from car parts to construction<br />

equipment use machines that emit<br />

gasses that upset the balance of gasses<br />

in the atmosphere. Additionally,<br />

wildfires, burning waste, construction,<br />

deforestation, demolition, fossil fuels<br />

and household chemicals are all causes<br />

of chemical and physical air pollution.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t only do these create changes in the<br />

chemical compounds of the atmosphere,<br />

but there is also a visible difference in the<br />

sky. Children draw pictures of landscapes<br />

featuring bright blue skies, white puffy<br />

clouds and a happy, smiling sun. Today,<br />

a more realistic image would depict gray<br />

or brown cloudy skies with low visibility.<br />

Though there are far more harmful effects,<br />

aesthetically, the world does not look the<br />

same as it once did.<br />

Each region of the world is affected<br />

by air pollution predominately through<br />

specific media. According to the National<br />

Geographic Society, large cities in<br />

developing countries are more likely to<br />

have a higher pollution level than rural<br />

areas or more developed cities. This is in<br />

part due to the lack of legislation restricting<br />

transportation and waste production.<br />

Developing countries also tend to use more<br />

basic technology, which is not as friendly<br />

to the environment as more modern<br />

technology, like electric-powered cars<br />

and recycling. According to the National<br />

Geographic Society, the most polluted<br />

cities in the world in the past decade<br />

include Beijing, Los Angeles and Delhi.<br />

In Beijing, the majority of air pollution<br />

is caused by excessive transportation in<br />

an extremely dense population. This,<br />

combined with industrialization, poor<br />

pollution control and few trees, caused<br />

over three thousand deaths in 2021<br />

(Beijing Air Quality Index). Similarly, Los<br />

Angeles is being clogged by diesel engines<br />

and power plants that release fine particles<br />

and dust into the air. On the other hand,<br />

in Delhi, the primary cause of air pollution<br />

is stubble burning, an agricultural method<br />

to clear land after harvest, which produces<br />

almost 15% of the air pollution in the city.<br />

Construction, industrialization and wind<br />

are also major contributors.<br />

“It is important to learn about<br />

air pollution and its health effects<br />

because it disproportionately affects<br />

socioeconomically disadvantaged<br />

populations and minorities,” said Meg<br />

Woodard, a senior urban planning major<br />

at The University of Alabama. “This is<br />

because of racism, class bias, housing<br />

market dynamics and land cost. We can<br />

achieve more environmental justice by<br />

moving to more substantial technologies<br />

and equitable housing practices.”<br />

The air pollution levels in each city in the<br />

world are monitored by the Air Quality<br />

Index, also known as AQI. When a city<br />

scores between zero and 50, it is deemed<br />

good air quality. Between 50 and 100 is<br />

moderate and 100 to 150 dictates that the<br />

air is unhealthy for members of sensitive<br />

groups. A score of over 200 is unhealthy,<br />

and over 300 is hazardous. Many of the<br />

most polluted cities score over 150, which<br />

is dangerous to human health with long<br />

enough exposure.<br />

Currently, the most polluted city in the<br />

United States is Niland California, with<br />

an Air Quality Index of 193. California,<br />

Michigan and Georgia are home to<br />

the top 10 most polluted cities in the<br />

US today, all with scores over 110. By<br />

comparison, Tuscaloosa scores a 38,<br />

with good air quality and low to medium<br />

physical pollutants. By contrast, there<br />

are many reports of individuals living in<br />

rural areas who live long, healthy lives.<br />

This discrepancy further solidifies the<br />

notion that air pollution is a silent killer of<br />

modern society.<br />

There are many health concerns<br />

associated with residing in areas with high,<br />

or any levels of air pollution. According<br />

to an article by InsideClimate News from<br />

2020, air pollution causes more premature<br />

deaths than smoking, HIV/AIDS, violence<br />

and several other diseases. For most<br />

individuals, the presence of altered<br />

atmospheric compounds can cause lung<br />

inflammation and low oxygen levels, which<br />

can then lead to cancer and other chronic<br />

illnesses. More specifically, long-term<br />

exposure can be detrimental to respiratory<br />

health. This can present itself in illnesses<br />

such as asthma, bronchitis and lung<br />

cancer. According to the National Institute<br />

of Environmental Health Sciences, more<br />

recent studies show a correlation between<br />

increased particulate matter in the air and<br />

increased COVID-19 cases and deaths.<br />

Statistics show that almost nine out of<br />

10 people who live in densely populated<br />

developing countries are affected by air<br />

pollution, and the global life expectancy is<br />

reduced on average by approximately two<br />

years.<br />

Dr. Ellen Spears is an award-winning<br />

author and professor of environmental<br />

history and social movements at The<br />

University of Alabama.<br />

“We think of our bodies as containing<br />

us, but they are permeable. Much like<br />

ingestion through eating or drinking,<br />

the skin absorbs substances,” said<br />

Spears. “When we’re introduced to toxic<br />

substances in the air, the body can absorb<br />

these chemicals. This is a major reason for<br />

having a strong public policy concerning<br />

toxic substances and exposures. During<br />

COVID-19, people have learned that more<br />

air pollution results in a higher volume<br />

of cases and mortality. The triple threat<br />

of pollution, injustice and COVID-19<br />

results in higher vulnerability and worse<br />

health outcomes, especially for African<br />

American, Latinx and Native American<br />

communities.”<br />

It is a human instinct to keep oneself<br />

out of harm’s way. There are plenty of<br />

measures that people take daily to ensure<br />

that they are safe and healthy. Dr. Spears<br />

said that people are aware of air pollution<br />

and there have been major strides in<br />

cleaning the atmosphere. However, many<br />

regions have yet to be tested and are still<br />

affected by environmental injustice and<br />

lack of clean-up or enforcement. Being<br />

aware that air pollution is a threat to<br />

longevity is the first step to helping the<br />

environment to recover.<br />


Going<br />

Against<br />

Society’s<br />

Standards:<br />

By Bella Carpino<br />

Photo Emma Kate Standard<br />

Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle<br />

Many people have a different definition of what it<br />

truly means to be healthy or unhealthy. While some<br />

interpret health as equating to how many days in a<br />

week one goes to the gym or how many salads they consume in<br />

one day, others value their health as the number they see while<br />

standing on a scale.<br />

In general, to be healthy means to enjoy health and vigor of<br />

body, mind or spirit. While diet and exercise are two key tools<br />

to achieve a healthy lifestyle, a person’s appearance actually<br />

exhibits the least information regarding their health. In<br />

other words, the terms unhealthy and obese should never be<br />

utilized interchangeably because appearance does not expose<br />

the numbers found in blood tests, such as blood pressure and<br />

cholesterol.<br />

Although a person who has a thin body type may come across<br />

as healthy, their frame does not express the stability of their<br />

mental health and more. An individual deemed unhealthy<br />

not only needs to focus on the improvement of their physical<br />

health but also their emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual<br />

health.<br />

Without a doubt, the standards of what it means to look healthy<br />

vary from person to person. These variables cause health to be<br />

undeterminable at first glance. Chelsea LeBlanc, a Registered<br />

Dietitian Nutritionist living in Nashville, Tennessee, provided<br />

evidence for this idea by explaining what she believes it means<br />

to truly look healthy.<br />

“We are all so different so what might be healthy for me may<br />

be completely different than it is for someone else - healthy<br />

does not have a look, but is more of a state of well-being,” said<br />

LeBlanc<br />

Due to health being a topic that encompasses the different<br />

aspects of being healthy including mental, physical and social<br />

wellness, whether one appears as healthy or not externally is<br />

not something that can be determined with pinpoint accuracy.<br />

Because of this, the standards of looking healthy should go<br />

hand-in-hand with achieving a healthy lifestyle.<br />

LeBlanc shared her perspective on the best path to embark<br />

upon for attaining this flourishing way of life. As far as<br />

nutrition, she expressed that since she is a big fan of consuming<br />

everything in moderation,<br />

“A healthy individual must be realistic when it comes to food<br />

choices, sleep, exercise, work-life balance and social activities,”<br />

said LeBlanc. “While 80% of the time a healthy person should<br />

focus on choosing foods that support their overall wellness and<br />

vitality, 20% of the time they can enjoy the cake, sleeping in<br />

too late, skipping a workout and binging a show on Netflix.”<br />

While many people form their own views of what the ideal<br />

body looks like and often determine that body type as being<br />

in its healthiest form, it is important to acknowledge where<br />

those standards come from. Many times, social media publicly<br />

highlight an artificial or ideal version of an individual’s life, and<br />

this is what plants the seed that develops into false standards<br />

of looking healthy.<br />

Ashley Saros, a sophomore kinesiology major at Michigan<br />

State University, has experienced the influence social media<br />

has on the formation of standards first-hand.<br />

“With social media continuing to grow more and moreover<br />

the years, I have definitely recognized the effect it can have not<br />

only on how people value the appearance of their own bodies<br />

over their internal health, but also how they view themselves<br />

and their own body image,” said Saros.<br />

When models and other popular influencers on social media<br />

publicize the look of their thin bodies and appear as though<br />

they are full of self-love and good health, their audiences begin<br />

to create levels of attainment in their minds that standardize<br />

health based solely on appearance.<br />

Like Saros, it is only natural for other social media users to<br />

develop the idea that one’s quality of health can be calculated<br />

from an outside perspective, which causes progressively more<br />

individuals to live with a false standard of being considered<br />

healthy. Furthermore, these inaccurate standards cause people<br />

to strive for a body type that they believe they should obtain,<br />

which then becomes increasingly detrimental to their mental<br />

and emotional health.<br />

While social media is just an example of something that can<br />

cultivate unrealistic standards of health that cause individuals<br />

to compare their bodies to the false principles, its platforms<br />

also compose the concept of health within a tiny box, without<br />

consideration of how healthy looks different for everyone.<br />


Lori Greene, an Intro to Human Nutrition<br />

professor at The University of Alabama,<br />

expressed how tools such as Body Mass Index,<br />

which assesses the ratio of height to weight for<br />

a person, fails to take into account “​the ratio<br />

of fat mass to fat-free mass, such as muscle.”<br />

While it may be an accurate strategy to<br />

assess the BMI of certain individuals such as<br />

children, it is not one that the overall health<br />

of a human being should be based upon,<br />

similar to many other “health-determining”<br />

approaches individuals often make the<br />

mistake to consider. Greene went on to<br />

explain the relativity of health and the way<br />

in which society’s standards of health fail to<br />

apply to every person.<br />

“A healthy individual may also display<br />

‘healthy’ in different ways and it is likely<br />

difficult for most individuals to portray the<br />

perfect picture of health in all areas of life,”<br />

said Greene. “Nutrition and the foods we eat<br />

are important for a healthy lifestyle, but a<br />

picture-perfect diet cannot be obtained every<br />

day, even if Instagram or TikTok makes us<br />

think it is possible to see what other people<br />

eat in a day.”<br />

The complexity of health cannot be isolated to<br />

one standard created by social media. Health<br />

is not and has never been a state determined<br />

by appearance and comparisons, especially<br />

without consideration for the other aspects of<br />

health including mental health.<br />

While standards of health are naturally<br />

developed and bloomed in the minds of<br />

individuals in this society, it is important to<br />

accept their false foundation. <strong>No</strong>t only do the<br />

standards of what it looks like to be healthy or<br />

unhealthy have the power to have an incorrect<br />

vision of our overall well-being, but they also<br />

blind people from understanding the key<br />

concept of the conditions necessary to live and<br />

prosper while doing so.<br />


PERIOD<br />

POVERTY:<br />


BY<br />





Period poverty is defined as<br />

inadequate access to menstrual<br />

products, education, hygiene facilities,<br />

waste management or some sort of<br />

combination. Current data suggests the<br />

average person who menstruates spends<br />

an average of $2,000 on menstrual<br />

products in their lifetime, according to<br />

Global Citizen. Globally, this phenomenon<br />

affects over 500 million people, according<br />

to BMC Women’s Health in 2021. While<br />

this topic has mainly been researched<br />

abroad in developing nations, there are<br />

an estimated 16.9 million people who<br />

menstruate living in poverty in the U.S.,<br />

according to Medical News Today in 2021.<br />

Anne Sebert Kuhlmann, associate<br />

professor of behavioral science and health<br />

education in the College for Public Health<br />

and Social Justice at St. Louis University<br />

and a Director of the Master of Public<br />

Health program, is a researcher who has<br />

always worked in maternal reproductive<br />

health. Kuhlmann was introduced to<br />

period insecurity by Dignity Period, a<br />

nonprofit organization that keeps girls<br />

in school by ensuring they have access to<br />

quality menstrual hygiene products and<br />

education and has served on the board since<br />

2018. Dignity Period exclusively worked in<br />

<strong>No</strong>rthern Ethiopia until Kuhlmann started<br />

her research in St. Louis in 2019.<br />

“We realized that there was a decent<br />

amount of attention to this issue in lowerincome<br />

countries like Ethiopia, Uganda,<br />

Nepal, but there was almost no discussion<br />

of it in places like the United States or other<br />

high-income countries,” said Kuhlmann.<br />

“That really planted a seed in the back of<br />

our head, like wait a second. If people are<br />

struggling to get by, struggling to meet<br />

their basic needs, they may very well be<br />

struggling with this.”<br />

After receiving funding,<br />

Kuhlmann started her research in the St.<br />

Louis area, partnering with 10 community<br />

service organizations, such as food pantries,<br />

job training centers and day shelters. 64%<br />

of the women surveyed indicated that they<br />

experienced period poverty in the past<br />

year, and 20% of the women indicated<br />

that they experienced period poverty<br />

every month. Comparatively, in St. Louis,<br />

21.8% or one in five people live in poverty,<br />

according to the U.S. census.<br />

For many experiencing period<br />

poverty, it is a situation plagued by a lack<br />

of information, education and resources<br />

which leads many to struggle in silence.<br />

This impacts school attendance, health<br />

and quality of life.<br />

“It really affects your dignity, your<br />

sense of self-worth, your ability to care<br />

for yourself,” said Kuhlmann. “Imagine<br />

this: you only have one pair of underwear,<br />

and you’re making makeshift pads and<br />

homemade tampons, but then they get<br />

stained. How does that make you feel?<br />

You’ve got dirty, soiled underwear, and<br />

you’re walking around with nothing to do<br />

about it.”<br />

Kuhlmann said when people rely<br />

on homemade products and stretch out<br />

the duration of use, it leads to an increased<br />

risk of urinary tract infections and vaginal<br />

infections. While there is little data in the<br />

U.S., a case study published in the Global<br />

Journal of Health Science found that<br />

65.7% of schoolgirls in India who used<br />

homemade menstrual products reported<br />

urogenital infections compared to 12.3%<br />

of those using sanitary pads.<br />

While Kuhlmann’s study<br />

emphasized the inability of many women<br />

to access products, there is a larger<br />

conversation that many in this field said<br />

needs to happen.<br />

“It’s rooted in misogyny,” said<br />

Elizabeth Lester, student engagement<br />

coordinator at The University of Alabama’s<br />

Women and Gender Resource Center.<br />

“People are like, ‘I’m not misogynistic,’<br />

but then don’t mind when [someone’s]<br />

daughter has to miss school for a week<br />

because of her period.”<br />

Seven students at Bronx Prep<br />

Middle School in New York decided to<br />

change their school’s culture regarding<br />

menstruation. After polling classmates,<br />

they found that 67% of female students<br />

said “they feel uncomfortable discussing<br />

their periods at school because it’s not<br />

anybody’s business” and 33% of students<br />

said “periods were a dirty topic.” By<br />

talking about the stigma surrounding<br />

menstruation, these girls were able to<br />

get people nationwide to start having<br />

conversations about menstruation, and<br />

“Sssh! Periods” became the first-ever<br />

grand prize winner in the NPR Student<br />

Podcast Challenge.<br />

While the conversation is<br />

changing at Bronx Prep Middle School,<br />

other school districts are still perpetuating<br />

the stigma. Commissioned by Thinx and<br />

PERIOD, a nationwide study found that<br />

84% of students in the US have either<br />

missed class time or know someone<br />

who has due to a lack of access to period<br />

products, and one in five teens struggled to<br />

purchase period products or were not able<br />

to purchase them at all.<br />

Some school districts and states,<br />

on the other hand, are fighting for their<br />

menstruating students. In Ann Arbor,<br />

Michigan, a law was passed to stock all<br />

public toilets with menstrual products.<br />

On May 17, 2021, Alabama passed a law<br />

in which feminine hygiene products would<br />

be available at no cost to students upon<br />

request. The bill cited recent efforts by two<br />

13-year-old Montgomery students, Brooke<br />

Bennett and Breanna Bennett. The twin<br />

sisters founded Women In Training as a<br />

nonprofit to provide menstrual products<br />

to those unable to afford them.<br />

Stephanie McClure, assistant<br />

professor of anthropology at The<br />

University of Alabama, previously worked<br />

with Kuhlmann at St. Louis University and<br />

is now partnering up with her to get more<br />

data in the south.<br />

“We got back in touch because<br />

I was using [Kuhlmann’s] articles in the<br />

classes I was teaching on health inequities,<br />

and we started talking about maybe<br />

duplicating some of the work she had done<br />

down here,” said McClure. “We want to be<br />

able to compare the situations and needs<br />

so that we can both increase awareness<br />

of this issue and contribute to the policy<br />

action that is taking place.”<br />

Currently, there are 27 states<br />

that continue to tax menstrual products.<br />

These states consider menstrual products<br />

to be “luxury” items and not a need. In<br />

Alabama, the combined state and local<br />

rate is 9.22%, which would generate $5.4<br />

million in revenue, according to Period<br />

Equity. States profit off of menstruation,<br />

and when they eliminate the period tax,<br />

they lose millions. According to Global<br />

Citizen, when California eliminated taxes<br />

on diapers and menstrual products, they<br />

lost about $55 million in revenue per year.<br />

“You always have to ask yourself,<br />

‘Would this happen to a man?’” said Lester.<br />

“Would there ever be a bodily activity that<br />

a man would have once a month that would<br />

keep him from doing things that would not<br />

be then catered to him?”<br />




alice.ua.edu<br />

@alicethemag<br />

@alicethemag<br />

<strong>Alice</strong> Magazine<br />



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