Let’s Sexualize Halloween: Costumes 101

TGIFs Halloween Rachel McAdams
Though it’s only the end of September, Halloween is right around the corner. To start off the Halloween season, I thought I would share a costume comparison with you. Notice anything? Perhaps that the women’s costumes have about a tenth of the amount of material as the men’s costumes. Does that seem a little weird to you? I don’t have a problem with women wearing skimpy clothes, but why shouldn’t men show off their bodies too? This year, mix it up a little. I dare all women to wear something more modest and all men to wear something a little more scandalous. Fight the sexualized expectations!
Men vs. Women
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Study Abroad Blog

Hey guys, my study abroad blog, youreofftogreatplaces.wordpress.com, featuring my time in Cape Town, South Africa last semester is on Skidmore’s study abroad website. Check it out here: http://academics.skidmore.edu/blogs/ocse/blogs-from-abroad/

Who Really Invented Yik Yak?

Yik Yak

The iPhone app Yik Yak has gotten a ton of publicity recently, blowing up at college campuses around the country. For people who don’t know, Yik Yak is similar to Twitter, but it is totally anonymous. It is mostly used to talk about a lack of sex lives, complain about the dining hall food, and discuss way too many bodily functions for my comfort. Yik Yak works on the idea that we love to peer into others’ lives, see what they’re thinking, and know their secrets. Additionally, Yik Yak only functions because we WANT to share this private information about ourselves – we crave knowing the secrets of others and we love the recognition we get for sharing our own secrets from behind a curtain of anonymity.

Yik Yak was invented by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, two students at Furman University. While these two students may have invented the Yik Yak app, they are far from the first people to have the idea. The Victorians (of 19th century England) had a very similar creation in their newspapers – something called the Agony Column. According to Matthew Rubery, an expert on the Victorians, “Advertisements in the agony column served a wide range of purposes, from covert notes between lovers to conspiratorial messages between criminals… In this sense, reading the agony column was similar to peeking into someone else’s diary or eavesdropping on a conversation between strangers.”

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Rubery’s quote explains the exact idea of Yik Yak – spying into a someone’s personal journal or private conversation. While agony column advertisements were aimed more at the individuals who would be able to identify the message, Yik Yak is usually aimed at the more general audience of a college. What both Yik Yak and the agony columns have in common, though, is the concept of creating a community that revolves around secrecy. They provide an outlet for secrets that are too hard to keep, private information that wants to be shared, secret messages between individuals, and they allow community to bond over a common source of gossip.

To illustrate my point, I will share a few posts and advertisements from both Yik Yak and the agony columns. But which ones are which? See if you can guess.

1. “Very tired of you. Stay away. The world is wide enough for two.”

2. “I don’t stop eating when I’m full. The meal isn’t over when I’m full. It’s over when I hate myself.”

3. “If I’ve learned anything in my life it’s to not fully trust ANYONE.”

4. “Ten pounds reward. Missing, a Gentleman with two left legs, a squint in his right eye, several teeth missing, trousers that declined to fit him, feet that turned in, and a general hang-dog look. The above reward will be given to any one who doesn’t bring him back. (This would seem to be an excellent investment, judging by appearances.)”

While you may have guessed that the 4th quote was from an agony column, it might come as a surprise that the first is also an agony column advertisement; it sounds very much like it could be a Yik Yak post. Yik Yak is amazingly successful, as were the agony columns, and based off the same premise. So who really invented Yik Yak? Droll and Buffington or the Victorians? You decide.

Sources

Rubery, Matthew. The Novelty of Newspapers. London: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Punch Historical Archive (London, England), Saturday, February 20, 1875; pg. 86. (119 words).

My Totally Biased and Technologically Uninformed Opinions of Some of the Apps on my iPhone

Pandora: I mean, free music. So that’s always great. But then there’s the whole “Hey there Pandora listeners” ad crap… No, shut up I do not want to buy your sandwich, Arby’s. Go away. That Disney station tho…

Shazam: Shazam is the bomb. I love it. Sometimes it could go a little faster… and I’m sorry but you can’t hear the radio? I can hear it! Why the hell can’t you hear it? Fuck dis.

Skype: Skype is awesome and when you’re feeling way too lazy to actually find your computer and set it up, the iPhone Skype app is the best. Be warned: your arm will get tired if you plan on holding your phone the whole time. Also, it makes you sign in like every damn time, and I’m not about that life.

Netflix: OHMYGOD the Netflix app is the best thing that has ever happened to the world. Yes. I stand by that statement.

Pinterest: I <3 Pinterest. All the crafts a stay-at-home mom could imagine. I luv it.

Instagram: Basically the best way to see what is happening in your friends’ lives. Especially if they happen to be studying abroad in some awesome country. Also to brag about how pretty the place is that you’re in.

Snapchat: Yo dat snapchat lyfe. It’s 100% the best way to check in with people and let them know that you’re alive. And/or drunk.

A Fraternity Flagged “Hot Girls” at a Party to Make Sure They Got Roofied Drinks

solo cup

In case you don’t understand how serious of an issue sexual assault on college campuses is, please read this article about a fraternity that flagged “hot girls” to make sure they got roofied drinks at the frat party. Sexual assault is terrible and is an epidemic that is sweeping the country. I am a sociology major and am currently researching sexual assault at public and private universities around the United States. One thing I’ve already learned is that over 30 sexual assaults occurred at Harvard University alone last year. OVER 30. If you’re interested in learning more, I’ll be posting information from my senior thesis at the end of the semester. Stay tuned!

10 Things People Love About The Fall That You Should Totally Hate

I truly do not understand the obsession with pumpkin-flavored things. But I love apple picking.

Is This Why I'm Still Single?

1.) Pumpkin Flavored Everything

Okay, what’s the deal about gourds? Pumpkins are for jack-o-lanterns, not for flavoring lattes and Oreos. I mean I get it- pumpkin pie is good or whatever. But Pumpkin Spice Lattes are so expensive and overrated and taste like asshole (not the good kind).

2.) Apple Picking

Apple Picking is NOT fun. That’s why we have people work minimum wage to collect them for us! Like the only reason people enjoy apple picking is because we wish we weren’t such pansies/didn’t spend all of our time indoors.

3.) Sweater Weather

Sweaters are cute. But like who the fuck actually likes the cold? Also, if you wear sweaters every day of the fall you’re either a useless hipster, an obnoxious homosexual or a plus sized girl who tries to overcompensate for her insecurities by overdressing.

4.) Football

Because there’s nothing worse than watching girls who know nothing…

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5 Life Lessons From Miley Cyrus

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At this point, most people know that I am a huge supporter of Miley Cyrus. My love of Miley is not unwarranted. She is an amazing, spunky, weird young woman, and I love almost everything about her. Miley has stirred up a ton of controversy by just being herself, but she is a role model for Generation Y-ers everywhere. Miley Cyrus’s decisions and life choices have been scrutinized all over the media, but she has taught me a ton of things about how to live my life.

1. Go after what you want. Miley Cyrus never stands in the background waiting for her life to happen. When she didn’t get the role of Hannah Montana the first time she tried out, she auditioned again, not taking no for an answer. Chase your dreams – they won’t come find you.

2. It’s okay to grow up. People are upset that Miley didn’t maintain her “wholesome Disney image,” but blaming her for growing up is not fair. She grew up, cut her hair, changed her style, and became even more beautiful than she ever was before.

3. Don’t be afraid to be you. Obviously a fan like myself follows Miley on Instagram, but what I’ve noticed about Miley through her social media is that she is never afraid to embrace her weirdness. She wears silly clothes, takes makeup-free selfies, and shares pictures that are important to her. Never hide your personality – be you.

4. Don’t judge others; be open to differences. Miley has a tattoo of an equals sign on her ring finger, symbolizing her belief in marriage equality. Beyond that, though, she brought a young homeless man from Salem, Oregon to the MTV Video Music Awards with her this year. Miley doesn’t discriminate against people who are different and stigmatized by the rest of society – we should all learn from Miley’s openness and acceptance.

5. Embrace your sexuality. Miley’s clothing and dancing are a harmless public show of sexuality. She has a beautiful body, a vivacious spirit, and a fun attitude – expressing that in her physical appearance is just her way to share that with the world.

In case you didn’t pick this up by now, Miley is my idol. I think a lot of people are intrigued and captivated by Miley Cyrus but are afraid to approve of her. Miley fans, come out of the woodwork – no shame in loving Miley. She rocks.

Skidmore Crushes: An Interview With the Creator

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We all remember two years ago when college crush and compliment Facebook pages were all the rage. They were the best way to anonymously send a love letter, compliment a friend who had a bad day, or make a shout out to someone sexy on campus. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the brief but beloved Facebook page, Skidmore Crushes, with one of the creators and asked her some questions about the experience.

How did you decide to start the Skidmore Crushes page?

A friend of mine approached me on Valentine’s Day and said she really wanted to do it. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so together we decided we’d run the page. While we watched Love Actually with friends, we crafted our plan on our phones. Afterwards, we set up the page and started friending everyone we knew.

Was running the page what you expected it to be?

I don’t think I really had any expectations, but there were some surprises. For example, did you know that when you friend a ton of people in one day, Facebook starts asking you if you actually know them? That slowed us down a lot, we had to tell Facebook that yes, we did actually know the person every time. When the page started getting really popular, we had to set up an Excel document to keep track of all the crushes coming in to make sure we posted them all in a timely manner.

Did anyone ever catch on?

I don’t think so. There were a few times where we struggled to keep our cool, especially when our friends were talking about it or when people submitted crushes about people we knew well, but for the most part I think we did an okay job playing dumb.

What were some of the best crush posts you remember getting?

Uhhhhhh, that’s tough. I don’t really remember specific posts that much, but I remember that one person who didn’t understand how the page worked just posted on it as himself, writing about a crush, and that was really funny. Probably awkward for him, but the comments that followed were great too.

The page got shut down really quickly and seemingly out-of-the-blue. What happened?

Someone from Skidmore’s communications department (or something like that) emailed us and told us we couldn’t have it up anymore since it said Skidmore’s name in it. I’m still not really sure of the reason or why Skidmore Compliments has been up and running again for the past year, but we didn’t want to get in trouble, so we shut it down.

Did you ever think about starting up the page again?

It came up a few times, but we never really got around to it. We were thinking about re-opening it for a single day, Valentine’s Day, this year, but that never really came to fruition. It would be fun, but it was SO time consuming that I don’t think we’d be able to do it successfully anymore.

So there you have it, friends, straight from one of the creators of Skidmore Crushes.  Who knows, maybe we’ll see a return of Skidmore Crushes at some point this year (we’ll be extra sure to watch for it on February 14th). Until then, Compliment away, we’ll be reading.

Dear Catcallers, F*** You

catcall

Last night I went on a Target trip with friends, as we do on a very regular basis. Walking into the store, a guy whistled at us from his car. When we didn’t respond or look his direction, he yelled at us. At that point, I turned around and shouted, “you wish!” Probably not my best comeback, but it was the best thing I could come up with on the spot. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, my friend turned to me and said, “okay, let’s not.” I’ve been catcalled many times in my years as a young woman, but this was the first time I ever yelled back, and it was also the first time I was shut down by another woman. It came as a surprise to me how angry this made me. Not only do men get approval for objectifying women, but women get shut down by other women for standing up for themselves.

When I shouted back at the beedy-eyed bastard who catcalled us from the safety of his car, my heart was pounding and I questioned my actions subconsciously a thousand times before I yelled. But why? Because society has taught me to try to ignore the men who shout profane things at me; because I know that men who yell things like that could be a threat to me; because society tells me to let him yell things at me and continue to let him think it’s okay; because it is actually scary to be yelled at in a dark parking lot at night; and because in my almost 21 years, society has let me think that I don’t have the right to stand up for myself against men who objectify and diminish me.

And that is not okay.

So catcalling men,
It is the 21st fucking century. I’m sick of the catcalls, the “mmm sexy” muttered under your breath, the kissy noises when I walk by, and the unsolicited touching of my hair, my face, and my body in bars. I will not have sex with you. I will not flirt with you. I will not give you the time of day. I will never take it as a compliment when you objectify my body. I will not ignore you – I will fight back. I am a human being with a mind and a voice and if you are unwilling to see me as your equal, then I’m perfectly fine being your superior. 

And silent women,
Start standing up for yourselves, your friends, and your fellow women. Wear what you want. Don’t take shit from men who see you as just another piece of ass. This is a call to action; we can’t just sit around expecting things to change. If we are silent, the catcalls and whistles and shouts of sexism will continue. By not shouting back, laughing at their pathetic attempts at demoralizing us, and standing our ground, we are letting men continue to believe it is okay to treat us this way. You deserve better. Would you stand by if it were your daughter being shouted at?

finger

If you need more encouragement, check out Jessica Williams, comedian, feminist, and Daily Show correspondant:

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/v7vq7r/masters-of-sexism—claps-and-catcalls

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/z2b627/the-fault-in-our-schools

And if you don’t agree, check out this Buzzfeed post and then get back to me:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/things-no-one-tells-you-about-being-a-woman?bffb#1n5m9j1

 

(first image via blindgossip.com, second image via commons.wikimedia.org)

Defending Women Doesn’t Make You Less Of A Man

JamesMSama.com

If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a tendency to speak out about hot button issues that affect us as a species and as a society. Issues that treat others unfairly or unjustly. The latest of which in the pop-culture mainstream is the leaking of hacked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, and multiple other female celebrities.

Inevitably, I notice a specific backlash in the comments both on this blog, and on Facebook. Typically, it comes from men. Rarely do I ever face resistance from women when speaking about equality and human rights. Why is this? Perhaps it is because women have lacking these basic rights for centuries and they still feel the sting, no matter how big or small, here in 2014.

aman2

Could it be fear? Fear that someone else being equal to you somehow puts you on a lesser level than you would be if they…

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10 Annoying Things People Do On Facebook

Is This Why I'm Still Single?

1.) Seriously share articles that are clearly satirical or blatantly untrue.

I’m not a doctor or anything pero like you sharing a picture isn’t going to save some child’s life.

2.) Comment on someone else’s wall post

Newsflash bitches, if my friend writes on my wall it means he was trying to talk to ME! If you didn’t receive an evite to this conversation please see yourself out.

3.) Not wish me a Happy Birthday on my wall.

If you’re online and we’re friends then you are socially obligated to wish me a “Happy Birthday”. If you don’t just know that I will actually begin to plot your death.

4.) Invite everyone to your Facebook events.

Okay, so here’s the deal- if we’re not friends then please DO NOT invite me to your birthday party/college event/bar mitzvah of your cousin. Chances are you don’t actually need to invite all 900…

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Skylar Kergil and Finding Happiness

My freshman year of college, Skylar Kergil was a sophomore and a peer mentor for my friends’ freshman seminar. He was artsy, cool, and confident. My sophomore year, I was a tour guide and I attended “Everyday Leadership Training.” A panel of students spoke about their experiences, both positive and negative, about being leaders. Sklyar told a story about dealing with his gender identity. This was the first time I found out he was transgender.

Now, I don’t know if Skylar even knows who I am, but his story has always interested me, ever since that day in August of 2012. Today, I saw this Upworthy video posted by some fellow Skidmore students, featuring none other than Skylar Kergil. I watched his video and was awed and astounded by his story. We can all find inspiration in Skylar’s story – to be ourselves, to be brave, and to find our happiness. I’m honored to know you, Skylar – keep being amazing.

Check out the following links:

Sklyar on Upworthy.

Skylar’s WordPress Blog.