Pop-Culture | Posted by Darializa Avila-Chevalier on 04/24/2014

Choosing Not to Support Marginalization of Minority Groups Through Illustration

As an artist for my college’s newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, I sometimes have to illustrate pieces laced with unrecognized privilege. I’ve drawn for articles that fetishize poverty in Spanish Harlem and pieces that depict the “Columbia experience” as entirely universal to its student body. I’ve also illustrated for authors who have complained that “their privilege excludes them from conversation.” As a result, I, a low-income, Afro-Latina, first-generation American woman, feel alienated in my own community. This is not to say that Spec’s contributors aim to drown out the voices of the marginalized—I believe most have good intentions and hope to create a forum of expression safe for all identities. But intention is irrelevant when people of marginalized identities feel the ever-present divide reinforced.

I love illustrating for Spectator, …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Paulina P on 04/2/2014

Body Shaming In College Health Services Needs to Stop

“So it says on your record that you have a history with an eating disorder.”

“Yes,” I sputtered. I know it’s true, but no matter how many times the nurse practitioners read it to me at Barnard College Student Health Services, it still feels uncomfortable.

“All right, well, we have a new policy where we have to weigh you once a year. I know we weighed you in the fall, but let’s just do it again.”

For years, these numbers ruled my world. Every day I would step on the scale, and that determined my worth—which is why in my second year of recovery, I refuse to weigh myself. In the fall, a nurse read the same medical history to me. She told me the same policy, and I stepped …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 03/22/2014

Saturday Vids: The Girls of Atomic City

I personally love uncovered stories of how women shaped history, which is why I’m adding The Girls of Atomic City to my reading list. The book covers how at the height of WWII, thousands of young girls – many in their teens – were recruited to the secret city of Oak Ridge, TN, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work.  Each girl was given a specific role and forbidden to ask about its ultimate goal or discuss with anyone else.  Kept in the dark, the girls were completely unaware what their individual roles were working together to accomplish until the atomic bomb was dropped. Denise Kiernan reveals the story behind the first Manhattan Project which began in NYC in 1942.

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Joneka P on 03/17/2014

Black Women Create: Highlighting Black Women in Film and TV

Many people underestimate the power that representation in the media can have for young girls, and especially young girls of color–but connecting with the experiences of another person and empathizing with their stories and lives is powerful.  Whenever we talk about why representation matters, I always think about this quote from actress Whoopi Goldberg:

“When I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

Now, though, television seems overwhelmingly white. It wasn’t always this way. I grew up watching shows like Good Times, A Different …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Christina T on 03/5/2014

Who Are You Calling A Feminist?

Feminism is confronting its “uncool” reputation all over again, but this time it’s the least likely candidates rejecting the movement: women. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift and others have all made statements indicating that they’re less than eager to take up the feminist mantle.

Quirky, trend-setting celebrity Lady Gaga, is a New York pop singer best known for performing in outfits akin to knickers and heels. Her appearance is aggressively sexual and in control, like many a male rock star. She has also attracted attention for her blatant rejection of feminism. In one interview she said: ”I’m not a feminist – I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars.”

Taylor Swift, the ever popular singer/songwriter famous …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 03/1/2014

Saturday Vids: Lily Myers “Shrinking Woman”

You may have already seen the viral video of Lily Myers’ beautiful spoken poem “Shrinking Woman,” but in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, it’s definitely worth experiencing again. All I can say is PREACH, Lily.

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Amanda C on 02/26/2014

Vogue vs Dunham vs Jezebel

Recently, I have been caught up in thinking about Lena Dunham’s photo-shoot for Vogue Magazine.  I am an avid Girls watcher and a Lena Dunham fan: she’s quirky, funny, sharp, and not afraid to say what she believes.  So, of course, I was thrilled to see her on the cover of Vogue, a media source that would be far more likely to photograph the Giseles of the world than the Lenas.  But a controversy began to surround the photo – a controversy not instigated by those who wanted to take a quirky intellectual like Lena off the cover, but by Jezebel, a website which considers themselves to have a feminist aim.

Jezebel quickly responded to the photos of Dunham with skepticism about the images, offered to pay $10,000 for the …

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Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Paulina P on 02/24/2014

Body Positivity Looks Different For Each Person

I clearly did not wake up like this. There is liquid eyeliner on my eyes to create this cat eye, there is bronzer on my cheekbones to create the illusion that I have been in the sunlight, and there is fire-engine red lipstick on my lips to make me feel like Marilyn Monroe. But let me tell you, I feel fierce. I feel sexy. I feel unstoppable.

My friend and I recently held a Body Positive photo shoot campaign as a publicity event for the Eating Disorders Awareness and Body Positive Week we are organizing at Columbia University. Since the week is Feb. 24 to 27, we wanted to get people excited and involved before our week of events. We asked students to come in their most confident form and …

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