Where are women on Grounds??

Story By: Pinky Hossain

The art we use to decorate our spaces says a lot about us. My dentist, for example, has simple, minimalist paintings and sculptures from local artists ornamenting her office walls. She likes to support local efforts and has modest taste. Really, it’s her values that adorn the room. Now I wonder what it would look like if she almost exclusively adorned her office with paintings and sculptures commemorating the old white men that have given her the money to fund her dentist endeavors, what kind of vibe that might set off in the room, and how her clients might react to the art installations of old white men. Let’s add, just as a thought experiment, some historical context to the office itself. Say that the space was built by a group of people that were oppressed by those same old white men. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t particularly comfortable with waiting for my teeth to be cleaned in a room like that.

The University of Virginia is a bit bigger and more complicated than a dentist’s office, but the same ideas apply. The art in our spaces around Grounds say a lot about the values that we hold, and it tells me that UVa does not revere women or people of color (it goes without saying that women of color are especially underrepresented) because the majority of the visuals that occupy the most important areas around Grounds, namely the ones that we study in, that we think in, that we process in, that we learn in, that we reflect in, are of old white men. What is more, we can’t have a conversation about old white men dominating the art sphere here without discussing who physically made this university: slaves. Although there are areas memorializing slaves at UVa, like Gibbons dorm which is named after William and Isabella Gibbons who were enslaved by professors here, we lack visual art (sculptors, statues, paintings, etc) commemorating them.


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BLACK

Story By: Taylor Lamb

“…never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never seen even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture. In music they are more generally gifted than the whites, with accurate ears for tune and time… Whether they will be equal to the composition of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated harmony, is yet to be proved.” -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

You know those weeks when everything just seems super connected?

In my AAS class, we were reading The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. This is one of the most important texts in African American Literature, and I’d say it’s required reading. (It’s only $2 at the book-store, get you one.) We discussed how he employs ethnomusicology in his work. He speaks of Negro Spirituals and tells us how you can listen to them to understand the people. The music tells of their lives, their struggles, their hopes, etc. The music is the story.  


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Story By: Madeline Baker

This past December, I came out to Corpus Christi society as an eligible bachelorette.

Now if you are completely confused or utterly repulsed by this sentence, let me break it down for you. For centuries, young women have been presented as debutantes to their respective societies with the goal of securing a suitable husband with whom to “settle down.” A huge ball is thrown, and fathers present their daughters as the newest debutantes of the season, which is usually a year in length. So there I was in December. My brother strutted me around a ballroom as members of my family watched seven other girls and I make our formal debut in my hometown of Corpus Christi, TX. No, I’m not looking to get married anytime soon, and I certainly don’t see myself as being any more eligible as a woman than the next girl. I did, however, feel like this event was totally out of character for me. I didn’t want anyone thinking I was an object capable of being picked up by any guy who had his eyes on me. I certainly wasn’t forced by my mother into participating in this event, but prior to the presentation I felt as though I was losing myself in the process. Was this what I thought femininity was, or could I find a way to be a debutante and a feminist at the same time?


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Story By: Madeline Baker

It’s spring semester at UVA, and it seems everyone has one thing on his or her mind: internships. Whether an internship is paid, unpaid, summer or year round, it’s a great way to get real world experience. If you know anything about internships, though, you know that these positions are limited and really competitive. You could have a stellar GPA, awesome references, and hold a number of leadership roles on Grounds and still find yourself in intense competition for any internship. With internships this intense, why would anyone accept one that wasn’t crazy fun with super rewarding opportunities? If this criteria is describes what you are looking for, then search no further and check out the Women’s Center internship program! These year-long internships are a chance to take part in real social change on Grounds and provide participants with valuable opportunities to get involved at UVA. If you still aren’t convinced, here are 5 reasons to apply to the Women’s Center internship program for the 2017-2018 school year.


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The End of #OscarsSoWhite…?

Story By: Taylor Lamb

The long-awaited weekend has finally arrived. This Sunday, at 8:30 EST, is the 89th Annual Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. This is the oh-so-exciting time when actors, directors, screenwriters, and basically everyone in the movie business get recognized (or snubbed) for their hard work. I am one of the hopeful few who aspires to work in the entertainment industry someday, so the Oscars is something that I always look forward to. However, this year even more so, because in the Best Picture category (among others), there are not one, not two, but THREE black movies nominated! And that, my friends, is no small feat.

If you were on social media at all around Oscar Nominations the past two years, then you should have heard about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. #OscarsSoWhite was a hashtag, started by writer April Reign, to highlight the lack of diversity in the nominees for the Oscars. She started it in 2015 when all 20 actors nominated for the lead and supporting actors category were white. In our so-called “Diverse” America, and the so-called “progressive” Entertainment industry, this is something that should never happen. And then, in 2016, it happened again. Not only did people fight back by lambasting the Oscars on social media, but celebrities actually chose to boycott the Oscars due to this grievance. The Academy reacted accordingly and there were letters written and changes made in response. Did it actually lead to change? Well, that’s up to interpretation but having three movies that not only feature black people in starring roles but also discuss black issues, nominated in major categories is definitely something to celebrate. Let’s get into those.

Moonlight

Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 11.10.38 AMNominations:

 

  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris)
  • Best Director (Barry Jenkins)
  • Best Original Music Score (Nicholas Britell)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing

 

Iris has already published a piece about Moonlight, so I won’t delve into this so other than to say that I agree with Maddie’s observations wholeheartedly. Moonlight is stunning. It’s thought-provoking. It’s a tear-jerker (I literally cried at least 4 times). And it is so freaking important. I would say that about most films that touch on blackness, but this is a representation of a black gay man, and that is not something to be taken lightly. So frequently, “black” and “gay” are treated as mutually exclusive burdens that one bears, and LGBT black people are ignored. The fact that a movie about these intersections has gotten all the acclaim it has (despite the fact that I had to drive 40 minutes to see it– it wasn’t even playing at Stonefield, which says a lot right there!) is so exciting. It has already received so many awards this season from other shows, and the Oscars better not be any different.


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