Story by Allyson Cartwright
Photos courtesy of World Hijab Day at UVA

Muslim students at the University of Virginia are encouraging their fellow non-Muslim students to show their solidarity against Islamophobia by donning headscarves, or Hijabs, for World Hijab Day. World Hijab Day at U.Va. begins on Feb. 1st and students will continue to wear them through Feb. 5th, when a dialogue will be held at 4:00 PM in the Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room to openly discuss the Hijab and Islam. It is stressed that this dialogue will represent people of diverse backgrounds and opinions on Islam. Throughout the week, hosts for the event will be operating photobooths at Alderman Library and Newcomb Dining Hall to engage with supporters.

Attiya Latif, a second-year College student and the main organizer of the event expressed that the purpose of this event is for the community to show a united front against Islamophobia and also to enlighten others to the reality of intolerance that Muslims in America face. Latif said of the event, “It is a day in which, fully aware of the connotation of wearing the Hijab, all are invited to engage in total immersion into the experience of some Muslim women.”

The World Hijab Day at U.Va. blog offers instructions on how to wear the Hijab and how they suggest men can participate as well. Katelyn Fadely, a fourth-year College student and non-Muslim, plans on participating in the event and said “I think that it’s important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—or Hijab—before judging their life choices.”

For some non-Muslims, there is apprehension about wearing the Hijab considering the potential implications as cultural appropriation. Fadely said that while she plans on participating in the event and is eager to support her Muslim peers, she is worried about how it will be received by others. Fadely said, “I will admit that I’m a little nervous about the reactions of any community members because I don’t want to offend anyone,” she continued, “Although, I’m confident that the UVA community will be positively receptive, but I hope that our surrounding community will as well.”


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These photos together comprise a portion of the exhibit Every Body, taken and curated by Iris Magazine intern Kendall Siewert. Each U.Va woman who volunteered for the project was accepted, and the photos you see below represent her vision to the best of the photographer’s ability. Every woman wrote their story to accompany their photograph.

A note from the photographer: I do not consider myself a photographer or an artist. I am a storyteller. My conviction that every body has a story worth telling, and my desire to somehow share these stories with others is how this project was born. Each woman you see below showed immense vulnerability and bravery, many opening up their most intimate thoughts to a complete stranger, some of them for the first time. I am just the messenger of these stories.  I did little but listen, point and shoot. So, to these deeply remarkable women – thank you for telling your stories, and to everyone reading this – thank you for listening.

I would also like to thank the entire Iris Magazine team, especially Alison Kuhn and Olivia Knott, along with The University of Virginia, Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center for their unwavering support. An additional deserving thanks goes to my roommates Emilie Mills and Nikki Russell, who sat in the photo studio for hours holding lights, and Amanda Davis, who taught me that sometimes all it takes to hear a story is simply to ask.

This gallery is dedicated to my grandmother, because within it you will find the whole of my heart.


 

YASMIN

My scar is a reminder of my strength. It does not take away from my beauty, but it is a facet of it. I earned this scar when my body was the most vulnerable. It is a reminder of how precious life is and how it can be taken away at an instant. I have learned to accept my scar and have learned to appreciate its rigid beauty. My scar on my arm is a physical reminder of the destructiveness of drunk driving, but the psychological scar of my accident remains invisible to the world.

 

ARRIETTA

IMG_7611

I was in a long-term abusive relationship that really affected the way I felt about myself. Because of the ongoing psychological and emotional abuse, in addition to other forms as well, I was not allowed to feel good about myself or be in control of my personal decisions. Now that I’m out of the relationship, I am able to decide how I want to feel about myself, and I’ve really been able to come to a place of self-love. I’m not afraid to share myself with others anymore, and I’ve been able to realize that I deserve love from myself and others.


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Story by Sammy Scheman

Going to college is an amazing experience. Everyone tells you that before you go, but it’s hard to really understand why it’s so important until you live through it yourself. Living on my own as an adult has been a new and confusing experience. I liked the increased independence to some extent, but was unaware of how scary this new “real world” could be. Classes and experiences alike helped me learn how to navigate the difficulties of this new world. For example, I didn’t know anything about our confusing and expansive legal system before taking Commercial Law I with Professor Sherri Moore. This class taught me the worth and importance of understanding the legal system through real world applications and interesting, informative lectures. Here are some of the most important laws and rights I learned about that all college students should know.

 

1. Landowners who overstay their welcome are not only annoying, but also illegal.

According to the laws of non-freehold estates, which are agreements in which you share ownership of real property with a landlord, there are certain rights assigned to the tenant and the landlord, along with certain duties. The tenant has ownership rights, which give us the exclusive right to use and possess the land as well as non-possessory leasehold provisions that touch and concern the land for a definite or ascertainable period of time along with a covenant of quiet enjoyment. What does that mean in English? “Non-possessory leasehold provisions” refer to the timely maintenance of your apartment and the overall upkeep of your living conditions. “A covenant of quiet enjoyment” means that this apartment belongs to you now, so you can kick out your landlord anytime you want.

You have the right to be left alone in your apartment.

2. Your landlord has a duty to fix the leaking sink.

And any other maintenance repairs in a timely fashion. There are certain duties that come with a leasehold agreement. For the tenant, these duties include paying rent, maintaining the premises, and not violating the lease. For the landlord, one of these duties is maintenance. They have a responsibility to make any necessary repairs in a timely fashion. The landlord also has to abide by the implied warranty of habitability. This means the property must be safe, sanitary, and weather proof.

You have the right be to be able to live comfortably in your apartment.


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Story by Allyson Cartwright

A hidden gem emerged out of the 2015 Virginia Film Festival in the German flick Victoria. This year’s festival garnered its largest audience yet and featured some star-studded films like the Cate Blanchett-helmed Carol, and Brooklyn, starring Saiorse Ronan. A film that stands out, however, is Victoria, directed by Sebastian Schipper and starring Laia Costa and Frederick Lau. The film has already won Outstanding Feature Film at the German Film Awards. When the programmer of the Virginia Film Festival, Wesley Harris, came out to introduce the film, he said it was one of the longest single-shot films ever produced and I felt a pain of agony at the thought of watching such a long and unedited film. But, after seeing Victoria, the two-and-a-half hour length film still left me wanting more and the single-shot camera style could not have been more fittingly brilliant.

The film starts out with a 20-something Spaniard named Victoria partying in an underground Berlin nightclub. She is alone, inebriated, and in a euphoric state. It is suggested that Victoria is lonely in this foreign country. As she is getting ready to exit the nightclub, she comes across a rowdy group of guys who crack jokes and make cheeky comments to the bouncer about Victoria being their friend and needing to be in the club with her. As they all leave together, a fast friendship forms between the group and Victoria.

The acting and dialogue in the film is so realistic that it recalled my own memories of travelling to Europe. Victoria is giggly and shy among these strange foreign guys and they pick up on it, which I think any foreign girl travelling in Europe can relate to. The guys become fond of Victoria’s foreign innocence and her sweetness, and try to get her to open up. There are jokes about their communication being lost in translation and playful teasing among the guys. The group’s interactions become kind of endearing and the guys’ friendship developing with Victoria seems natural.

The guys—Sonne, Fuss, Boxer, and Blinker—are wild from the get-go, but they start to appear a little dangerous after they begin smoking weed on a building rooftop. Boxer mentions to Victoria that he got the scar on his hand after being in a prison fight. These inklings of danger can almost go ignored. Their night of youthful messing-around and the silliness of the guys make the audience feel the bond that Victoria does. Despite the obvious red-flags, the guys still seem trustworthy. It turns out that Boxer owes money to someone for protection they gave him in prison. This person wants Boxer to do a bank robbery job that requires four men, but Fuss is too inebriated to be of any help. Boxer coerces Sonne to convince Victoria to be their getaway driver. He is hesitant to involve her, but Victoria is eager to help her new friends.


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her campus uva

Story by Sammy Scheman

            Her-Campus is an online publication for college women, known predominantly for witty articles about fashion, health, and friendship. However, the organization has been trying to incorporate a new core value, women’s empowerment, into their articles. Their event “How She Made U.Va’s Campus HerCampus” was a kick-start for their new focus on this theme. I have always struggled with understanding the meaning of “women’s empowerment.” It has always seemed like more of a buzz phrase that I was unsure of how to put into action. However, after listening to Emily McDuff, Alex Pinkleton, and Sherri Moore speak with at the event, I feel ready to create my own meaning of the phrase of “women’s empowerment,” as these three accomplished women have.

Emily McDuff, a fourth year double major in civil engineering and French, related her personal story to the struggle of women throughout history at U.Va. Emily discussed the first female student, Caroline Preston Davis, who came to U.Va. in 1892, and was not allowed to attend lectures. If Caroline passed her final exams, she was promised a certificate rather than a diploma. By 1970, when the first class of women was accepted to U.Va., every other school of U.Va.’s caliber had already been accepting women into their university. Throughout this historical pretext, Emily wove in stories about herself, and how history has shaped her. Her experience as a minority in the Engineering School, where boys have slipped her their number while passing her the homework, taught her the importance of being strong for future pioneering women, just as her mentors persevered for her. She explained that we are at this university to find ourselves as individuals, citing the first class of U.Va. women who were constantly asked to give the “woman’s perspective” of U.Va., rather than the perspective of an individual U.Va. student. It is time to recognize the individual passions and experiences of the men and women at U.Va.


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