Story By: Taylor Lamb
Anti-Trump protest which took place in Las Vegas. Photo from Las Vegas Review Journal.
If you have read any of my articles before this point, you can probably guess my political views and, subsequently, how I reacted to the results of the recent election. I was hurt, confused, angry, scared… I felt betrayed. I felt as though my country had let me down. I skipped one of my classes because I couldn’t bring myself to face a lecture full of people who aren’t affected by the results in the way that I am, as a black woman. I couldn’t bring myself to face a lecture full of people who were possibly happy with the results. I wasn’t in a good place. Many people felt the same way. I had conversations with people wondering: What do we do? Do we cry? Do we fight? Protest? I had people tell me that they wanted to do something to impact the world, but they weren’t sure what. There are a variety of things one can do to improve the world, and I definitely can’t impose my views on anyone else. But if you’re looking for something that will change the world as well as something to find solace in, here’s my suggestion: create art.
That probably wasn’t what you were expecting. Art is definitely devalued by society, and I might say this is even more true at UVA. Art majors are looked down upon. If you have a high GPA, but you’re not a STEM major or in the Comm School, people say it doesn’t mean anything. And here I am saying that art will change the world. Those might not add up in your mind, but this is not a new opinion I am introducing. I myself did not know this until college. Perhaps it is the world’s best kept secret, but art is the soul of the revolution. Look to your major movements, look to the leaders of the movements, and they will say the same. Throughout history, marginalized people have used art to express themselves, to inspire people, and to improve the world. I’m talking all types of art–literature, music, paintings, sketches, theatre, etc.
Credit: Edith Young for Architectural Digest (http://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/audrey-gelman-the-wing-women-only-new-york-social-club)
Story By: Lilly Patterson
This October, a new kind of clubhouse opened on New York’s East 20th Street. The space offers up a cafe and comfortable workspaces; a meticulously curated library; a locker room (more aptly named a ‘beauty room’) that defies its sweat and grime-ridden namesake; and most important, the buzzing of women intent on redefining the world both around and far beyond them.
The Wing – co-founded by former PR powerhouse Audrey Gelman and business development maven Lauren Kassan – provides a home base for women on the up-and-up to collaborate, communicate, and forge friendships and alliances. Members include actress and writer Lena Dunham, rapper Remy Ma, J.Crew president Jenna Lyons, and Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine, among many other notables. Though the concept is inspired by women’s clubs of the early 1900s, it’s clear there is nothing antiquated about the necessity of this sort of female coalition to combat the male-centric world outside its doors. Here I pose a few questions to Audrey and artistically-inclined member, Edith Young. We discussed their college-to-real-world trajectory, what membership and leadership at The Wing means to them, and their advice for all young women, no matter the path they’re on.
Credit: Edith Young for Observer (http://observer.com/2016/10/audrey-gelman-is-reviving-the-old-fashioned-concept-of-womens-clubs/)
Story By: Pinky Hossain
Right now, being a Muslim woman is hard. Right now, Muslim women have every right to be angry. Right now, Muslim women are tired of white people telling them it’s going to be okay. Right now, Muslim women are completely and utterly over people telling them that they were overreacting about the election when they said they felt that their safety in America was compromised, especially when this:
is happening, among so many other hateful actions.
Story By: Madeline Baker
We all know UVA’s unofficial motto: Work Hard, Play Hard. I applaud anyone who can balance a rigorous academic and extracurricular schedule with an impressive social calendar. I struggled with this balance my first year at UVA. My first semester wasn’t much different from any typical college freshman’s: I was free to do whatever I wanted on the weekends and I took full advantage of my social independence. Taking shots of cheap vodka in my dorm room before hitting the Corner was a staple of my Friday night. After several weekends filled with random frat parties and nights spent on the Trin dance floor, I came to the realization that I wasn’t actually having fun, I was just pretty drunk and doing what everyone else was doing.
I hated feeling like I didn’t belong in my environment. I drank to feel normal and part of the culture, but this only made me feel burnt out and alone. The motivation I had at the beginning of the semester quickly dwindled. I had lost interest in my schoolwork, as it seemed the only reward for a stressful week of tests and papers was another night spent drinking. I thought this was what my college experience was supposed to be about: staying out late and drinking with friends. It was what I considered to be social. It was how I fit in with everybody else and how I “bonded” with my hallmates from my dorm. I wasn’t sure if I was the only one feeling this way, but it seemed like everyone else was having a great time. I couldn’t understand why everyone looked so natural in this part-hard environment, and I felt so completely out of touch. I drank in high school, but not to the extent I was drinking in college. First year was my first experience with head-pounding hangovers and gut- wrenching nausea. I didn’t know if I could keep this up every weekend, but so long as my friends were doing it, I sucked it up and continued to drink.
Story By: Taylor Lamb
I’ll be honest. When I first heard about Gretchen Steidle, founder of Global Grassroots, coming to give the 2nd annual Beverly Cobble Rodriguez Lectureship for the Women’s Center… I was skeptical. I am often skeptical of people who seek to aid people in foreign countries– that they know next to nothing about– when there are many people right here in America needing help. I saw the pictures of her surrounded by black women and children, and I was a little upset. Did the Women’s Center really bring a white savior to UVA? However, after getting to hear her speak, I realized that could not have been further from the truth.
Gretchen Steidle is a “conscious social change agent.” A conscious social change agent works completely counter to the typical methods of social change we see today. During her lecture, Gretchen spoke of the people who typically do work in other countries. She said they have good intentions but tend to fail on delivery and execution. They are often outer-driven, self-focused, and have an “us vs. them” attitude about the people they help. Their outcomes are simply incremental changes that still fit within social norms. Although Gretchen never used the words, I began to think of the “white savior” I mentioned earlier. They are not bad people, and definitely have good intentions. However, because of the factors Gretchen mentioned, they do not bring about the best outcomes, and perhaps do more harm than good, if they do anything at all.
But that is not Gretchen. As a conscious social change agent, Gretchen says she is inner-driven, asking “What am I called to do?”, and other-focused. She begins her process with self-examination before examining others’ needs. The outcomes of this type of social change maximize what is helpful and possible, and goes for systemic change at root levels.