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Source: Bedsider.org

Story By: Lily Patterson

Ah, yes. Contraception, our old friend.  Of the host of considerations taken by sexually active college students throughout the years, it’s remained one of the most frustrating, yet important pre-coitus precautions. With so many young, ambitious, libido-charged individuals all in one place, it’s imperative you and your partner strike a balance between enjoyment and protection. There are plenty of stressors awaiting you (sorry), but safe sex shouldn’t be one of them. More pointedly, I’d venture that an unexpected pregnancy at this stage in your life – whether it’s you or your partner – isn’t so ideal. Here’s where contraception comes in.

It often seems as though the pharmaceutical industry is deliberately attempting to flummox us with the myriad options out there. The flowery-synchronized- swimmer-commercial trope of “Which birth control is right for me?” is tired. But with a little digging, it’s a question with a unique answer for all of us, no matter our gender (Roger that: men included).

In short, I’m going to try and make the question of contraception a little easier. Here are a handful of the best options out there, as well as a few resources to aid you in your quest to avoid buns in the oven, minus the actual bread kind.

1) The Condom

4.0 stars

Pros: Old Faithful. There’s a reason they’ve been around so long (the 16 th century, in fact). They’re the package deal: birth control and effective protection against most STIs all in one. In fact, they’re the only method of protecting against STIs, aside from abstinence. Therefore, the condom is an excellent complement to all other forms of birth control. This stretchy little guy acts as barrier contraception, meaning there are no hormones at play here, just a wall. It’s also the easiest existing option for guys to get involved in contraception. Cabbage patch/running man/dance in some other form for equality!


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Strength in Numbers

Story By: Pinky Hossain

Sara likes numbers. She was always great with them. At seven-years-old, she could add big numbers like 38473298 and 9383. She could multiply by 12s way earlier than her nine-year-old counterparts and she could tell you that the remainder of 78143 ÷ 68 is 11 in a matter of seconds without even using pen and paper. Ask Sara to recite the quadratic formula for you. She’ll know it off the top of her head and, no, she doesn’t need the silly song to remember it by. Sometimes she counts in multiples of 6 until the number gets too big for her to keep track of. 6 is Sara’s favorite number because she loves the way it looks, loves the way it curves on the “C” part, loves the way it loops around on the bottom “o” part. Numbers are beautiful.

Sara feels like a number. She is 12, her birthday is on 3/16, she has 32 teeth, her ethnic composition is ½ Black and ½ Chinese. Nobody at school knows that though. At school she is simply the number 1 in most of her classes. Sara is the 1 Black person, the 1 minority, the 1 with the “bright future.” Numbers help Sara make sense of her day. At 8:00am she wakes up and her morning ritual begins with the mirror. She counts the 3 birthmarks under her bottom lip, marks her height as 4 feet and 11 inches on the edge of the bathroom door, and makes a mental note of the 91.3 on the scale.

After getting dressed, Sara eats exactly 250 calories worth of breakfast in the form of 10 grapes and 24 almonds. By 10:00am Sara is in U.S. History. She tries to pay attention to the Boston Tea Party, but her mind turns to numbers instead. She plugs random digits into the quadratic formula and works through it in her head. If x is 87, b is 98, a is 33, what is c? The same thing happens in her other classes that are more liberal artsy. At 11am and 12pm, she thinks about how she might try the new fries that the cafeteria is offering, but then decides against it because she’d go over her 1000 calorie budget. At 1pm, she eats ½ of a cookie (84 calories) and 24 carrot sticks (100 calories), which brings her to 434 calories.


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Story By: Madeline Baker

Women in Bikinis. Not exactly the first thing one thinks of when talking about the empowerment of women through sports. It was, however, the inspiration behind artist Angela Lorenz’s exhibit Victorious Secret-Noticing Elite Sports for Women, 300 A.D. Lorenz’s collection commemorates the 40th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, a historic piece of legislation that prohibited discrimination based on gender in sports and education. Inspired by an Ancient Roman mosaic originally understood to portray Ancient Roman women dressed in bikinis and holding instruments, Lorenz’s depiction reveals the true context of the piece: an athletic competition celebrating the strength and athletic vigor of Ancient Roman women. The artist’s interpretation allows the viewer to focus his or her attention not on what the women are wearing but on the athletic and competitive backdrop of the exhibit. We sat down with Lorenz to discuss her inspiration for Victorious Secret and her mission to change the way women are viewed in art and society.

What inspired you to create Victorious Secret? What motivated you to make picture2an art piece influenced by women and sports?

Victorious Secret came about through a couple different projects. I thought I was going to do a watercolor of Ancient mosaics, but make them into my own narrative. At the same time, I had done a number of different works involving buttons. My daughter’s friend’s parents were incredible archaeologists, and I got to talking about the specific mosaics in Victorious Secret. Her mother, Isabella Baldini Lippolia explained to me, [The Women in Bikinis are] competing in athletic competitions; they are holding the prizes from these competitions. It depicts the five events of the pentathlon.” This was different from the information I had attained from my own research prior to my talking with her. I like to learn from others and circulate their very interesting and important findings through my visual art.


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Story By: Taylor Lamb

Two years after standing in front of a bold background that proudly proclaimed the word FEMINIST, Beyoncé yet again used her platform at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) as an opportunity to make a statement. When she arrived on the red carpet with the “Mothers of the Movement” (that is, Lezley McSpadden, Gwen Carr, Wanda Johnson and Sybrina Fulton, mothers of black people who have been killed at the hands of law enforcement or vigilante justice), it was clear that she “did not come to play.”     

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After MTV announced the performance, the audience was repeatedly told that Beyoncé would be performing Lemonade. This was confusing. For anyone who has not been blessed these past few months: Lemonade is Beyoncé’s latest album. It is an hour-long visual narrative with poetic interludes by Somali poet, Warsan Shire. Different from BEYONCÉ, the previous visual album where each song had its own music video, Lemonade is one long film where all the videos are interconnected. Atypical of a musician’s standard album release, it has since scored four Emmy nominations. This album is unique. Therefore, we wondered. What exactly would she be performing? How could Lemonade even be performed on stage?

Our questions were answered when we were wowed with a 16-minute medley that included poetry, camera smashing, and four different songs. A killer performance, typical for Beyoncé. The vocals were amazing. The choreography was brilliant. Almost every article since has declared her performance the highlight of the show. Many suggested the awards show was not even worth watching up until that point. It was a performance that any pop star should feel lucky to claim. However, more than purposeless art for an audience to consume, enjoy, and forget the next day– it was politically powerful.


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The almost-not-pregnant soft smile – essential for all women considering Plan B.
Image courtesy of http://www.planbonestep.com

Story by Kendall Siewert

When Plan B first emerged on the market, it was a major step forward in female contraception. Plan B acknowledged the fact that mistakes in contraception happen, and allowed women the agency to protect themselves against possible pregnancy. But women quickly started to question the high price, and hidden information suggests that Plan B may not work as well as it should for some individuals.

Plan B markets itself as a morning after pill “available for any woman who needs it – with no age restriction.” Simply put, this isn’t true. A single pill costs $50, a prohibitive price for those who don’t have disposable income and a deterrent for those who do. It’s not easy to decipher where this high cost comes from either, apart from explanations of pure corporate greed. When Plan B first hit the market through a company called Teva Pharmaceuticals,a three-year agreement with the FDA granted them exclusive marketing rights. Basically, that meant that until recently, no company could produce a cheaper, generic version of the morning after pill.

Since generics are now available, the problem should be solved. But it isn’t. Most generic morning after pills retail for around $40, still an incredibly high price for a single pill and not much cheaper than the original Plan B. Why did the high cost still persist even after generics hit the market? What is it about Plan B that makes it so expensive, compared to certain generic monthly birth controls with you can find for under $10 at a Walgreens?

I turned to the The American Society for Emergency Contraception’s Nationwide survey conducted in 2014 about the cost of Plan B for some answers. The survey of Plan B pricing at pharmacies nationwide conclusively found “even the lowest retail prices for EC [Emergency Contraception] are beyond the reach of many women   . . . [so] all prices must be lowered to a more affordable level.”

The next part gets a little bit complicated because drugs like Plan B aren’t sold from the manufacturer to the pharmacy. Instead, “manufacturers sell products to wholesalers, who then sell products to pharmacies.” The price of the drug is increased every step of the way. The estimated wholesale prices for Plan B are $32.50 to wholesalers and bulk purchasers and $39.00 to pharmacies. However, if birth control providers have found a way to lower their production costs to allow affordable levels, they should be able to do the same for Plan B. After all, Plan B contains the exact same synthetic hormone levonorgestrel as birth control pills, just at a higher dose. Certain Planned Parenthoods across the country will offer Plan B at a reduced cost, but this policy isn’t uniform, and it’s still not nearly as inexpensive as some generic birth controls. You can pick up Plan B or a generic morning after pill at Planned Parenthood in Charlottesville. Call ahead to see if the pill can be discounted, as it can be as low as $30 in other Planned Parenthoods across the country. 


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