Right Now

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:

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this:

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and this:

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is happening, among so many other hateful actions.


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Social Drinking: What’s so social about it?

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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.


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#OurVoteCounts: Make Yours Count Too

Story By: Amber Liu

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As the upcoming November presidential election draws near, there has been an increasing push for students at UVA to vote. So, why should you?

I had asked myself this question after failing to “find the time” to register to vote for the primary election back in March of this year. I was busy with classwork, I didn’t know where to go or what to do, and worst of all, I didn’t even think my vote would really matter. I convinced myself voting wasn’t necessary— a decision I wish I hadn’t made.

Coming from an immigrant family whose parents had to work to obtain their citizenship, I failed to realize for a long time just how important it is to have a say in leadership and policy making. My parents take their right to vote extremely seriously, viewing it as a way for them to participate in a fair and honest means of influencing decisions that affect their lives. This is what voting can do. It is true that voting is not a requirement, but voting is a responsibility. When you vote—no matter who you vote for—you are not only fulfilling your civic duty, you are using your voice to affect change.  More than simply being a part of a long-standing tradition, you will be standing for your beliefs and your views. Couple this with millions of voices and remarkable change can be brought about. In fact,3 according to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, in the 2008 presidential election, the youth vote was decisive in securing Barack Obama’s victory in Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia. Without these 80 electoral votes, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency.  Still think your vote doesn’t matter?

Taken from the historical perspective, suffrage has not always been universal . In parts of the world today, the right to vote still isn’t guaranteed, and even if it is, it may not be accompanied by a peaceful exchange of power. For women, African Americans, and other racial and ethnic minorities, voting has not been a right easily obtained. It took hundreds of years before suffrage in the United States was finally granted to every citizen, and it remains underutilized. Our generation of young people must live with the consequences of what happens in the next few years. Our opinions matter now and will affect the view, diversity, and progress of our own futures as well as those of the next generation.

Over the past few months, over 50 different media brands have partnered with the nonprofit organization Rock the Vote to give their support for the #OurVoteCounts movement. Rock the Vote works to register young voters and bring young adults to the sphere of politics. Iris is aligning with the #OurVoteCounts movement and wants UVA students to not only vote, but also to make their voices heard. Already, you may have seen   helping students get registered to vote in Charlottesville. It’s a choice you won’t regret.

Register before the October 17th deadline at https://register2.rockthevote.com/registrants/map/ and we’ll see you at the polls!

 


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The F Word

Story By: Taylor Lamb

I refer to the beginning of my sophomore year of high school as my “Great Awakening.” That is when I found Feminism. It changed my whole life. I don’t remember much about Pre-Feminist Taylor but I know she was not constantly thinking of the way women are being oppressed, as I do now. She laughed at sandwich-making girls in the kitchen jokes, which gets an eyeroll from me now. She didn’t realize the way things were set up for women and girls to lose, and how the society she lived in wasn’t a big fan of her womanhood. You might be thinking that this awakening doesn’t sound so great considering how a myriad of injustices is the thing I woke up to, but I am so grateful for it. Once I realized I was a feminist, everyone else realized it too. I got a t-shirt that said “This is what a feminist looks like,” which I wore with pride. And my mom bought me a necklace of the feminist symbol, which I never took off. In my mind, everyone had to know I was a feminist. But now, in my third year of college, it’s a label I almost never use for myself. What changed?
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Peep the infamous feminist symbol necklace in this photo of me from senior year

The label “feminist” has a long, sordid history. Since the feminist movement in America first began, there has been a negative stigma attached to the word. People thought feminists were crazy, man-hating, witches. They claimed they were only feminists because they “couldn’t get a man.” They
said they were ugly, they were violent, they were homicidal, they were bitter, and just about everything else you can imagine. Almost any insult you can conceive has been thrown against feminists since the Suffrage Movement, as insults are always thrown against people fighting for change.

And that is not merely just a fact of the past. In truth, more recently feminism has become a little more mainstream. Stars such as Taylor Swift, Emma Watson, Beyoncé, and more have all proclaimed themselves feminists, which helps take the stigma away and encourages young girls to do the same. However, even now, the negative stigma surrounding the word makes many women afraid to claim it. I do not blame young women who don’t proclaim themselves feminists for fear of stigma. No one wants to be insulted. In fact, I know many women have shied away from even exploring what feminism is because of the negative stereotypes they’ve heard. The fear of the word is very valid.


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Story by: Lily Patterson

Bleached and dyed and tugged and straightened and curled and dried and oiled and trimmed and chopped. It’s a cumulative result, a regenerative but at the very least temporally affected font of keratin that can be a vehicle for self-expression, a curtain of self-defense, or somewhere in between. It’s a woman’s hair.

Starting off a series about hair, it’s probably best to reflect on my relationship with my own. It’s said you can’t love others before you love yourself, so I’m going to go out on a limb and venture that you can’t understand others’ relationship with their hair before you know your own. As a white female with thick, brown hair, I’ve been endowed with what could possibly be the most low-maintenance situation possible. As a girl, my hair was long and streaked with blonde from excessive amounts of time in the sun. Frankly, my saving grace was my hair. I might be prone to lobster-red burns and incessant freckles, but my hair was it – healthy, lustrous, and streaked with natural highlights.

My sophomore year, I chopped it all off. It became a bob, just grazing my shoulders. I already went to an all-girls high school, so really, the man repeller aesthetic was coming into its own. Many of my friends were shocked that I just decided to chop off my hair. “But your hair was so pretty – why would you do that?,” was the refrain. I even had people tell me straight-up that they didn’t like it. Having been the utmost type-A kid, me making the decision to cut my hair was very much woven into the fabric of my need for control. My chop (which got progressively shorter and shorter throughout high school) was a kind of ownership that I exerted over myself and my choices. I had the power to transform the way I looked, but I also had the power to directly oppose the very common standard of beauty promulgated by a bunch of high school girls. I wasn’t long-legged, or tan, or blonde, or hyper effeminate. That wasn’t really my North Star, although sometimes I wished it were. I was studious and serious and used a biting wit as blunt as my hair as a coping mechanism. (Still do, actually.)


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