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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THE BLACK COLUMN: Music is All We Got


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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The Bachelorette, Texas Style: Or, How I Reconciled Being a Debutante With Being a Feminist

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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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THE BLACK COLUMN: An Introduction

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Column By: Taylor Lamb

Hey y’all. It’s me. Your favorite unapologetic, black, advocate for feminism coming at you with something new for this semester. A column. The Black Column, to be exact.

“Oh no!” One might be thinking. “They gave her another opportunity to shove her agenda down our throats?!”

Yes. Yes, they did.

So, here’s the rundown: This semester I am taking “African & African American Studies II,” taught by Professor Harold. Is this my first “black” class? Hardly. I always try to integrate my blackness into my studies in any way I can, despite not being an AAS major. But I’ve never had a platform like this. So while I get educated, I’m gonna educate y’all a little bit too.

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Stop Going Through Your Man’s Phone

Story By: Taylor Lamb

Ladies, it’s time for us to have a chat.

I’m going to talk to you about something I’ve been seeing more and more on social media lately. It is a harmful idea that people of all genders and races have perpetuated, acting as though it is normal and acceptable. This is, the “crazy girlfriend” trope.

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Now, I’m not talking about women acting rationally and reasonably in a relationship, and their boyfriend labelling any behavior they don’t like as “crazy.” That is a very real problem, and could be a different article all in itself. No, rather, I’m talking about the typically self proclaimed crazy girlfriend who doesn’t trust her boyfriend for no good reason. The girl who gets mad when her boyfriend doesn’t text back within five minutes. The girl who looks through her boyfriend’s phone & social media accounts when he’s in another room. The girl who refuses to let her boyfriend even talk to any other girls, much less be friends with them. The girl who thinks it’s okay to key his car or destroy his xbox when she gets angry at him. The girl who makes jokes about slapping, punching, and beating her boyfriend if he were to leave her. The girl who screams at her boyfriend when he’s not acting exactly the way she wants him to.

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After reading Iris intern Taylor Lamb’s piece “The F Word,” [hyperlinked] U.K. resident Ash Moylan was moved from across the pond to submit her own story of feminist awakening. While we usually only publish the work of University of Virginia students, we thought now might be a great time to highlight a voice of global solidarity. So cheers to Ash Moylan, who has a degree in “Gender Politics,” works as a “lecture helper” in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK, drives a Fiat Panda (stick), and who is a self-described “ballsy blonde with sassy senses and a dangerous degree!”

Story By: Ash Moylan

“YOU CAN’T GO THROUGH THERE” – you haven’t got the necessary equipment,” a farmer told me when I tried to enter a tent marked “Washroom B”.

I was 8, camping with my school, and I’d assumed that the “B” distinguished it from “Washroom A”.

But no, “B” apparently stood for Boys, and I had to enter a different building entirely, and forsake the camping experience!

“The necessary equipment”? Did men really talk like that in the outside world?

I mean, I knew what he meant (this was 2002 and I had  a male cousin who peed wherever and whenever the urge took him), but I was understandably crushed.

Until I got home and told my 13 year-old female cousin, and asked her why men felt a need to run us down like that.

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