Body Love and Social Media: A Story of Feeling the Sunlight

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By Taina Quiñones

“Here,” Rose says, tossing her royal blue bikini in my direction, “Try it on.” I hesitate before picking it up from where it lands on her bed and holding it up to my body. It will definitely fit. Due to our larger body sizes, Rose is one of the few friends I can clothes-swap with – something we both relish in whenever we are lucky enough to be in the same place.

This is my third summer visiting Rose in her hometown of Glencoe, Illinois. We are both sophomores in college at this point, and with permission from her parents, Rose and I will be roadtripping up to Wisconsin to spend a week in her family’s lake house.  She tells me we have to go swimming, and for the first time since I was a small child, I am genuinely excited to. Continue reading

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When the Day Turns to Night: The Use of Alcohol in Friendship Formation among International Students in the ISN Introduction Week

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By Serge Savin

Introduction

The International Student Organization Amsterdam, an organization financed by the  University of Amsterdam and Hogeschool van Amsterdam, arranges the Introduction Week which is an offer for international students when arriving in Amsterdam. On their website the week is described as follows: “Four intensive days will lay the foundation for your entire stay. You will make friends, visit exciting parties and you’ll get to know Amsterdam and its universities.” (ISN) Continue reading

Buck Angel’s Activist Project: Reclaiming “Vagina” and “Pussy” in Sexing the Transman

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By Zoë Crabtree

Introduction

The words with which we describe our bodies are tools for self-construction. Words narrate our memories, dreams, and goals; they enable us to construct our realities; they liberate our nightmares and circumscribe our fantasies. Words are powerful discursive tools. They act and make change in the world. Harvard lecturer J.L. Austin recognizes this in his lectures collectively titled How to Do Things with Words. He argues that words are performative: their very utterance acts upon the world, given, of course, the appropriate circumstances (Austin, 1975: 6). He uses the example of wedding vows to demonstrate that the very act of saying “I do” during a wedding brings the marriage into being (Austin, 1975: 8). In other words, not only do words shape how we think and feel about the world, they also shape the world itself. How, then, might someone try to change the world with words? What might it mean to employ words to contradict the constructed realities they have helped to create?

Recognizing language’s potential as what Teresa de Lauretis terms “technologies of gender,” transgender porn star and self-described “Man with a Pussy” Buck Angel has taken up these questions in his activist work. Angel’s central project has been to reclaim the words “vagina” and “pussy” for transgender men’s use: Continue reading

For the Love of Hair: The Natural Hair Movement in the Netherlands

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By Kimberly Mayes

As a woman of color, when it comes down to your hair you get judged a lot:

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  • when you cut it, you’re so ungrateful of what you have
  • when you braid it, you must be old-fashioned and only hanging on to your roots or even an Erykah Badu-wannabe
  • when it’s long and thick, it must be fake… uh not
  • when you straight your hair, you’re not honoring what you got (ethnic issues)
  • when you dye it, you must be ashamed of your real hair color (and only trying to fit in)

Been there, done that, tried tons of different hairstyles, 20-something and I’m still me. As India Arie early on said I’m not my hair. Yes it’s part of who i am, but it doesn’t define my true existence. The expressions of my heart do. Dig deeper…

Love,

Q

Continue reading

The elusive ideal body: Its construction and impacts on contemporary youth

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By Chu

Many studies have been conducted on the subject of youth’s body image, as well as the causes and potential impacts on young people’s behavior aiming to alter their body. Youth’s attempts to body modification are being constantly stigmatized and pathologized in the media. Youth, in many reports and researches, are infantilized and theoretically ripped off their agency. It is only by giving their voice back to youth that we can understand how the body is perceived by them, and in which ways the body is used as either a weapon for self-empowerment and resistance, or a tool to conform to social conventions. Therefore, in this paper, I have allowed more space for individuals’ subjective experiences, including those of myself, regarding the impacts of the ideal body image. Continue reading

The purity myth and queer women’s experiences of sexuality and sexual agency

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By Zoë Crabtree

Introduction

As a queer-identified woman, I was somewhat disappointed by Jessica Valenti’s (2010) book The purity myth: How America’s obsession with virginity is hurting young women. I appreciated her sharp critique and deep analysis of the abstinence movement in the United States, particularly because of my upbringing in a conservative rural town in central California where such discourse was prevalent. However, Valenti did not address how people other than straight women were affected by the purity myth. In this paper I fill this blank by interrogating discourses of virginity and sex from a queer perspective, and by examining how young, queer women themselves understand and experience their sexuality and sexual agency. Continue reading

A life without Ritalin – ‘It’s just not possible in this society’: Dutch students’ attitudes towards prescription stimulants use, abuse and misuse

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By Marte Ydema

Ritalin is a prescription stimulant drug developed for treating attention disorders like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), but it is increasingly used by students for studying purposes. Its effects are highly similar to the effects of cocaine and amphetamines (White, Becker-Blease & Grace-Bishop, 2006). I became interested in Ritalin instantly when I experienced the effects of the drug myself. One night I was studying with someone I know well, who had been taking Ritalin without prescription. When he offered me to try Ritalin as well I first refused the offer, but I became curious about the effects and tried it after all. I was startled by the effectiveness of the drug, which made me extremely focused and kept me studying for 6 or more hours straight. I felt trapped in a tunnel vision; without being distracted by hunger, thirst, physical inconveniences or other distractions I wanted to keep reading and studying. I felt I had to know every detail in the text. Dull information about the personal lives of classical sociologists suddenly seemed super-interesting and fascinating to me. Continue reading