Lana Del Rey is just one of many female pop stars who face constant controversy, and these controversies all contain some overlapping factors. Most of them focus on the actions of women, and many of them have to do with female sexuality and how women are choosing to express or not express their sexuality, like in the case of Del Rey. While it may seem like entertainment, these controversies represent an important conversation occurring on the internet concerning women’s behavior.
A few weekends ago, I visited the digital art installation Pixelbloom, which aims to celebrate DC’s signature spring cherry blossoms. The minute I entered the main gallery, I was bombarded with a multisensory experience of bright color, moving graphics, and an instrumental soundtrack that seemed to wash over my body like a wave. Initially, walking across the gallery felt disorienting, like any minute I was going to trip over one of the animated branches and fall face-first into a giant tree just under my feet.
Jurassic Park is by far my favorite movie of all time. I love the movie so much that I have made it a tradition to watch it every year on my birthday. Just as well, being an anthropology major, I enjoy fictional entertainment based on digging in the dirt for physical historical evidence. Thus, my passion for the franchise prompted me to read the novel that the movie was based on. Jurassic Park, written by Michael Crichton, was published in 1990. Upon reading the book, I was shocked at some of the key differences between the book and the movie. Some of the differences between the two works are so drastic that their plots become dissimilar.
Music is really important to me— I use it to study, to help me write, I turn it up while I clean or do laundry, or listen to it when I want to destress. I know this feeling is not unique to just me, as I have met many other people who also have a passion for music, earbuds in for long periods of time, with some people’s Spotify Wrapped minutes climbing into the tens of thousands.
Few things are as certain in the world of pop culture as this: Harry Potter is a cultural touchstone. Seven books, 10 movies (with an eleventh on the way this April), two theme parks, a play, and a sprawling list of video games, lego or otherwise, make up the globally beloved franchise, all from the mind of one of the most polarizing women on the internet.
Over the last two decades, there has been an influx of queer fiction books hitting the markets and the New York Times Bestseller list. However, if you feel that the young adult queer books have been dominated by mlm (men loving men) books, I have just the list for you. Sapphic books are just as numerous (and good!) but often overlooked. Here are some sapphic books that I have read in the hope of bringing more attention and love to these great works!
Queerness. Though this particular amalgamation of letters is a rather modern invention, the written expression of love outside the heteronormative binary has existed as long as humans have been capable of feeling this emotion altogether. From before the time of Sappho to current orators like girl in red, queer affection has been the muse of an unknowable number of poets.
“Plein air” is a style of painting outdoors that was popular in 19th-century French impressionism. These artists worked primarily in oil paint, but you can do plein air with virtually any medium. One of my personal favorites is watercolor. Though it can be daunting to try a new art style, especially if you aren’t in your own space, it is easier than you might expect. Keep in mind, there are no expectations of perfection. Many artists use this technique to sketch, brainstorm ideas, or keep a journal of things they see and places they go. From one non-expert to another, here is my unofficial guide to plein air watercolor.
One of the greatest things about music is the variety of genres, styles, and everything in between. Ironically enough with that in mind, it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re used to listening to. But, just as easy as it is to get caught up, it’s even easier to expand your music taste if you know where to start.
My healing journey hasn’t been the most linear one. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. But, the one thing that always helped me refocus was my past. As I learned how to reevaluate the things that I love about myself, the thing that I kept referring to was what had happened in my childhood that led to how I am today. And as I was walking down this path, it spiraled me down a rabbit hole of continuous questions. Why do I get overwhelmed after every minor inconvenience? Why do I get exhausted from social interaction so easily? What led me down this path? After weeks and weeks of journaling, I think I’m starting to figure out what my inner child really wants.
People often view fashion as gendered. They pick and choose their clothes carefully, adorning themselves with accessories, fabrics, and colors to present the gender they identify as. Throughout history, women have worn gowns and men wore tuxedos. Little girls wore ballet flats while their brothers chased each other around in sneakers.
The reading scene in DC is about as packed as the shelves in any bookstore. After visiting a handful of bookstores over the course of Spring break, I present a brief review of the best-recommended bookstores that our lovely city has to offer. From west to east (because that is how I am listing these stores, geographically) every neighborhood bookshop has something unique to offer, and I hope that you, reader, get the chance to appreciate them all, even if your wallet is as empty as mine by the end.
Before I came out of the closet, I had no idea what a wlw (wlw is shorthand for woman loving woman, a lesbian is any non-man loving non-man, it is not exclusive to wlw) relationship looked like, how it functioned, and whether or not it was supposed to feel the same as a heterosexual relationship. I had watched, But I'm a Cheerleader, a 1999 romantic comedy about a cheerleader sent to a conversion therapy camp, and appreciated The L Word, a 2004 drama about lives and loves of a group of lesbians and bisexuals in Los Angeles. That show was one of the first LGBTQ+ shows I had seen that normalized being gay in a way that made me feel comfortable in my identity.
I’m sure I am not alone in my experience growing up an avid reader. My elementary school library was a haven of shelves that used to seem so tall and carpet worn by years of little shoes. I can still remember running to sit in a circle, criss-cross-applesauce, to listen to a story read aloud by the librarian. I would take books home every weekend, adding a bead to a string I kept every time I finished a new book. I was not a fast reader, but I was steady, consistent, and I loved stories.
Netflix’s BoJack Horseman is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. A year ago, I convinced my roommate to start watching it. For weeks, watching BoJack was our nightly pastime. One of my best friends recently convinced a group of us– including my roommate and me– to start watching his favorite TV show of all time: HBO Max’s Succession. For weeks, watching Succession was our nightly pastime.
I fear that the personal essay is a far-too-often overlooked form of creative writing. It is not as long as the memoir, nor as abstract as the poem, nor as fantastical as fiction. Yet, for me, personal essays are the most impactful form of writing.