The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: March 7, 2018 (Page 1 of 2)

Recognizing the Power of B**tch

I’ve always grappled with the word “b**ch.”

When it is at the epicenter of my self-deprecating quips, the word is a celebration of who I am, unabashedly living my life and laughing at myself. “Guess which b**ch just spilled yogurt on her jeans?!” Me. I am that b**ch, indirectly empowering myself by acknowledging my daily wins and loses.

I’m also that b**ch when greeted by female friends on a regular basis. “Hey, b**ch!” is exclaimed with a smile. Within my haven of female best friends, b**ch is tossed around constantly. It rolls off the tongue slightly harsher and more hilariously than “girl.”

“Girl” is generic. “B**ch” seems personal.

Due to the somewhat confusing reclamation of the word by second wave feminism as an empowering term, “b**ch” is intensely personal because its meaning depends on  speaker and context. I accept b**ch from my female friends. I’ve accepted b**ch as hard-hitting constructive criticism from my mother. And I accept b**ch, sincerely and without hesitation, from my male best friend.

However, my comfort level with such a powerful word could not and should not dominate any exploration of “b**ch” and its implications. So, I asked some of my female friends how they felt about the word as well.

Most of the women I spoke with differentiated female usage of the word b**ch into two distinct categories: to empower and to undermine.

B**ch can be a term of endearment when context is “playful” says Lila Patinkin ’20.

“If I feel like it is in a humorous or affectionate way, it feels like an inside joke” remarks Charlotte Karlsen ’20.

Reflecting on my personal and liberal use of the word “b**ch,” Karlsen’s comment resonated with me. When there’s a level of trust and positive understanding between two people, usually women, throwing around “b**ch” signifies a bond. When I know exactly who it’s coming from and why they’re using it, “b**ch” feels like being a member of a club.

That’s why, conversely, some women have found difficulty in accepting b**ch as an insult from other women. It “feels like a violation of the ‘sisterhood,’ so to speak” notes Rebecca Havian ’19.

Personally, when a woman calls me a b**ch, it hits harder because she and I both know exactly what she is doing in using the word. The “sisterhood” can be manipulated because “women know the intensity of,” b**ch” says Hannah Golub ’21.

Succinctly put, “If it is in a cruel or accusatory way, it stings worse than a****le but is easier to take than c**t,” observes Karlsen.

Uniquely, “b**ch” is incredibly difficult to “take” from a man. I’ve questioned why I cringe when I hear men use the word in any context. Moreover, I haven’t felt secure enough to call out the men in my life when they use b**ch.

“The assertion of power that comes” from a man calling a woman a b**ch “makes me innately more afraid or shocked than to hear it out of a woman’s mouth” says Maddy Clark ’20.

There is something off-putting and “unsettling” Karlsen remarks in hearing men use “b**ch” because it is inexplicably linked to the patriarchal society in which we still live. No matter how well-intentioned the usage, b**ch’s patriarchal degradation lingers.

Unfortunately, this fact is lost on most. The word has been abandoned in a sort of linguistic purgatory. Does “b**ch” “mean [someone] is cold or uncaring or literally just a female?” asks Rebecca Berger ’19.

The way I see it, this sort of ambiguity grants us with an immense amount of responsibility. As with any word we use when interacting with others, we must be cognizant of the “implications and power dynamics at play” notes Patinkin.

Language is complex and nuanced, and any sort of rulebook concerning who should use “b**ch,” and how, is far out of our control. What we can control, however, is how we interact with the word in our own lives. Women, let nothing stop you from using “b**ch” in contexts in which you feel comfortable.

Let it be “endearing and playful” says Claire Sullivan ’19.

And, know that if “b**ch,” when used by a man, makes you uncomfortable, you are valid in alerting the men in your life of that aversion. Our words have the ability to break or reinforce societal hierarchies and trends, and “b**ch” holds an immense amount of power.

Speak wisely.

Actualizing Angels In America within the Bates Community

Angels In America: Millennium Approaches is an epic tour de force set in 1985s United States of America. Playwright Tony Kushner tackles the AIDS crisis, Reaganism, love, heartbreak, self-discovery, and a multitude of other themes via witty dialogue, magical realism, and complex and profoundly genuine characters. The show opens this Thursday, March 8, and runs until Monday, March 13 in Schaeffer Theatre.

Timothy Dugan, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, is directing Bates’ production of the show. The Angels cast consists of thirteen student actors, including me. We are joined by Kirk Read, Professor of French and Francophone Studies, who plays Roy Cohn, a character based on the infamous attorney of the same name. Angels In America in full is two parts, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. This month’s production at Bates only includes the former.

As an ensemble member, I’ve been rehearsing for Angels for the past two and a half months. I recently chatted with director Dugan, who has been with the show much longer.

When deciding whether or not to embark on the journey that is putting on this enormous show, Tim jokingly recalls asking friends, “Hey… am I crazy? Architecturally, there’s so many layers to this play… the canvas is enormous.”

In navigating the enormous canvas of the show, Tim worked to equip actors with “as many tools as possible to crack open the scene[s]” during the rehearsal process. Once actors understood “the complex and potentially emotional issues,” brought up by Angels, the cast was able to convey them onstage for an audience. Dugan prepares actors by ensuring daily warm ups and rehearsals are tailored to guide the cast into the particular scenes that they’ll be tackling each day. For scenes that require political context, Dugan has brought in Bates professors to discuss relevant historical information with the cast. For fast-paced, sporadic, and argumentative scenes, Dugan has us play a large and complex round of catch, keeping us alert and on our toes.

Many of the cast members encountered Angels In America: Millennium Approaches, and some of the issues it grapples with, for the first time upon auditioning. “To some students… what it would be like in the 80’s dealing with AIDS is, of course, not a part of their reality.”  For this reason, Dugan has tried to portray the timeless and relevant nature of the show in Bates’ production. “This is ’85, but its 2018.” Beyond the eternal and universal themes of pain, progress, change, love, and heartbreak, Angels includes countless political parallels, connecting the show’s reality to our current political climate.

Upon returning to Bates after February break, just two weeks away from our opening night, Dugan asked the cast to describe what we felt the play was about by writing a few sentences. The responses show that the modern poignancy of Angels certainly has not been lost on its cast members. We’ve been able to marvel in its immensity and authenticity throughout the entire rehearsal process. For the ensemble, this show has evoked a wide range of emotions and reactions both onstage and off.

Michael Driscal ’19 explains that Angels is “about the inevitably of change… the fright and freedom that comes with it.”

Patrick Reilly ’21 mentioned “the resiliency of the human condition.”

Ezra Clarke ’21 noted “how ordinary people endure extraordinary struggles.”

Commenting on Kushner’s unique and unparalleled assessment of the country as it was in 1985, Charlotte Karlsen ’20 described Angels as “a love letter to America in the fullest sense: an honest assessment of what it has been and a prayer for what it still could be.”

Dugan is both delighted and excited to bring Angels to the Bates community. “There’s a huge pay-off” in experiencing and attending the show as an audience member “with whoever is there that night… that’s the magic of it.” Even after seeing the show many times over, Dugan still “marvels” in the play’s ability to portray a story “wildly epic, hugely political, and so heartbreakingly personal.”

Through my personal involvement as member of the ensemble, this process has revealed that Angels is a dramatic, comedic and mystical interpretation of the fact that life must go on. Its authenticity and shamelessness offers a portrayal of the human experience that is unparalleled by any other show I’ve been involved in.

As John Dello Russo ’18 put it, Angels proves that “even in the darkest times, we can cling onto hope.”

Eleven Bobcats to Represent Bates Swimming and Diving at NCAAs

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team will cap off a remarkable 2017-18 season by sending 11 Bobcats to the NCAA Division III Championships set to take place March 21-24 at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. On both the men’s and the women’s teams, there are Bobcats who will be making their NCAA debut and those that will be returning to the national stage for their fourth consecutive year.

“I am proud of my team for being so positive throughout the rough parts of this sport; it makes the season more fun and happy,” says Caroline Apathy ’21 of Devon, Pennsylvania. “Just continuing training and doing what we’ve been doing will help us get ready for the meet. I’ve thought about having this chance and I’m excited and honored to represent Bates at NCAAs.”

“This year was a tighter group and everyone had each other’s back,” says Alex Bedard ’19 of Amherst, New Hampshire. “We are prepared for NCAAs by keeping the high energy from NESCACs and keeping the excitement for the next few weeks.”

The women’s team will be sending six athletes to the NCAA championships. These swimmers include: Apathy, Lucy Faust ’19, Janika Ho ’20, Monica Sears ’20, Hope Logan ’18, and Logan McGill ’18.

“My goals are to just have fun and enjoy Indy,” says Apathy. “I’ve swam here before and I haven’t seen the new renovations, so I’m looking forward to seeing the pool and hanging out with my team.”

“NCAAs is really a whole different ball game from the rest of the season. There are some incredibly talented swimmers in DIII, so it’s always fun to watch and learn from them,” says McGill. “For my final NCAAs, I’m mostly looking to enjoy the experience and take in everything I can one last time. I also want to focus on the relays I’m in, since those score a lot of points, but are also hands down the most fun.”

On the men’s side, there will be a record five swimmers attending the meet in Indianapolis. These Bobcats include Alex Bedard ’19, Jonathan Depew ’18, Riley Ewing ’18, Tanner Fuller ’20, and Teddy Pender ’18.

“As this is my first time making it to NCAAs, I am really just excited to be going,” says Bedard. “I’m really excited to be going with a large team, too, and to be able to share the experience with each other. That being said, I am going to go to the meet and not count anything out and still give it my all.”

“NCAAs is always an incredible experience and I’m honored to have this opportunity again. Going into this meet, I would love to finish top 16 for at least the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke as well finish top 8 in our two medley relays,” Ewing says. “However, I’m mostly just looking to have fun this meet! It will likely be my last time competing in the sport that I have dedicated over a decade and a half to!”

For both teams, relays will be the focus. The 200 free relay team – Apathy, Ho, Logan, and Mcgill – is seeded 12th overall. The same group of women are seeded 14th in the 200 medley relay and 21st in the 400 medley relay. The 400 free relay team of Apathy, Ho, McGill, and Sears is seeded 17th.

On the men’s side, the 400 medley relay team of Ewing, Bedard, Pender, and Fuller is seeded 14th. Depew will be anchoring the men’s 200 medley relay team with Ewing starting and Bedard and Pender swimming the middle legs. This 200 medley relay team is seeded 15th.

The individual swimmers include Apathy, Sears, Ewing, Bedard, and Pender. Apathy is seeded fifth in the 100-yard butterfly and 56th in the 50 free. Sears is the 25th seed for the 200 freestyle and the 27th seed for the 1,650-yard freestyle. Ewing is seeded ninth in the 200 backstroke, 22nd in the 100 backstroke, and 36th in the 100 butterfly. Finally, Bedard is 26th in the 200 breaststroke and Pender is seeded 28th in the 100 freestyle.

“The next couple weeks, we will begin to focus on race development again. It’s a quick turnaround from conferences to NCAAs but every year the team is able to improve on records set at conferences,” says Ewing. “NCAA’s is always an incredible experience and I’m honored to have this opportunity again. It is fun being up against the best in the nation, representing Bates.”

  

Jessica Wilson ’17 Continues to Shine After College

For many athletes at the Division III level, graduation is the end of their competitive careers. Senior year is often seen as the last opportunity to achieve one’s athletic dreams. Yet, for some athletes, the love for their sport is simply too great to let go.

Five-time All-American Jessica Wilson ’17 has not only continued to run after graduation, she has done so exceptionally well, setting personal records, topping Division I athletes, and finishing mere seconds behind professional runners. She has done this all while living and working full-time in Boston.    

After graduating from Bates, Wilson moved to Cambridge, MA, where she began working as a research assistant for Boston University (BU). Here, she also joined a running group in Boston called the Heartbreakers and has continued training with the intention of racing a marathon in the spring with fellow Batesie Kallie Nixon ’14.

“Transitioning into what we term ‘the real world’ can be kind of scary and overwhelming at times,” Wilson says. “For me, running has always been my anchor, the sort of thing that I can always fall back on if other areas of my life aren’t going so well. I realized that running and competing with a group of people, having that camaraderie and support, is something that I really desire in my life.”

During her time at Bates, Wilson made a career out of breaking records. She currently holds the indoor 3000m (9:43.31) and the outdoor 1500m (4:27.33) and 5000m (16:57.09) records. Now after graduation, she continues to shatter her own personal records.

At BU’s Terrier Classic in January, she ran the 5000m in 16:19.45 on a banked track, placing second in a field of 48. Two weeks later, she raced the 3000m in BU’s Valentine Invitational and once more earned a huge personal record, running 9:27.52 and placing 13 out of 141 runners.

“It certainly isn’t always easy,” she says. “I find myself more tired than I did in college. Working forty hours a week and then trying to run before or after work can be quite a lot, but I’m happy with the decision that I made to continue running.”

Wilson also realizes that there may come a time in the future when she no longer feels this way. If she comes to that point, she says, she will reevaluate what she is doing. “To find that motivation, it can be hard at times, but it’s also something that I know makes me happy, and I know that I really care about it,” she says. “So for the time being, I’m continuing to run and compete. We’ll see if that continues for another two months [or] for another two years. It’s hard to say, but the nice thing about running is that, when you graduate, you can pick and choose what you want to do.”

Unsurprisingly, Wilson’s accomplishments after graduating from Bates are not just limited to the track. As a research assistant for the BU Department of Environmental Health, Wilson is helping to research the influence of metal contaminants on women’s health in different regions of Massachusetts. Additionally, she helps rephrase scientific information about research within the lab to make it more understandable for the public, community, and policy-makers.

“I really enjoy contributing to something that’s larger than myself and contributing towards something that hopefully will ultimately help women’s health in Massachusetts,” she says. “I find that sometimes my bosses tell me to slow down, because I do work too quickly, and the reason why is because the pace at Bates is just so rigorous and so demanding that you get used to that, which is absolutely invaluable.”

Her advice for current Bates students? “Take advantage of every opportunity you have at Bates,” she says. “You don’t realize until you leave that the ‘real world’ doesn’t have forty eight types of cereal coming out of a container in a wall. I haven’t found any of those yet.”

Wilson is a shining example of how one may continue to do the sport that they love post-Bates. It has not always been easy for her, but ask her about running, and she will tell you that she loves what she does. While she may not know what the future holds, for now she is content with running and will continue to do so as long as it makes her happy. Who knows what she may further achieve along the way?

Investigating Online Communities of Chronic Harassment

People often describe the internet as a type of cosmopolitan virtual metropolis. At the same time, there persists some awareness that “the internet” contains a large set of internal communities. Unbeknownst to many people, insular online communities can serve as an incredibly formative part of people’s identities. I can speak from experience that this has some validity in my own life, especially when it comes to the intersections of my LGBTQIA+ identities. Yet, simultaneously, I have intimate experience with fairly homogenous cultures surrounding games, which albeit formative, have definitely been less than pleasurable.

To describe how many people interact with these communities, I will show case studies of several relatively recent incidents.

“Gamergate” is a word that likely means little to many people at Bates. However, it marks one of the few incidents of where issues of equity were raised in national media attention. Though the controversy supposedly began over “ethics in gaming journalism,” the rampant series of doxing (publicizing of personal documents), death threats, and rape threats targeted at a small select group of women reached national media outlets. It is unnecessary to go through the convoluted series of accounts to come to the conclusion that there remains violent reactionary means taken towards many women who express themselves vocally online. This tendency is not unique to so-called gaming communities but is endemic of wider cultural problems. I also do not want to suggest this issue exists equally across all gaming platforms and mediums. For many, gaming subcultures serve as uniquely accepting places. The stigmatization of “nerd culture” as homogeneously regressive, white supremacist, and cishetero-patriarchal empowers resistance to any type of meaningful criticism. This feeds into narratives of social ostracization that serve to organize many online communities of self-described nerds.

The rise of the online “skeptic” community began around the time I entered high school. The community finds its ideological and organizational roots coming to a fruition in the 2007 meeting of the New Atheists’ prominent intellectuals, known as the “Four Horsemen,” Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett. I find the appropriation of Abrahamic apocalyptic vernacular particularly perplexing given the trajectory of the movement. After several years of online Youtube personalities debating, debunking, and “pwning” (a reference to the video game Defense of the Ancients or “Dota”) creationists, the movement began to run out of organizational cohesion or any driving sense of purpose. As Youtube was becoming far easier to be monetized, online personalities were increasingly devoting serious amounts of time to pursuing Youtube video production as a financial means. Yet, aside from content about online video games, most Youtube channel populations rarely breached the number necessary to have a sustainable career. At about this time, around the beginning of “Gamergate,” content creators started making videos explaining how “feminism” had “poisoned” the new atheist movement. Quickly this expanded into videos with titles such as “Why ‘feminism’ poisons EVERYTHING” and “Feminism versus FACTS (RE Damsel in Distress).” Videos like these were wildly successful. Many people who formerly made most of their videos criticizing creationists began to transition into focusing almost exclusively on, self-described, anti-feminist content.

As it stands currently, there is massively more anti-feminist content on Youtube than feminist content. The dynamic is more pernicious than it might seem. By and large, anti-feminist, often self-labelled as “skeptic,” content on Youtube is entirely reactionary. Most anti-feminist content reacts post facto to specific Youtube feminist content it finds personally unappealing. The followers of anti-feminist Youtuber’s then proceed to troll and harass popular and unpopular feminist content creators such as Kat Blaque, Contrapoints, or Marinashutup. The content creators most aggressively criticize feminist ideas that describe systems of systemic racism within the United States and European countries. One of the largest themes that arose is that anti-feminist content creators support people of marginalized communities insofar as they agree with them. Even then it is a loose allegiance. Even as the Youtuber Blaire White, a white trans woman, complains about Black Lives Matter, she still has to regularly field questions about her genitalia. Similarly, Laci Green, a cis-white woman who had long been a target of anti-feminists online, took the “red-pill,” a reference to The Matrix which has since been co-opted by online anti-feminists, and has since been embraced by those who once regularly defamed, slandered, and harassed her.

I have found this type of tension, fairly constant in my experience navigating online platforms. I can be accepted in certain online communities similar to these in so far as I closet my identity and my politics. That said, complicity with cultures of harassment is unacceptable.

Student Bands Grace VCS with Lively Performances

On Thursday, March 1, several student bands had the opportunity to perform on the VCS stage as a result of a cancellation on behalf of the originally scheduled performer. Suffice it to say, they did not disappoint. Each group brought with them a certain type of energy and enthusiasm that is often absent from professional performers. This infectious vibe that radiated off of the performers was present in audience members as well. As music filled the space, both bands’ and observers’ faces were lit with amusement as their feet began to move with the music, creating an atmosphere of collective happiness and community.

The Crosstones started off the night with their tight harmonies and superb balance. The group sang, “Fix You” and “Elastic Heart,” and each song had an astounding soloist that was supported by the smooth voices of the group. Not only did the Crosstones nail their melodic composition, but their implementation of dynamics added a dramatic flair to their near-perfect performance. Though technically impeccable, the Crosstones’ visible passion for their music brought their performance to the next level.

In addition to established groups, first-year students shared their musical talents with VCS attendees. Nicole Recto ’21 and Will Crate ’21 conveyed a sort of quiet determination with their expressive rendition of James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Their smooth voices and developed harmonies made for a pleasing sound in all ranges. Crate also lent his vocals and guitar to a performance with Billy Lahart ’21. The dynamic duo used their musical talents to bring good-natured humor to the evening in their interpretation of “Send me on my Way” from the movie Ice Age. Not only did Lahart and Crate deliver a lively performance, but also their interactions with the audience made the experience fun. Aggressive guitar playing and singing resulted in a boisterous style all their own, but with some rock influences. The pair’s willingness to employ humor and clear excitement made for an amazing experiential performance.

If passion is what makes a band successful, Alisa Amador ’18 brought this and more to her incredible performance of original music. With Ian Clarkson ’18, Owen Schmidt ’21, and Matt Marcus ’18 as her support, her band delivered instrumentals that highlighted the creativity and devotion that laced each song. Amador has a clearly established tone that shone through in each of her songs. Reminiscent of 1920s jazz, her soulful voice and driving rhythms enable Amador to captivate a room.

After the performance, I had the opportunity to speak with Amador about her music. Born into a musical family, Amador started performing as a backup singer with her family as soon as she could walk, and later learned the guitar at age 10. She began composing her own music at age 15, “when sh** hit the fan” and she witnessed a loved one going through a deep depression. According to Amador, music brings people together with “a power that goes beyond words. It is so rare for people to just be together.” Drawing inspiration from jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, in addition to various Latino artists, Amador noted that she prefers to play in intimate settings because “you can see everyone’s faces and hear their reactions.” On performing for peers, she stated: “I get the most nervous before shows at VCS, but they are my favorite because everyone is listening, and the soundman is brilliant; he makes us sound so good.”

Similarly, members of The Remedy Patrick Nelson ’18 and Matt Marcus ’18 emphasized their enjoyment for playing in an intimate setting for peers. “Crowd reactions give us so much energy,” Nelson stated, “It’s really cyclical. They’re putting it in and we’re putting it out. Here we play and people are so respectful.” Members of The Remedy met on the first day of their freshman orientation and have been playing together for four years; the band’s name is even borrowed from the title of the book the class of 2018 read as incoming first-years. The group displays an incredible dynamic between members, and their zealous performance energized the crowd despite being the final act. On performing at VCS as opposed to bar settings, Nelson noted that the band “can play whatever [they] want,” opting for coffeehouse style music instead of exclusively “sing-alongs and energetic music” played at bars. The band added intensity and gusto to songs like “Ophelia” and “I Will Wait” that had the crowd energized and enthralled.

In the absence of the scheduled artists, student musicians stepped up to the challenge and built an incredible evening, amounting to one of the best VCS concerts of the year.

Billy Lahart ’21 and Will Crate ’21 fill the Benjamin E. Mays Center with music.
JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT

 

RuPaul Excludes Trans Women

In RuPaul’s recent interview with The Guardian, “RuPaul: ‘Drag is a big f-you to male-dominated culture,” he claims that “drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it, because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture.” He goes on to say, “so for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.” The media platform INTO, actually launched by Grindr, reported on his commentary from this interview, as did The Independent. In more words, both platforms basically said that RuPaul was pretty wrong for this.

The platforms were most concerned with RuPaul’s exclusion of trans women. In an article entitled, “No, Rupaul, the drag queen world does not only belong to men — everyone can explore femininity,” Amrou Al-Kadhi with The Independent remarks that RuPaul’s Drag Race has “limited conceptions on what drag can be” and that cisgender men should not be the only ones able to parody and explore their gender using drag. The author of this piece, Al-Kadhi, is a British-Iraqi drag performer who finds RuPaul’s commentary and Decca Aitkenhead’s coverage in The Guardian “enraging.” They argue, “the idea that the social critique of male patriarchy can only really work when it is enacted by men is nonsensical and offensive. Does RuPaul believe that counter-culture, as well as mass-culture, should privilege male voices?”

Al-Kadhi makes a strong point here. It is immensely narrow to claim that cisgender men should be privileged in spaces that center acts of gender transgression. As Al-Khadi asserts, drag performance and culture exists as a critique of mainstream binary gender under patriarchy. So, the notion that cisgender men, people who occupy a status of utmost privilege in that structure, should be the only ones ‘allowed’ to do drag in RuPaul’s Drag Race while trans people transgress gender in their lived realities everyday is trans-antagonistic. It undermines the violence that trans feminine people face everyday to argue that “drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it.”

Al-Kadhi observes that RuPaul creates a dichotomy between “trans and drag identities…effectively arguing that whilst drag is gender-subversive, trans is gender-conforming.” They go on to critique RuPaul, asserting that “whilst trans women are women, who’s to say that they couldn’t also be involved in the parodying and exploration of femininity?” In this piece, Al-Kadhi acknowledges the variance in trans identities and trans people’s, more specifically trans women’s, centrism in doing gender transgression.

Instead of insisting on this trans exclusion, RuPaul needs to reevaluate his understanding of gender altogether. However, a large part of me knows that his trans exclusionary attitude is rooted deeply in his own investment in the gender binary and gay cis-ness. Al-Kadhi’s recognition of the centrism of trans people in matters that most disproportionately impact them is vital in the media, and really anywhere. Trans people of color, especially, often do not have the power or resources to represent themselves or host their own cultural spaces in the mainstream. So, I’m glad that one trans person of color, who is also a drag performer, spoke up about it.

Bates Finds Fun at the Lost Valley Takeover

The small but mighty ski resort of Lost Valley is an important part of many students’ non-academic Bates experience and on Saturday night students flooded to the resort for a night of music and winter activity. Bates rented out the entire resort and provided amazing discounts for students to more easily enjoy activities such as skiing and tubing. The event was a collaborative effort across many different clubs and entities within the college including Campus Life, Outing Club, Chase Hall Programming Board, Student Government, Bates Musicians’ Unions, and the Senior Class Co-Presidents.

The student body that attended, which was upwards of 450 people, enjoyed the night and appreciated the efforts of all parties involved in putting on the event. Thorn Merrill ’18, Bates Outing Club president and avid Lost Valley goer, was a supporter of the event both through the Outing Club as well as out of personal interest. While on the chairlift Merrill excitedly proclaimed, “the Lost Valley Takeover is one of the coolest events that Bates has ever thrown. So many people are here and everyone is having an amazing time!”

Two school buses were used to transport event-goers to and from Lost Valley, coming and going every 15 minutes. Not only did this give everybody the opportunity to attend for as long as they liked, but also the buses also provided an atmosphere to chat with friends and get even more excited about the night’s activities before arriving to the venue. And once there, students had an endless stream of things to do. Skiing and rentals were all free, which many students took advantage of and hit the lifts for some laps on great snow despite the recent spring-like weather. There were also discounts on food and drinks as well as free tubing. And to bring all of the festivities together, a great lineup of many Bates student-bands took to the stage to play for their classmates. Moon Daddy, Sexy Party, Lewiston Variety, Smoked Gouda, and Cold Fish all performed for swathes of excited students and a roaring bonfire was made outside for people to enjoy the fresh air without getting cold.

For such a big lineup of activities, Lost Valley was a perfect venue for students to enjoy all of the night’s offerings with ease. The lodge, where drinks, food, and music were hosted, sits perfectly at the base of both the ski trails and tubing hill. It was easy to transition from skiing to tubing to dancing without losing much time, allowing students to capitalize on all of the fun. And because such a wide range of activities were provided, the event was not ski-specific, which opened it to a much larger demographic of students and allowed everyone to enjoy the evening.

Sam Pierce ’19 reiterated the same kind of excitement as Merrill had earlier in the evening, saying, “this should happen every year!”

The day after the event, Danielle Fournier ’18 noted the inclusiveness of the takeover stating, “There was something for everyone, from music and dancing to skiing and tubing.” And speaking to in the same vein as both Merrill and Pierce, Fournier excitedly said that the event was, “probably the best party Bates has ever thrown!” Overall, the event was a big hit among attendees and provided a great opportunity for all students to find some alternative fun at Lost Valley on their Saturday night.

Stop Telling Women to Have Babies

Furthermore, single mothers apparently should have known better and poor mothers routinely face cuts to welfare. Face it, these are calls for married white women to have more babies.

At best, it’s sexist, racist, and classist. At worst, the calls for women to have more babies is a final stop gap effort to “Make America Great Again” by delaying the inevitable majority of children born in America to be minorities. (Actually, that happened just last year for the first time.)

Fifth, if you really want women to have more babies, catch up to the rest of the developed world. Currently, America is one of four countries without paid maternity leave. The other countries? Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea. Paid parental leave has been linked to higher birth rates, greater economic opportunities for women and families and greater equality between men and women. While we’re at it, guarantee health care for all, educational funding, environmental protection, and early childhood education and care. Rather than acting in the interest of big businesses, act in the interest of women and their families. Make the U.S. an inviting place to have a family and then maybe, more women will feel comfortable having a child in the U.S.

But really, Speaker and Governor, stop telling women to have babies. Catch up to the modern world and realize that women are people, not birthing machines. It’s not Brave New World, it’s 2018.

Matt Dunlap Talks Lawsuits and Legislation

Maine’s Secretary of State, Matt Dunlap, addressed members of the Lewiston and Bates community Wednesday night in Muskie Archives. Though Dunlap has been involved in state government for decades, he recently received a large amount of national media attention after he was named as a member of a commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud in the 2016 election. Dunlap eventually sued the commission, which disbanded shortly thereafter, a situation which was the main topic of discussion on Wednesday.

The talk began with an introduction by Harwood Center Director Peggy Rotundo, followed by a thirty-minute discussion between Dunlap and Bates politics professor John Baughman. The talk concluded with Dunlap taking time to answer audience questions.

Dunlap began the talk by discussing his typical duties as Maine’s Secretary of State, along with the experiences that lead to his ascendance to the office. He spoke about his time at the University of Maine in Orono and as a mill worker before getting involved in politics, as well his current job duties that involve overseeing state elections.

Last year, Dunlap was given a surprising proposition when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who Dunlap gets along with well personally, but disagrees with politically, offered him a position on a commission that he was chairing to investigate voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Despite not believing that any widespread fraud had occurred during the election, Dunlap agreed.

Though Dunlap, a Democrat, said that he faced a backlash from many of his usual supporters when he agreed to join the Commission on Voter Fraud, he felt that it was an important opportunity to his and others’ (who have similar views) voices to be represented on the commission and to ultimately highlight the lack of widespread fraud in America.
“They [election workers] perform it with a religious zeal. They want to get it right. And we do get it right…the idea that there’s widespread voter fraud is more of a myth,” said Dunlap.

According to Dunlap, his tenure in the commission was marred by a lack of both transparency and communication from the commission’s leaders: Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence. At one point, Dunlap said that he was chastised by another member of the commission and accused of being a leaker for giving a journalist information about the date of an upcoming commission meeting; information that Dunlap said should have legally been available to the public. Dunlap jokingly said that the situation was similar to being accused of “leaking a press release.”

Eventually, Dunlap found that commission leaders were leaving him out of planning and ignoring his requests for more information. The most significant, and humorous, example that Dunlap offered was an occasion where he found out second-hand that an activist group was set to speak at a commission meeting that he had not been invited to. Dunlap found the situation disheartening, illegal, and in sharp contrast to the more open and bipartisan approach taken in Maine state politics.

“I come from Maine, where we pick up the phone and figure it out,” said Dunlap.

After spending some time reflecting, and with the encouragement of a congressman, who, Dunlap says, reached out to him secretly through a Facebook message from their Chief of Staff, Dunlap sued his own commission for the information he felt that he, and the American people, were entitled to. Rather than give it to him, the commission disbanded. The lawsuit, however, is still pending.

The Voter Fraud Commission was created by executive order by President Trump to investigate his repeated claim that three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election, which prevented Trump from winning the popular vote. To date, no evidence has been found to support Trump’s claim. In addition to the logistical issues discussed by Dunlap on Wednesday, the commission had a difficult time getting many states to give them the information that they requested; a reason that Trump ultimately noted in a tweet was the reason for the commission dissolution.

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