The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Hannah Tardie (Page 1 of 5)

Lady Liberty Besieged

“This is not respectful discourse or a debate about free speech. These are not ideas that can be fairly debated, it is not ‘representative’ of the other side to give a platform to such dangerous ideologies. There is not a potential for an equal exchange of ideas.”

So rang the despotic chant at Middlebury College, where another volley penetrated to the anguished cries of our Lady. “Betrayed,” she thinks. “Betrayed again.” Goaded as always by the taunts of a heretic, and the potential of an unwelcome thought. In a mass they descended, with their placards and their smartphones and their values, craven glances, unwilling to look their victim in the eye. “Betrayed,” she thinks again, this time more forcefully, “commanded by students too stupid or masochistic to distinguish a heretic from their savior.” Will the attacks ever cease? Our Lady has begun to doubt so. Yet the names of the traitors echo in her head, never forgotten, “Yale, Berkeley, Missouri…”

Little doubt was left as to the culprit, a cult which goes by several names: The Alt-Left. The Intersectional Movement. Black Lives Matter. Whatever the name, it is responsible for the negation of speech and of freedom wherever its influence is felt. Its members are bred in the spawning grounds of college campuses across the country, incubated by the likes of Arianna Huffington, Buzzfeed, Linda Sarsour, and Shaun King. Its racial theories, societal ambitions, and ruthless pogroms entail the subjugation of our Lady and that of all non-combatants. And on the victims’ behalf, we loyalists are rallied to defend.

But there is an easy way out of the war, out of becoming a target. And for those unattuned to the siren’s call, it is a tempting offer in the face of total social exclusion. “Abandon your Lady,” they beckon. “All answers will be provided. All contradictions will be corrected. Check your privilege. Censor your speech. Hate yourself.” An easy enough prospect for some, yet implicit in the pact, a most grave corollary: fail to do so, and become our enemy.

The statues of Jefferson, of Roosevelt, of Rousseau—once lions of the Left—are vandalized, punishment for their respective transgressions in life. Meanwhile, the true enemies of freedom are given aegis. A clutch of hysterical cultists screams at a pile of magazines while their sisters abroad stultify in burlap sacks. Reporters are shoved, professors manhandled, and intellectuals expelled as men in suits read our mail and tap our phones. Liberal arts institutions, once shining bastions, lie in abjection, unable to protect anyone from the onslaught.

Elsewhere, on the White Throne sits the oaf of many faces. False prophet for the wretches, who in their haste to fatten up from the fruits of trade, did not realize the cost of such gluttony. Fat cow for the sycophants, savage creatures who rake their claws into the coffers of America’s children. For the chauvinists, Dear Leader, who speaks the not-so-uncomfortable truth about barbarians within the gates and to whom all praise is due.

The oaf is all this and more, yet given a rod and a mob, he swings indiscriminately, becoming most of all a battering ram. To the left and to the right he bashes and bellows. The oaf dooms himself by the enemies he makes. But with each passing of the rod, he pummels through our Lady sitting solemnly in the center, accepting her torment.

This is how we loyalists find the state of our freedom: beset on all sides by aberrations, opportunists, and those with claims on absolute truth. And while our Lady recoils in pain, a bear waits hungrily outside the walls.

Art thesis recap

Doing a studio art thesis is quite a controversy on campus. The only written component of the studio art thesis is a W2 second semester senior year, and the insanely complex (no sarcasm) artist statement. It seems like everyone believes you’re not actually doing hard work. Everyone looks down on you because you’re not doing anything “really challenging” like science or math or neuroscience, or whatever. However, creative theses are extremely emotionally consuming and require long hours in the studio– sometimes until the early hours of the morning. Creative theses produce independent and original work, and the same can’t always be said for non-creative ones. A creative thesis also has no clear conclusion, and yet it’s a year-long commitment. Artists just have to work until they feel their work is resolved enough to present. Every student at Bates has to complete the intimidating endeavor of a thesis or equivalent coursework and we shouldn’t degrade those students pursuing a more abstract project.

One painting could take anywhere from 8 hours to years to finish and that doesn’t guarantee it being good enough to end up in the final show. Students must undergo critiques with the whole thesis class, in which everyone must make opinionated comments on your work while you silently listen. In an analytic thesis you might experience writer’s block, which you must work through by reading and researching more. As an artist, getting into a creative rut is terrifying. You must create work on a schedule but you can’t force yourself to be inspired or produce more emotion– art doesn’t work that way. Even if you hate what you’re making, you have to keep making it until you construct something promising. Making and presenting terrible art when you know you have the capacity to create something better is practically torture. It’s like editing a paper and every time you edit it, it gets worse. And then you have to keep reading it to seventeen other people each week, including professors, who have already heard it multiple times and are really getting sick of you.

Despite this, we stick with it because it’s a labor of love. Nothing makes your inner kindergartener prouder than holding up a painting and saying, “I made this!” A creative thesis necessarily results in some emotional and personal development over the course of the year. Producing artistic work forces you to be self-conscious and self-reflective. It’s impossible not to learn more about yourself and grow newfound appreciations (or hatreds) of your thought processes.

So come view the birth of our work after eight months of labor. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids went into this. It’ll be like the Mt. David Summit with minimal reading required on your part. No wine will be served, but we promise the art is intoxicating enough.

 

Gala Review

Gala Review:

Ahh, Gala… What a wonderful way to end the horrific month of March. A Bates favorite by many of my friends, Gala is the classiest event on the Bates social calendar. As my last Gala came to an end last weekend, I decided to do a quick review for anyone who missed the event or wanted to revel in nostalgia for a little longer.

 

Ambience: 6/10

The ambience of Gala was rightfully dominated by the string lights that somehow made the Gray Cage a little less gray. Not too white, the lights provided an interesting yet satisfying setup for the Gala pictures we all can’t live without. As far as the Under the Sea theme goes, the wall decorations were very knock-off Disney, but I can’t complain because the lobster, clown fish, and flounder hats that the Bates Dining Staff were sporting were excellent. The photo booth and the funky hats really saved Gala 2k17 from being ordinary in my opinion. If the wall decorations stepped up the game a little bit more, I would give the ambience a higher review. Looking for some more creative liberty next time. Let’s get crazy Gala 2k18.

 

Food: 8/10

The theme of this year’s Gala food selection seemed to be dip and meat. Unfortunately for the vegans of Bates, the black bean dip was okay, but the steak and cheddar dip was frankly unbelievable. The gooey cheddar and hot and spicy flavors mixed in with smoky meat was everything I have ever desired in a dairy product. Personally, I prefer the dips paired with tortilla chips, but the mini baguettes also looked like a nice choice. Centering the app station was a grand meat contraption in which guests could grab shavings from. Not only was this meat incredibly juicy, it (wait for it) paired GREAT with the steak and cheddar dip. It’s almost like they were made for each other. Making a little nacho combination was more than gourmet. In terms of the other appetizers, I was less than impressed. The hush puppies were dry, the egg rolls had little to no flavor except for ginger, and I cannot tell you about the fancy Greek spinach filo pastry because I didn’t try it. But I heard that one was good. Moving to the post-meal stuff, the staple chocolate fountain carried the team. Unfortunately all of the chocolate covered strawberries were gone by the time I made my way to the dessert tables (that steak and cheddar went a long way, guys). Nevertheless, the ice cream cake and the Swedish Fish cupcakes were lifted up by the classic Gala chocolate fountain. Maybe I am just being nostalgic for Gala’s past, but the desserts definitely did not live up to the beignets of 2015’s A Night in New Orleans Gala. Overall, the melted dairy products of chocolate and cheddar quite literally took the cake, and for that I cannot complain.

 

Music: 6/10

The jazz ensemble swing dance playing brass instrument rocking music people in the main area killed it, which again is a Gala staple and truly no surprise. They made it simple yet entertaining: they gave us what we wanted, and they did it well. However, the “ratchet” room in Alumni was less than classic. The washed up (no pun intended) hits and lack of excitement in the crowd made for a subpar dance party. I would have enjoyed some experimentation, maybe some beats and a freestyle rap contest next time.

 

 

Wardrobe 7/10

As usual, I was more than impressed with the glamour of Bates students (sorry, I didn’t see any faculty there) all around me. I saw a few statement rompers which were very impressive, and some funky printed blazers that did not disappoint. At times I was in awe of those still wearing their heels as well. I have to say, though, in terms of wardrobe the theme was completely irrelevant. V disappointed I did not get the chance to see any shark girls (looking at you, Alexis).

Beastly Narrative

On March 17th, the new Disney remake of the classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson was released in theaters.  For those of you unfamiliar with the story (there can’t be that many of you), “Beauty and the Beast” is the story of an intelligent, beautiful (hence the character’s name “Belle”) young woman who is an outcast in her town.  To save her father, she sacrifices herself to a beast that lives in a castle and eventually they fall in love and it is revealed that he was a prince under a curse all along.  Love allows him to transform back into his true form.

I saw the movie this weekend, not having considered or analyzed the story since I was about six.  The new film follows the plot and even many of the shots of the original Disney cartoon very closely.  Despite the similarities, I saw the 2017 film in a completely new light watching it as an adult. I think that Disney did many positive things as far as social messages, but aspects of the story are inherently flawed and these couldn’t be remedied unless Disney completely changed the whole premise of the movie.

My main issue with the storyline is the tired and potentially dangerous narrative of a girl ‘fixing’ a man.  ‘Beauty tames the Beast’ has become a tired trope in film and literature.  Of course, this cliché is the entire plot of the movie, so its inclusion is pretty much unavoidable.  I think I find issue with this because it seems to excuse abusive relationships.  No one should stay in a relationship with an erratic, violent partner because they feel obligated or even believe it’s possible to ‘fix’ them. Women face domestic abuse at far higher rates than men, and this message of ‘taming the beast’ isn’t a positive one to be sending young women.  In the 2017 film, the Beast never directly physically harms Belle, but he does yell at her and threaten her. After the two have a conversation in which they get to know each other, the Beast softens and never yells at her or threatens her again.  The origin of the Beast’s anger is also explained when the other residents of the castle tell Belle it stems from the loss of his mother, an abusive father, and lack of support from those around him.  Still, even when anger and violent outbursts have a cause, sufferers can inflict harm on those around them.

Disney obviously took steps to ameliorate this potentially negative narrative.  The inclusion of the explanation of the Beast’s anger, how early in the movie his anger disappears, and the development of Belle’s character all show their awareness for the potential effects their movie could have on its young audience.  Belle really is a great character—she’s caring, brave, strong, intelligent, and unafraid to be herself.  Despite the annoying rhetoric of “she’s not like other girls,” the movie is a fairly positive one in terms of social values, featuring a diverse cast and a brief depiction of two gay characters. Obviously that doesn’t make it as inclusive as it could have been, but perhaps the attempt at representation of a more diverse population is a step in the right direction.

Tomi Lahren goes pro-choice

The woman all of your Facebook friends love to hate just announced via Twitter that she’s pro-choice.  Tomi Lahren has been the butt of many jokes and aggressive rants.  Lahren, a host on conservative online news site “The Blaze”, has had multiple videos go viral for her angry commentary on political issues such as Colin Kaepernick’s protest and #BlackLivesMatter. Lahren is a self-described conservative and a Trump supporter – her videos are evidence of this.  This makes her admission on “The View” shocking to those that have seen any of her television appearances and social media posts.

Lahren’s argument for her position on abortion comes from her belief in limited government.  “I’m pro-choice and here’s why: I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think that the government should decide what women should do with their bodies,” Lahren continued, “I can say, you know what, I am for limited government so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well.”

Despite the fact that I disagree with Tomi Lahren on pretty much all of her views, I am pleased with the consistency she is showing in her political beliefs.  Much of the Republican Party’s platform is contradictory – it believes in limited government in some respects, writing, “We call for removal of… over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements [and] needless restrictions…” but then calls for the reversal of abortion and same-sex marriage legalization.  On the issue of abortion, it is hard to construct an anti-choice argument while endorsing limited government.  Recognizing this, Lahren changed her stance.  At least Tomi has picked a principle to which her political opinions should adhere.

This is not to say Tomi has always been consistent.  She has said before that she is not pro-choice and called those who are “baby killers,” but I do not believe we should necessarily condemn someone for amending their views.  My stance on many issues has evolved and developed as I have grown and learned as a person, but I acknowledge where my past views have been problematic or contradictory.  Lahren should take responsibility for the faults in her past views (though, to her, the faults were likely more ideological than moral) and stand firm in her current beliefs.

I am not excusing Tomi for her, at times, hateful beliefs. However, constructive discussions are much more attainable when a clear and consistent philosophy supports one’s views rather than an ideology where one can pick and choose which freedoms they want to promote and limit. Obviously, the Democratic Party is not immune to this criticism either. In order to progress, we need to develop platforms that facilitate debate and discussion.

Definitive ranking of the best study spots

As the semester comes to a close and the sun starts to come out, it is an important time for Bates students to choose the perfect burrow to finish up their final papers. Whether an academic building, a common room in a dorm, or the reflective Salter Room in the library, Bates has just about every study spot your heart desires. So, the moment you have been waiting for has now arrived: I have compiled a definitive list of the best spots on campus where you can study.

10. The Ronj

The Ronj has the aroma of coffee, the ambience of internet DIY decorations, and the attitude of a social activist. Whether you are looking to talk to your friends and pretend you are studying, or take Insta-worthy photos of the gorgeous shadows the uneven shades make when the sun hits through the windows, the Ronj is there for you. If you need a quiet place to do work BY YOURSELF and do not want to be judged for your lack of fashion sense, or your misconceptions about farmer’s markets, the Ronj is not the place for you. If you are interested in which outing club kids are dating and which are no longer friends, the Ronj is the place for you. All those first floor Ladd table people move to the Ronj after 8 pm. It is like an alternative Bachelor hotel for Bates students.

Pro Tip: Find access to every syllabus for every E.S. class on campus and navigate the times you come in based on the workload of those classes. You will find a much less crowded Ronj.

9. PGill Atrium

If you want a bizarre mix of class years who nonetheless wear bean boots and flannel, the Atrium is the perfect place for you. The Atrium is the best thing you can get to the ideal study room you never had in high school. Busy and loud for the five-minute passing periods between classes, the Atrium provides you with just enough distractions to finish your work during the day. Luckily, it is undeniably the best option to pull an all-nighter, as it has 24-hour access and comfy couches to sleep on. If you are looking for trees bigger than the ones that line the puddle, the Atrium is the place for you.

Pro Tip: Figure out your commons crush’s class schedule based on when they eat their meals. Sit with your back to the puddle and stare out so you can get a few extra moments of that special looking when they finish the intro class they are taking for a GEC they have no interest in.

8. Frank’s Lounge

Ah, the original new-dorm-study-lounge. If you want a modern layout and den delivery, Frank’s Lounge is a great spot to study. With a fireplace and private study rooms on the second floor, this 280 haven is much cozier than the sanitary dorm rooms you will find surrounding it. Excellent spot for those living in Rand or 280, not worth the walk if you live anywhere else.

7. OIE

No matter who you are you are always welcome at the OIE, as long as you are respectful. An eclectic mix of furniture and people, the OIE has never disappointed. If it gets too loud you can move to the pool tables in Chase or even the Den.

Pro Tip: Check your privilege at the door.

6. CHU

Since I have never studied here but have always lusted over the glossy windows and minimalist architecture, I have taken to two experts on the building, seniors Henry Baird and Austin Lee. Here is what they have to say about the much-anticipated study spaces of the new dorm:

“When I first stepped foot in the Chu Dormitory, I thought ‘Wow. What a dynamic new space that not only promotes synergistic workflow productivity, but also provides stunning views of the Bates campus and Lewiston at large.’ Sleek, state-of-the-art study rooms are just steps away from a restaurant-quality kitchen; feed your mind, and then your stomach! The fun, yet respectful group of diverse students will help transform this dormitory into a second home (well, minus Mr. Whiskers that is!) I mean, hey – it certainly is a great day to be a Bobcat!’” -Henry Baird ‘17

“It’s nice.” -Austin Lee, 2017

5. Ladd second floor, sofas up against the windows next to the tall plant and a lamp

Easily my favorite study spot on campus. You get the full effect: the nice plant thing, the nice lamp thing, the better than average view, and a sofa just uncomfortable enough that you cannot fall asleep while working. The only thing heard here is the rapid clicking on laptops – which at first might be intimidating, but serve as a great reminder of the mundane nature of the competition for survival in the workplace that awaits you for the rest of your life! If you are ever wondering what it’d be like to work in an office, try out one of the cubicles; the fluorescent lighting is a great introduction to the capitalist sellouts we will one day be. Truly, the only problem with this study spot is its inconsistent temperature. If you want to study in a sauna go there any time before two p.m. when the sun is out; if you want to freeze, sit next to a less than flattering window that has become a mirror without the sun) any time after six p.m. If you are truly looking for a place where there are no excuses not to be working, the Ladd second floor sofas up against the windows is the place for you.

Pro Tip: Cough to assert your dominance and glare unrequitedly at anyone who dares talk to their friends.

4. Olin classroom on the second floor, across from the women’s restroom

Come here past four p.m. and the place is yours. Just make sure there are no a cappella rehearsals scheduled that night.

3. Third floor Hedge

If you like good views, desks, sofas, and have friends, third floor Hedge is a nice spot to snag. Wake up early to get it on time and spread out so that no one else can join.

Pro Tip: Stream porn without headphones to get the random people who came in to study with you to leave.

2.  4th floor Roger Williams

Better views, big TVs – generally an upgrade from third floor Hedge. This space is for all those who like to live large and act bougie during their study time.

1. FSU Common Room

Without a doubt the absolute best place to study on campus. Multiple sofas, a piano, a full kitchen with a stove for home brewed tea, and the quietest hipsters you will ever meet. You will never get questioned in the most attractive and largest common room on Frye Street. This is what you always wanted the Ronj to be, except here you need to be your own barista.

Pro Tip: Pretend you live there.

Honorable Mentions:

Ladd basement, WGS study room in PGill, The Den, Computer Lab in Roger Williams, and that creepy basement room in PGrew.

The politics of “The Bachelor”

I really enjoy “the Bachelor.”  I do not watch it religiously—I would consider myself a casual viewer– but every few seasons I get sucked in and watch every Monday night.  As a feminist, this has created a lot of internal conflict in me.  For those blissfully unaware, “the Bachelor” is a reality dating show in which two dozen or so women vie for the attention of one man in the hopes of getting engaged.  Episodes feature “group dates” and “one-on-ones” where contestants compete to spend more time with the bachelor. There is a female equivalent of “the Bachelor” called (surprise) “the Bachelorette,” in which men fight for the chance to propose to her at the end of the show

The show is hugely problematic in many regards.  Contestants are slim, very made-up, and, overwhelmingly, white.  The show is heteronormative, pits women against one another, shames women for their sexual histories, and has been accused by former contestants of providing more alcohol than food and very little time to sleep. What always surprises me is how, despite these circumstances, the women seem to generally get along and form close friendships.  It does not make any sense. This observation is probably the result of much of the show being orchestrated by producers, like every other reality TV show.  This is confirmed by both producers and contestants.  Episodes are heavily edited to emphasize particular storylines and create drama where there likely is none.  When I feel guilty about watching “the Bachelor,” I tell myself, it is all fake– the contestants know what they are getting themselves into.

Even if the contestants do know what they are signing up for (though this may not be the case as one contestant last week cried that it was not fair that the bachelor was also dating other women; like, Vanessa, that is the whole premise of the show) is that enough to absolve it of its faults?  Many fellow students I know at Bates watch the show and, universally, we see it as parody.  We watch it because it seems so ridiculous that it almost makes fun of itself.  However, even if the show is ridiculous, it still perpetuates negative narratives of women as sexual objects, playing into tired tropes like ‘the virgin,’ ‘the whore,’ and ‘wife-material.’  It also fails to represent a diverse range of women.  The show has never had a gay bachelor or bachelorette and has never featured a trans* contestant.  The first bachelorette of color will appear next season.   

The truth is, watching “The Bachelor” is escapism; it probably is no more sexist, or less diverse than the mass majority of television shows on air.  Still, that does not excuse it of its sins.  The President of ABC has acknowledged these concerns and promises viewers that there will be “tweaks” to the show’s content in the future.  While I am not holding out much hope for these “tweaks,” watching the show has led me to have many conversations with other Batesies about sexism in media and how we need to think critically about how women of all identities are represented.  Maybe the lesson to be learned here is that we need to be conscious of the media we consume and its issues.  The more people point out flaws, biases, and misrepresentation in media, the more pressure there is for producers and directors to change it.

Feminists must validate the experience of trans* women

A video of renowned feminist author, Chimamanda Nzogi Adichie, circulated the internet in which she uses what many have labeled “transphobic”, “cis-centric,” and “exclusionary” rhetoric to describe the differences in treatment and experiences of trans* women versus cis women. This video has led to many responses, many of which attack Adichie and point out her privileged position. While I have many problems with the way some of these articles attack, dismiss, and label Adichie with harsh terms, I do agree that what Adichie says about the experience of trans* women is problematic. Although some trans* women did/do have the privilege of passing as men, having one privilege does not negate their experiences as women or trans* women’s labor that has intense theoretical roots in feminism.

I do believe that some– not all– trans* women do/once had the privilege of passing as men. This privilege is something that I, as a cisgender woman, do not have; however, where Adichie’s logic crumbles is in mistaking this privilege as beyond or outside the experience of a woman, potentially even beyond or outside efforts of feminism. What Adichie fails to recognize, and what unfortunately many of the articles I read failed to point out, is that all LGBTQ+ people, not solely trans* women, have all labored for feminism in a way that heterosexual cis women have not. More importantly, hetero-cis women benefit from this labor. And to exclude trans* women from the labor of the LGBTQ+ community is intellectually and ethically irresponsible.

Because the constructs of gender and sexuality are so deeply intertwined with each other, it is important to recognize that disrupting one (by presenting as gay, for instance) disrupts both binaries. In other words, for a cis woman to engage in a queer activity with another cis woman is still disrupting the gender binary that relies on heterosexuality to function. Trans* and non-binary people disrupt these binaries even more overtly in terms of systemic structures of pronouns, the legal gender binary, etc. What we need to recognize here is that the entire concept of feminism is rooted in a concept of trans* or non-binary. In western culture, the logical framework for gender is that woman is not the opposite, but the counterpart or other in the face of man. Men serve as an icon of the norm while women serve as the gendered other to that norm. In essence, women are represented in terms of their proximity or relationship to men. And anything non-cis or non-heterosexual disrupts this framework.

What we learn from non-cis people, and through trans* women especially, is that gender is not only constructed as a reflective binary, but that it is entirely performative. Culturally, drag and other types of performance have pointed this out to feminists, which has helped carve the notion of what being gendered as a woman really means. Judith Butler writes, “[Drag] implies that all gendering is a kind of impersonation and approximation. If this is true, it seems, there is no original or primary gender that drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of limitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself…the naturalized effects of heterosexualized genders are produced through imitative strategies; what they imitate is a phantasmatic ideal of heterosexual identity, one that is produced by the imitation as its effect.” (Butler, 378)

In completely theoretical terms, the practice of performing as non-cis reveals that gender is performative, and there is no original model for this performance. This means that ALL women, even cis women, are performing their gender, which has no original foundation. Because gender is a construct which must be performed, trans* women are not mimicking or appropriating an original model of a true “woman,” they are mimicking a mimic that has been performed for years. So it seems that the crux of the experience of being a woman is performance. So theoretically, it makes no sense to exclude trans* women from this experience, just as it would make no sense to exclude non-binary women from this experience, because they choose to no longer “perform,” so to speak. We know this thanks to the work of the LGTBQ+ community (which includes trans* women!) that has performed and disrupted these binaries in overt and revealing ways that heteronormative cis people could not.

So, even though some trans* women could/can pass for men, recognizing this privilege is not socially or theoretically very productive. What would be more productive, which is what the articles I read were really grasping for, is recognizing the extreme systemic violence that takes place every day against trans* people. Trans* women’s bodies are not safer than cis women’s bodies from sexual harassment and assault. In fact, one in two trans* people will be assaulted in their lifetime. A trans* person has a one in twelve chance of being murdered compared to the 1 in 18,000 chance that cis people have. So, while some trans* women might have once been able to pass as men, this privilege is clearly not strong or rooted enough to protect them from violence. Cis women may not be able to pass as men, but the chances of them avoiding violence against their bodies is dramatically higher. Keeping that in mind, it seems it would be a more productive conversation for feminists to focus not on the validity of the experience of trans* people, but on how to systematically disrupt gender binaries that exclude and violate every radically different kind of women’s bodies.

Where’s the protein at?

What if I told you that a world heavyweight boxing legend doesn’t consume meat or any animal products? How about a tennis star who has consistently dominated her competition for a decade? How about an NFL running back who led the league in rushing for multiple seasons? You may not believe it, but Mike Tyson, Serena Williams, and Arian Foster are all vegans, and while you may view this dietary choice as a hurdle to overcome, the athletes themselves claim that they have never felt better.

When looking for protein-rich foods, people usually turn to animal products and meat. While meat is a great source of protein and other nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iron, overconsumption, especially of red meat, has been linked to heart disease, obesity, and various forms of cancer. If you’re wondering what overconsumption looks like, think more than two servings per day. Alternatives such as poultry and fish are certainly healthier options, but plant-based proteins often get overlooked. Certain grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, are packed not only with protein, but also other nutrients that cannot be found in meat– such as fiber– which supports a healthy digestive system. Lentils, nuts, and beans are also high in protein as well as healthy fats, essential for heart and brain health. The easiest way to optimize your nutrition is to practice moderation and variation, as both meat and plant-based foods offer unique benefits. Commons provides plenty of options for both plant based proteins and lean meats in every meal, so achieving a balanced and healthy diet is made easily accessible.

In addition to the health benefits of eating more plant-based foods, a more balanced diet also holds environmental implications. Consider the following: From birth to the time of slaughter, which takes around two years, cows have to be fed, provided water, and cared for. But how much energy goes into that care? It requires as much as 20 pounds of corn in order to produce one pound of edible beef, which essentially means that consuming plant-based alternatives is significantly more environmentally sustainable than consuming meat. Although eating meat in moderation has been a natural part of human life throughout history, factory meat production in the last century has grown to unnatural proportions, exploiting the environment’s resources and fostering a diet centered disproportionately around meat.

While nothing about eating meat is inherently wrong, the way that humans produce and consume meat in today’s society has serious health and environmental consequences. The solution is not necessarily for everyone to go vegan, but rather for all of us to look critically at our own eating habits and make more intentional choices. It’s far too easy to subsist on meat without thinking about the implications of that choice. We hope that you take this into account the next time you’re in Commons. Even if it’s replacing just one meat dish at your next meal, your planet and you body will thank you!

Open letter to Bates Campus Life

Since the removal of Keith Tannenbaum, it seems that Bates Campus Life has lost its taste for good parties. Rather than spending a little bit of money on things students might actually enjoy, Bates Campus Life has been hosting lackluster events that remind us exactly why off campus housing is necessary to have a good time on the weekends. While I love a good washed-up rapper and even wouldn’t mind a techno-synth-pop-nobody named after UMaine’s prized mascot, there are more efficient ways to get Bates students to spend their money. Bates students are pretty simple, and get even simpler on the weekends. The three things that get Bates students excited are food, alcohol, and dancing, hence why the Den is so successful, especially on the weekends. If the faculty on Bates Campus Life would recognize what I’m sure represented students argue for, the budget would be high enough in the future to get artists and performers students would actually pay $15-20 to attend. To fundraise for events like this, it would be as simple as the following scenario.

Bates could hire an average DJ (or a student volunteer) to play songs that everyone enjoys. The event could be held in a big space, like the Gray Cage or even the Silo. If Bates put in the extra money to buy a few kegs and wine or cider, security could check I.D.’s at the door and put wristbands around everyone who is 21+. Of course only these people would have access to the alcohol provided, but everyone at the event could have access to the pizza and other snacks near the alcohol. Bates Campus Life would have extra money from selling so many tickets costing around $5.

The success of an idea like this is extremely simple, seniors would be enticed to go for the “free” alcohol (free even though they paid the $5 entry fee). And if seniors are at an on campus event, monitored by security guards and other safety personnel, there will be no off-campus parties for underclassmen to wander off to.

There is no doubt in my mind that Bates Campus Life student representatives have already suggested this idea, since it is so simple and easy to execute. It is up to the Bates Campus Life faculty to spend money on events that Bates students would actually like attend.

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