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  • What’s the hype around journaling?

    By: Yanika Saluja Journaling has always been people’s go-to, but is it too overrated? As kids, teenagers and even adults, we all have had a time in our lives when we wanted to keep a journal, sometimes just to vent or doodle — because let’s be honest, we were bored. For some people, journaling is an escape from reality. Many of us, including myself, have so many mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and insomnia on top of everyday stress. At a certain point when you feel like you have no one to hear you out, you turn to writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper and keep it to yourself. Journaling can help you figure out what you are going through or the mistakes that you made. Moreover, it may even help you write down ways to deal with your problems. I’m not going to lie, it does help sometimes. Yet it leads me to wonder: Is it actually helpful or is it just another reason to bottle up your feelings? Do we give too much credibility to journaling? Writing down your emotions is good to keep track of your life, or see the progress that you have made mentally and emotionally, but does it really make your mental health better or is it just a bit too overrated? Journaling is a good thing and can be a huge milestone during recovery. I myself used to journal for a while, and though it helped me jot down my thoughts, it didn’t really help me reduce or control my anxiety. I have suffered with anxiety my whole life. So, I decided to make a journal where I would always write the cause of my anxiety attack, the trigger and what I did to control it. I also used to write about my day sometimes to let out my thoughts. It went decent for some time, but after a while it began to be more of a burden and responsibility to write. I started to feel obligated to write in a journal and so, for the sake of completing the task, I did. When it did not help me, I realized how much credit we give to journaling, and how talking it out with someone could be better than writing our thoughts down. However, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. A lot of people do feel like they are getting better with journaling — it all really depends on the perspective. I would like to argue that journaling can sometimes be more harmful and feed your anxiety. Journaling can lead to more overthinking as you would be going through the same thing all over again. Sometimes, in my experience, writing about negativity can cause you to spiral and may make you use your words against yourself. Journaling can often keep you isolated in your own thoughts leaving no room for growth or recovery. Journaling is not a bad thing and I cannot stress this enough. However, what I do believe is that you need another outlet to give you the reassurance or the shoulder you are looking for. Journaling is not something to be done just because it is a trend or because you are going through a rough patch in your life. Journal if you feel like it can really help you or if letting it all out on a piece of paper is what you want to do to feel better — not because your therapist or someone else told you to. Do what makes you happy and relaxed.

  • The Struggles of Trying to Get Over My Fear of Driving

    By: Yasmeen Aslam After negative comments from my driving instructor and getting into a car accident, I thought I would never be able to sit behind the wheel again When someone turns 16, everyone’s automatic response is: you can finally get a driver’s license. At least, that’s what people told me when I turned 16. Everyone expects you to jump up and down at the prospect of being able to drive and take yourself wherever you want to go. Now, I will admit, I was excited to get my G1 license. I passed the test on the first try and couldn’t wait to start practicing in an actual car. Yet when I got behind the wheel for the first time, I was filled with feelings of dread and anxiety. After (horribly) testing out my skills in an empty parking lot, I came to a conclusion: I hated driving. After bringing this up to family members, many reassured me that feeling nervous in the beginning is normal and will eventually go away once I drive more. When practicing, I could never get one hundred per cent comfortable with sitting in the driver’s seat — and this was only in parking lots. The thought of driving on an actual road wasn’t even plausible for me. In fact, it felt less than impossible. Two years passed and I still couldn’t get rid of my nerves. So, I did what most people do when they’re learning to drive: I signed up for driving school. My younger sister and I had taken the class at the same time. While I did learn a lot, the drunk driving videos they showed in class was not good for my existing fear. After the in-person class, it was time to start the in-car lessons with a driving instructor. My sister started her instructions right away, as she loved to drive. She actually ended up getting her G2 later that year. I, on the other hand, did not want to contact my instructor right away and thought I’d wait it out. Months passed and in that time, we had gotten another car — a Jeep to be specific — and it was meant to be shared amongst my sisters and I. Once I started driving the Jeep, my nerves slowly disappeared. Granted, there was still a bit of anxiousness and I was still only practicing in parking lots, but I felt extremely comfortable driving that car. My driving skills improved and I finally believed I was able to start my driving lessons without my anxiety completely overtaking me. However, the COVID-19 pandemic started in March and driving schools closed during that time. When they reopened in the summer, I finally contacted my driving instructor to set up a time to practice. Before my first lesson, I told him that I hadn’t driven on the road yet. When my first lesson was complete, he asked me: “Are you sure you haven’t driven on the road before?” This gave me a confidence boost, as I thought he believed I was a great driver. Yet, things took a turn for the worse. With every lesson that would pass, my instructor would constantly belittle my driving skills. I personally thought I was doing fine, but every small thing was critiqued. The first time he taught me how to parallel park, he expected me to get it right on the first try. After parking a bit too close to the curb, my instructor started yelling at me and told me I wouldn’t pass my G2 test — in fact, he specifically told me that I would get a “negative zero” for my parallel parking. Many people haven’t mastered parallel parking even after having enough driving experience, let alone doing it for the first time. I honestly believe he was insulting my driving skills because I’m female. He would praise other students’ skills (all of them were male) while disparaging mine. However, his attitude changed during my last lesson. He told me that if I drove the way I did that day, I would pass my test. It would’ve been much more beneficial if he had been this encouraging during the past nine lessons. Then, three days before my G2 test, the unthinkable happened. I got into a car accident. I was out practicing, with my dad in the passenger seat. I stopped at a red light, waiting for it to turn green so I could make a left turn. As soon as it was safe to go, I started turning, when all of a sudden a car came speeding down from the left, crashing into the front end of my dad’s car. There weren’t any serious injuries, thankfully, but I did have whiplash and had to go to a chiropractor for the next three months. In the moments after the accident, all I could think about was messaging my instructor to postpone my G2 test, as it was still within the 48-hour cancellation window. However, I decided against it, and went ahead with the test. Obviously, I failed the test, as my anxiety had gotten much worse after the accident. The one thing that had scared me when I started driving was getting into a crash — and after it had happened, I thought it was the universe’s way of telling me I shouldn’t drive. I thought my instructor’s insulting comments had been right and I was a terrible driver. However, as much as I hated driving, I was still passionate about getting my license. I wanted the freedom that came along with it. So, I scheduled another G2 test in December, as my G1 license was set to expire in March. It was risky, as it was going to be winter and driving without snow was already scary for me. Yet in those months, I continued practicing and worked on my mistakes. I would practice over and over, wanting to perfect everything that was going to be on the test. On the day of my second G2 test, I went on a full ramble to my examiner. I told her about my driving fears and everything that had happened to me in the last couple of months. She told me to take deep breaths and reassured me that all would be fine. I was still doubting myself at that moment. I took my time during the test, and tried not to let my lurking fear cloud my mind. I’ll never forget the relief I felt when my examiner told me I passed. Now that I have my G2, I can’t help but think in some weird way, all of the negative things that had happened to me actually made me a better driver. It homed in on my weaknesses and made me want to improve. I will confess I am still afraid of driving, but not as much as when I first started. I’m going to keep driving and hopefully, after enough exposure, my fear will dissipate. After all, I still have my G test to take.

  • The Muslim Experience Navigating Mental Health and Religion

    By Laviza Syed Two young Muslim women discuss their ongoing relationship with God while battling trauma and mental illness Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault Dissociative amnesia. An occurrence where your brain blocks out certain events or traumatic incidents, leaving the individual unable to recall certain events. Circumstances in your life, however, can trigger your brain into remembering. A year ago, this was the case for Masuma Akbar, when she remembered the second time she was sexually abused by another one of her cousins. The culture around Muslims seeking help for their mental health, or mental illness, is an extremely taboo subject. This creates a very dangerous playing field for those struggling with traumatic events and simultaneously creates a rigid dichotomy between their faith and their mental health. Akbar, a second-year child and youth care student at X University*, describes how her relationship with God and religion fluctuates while she battles trauma and mental health. “I can pinpoint the moment when my view of God especially set me back,” says Akbar. Attending an Islamic school system as a young teen, Akbar consistently felt like the outlier, the outcast, not fitting into the mould of those around her. She felt, and was treated, drastically different from the other young Muslim students at As-Sadiq Islamic School. Akbar also lived in a joint family system her entire life, until three years ago when her family moved out when they learned she was a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of one of her cousins. “With brown culture, I was shunned by family members saying, ‘she's making stuff up.’ Hearing that from your family is definitely heartbreaking,” says Akbar. She says she began questioning at a young age why she felt uncomfortable in certain areas of her house; why she felt anxious, why her heartbeat was fast. It was never considered or taught to her that mental health was an issue, or that these were signs of something much bigger and would have a lifelong impact if not given the importance they needed. “I was in Grade 8 when I spoke up and sought therapy, but my relationship with religion was horrible because of how the Islamic school system and culture pressured religion and the hijab on me,” says Akbar. “People would say, ‘she's acting out because she wants attention,’ or ‘she's acting out because she wants boys to like her.’” “There was always an excuse for my behaviour, rather than asking what was wrong or why I was acting the way I was,” adds Akbar. Muslim communities have created an intrinsic tie to mental health and being religious. The notion is that mental health issues are a test from God, and seeking help undermines your level of religiosity. These constructs are a harmful narrative that prohibits medical or professional help for many individuals. When Akbar remembered the incident of her second encounter of sexual abuse, it created another obstacle, both mentally and spiritually. “Do I even want to try to make a relationship with God, or do I want to stay in the place I am now?” “I would describe my relationship with God as a seesaw because, on one hand, I want to be closer to Him, but on the other, I'm content with my belief in God and how I view Islam and how I am as a person. The problem is that it's so hard to continue to have faith in your belief when you're constantly getting shit thrown at you.” Akbar says older generations of Muslims, such as parents and grandparents, look at depression or anxiety as a weakness in faith as if devout worship would create a link to magical healing. When Akbar wore the hijab from Grade 3 until she was 17, she says she didn’t automatically feel more religious or feel a significant increase in her mental health. In fact, she says it had quite an adverse effect. “I felt like I was letting down the religion by sinning or doing certain things while wearing the hijab, so in return, God was letting me down." "Every day is like a breaking point, and He's seeing me, face hardship after hardship, and I want to believe after hardship comes ease, but it's definitely challenging, and I know I have the faith in me, it’s just a matter of making that faith stronger,” says Akbar. The myth that consulting an imam, which is an Islamic leader, or a religious scholar is enough to address someone's mental illnesses or personal challenges should be dismantled immediately. Most imams and religious scholars are not trained in mental health services, resulting in a gap or difference in opinion between a scholar and mental health professional. “I've been to your regular sit down therapy sessions, and also eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, which is a sensory treatment for trauma or stress. And for Sheikhs, I spoke to a few as well,” says Akbar. “But because of my relationship with God, even though there are answers that seem appropriate from religious scholars, I just don't believe it. I don't believe that that could be true.” A barrier for many Muslims is the fear that mental health providers or services will not understand religion or spirituality as a core or foundation, and that fear prevents many people from seeking out help. A therapists’ perception of religion could be the reason for the deterioration. This is where cultural and religious awareness in the medical field is of great importance. That being said, Akbar says she has been to both Muslim and non-Muslim professionals and realized the pros and cons of both. “From the perspective of someone who is seeking help, are you willing to sit in front of somebody, who is also Muslim, who knows what is considered right and wrong, and be able to talk about the things in your life that aren’t necessarily appropriate?” The most important thing to remember is that healing is personal and depends on your comfort, Whether the help comes in the form of a Muslim or non-Muslim, a scholar or therapist. Akbar is not alone in her struggles with mental illness, trauma, and trying to formulate a relationship with God through those times. Hania Noor was faced with extreme anxiety, feelings of otherness, and a disconnect with God when moving overseas. Noor’s experience shines a different light on how mental illness can curate your relationship with God. Noor moved to Canada from her home country of Pakistan at the age of nine. This move was not only a drastic change to her life as a child but also impacted her relationship with spirituality. Being connected to religion in a Muslim-majority country is not as easy as it may seem. Noor explains how constantly being surrounded by religion turned it into nothing more than meaningless, ritualistic actions that became draining rather than empowering for her. When Noor came to Canada, and those ritualistic acts went away, she felt completely disassociated from religion, because she never understood it from the start. She came to a new and secular country and completely distanced herself, feeling judged from the outside and insecure on the inside. "I've struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. When I came to Canada and I was dealing with some really rough times in high school, that's when I sought out that connection, and I understood the concept of religion for myself,” says Noor, explaining how she refound religion. The journey to discover her connection with religion again, on her own, in a country where she already felt unaccepted and different, became a gruelling process. However, she emphasizes the importance of finding religion and God as you grow, on your own terms. She says the connection you have with God should be very personal. “Being religious has pushed me to take care of myself more, almost like a safety blanket,” says Noor. “When I'm going through something very rough I'm not the type of person to talk about it, so having God always made me feel like I had something to fall back on, something to rely on.” “I struggled with anxiety before and I still turned to God, but nowhere near how I do now. It's just the first thing I seek. I'll just talk out loud and have a conversation with God. I feel so understood because when you talk to people, sometimes there are no words for how you feel. But in this situation, I don't even have to say it out loud, He just knows. That's all you need; for someone to understand, someone out there that's hearing you, listening to you, and the help will come. I've felt the help come. I've seen it come over and over,” says Noor. In terms of receiving help for her anxiety beyond her relationship with God, Noor would always prefer to seek out a method that would increase her love for religion and form her relationship through it and would seek out religious scholarly advice before turning to therapy. “It’s obviously not treatment, but I have that sense of comfort with people that are Muslim. God is such a big part of my life, so if I was talking to a professional, and we could have a foundation or shared understanding of the basis of religion, that would make me so much more comfortable and accepting of the advice I was receiving." For those who have a God-centric view on life, speaking about their experiences in a secular space could result in them moving away from therapy as a whole. "Especially living in the West, if I was to go to a therapist, certain things I was going through might not be completely understood, or view it in a certain way. Therapists are people at the end of the day, they still have their own biases, and I would never want there to be a disconnect between us. It has to be the right person, they have to be a balance of being Muslim and being a therapist, it can't be just one or the other,” says Noor. Feeling judged and out of place while adapting to life in a new country helped exemplify Noor’s connection with religion. She came from a community-based lifestyle and having the involvement of others in her religion created distance. Being placed in a situation where she felt like she had no one else to turn to create that personal connection for Noor. Being rejected by everyone else allowed her to find solace in God. “Take everybody else out of it, and just isolate yourself to you and God, and see how your view towards religion will change when you just seek Him out and remove everything else,” says Noor. Because of each and every individual’s different lived experiences, their relationship with religion and how they view God will change. The problem within Muslim communities is trying to use a general solution and apply that knowledge to every case of mental illness will never work. Undermining someone’s religiosity when they present trauma or mental illness will never work. The first steps to decreasing the stigma around seeking help are to raise awareness and educate the Muslim community on the realities of mental health struggles and normalize mental illnesses. As a collective, we must stop treating mental illness as something to be ashamed of or hidden. As Muslims, we need to be open to being vulnerable. We stop trying to show ourselves as ideal to everyone else and show young Muslims that there is not one mould they must fit to be accepted as Muslims. We have to be open to saying what we’re going through and supporting others experiencing similar problems, and uplift one another, rather than one-upping one another. *X University, officially known as Ryerson University, is undergoing a renaming process to halt the perpetuation of its namesake’s racism and contribution to cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada. New Wave Zine is committed to honouring and respecting the land we operate on, and to uplift the words and art of First Nations, Métis and Inuit folks.

  • “I’m Tired” of the Jules Slander

    By Idy Barry Jules is not a villain, she’s a teenage girl. Spoilers ahead for Euphoria Season 2. Jules Vaughn in season 2 of Euphoria. (Eddy Chen/Instagram). When season one of HBO’s Euphoria initially aired, I didn’t feel much of a connection to any character. It wasn’t until two bridge episodes were released between Season 1 and 2 that I had a deeper understanding of the show and its characters. The episode that resonated with me the most was “Fuck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob,” featuring Jules Vaughn, played by Hunter Schafer. The release of this special episode allowed the audience to see Jules from her own perspective, rather than from Rue, as narrator. A deeper dive into Jules’ motivations, specifically her need for validation and relationship with her addict mother, made it hard for me not to empathize with her character. In the wake of Season 2’s finale, I can say I’m surprised at the direction Jules’ character went, but even more at the general reception of Jules online. Scrolling through TikTok the day after an episode was released, I couldn’t believe the amount of negativity towards her. She seems to always be a target for criticism, even for how she cheered for Lexi in the finale. While criticisms are warranted, it’s important to note that Euphoria is a nuanced portrayal of deeply flawed teenagers in an even more flawed society. Of the main cast, few are inherently bad people — Jules included. P.O.V. One of the most toxic elements of #Rules (Rue + Jules) is Rue’s dependency on Jules in terms of her sobriety. In Jules’ special episode, she expresses how this responsibility affects her negatively when she says: “I’d just, I’d feel, like, this weight. Like, this massive weight on my shoulders, and I’d think, like…Like, what if she relapses, you know? Like what if she relapses ‘cause I’m not there?” This pressure, to essentially be responsible for a life (at a point in which she is still coming into her own), is immense for a teenager. In their first interaction in Season 2, Rue tells Jules she relapsed right after Jules left town in the Season 1 finale, confirming her fears. Having a loved one who is also an addict can be extremely difficult, especially at a young age. You don’t want to hurt them or make them feel unsafe; however, it can also be your burden to help them recover. This is especially significant with Rue and Jules, considering they met right after Rue left rehab. "Hunter Schafer and Zendaya (who plays Rue Bennett) behind the scenes of "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob." (Letterboxd). We follow Rue, as narrator, throughout the series, which frequently results in biased representations of events and characters. From the moment Rue meets Jules, she sees her as perfect and puts her on a pedestal. We, as an audience, rarely see Jules’ struggles and point of view because Rue can’t see that side of her. It's a lot easier to find flaws within a character who the narrator constantly describes as “perfect.” I also find that, regardless of Rue’s behaviour, the audience takes her side because they identify more closely with her point of view as the main character. So, when Rue is mad at Jules, everyone else is as well. SEASON TWO While many people found reasons to dislike Jules in Season 1, Season 2 seemed to add even more fuel to the already burning flame. I remember fighting for my life on Twitter and TikTok, defending her each Sunday night after an episode aired. When I look at the characters in Euphoria, I try not to view them from a binary point of view. They all make decisions for their own reasons (whether they are explicitly stated or not). Yet, this isn’t always a true justification. For example, I think Cal Jacobs’ backstory, as shown in Season 2, does not justify any of his past and current actions on the show. Yes, even him leaving his family. In terms of Jules, the most frustrating actions of hers this season was her relationship with Elliot, and telling Rue’s mom that Rue was not sober and using drugs. To be frank, Elliot’s existence on the show irks me. I didn’t find him very likeable after the first episode, and his commentary on Jules’ sexuality was strange. However, he did expose the cracks in Rue and Jules’ relationship that were bound to be revealed in due time. Jules and Elliot (Dominic Fike) in Euphoria S2E03. After she meets Elliot, Rue is using more than ever before, especially after she gets a suitcase of drugs from drug lord Laurie. Rue feels like she’s on top of the world with a girlfriend and unlimited drugs, so she begins to neglect Jules. Even when they are together, Rue is too preoccupied by her high to be satisfied (both sexually and mentally) by Jules. In Jules’ special episode (and throughout Season 1 in general), it’s obvious that she seeks affection through male validation. She says herself: “I just, like, I look at myself, and I’m like, how the fuck did I spend my entire life building this. Like…Like, my body, and my personality, and, like, my soul around what I think men desire? It’s just, like…it’s embarrassing. I feel like a…a fraud.” Enter, Elliot. Jules is in a relationship in which she feels unwanted and disconnected, and Elliot offers her what Rue doesn’t. I am in no way condoning cheating and infidelity. I do think it’s important to consider how Jules could have made such a decision. When it comes to the situation of Jules “snitching” on Rue to her mom, I was surprised at the amount of backlash towards Jules. I mean, people were even saying that she deserved to be yelled at by Rue as harshly as she had. Whether it was wrong of Jules to do is not up for debate — as Rue said, it saved her life. If Jules went straight to Rue, Rue wouldn’t have listened. She needed a full-blown intervention. When Rue yells at Jules and preys on her insecurities, all Jules can say is “I love you.” This made some fans more annoyed with her. How could Jules love Rue if she betrayed her? Jules had no responsibility to tell Rue’s mom, but she simply didn’t want Rue to die. She has seen the dangers of addiction through her mother, so it makes sense for her to do what she can to stop it from also happening to Rue. This scene in particular isn’t about hurting someone’s feelings out of spite or maintaining a relationship. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made in order to save a life. A lot of the discourse about the scene is over-reactive because many of the show’s viewers prioritize the dramatics of the show and its relationships. CONCLUSION Again, Jules is a teenager navigating life in modern society. A lot of us can relate to that — figuring out who the hell we are, what we want and need, etc. Jules has done nothing worse than what other Euphoria characters have done. I will say that I am always partial to Jules Vaughn, simply due to her special episode. I find many aspects of her character relatable, and I empathize with her situation. That episode in particular was co-written by Hunter Schafer. She said in an interview with Lorde for The A24 Podcast that many aspects of Jules are derived from Hunter’s experience coming of age as a trans girl. While this story is fictional, I can’t help but remind myself that these situations (drug addictions, abuse, etc.) happen. Which is why I try to stay empathetic towards these characters because, like real people, they make mistakes. Hunter Schafer as Jules (Jacob Elordi/Instagram).

  • “Unique” - Currently Dormant in the Herd

    By: Subhanghi Anandarajah Longing for everyone around to trace my current, like a shooting star. For the most part, my passionate self stands by the quirky grains that fill me. But when the herd arrives, I know I’ll have them scattered. I wish I was more solid than the well beaming in my front yard, Except, my rigid anxiety conceals me underneath. Even now, I strive for “unique.” But flourishing outside the herd petrifies my current. Global incidents are aired without a gap: The groundwork that advances — I probe that longer than the orbit of an accompanying star. Members beckon for the path we’ll draw up. But if I don’t sound off for the right stance, I panic that ostracism will direct me through a friendless route. I’ve unearthed my quirky grains as dormant— They need replenishment but the herd is arriving. Shooting stars ride by my current. But I will ultimately stride as “unique."

  • And just like that, it’s over

    By: Negin Khodayari I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was wearing a white ruffled t-shirt and baggy blue jeans. My hair was in short pigtails and I spent the whole day fidgeting with them worried people would think I looked like a kid. The air was hot as I nervously shuffled my way through the subway station during rush hour. Of course, I didn’t catch a seat and spent the next 45 minutes pressed between a crowd of sweaty bodies jammed together, breathing on each other as I tried to silence the pounding of my heartbeat in my ears — it’s hard to think I miss it. I was on my way to first-year orientation. August 2018 — might as well be forever ago. In the blink of an eye, I went from a nervous freshman to a nervous 22-year-old about to graduate. I feel like nothing has changed, but if I look closely, everything has. Courtesy of @jschoolnow on instagram It’s hard to look back on the past four years fondly. When I think about my undergraduate experience, it’s tainted by nostalgia and heartbreak, as if I’m grieving the version of myself I dreamt of becoming before the world felt like it was going to end. Something you should know about be, I tend to be a bit dramatic. I spent most of first-year trying to find a place where I felt like myself on campus, but it was hard to get over the culture shock of going from seeing the same people everyday for 12 years; to being in spaces where no one even knew my name. Luckily, I had my best friend by my side as we tried to make the kind of memories we’d want to tell our children — and boy did we try. Making friends on campus when you have a two hour commute to school isn't easy. It felt like if you didn’t live in the dorms, you might as well be a stranger — everyone had already made their cliques and I was just late to the game. Though I wasn’t completely alone in my program, we made a little group of commuter journalism students pretty early on who helped each other through our six hour labs on Wednesdays. I was lucky to find them when I did, I’d hate to think of how much more stressful navigating this new program would’ve been without people who were going through the same thing. Second year was off to a much better start — unlike how it ended. Cliques seemed less intimidating and everyone was more inviting and open with each other. Our projects relied on teamwork and everyone was working to build each other up. But the biggest change for me was when I finally found a place on campus that made me feel like I belonged: at my new job. I applied for an on-campus job on a whim and out of frustration with my position as a sales associate at a luggage store (of all places). I never thought they’d accept me, as I didn’t have the experience, but I guess I did have the charm because here I am three years later still working there. Three years. If you told me three years ago as I was walking into my interview that that day would determine what would end up becoming my biggest university experience, I don’t know if I’d believe you. I wouldn't believe all the people I got the chance to meet and all the characters I got to learn from. I wouldn't believe all the projects I was a part of and the trust people would have in me — the trust I would have in me. When the world went into lockdown, my work never stopped. It kept me going and kept me busy. I don’t want to think about how much harder the first year of the pandemic would've been if I didn't have this constant in my life. Nothing else in my life, or the world, was the same anymore, but at least I still had tasks to complete and a meeting to attend every Tuesday. I've been working non-stop for three years. I’ve met so many milestones and accomplished things I always hoped I would before graduating, but none of it feels real. None of it feels enough. I’ve maintained a high GPA, worked, gotten a dream internship. I’m an editor, I’m a writer, I’m published, but none of it feels tangible — when you fulfill all your dreams virtually, you might as well still be dreaming. I’ve gained everything by the click of a few buttons while sitting in my bedroom for two years. I wanted more. I wanted more chances to reinvent myself before every introduction. I wanted more chances to meet new people and make new friends. I wanted more chances to feel good, and bad, about myself. I wanted to grow a little more every time I left my house. I wanted to have more classes in the movie theatre. I wanted to have classes in our TV studio and play with our equipment. I wanted to be on camera, not on a Zoom call. I wanted to show off my cute outfits and let everyone hear my laugh. I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted more. Four years went by in the blink of an eye but I think I detached myself from school two years ago. I’ve been living in limbo since then. I’m numb to the fact that it’s all going to be over in a few weeks. It’s like I don’t even care, but that can’t be true. I care about everything, sometimes too much — it’s my biggest character trait. Well, I guess it’s already been over for a while, but now it’s just official. I don’t want to be numb. I want to be able to look back on these years and see all that I accomplished. I want to look back and see the three years I worked at a job I loved. I want to see the first year and a half when my best friend and I tried to take the city by storm. I don’t want to be sad, but I don’t know how not to be. I don’t know how to start processing this. I don’t know how to really realize that it’s ending. It’s ending. It’s ending. Maybe if I repeat it enough times, it’ll start to mean something to me.

  • Introspection

    By: Julia Sacco overthinking or underthinking? Unsplash/@bady From a young age, I was always hyper-aware of the way that I acted and thus how I was perceived. While other kids were playing soccer at recess, I hid in the bathroom, a hurricane of thoughts hindering my ability to step outside. As I got older, things shifted. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic disorder while in eating disorder treatment at fifteen. Since then, slowly but surely, I have been coming to terms with the fact that while I may be “wise beyond my years,” as my therapist liked to put it, my vision of myself and the world around me had been warped by insecurity and fear. This skewed sense of personhood trickled into relationships throughout my young life. I went through friendships like candy in elementary school, dropping friends after the slightest inconvenience under the guise that they no longer liked me or were bored of me. As I grew up, I later connected this to having a victim complex, always finding myself to be the bearer of pain. While it prevented me from easily cutting ties and helped save friendships, this victim complex narrative then began to hurt me more than anyone else. Fights that began with me voicing my qualms would end with me profusely apologizing, always citing myself as the villain and why things go awry. If anyone did something to upset me, I would simply come to the conclusion that my standards were absurdly high and that I am always the thing that must be fixed. I cite social media as a link to this problem. Constantly seeing text posts listing “10 toxic behavioural traits” and identifying with more than a few, or being force-fed strangers dirty relationship laundry and questioning if their means to an end can be linked to behaviours I encapsulate. Every day is more confusing to navigate. Am I mad because someone actually did something to hurt me? Or am I overreacting and using my feelings to manipulate admissions of guilt from my loved ones? The past few months have been a blur of attempted self-diagnoses, self-induced panic attacks and exhaustion, effectively leaving me with the wish that I could just be like everyone else, that I could live in a world outside of my head and act freely without second-guessing my every move. In some ways, I am thankful for the mind I was given. I have a rich inner world, a strong introspectiveness and a rather profound understanding of self. I just hope that one day I will be at peace with it.

  • Movies you need to watch based on your zodiac sign

    By: Samreen Maqsood Let’s admit it. The hardest part of watching a movie is deciding what movie to watch. You want to relax, take a break by settling in and hopping on Netflix. Instead, you aimlessly scroll through 75 per cent of featured movies, frustrated, and still can't decide what to watch. That’s why we put together a list of inspiring movies to watch based on your zodiac sign. Sit back, relax and find the perfect movie for you! 1. Capricorns and "The Pursuit of Happyness" Retrieved from: Medium Starting off the guide with one of the most responsible and mature signs, those of you who are Capricorns tend to be very ambitious, hard-working and serious. However, you tend to be very insecure and look down upon yourself if you don’t achieve your goals. The feelings of failure are often something you blame yourself for, which results in having a low self image. That’s why The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) is the best movie for you. Will Smith portrays successful business owner Chris Gardner as the movie follows along the struggles of his life and all he did to achieve where he is now. While there are many points in his life where he is about to lose it all, Gardner does not give up and keeps persevering until he succeeds. 2. Sagittarius and "Little Miss Sunshine" Retrieved from: IMDb If your zodiac sign is Sagittarius, you are known to be compassionate, loyal and smart. Easily attracting friends and lovers, you have an open mind and a straightforward personality. However, your honesty and overconfidence in your abilities can land you in deep trouble. That’s why Little Miss Sunshine (2006) is the movie for you. While the movie brings out your impulsive wild side, it also shows balance between dark and light, advice you can learn from. 3. Aquarius and "Coco" Retrieved from: IMDb This sign is humanitarian, free-spirited and creative. You fight for causes, have an intellectual perspective on life and generally want to make the world a better place. However, your biggest fear is losing your individuality and freedom. You love living life on your own terms and fear that one day you will have to compromise what you believe in. That’s why Coco (2017) needs to be on your must-watch list. This film follows a young boy and portrays the journey of facing pressure from others. The main message is to follow what your heart desires, push boundaries and rebel in order to achieve your dreams. 4. Pisces and "Eat Pray Love" Retrieved from: IMDb As a Pisces, you are known to be creative, considerate and romantic. You are one of the most emotionally aware and sensitive signs, going to great lengths to make sure the people around you are happy. However, because of that, you believe you are not worthy of the same love and happiness you give to others. Your biggest insecurities are low self-esteem and doubt, scared that you will never find someone who loves you. That’s why Eat Pray Love (2010) is the recommended movie for you. This movie follows a woman who’s unhappy in her marriage and chooses to go “find herself”. Rather than trying so hard to please and love others, you should aim to give yourself the same type of love. 5. Aries and "Brad’s Status" Retrieved from Wikipedia Those of you who are Aries are known for your courage, confidence and honesty. Passionate and driven, you always have many projects in mind, diving head first into challenges. You pride yourself in being the best at what you do, which is why you refuse to ask others for help. Additionally, the moment someone is better than you is the moment your envious side comes out. That’s why we recommend you watch Brad’s Status (2017). It may seem like Brad Sloan has it all; satisfying career, wife and a son, a comfortable, normal life. Despite this, he keeps comparing himself to his famous college friends, thinking how he could be in the same position. Aries, while you may be confident in what you achieved, someone else who seems to have it all can be the one thing that sets you off. 6. Taurus and "Travellers and Magicians" Retrieved from: Rotten Tomatoes If your zodiac sign is Taurus, you are known to be sensual, intelligent and dependable. As an earth sign, you are more calm, cool and collected. You enjoy a routine and stability, committed to your own comfort. Due to this, your biggest insecurity is instability. Security is one of the most important things for your sign, so when you don’t know what to expect in the future, you worry about the changes headed your way. Worrying too much about what’s going to happen stops you from living in the moment. That’s why you need to watch Travellers and Magicians (2004) immediately. It illustrates the unhappiness that comes from within our own minds and stops us from living in the present. 7. Gemini and "Inception" Retrieved from: IMDb Geminis, you are known to be intelligent, outgoing and curious people. You are constantly trying to juggle your passions, friends and careers. You love being the centre of attention, which is why when you’re not included in the loop, you fear being forgotten about. You can also be a bit superficial, caring too much about what others around you think. As a result, you change your behaviour based on who you’re talking to and often get mislabelled as “two-faced.” Look no further, as Inception (2010) has everything that will keep you interested throughout the entire movie. As one of the most misunderstood signs, this movie follows a crazy dream-builder as he plans to plant a thought into a corporate CEO. 8. Cancer and "Forrest Gump" Retrieved from: IMDb As a Cancer, you are known to be intuitive, sensitive and a homebody. You are very in touch with your emotions and care deeply about those closest to you. However, since you are a homebody, you don’t respond well to change, being more drawn to stability and a routine. You also tend to be too in touch with your emotions, taking everything too personally, feeling insecure and needing other people for validation. That’s why Forrest Gump (1994) is one of the recommended movies for you. Many of the lessons in this movie, such as don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t let anyone tell you they’re better than you are some things you can really learn from. 9. Leo and "Dumplin’" Retrieved from: MovieBabble Leos, you are known to be dramatic, creative and bold. You love to lead, talk and are the ultimate showman, having a bold sense of charisma and theatrical flair. However, that can also be the reason for one of your biggest insecurities: being forgotten. As you have quite a fragile ego, you need all eyes on you and being forgotten or ignored can be quite bruising towards you. Dumplin’ (2018) hits all those personality traits. Following a mother-daughter’s beauty pageant, the movie shows how the daughter overcomes fatphobia, low self-esteem and body acceptance issues by being a high-spirited Leo. 10. Virgo and "The Perfection" Retrieved from: IMDb If you are a Virgo, you are known to be humble, practical and loyal. You are thoughtful and grounded empaths. However, you are also known to be perfectionists, planning everything to your control. This leads to one of your biggest insecurities: not being able to live up to your own expectations and obsessed with trying to perfect everything. The Perfection (2018) follows the journey of a once-elite cellist and a new star student down a sinister path. This movie highlights issues of trauma, mental health and revenge. 11. Libra and "I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore" Retrieved from: Wikipedia If you are social, non-confrontational and diplomatic, you are definitely a Libra. You can fit in anytime, anywhere, with anyone and generally like to avoid conflicts. However, one of your biggest insecurities is caring way too much about what people think. You try too hard to be in people’s good books, earning their approval and constantly worrying about making good impressions on others, which can often lead you to let other people treat you like doormats. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore (2017) sounds like the perfect movie for Libras. Following a depressed woman who sets out to punish the people who robbed her place, this movie seeks to tell the message of what happens when people who keep quiet and suffer through things until they finally snap. 12. Scorpio and "Double Jeopardy" Retrieved from: Rotten Tomatoes If your zodiac sign is Scorpio, you are known to be passionate, loyal and emotional. Determined, when you set your mind and heart to something, you don’t hold back. You are secretive with an air of mystery around you. This makes sense, as your biggest fear is being betrayed by someone close to you, scared that they will judge, humiliate or expose you. That’s why Double Jeopardy (1999) is the movie meant for Scorpios. Following a woman who was framed for her husband’s murder and suspects he faked his death and blamed it on her, this movie depicts the feelings of a Sçorpio and how they feel after being betrayed by those closest to them.

  • Quiet beauty; In curly hair, colouring aesthetics and coloniality

    By: Sama Nemat Allah (Art by Yasmeen Nematalla) I remember thinking the straightener fit so perfectly in my hand because it was meant to be there. But then again, that thought might have reverberated loudly because I was stuck so resolutely in my it’s-a-sign-from-God era. Some of the characteristics of this epoch include but are not limited to: a fervent inclination to view any and all events; sentiments and actions as sacred decrees from a higher being; mistaking compliments for promise rings; writing despondent eulogies when the frog in my throat overstays its welcome; believing the people who insisted I resembled Penelope from the Odyssey when my hair was straight. Years later, in an arbitrary English class, my professor will offer us Penelope’s name as a quintessential example of the “White Goddess” archetype. Imagine that. I had a dream once where I existed in a vacuum. And when I woke up, I looked vastly different. I am often plagued by thoughts of the time I’ve wasted thinking about how I am perceived. Quantifying that number seems too arduous a task and I imagine I’d be too unhappy with myself once I unearthed the result. Before last year, if you had asked my life’s accomplices to describe me, they’d invariably paint you pictures of pin-straight hair and smooth locks devoid of frizz. I’ve been alive for almost two decades and I’ve spent the predominance of that time picking up straighteners and holding my breath as I set my hair aflame. It’s fine. I’d whisper to myself, often soundlessly, with box-springs in my throat. It’s worth the damage if I am able to carry on being beautiful quietly. And as I write this, I’ve decided to coin the phrase quiet beauty. It refers to the abstraction we chase when we knowingly do irreversible damage to our bodies under cruel commandments of a system that promises the privileges of eurocentricity if we comply, quietly. I remember feeling compounding sentiments of nausea and lethargy when the decision to stop straightening my hair cemented within me. A lockdown that would preclude me from seeing anyone indefinitely – save my sisters, who, God bless them, approach my ever-changing extrinsic features with reverence – sounded like an ideal time for experimentation. Until recently, I had only a slim recollection of what I looked like with my curly, kinky, Egyptian hair. It was a distant memory that I was more than happy to forget. My curly hair was big and loud and messy and so hard to manage. I realize now that maybe those characteristics are just my unobservable features personified. I realize now that this is partly why I worked so hard to burn them off. As my curls began to take on a form that was foreign to me (but I’m sure gratifyingly familiar to them), I felt indifferent. After all, my straight hair hid me so well and I would miss its mediocrity, until, on an odd day, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t help but cry. I felt a visceral feeling of belonging to a culture that no one ever associated me with. And this wasn’t an unexpected or sudden realization, but it was a realization nonetheless; I’ve spent my entire life chasing, echoing and recreating the features of a white-supremacist standard of beauty. I mean, haven’t we all? I internalized a ubiquitous notion that dictated that I would only be worth space, love and conversation if I emulated whiteness. Whiteness has historically been the default for all that is good, pure and correct so how could I not be tempted to indulge in the privilege myself? And listen, the act of straightening one’s hair is not inherently racist. But for me, it was an act of assimilation; of following a cultural script of erasure. With every perm, every cosmetic and superfluous hair treatment, with every decaying root and putrefying end, I sanded down the string which tied me to my North African ancestry. The anti-Black racism entrenched in all of this will not go unnoticed. Black people’s hair historically and contemporarily receives deep-seated and systemic discrimination, endemic to the relationship between their Black identity and Eurocentric schemas of beauty. The policing of Black hair and Black hair textures is an extension of colonial endeavours to eradicate African culture, history and heritage and supplement it with a hegemonic iteration of being. But whiteness’ attempt to stifle the Black identity has been met with a beautifully radical resistance: a natural hair movement wherein hair emerges as a retaliatory agent against enduring impacts of colonial and aesthetical systems of power. Of course, I blame colonialism and white supremacy and racism. But I also blame myself for benefitting from and perpetuating a system that marginalizes and continues to extinguish the lives of Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, queer and fat folks. This isn’t about hair. It’s never been about just one thing. It’s about a million little things, and a million bigger things and a system that fails us so egregiously because it promised to do so in its original blueprint. I think we’ve spent too long making ourselves, and our voices and our hair smaller. I’m really ready to take up space. I’m also really ready to make space. I’ve realized recently that in making space for my community, for my marginalized neighbours, I make space for a world devoid of coloniality and the ways it teaches us to be small and silent so it can be the biggest body in the room. I had a dream once where I existed in a vacuum. When I woke up I looked vastly different. In that dream, I was beautiful loudly.

  • Will Taylor Swift Change Her Old Misogynistic Lyrics?

    And — perhaps more importantly — should she? By: Stephanie Davoli Taylor Swift performing “Better Than Revenge” on the 2011-2012 Speak Now World Tour. Photo retrieved from Taylor Swift Evolution on We’ve all said and done things we wish we could take back but, as hard as we try, we just can't. The same undoubtedly goes for Taylor Swift, whose critics and fans have been asking her to address her past misogynistic lyrics for over 10 years. While Taylor can’t completely erase her past mistakes, she has the opportunity to make some changes when she re-records Speak Now, her third studio album, which was originally released in 2010. Due to a bad business deal made with Big Machine Records when she was just 15, Taylor is currently in the process of re-recording her past albums to ensure that she’ll eventually be the sole owner of all her music. As a huge Swiftie, I’m so happy that she has been able to stand up to these powerful men and take back what's hers in such a graceful way. However, since it’s been known that Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is coming, there's been some controversy over some of the album’s lyrics. “Better Than Revenge,” an angry, vengeance-fueled song directed at a past lover’s new girlfriend (the “past lover” in question was allegedly Joe Jonas, and the “new girlfriend” was apparently Joe’s now-ex, Camilla Belle), has particularly come under fire. With lyrics like, “She’s not a saint, and she’s not what you think. She’s an actress,” and “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress,” I can see why so many people want Taylor to make changes when she gets back in the recording booth. But is it really necessary? Wait… What’s Feminism? Before I go any further, I’d like to state that, yes — I am a feminist! And I’m not saying that as a defence for what I’m about to argue because, as we all know, self-proclaimed feminists can also be very sexist. I also recognize that my opinions are likely influenced by some amount of internalized misogyny that, as hard as I try, I can’t entirely rid myself of (more on that later). As I was writing this, I was thinking of saying something along the lines of “and I know that feminism means something different to everyone…” but actually, no, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t). Everyone’s individual journeys with feminism may differ, but feminism is simply support for the equality of the sexes in every conceivable, achievable way. While it seems like a pretty simple thing to get behind, countless suffragette movements and years of fighting have proved that it is incredibly more nuanced than one may initially think. Do I believe that we’ll see complete equality in our lifetimes? No, and the mere fact that I’m writing this piece proves that — but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for equality anyways. Through her years of activism, it’s clear that Taylor is also a feminist. Taylor has not only spoken up for gender equality but she’s also taken legal action against misogyny. She’s repeatedly shown that her personal journey with understanding feminism has dramatically developed as she’s gotten older, despite her younger self’s mistakes. But really, who could blame her for this? Society has used incredibly sexist labels to define her since she was in her late teens. If I’d been slut shamed by the whole world for simply dating a few guys throughout my 20s — which is a perfectly normal thing to do — I would have a complicated history with internalized misogyny, too. It’s also worth noting that Taylor has significantly distanced herself from “Better Than Revenge.” In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Taylor acknowledged that the piece was mean-spirited and harmful, while explaining that she was only 18 when she wrote it and simply didn’t know any better. She hasn’t performed the song in years, either. This, to me, shows that she recognizes its destructive lyrics and is maybe even ashamed of her past self for writing them. I hope that she doesn’t actually feel that way, though, because I don’t think the song’s harsh sexist tone was entirely her fault. Taylor Swift performing “Better Than Revenge” on the 2011-2012 Speak Now World Tour. Photo retrieved from Pinterest. “Taylor was a victim of a misogynistic culture — one which showed women that their value was intrinsically linked to the men they were romantically involved with.” Is the song flawed? Yes, absolutely. Do the lyrics include slut-shamey things you should probably never say to anyone? Yeah. But was it also a product of its time? 1000% yes. What started as an angry post-breakup revenge song has turned into a time capsule of what life was like for many women in the 2000s. Taylor was a victim of a misogynistic culture — one which showed women that their value was intrinsically linked to the men they were romantically involved with. An element of this still exists today, and looking at how the media treated countless female celebrities during that time shows just how bad it was. While many criticize “Better Than Revenge” for being unfairly sexist towards the new girlfriend, the song’s history proves that Taylor wrote it to call out her ex, as well. “Better Than Revenge” is actually a rebuttal to a Jonas Brothers song that addressed Taylor and Joe’s breakup, which also emphasized how much Joe was better off without her. Off of the Jonas Brothers’ 2008 album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, their song “Much Better” begins with Joe singing, “I get a rep for breaking hearts, now I’m done with superstars. All the tears on her guitar. I’m not bitter.” This was a direct reference to Taylor, alluding to her 2007 song “Teardrops On My Guitar.” Taylor acknowledged “Much Better” in “Better Than Revenge” with lines such as, “Let's hear the applause. C'mon show me how much better you are,'' and “'Cause you're so much better.” Gaining the context of these lines is essential to understanding the entire message behind the song, which shows that Taylor meant for it to hold Joe accountable, as well. However, an 18-year-old Taylor did spend a significant amount of the song addressing the new girlfriend. While she certainly used cruel language that she would never use today, it’s understandable why she said those lines. If Taylor leveled so much of her self-worth with her boyfriend, it's no wonder that she felt such strong negative emotions against the woman that “stole” him from her. Like countless other women to this day, she was conditioned by society to pit herself against other women for male validation. While this doesn't excuse slut shaming, it's an explanation for why she presented her feelings in such a passionate way, especially as a teenager. The slut shaming and judgemental culture of the late 2000s presented itself in some of Taylor’s other songs. In fact, “You Belong With Me,” which, in my opinion, gives off even worse “pick me” vibes than “Better Than Revenge,” was one of her biggest hits despite it being a song where Taylor is putting down another woman for the attention of a man. The song’s music video further represents this idea. In the video, Taylor plays both the “good girl” who’s crushing on a guy and his “bad girlfriend.” As the “good girl,” Taylor consistently puts the “bad girl” down. She mocks her for being a cheerleader, wearing “short skirts” while she wears “t-shirts,” and uses her position as the “good girl” to display a convoluted sense of moral superiority over the “bad girl.” I’m confident that the Taylor of today would never release a music video with this messaging, but it’s another example of how, at the time, pitting two women against each other for the attention of a man was completely normalized and accepted. When Taylor re-released “You Belong With Me” last year, she made no significant lyrical changes to the sexist lyrics. It’s also worth mentioning that “Better Than Revenge,” unlike “You Belong With Me,” wasn’t an album single and likely won’t be released as one when the re-recorded album comes out. As such, it’s mainly Taylor’s biggest fans that know the song, and, more often than not, they’ve come to see its hurtful nature as they’ve grown up, too. It’d be a different story if the song were being marketed to a new, younger audience, but it likely won’t. I bring up these past, not-so-great moments not to shame or discredit Taylor, but to hold her accountable. It’s also why I don’t think it's necessary to change the lyrics in its new recording. Erasing these past mistakes and attempting to play them off like they never happened would be counterproductive. If Taylor edited the song to have a different meaning, she likely would have to change a significant amount of lyrics, almost to the point where it would be a new song. This wouldn’t make sense since the purpose of her re-recording her old music is so that she’ll own versions of her work that are as close to the originals as possible. If she dramatically changes the song, I fear that many fans would simply listen to the original, which does Taylor a disservice as Big Machine Records continues to make money off the original version. The Double Standard My next reason why Taylor shouldn’t feel forced to change the lyrics is simple — men never face this issue. When so much of the music released by male artists today is still deeply rooted in sexism, and they aren’t condemned for their wrongdoings nearly as often as female artists are, I don’t see why we should be pressuring Taylor. There are countless examples of this, but one that stands out the most is “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, which was released in 2013. There was quite a bit of media coverage on the dangerous implications of the song, which alludes to date rape, but only after it was already playing on radio stations across the world for months. Yet, despite the criticism, no changes were made, and frankly, I don’t think anyone expected the artists to make changes. This is an extreme example of misogyny in current popular music. If a song with threatening lyrics like “I know you want it” can be made less than 10 years ago with relatively little backlash, then I don’t see why a song written by an 18-year-old girl when she was angry and going through a rough breakup should be so scrutinized. While this is a highly debatable issue, it's also imperative to recognize that changing the lyrics likely won’t advance feminism in any meaningful way. Many girls still won’t have access to education, the pay gap won't close, domestic abuse cases will continue to occur, women will still be denied the opportunity to make their own reproductive choices and much more. It's grim, and while Taylor wields a lot of social and political power, the fight for gender equality is too nuanced of an issue for a lyric change on a twelve-year-old song to be of influence. “Overcoming internalized misogyny is a messy, complicated task…” When Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) is released, I think that she has to acknowledge the song somehow. It’d be weird not to say anything, and her critics would never let her hear the end of it. That said, I think an adequate response would be for Taylor to re-record “Better Than Revenge” with no changes, but come out with a statement addressing the song and her decision to leave it alone. Recognizing that it was a petty, immature and vindictive response to a messed up situation that happened to her when she was a teenager should be enough. I don’t believe that Taylor intended actual harm with the song at all, so explaining her mistake is all she can really do. Conclusion I realize that my defence of the lyrics is definitely rooted in some amount of internalized misogyny that I just can’t shake. Yet, the song stems from that same twisted misogyny, and I can’t be mad at Taylor for expressing that in her work. Overcoming internalized misogyny is a messy, complicated task and seeing that Taylor, a woman I greatly admire, also struggled with the same issue is kind of comforting. I’d also like to explain that I’m not entirely against Taylor changing the lyrics. I actually cannot imagine the Taylor Swift of today singing those lines and feel like she will end up making some adjustments. However, I’m simply stating that she shouldn’t feel like she has to change them. Taylor is a brilliant, thoughtful and talented artist, and I know that whatever her decision is will not have been made lightly. “Better Than Revenge” has truly become a cult classic, and more often than not, I see fans denouncing its misogyny while explaining why they like it nonetheless. While this isn’t always possible, there’s power in being able to hold your favourite artist accountable while still enjoying the art they’ve created. Regardless of what happens, knowing that the re-recording of Speak Now will be an act of vengeance against the men who took advantage of a young Taylor is so sweet. In fact, some may say that Taylor finally owning her work is “better than revenge” itself (I’m sorry, I had to).

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