Entries Tagged as 'Trends'

A Man’s Rights

7.27.2017

By Logan Gossett

 

After losing a house, two jobs and $16,000 in court expenses, Phil – whose name has been changed to protect his anonymity – humbly received his ambitious reward: his son, for five hours, once a month.

        Five days ago he paid a monthly fee of $600 still owed from the home’s mortgage, a fee he will continue to pay until 2027 when his son will be 15 years old. Phil now pays more in child support than he earns from unemployment checks.

“My son was about four inches taller when I finally got to see him,” Phil said. “His mom told him not to tell me what his favorite color is, but I think it’s green. She also told him not to tell me his favorite superhero, but he let that one slip: Batman,” he said. He just hopes to be a close second one day.

Men’s rights advocacy was partly catalyzed by stories like Phil’s. Through forums like MensActivism, A Voice for Men and Reddit’s Men’s Rights board, men’s rights advocacy attempts to provide support and resources for fathers with similar struggles. However, their outreach is inhibited by their designation as misogynist hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC describes the men’s rights movement as “savaging feminists,” and cites the website manboobz.com as a useful watchdog of the men’s rights movement.

Male mortality rates paint the grisly picture that illustrates the story behind the men’s rights movement.

Advocates see that men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women; that men are twenty times more likely to die in the workplace; that men are four times more likely to be the victims of homicide. Men’s rights advocates see disproportionate workplace deaths and question the existence of disproportionate privilege.

Annie McBride, Assistant Director for the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, suggests that male privilege is not an easily measurable commodity.

“Privileges are things that [men] were born into, not that they’ve had to earn,” she said. “The ability to, as a white person, walk around department stores and not feel people’s eyes on you and be followed. I didn’t do anything to earn that privilege. It was just something I was born into.”

McBride agreed that male mortality and men’s mental well-being is concerning. She argued that toxic masculinity stigmatizes the male pursuit of mental health treatment, something feminism seeks to rectify.

Many scholars believe that the men’s rights movement is simply a backlash to feminism and the progress it has attained for women. Megan Williams, Program Coordinator for the Emily Taylor Center, agreed.

“[Men’s rights advocates] use the language of civil rights to undercut actual inequity,” she said. “It’s really just a reflection of men who are seeing their privilege challenged; seeing the entitlement that they’ve had challenged and thinking that that is oppression or discrimination.”

Men and indebted fathers struggle to reconcile their alarmingly higher rates of experiencing homelessness and being victims of homicide as challenged privileges. Men posting on MensActivism and A Voice for Men often resist the implication that the right to a home and life are privileges to be challenged.

Like McBride, Williams viewed feminism as a solution for the issues central to men’s rights advocates.

“If we’re talking about liberation of men, then that is a feminist project. If we’re talking about a real men’s rights movement, it’s feminism,” Williams said. 

The most urgent men’s rights topic for fathers, however, is the low likelihood of fathers being granted primary guardian custody of their child after a divorce. Custody is six times more likely to be obtained by the mother.

Phil doesn’t identify as an advocate for men’s rights or women’s rights: just a father, if only for five hours a month.

Phil was deployed to work on oil rigs for nine months per year. After four months of working rigs in Saudi Arabian waters, he returned to his home in the deep south to find it empty.

“Everything was gone. Furniture, TVs, kitchen stuff — you name it, it was gone,” Phil said. But, while furniture is replaceable, family is not.

“My heart sank when I knew what she did. All I thought of for months was seeing my wife and kid; maybe watching a movie or something,” Nease said. “Now I don’t even have a TV.”

Phil was the sole working parent while married. While he was on oil rigs, his wife was at home serving as their son’s primary caregiver. According to KU Law Associate Professor Melanie DeRousse, parental roles like those held by Phil and his ex-wife while married limit the outcomes of custody battles.

“Most of the time moms are doing that primary caregiving. The judge wants to maintain that stability for the kids so the kid has access to that attached parent. They’re going to maintain some of that gender disparity that was existing in the relationship into their orders. They’re looking at what will not disrupt the kid’s lives, not some parent’s rights,” DeRousse said.

If the mother serves as the child’s primary caregiver while the father is only parenting during the weekends, the judge will grant joint custody with the father having the kid for the weekend, while the mother maintains the child during the week. Extended periods away from his son while working hurt Phil’s chances of attaining equal joint custody.

Melanie DeRousse said that, while some judges may assume that the kid is better off with his/her mother, “more often than not you have the parties trying to figure out what form of joint custody is going to work for the kid.” DeRousse added that, “Most psychologists would agree with the legislature: joint custody is preferred for the kid.”

As traditional gender roles continue to undergo egalitarian permutations, fathers will begin to attain equal joint custody more frequently. Male mortality rates and mental health still present an issue, however, and men’s rights advocates and feminists view their respective movements as the optimal solution.

A Voice for Men founder Paul Elam argues that feminists preach equality while pursuing favoritism. Annie McBride, Megan Williams and most self-identified feminists disagree, instead viewing feminism as a potential solution for men’s rights issues and equity for all genders.

Both men’s rights advocates and feminists will continue to pursue their ideal of gender equity. Both men’s rights advocates and feminists will continue to provide assistance to men or women suffering through mental illnesses or unforgiving workplaces.

Meanwhile, Phil will be eagerly anticipating his next visitation with his son.

“[My son] likes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I bought him some action figures and Ninja Turtle shirts — stuff like that. Hopefully he likes them; I just wanna see him happy.”

 

Stick and Poke

4.12.2017

 

By Melissa Yunk

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“You do not want to poke too far to make yourself bleed but far enough to hear an audible “pop” when you pull the needle out.”

Rachel Bennett, a senior from Basehor, cringes at her friend’s words, but continues to wrap her sewing needle with some thread. She finishes sketching a small tree on her wrist, dips the needle in the bright green ink and gets to work. Stick. Pop. Stick. Pop.

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Bennett and her friend are giving each other stick and poke tattoos in her friend’s attic, surrounded by burning sage, discussing witchcraft.

“I was not initially planning on giving myself a tattoo, but I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person so it didn’t take much to change my mind,” Bennett says.

Stick and poke, or DIY tattoos are not a new trend—they’re common in jail cells across the nation—but they are the latest thing in tattoos among young adults and on college campuses.

A simple Google search makes it clear how much of a trend this is. In a matter of seconds, you’ll find quirky how-to videos, endless tattoo ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, and even DIY kits in stores such as Etsy and Amazon.

But you don’t need a kit—it’s possible to do at-home tattoos using common household products. All you need is a sewing needle, some thread and ink.

Caroline Roe, a sophomore with eight stick and pokes, has perfected the process. After cleaning and shaving the area of the tattoo, she does a rough sketch of her design idea. She then sticks the needle in the eraser of a pencil and wraps the thread around the sharp end of the needle to hold the ink.  After putting together her tool, either she or a friend continuously pokes over the sketch until it is finished.

A small stick and poke can take around two hours, approximately four times as long as a traditional tattoo. They also fade faster than professional tattoos and tend to hurt more. Roe says the consistent speed of a tattoo gun needle often helps numb the pain after a few moments. However, when tattooing yourself, the inconsistent speed and depth of the poke makes pain constant and more intense.

Roe also has a few traditional tattoos, but likes the DIY method because of the extremely low cost—practically free—and artistic freedom. “Sure, parlors might be more clean and it is nice supporting artists,” Roe says. “But I really like the spontaneity of stick and pokes and being able to have full control of the designs.”

However, sacrificing the cleanliness of a tattoo parlors is not such a good idea. Kim Ens, director of clinic services for the Douglas County Health Department, talked about the risk of acquiring infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and even HIV when using unprofessionally sanitized needles. The only way to guarantee a needle is sterile, she says, is to use a brand new one. Bennett sterilized her needle by running it under a flame and wiping it with rubbing alcohol.

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“It may not have been smart,” Bennett says. “But it was something.”

Ens added that ink that is not diluted or meant for tattoos can also lead to variety of infections or allergic reactions, so it is important to use the correct ink. “Overall, my opinion is to not do it to yourself,” Ens says.

Despite these concerns, there is still appeal behind stick and poke tattoos, whether it be the elongated adrenaline rush, the comfort of doing it in your own home, or the gritty appearance both girls spoke of.

“I feel brave and accomplished after finishing,” Bennett says. “Sure, slightly endangered but the feeling of doing it and being proud of something I made is worth it.”

The Freedom of Going Braless

2.07.2017

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By Rebekah Swank

I’m a busty woman. I wear a size 36 DD bra. I started wearing underwire bras in elementary school and my back and shoulders often ache, which forces me to hunch over like Quasimodo. I have to wear a bra if I’m doing any kind of physical activity, otherwise the skin on my chest is painfully pulled and stretched. However, it’s a well-known fact that women love taking off their bras after a long day and I am no exception. Coming home after work or school and unfastening the clips of a bra—removing the constraints that have been cutting into your flesh for hours—is a liberating sensation.

About a year ago I forgot to put on a bra before a class. It simply slipped my mind. I realized as soon as I boarded the bus. It was awkward at first. With every swift movement and gentle jiggle I became increasingly concerned with who was noticing my less-than-perky chest. I considered making a run for it back home to strap the wild things down. Was anyone looking? Could anyone actually tell? Was it obvious? During the hour and fifteen minutes I was listening to the lecture, my apprehension gradually subsided. I no longer needed to fidget with my straps, or adjust the wire poking my side. I breathed freely and deeply. I went braless nearly every day for the remainder of the semester.

At times when I had to run to catch the bus or quickly hop down stairs I felt a little uncomfortable. I occasionally wondered if the jabroni sitting next to me could tell, and if he could, was he thinking about it? My under-boob sweat definitely increased. However, I felt free and womanly and confident. I’d had enough of the restrictions bras put on my body for a while.

I mentioned my new habit to my sister (who has a very similar body type to mine). “Ew, that’s too hippie for me,” she said. It was an unintentionally blunt comment that instantly became lodged in my brain. I hid my breasts underneath large sweatshirts; to be completely honest, I still do that most of the time when I choose to go without a bra. Something about the natural hanging of my breasts was unsettling. I wanted to bury them. They weren’t perky when I didn’t wear a bra, and that deterred me from wearing anything that would make it too obvious. I was afraid of being the hippie my sister (and so many others) judged, instead of accepting the womanly figure I wanted so badly to embrace.
I recently had a brief conversation with another staffer at a Style on the Hill meeting. We discussed our agony when we have to go somewhere that requires a more supported bust. We talked about how once you go braless, it’s hard to go back. She said, “you just have to get over what everyone else thinks about it and you’re totally fine.” I love not wearing a bra, so the scrutiny from others has become easier to ignore. As someone who has quarreled with body image and objectification because of my DDs, it’s challenging to embrace them without a push-up. When I don’t wear a bra, I love that I don’t feel constrained. I love that in some ways, I feel more beautiful with low-hangers. I love that I can own up to not wearing bra. I love letting my skin breathe. I love foregoing one item of clothing. I love the powerful feeling. I love being a woman, and I love being free of my bra.

5 Essentials of Palewave Style

10.10.2016

By Logan Gossett

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Collage by Reddit user /u/RipplingPopemobile.

Relaxed. Chill. Organic. Palewave blurs the line between baby-shower and reality. If you follow Mick Jenkins or Tyler the Creator on Instagram, you’ve probably seen traces of palewave. The minutiae of sanctioned palewave fits can be oppressive, but its primary identifier will always be its unobjectionable light colors. In an effort to make the tenets of palewave more potable, here are the five essentials when fashioning a palewave aesthetic.

  1. White shoes 

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Totally not fake Stan Smiths that were apparently lived in by somebody who kicks ant hills for a living. Consequently, these Stans are considered “beaters” (modeled by Nicholas Purcell).

Palewave, heatwave, no-wave, close shave — doesn’t matter: cop some white shoes. After mandatorily acquiring a pair of white shoes, you and your new shoes must commit to one of the following two options.

The first, beaters (pictured above), are exactly what they sound like. Should you designate your new white shoes as beaters, don’t walk to class; mercilessly stomp through rain puddles and mounds of dirt to class. Why wear Crocs to a block party (or at all) when you can rectify your repugnantly clean white shoes by power-moshing at the Granada or lacing them around a power line? The latter will definitely give them that “lived in by Electro/Zeus” look some hipsters have been aiming for.

Your second option is to clean your shoes. Duh. For instance, Ultra Boosts demand perpetual maintenance. The hand-crafted leather shoes offered by Common Projects or Acne Studios are traditionally kept clean because of their price, which exceeds that of a credit hour at KU.

    2. Light-wash denim

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If you feel insecure about your fit’s dearth of denim, feel free to double-up and curl into a light-wash denim burrito (somehow modeled by Logan Gossett. Photo by Nicholas Purcell).

“Upon this rock I will build my church,” – Jesus, who might as well be referring to light-wash denim.

This is the most important article of clothing when scaffolding your palewave closet. Hot outside? Wear light-wash jeans. Cold rain? Wear light-wash jeans. Climbing Mount Everest? Wear light-wash jeans and take lots of fit pics — the snow presents a cool background. National light-wash jeans day? Screw that, don’t conform; wear tan joggers to show off your new white shoes.

Not all light-wash jeans were created equal, however. If your denim has those loops for hammers (basically handyman lanyards), you’ve made a mistake. Turn around and return them to the Dillard’s from which they came. While you’re at the mall, cop some light-wash Levi’s 511’s or something from Dillard’s or JCPenney.  

    3. Looking comfortable

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This model may be sitting on uneven concrete slabs and fresh bird poop, but he couldn’t look more comfortable. Pajamas are comfortable. Palewave just presents the illusion of comfort (modeled by Nicholas Purcell).

It can be difficult to look relaxed when all of your shirts look tensed and stressed — like they just got out of a long day at work. You want them to look relaxed. Raiding your dad’s closet can yield lucrative hauls in this regard (see #5), but the line between relaxed and repulsive is uncompromising. Obviously, wearing obese Jared Fogle’s jeans isn’t a good aesthetic, but sizing up on a Gildan hoodie or two can’t hurt. Also, oversized Gildan hoodies have 100% less affiliation with a known pedophile, so that’s a plus (bonus point: Don’t be Jared Fogle. Seriously, can’t emphasize that enough.)

Shirts with minimal stretchiness are optimal for palewave fits. They typically fall onto your body rather than swathe it like jersey knits tend to. Oversized sweaters and hoodies are a reliable way to maintain warmth and comfort as Winter Is Coming. As far as bottoms are concerned, loosely pin rolling jeans will 1) expose those ankles to that sweet sweet breeze and 2) look good.

 4. Dadhats

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Kick that beanie off your head and hook that dadhat close. Dadhats can be just the icing that your earth-tone cake demands (modeled by Nicholas Purcell).

Sorry, beanies aren’t an effective way to conceal a bad hair day for those surfing the palewave. Dadhats are artificially manufactured online through Amazon or Ea$y, but pasture-raised, organic dadhats – fresh from a dad’s closet – are preferable. So find an effective dad-straction and conduct a quick closet raid for the best results. Dadhats have invaded seemingly every evasive cultural nook and cranny, and their next stop should be your head.

   5. Pastel colors

Last and most important – which is definitely the most logical sequence – pastel is a prerequisite for palewave. No fit with colors outside of this limited and unfair spectrum fit a purist’s definition of palewave (unless it’s pink or otherwise palewave-y).

Authoritatively amicable, palewave’s pointed approach toward color essentially prohibits the use of black or charcoal color schemes. Yes, I sold palewave as a relaxed super cool aesthetic. Yet, when it comes to color, you will be bombarded by earth-toned rocks and appropriately colored eggshells for deviating from pastels. Plus, part of the fun of palewave is looking like Easter after it was doused in bleach.

 

How to Dress Granola

10.04.2016

By Emma Creighton

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With the fall season upon us, you may be looking to revamp your wardrobe and adapt a new style that suits the cooler weather. One style you may want to consider is the so-called “granola.” Along the growing trends of tiny homes, van life, and wanderlust, the granola style embraces the “rough around the edges” mentality and seeks comfort in fashion. If you seek adventure and have no patience for the clean and polished, perhaps the granola look is the one for you.

Two things are essential to the “granola” style; texture and layering. When in doubt, add another layer. Bonus points for mixing different textures and patterns! The core of this style is to be comfortable while still being fashionable.

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The granola style also mixes fashion with functionalism. Often times the populations that rock the granola look are very active outdoors and are always up for an adventure. Shoes like Chacos, Tevas, and Birkenstocks are considered fashionable and are appreciated for their easy wear and ability to cross variations of terrain. Layers are also useful because one can be prepared for cool weather as well as warm weather by stripping and adding layers. Just like a good boy-scout, always be prepared!

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Great places to buy clothes to begin building your granola wardrobe include Free People, Anthropologie, even American Eagle, and our very own Earthbound on Main Street in Lawrence. However, these stores can get a little pricey. Luckily, the granola style is all about finding odd pieces with lots of personality that work together in ways that are unpredictable. Try scavenging your closest, thrift shop or good will for flannels and chunky sweaters. Hit up Etsy for handcrafted rings that will last forever!

The granola style is all about adventure and comfort. It is a style you can make completely your own and is perfect for this fall season.

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