The Taboos of Tattoos

A Victorian woman with tattoos from neck to toe
Circus woman La Belle Irene

By Chloe Rigg 

Tattoos.

Whether you think they’re trashy or artwork, they’ve been a part of society practically since the beginning. Historically, women aren’t shown as having tattoos, but they have become less taboo since the late 19th century. In 1882, the first American tattooed women, Nora Hildebrandt started an exhibit displaying her neck to toe tattoos with a reported 365 different tattoo designs. Thankfully, today’s tattooing practices aren’t quite as painful as a single needle (not attached to a machine) being driven under the skin a single pin prick at a time.

Today, tattoos aren’t exclusively for sailors or gutsy women.

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Witches Exposed

Three colonial girls cowering from witch
An illustration depicting Tituba, an accused witch

By Chloe Rigg

Witch.

A term which brings similar images to many peoples’ minds. Usually, it’s the image of a green faced, wart-covered crone who rides a broomstick with a malicious cackle. Other images include colonial witch trials, and a young woman being burned at the stake. The history behind witch trials are certainly dark and full of fear. We can learn astonishing trends in society when one asks the question: “Were the witch trials a form of gender bias?” The perspective I’m going to discuss is that the “witches” in the witch trial were an excuse to execute women for sin.

The Salem Massachusetts witch trials took place between 1692-93. During them, over 200 people were accused and 20 were executed for witchcraft. 20 people might not sound too overwhelming. However, for a village of only 500-600 people, the deaths would have impacted most citizens. This American witch trial mirrors the European “witchcraft craze” driven by Puritans, who for almost 300 years executed over ten thousand people. The majority executed were women for suspected witchcraft.

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Survivors’ Hope

 

A white sign with the text, "we believe you"
A sign from a rape survivor rally

By Chloe Rigg

“Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’”

(To strike the woman is to strike the rock.)

These are words from a South African protest song written in the 1950’s. Throughout history individuals have been struck physically and emotionally, but society never focuses on the strength it takes these survivors to get back on their feet and become “the rock.” Survivors of sexual assault (women or men) have plenty of horror stories to tell. But, they also have a lot of inspiring, hopeful stories highlighting how one copes and comes through to the other side of these events. I am here to share some of their stories.

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My Roots in Ecofeminism

Artwork titled "A Pagan Sacrifice" dipicting a black and white painting of a woman
Artwork titled “A Pagan Sacrifice”

By Chloe Rigg

“I know I am made from this earth, as my mother’s hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth and all that I know, I know in this earth…all that I know speaks to me through this earth and I long to tell you, you who are earth too, and listen as we speak to each other of what we know: the light is in us.” -Susan Griffin

“Mother Earth.”

I’m sure everyone has heard this term at some point in their life. It’s usually associated with the “peace and love” hippie type. Most people might not know that this term was brought into popularity by the first ecofeminist movements of the 60’s and 70’s. I would like to start out by explaining my connection with ecofeminism, considering it is a rather spiritual movement for some. I am the hippie type most people think of when coming across terms like Mother Earth. I love tie dye, and kombucha is like 70% of my bodily fluids. I haven’t worn a bra consistently for around two and a half years, and my life ambitions include owning a completely sustainable farm.

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Advertising? Or Objectification?

Advertisement for "Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies" with one of Gogh's landscapes as the background
Advertisement for “Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies”

By Chloe Rigg

A picture speaks a thousand words.

 A Van Gogh piece might suggest, “warmth, radiance, summer.” While a piece by Salvador Dali could conjure up, “surreal, strange, unimaginable.” Now, what thousand words are recalled by this:

An advertisement for Skyy Vodka depicting a man standing over a woman on a beach
An advertisement for Skyy Vodka

For one, it takes a couple of looks to even tell what product is being advertised. And second, I think more than a thousand words could go along with this picture. And they aren’t as radiant as a Van Gogh painting.

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Gender, the Animal Kingdom, and Science

Diagram of Haeckel's Evolution of Man depicting a tree with several levels of species leading up to man
Diagram of Haeckel’s Evolution of Man

By Chloe Rigg

Think of lessons you might learn from a standard dad. These lessons may have included: sports, barbequing, or hunting. Personally, one of the most memorable lessons from my father was the importance of science. One thing I know for sure is to trust a scientist. Chemistry, physics, biology, or astrology might come to mind when thinking of scientific topics. One topic that isn’t usually associated with science is gender. However, science applies to everything. Therefore, looking at gender through a scientific lens can give a new perspective that can lead to answers and better understanding.

Depending on how long ago you took a high school biology class, you might remember that XX or XY stand for chromosomes. Specifically, chromosome pairs related to gender: XX=girl, XY=boy. On the most rudimentary level, XX or XY might be enough. But, gender is too expansive and comprehensive of a topic to be defined by simple chromosomes.

 

Biological gender and identity in the world around us breaks boundaries and dives way beyond a simple X or Y.

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Sex, Drugs, and Spring Break

A crowded beach in Mexico where there is no visible sand there are so many people
A crowded beach in Mexico, a popular spring break destination

By Chloe Rigg

                                                 Okay                                                 
Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick…

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying

 

Pink Floyd’s famous song “Comfortably Numb” is either psychedelic, groovy, and melodic. Or, it is the “devils music” encouraging drug use {depending on who you talk to}. These lyrics are a perfect example of the 70’s “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll” scene. This trend has been carried into 2018. Though it’s now more sex, drugs, and hip-hop. Spring break is seen as an iconic event in college culture, and it is where the sex, drugs, and hip-hop scene is most influential on students.

But, is this spring break culture inherent in every college student, or is the way we were taught {rather lack of teaching} about topics like sex and drugs what leads us to this dangerous partying?

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