Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: A Not-so-improbable Dystopian World

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale featuring an illustration of two women in red robes and white head coverings walking inside a walled space
Book cover of The Handmaid’s Tale

By Madison Teuscher

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian-style cautionary tale set in a radically theocratic America. The Christian fundamentalist regime, called “Gilead,” has divided women based on fertility and obedience. Handmaids are fertile women who serve as surrogate wombs for the Commanders and their aging wives. All women are completely stripped of their rights—everything from reading to purchasing power—and are sorted into classes to divide and control them. The Wives—women married to the powerful Commanders—are relegated to spending their days knitting, gardening, and waiting for their Handmaid to give birth to a child. Handmaids are completely powerless, and everywhere they go, there are Eyes—the military division of the Gilead regime—watching and waiting to kill them for any misbehavior.

One reviewer on The Verge called the story, “1984 for feminists… but a lot scarier.” This theocratic society has based its revolution on a Bible passage in the book of Genesis about Jacob’s wife, Rachel, allowing her handmaid to conceive Jacob’s child on her behalf. This passage is recited during the monthly ceremony in which the Commander attempts to impregnate the Handmaid, all under the Wife’s watchful eye. If a Handmaid cannot reproduce, she is sent to labor internment camps with the Unwomen—old and infertile women who are no longer valuable to the society. Handmaids are containers for babies, and nothing more.

Continue reading “Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: A Not-so-improbable Dystopian World”

Anna Nicole Smith: Opera’s Next Diva Role

Actress Anna Nicole Smith waving on the red carpet at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards
Anna Nicole Smith at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo credit: Toby Forage, Flickr CC.

Guest post by Madison Teuscher

I was surprised when I learned that Anna Nicole Smith’s story had been turned into an opera. Smith was a celebrity most known for being a Playboy model and marrying a man 60 years older than her—I thought there was no way her story would be suited to the high-brow opera stage. However, I soon discovered that Anna’s story is perfect for opera—it is dramatic, full of conflict and disagreement, and Anna’s eccentric personality makes for a perfect starring diva. While her story may seem frivolous and silly, it actually explores much deeper topics relating to women, madness, and relationships with men of power.

The opera, titled Anna Nicole, was written in 2011 by Mark-Anthony Turnage, and the libretto (the words of the opera), was written by Richard Thomas. This dramatic tale is both emotionally hard-hitting and over-the-top and gaudy. This is certainly not an opera to bring your grandma to; it is vulgar and crass, but also full of nuance and tenderness. The premiere of the two-act opera garnered a big publicity stir. Some reviews praised it as “brilliant, dangerous, but exhilarating”, but many had harsh criticism for the opera, saying it was “lacking in real tunes and real drama and a piece of terrible garbage”. Why is the story of a stripper, Playboy model, and sex symbol so disconcerting?

Continue reading “Anna Nicole Smith: Opera’s Next Diva Role”

The Ultimate Spring Break?

 

Image result for college spring break
Picture taken from: http://www.ranker.com/list/best-spring-break-destinations/island-hopper-dan

 

The generic college dream is to spend spring break on the beach, in a swimsuit, with loud music and people to party with. The “College Spring Break” ideal has been broadcasted through movies, showing a radical time with no consequences where anything goes. And this idea seems to stick with students for some reason. Rather than going on a weeklong hiking trip or going to save the pandas, a lot of college students seem to choose to have the beach free-for-all of every movie’s dreams. I never thought that I would be into that at all. I’m more of a save the pandas kind of type and not a huge partier. I can go weeks without drinking or partying or basically doing anything related to it and I will freely admit I am more of an introverted homebody. But this spring break I decided to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and see what the “College Spring Break” was like. Continue reading “The Ultimate Spring Break?”

Vagina Love

By Tatiana Rodriguez

For some reason, I have always been afraid of feminism. I always thought of it as a burning bra type of movement. I can remember my freshman year associating the Women’s Center with that far-fetched idea. Same with “The Vagina Monologues.” I never went to a show all throughout my collegiate career because I was scared how it would look if I was buying tickets for a show with “vagina” in the title. I was always scared of what other people thought of me.

Another reason I never went was because I always had to work and was never done with work until 8 or 9 pm. Now in my senior year, with a new outlook on feminism and being a woman, I have no excuse to miss this show. Going in, I’m not quite sure what to expect, so this post is a two part. It has both my ideas before and after attending the show.

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Waking up to REALiti

Picture of Grimes next to two keyboards
The music artist Grimes

By Valeria Ramirez

Grimes is an underappreciated synth pop rocker who uses a bizarre but unique style to push the music scene forward into neon enlightenment. I came across Grimes when I was looking for new music to add to my playlist, and during that time I’ve been seeing her album Art Angels almost everywhere. Upon first listening to her album, I absolutely disliked her music. I just found it a little too different for my taste, since I mostly listen to the Rock and Indie genres. So I left it in my playlist, never to return again. Until last year, I was playing whatever was on my Spotify and one of Grimes’ song caught my attention. Kill v. Maim was addictive and refreshing to hear. The upbeat electro sound and the clashing of the snare drum is mixed with a pop fairy-like voice that leaves her audience in a fighting, dreamlike mood. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of her music.

Grimes, also known by her family as Clair Elise Boucher, is a Canadian self-taught musician who produced music before becoming an artist. Grimes has always worked in the underground music scene where she built her following. Being a self-taught musician and producer allowed her to create everything that she sings. Even the album artwork is all her own—she is an inspired producer and artist who takes her craft and skill to its limits.

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Review: Thinx Period Panties

 

By Madelyn Starritt

 

Co-founded by Miki Agrawal, Thinx is a company that makes underwear to wear during your period. For each pair of underwear sold, Thinx funds a pack of reusable pads that will go to a girl in need.

I discovered Thinx period underwear online one day, and decided to give it a try. Here was my experience.

I got the hip huggers, that hold two tampons’ worth of blood, and the sport, which holds one and a half. To my surprise, these were just like regular underwear and weren’t too thick. I was worried it would be like walking around wearing a diaper all day. The crotch area is a little thicker than regular underwear, but it is nothing noticeable or uncomfortable while wearing them.

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I’ve Got A Crush On H.E.R.

By Tatiana Rodriguez

A new and upcoming artist I have been listening to is H.E.R. No, you did not read that wrong, either. Her real name is a mystery, just like her face. She recently signed to RCA records and her E.P H.E.R volume 1 was on the  iTunes R&B charts at #1. However, no biographies or pictures about the mystery singer can be found.

What’s even more interesting is that her self titled E.P exploded online with no information about who the artist was. Alicia Keys raved on social media about the 7 track project, and Bryson Tiller posted one of her sultry post to his social media, “Focus.”

Continue reading “I’ve Got A Crush On H.E.R.”