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Volume 49 - Issue 16

February 10, 2016
theeyeopener.com
@theeyeopener
Since 1967

LOVE, SEX & GENDER
Warning: sexy themes inside

PHOTO: ANNIE ARNONE

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Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

The Student Campus Centre

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Awards are available to
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NOTE: Members of the Ryerson
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Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
at 9am

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at 9pm

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NEWS

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

3

Move-out plans upset RTS students
By Brandon Buechler
Plans for the Ryerson Theatre
School’s (RTS) move out of 44
Gerrard St. appear to be set in
stone. But not all students are satisfied with their interim homes.
By the end of the Summer 2016
academic semester, Ryerson’s three
performance programs — acting,
dance and production — will be
settling into new spaces.
Ryerson’s dance faculty will be
occupying facilities in the basement of the Student Learning Centre (SLC), while many production
and acting classes will be based in
Kerr Hall and other buildings.
Second-year acting student
Ryan Tapley said many RTS students are concerned not only with
the loss of space in the move, but
also a perceived lack of transparency regarding plans for the move.
“One of the big problems is that
we are losing studio space — something that was already hard to come
by,” said Tapley. “But also that we
were just told about these [detailed]
plans now, and the final move is in
August. So already, we’re far beyond the point of no return.”
Tapley, a former representative of
the second-year acting class, said he
never received an invitation to discuss the transition, nor did secondyear production representatives.

RTS students aren’t exactly stoked about their new homes.

Tapley was part of an informal committee of faculty and students discussing RTS student issues.
He said if faculty kept students
updated on the process — even
without asking for input — the
plans, announced last Monday,
would’ve been easier to accept.
James Butler, a fourth-year production student, said the school’s
intake of feedback on the plan isn’t
enough to constitute student input.
“When students give feedback,
there’s either a very reasonable
response ... or a beat-around-thebush response,” he said. “When
physically, our issues will never be
addressed.”
Compounding the issue is the
staff’s delivery of the moving plans.
“One of the most disappointing

News
Briefs

PHOTO: SEAN TEPPER

things is that the move is being sold
to [students] as a wonderful thing,”
said Tapley. “What would be more
honest, would be, ‘Alright, here’s
what’s happening, it’s not perfect,
we’re doing the best we can.’”
Besides loss of studio space, students are concerned with the loss of
cross-disciplinary opportunities.
“Because we have this building,
the theatre school, that is ours …
doorways open that I never would
have known about,” said Tapley.
He said this cross-disciplinary
training was one of the reasons he
chose Ryerson over other schools.
“You get this well-rounded look
at all the business of performance
as opposed to being sequestered
into specific disciplines,” he said.
Butler said the school’s argu-

CONTINUING
STUDIES

ment that the SLC provides ample
collaboration space isn’t a fair assessment for theatre students.
“[Theatre students] don’t have
all these floors of shared space —
we have all these floors of shared
space with 30,000 students,”
said Butler. “[RTS] programs are
unique in a lot of ways and we
don’t expect the rest of the school
to be accomodating.”
Constraints of being a downtown campus are not lost on students, Tapley said.
“Is it better to be sequestered
away than to die in a building collapse? Of course. It just would’ve
been nice if that’s how they worded it, instead of, ‘This is great, this
is better than before,’ which it isn’t
— it’s a lateral movement.”
RTS chair Peggy Shannon said
students’ dissatisfaction with the
moving plan is unfortunate, but that
she believes it is a positive change.
Evan Sandham, the president of
Ryerson’s Theatre School Student
Union, said he’s optimistic about
the SLC facilities, but that students
are concerned the university will
be complacent with the temporary
holdings.
“We fear that once we’re in our
new space ... the university will
not move forward with the plan
to eventually open a new theatre
school,” he said.

RCDS polls
open Wed
By Al Downham
The Ryerson Communication and
Design Society (RCDS) is holding
its Board of Directors (BoD) election Feb. 10-12.
Since the RCDS’ BoD lifted its
Jan. 21 motion to ban electoral
slates, candidates can run with
a team or individually. Fourteen
candidates are running individually, while Engage FCAD — the
only slate — is running with five.
“Our slate is more of a support
system right now than it is a political, actual slate,” said RCDS vicepresident marketing and communications candidate Sydney Wong.
Current RCDS BoD members
are also running, including VP
events Tavia Bakowski, who is
campaigning for president. School
of graphic communications management director Antek Krystecki
is running for VP marketing and
communications.
Some topics commonly mentioned by candidates concern
RCDS’ accessibility along with
awareness and collaboration
among Faculty of Communication
and Design (FCAD) students.
The election occurs on D2L.
Visit theeyeopener.com for a
mini recap of each candidate.

Continuing Studies @

OCAD UNIVERSITY
Art / Design / New Media
Evenings / Weekends / Online

Lachemi gets bizzy in India
Interim president Mohamed Lachemi hopped on a plane to India for the
Ontario trade mission last week. He came back with two signed agreements
to support ongoing energy research at Ryerson — one with Tata PowerDDL and one with Tech Mahindra.

Jorgenson rebranding gets redone
The Ryerson rebranding fiasco has a sequel. Some windows in Jorgenson Hall were redone with laminate “Arts” logos — a project that cost
$13,000. Problems with the material and installation meant it had to be
taken down soon after it was put up. The reinstallation comes at no cost to
the university, Lachemi said.

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LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

4

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

FUMBLING WITH FEMININITY
How my experience with gender inspired a love of individualism

By Farnia Fekri
I’ve questioned my own femininity
for as long as I’ve known what the
word means. Stumbling through
my teenage years and confronting it every time I looked at my
reflection, I often thought back to
a car ride with my parents, when I
asked if I could please have a Nerf
gun.
My dad had responded, “Why
would you want a gun? You have
dolls.” I stayed quiet. Convincing

a seven-year-old that a lame Barbie is as good as a gun with actual
“shoot-stuff” capability is nearly
impossible — but I didn’t argue. In
that moment, I grasped the thenblurry edges of an idea I’d already
seen lurking in adult conversations: gender.
Almost 10 years later and with
a bluntly short haircut in my
largely-monotone high school,
I’d grown up alternating between
tomboy-ism and isolation. I was
surprisingly OK with being different for a 16-year-old, concerning

myself more with books than with
booze. I had insecurities about my
appearance — so did every other
girl around me. I walked through
it relatively unscathed. The first
time I felt the sharp edges of
femininity was on a sunny day in
mid-September, 2011, on my walk
home. Strolling through the complex of townhouses towards my
own, approaching a mother and
her young sons, I heard one of the
kids yell, “Mommy, is that a boy
or a girl?”
He was probably five years old
and there was no ill intention.
There are very few people that
I’ve had to clarify my gender to
since, the way that some people
in the trans community have to
their whole lives. It was just — in
the timeline of my life — not that
important. But it stung. It stayed.
It grew and kept coming back.
Should I grow my hair? Is it my
jawline? Is it my nose? My body?
My voice, my words, the ideals of
female beauty, the white-ness of

these ideals? What is it?
In the years since, I’ve genuinely stopped caring. Sometimes
I wear lace — it makes me feel
beautiful. I’ve kept my hair short.
I still don’t wear makeup. When
a professor mistook my gender,
squinting at me from rows of seats
away, there was no embarrassment except for the sudden hush
of the class around me — I clarified and moved on.
But it’s worth it, as a friend once
told me, to question the world that
shapes us. And in our own small
way, in this issue, we wanted to
do that. I personally don’t know a
lot about sex. I know more about
love. I know a bit about gender.
But what I know more than most
is people — the way they fear their
own reflections, how they hide in
the shadows of low-self esteem
and name it “humility,” the jump
in their voices when they answer
personal questions. I’ve spent a
long time seeing people bask in
the glow of not seeing their own

Photo: Annie Arnone
As you can tell, the managing editor
really enjoyed producing this issue.

beauty. Join your sisters, find solidarity with your brothers — you
are all convinced of your own ugliness. I’m sure they could say the
same for me.
These questions of standards,
of expectations, reality and hope
are what we wanted to address in
the 2016 Love, Sex and Gender issue. The intended theme to unify
the paper was change — be it in
trends in contemporary lingerie or
the definition of being a man.
But what emerged as we started to use long-form in telling the
stories of students healing from
abusive relationships, or empowerment and self-love amongst racialized women, was the larger
idea of individuality. More than
ever at this time and on this campus, it’s OK for you to be different. All of the Nerf guns and curious-toddlers-on-sidewalks that
haunt you, that haunt us all, are
momentary distractions to your
indisputable beauty and — best of
all — your singularity.

The 2016 Love, Sex and
Gender issue has been
brought to you by...
The Managing Editor
Farnia Fekri

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The talented writers
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Chris Blanchette
Nicole Schmidt
Sydney McInnis
Robert Foreman
Lisa Cumming
Sidney Drmay
Badri Murali
Annie Arnone
The cool photographers
Annie Arnone
Chris Blanchette
Jake Scott

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

5

THANKS TO OUR BEAUTIFUL MODELS
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Contributors
Brandon “Boss-man” Buechler
Sarah “EM DASH” Krichel
Olivia “Benson” Bednar
Jovana “Mi” Rajckovic
Adriana “Childrene” Parente
Celina “Apple-knocker” Gallardo
Annaliese “Sun-gazing” Meyer
Lindsay “Bobsy-die” Christopher
Robert “Argle-bargle” Mackenzie
Behdad “Ancestral Connection”
Mahichi
Justin “Depths of hell” Chandler
Mitchell “The Plug” Thompson
Erica “Superstar” Salavaggio
Caterina “Admirable” Amaral
Kyla “So deep” Friel
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LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

6

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

TO SHAVE OR NOT TO SHAVE,
THAT IS (ALWAYS) THE QUESTION
One of the most natural human
features, body hair, has
become one of the defining
pillars of what “sexy” means
in Western society.
What changed?
By Sydney McInnis

A

ntoaneta Bunea peels off her gloves and makes her way through the salon’s
hallway to her desk. The walls she passes are plastered with advertisements
that push mottos like “Look good, feel better” and “Gain confidence, lift
spirits, take control.” There’s a scent hanging in the entryway that speaks a
similar message of tolerable vanity — almost like a mélange of menthol, sunscreen and
latex. The vivacious redhead shouts to her client who’s on her way out, “Have fun in
Tampa!”
Bunea is an aesthetician at Slick Wax Bar. The salon is located just east of Yonge-Dundas Square on Church Street. All sorts of folks make their way into the salon to rid their
bodies of the fuzzy stuff sprouting from their pores. Many of these people visit her every
10 days to keep themselves as smooth as hairless kittens with a full body wax at Slick
costing $250 for women and $300 for men. Individual areas, like the famous Brazilian or
Manzilian, are only a fraction of that price.
Hot waxing is just one of the many methods of hair removal that people endure —
they also shave, pluck, thread, use depilatory creams, do laser removal and get electrolysis. These techniques all have different prices, effectiveness and health risks, but
there’s something they all have in common — serious pain potential and the reinforced
idea that there’s something weird about having hair in the certain places that humans
naturally do.

language, armpit hair allowed our scents to lift into the air and broadcast our presence, according to ear, nose and throat surgeon Mahmood Bhutta in his article “Sex and the Nose”.
Pubic hair, perhaps one of the most taboo human hair patches, also has a purpose besides
marking the start of sexual maturity — since our pubic areas don’t come out into the light
very often, the skin is very vulnerable. The hair acts as a barrier for that sensitive skin and
protects us from bacterial and viral infections that could be really harmful, says physician
Emily Gibson in her article “Pubic hair has a job to do — stop shaving and leave it alone.”
Hair removal dates back to 3,000 B.C., when women were using harmful depilatories
to remove body hair to come across as wealthy. Men were also partaking in hair removal,
but mostly for hygienic reasons, like making sure their beards weren’t harbouring lice.
By the early 1900s, widespread magazine advertisements encouraged women to destroy
the hair on their bodies using creams and razors. At the same time, hemlines shrank and
women were showing more of their legs, which is when it was decided that leg hair on
females was unattractive. This hairless, feminine image was pushed as a sexy ideal and
was certainly successful in becoming the norm.
mily Eymundson, a second-year creative industries student, started removing
her body hair at around the age of 12. “I remember playing on the playground
once and a boy teasing me because I had underarm hair. I had a crush on that
boy, so I was so totally heartbroken. I got my mom’s razor and removed that
shit,” she says. “I’ve always been really self-conscious of my body hair — my body hair is
very, very dark and literally a day later after shaving it’s already back. Plus, I’m so prone
to razor bumps, which is why I chose to move to laser hair removal.”
Laser hair removal is not only expensive, but demands a huge level of commitment. Before most people see any results, they have to undergo the procedure six times every four
weeks. After those six months, the hair is meant to disappear for more than 60 years.
Eymundson’s view of body hair was also shaped by porn — which is a huge driver in
body hair stigmas and misconceptions. “When I found myself being attracted to women,
I didn’t understand how women could have sex with other women, so I was educated
through the internet by watching porn,” Eymundson says, adding that the porn was hairless and manicured, which engrained in her an ideal of how all sex should look.
Now that the time of expression and experimentation has come, the conversation of
quitting the battle with irritated skin is on the rise. Not shaving is a serious push against
societal expectations, especially for women. Second-wave feminists started conversations
and campaigns about leaving the body in its natural form — and though these messages
contribute to women showing off their stubble to defy norms and take pride in their unaltered selves, the stigma is ever present.
Jackie Mlotek, co-founder of the Ryerson Feminist Collective, takes pride in her
fuzz. “Sometimes I get a visible look of confusion and disgust for my body hair, which
sometimes makes me feel offended, but sometimes it makes me feel more comfortable,”
Mlotek says. “When I was younger I was scared of repelling people with my body hair,
but now I really enjoy it. It makes me feel a lot safer having that defence mechanism.”

E

“I remember playing on the playground once and a boy teasing me because I had underarm
hair. I had a crush on that boy, so I was so totally heartbroken. I got my mom’s razor and removed that shit”
So, to endure or not to endure is the question, and more importantly — why? Body
hair has become a deciding factor in personal confidence and sexiness, which is largely
shaped by the media’s portrayal of what sexy looks like. Body hair’s link to gender binaries is heavy, which has most women reluctantly bent over in the shower every morning
and men questioning their masculinity.
Western women are growing up with the constant pressure of photos of smooth, manicured models staring at them on every magazine. For many women, the idea of not
removing their body hair has never even been an option; it’s become the norm. If you’ve
ever watched a porn video — which you probably have — you’ve noticed that almost all
of the women are bush-less.
A study by Flinders University psychologists Marika Tiggemann and Suzanna Hodgson explores what the appeal of this hairless image is, and suggests that it may be pedophilic. “The complete removal of pubic hair is also removing a key marker of adult
female sexuality. The result is a pre-pubescent-like body that is highly sexualized,” the
study states. “Thus it is another practice that may contribute to the increasing objectification and sexualization of young girls.” Of course, in specific situations with sex partners
or in the performance industry, men may also experience shaming for their body hair, but
systemically, the pressure is generally specific to women.
ut the hair sprouting all over our bodies is there for good reason. Armpit hair,
which both men and women often have copious amounts of, actually grows
on the sweat glands to act as a kind of fragrance diffuser. At one point, when
humans needed to communicate with potential mates without the ability to use

B

T

he fact that body hair on a woman has the power to turn them from flirtworthy to not is suggestive of the standards set in our society’s unrealistic idea
of what sexy means. “It’s a myth we’ve created. In our heterosexist, kind of
binary-driven world that we live in, we’ve created understandings of what it
means to be a man and what it means to be a woman,” Mlotek says. “We’ve created
opposites so that we can understand each other just to uphold the binary so that we can
have some structure, so it’s just become that men are hairy, and women are not.”
Although men aren’t systemically shamed for sporting their fur, there’s a significant
chunk of heterosexual, metrosexual and gay men who choose to take part in “manscaping,” the term coined for male body hair removal. According to Bunea at Slick Wax Bar,
when they opened shop, the ratio of women to men was somewhere around 80 to 20,
and now she estimates closer to 60 to 40. Certainly, there was a time when having a hairy
chest and being able to grow a substantial beard represented masculinity, but now that
body hair presence and removal have a thinner line in terms of masculinity or femininity,
the option of doing whatever you please stands a better chance. “Having long hair down
there is annoying and gross, and totally gets in your butt sometimes. I guess I just associate having less hair with being more well-kept,” says Mason Prout, a third-year business
marketing student.
As much as men have a preference on how they keep themselves, of course some have a
serious preference on how their sexual partners keep themselves as well. As long as these
ideas of preference are communicated and accepted by both parties, the likelihood of a
related comment feeling like a gender-binary driven diss is a lot lower — unfortunately

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

this is not always the case. “I definitely would prefer if there was minimal or no hair [on
a partner]. Not saying it needs to be squeaky clean like a dolphin or anything, but I just
don’t find it attractive, in fact I find it the opposite,” says Prout. “I have no idea whether
it’s based on social aspects or if it’s actually some intrinsic feelings that are innate to me,
but if I were to hook up with a girl and then all of a sudden they have leg hair, I’d just
think it’s kind of manly.”
s Bunea’s workday finishes, she prepares her waxing room for the next day,
where she’ll see another handful of guys and gals to restore their silky smoothness. She refills her waxes, which come in rainbow colours, and wipes the sticky
stuff away from the counters and client’s bed. Bunea has been in the business
for over 20 years, so her ritual is steady in pace and she even has time to check the mirror
to make sure she’s still looking her best. “Growing up in Romania, I saw my grandma
going to the spa every week. My mother took me to get a Brazilian when I was 16 and
told me we don’t go out from the house if we don’t have makeup on. I just grew up in
that sort of environment,” she says.
With beauty-instilled confidence acting as a foundation of her character, she aims to
bring this sex appeal and confidence to her customers. “I’ll put it this way: for girls, it’s a
must. Guys can choose,” Bunea says. “But girls, you shouldn’t have hair on your underarms or your legs. If we were leaving it, it would be kind of like men.”

A

Photo: Jake Scott

7

8

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

How a Ryerson student with cerebral palsy became

DANIEL JAMES,
the porn star
By Nicole Schmidt

I

t all started as a joke, accompanied by minimal expectations. Daniel James* has always
been intrigued by the porn industry, but being on the other side of the screen came as a
whim.
“They’re not going to take me on, I’m never going to hear anything back,” he thought as he typed
a short email to SPIT, a Toronto-based alternative
porn collaborative. He read through the application
form listing things he’d considered doing on camera: anal, group sex, spanking, fisting, squirt stuff.
“All of the above,” he wrote.
A few weeks later, the third-year Ryerson business
management student found himself on set at his first
ever porn shoot. It was an unusually warm afternoon
in early November 2015. Sunlight filtered out from
behind highrise buildings as he walked down College
Street to an old apartment complex. He was oddly
relaxed. Excited, even. The bachelor apartment was
small and simple, but homey. Sketches hung on the
cream-coloured walls. There was a record player in
the corner, a comfortable looking blue loveseat near
the window and a bed near the door. When James
walked in, a member of the production crew was
changing the sheets. His co-performer was on their
period, but that didn’t matter. Alternative porn is
supposed to go beyond stereotypes. The focus is on
sex positivity, diversity and people who are underrepresented in mainstream porn — like James, who was
born with cerebral palsy.

ally had any ambition. There was all this negativity
living there,” he says.
Two major orthopedic surgeries, one in 2001
and the other in 2012, put him in a wheelchair for
months at a time. Cerebral palsy is a disorder that
affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills.
Doctors realigned some of James’ bones to help
improve his ability to walk. “Going under was the
scariest part,” he says. “I didn’t care how arduous
or how painful the procedures were, I just wanted it
done so I could live a more beneficial life.”
When James landed in Toronto for university, things
got better. He’s been involved in the sex-positive community for the past three years and now, porn. “I saw
it as an opportunity to represent and start a discussion about sex and disability … a lot of people who
are portrayed as disabled in porn are often fetishized
or hired out as a kink, which is unhealthy and inaccurate,” he says. “People think that just because we
have these physical setbacks we aren’t able to lead a
healthy and fulfilling sex life, but we are.”
ames sits on the couch, accompanied by Billy
Autumn — a “queer, disabled, punk porn
star” with pink hair, a septum piercing and
tattoos. They start making out and soon after, they’re both naked. Autumn performs a “hardcore blowjob” (think saliva and gagging) and then
they do doggy-style — James’ favourite position.
There was a lot of planning done before the actual
shoot took place. James said he had to be very spe-

J

“I saw it as an opportunity to represent and start a discussion about sex and disability ... a lot of people who
are portrayed as disabled in porn are often fetishized or
hired out as a kink, which is unhealthy and inaccurate”

J

ames spent the first 18 years of his life in Peterborough, Ont. His dad left before he was
born and his older siblings moved out, so it
was just him and his mom. They lived on social assistance and rented a small bungalow across
from housing projects notorious for drug activity.
James remembers police blocking off the street to
conduct a raid, telling him and his mom to lock all
the doors and stay in the basement “just in case.”
Outside, people were being escorted into cruisers
with their wrists in handcuffs. On a different night,
a man showed up at their doorstep with his head
covered in blood. “I was too young at the time to
know any better, but looking back, I realized that
this dude was either stabbed or had gotten jumped,
and he wanted us to let him in,” says James.
Mold filled the walls of their unfinished basement
and shingles were falling off the roof. The exterior
paint was peeling and the drywall was crumbling.
Over time, a hole formed in the corner of James’
bedroom walls. He could feel the nighttime breeze
while he slept. He knew far more high school dropouts than he could count on two hands. “No one re-

Photo: Annie Arnone

cific about the limitations that accompany his condition, as his balance isn’t perfect and he’s not very
flexible. “Other performers do have a one up on me
with being able bodied, where I am restricted in a
lot of cases,” he says. “I just have to compensate by
thinking of more elaborate positions and being able
to do stuff that other performers aren’t willing to do
on camera.”
Having sex on camera is a lot different — there’s a
lot of pressure that accompanies it. Having to “keep
it up” for 40 minutes while being hovered over by
a camera crew and regularly interrupted for breaks
has its challenges. You have to be in your own head,
says James, “it’s all psychology.”
Since the shoot, James says he’s had messages
from girls show up in his inbox with requests to
work together, along with occasional random nudes.
Porn can be about more than just sex, or boobs or
the “money shot.” It can be representative and empowering, or speak to something bigger. “This was
a way for me to say this is who I am,” says James.
“No more hiding.”
*Daniel James is his stage name

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

9

Annie Arnone explores
Ryerson students and professors explain changes in underwear

TRENDS IN LINGERIE

T

he elastic band of the control top thong reaches just above
the navel. It’s black, with a small splash of colour — no
frills, no lace. The underwear is not the average piece of
lingerie, but it’s sexy and makes women feel good. It allows them to show off their curves with a simple piece of fabric.
Four years of schooling led Allicia Martin to create this piece —
designing with her insecurities in mind, she presented her lingerie
collection to her professor at Ryerson for her final thesis and was
told it was “unmarketable.”
Today, Martin is the owner of Dear Frankie, a lingerie and swimsuit store in Toronto. The control top thong is her best seller.
“The way I design isn’t necessarily meant for that ‘ideal body.’
It’s meant for the real woman,” Martin says. “I keep what I want in
mind and I know that spans across all women.”
As clothing fads change over the years, so do lingerie styles. In the
past century, underwear has shifted drastically in styles — ranging
from corsets and girdles, to silk slips and thongs. Today, the lingerie industry celebrates every woman and shape, as opposed to the
“ideal woman,” a change Martin embraces in her line.
“In the early 1900s there was a new look — the ideal body shape
was a boyish figure, so the underwear changed to be very slinky
and slippery so that clothes would just hang off the woman,” she
explains. “Fast forward another 30 years and it was a more curvaceous silhouette, so corsets came back in. The ‘70s were more
relaxed, then you get into the ‘80s with Cher and Madonna and you
see corsets again.”
According to Martin, lingerie has become more utilitarian in the
past few years, serving the purpose of both looking sexy and being used for everyday wear. “Before you’d see this ebb and flow of
changes in underwear according to the ideal silhouette, but now
we see a combination of styles dating back from the ‘50s to present
day.”
nd yet structured pieces such as corsets are being phased
out and overshadowed by free-flowing, loose pieces, according to Leah Fauvelle, a third-year Ryerson fashion
student. “I think the idea of embracing natural curves is
one of the most amazing movements that society and trends have
come up with,” she says.
While Fauvelle agrees that corsets still have a niche market for
some women, the limitations they put on the body can be extreme.

A

“Personally, I see them as too restrictive and decreasing the physical and social mobility of women, which can restrict the role women
play in a male-dominated society,” Fauvelle says. “You don’t have
to be stuck to this one ideal, which is kind of cool. Your underwear
can speak to your outward daywear aesthetic, which hasn’t always
been the case.”
Fourth-year design student Haneen Abu-Hijleh is designing a lingerie collection for Ryerson’s Mass Exodus show this April. Her line
is inspired by the desert, consisting of only leather mesh fabric.
“Most of my bras are without an underwire,” she explains. “I
prefer this style because you get a more natural body shape [and]
it’s comfortable.”
nn Sulky is known as the “bra specialist” at Ryerson. She
is a fashion and design professor, specifically teaching the
“contours” class — a
class devoted to lingerie and body-fitting wear.
“In my other vocation, I’ve
been in the bra industry for over
30 years,” she says.
She mentions that five to 10
years ago, padding and structure
were all there was in the lingerie
industry. Due to limitations on
sizing, Sulky explains that plussized women found it difficult to
find lingerie they felt beautiful in.
“I think women’s identity, the
way they look at themselves, has
changed,” she adds.
“I see young women especially that want to have something that’s
pretty and beautiful, but you still want it to be supportive. No matter what size and shape you are, I think the best grace is that it’s
available.”
urled up beside Martin is her dog Frankie — her inspiration for her line’s name. She says that confidence in a
woman is worth its weight in gold.
“There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman’s confidence. Whatever is going to give her that confidence is what she
should go with, and if that’s her underwear then that’s worth it,” she
says. “It’s always what’s inside that counts.”
Martin thinks back to her fourth-year thesis, noting that despite
the program’s subjectivity, her professor’s criticism has only positively influenced her ability to move forward as a designer.
“It’s something that stuck with me, but it gave me the confidence
that, ‘I know what I’m doing,’” she recalls. “I know [my underwear]
will work for somebody.”

A

C

Photos by Annie Arnone

“There’s nothing more
beautiful than a woman’s
confidence. Whatever is
going to give her that
confidence is what she
should go with, and if that’s
her underwear then that’s
worth it”

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

10

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

Photo: Annie Arnone

Empowerment and self-love among

RACIALIZED
WOMEN

S

By Karoun Chahinian

he looked in the mirror and saw a face filled with disappointment and frustration staring right back at her. Every day was the same routine and every day
she felt equally disappointed. Why did she look the way she did? She opened
her mother’s makeup drawer and pulled out a small black bag, where she found
a tube of eyeliner on top of cases of eyeshadow and mascara inside. At age nine, Allie
Zheng drew thick, black lines on her folded eyelids, hoping to look like the other girls in
her grade.
Allie’s family moved to Milton, Ont., in 2001 from Yingkou, China, when she was fiveyears-old. She became one of the handful of Chinese students in her school. Every time
she looked around her class, she was met with a sea of blonde-haired, blue-eyed students
— and the dream of fitting in. She begged her mother to let her dye her hair blonde, wear
only brand clothing and hide her culture as much as she could in front of her friends. To
this day, Allie still dreams of fitting in.
There’s no single definition of beauty. This message has dominated the media circuit
in recent years through positive advertisements, plus-sized models and diverse
representation. While there have been
obvious signs of social progress, there’s
still much room for improvement. Racialized women are prone to being marginalized because of the colour of their
skin, the shape of their eyes, or the texture of their hair, resulting in their physical features being prioritized over their characters
— often to others, sometimes for themselves. These distinct traits, which can be viewed
as unique, are instead tarnished and shown as flaws, making women who come from
racialized backgrounds carry a burden of insecurity.
“I was always very self conscious [about] the way I looked. I was nine years old and I
would think, ‘How come my eyes are so small?’” recalls Zheng, now a second-year Ryerson business management student. “I started wearing makeup in hope that the eyeliner
would magically make my eyes look bigger. I was adamant about needing to look like the
other kids in my class.”

At age nine, Allie Zheng drew thick, black
lines on her folded eyelids, hoping to look
like the other girls in her grade

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

E

ven in countries as multicultural as Canada, racism is a prominent issue that
leaves racialized women with an unsettling need to conform to the culture
around them. While teasing in the school yard may seem juvenile and insubstantial, teenage years are a pivotal stage in shaping individual identities and
levels of self-worth — remarks on appearance and race may have a toll on someone’s
esteem years later, says Ryerson sociology professor Amina Jamal.

“People who immigrate to Canada feel
a loss of status. A lot of women feel as if
someone had just erased all of their past
... from this, there is definitely a
questioning of self-worth”
“Only seeing a certain standard of beauty in the media has a deep effect on girls’ selfworth. People need to stop measuring themselves from this white standard of beauty,”
Jamal says. “Schools that are prone to bullying based on racism need to be more conscious on this and provide counselling services. They need to be more accommodating,
accepting, open and [they] need to educate the children right from the start.”
This struggle with self-love between racialized women does not stop after schooling
— for immigrant women, it’s an everyday challenge in their workplace and community,
especially due to being defined by stereotypes.
“People who immigrate to Canada feel a loss of status,” says Jamal. “A lot of women
feel as if someone had just erased all their past experiences and qualifications. They feel
irrelevant and marginalized in society. From this, there is definitely a questioning of selfworth because of their feelings of inadequacy.”
Jamal mentions that her own daughter was subjected to this form of racial profiling by
being unjustly enrolled in ESL.
“My daughter was light-skinned, but in her school, there was still this questioning of
whether or not she spoke english,” Jamal says. “She was a very avid
reader and read more than the other students, but because she was shy,
they assumed that she was an ESL student, which challenged her own
self-worth.”
eing judged solely on appearances was also an issue fourthyear biology student Awo Abokor faced growing up. The
first time the Canadian-Somali realized her appearance was
distinct was in Grade 5.
She decided when she was 10 to let her thick curly hair loose, which
she usually keeps tight in a long braid. She felt terrorized in the school yard.
Countless numbers of hands clawed and pulled at her thick hair and left her humiliated
and furious. That night, as she cried, her mother said eight words that still echo through
Abokor’s mind to this day: “No one can touch you without your permission.”
“I would often feel like my space wasn’t my space. Having people touch my hair, or
comment on my body in a way that made me feel uncomfortable or that I needed to

B

11

change those things,” Abokor says. “My hair isn’t the only thing that matters to me.
There are a lot of more important things that drive me. That shouldn’t be my only talking point.”
She grew up not knowing if she was “normal.” Flipping through TV channels or fashion magazines, Abokor says she never saw anyone that looked like her, except during
Black History Month. This absence of public role models left her lacking confidence. Assimilating and fitting into Western society became a tempting and simple choice, but she
maintained her cultural identity.
“I would find myself thinking about whether or not I should wear my hijab, but then
I’d look back and think, ‘How people perceive the way I present myself is not my responsibility,’” says Abokor. “I’ve recently found that even in deciding to straighten my hair,
I have to ask myself if I’m doing it because it’s easy for me to maintain, or because I’m
feeding into the norm that straight hair is beautiful in the media.”
Abokor struggled with balancing multiple identities throughout her life. As a Muslim
black woman in a predominantly white neighbourhood in Toronto, she’s been forced to
deal with social scrutiny both directly and indirectly.
“It’s hard when you carry a lot of identities that are marginalized,” says Abokor. “I’m
in the process of growing up and taking real pride in them. I’m done apologizing and
that’s something that self-love comes from — being grounded in who you are and knowing that nothing’s wrong with you.”
his sense of cultural pride was also what kept Arezoo Najibzadeh, a first-year
public administration and governance student, grounded during her experiences being bullied throughout elementary school. Having unique, non-European
features because of her Iranian background made her a target for racist comments and profiling, which started at the young age of 14 when she moved to Markham
from Tehran.
“My Persian culture was always viewed as a dominant group, I never felt I was different until I came to Canada. All of a sudden I was racialized,” says Najibzadeh. “I’m
really proud to be an Iranian woman, but I was given two choices — to become like the
general public or live a harder life.”
Najibzadeh had to start over — a foreign school, with foreign people, in a foreign
country. Her Persian culture transformed the innocent 14-year-old into a target against
her fellow students. She was called a “terrorist” on a dark school day, with laughter
stinging her as she tried
to swallow the lump in
her throat, but she was
not able to stop the
tears from falling. It
was a painful day, but
since then, she’s used it
as a pillar in her life to
take even more pride in
her culture.
“The fact that I’m a racialized woman and that I come from a different culture than
white Canadian culture has never been a burden to me. It was something I used as a
source of empowerment,” says Najibzadeh.
“At times it may have made things hard to fit into the society that I am in, but it shaped
me to be the person that I am today.”

T

“I’m done apologizing and that’s something that self-love comes from — being
grounded in who you are and knowing
that nothing’s wrong with you”

Ryerson students Awo Abokor (right) and Allie Zheng spent much of their lives questioning
their appearances, within a society that values Western standards and white definitions of
beauty. Photos by Jake Scott (left) and Annie Arnone.

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

12

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

“BE A MAN”
The myth and the
legend of “masculinity”

By Jacob Dubé

I

was standing on a snowy mountaintop, 1,300
feet above sea level. Peering down onto the steep,
bumpy hill that dropped inches from the tip of my
yellow skis, I knew there was no way I could do it.
My group was eager to take off. “Come on, be a man,”
said one of them, hopping with anticipation in his oversized grey coat.
At that moment, I felt scared. Not of the death trap
that lay under me, but of seeming inadequate to these
people I barely knew. If I wasn’t a man, then what was I?
I took the plunge. They found me in a ditch 20 metres
down.
“Be a man.”
asculinity is broadly defined as a set of roles
and behaviours generally associated with
men. Some of these traits are often related
to aggression, dominance and pride — but
the idea of masculinity varies from person to person.
“I think it’s something that is very self-defined. It manifests in an infinite amount of ways. Masculinity, inherently,
can be a cool, beautiful thing. It’s a part of everyone’s behaviours,” says Jackie Mlotek, a Ryerson social work student and co-founder of the Ryerson Feminist Collective.
Traditionally, the figurehead of the man was characterized in the framework of the nuclear family — an authoritative breadwinner who provides for and protects
their family.
“It’s framed generally as something every man should
strive to be, but it’s society framing it, not so much on an
individual level,” says Alyson Rogers, who is also a Ryerson social work student and co-founder of the Ryerson
Feminist Collective.
According to Ben Barry, associate professor of equity,
diversity and inclusion at Ryerson’s fashion school, the
ideas around masculinity change dramatically over time,
because these are shifting societal constructs.
“Fashion plays a huge role in constructing these ideals.
One time high heels were considered a sign of masculinity. Today, this is sort of the antithesis of masculinity — it
defines femininity,” Barry says. “Often when we think of
the traditional concepts of masculinity, they’re defined in
position to femininity.”
He says that there was a point where very elaborate
clothes with frills and lace defined masculinity, but that
the contemporary notion of masculine clothes is more restrained and conservative.
“The suit is one way to epitomize that. In terms of the
masculine body ideal, it was this sort of buff, chiseled
body,” he says. “Over the last decade or so, it’s become
a very slender physique, but still very toned physique.
These are ways that through your body and through your
clothes, you could address masculinity.”
In his research, he says he notices men self-police how
they dress. If a man wanted to wear a floral-patterned

M

Photos by Annie Arnone

shirt, he would then cover it with a dark sweater to diminish the feminine element. “There’s this fear of jeopardising masculinity,” Barry explains.
This fear has led more and more men to being drawn to
cosmetics for men, which Barry says can be just as limiting in its reinforcement of the separation of the genders.
“It’s simply taking these cosmetics and products and
selling them to help achieve this narrow notion, rather
than saying we need to celebrate the variety of men that
exist, of all different body shapes, ages, skin types, disabilities, et cetera,” Barry says, adding that clothes and
makeup should be used to disrupt gender norms, not enforce them.
an Jedrasik prepares to spar with his opponent.
The second-year computer-science major is training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, an offshoot of judo that
concentrates on ground fighting. His opponent is
a purple belt, two or three levels higher than Jedrasik.
After they start, Jedrasik goes for a takedown. Suddenly, his opponent grabs the top of his neck, pulls themselves up and wraps their legs around him. His six-footfour build gets pulled down to the ground. Then, his
opponent puts all their bodily pressure on his arm, pivots
around, and hyperextends it, effectively winning the spar
in 45 seconds flat.

J

“Well, I’m dead,” Jedrasik says. “I just got tapped by a
115-pound girl. This is lovely.”
Jedrasik trains as a fighter, but says that he doesn’t
feel that he’s pressured to follow the masculine ideals of
dominance and pride at his gym — the better person will
win, no matter the gender. You leave your ego and pride
at the door.
“I used to go to a really old, hardened boxing gym with
people who are ex prison convicts, gang members, the
toughest of guys ever,” Jedrasik says. “But do I define them
as masculine? In the old sense, yes. But the world doesn’t
depend on how well you can beat someone up anymore.”
He says that the term is so vague, and it can be defined

by so many traits depending on the person or situation.
“When I think masculinity, the first thing that pops in
my head is, ‘Guy with a beard, drinking scotch, smoking
a cigarette.’ And I enjoy my scotch more than the next
guy,” Jedrasik says. “But does that mean I’m not going to
break down and cry during Up? Man, I cry baby tears.”
But according to Barry, a lot of men see masculinity as
an ideal that they have to achieve, but never can, because
it’s an unrealistic and artificial goal. He says that it also
affects gay men by pressuring them to try and accept a
different notion of masculinity than what they have, by
making themselves seem hyper masculine.
“There’s an internal struggle if you feel like you need
to achieve this goal and you can’t. It can lead to increased
rates of suicide, depression, [and] violence,” Barry says.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2009, the suicide
rate for men was 17.9 per 100,000, three times higher
than that of women. Not being able to express emotions
can affect a man’s mental health and their relationships,
says Rogers.
“If you’re keeping that all boiled up inside, it’s going
to come out [in] some ways,” she says. “It could be in
bursts of anger, it could be in aggression, it could just be
in not being able to have good relationships where you
can express how you feel.”
Mlotek adds that this sort of “toxic” masculinity is
mainly defined as an absence of femininity and feminine
attitudes, which affects how men perceive women.
“When someone calls a guy a pussy, it’s not about masculinity, it’s about misogyny and hating women. It’s so interrelated,” Mlotek says. She remembers an ex that was
unable to express emotion, and she could see it build up
within them.
The separation of masculinity and femininity and the
pressures for both genders can also affect how comfortable they are during sex. “This dichotomy isn’t making
sex as fun as it could be. There’s expectations on both
sides,” Rogers says.
The best way to help diminish the effects of the toxic
ideas of masculinity is to name them, according to Mlotek.
Addressing that the definitions of manliness were created
by society can allow men to have conversations about
their pressures and stresses. “We’re all at these different
places of learning and unlearning gender [issues]. But if
you’re willing to discuss it, that can be a huge weight off
your shoulders,” she says. “It can feel less isolating and it
can lead to people to understand more about themselves
and their gender and how they relate to others.”
ulling myself from the snow and limping on
one ski, I joined my group again. There was no
more talk of manliness or pride, nobody I had
to impress. I was just dusted off and brought to
the lodge.
So be a man — whatever that means.

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Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

13

FRIENDSHIP
ON FIRE
An editorial by Sidney Drmay

My best friend and I are dating, platonically, and we also steal for each other. Nothing big — I
take salt shakers for her and she takes pepper. The first time it happened it was kind of a joke but
now we keep doing it. Honestly, it’s a pretty ideal relationship. She’s the first person I’ll text in a
day, we talk pretty consistently and we send each other snapchats when we hear Uptown Funk.
Whenever we see each other in person we still have a million things to cover — our hangouts are
usually dinner and a movie. I tell her that I love her a dozen times a day and if I’m not saying it,
I’m sending heart emojis. But I don’t really want to hook up with her.
Our relationship goes beyond a simple friendship, because I love her deeply and really care for
her. I want to be there for her forever and support her no matter what. As much as I love romance
and dating, there’s something unique about platonic love that makes it important. There were
moments when we considered a romantic relationship but it never quite made sense — she would
start dating someone romantically or I would be caught up with a steady partner, and we were
happier staying platonic. It takes nothing away from our relationship — we find it natural to wear
our matching moon rings and keep photos of each other in our wallets. It works so well because
there are no requirements to hang out, we don’t have to get all fancy to go out unless we want
to, and half the time we like watching movies on my couch. Some people call this a queerplatonic
relationship.
A queerplatonic relationship is a friendship on fire — a friendship based on platonic love that
can be just as important as romantic relationships. Queerplatonic love lets you have more people
to rely on, more people to support you and more people to talk to. It’s a friendship with a much
deeper commitment than what most people see in their friendships — a friend or friends that you
know will be a part of your life forever.
One of the ways people mess up their romantic relationships is by using their partner as their
main source of support. This can end up being really dangerous and overwhelming for everyone
involved; one person can’t handle all of your problems and this causes a lot of strain in a relationship. There are some situations that, no matter what, your partner just won’t be able to help
with. Not to mention if you’re like me and your partner doesn’t like watching crappy teen movies
repeatedly, it’s pretty useful to have someone in your life that does. Queerplatonic relationships
can help with that.
Stop seeing friendships as supplementary to your romantic relationships. Recognize that your
friends are just as important as your partners. Don’t lose time for them when you have a partner
— by courting your friends, too. Dating your friends is awesome, you get to do all kind of couplelike activities like going for brunch, bringing them home to meet your parents or cuddling and
watching new TV shows. You can have a level of support and consistency without worrying about
the relationship ending. Seriously, just tell your friends you love them. Besides some minor theft,
what’s the worst that can happen?

Photo: Annie Arnone

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

14

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

SCAR TISSUE

A glance at the climaxes and aftermaths of abusive relationships

By Rob Foreman

H

ayley Walsh hadn’t been invited to her (now ex-)boyfriend’s
birthday party. She sat at home
until he texted her, saying that
he’d meant to invite her — she then made her
way over to the bonfire. But as she walked
into the backyard, she received strange looks
from her boyfriend’s friends. The kind of
looks that said, “Why are you here?”
At around 3 a.m., Walsh was grabbing her
sweater off of a lawn chair to head home,
but hesitated when her phone vibrated with
a text saying, “Once everybody leaves, come
meet me.”
“Where?” she responded. “My room,”
was the reply.
“My friend Emily [was] doing her best
to try and get me to come home with her.
She was like, ‘Please don’t do it, you know
you’re going to regret it,’” Walsh recounts.
But her ex had told her that he loved her,
and that after all this time he wanted to lose
his virginity to her.
“I think this is different this time,” she
told Emily. “He’s never done this before.”
Once Emily caved in, Walsh headed down
to his bedroom. The two of them met, drank,
and began to get intimate — but what she
wanted to be a romantic, magical moment,
quickly became the exact opposite. He got
up immediately, put his clothes on and sat
silently at the end of the bed. Walsh crawled
to his side, across ruffled bed sheets.
“Hey, are you good?” she asked.
“You need to leave.”
“Why? Can I get a ride?”
“I don’t give favours to sluts,” he said.

On the verge of tears, Walsh headed out
of his basement-bedroom and sat on the
curb for almost half an hour, crying as she
waited for her friend to pick her up.
That night was the breaking point of an
abusive relationship that lasted for years.
Abusive relationships are a pattern of behaviours used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner, according to the Center for Relationship
Abuse Awareness. There are four types of
abuse that can occur: emotional, physical,
financial and sexual.
“It serves to keep that person in the relationship because they don’t feel good enough
to leave or to be with anyone else … [the
abusers] are kind of brainwashing them,”
says Karen Abrams, an assistant professor
at the University of Toronto who specializes
in treatment for depression, anxiety and psychological distress in women resulting from
violence and abuse. After the relationship is
over, the abuse can take its toll on the victim over a long period of time, and cause the
person to question their worth. Dating violence is highest among the 15-24 age group,
making up 43 per cent of all incidents of dating violence. Twenty-six per cent of girls in
a relationship have reported being verbally
abused, according to Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), an education and support service helping abused women.
ack in her senior year of high
school, the romance had been a
problem from the start. Walsh,
now a third-year journalism student, remembers that she really liked him

B

— he was the first guy that she ever wanted
to be in a relationship with. Walsh says he
knew that and used it to manipulate her during and after the relationship. From the onset, he would interrogate her about her past
with other guys, and when she gave honest
answers, he showed anger and disrespect in
response.
“He would ... call me a slut and a whore,
like, ‘Why should I even date someone like
you? You’re a classic example of what I
wouldn’t want,’” Walsh says.
While he kept that hanging over her head,
they eventually began to get intimate. Both
virgins, Walsh found that she would be performing sexual acts on him but he would
never reciprocate.
“He would say that he didn’t believe that I
was the kind of girl he would want to touch
in that way,” she says.
hird-year photography student
Hilary, who asked that her full
name not be used, experienced
mental abuse during her first year
at Ryerson. Throughout the relationship,
which battered her self-esteem, she was belittled and humiliated in front of her friends.
“He’d just be like, ‘Oh that’s fucking stupid, you’re a fucking idiot,’” recounts Hilary.
There were many times where she found
herself heading back to her apartment and
crying in bed until she fell asleep. “Then the
next day I would go and hang out with him.
[In a toxic relationship], they sort of make
you feel like you’re not good enough for
anyone else and that you have to stay with
them.”

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Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

15

Photos: Chris Blanchette

The abuse that Hilary was subjected to
also reached its climax at her boyfriend’s
birthday party, in his apartment. She headed up the stairs in the building towards his
room with a few of her friends. The party
was a standard house party, with students
bringing the bong out and playing beer
pong in poorly-decorated rooms ringing
with loud music. Everything seemed fine at
the time, until Hilary decided to go back
to her room to grab more alcohol. As she
drunkenly stumbled through the hallway,
she passed a girl who called her a bitch under her breath.
“I didn’t do anything, I was just drunkwalking down the hallway,” Hilary recalls.
When she got back to the party, she joked to
her boyfriend about the incident, but while
everyone stared and her embarrassment
grew, he began to freak out.
“I’m gonna kill that bitch. Fuck that girl.
Let’s go fucking egg her door!”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll get over it, don’t worry,” she whispered to him, but he’d begun
pulling eggs out of the fridge in the corner
of the apartment.
Hilary got in his way and touched his arm
to get him to calm him down.
“As soon as I tried to touch him, not in an
aggressive way, more of a comforting way, a
calm-down way, he like grabbed my shoulders and shoved me into the fridge,” she recalls. As she crashed into the fridge, people
started to try and get in between them and
the situation de-escalated. But that was one
of Hilary’s key warnings that there was
something wrong in her relationship.
“He wasn’t even shitfaced, he knew what
he was doing. Like he was still in control,”
she says.
hile the physical abuse ended
there for Hilary, the same
was not the case for Walsh.
She was left with a choice
between performing sexual acts or not getting a ride home, and it didn’t stop at merely
oral sex.
“Before we did it, he was obsessed with
the idea of doing anal sex, and it would

W

come to the point where we’d be in bed doing stuff and he’d flip me over and try to do
it,” she says. “And I’d tell him no, it’s fucking painful.”
She made it very clear to him that she did
not enjoy it and yet he still persisted. With
her infatuation with him, and the threat of
a break up looming over her head, she often
caved into his demands.
“It went from, ‘If you don’t blow me, I’m
not taking you home,’ to, ‘How come you
don’t wanna do anal with me? Do you not
like me anymore?’”
He never wanted to have regular sex with
her — he told her that vaginal sex was for
someone that he truly loved, and he didn’t
love her — until changing his mind at his
birthday party.
Walsh remembers asking him why he was
kicking her out of his house after they had
slept together, especially since he had told
her that he loved her and wanted her to stay
the night. That all turned out to be a lie,
she says — he had been sleeping with other
girls before and was taking advantage of her
emotions to add another notch to his belt.
After that night, she realized how toxic
the relationship was and that she needed to
be able to stand up for herself. She recognized that there was nothing romantic about
the anxiety that coloured the relationship.
“Anxiousness is not a component of love
when it feels that way, when it feels like
there’s constantly a threat of him going to
leave if you don’t do something sexual to
him, and I understand that now,” she says.
n Hilary’s case, the guy she had been
seeing threatened to humiliate her
once it was all over. He told her that
he had a naked picture of her that
someone else had taken, and that he would
spread it around. The fear had Hilary frantically contacting all of her friends, asking if
they had taken pictures of her that she didn’t
know about.
“He didn’t even want anything,” she says.
“He just says that he has it and he’s gonna
send it around.”
After an extended period of time, he final-

I

“Anxiousness is not a component of love when it feels that way,
when it feels like there’s constantly
a threat of him going to leave if I
don’t do something sexual to him,
and I understand that now”
ly caved in and told her that it was a picture
of someone else who looked like her.
“He sent me to her [Facebook] profile, she
had hair like mine and her face wasn’t in it.
It was a shot from behind,” Hilary explains.
“So he could’ve lied [to others] and said it
was me.”
brams works to help women recover from abusive relationships
— she says that the first step is to
identify specific parts of abuse. “If
this is their first relationship, they don’t know
that some of this is even abuse,” she explains.
Once that has been identified, others can
work to undo the damage and explain to the
victim that they are allowed to have a voice.
The biggest change the relationship instilled in Hilary has been a stronger guard
against trusting men. She admits the development has negative side-effects, but her experience has shown her that it’s safer to be
absolutely sure. “It’s [in] being intimate that
I choose not to trust men, and I know that
it’s better that way,” she says.
After Walsh started to appreciate what a
real relationship is supposed to be, she was
able to get over her ex. She was able to look
back at the whole situation as a learning experience — she says that she doesn’t regret
having lived through that period in her life.
She’s not glad that it happened, but she’s
glad that it happened early.
“Sometimes that can happen when you’re
older and you don’t necessarily have the
equipment [to move on],” she says. “Now
I have the equipment at a young age to say
bye to fuccbois.”

A

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

16

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

LEARNING
SEX FROM TV
SCREENS
How pop culture’s
portrayal of sex is
changing, and how it’s
changed us
Photo:
Jake Scott

By Lisa Cumming

H

e tenderly strokes her
left buttcheek while
she washes his nipples.
She whispers “Oh,
Stud,” and ... the laptop freezes.
Sylvester Stallone starring in his
early softporn project “The Party
at Kitty and Stud’s,” gently penetrating his lover, Kitty, is frozen
forever in your memory.
This, unfortunately, is not what
sex is like. But then again, neither
is sex like Sasha Grey starring in
“GETTING WRECKED (SW
ROUGH SEX PMV).”
Popular culture has been shaping views on sex and sexuality for
decades, and has become increasingly sexualized in this century.

Porn, as one of the most obvious
examples, went from smooth, sensual sex to raunchy, x-rated fucking. Sylvester Stallone porn from
the 1970s is nothing compared to
the 35-k.m. cumshots you see today.
“The 1970s and the 1980s was
really the golden age of porn, because it was finally legal in any
form — it was really beautiful,”
says Jack Lamon, a worker-owner
at Come As You Are on Queen
Street West. “Plastic surgery didn’t
exist yet, so bodies were natural,
people had hair.”
Lamon says that mainstream
porn has lost that sensuality, especially on free sites like Pornhub.

Tyler Marian, a 19-year-old criminology student, agrees.
“I think a lot of men have unrealistic expectations of body image,
and how things go because in pornography you don’t see people putting on a condom, practicing safe
sex or getting used to the other’s
body,” he says. “The lack of these
steps can lead to pretty bad sex.”
n recent years, network TV
has also gotten increasingly
dirty. Thinking back to a
time when swearing was
strictly forbidden is almost laughable — a show like How To Get
Away With Murder, featuring
numerous sex scenes, is a far cry
from Full House. Television in the

I

‘80s was dominated by family archetypes and American slapstick
comedy, like Family Ties. The ‘90s
turned up the raunchy notch a bit
with Friends and Seinfeld, which
often featured episodes about sex
and relationships. The 2000s continued this trend with shows like
Californication, and a decade later
came Orange is the New Black,
Mad Men and Game of Thrones.
As what could be softcore porn
has started to make more appearances on sitcoms and shows, especially on outlets with less restrictive rules such as HBO or Netflix,
the daily exposure of the average
media consumer to sex has grown
exponentially — as have expectations of idealistic (and unrealistic)
interactions.
“In my experience,
television series and
music tend to overcentralize on sex and
the immense passion
it can bring,” says
Marian. “After losing my virginity, I
thought, ‘This is it?’”
Sex in movies can seem passionate and perfect, “but it’s entirely inaccurate, it doesn’t at all
convey the awkwardness, or that
body rhythms won’t necessarily
match,” Marian adds. “I lost my
virginity in a hook up, so having
these high expectations that were
presented to me in music and television did not at all match the reality of the situation.”
The act of sex depicted in popular culture has always been fairly
skewed — real people have real
feelings, real bodies and limitations. The difference between perceptions of sex in music, movies,
and television, compared to real
life is stark.
The sexual scenarios in James
Bond, for example, have often
been unrealistic. Bond and his unbelievably beautiful girls seem to
have mindblowing, hot and dirty
sex. All the time.
usic has become increasingly and overtly sexual as well.
Sexual
innuendos

and rap songs centralizing — and
capitalizing — off of the objectification of women, in their lyrics
and videos, fill rap songs more
than ever. Artists like Lil Wayne
and The Weeknd often use sex as a
pillar of their songs, and their images. This objectification has been
used to sell music for decades —
journalism professor Adrian Ma
remembers growing up in the ‘90s
with Britney Spears and Christina
Aguilera, during an era when the
Mickey Mouse Club actors and
actresses were coming of age.
“At a time when we were exploring our own sexuality and
becoming who we were, we had
these teenage icons who were doing it in a more public kind of
way,” he says.

“These high expectations
that were presented to me in
music and television did not
at all match the reality of the
situation”

M

T

he documentary My
Mic Sounds Nice, directed by Ava DuVernay, analyzes the use
of explicit sexuality as a businesssavvy technique, looking at the
way that both men and women are
profitting off of hypersexualizing
women. DuVernay argues that a
lack of female representation in the
hip hop realm, especially recently,
has helped shape the way society
thinks about sex and sexuality.
Marian says that another problem with a lot of popular music is
that it talks too much about “pleasuring your man” rather than satisfying your own needs, leading to
a lack of dialogue about consent.
“There is an absence of people
speaking up about ‘This is what I
like’ and a lack of representation
on how consent is not necessarily
permanent.
“It’s really a difficulty I’ve had
myself,” he says. “I’ve learned to
say no but I still feel awkward doing it, because there’s no example
in pop culture on how to do it.”

LOVE, SEX AND GENDER

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

17

GOING THE DISTANCE:
By Chris Blanchette
I had just stepped off a plane in
New Brunswick — at Sussex airport, to be precise. The flight had
been pleasant enough. Trying to
distract myself from my anxiety,
I’d started the hour-and-a-half
flight staring at the Toronto skyline and feeling overwhelmingly
small — once the clouds had swallowed our plane, I tried striking
up a conversation with the older
gentleman beside me.
“Is this your first time flying to
New Brunswick?” I asked him. He
was articulate with his words and
soft spoken; he explained that he

Photo: Chris Blanchette

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is from New Brunswick, and travels to Toronto periodically to visit
family. He asked what my reason
was for leaving Ontario.
I’d been waiting for a month to
see my girlfriend, who’s now attending university approximately
1,466 k.m. away in St. John.
Though 30 days is a relatively
short absence as far as separation
goes in our relationship, the visit
feels long overdue.
The plane touches down and I
breathe out my impatience. I wish
the gentleman well as we depart in
separate directions. Through the
window that separates the airport
from the tarmac, I see my girl-

The ups and downs of a
long-distance relationship

friend waiting in the main area of
the airport.
Her presence is best described
as a mirage — something surreal.
I hope she doesn’t dissipate when
I reach out to hug her; thankfully
she doesn’t. I spin her around obnoxiously because it is 1 a.m. and
I’ve been sitting for too long.
Let me end this scene by saying
that it is a luxury to feel a sense of
home in a person. And if you are
so lucky to find that, grip it tight
until your knuckles turn white.
This is our homecoming.
These homecomings are the
foundations of long distance relationships. At some point, while

you’re waiting for a phone call, a
text or the occasional letter, you
remember that all the trivial motions that accompany distance are
building up to days like these.
I tried not to think in that moment. I wanted to devote my entire being to embracing the person
I love, and etching the memory in
my mind because the next time I
was going to be in that airport, I
would be facing the reality that
departure was necessary.
And that’s the rest of the relationship.
Waiting.
To read the rest of this piece, go
to theeyeopener.com.

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SEXY FUN

18

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

The mayonnaise effect
By Celina Gallardo

PHOTO: DEVIN JONES

Mayonnaise heals this lovely couple.

What do sandwiches and relationships have in common? They can
both be enhanced with a little bit
of mayonnaise.
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Mayonnaise and
More found that incorporating a
jar of mayonnaise in your love life
can greatly improve you and your
partner’s relationship. The phenomenon has been named “The
Mayonnaise Effect.”
The study, conducted by Dr.
Theresa Pimiento in November
2015, did not reveal any concrete
answers as to why mayonnaise
worked so well, but Dr. Pimiento

hypothesizes that it has something
to do with how mayonnaise is
made.
“Mayonnaise is made with vinegar and oil, which on their own
would separate. However, adding
an egg yolk will emulsify and bond
the two together, creating mayonnaise,” said Pimiento. “And that’s
exactly what has happened with
the couples I’ve studied.”
Pimiento gathered eight couples,
all of whom were going through
rough patches in their relationships, and left each couple alone
in a room with a jar of mayonnaise. Pimiento was expecting the
couples to use the mayonnaise in
an “ungodly manner,” but the results astounded her.
“Almost instantly after my partner opened the mayonnaise jar, I
lost it and began calling him out

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By Skyler Ash
February is the least sexy month
of the year by far: big winter coats,
giant scarves that look like they’re
taking over your body and red

noses running like an angry, flowing stream. Being sexy is hard, so
here are six ways to spice up your
sex appeal!
1. Cover up. Nothing is sexier
than a fully cloistered homo sapien meandering about the streets.
2. Never talk to anyone. Keep
that sexy mouth shut, because
you’re a mysterious warm-blooded mammal.
3. Point out the flaws of perspective mates. It’ll show them that

on his Gilmore Girls binge-watching and how it has been tearing us
apart,” said Hugh Simmons, a participant in the experiment. “But after a good 30 minutes of yelling,
everything was resolved and our
love has grown stronger.”
After the experiment, all of the
participating couples reported a
significant improvement in their
love lives. One couple has decided
to get married shortly after being
alone with a mayonnaise jar for almost two hours.
According to Pimiento, couples
described the mayonnaise jar as a
symbol of their jarred-up secrets
and feelings and opening the jar
symbolized a breaking of barriers.
So if you and your loved one are
feeling disconnected, open up your
hearts and open up a jar of mayonnaise.
you care about the way they look,
you social-savvy social citizen.
4. Don’t suppress any biological impluses. Snort, burp and fart
your way to sexy, you bipedal
champion.
5. Have an ugly laugh. Nothing
is more appealing than a unique
laugh, so keep it high, low and
loud, you fully-formed fetus.
6. Share food. It doesn’t matter
who it is — friend, stanger, enemy
— walk up and take a bite! This
will show that you’re up for anything and like to share. Sharing
is caring, and caring is sexy, you
fleshy skeleton.

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SEXY FUN

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

Love is on the air
A sexy playlist for all those fun, sexy times!
1. Lady Marmalade by Patti LaBelle
2. Slow Motion by Trey Songz
3. I Just Had Sex by The Lonely
Island feat. Akon
4. Like a Virgin by Madonna
5. Lick it Before You Stick it by
Denise LaSalle
6. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
7. All Star by Smash Mouth
8. No Diggity by Blackstreet feat.
Dr. Dre, Queen Pen

9. Milkshake by Kelis
10. Bad Girls by M.I.A.
11. Bananaphone by Raffi
12. Angel by Sarah McLachlan
13. Ignition by R. Kelly
To listen to this
playlist during your
fun, sexy times,
please visit
www.theeyeopener.com!
*Please listen safely.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 20)
Someone is getting lucky this
week. And it’s certainly not you.
Try again next time, loser!
Aquarius (Jan. 21 – Feb. 19)
There’s a reason you’re alone this
Valentine’s Day. Think about that.
Pisces (Feb. 20 – March 20)
Love is in the air … for everyone
but you. Maybe next year, you
lonely wanderer.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Maybe if you stopped wearing
sweatpants then people would …

19
no, never mind. Keep the sweatpants on.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Try something new in the bedroom, like crying yourself to sleep
on the left side of the bed instead
of the right.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Love at first sight is possible, but
not when you’re dressed like that.
Sorry.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Tonight, light some candles, draw
a satanic circle and summon some
demons. Very sexy stuff, trust me.
Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)
Look for love in unlikely places,
like the bathroom mirror, because

nobody loves you more than yourself.
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)
Some people are going to be up all
night, but not you, so just go to
bed now.
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)
Stop searching for the one. You’re
too desperate and it’s getting a bit
embarrassing.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)
Love is all around you — there’s
couples everywhere. And you’re
alone. How pathetic.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)
Find the one you love and never
let them go. Never. But please remember to feed them occasionally.

Expecting to Graduate this Spring 2016?
Don’t forget to APPLY to GRADUATE!
Nov 1 - Feb 22 (no fee)
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Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016