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Vario Print 110
Suburb image
quality with a
soft tonality
and a matte
surface
Smooth
grayscale
reproduction
MONOCHROMATIC
Come check out examples on our
sample wall outside the space.
Sharp 11th floor!
PRESS
37 S Wabash - Room 1111 e: servicebureau@saic.edu
w: sites.saic.edu/servicebureau
Art Director
Bei Lin
Managing Editor
Ankit Khadgi
SAIC/News Editor
Khytul Qazi
Arts Editor
Gordon Fung
Entertainment Editor
Sidne K. Gard
Comics Editor
Teddie Bernard
EWS
A Year of Revolution in Iran
On the first anniversary of the tragic death of
Mahsa Amini, an Iranian student at SAIC and his
friends reflect on what they went through.
ARTS
To be Pakistani, Woman, or to
be an Artist?
by Khytul Qazi
Photography grad student Sayera Anwar on her
path to artistic freedom.
Finding Space for Black Memory
by Casey Wheeler
COBRA showcases ‘The Black Domestic.’
LIT
My Body, My Voice
by Jamisen Paustian
Keep flipping if you’re not interested in reading
someone discussing her bodily functions.
ENTERT
R A
T
T INMENT
TikTok for Her
by Fah Prayottavekit
What does it mean to be a ‘girl’?
Taylor Swift Year Retrospective
by Kit Montgonery
How 2023 became the era of Taylor Swift
and her beloved Swifties.
Loving the Monster: Looking
for Some Monstrous
Romantic Leads?
by Sidne K. Gard
Here are five frightfully romantic flicks to
sink your teeth into this Halloween.
SAIC
Gatekeepers of Heritage
by Da Zhuang
Native articfacts at AIC evoke feelings of loss for
some students.
So You Wanna Collaborate?
by Schetauna Powell
Here’s how to fit the pieces together.
What It Means to be South Asian
by Ankit Khadgi, Nitya Nehrortra
Five students on their shared identity,
commonalities, and differences.
04
06
12
10
18
17
08
14
20
16
21
COMICS
Featuring Works by
by Teddie Bernard, Cam Collins, Eric J.
Garcia, Kristen Lee, Mae Lyne, Magdalene
Ma, Kit Montgomery, and Julianne Teres
TABLE OF
CONTENTS
CREDITS
Editorial Adviser
Sophie Goalson
Design Adviser
Rochell Sleets
Distributors
Kristen Lee
Kit Montgomery
Multimedia Editor
Nitya Mehrotra
Staff writers
Kit Montgomery
Da Zhuang
Schetauna Powell
Design Team
Bei Lin
Teddie Bernard
Allen Ye
Shina Kang
Hailey Kim
Aditi Singh
Copy Editor
Sidne K. Gard
Web Editor/Copy Editor
Maya Emma Odim
Webmaster
Nick Michael Turgeon Front cover and TOC design
by Shina Kang
Native artifacts at AIC evoke
feelings of loss for some students
REPORTED ESSAY by Da Zhuang
GATEKEEPERS
OF HERITAGE
:
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM
4 SAIC OCTOBER
ILLUSTRATION BY HAILEY KIM (MFAVCD 2024). She
wants to go picnic but is working in the office on a
sunny weekend.
“It would be delightful if no artifacts were
looted, but it would also leave a certain cultural
representation missing from prestigious museums. It
is certainly meaningful to have global masterpieces
displayed in the museum and to be available to
the public but in an ethical way. Museums should
ask the origin community for permission to avoid
misinterpretation,” said Lee.
A first-year undergraduate student from China
who chose to remain anonymous for safety reasons
told F, “Seeing my country’s most precious cultural
treasures displayed in museums in foreign lands can
be a reminder of the historical injustices. I feel upset
that communities have been stripped of their heritage,
their stories, and their voices, as these objects are
displayed far from their places of origin. Especially
since some of the exhibits don’t have prominent
markings on them indicating their country of origin. I
doubt that museums show proper respect for exhibits
in such a context.”
Purchasing tickets to visit a museum in a foreign
land and encountering objects that bear significance
to one’s own culture can be an emotionally charged
and at times deeply traumatizing experience. For
visitors from marginalized or historically oppressed
communities, these museum visits can serve as
poignant reminders of their people’s painful histories,
marked by tragic wars or the enduring legacy of
colonization. The act of journeying to such museums
can inadvertently trigger flashbacks or reopen
wounds, forcing visitors to confront the injustices that
their ancestors endured.
There has been growing awareness of rectifying
historical injustices in the art world. But that
awareness hasn’t necessarily transitioned into
repatriation, a process that has been long resisted on
the basis of safety and hassle. As Charly Wilder writes
in The New York Times, “The fact that museums are
a part of the world’s great attractions, where anyone
can view, in one place, the achievements of human
history, is also one argument against repatriation. But
consensus is building that such an attraction should
not come at the expense of cultural plunder.”
In museums’ pursuit of treasures across the globe,
they have often taken advantage of the vulnerabilities
of marginalized communities, which have left
lasting wounds. Those overseas artifacts are like lost
Born and raised in China, strolling along at the Art
Institute of Chicago sometimes evokes a peculiar sen-
sation in me. As I stand there, watching the Museum’s
meticulously designed beams of light gracefully caress
the artifacts that have journeyed through the annals of
history, a profound feeling of déjà vu courses through
my being. In these softly illuminated corridors, where
classical ink paintings and fragile aristocratic ceram-
ics repose in their silent slumber, it is as though I have
traveled back to my homeland in a flash. With my
breath fogging the glass, I yearn to listen to the whis-
pered tales embedded within these relics: How did
artists create them? How did they travel across oceans
to the Western world? Were they gifts of friendly diplo-
macy, coincidences of commercial trade, or the result
of historical conflicts?
After talking with students on the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago campus, I firmly believe that
the feeling I experience within the Museum is not
mine alone.
“While the mixing of cultures is an interesting
sight, I can’t help but think about the history behind
these artifacts. If they were imagined as living objects,
would they have felt tired and homesick during
their travels?” Yuyu He, a first-year painting post-bac
student, said. “It can also evoke a sense of loss as if a
part of our collective memory and identity has been
removed from its rightful place. These masterpieces
are not just objects but living symbols of a nation’s
cultural heritage.”
A first-year graduate student from the Design for
Emerging Technologies Department who chose to
remain anonymous for privacy reasons said, “I am
glad that the artifacts are preserved well and avoid
being destroyed in the time of political turmoil,
but I still can feel certain regrets about it being lost
abroad. It’s a feeling of longing, a sensation that their
own cultural identity is, in a sense, held hostage by
circumstances beyond their control.”
Kristen Lee, a first-year MFAW student from
Jamaica, said her emotions regarding the foreign
artifacts were mixed.
wanderers, displaced souls, lacking the warmth of
their loved ones, wandering confusedly on unfamiliar
landscapes. They become silent observers of history
as they navigate their adopted homes. Despite their
physical displacement, these artifacts retain an innate
longing to reconnect with their roots.
In these circumstances, the original communities
from which these artifacts originated often find
themselves in a heartbreaking dilemma. They
witness the cultural treasures that once held
profound meaning within their own narratives being
displayed thousands of miles away. This physical and
emotional separation results in a loss of power to
actively preserve and pass on cultural heritage, and
engage in art education. Furthermore, when these
cultural artifacts are showcased in vastly different
cultural contexts, they risk being misinterpreted or
misunderstood. Their rich and nuanced stories can
be reduced to mere curiosities, stripped of the depth
and significance they hold in their native settings. This
misinterpretation not only diminishes the value of
the artifacts, it also distorts the historical and cultural
narratives that surround them.
In response to the awareness, many American
museums have initiated the process of repatriating
foreign artifacts to their countries of origin, especially
those works acquired during the days when collecting
could be careless and trophies at times trumped
scruples. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles
returned three precious terra cotta figures to Italy in
2022. Following their lead, The Denver Art Museum
shipped four antiquities back to Cambodia. The
Smithsonian Institution also returned 29 Benin
bronzes to Nigeria. The Manhattan District Attorney’s
office seized 27 looted artifacts from the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, which are headed back to Italy
and Egypt.
Long-lost artifacts are finally crossing time and
distance, and are reuniting with their homelands.
While it may be a complex and challenging process,
the surge in museum repatriations signifies a
collective commitment to a more equitable future for
global cultural heritage. It is a step towards respect
between nations in the pursuit of a more inclusive
art world.
Now, the AIC stands at a crossroads, contemplating
its role in this evolving narrative. It grapples with
the question of whether it, too, should embark on a
journey of returning artifacts to their original homes.
The decision is not merely an institutional matter;
instead, it is a reflection and acknowledgment of the
need to rectify historical injustice. As we contemplate
the potential turning point for the AIC, we are
reminded that museums are not static repositories of
the past, but living institutions that evolve in response
to changing values. This forces us to reconsider how
museums can evolve to become more inclusive.
SAIC 5
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE
Da Zhuang (MFAW 2025) is a staff writer at F
newsmagazine. She loves dogs, the sea, and soft boiled
eggs, but hates spiders, cinnamon, cold rain.
6 SAIC
ILLUSTRATION BY ALLEN YE (BFA 2023). He wants to
speed run this but lacks the ability.
The art that is made by an individual was
transformed from propaganda funded by church
and state to the examples of genius of a person.
These ideas affect the structure of art school. As a
result of preservation law, the “individual artist as
genius” structure of a traditional art school supports
individual production. But certainly none of these
artists exist in a bubble as individuals, they exist in
communities in the world with others; and in fact,
collaboration is valued in the public art institution
today. Though this was not always the case.
The Black Museum Movement of the 1960s offers
another example of how collaborative art works. The
movement transformed art interpretation from static
displays to social exhibitions addressing the lived
experiences and concerns of the communities which
they were reflecting.
Artist-educator Margaret Burroughs, one of the
movement’s vanguard members, believed that
art should be shared and used as a vehicle for
understanding political environments. However, the
collaborative art created during political movements
is not often in institutions because traditional
museum practices value art provenance, and it is
difficult to verify the provenance of group art.
So how do we get to this level of collaboration?
We must consider collaboration a political act. When
people collaborate, they build relationships upon
which organizing efforts have traditionally been
structured. Take, for example, the quilting circles
often hosted in community centers and churches
that were the basis for larger movements aiding labor,
suffrage, and civil rights movements in the United
States. It seems that collaborative art is inherently an
art of the people. But why is collaborating so difficult
in art school?
Joseph L. Sax in a 1990 issue of the Michigan
Law Review mentioned how Abbe Grégoire, the
French priest, argued that collaboration in art is
difficult because of the policies and laws regarding
art. From this perspective, an artist is legally regarded
as a genius.
When debating whether or not the art and
artifacts of an unfavorable regime should be
destroyed or preserved, Grégoire set a precedent by
arguing that art and artifacts of the state represent the
best and the brightest of the nation, and are examples
of the liberty of that nation. This transfers the focus
from art that expresses sentiments of the state to art
as a possible expression of the genius of the
individual artist.
A
t the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I’ve
often heard the words: “We should collaborate!”
But the practicality of collaborating outside
of class/work/studio time/artist talks/life so often
positions collaboration as a dream deferred. Still,
collaboration matters.
During my time at SAIC I’ve encountered the
concept multiple times: in Art Education, Historic
Preservation Law, and Architecture. In fact, I’ve
spoken about collaborative practices in architecture
with Andres Hernandez — architect and faculty in the
Art Education Department, casually on a weekday in
the Sharp cafeteria. Hernandez said that collaboration
in architecture is more of a pedagogy, or a method of
practice and teaching.
As a Black woman and former English teacher,
I’m constantly thinking about the significance
teaching has in African American culture. Schooling
is embedded in the Black American story from the
Tuskegee Institute (the first academic institution
of higher learning for African Americans), through
desegregation, to the loss of Affirmative Action this
June 2023.
I understand “collaborative architecture” to mean
the action of working with many people to create
carefully designed structures and systems. Hernandez’
statement conjures the image of an “each one teach
one” dynamic, where the architecture is made
through the consensus of many people. When I hear
someone say, “Let’s collaborate!”, This is the type of
impressive collaboration I imagine.
Here’s how to fit
the pieces together
ESSAY by Schetauna Powell
COLLABORATE?
SO YOU
WANT TO
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
SAIC 7
The best collaboration I’ve experienced occurred
within a three-week sculpture class, hosted by Sara
Black, which focused on the anthropocene epoch.
Mounted within a garden-like sculpture known
as “Untidy Objects” during Summer 2023, the class
followed the Greater Purpose Collaboration model,
encouraging collaboration among participants that
focused on supporting an environment of play. Each
day, our assignments were to attune to nature by
listening, and engage in conversation about ontology
and experimental science. Our final project was to
consider how to give back to the “Untidy Object.”
Maybe it was because the class met outside every day
or the relational nature of a sculpture class based on
figuring out how our actions constitute a whole, but
that class established a sincere connection among
its participants.
I am still working to understand more about
collaboration, and what is possible. Ultimately, like
everything in art, this kind of work is really dependent
upon relationships, both personal, and interpersonal.
There is no one dream for the future, but a million
dreams all focused on correcting the present for the
benefit of themselves. And still I wonder: Can we
collaborate?
Like Andres said: collaboration in art practice is a
pedagogy, and we are all still learning.
Schetauna Powell (MFA 2024) is a staff writer at F
Newsmagazine. She is a Houston native practicing de-
sign and design thinking to create tools for education.
Of course, this conversation on the law, structure,
and policy connected to collaborative art does
not matter if collaboration breaks down at the
interpersonal level.
So what keeps collaboration from working?
Joseph Mora, an SAIC alum who works as the
Assistant Director of Exhibitions and Staff Advisor to
SITE Galleries said, “There is usually a single person
who is the most invested.”
Mora gave the example of his BFA thesis project
in 2018, which required coordination across many
groups to provide support for migrants and families.
He said he ultimately had to focus on his own health
because he was pouring from an empty cup.
SAIC hopes to facilitate collaboration through its
interdisciplinary practices, and its Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion efforts. The artists I spoke to had a
variety of experiences around this facilitation.
Ethan Allan (BFA 2024) said, ”The school is really
relaxed in the ways that you want more structure, but
strict in ways you want more freedom.”
Personally, I’ve experienced range in how different
classes approach collaboration. When speaking about
opportunities to collaborate with the Graduate Student
Senate, I remember being told that the Credit / No
Credit grading system resists student competition — in
fact, it’s part of the reason the system is in place.
“If we don’t receive a grade, and I try really hard
on a project, yet my classmate did little to nothing,
and we both receive the same grade, then what’s the
point?” said Tyler Wynne (MFA Sculpture 2024).
Embracing a culture of collaboration shifts mindset
from, “What’s the point?” to, “Why not?” Conversely,
the Credit / No Credit system leads many professors
to often leave students to their own devices regarding
project management skills, simply stating, “Turn it in,
and you will pass.”
Working together in
and of itself is a learned
skill that not everyone has
learned, or does well
after learning.
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
8 SAIC OCTOBER
DESIGN BY ALLEN YE (BFA 2023). He wants to speed run
this but lacks the ability.
PHOTOS BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the
Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a
documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India.
Five students on
shared identity,
commonalities,
and differences.
INTERVIEW by Ankit Khadgi
PHOTOS by Nitya Mehrotra
One of the noteworthy paradigm shifts in recent times is the
emergence of significant impact South Asian communities are
having on reshaping American culture and society. Whether
itʼs Mindy Kaling revolutionizing entertainment, DJ Rekha
making the nation dance on Bhangra, or Prem Pariyarʼs social
change endeavor in the Bay Area, South Asians are making their
presence felt.
Which begs the questions: Does a South Asian identity really
exist? Do people from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Nepal,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Maldives) have
more commonalities than differences? Is this perceived identity
a political creation?
WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE
SOUTH ASIAN
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE SAIC 9
Ankit Khadgi (MAVCS 2024) is the Managing Editor of
F Newsmagazine. He thinks he is Nepal’s biggest sex
icon.
“To be South Asian is to be loud and proud. We are
family oriented, no matter how far we are from our
homeland. We love to visit them. We love celebrating
our festivals. But I still think we can do more to
embrace our culture.”
— Ravinshu Sagar (MDDO, 2025)
“To be South Asian is to constantly learn. There’s so
much diversity within our communities. So we are
always learning about and from each other. One of
the things that makes us different from other cultures
is also our family dynamics. From my experience,
families mostly stick together. Families are always
there, for better or worse. They always show up.”
— Tanya Ramakrishnan (BFA, 2026)
“It’s like being from a region that is super colorful and
vibrant. It’s a place full of culture. It’s a region that has
so much history to it. However, I don’t think there’s
a collective South Asian identity. As a community we
are very segregated. But I understand why people
associate themselves with this identity. When you are
living in a place that doesn’t have enough people of
the same culture, you kind of look for people who are
somehow similar. And since there’s a lot of commness
with the groups from South Asia, it reminds people of
their home. And perhaps that’s why everywhere we go,
we look out for South Asians.”
— Shriangi Gupta (BFA, 2026)
“Every South Asian culture is different. Even in the
same country, you will find people practicing different
cultures. But collectively, our cultural upbringing and
lifestyle is so different from Western societies. For us,
respecting each other is very important. There will
never be a day where we disrespect elders.”
— Vidhi Doshi (BFA, 2026)
“For me, being South Asian is to be respectful towards
everyone, whether they are younger or older than
me. I think it also has to do with our ideas of morality.
Most of us are very giving. We look out for each
other. I think we love being in groups; we are very
communal. And that’s why the first thing most of us
do, is to look for other South Asians because there’s
a lot of language similarities, cultural similarities,
and just this usual understanding that we all are
going through this assimilation phase. Our struggles
are similar as we all are marginalized in most of the
spaces here.”
— Muskaan Dhingra (BFA, 2024)
What exactly does it mean
to be South Asian?
At the first picnic of
Namaste SAIC, the school’s
South Asian student group,
we asked these questions
to a bunch of South Asian
students, and here’s what
they had to say:
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
10 NEWS OCTOBER
of chanting a slogan: “Woman, Life, Freedom.” It is
indeed the most progressive and radical slogan in the
trajectory of contemporary movements in Iran, and
after decades of failures and triumphs along the road of
feminist battles against patriarchy, reaching this point
makes the historical moment astonishingly brilliant.
Far from the Windy City, Iranian citizens report
the congestion created by military forces, funded
by authorities of the Islamic Republic in order to
maintain a status quo in Iran. According to the Human
Rights Activists News Agency, security officers have
executed and murdered almost 500 civilians, and
arrested numerous innocent activists and journalists
during last year’s protests. The tyrannical forces are
still scared of the possibility of a revolution even
though the nation has temporarily ceased to rally
within the country’s borders. In addition, the reports
A
bloody year has passed in Iran. Still, the broken
hearts of Iranians worldwide seek the white
flags of justice, and the breathtaking moment
of a fair trial to condemn the murderers of Mahsa
Amini, a 22-year-old girl. Amini was killed in the
custody of Guidance Patrol, a vice squad in the law
enforcement command of the Islamic Republic of
Iran, which arrests Iranian girls who resist wearing
hijab covering their hair and body. As I write this
essay, the Iranian community living in Chicago is
gathering around Buckingham Fountain to protest
against the tyrannical government and leader of the
Islamic Republic. Despite their opposing ideologies,
contradictory alternatives, and different dreams for
the future of Iran, they have seemingly achieved a
civil alliance.
The community in Chicago demonstrates by means
On the first anniversary of the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian
student at SAIC and his friends reflect on what they went through.
and images depicting the catastrophe of murders and
proclamations articulating the necessity of change
are continuously censored. However, women in Iran
continue to resist and manifest their dissatisfaction
by refusing to wear hijab in daily life. Alongside their
brothers, partners, fathers, and husbands, Iranian
women dream of the ultimate freedom and live within
the dream as autonomous, resilient, and irrepressible
citizens whose bodies are the battlefields.
Accordingly, philosophers refuse to represent
the movement as a banal activity belonging to an
underdeveloped country. Slavoj Žižek, professor of
philosophy at the European Graduate School writes,
“We in the West have no right to treat Iran as a country
that is desperately trying to catch up with us. Rather,
it is we who must learn from Iranians if we are going
to have any chance of confronting right-wing violence
and oppression in the United States, Hungary, Poland,
Russia, and many other countries.”
In order to understand and highlight the
importance of this movement, one should hear
firsthand from those who are actively rallying and
protesting. In this vein I have interviewed two Iranian
protesters — who prefer to stay anonymous for means
of their security. The first is S, a 24-year-old girl who is
a first year graduate student at SAIC, and the second is
M, a 27-year-old man who is an art student living
in Tehran.
S shared with me what she has suffered and the
future she dreams of for Iran. M believes that protests
for women’s rights are entangled with struggles
to achieve the freedom of men, and gender non-
conforming people as well.
A YEAR OF
REVOLUTION IN IRAN
Mahsma Amini (pictured above) was arrested by the Guidance Patrol of Iran for not wearing a hijab.
ILLUSTRATION BY ADITI SINGH (BFA 2026), a graphic
designer and digital illustrator. Aditi is originally from
India, raised in Dubai, and recently moved to Chicago.
Credit:
Fair
use
doctrine
The author of this essay, a graduate student at SAIC, has decided to stay anonymous for security reasons.
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE NEWS 11
Describe the day you found out about the
death of Mahsa Amini.
S: I was at home, sitting on a comfortable chair and
taking care of my assignments for a university course.
I got the news on Instagram. Niloufar Hamedi, the
reporter still detained in the regime’s prison, had
taken and shared some touching photos of Mahsa on
the hospital bed and her grieving parents. One thing
led to another, and I finally found myself hugging my
mom, and we both burst out crying.
M: My friends and I were hanging out. Dining and
laughing without particular sorrow, we were suddenly
shocked by the news of her death. My girlfriend just
informed us of the mind-blowing murder. However,
the authorities did not declare their responsibility. We
discussed the necessity of rallying. Still, we did not see
the possibility of widespread protests on that very day.
We thought the nation’s reaction to this criminality
would always be silent.
What makes her death tragic in your eyes?
S: Being murdered to have a minimum of freedom…
It is unfair that people get killed because of their
outfits, which is a prominent human right.
M: Mahsa’s death made everyone discover their lost
rights. The forces killed hundreds of protesters to
keep everyone silent. There were children among
the murdered people. Most of them were shot by
military guns… I still cannot believe the brutality of
the soldiers.
Describe the first day you decided to join
the protesters.
S: It was the first of October, I guess. Some days
before that, Hamed Esmaielion, an Iranian social
activist, called for demonstrations. He invited the
Iranians living outside of the country to protest. He
was the man whose wife and daughter were killed
by the Iranian army’s missiles hitting a Ukrainian
airplane some years ago. We were also mobilized
by his proclamations within the border of Iran. My
friend and I went to the central square of Tehran and
joined the groups of protesters. I remember men who
blocked the street with big stones and joined us.
somebody else smashed a stone on the ground to
crush it and gave us the small ones to throw at the
forces if necessary. We were shouting, “Down with the
dictator.” It was a fortune to express our intense anger.
Since then, I have always kept one of the small stones
I grabbed. It is a metaphor for the story, in which we
were heroes and heroines.
M: When the government started to kill the
protesters, I was profoundly depressed because
many of the murdered boys and girls were the same
age as me. Their corpse was my body, and their
soul turned into my mind, uplifting me to move and
shout. I notably remember the first day that I rallied
in the streets. After hours of rallying and shouting
slogans, I passed a group of exhausted forces. I gazed
at them and found their faces considerably similar to
ordinary people. It was an awkward moment. I was
shot in the back with paintballs, which forces used
paintballs to mark the protesters and then arrested
them later. At the moment, I thought I would die
because I did not know it was not a real bullet. After
all, I was thinking of the political aspects that have
turned those civilians into cruel soldiers. There
is a wide gap between us and them. Still, we are
compatriots!
What future do you envision for Iran?
S: I believe no word perfectly explains what we want
but democracy. We fight ‘til the day the dictatorship
collapses, and we will also battle against the
alternatives that might bring about new forms of
tyranny.
M: There is a slogan that represents my ideals as a
revolutionary citizen: “Down with the cruel dictator,
either he is a religious leader or a king.” I mean,
although some people in my generation believe in the
emancipatory potential of the return of monarchy in
Iran, contemporary history reveals that monarchy
is genuinely corrupted. We should not go back to the
time before the 1979 revolution.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY HAILEY KIM (MFAVCD 2024).
She wants to go picnic but is working in the office on a
sunny weekend.
Unsplash photos by Sydney Sims, clockwise, Arren
Mills and Alexander Krivitskiy.
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM
12 LIT OCTOBER
to really love on her after years of waging war. I ate
plenty of nourishing food, moved in gentle ways, and
got an abundance of rest. In a society that
teaches femme people to control, hate, and punish
their bodies, that kind of tender love and care is
antithetical to everything we are told about being and
becoming women.
Female socialization includes a constant barrage of
conflicting messages which we all absorb like extra-
super tampons. We are shamed for having periods, but
our value is interwoven into motherhood. Our social
capital is determined by our physical attractiveness,
but we are judged harshly for capitalizing on our
sexuality. We are congratulated for staying small
but chastised for being too small. Most importantly,
women’s bodies are for controlling. Heaven forbid
women smell, burp, fart, or have hair below our
eyebrows. We are discouraged from bleeding freely
and openly, as nature intended. Essentially, we are
told ideal womanhood is achieved by becoming
blow-up sex dolls with ovens ripe for procreation.
Legally, politicians argue we have fewer rights to our
bodily autonomy than a clump of cells. The content of
our uteruses is considered more important than our
lives or livelihood. Is it a surprise that lots of women
end up in antagonistic relationships with their bodies?
Nearly the length of two typical human gestations
ago (June 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court overturned
one of the most publicly contested and important
cases in our country’s history, Roe v. Wade, ending
the legal right to abortion that has been upheld for
decades. Since then, access to lifesaving and vital
reproductive healthcare has been rolled back in over
half of U.S. states to varying degrees. The quality of
maternity care in those states has plummeted, with
many doctors fleeing to blue states or losing the ability
to legally provide their patients with necessary life-
saving medicine. Over and over again, research shows
that criminalizing abortion doesn’t prevent or stop it
from happening, but it does increase the likelihood of
negative outcomes for people with uteruses.
Motherhood (and parenthood in general) is a
really big choice. Manufacturing, nourishing, and
pushing out a new little human is accompanied by
a lot of potential consequences. As miraculous as it
is, choosing motherhood means willingly giving up
your bodily autonomy to a little alien who will suck all
the life out of you. (Or so I’ve heard.) I’ve never done
it before, but childbirth sounds like an emotional
rollercoaster of beauty, pain, exhilaration, and gore.
You can literally rip a gaping hole between your legs
like I did to my mother, which she kindly reminds
me of every so often. (I’ve always been one to make a
Final text changed to: This essay was written about
my experiences as a cisgender female, AFAB person, so
most of the language directly refers to those identities.
However, this essay is for anyone who menstruates, has a
uterus, or absorbed cultural ideals of femininity. I hope my
experiences resonate.
I got my first period in seventh grade. It was
Thanksgiving weekend, and for whatever reason
(sometimes the universe doth giveth), my family was
skipping the festivities and staying home that year.
During my morning pee, I noticed my underwear was
brown. I didn’t know why I’d pooped my pants for
the first time post-potty-training, but I shrugged it off
and continued on with everyone’s favorite colonizer
holiday. Every time I went to the bathroom that day,
the brown stains returned. I changed three times
before I solicited my Mom’s help. That’s when she
unceremoniously informed me I had been inducted
into womanhood: She handed me a pad and the rest
is herstory. Neither of us explained to my Dad why I
was crying into my mashed potatoes at dinner that
evening. My period was a personal burden to be kept
hidden.
Until freshman year, when I got my period at
school and didn’t have any “ladies’ accessories.” I
approached the nicest girl in my English class and
whisper-asked her, “Do you have a tampon?” Before
she could respond, an eavesdropping boy shouted at
the top of his lungs, “EWW! THAT’S DISGUSTING.”
In that moment, and a million other ones like it, my
relationship with my body became abrasive. My body
and her natural cycles had been deemed obscene,
offensive, and wrong.
My relationship status with my monthly cycle
continued to be “It’s Complicated” until about a
decade-ish later, when I stopped getting it. After years
of desperately trying to shrink my body with little
food and lots of exercise, my uterus finally decided
it didn’t have the skills to keep up in this fast-paced
environment. Just kidding! Actually, I was depriving
her of nutrients until she finally determined I must be
in perpetual famine, and creating a new life wasn’t a
priority. Losing my period was the catalyst I needed
to seek help: I never thought much about motherhood
until I was confronted with the possibility of losing it.
After a lifetime of being told that girls don’t poop,
don’t have thighs that kiss in the middle, and don’t talk
openly about their bodily functions, my body-ody-ody
and I were far from besties. (Thee Stallion, Megan
2022). Amenorrhea, which is doctor-speak for “no
periods”, flipped my “frenemy” status with my body
upside down. To get back into natural rhythms, I had
Jamisen Paustain (MAATC 2024) colors more than
most adults, but she rarely stays inside the lines.
TLDR: A woman talks about periods and poop
and bodily functions, oh, my!
ESSAY by Jamisen Paustian
dramatic entrance.) Incidentally, it’s pretty incredible
that millions of women choose to make that
sacrifice anyway.
Motherhood can be a burden, but it can also be
a gift. What an enchanted fairytale it is that bodies
can create a new life from basically nothing. I’m not
the first person to write about reproductive rights,
and I certainly won’t be the last, so I’ll spare you the
usual arguments. What I’m curious about is how the
abortion debate penetrates our relationships with
our bodies, coupled with all the other twisted cultural
messages women receive.
As I sit here writing this essay, I have my period.
These days, when the blood returns between my legs,
I greet her like an old friend. My menstrual cycle
serves as a joyous celebration of all the incredible
magic my body can do, like run 13.1 miles, teach
back-to-back yoga classes, fill sketchbooks with art,
and (maybe) create a new life. She reminds me of
how hard I worked to earn a loving relationship with
myself. I think I want to be a mom someday, but I have
a lot of other things to do first.
We often neglect to discuss that being pro-choice
means making space for choosing motherhood, too,
when the timing is right. Feminism is about making
space for options and returning people’s autonomy
to them.
When people have agency over their bodies and
their lives, we all collectively benefit. Similarly,
women bravely declaring their bodily functions,
defying societal expectations, protesting the
government’s attempts to infringe upon their bodily
autonomy, and choosing whether or not they want to
be mothers are all radical ways we can love on our
bodies, despite the messages we receive to
the contrary.
Finally — If I could get in a 1985 Delorean and
speed back to that high school English classroom
in 2007, I would say, “Fuck off, Brad! I am a fertile
goddess, and your body can’t do half the things that
my body can.” More than anything, though, I wish I
could go back and love her then like I love her now.
ARE YOU
THERE BODY?
IT’S ME, JAMIE
LIT 13
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE
What exactly are we telling
women about their bodies
and their inherent value
when we take their choices
about their bodies away
from them?
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
14 ARTS OCTOBER
D
eeply conscious about the generational effects
of the 1947 India-Pakistan partition, Sayera
Anwar — a second year graduate student in
the Photography department at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago — expresses a utopian desire
to dissolve borders through film, photography, and
painting.
The partition has sparked forced migrations,
including that of her grandparents. She finds
herself frequently visiting the India-Pakistan border
and dreaming of a parallel reality in this zone of
contention, which reeks of the vicious cycles of
retaliation, fear, and nationalism that exist among the
two nations. She embraces the indifference of natural
to political borders as a philosophy of existing and
co-existing.
In the past three years, Anwar has been nominated
and selected for artist residencies like the prestigious
“Dūje Pāse toñ’’ (From the Other Side), commissioned
by the South Asian Canadian Histories Association,
and, in 2021, Vasl’s annual artist residency — Taaza
Tareen 13 in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work has been
shown at the Full Circle Gallery in Karachi (2021), The
Reach Gallery, Abbotsford, Canada (2021), and the
SITE Gallery, Chicago (2023).
F Newsmagazine talked to Anwar about how her
work is politically charged and a reflection of the
environment she grew up in.
Khytul Qazi: Can you tell us about yourself and
the kind of work you do?
Sayera Anwar: I work with fabric, sculpture
painting, photography and video art, and my work is
often socially engaged. People around me become a
part of my work, not only as an aesthetic prop, but
also as the driving force of its content.
K: What led you to making socially engaged works?
S: Growing up, I was always looking for “home.”
My grandparents migrated from India to what is
now Pakistan. As a young girl, I witnessed intercity
migration, too, from a small town to the capital city,
Islamabad. When I got into art in my early twenties,
I discovered ways to explore those parts of my
identity and culture. With it being about a family
and a small community, it was in its essence, always
socially engaged.
K: Was there a pivotal moment that inspired your
commitment to artmaking?
S: I would say it was not one moment, but several
moments. Making work that I am able to recognize and
register at an emotional level makes me feel heard. It
gives me a power that I think was lacking before.
K: Moving from Pakistan to Chicago for college, how
has this change in culture and environment affected
your artistic or material choices?
S: I find myself walking a lot here, and that’s how I
develop most of my ideas. Back home it was difficult
to exist in public spaces as a woman. So even when
I did walk there, it would become an act of rebellion
more than anything else. Here in the U.S., walking is
purely a part of my artistic inquiry. What I see in my
surroundings almost always determines what appears
in my photographs and videos.
Photography grad student Sayera Anwar
on her path to artistic freedom
INTERVIEW by Khytul Abyad
TO BE PAKISTANI,
A WOMAN,
OR TO BE
AN ARTIST?
PHOTO BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the
Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a
documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India.
Photo by: Nitya Mehrotra
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ARTS 15
K: Can you talk more about how the environment
shapes your work?
S: Since coming to the U.S., I have tried to keep an
open heart and mind. When I get into a process, I go
with the idea and not the visualization of a product.
Sometimes it’s anxiety inducing, but I think, at the
end, it’s about building a path towards one’s artistic
freedom.
K: How has your work shown at SAIC been received?
Has that affected your practice in any way?
S: With the diversity of thought at SAIC, I have
realized that there are so many ways people are going
to be looking at my work. Moreover, people always
have individual perspectives. Instead of worrying
about how people look at my work, I have started
paying attention to how I understand my own work.
The more perspectives I gather, the more I learn. I
am also trying to give all my attention to the work and
what it offers, and not how it is being received.
K: Are there any specific projects you’ve done that
make you feel close to your country or community?
S: I think every project I do helps me feel closer to
home, as that’s what I’m seeking.
K: Since your work has political inclination, how
do you find balance between the artist and the
ideologies you have? Or between the artistic
expression and the political message?
S: Even when I’ve tried to have a pure artistic
expression, the world doesn’t let me forget that I’m a
Pakistani woman. Now is a balance even possible for
people like me? I have one year left until my degree
and the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty about
my position in this country overpowers all anxieties
that come with my artistic inquiry. There is no
balance. It’s a constant juggling, a back and forth.
K: When people hear the word “Pakistan” next
to your work, what do you expect/hope for them
to know?
S: Whenever I look at my work and get appreciated,
I’m always thinking of all the talented Pakistani
people who do not have opportunity to show their
works, about how they have so much to say but do not
get heard. I have this bottle that a local artist made
for me. He was the person who painted the truck for
Kate Middleton and Prince William’s visit to Pakistan.
There are so many artists like him around me who are
never seen. And Pakistan is filled with them.
Khytul Abyad (MFAW 2024) is the SAIC/News Editor of
F Newsmagazine. She is a part-time visual artist, full-
time aspiring poet, and a secret culinary enthusiast.
Sayera Anwar (pictured above and below) during one of her performances, titled, "Skin" (2019).
Photo courtesy: Tayyaba Anwar
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
16 ARTS
FINDING SPACE
FOR BLACK
MEMORY
OCTOBER
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM
DESIGN BY SHINA KANG (BFA 2027). She is so excited
for sweater weather even though she dislikes wearing
sweaters.
PHOTOS BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the
Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a
documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India.
Casey Wheeler (BFA 2025) is a sophomore in the
Fibers program. He works with multimedia practices
across textiles, photography, drawing,
and videography.
COBRA showcased ‘The Black
Domestic’ REVIEW by Casey Wheeler
beckoning for those who have undertaken their own
migrations to connect in the flow of the surface of
her work.
From assemblage to fiber to photography, the
exhibition orients itself across a spread of mediums.
In the words of the curators, we “wouldn’t define ‘The
Black Domestic’ individually but treat it as a gesture
towards shared experiences and collective imagination
that takes shape in Black memory and life.”
This space provides a place for archival practices
to initiate with art and create meaningful discussions.
The experience causes one to linger and engage fully
— sit in it. Read the literature. This is a living space
that can challenge, educate, and inspire.
by Kimberly Drew and “Barracoon” by Zora
Neale Hurston. Reeder’s work is multifaceted and
multisensory, inviting a conversation to occur within
the space and with the media.
Through photography, Christopher K. Lee’s
(MFA in Photography, 2024) project “Armed Doesn’t
Mean Dangerous” (2023) offers another lens into the
meaning of the Black domestic. He takes viewers into
the world and homes of Black gun owners in Texas.
This work seeks to reflect his experience with guns in
his community and home, and it is a literal reframing
of preconceptions viewers may hold about gun
owners. The framing and lighting feature the subject
and, while the gun is not hidden, often even held by
the subject, it is not in light — not the main focus of
the photo.
Brianna Perry’s (MFA in Fibers and Painting, 2024)
works “Ross Kids,” “Ruled by Mercury or Tammie
and Deborah,” “Mississippi House,” and “Cubie and
Jessie” (2023) encompass the viewer in rawly formed
canvases stretched upon a birchlike surface — hazy
images emerge from surfaces like water, using the
fluidity of this medium to envelop the clouded nature
of memories. Working with fibers, her work calls
attention to “imperfection and mistake,” as she recalls
stories of Blackness contextualized in Mississippi and
Chicago. Her work situates itself like family photos,
placed in voids of off-white color. Her domestic
scenes call the viewer into a recollection of the past,
Those entering “The Black Domestic” exhibition are
immediately immersed in the sense of home. As a Black
artist, a sense of belonging is imbued in the space and
the memories feel alive.
The show, which focuses on themes of “family,
memory, and home” and is curated by Jordan Barrant
and Saida Blair (MA in Visual & Critical Studies, 2024),
will be open from Aug. 30 closes Sept. 29 in the SITE
Sharp Gallery.
Visitors are invited into conversation and
community within the context of works of art created
by a variety of artists associated with the graduate
student group Coalition of Black Restorative Artists.
COBRA is a resource for Black graduate students at the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The gallery space welcomes viewers in with the
striking visual of a lone green plush couch asking you
to sit — or not — in the space. The shelf draws you in
with a Bible and photos of personal significance in
old frames. This center space is meant to simulate a
living room and encourage a communal gathering.
Everything is of a different time but harmonious.
There is a natural extension of the floor space
that is used. Chris D. Reeder’s (MA in VCS, 2023) “rest
and reflection expand the revolution (series)” (2022)
is realized through comfort and curiosity. Jacquard-
woven pillows lure viewers in.
Under the imagined “sounds of Brooklyn,” this
work explicitly calls for interaction — with books
meant to be gently picked up and flipped through.
Readers are intrigued by titles like “Black Futures”
In “The Black Domestic,”
viewers are engaged with
a variety of retellings of
home and community in
Blackness.
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT 17
What does it mean to be a ‘girl’?
ESSAY by Fah Prayottavekit
TIKTOK
FOR HER
ILLUSTRATION BY BEI LIN (BFA 2023). He is trying his
hardest not to be replaced by AI.
Fah Prayottavekit (BFA 2027) is a writer who loves ice
cream!
cessed food means bad food. These methods to becom-
ing “perfect” often leave women with biological issues
like irregular menstrual cycles, impaired immune sys-
tems, and even chronic fatigue.
Girl Dinner is just one of the many examples of how
these toxic behaviors have intertwined with these
womens’ lives. More than just a fun trend that’s “relat-
able,” the contents speak to a larger idea that underlies
a destructive and poisonous notion within our society.
When considering the nutritional qualities of the
meals, Girl Dinner often lacks what is minimally re-
quired to sustain a healthy lifestyle. For example, a
plate of single gherkins and a boiled egg do not suffice
as a healthy lifestyle. In an article on The Week, Dr.
Jessica Saunders notes, “If you are eating in a more
Y
ou’ve probably seen it. The countless footage
of various dinner plates (and some jokingly
empty plates) of slices of pickles, plain pasta
noodles sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and char-
cuterie-board-esque dishes. And of course, the
unmistakably cringey sound of women on TikTok har-
moniously singing: “This is my meal. I call this girl din-
ner … Girl Dinner … GIRL DINNER …”
This trend begs the question: Is there any form of
prejudice that may be fueling this notion of titling a be-
havior or thought as “girl,” versus “boy”?
“Girl Dinner” videos show women craving pecu-
liar food combinations. Simple, random-seeming,
plates of ready-to-eat foods like [chips, pickles,
or plain pasta]. But ironically, it’s the lack
of eating that concerns many. Rather
than being just a quirky or relatable
trend, it has manifested itself into a
demonstration of disordered eat-
ing, which is entirely too com-
mon within the social media
community of women. Ac-
cording to statistics cited
by the Center for Eating
Disorder Treatment
women have one and
three quarters to three
times as high a life-
time prevalence of
anorexia, bulimia, or
Binge Eating Disorder
as compared to men.
This isn’t new. Dat-
ing back to the 12th
Century, women have
practiced self-starva-
tion as part of religious
practices. The practice
of fasting demonstrates
ways eating has histori-
cally been viewed as a sin,
and finding pleasure in food
made synonymous with guilt.
Fad diets gained prevalence
during the Victorian era (tapeworm
diet, anyone?), and have persisted
into modernity.
Women facing the “prescriptive beauty
norm” phenomenon — a pressure to look good
and be docile, haven’t gone away. But why is this
happening at all? And what does this have to do with
“Girl Dinner?”
Societal standards position women to grow up
chasing something unattainable, and creating habits
with harmful, and often irreversible reverberations.
We women, grow up thinking that being the skinniest
girl in the room equates to being beautiful or that pro-
restrictive way to participate in the trend rather than
listening to your body, and what your body needs, then
it wouldn't be helpful. It would be really detrimental,
and puts you at risk for more restrictive eating.”
Girl Math falls within the same GirlTok trends.
The thinking of Girl Math revolves around justifying
purchasing — and taking responsibility for spending
money.
Podcasts, and talk shows also cover this topic. A
channel called FVHZM, run by Fletch, Vaughan, and
Hayley on ZM 6-9, makes content specifically around
Girl Math. One of the most intriguing episodes has an
economist discussing a situation in which a dress
is purchased for $330. The economist breaks
down the cost per wear to $110 since the
dress was intended for three weddings.
Girl Math also covers money psy-
chology — specifically the way
purchases made with cash can
feel “free” since the spending
will not directly decrease the
figures in the bank account,
additionally, spending
cash may feel less sinful
in comparison to credit
because of the psycho-
logical effects making
transactions have.
There are all sorts
of scenarios in which
Girl Math can be ap-
plied, but the core
notion remains:
How does one spend
money without feel-
ing guilty? Guilt and
restriction seem to be
an underlying theme of
both Girl Math and Girl
Dinner. Well, that, and
making everything look
adorable.
Social media platforms rely
on the relatability and immersive-
ness of trends in order to capture the
attention of users. That’s why GirlTok is
so interesting. Generalizing the experience
of women further insinuates the perspective
that all women think and act in the same way. Yet,
one must admit just how true some of the points made
on GirlTok can be. There are certain aspects of the
trend that make one think: “Yes! Me too!” But rather
than classifying it as a “girl” thing, the framing can be
shifted, and instead, we could focus on the communal
global experiences of women. And in that sense, this
trend feels far more pleasing when one investigates
the various experiences that unify all women.
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
18 ENTERTAINMENT OCTOBER
She’s in Her Tour ‘Era’
The “Eras” tour became a snapshot of modern day
American girlhood. Initially, Swift announced 56 dates
across the U.S. which later became 146 dates across
five continents.
The “Eras” tour was record-smashing, grossing $1
billion in March of 2024 and there were an estimated
72,459 people at each show. Swift made headlines for
paying her truck drivers $56 million in total bonuses,
with some members of her crew getting $100,000
individual bonuses.
She also made headlines when the Swifites set the
record for most hotel rooms ever booked in Chicago.
Swift’s show in Seattle caused the seismic activity of
a 2.3 magnitude earthquake during “Shake It Off,”
and Santa Clara officially renamed themselves Swiftie
Clara for two days during Swift’s “Eras” tour dates in
the city.
Swifties flocked to social media to show off their
elaborate outfits that they spent weeks — and in some
cases months — making. Her fans also showed off
their collections of friendship bracelets that they
made to swap with other concert-goers at their “Eras”
tour date in honor of the lyric, “Make the friendship
bracelets’’ from one of the songs off of “Midnights.”
On top of the bracelets and outfits, Swifties created a
number of chants to yell during certain songs in the
“Eras” setlist.
During the “Eras” tour, Swift played two songs
each night that weren’t part of the regular setlist.
Fans made color-coded charts, dresses, blankets, and
more to track these songs, marking off which ones she
played each night.
The “Eras” tour was (and still is) its own moment
in time.
Whether you love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is all
anyone seems to be able to talk about. In the past
year, Taylor Swift released a studio album with an
extended cut, went on a 146-date (so far), record-
breaking tour, re-recorded one (soon-to-be two) of her
previous albums, and, most recently, is set to release
a tour documentary in theaters. Coverage of Swift has
nonstop on social media since last October; all this
just might cement 2023 as The Year of Taylor Swift.
Throughout the year, Swifties (the nickname for
Swift’s fan base) have been by her side, adding to the
media frenzy around her. Swifties may have even
changed the culture between fans and musical artists
forever.
It Started at ‘Midnight’
Last October, Swift released “Midnights,” her 10th
studio album, including four music videos. In the
weeks leading up to Oct. 21, Swifties ran rampant on
every social media platform to spread the news of the
upcoming album.
This craze, called “Midnights’ Mayhem,” was largely
fueled by the singer herself posting teasers to her own
social media about the tracks of the upcoming album.
Swift has a long history of putting Easter eggs in her
songs, music videos, and social media posts.
Turning the clock to midnight, the album’s lead
single “Anti-Hero” spent eight weeks at number one
on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the best-selling song
of 2022. “Midnights” started the Taylor Swift craze, but
it was merely the first stop on the road for Swifites.
KARMA IS A CAT,
TAYLOR IS A
PHENOMENON
How 2023 became the era of Taylor Swift and
her beloved Swifties.
REPORT by Kit Montgomery
ILLUSTRATION BY ADITI SINGH (BFA 2026), a graphic
designer and digital illustrator. Aditi is originally from
India, raised in Dubai, and recently moved to Chicago.
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT 19
And They Said ‘Speak Now’
On July 7, in the midst of the “Eras” Tour, Swift
released her re-recorded album “Speak Now”
(first released in 2010) as a part of her project of
re-recording her first six albums. (She’s doing this
because she was unable to purchase the masters to
her records, and is now re-recording these first six
albums to fully own them herself.)
“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is her third re-
recording, which didn’t surprise Swifties: they guessed
as much based on Easter eggs Swift left on social
media and elsewhere. The album came with six
‘“From the Vault”, previously unreleased tracks written
during the time of the original album’s release.. These
“Vault” tracks included two musical features: Fall
Out Boy on “Electric Touch” and Hayley Williams on
“Castles Crumbling.”
Take the Moment and Taste it
Following the end of the first leg of the “Eras” Tour,
there’s still nothing but content for the Swifties.
During her last night at SoFi Stadium in California,
Swift announced the re-recording of her fifth album,
“1989” (also heavily theorized by Swifties). The album,
including new “Vault” tracks, will be released on
Oct. 27, 2023.
Swift is also releasing a concert documentary
of the “Eras” Tour, on Oct. 13. The concert film
will be released directly from Swift’s team to AMC
Theaters, and the film has already set an AMC record
with $65 million in first day ticket sales. The “Eras”
Tour concert film is on track to become the highest
grossing concert film of all time.
She Can Still Make the Whole Place Shimmer
Outside of everything she released this year, Swift
was the biggest topic across social media. She tops
the chart as the number one most searched person
of 2023. There’s even a reporter at Gannett, the U.S.’s
largest newspaper chain, whose entire job is to report
on Taylor Swift and to “identify why the pop star’s
influence only expands, and what her fan base stands
for in pop culture.”
At the most recent MTV Video Music Awards
(VMAs), Swift won nine awards — almost every single
award she was nominated for. The VMAs are based on
fan votes, which means the Swifties were responsible
for the sweep. The VMAs even had a cameraman
devoted solely to filming Swift during the show.
This constant surveillance also extends to the
singer’s real life, which can be a double-edged sword,
as all fan bases can have issues with the “bad,” or even
“crazy” fans. In the end of August, Swifties swarmed a
New Jersey bar where Swift was spotted.
The Swifites have changed the modern concert.
At non-Taylor Swift concerts, people are making and
swapping artist related bracelets, making elaborate
outfits specifically for the one concert, and creating
many tour-specific chants. The Swifites seem to have
as much influence over fandoms as the singer has in
real life.
No fan base is a monolith, there will always be
the obsessive, sometimes overly intense fan that
takes it too far, but for every one of those fans there
is another who shows their admiration for the singer
in less harmful ways. Swifties and Taylor Swift have a
complicated relationship, but at the end of it all, the
fuel for the Swifties fire seems to be their love for the
singer, and it (mostly) shows in their actions.
On the day of the release of “Speak Now (Taylor’s
Version),” musician and ex of Swift, John Mayer
posted a message to Instagram saying, “Please be
kind” during his show in Boulder, Colorado — likely in
reference to Swift’s song “Dear John,” which was about
their relationship. The album re-recordings have a
history of bringing up Swift’s previous relationships,
both good and bad. For example, “All Too Well (Ten
Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version),” off the “Red” re-
recording led to a long period of Swifties harassing
Jake Gyllenhaal.
“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” being released
during the “Eras” Tour led to the album having a few
special moments on the tour itself, including Swift
live-debuting the music video for “I Can See You”
in the middle of the set, as well as the live debut of
multiple new “Vault” tracks during the tour.
“Speak Now” has not only managed to stay relevant
(despite being 13 years old) but also managed to
have the biggest first week of 2023 of any pop album.
“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” held its weight as a re-
recording and set the bar high for those to follow.
Kit Montgomery (BFA 2025) is earning their degree in
side quests. Currently, they’re putting businessman
hats on worms.
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
20 ENTERTAINMENT FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
Halloween is a fang-
tastic time of year, but
when you’ve grown out of trick-
or-treating, sometimes it’s hard to
figure out how exactly you want to
celebrate the creepiest night of the
year. For those who aren’t rushing
out to the wild monster mashes on
Halloween night, try watching the most
romantic horror films available with
someone special (undead or otherwise).
'Fido' (2007)
Sometimes a zombie is a better husband and father
than the man you married. The makers of this 2007
Canadian film understood that.
In a 1950s reality where space radiation has turned
a large percentage of the population into zombies,
the friendly-but-questionable company ZomCon has
invented a collar that turns zombies from flesh-eating
horrors into undead Roombas. And the Robinsons
are the latest family in the suburb to get their very
own zombie.
Carrie-Anne Moss (Yes, I’m talking about Trinity
from “The Matrix”) plays wife Helen Robinson.
Watching her fall in love and even slow dance with
a rotting corpse named Fido (Billy Connolly) while
her husband (Dylan Baker) ignores her to fixate on
funerals is just a treat. She hams it up in the best
way possible, and Fido manages to be a damn good
romantic leading man despite only ever talking in
grunts and growls.
Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime,
YouTube, or AppleTV.
'Thirst' (2009)
By far the most intense, sensual, and disturbing film
on this list, “Thirst” is a wild ride from start to finish.
If you’re in the mood to read a movie, this Korean
vampire flick is worth checking out. Director Park
Chan-Woo is known for perverted and brutal-yet-
beautiful romances, and the leads in this film are no
different.
“Thirst” follows Sang-hyun, played with great depth
by Song Kang-ho from “Parasite” fame, a Catholic
priest who has undergone medical experiments
that awaken in him a taste for blood and a desire for
ILLUSTRATION BY BEI LIN (BFA 2023). He is trying his
hardest not to be replaced by AI.
Here are five frightfully romantic flicks
to sink your teeth into this Halloween.
REVIEWS by Sidne K. Gard
MONSTROUS
ROMANTIC LEADS
Sidne K. Gard (BFAW 2025) is a queer writer and artist
from New Orleans. They hope to one day understand
how to make their own monsters.
sin. But the real star of this film is Kim Ok-bin as the
deceitful and complicated Tae-ju. The audience can
never quite get a handle on whether she is demure
and abused or a sadistic killer with a smile on her face.
This film is not for the faint of heart. Blood, sex,
abuse, and religious guilt abound. Every once in a
while, it veers into a strange, absurd scene, but for the
most part, it keeps a slow drawn-out pace, concerned
with its central troubled relationship. Only watch
“Thirst” if you’re willing to be a little emotionally
freaked out by the time the credits roll.
Where to watch: Peacock; or rent from Amazon Prime
or YouTube.
'Warm Bodies' (2013)
Ten years after its debut, “Warm Bodies” is for two
types of people: folks who never grew out of their
supernatural teen romance phase, and people who
fell in love with Nicholas Hoult after seeing “Renfield”
(2023) last spring. Either way, this film holds up — and
that’s not just my inner 11-year-old speaking.
“Warm Bodies” is a heart-warming (if a bit cheesy)
zombie re-telling of “Romeo and Juliet.” Told from
the perspective of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie with
minimal memories of who he was when he was alive,
the audience gets to see how his zombie life is turned
upside down after saving a young woman (Teresa
Palmer) from his fellow
undead. As these fated lovers
get closer, the question becomes
clear: Can love restart a zombie’s
heart?
Where to watch: Netflix; or rent
from Amazon Prime.
'Patchwork' (2015)
A Frankenstein female revenge fantasy
with a shocking twist? Sign me up!
“Patchwork” feels like a campy comic
book come to life. Three young women (Tory
Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, and Maria Blasucci)
wake up to find themselves stitched together into
one body. Together they have to figure out how they
get stuck this way, how to cope with each other — and
the list of men they need to kill. Every step of their
journey is filled with bones cracking and popping,
creating an eerie and discomforting soundscape. The
costumes and practical effects teeter into silliness, but
the camera shots at times elevate it.
“But where’s the romance?” you may ask. Fear not,
because this Frankenstein finds love along the way of
her murder spree. Does it count as polyamory if three
people are sharing one body?
Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime or
YouTube
'Fear Street' Trilogy (2021)
If you’re looking for a real movie marathon night,
let me point you in the direction of the “Fear Street”
trilogy — a series of Netflix originals. This set of three
movies unspools the narrative of one town across
time and the witch who cursed it, moving from 1994
back to 1978 and finally to 1666. Each film adds in a
new complicated layer of lore and history while never
forgetting to include some bloody good kills.
At times, it feels like it harkens to older slasher
flicks; at others, it deconstructs a cycle of generational
violence and trauma. Each of the films has a different
aesthetic matching its time period, but at the heart
of it all is the witch Sarah Fier (Kiana Madeira and
Elizabeth Scopel) and a surprisingly transgressive
queer love story.
Where to watch: Netflix
LOVING THE MONSTER
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE COMICS 21
by Cam Collins
by Kit Montgomery
FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
22 COMICS OCTOBER
Halloween Nightmare by Magdalene Ma It’s Time to BeReal by Kristen Lee
Missing Cat by Kit Montgomery Yokai by Julianne Teres
F Newsmagazine has an open call for all comics. Send your work to comics@fnewsmagazine.com
2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE COMICS 23
Maui Sharks
by Eric J. Garcia
by Mae Lyne
IT’S INSIDE YOU! by Teddie Bernard
SCAN OR VISIT
MCACHICAGO.ORG
ENTRE HORIZONTES:
ART AND ACTIVISM
BETWEEN CHICAGO
AND PUERTO RICO
THROUGH MAY 5, 2024
Experience the artistic connections
and social justice movements that
link Puerto Rico with Chicago via
an intergenerational group of artists
alongside rich archival material that
traces the relationships between art,
politics, place, and identity.
REBECCA MORRIS:
2001–2022
THROUGH APR 07, 2024
Rebecca Morris’s large-scale, abstract
paintings demonstrate her constant
evolution and experimentation. This
twenty-one-year survey provides a
glimpse into Morris’s inventive approach
to composition, color, and gesture.
FAMILY DAYS
OCT 14, NOV 11, DEC 9
On the second Saturday of each
month beginning on October 14,
Chicago artists design and lead activities,
workshops, performances, and more
across the museum, starting at 11 am.
Visit mcachicago.org/family to register
for free admission.
Installation view, entre horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico, MCA Chicago. August 19, 2023–May 5, 2024. Photo: Shelby Ragsdale, © MCA Chicago.
FREE ADMISSION WITH SAIC ID

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October 2023 Issue - Fnewsmagazine SAIC.

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3. Vario Print 110 Suburb image quality with a soft tonality and a matte surface Smooth grayscale reproduction MONOCHROMATIC Come check out examples on our sample wall outside the space. Sharp 11th floor! PRESS 37 S Wabash - Room 1111 e: servicebureau@saic.edu w: sites.saic.edu/servicebureau Art Director Bei Lin Managing Editor Ankit Khadgi SAIC/News Editor Khytul Qazi Arts Editor Gordon Fung Entertainment Editor Sidne K. Gard Comics Editor Teddie Bernard EWS A Year of Revolution in Iran On the first anniversary of the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian student at SAIC and his friends reflect on what they went through. ARTS To be Pakistani, Woman, or to be an Artist? by Khytul Qazi Photography grad student Sayera Anwar on her path to artistic freedom. Finding Space for Black Memory by Casey Wheeler COBRA showcases ‘The Black Domestic.’ LIT My Body, My Voice by Jamisen Paustian Keep flipping if you’re not interested in reading someone discussing her bodily functions. ENTERT R A T T INMENT TikTok for Her by Fah Prayottavekit What does it mean to be a ‘girl’? Taylor Swift Year Retrospective by Kit Montgonery How 2023 became the era of Taylor Swift and her beloved Swifties. Loving the Monster: Looking for Some Monstrous Romantic Leads? by Sidne K. Gard Here are five frightfully romantic flicks to sink your teeth into this Halloween. SAIC Gatekeepers of Heritage by Da Zhuang Native articfacts at AIC evoke feelings of loss for some students. So You Wanna Collaborate? by Schetauna Powell Here’s how to fit the pieces together. What It Means to be South Asian by Ankit Khadgi, Nitya Nehrortra Five students on their shared identity, commonalities, and differences. 04 06 12 10 18 17 08 14 20 16 21 COMICS Featuring Works by by Teddie Bernard, Cam Collins, Eric J. Garcia, Kristen Lee, Mae Lyne, Magdalene Ma, Kit Montgomery, and Julianne Teres TABLE OF CONTENTS CREDITS Editorial Adviser Sophie Goalson Design Adviser Rochell Sleets Distributors Kristen Lee Kit Montgomery Multimedia Editor Nitya Mehrotra Staff writers Kit Montgomery Da Zhuang Schetauna Powell Design Team Bei Lin Teddie Bernard Allen Ye Shina Kang Hailey Kim Aditi Singh Copy Editor Sidne K. Gard Web Editor/Copy Editor Maya Emma Odim Webmaster Nick Michael Turgeon Front cover and TOC design by Shina Kang
  • 4. Native artifacts at AIC evoke feelings of loss for some students REPORTED ESSAY by Da Zhuang GATEKEEPERS OF HERITAGE : FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM 4 SAIC OCTOBER ILLUSTRATION BY HAILEY KIM (MFAVCD 2024). She wants to go picnic but is working in the office on a sunny weekend.
  • 5. “It would be delightful if no artifacts were looted, but it would also leave a certain cultural representation missing from prestigious museums. It is certainly meaningful to have global masterpieces displayed in the museum and to be available to the public but in an ethical way. Museums should ask the origin community for permission to avoid misinterpretation,” said Lee. A first-year undergraduate student from China who chose to remain anonymous for safety reasons told F, “Seeing my country’s most precious cultural treasures displayed in museums in foreign lands can be a reminder of the historical injustices. I feel upset that communities have been stripped of their heritage, their stories, and their voices, as these objects are displayed far from their places of origin. Especially since some of the exhibits don’t have prominent markings on them indicating their country of origin. I doubt that museums show proper respect for exhibits in such a context.” Purchasing tickets to visit a museum in a foreign land and encountering objects that bear significance to one’s own culture can be an emotionally charged and at times deeply traumatizing experience. For visitors from marginalized or historically oppressed communities, these museum visits can serve as poignant reminders of their people’s painful histories, marked by tragic wars or the enduring legacy of colonization. The act of journeying to such museums can inadvertently trigger flashbacks or reopen wounds, forcing visitors to confront the injustices that their ancestors endured. There has been growing awareness of rectifying historical injustices in the art world. But that awareness hasn’t necessarily transitioned into repatriation, a process that has been long resisted on the basis of safety and hassle. As Charly Wilder writes in The New York Times, “The fact that museums are a part of the world’s great attractions, where anyone can view, in one place, the achievements of human history, is also one argument against repatriation. But consensus is building that such an attraction should not come at the expense of cultural plunder.” In museums’ pursuit of treasures across the globe, they have often taken advantage of the vulnerabilities of marginalized communities, which have left lasting wounds. Those overseas artifacts are like lost Born and raised in China, strolling along at the Art Institute of Chicago sometimes evokes a peculiar sen- sation in me. As I stand there, watching the Museum’s meticulously designed beams of light gracefully caress the artifacts that have journeyed through the annals of history, a profound feeling of déjà vu courses through my being. In these softly illuminated corridors, where classical ink paintings and fragile aristocratic ceram- ics repose in their silent slumber, it is as though I have traveled back to my homeland in a flash. With my breath fogging the glass, I yearn to listen to the whis- pered tales embedded within these relics: How did artists create them? How did they travel across oceans to the Western world? Were they gifts of friendly diplo- macy, coincidences of commercial trade, or the result of historical conflicts? After talking with students on the School of the Art Institute of Chicago campus, I firmly believe that the feeling I experience within the Museum is not mine alone. “While the mixing of cultures is an interesting sight, I can’t help but think about the history behind these artifacts. If they were imagined as living objects, would they have felt tired and homesick during their travels?” Yuyu He, a first-year painting post-bac student, said. “It can also evoke a sense of loss as if a part of our collective memory and identity has been removed from its rightful place. These masterpieces are not just objects but living symbols of a nation’s cultural heritage.” A first-year graduate student from the Design for Emerging Technologies Department who chose to remain anonymous for privacy reasons said, “I am glad that the artifacts are preserved well and avoid being destroyed in the time of political turmoil, but I still can feel certain regrets about it being lost abroad. It’s a feeling of longing, a sensation that their own cultural identity is, in a sense, held hostage by circumstances beyond their control.” Kristen Lee, a first-year MFAW student from Jamaica, said her emotions regarding the foreign artifacts were mixed. wanderers, displaced souls, lacking the warmth of their loved ones, wandering confusedly on unfamiliar landscapes. They become silent observers of history as they navigate their adopted homes. Despite their physical displacement, these artifacts retain an innate longing to reconnect with their roots. In these circumstances, the original communities from which these artifacts originated often find themselves in a heartbreaking dilemma. They witness the cultural treasures that once held profound meaning within their own narratives being displayed thousands of miles away. This physical and emotional separation results in a loss of power to actively preserve and pass on cultural heritage, and engage in art education. Furthermore, when these cultural artifacts are showcased in vastly different cultural contexts, they risk being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Their rich and nuanced stories can be reduced to mere curiosities, stripped of the depth and significance they hold in their native settings. This misinterpretation not only diminishes the value of the artifacts, it also distorts the historical and cultural narratives that surround them. In response to the awareness, many American museums have initiated the process of repatriating foreign artifacts to their countries of origin, especially those works acquired during the days when collecting could be careless and trophies at times trumped scruples. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles returned three precious terra cotta figures to Italy in 2022. Following their lead, The Denver Art Museum shipped four antiquities back to Cambodia. The Smithsonian Institution also returned 29 Benin bronzes to Nigeria. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office seized 27 looted artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are headed back to Italy and Egypt. Long-lost artifacts are finally crossing time and distance, and are reuniting with their homelands. While it may be a complex and challenging process, the surge in museum repatriations signifies a collective commitment to a more equitable future for global cultural heritage. It is a step towards respect between nations in the pursuit of a more inclusive art world. Now, the AIC stands at a crossroads, contemplating its role in this evolving narrative. It grapples with the question of whether it, too, should embark on a journey of returning artifacts to their original homes. The decision is not merely an institutional matter; instead, it is a reflection and acknowledgment of the need to rectify historical injustice. As we contemplate the potential turning point for the AIC, we are reminded that museums are not static repositories of the past, but living institutions that evolve in response to changing values. This forces us to reconsider how museums can evolve to become more inclusive. SAIC 5 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE Da Zhuang (MFAW 2025) is a staff writer at F newsmagazine. She loves dogs, the sea, and soft boiled eggs, but hates spiders, cinnamon, cold rain.
  • 6. 6 SAIC ILLUSTRATION BY ALLEN YE (BFA 2023). He wants to speed run this but lacks the ability. The art that is made by an individual was transformed from propaganda funded by church and state to the examples of genius of a person. These ideas affect the structure of art school. As a result of preservation law, the “individual artist as genius” structure of a traditional art school supports individual production. But certainly none of these artists exist in a bubble as individuals, they exist in communities in the world with others; and in fact, collaboration is valued in the public art institution today. Though this was not always the case. The Black Museum Movement of the 1960s offers another example of how collaborative art works. The movement transformed art interpretation from static displays to social exhibitions addressing the lived experiences and concerns of the communities which they were reflecting. Artist-educator Margaret Burroughs, one of the movement’s vanguard members, believed that art should be shared and used as a vehicle for understanding political environments. However, the collaborative art created during political movements is not often in institutions because traditional museum practices value art provenance, and it is difficult to verify the provenance of group art. So how do we get to this level of collaboration? We must consider collaboration a political act. When people collaborate, they build relationships upon which organizing efforts have traditionally been structured. Take, for example, the quilting circles often hosted in community centers and churches that were the basis for larger movements aiding labor, suffrage, and civil rights movements in the United States. It seems that collaborative art is inherently an art of the people. But why is collaborating so difficult in art school? Joseph L. Sax in a 1990 issue of the Michigan Law Review mentioned how Abbe Grégoire, the French priest, argued that collaboration in art is difficult because of the policies and laws regarding art. From this perspective, an artist is legally regarded as a genius. When debating whether or not the art and artifacts of an unfavorable regime should be destroyed or preserved, Grégoire set a precedent by arguing that art and artifacts of the state represent the best and the brightest of the nation, and are examples of the liberty of that nation. This transfers the focus from art that expresses sentiments of the state to art as a possible expression of the genius of the individual artist. A t the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I’ve often heard the words: “We should collaborate!” But the practicality of collaborating outside of class/work/studio time/artist talks/life so often positions collaboration as a dream deferred. Still, collaboration matters. During my time at SAIC I’ve encountered the concept multiple times: in Art Education, Historic Preservation Law, and Architecture. In fact, I’ve spoken about collaborative practices in architecture with Andres Hernandez — architect and faculty in the Art Education Department, casually on a weekday in the Sharp cafeteria. Hernandez said that collaboration in architecture is more of a pedagogy, or a method of practice and teaching. As a Black woman and former English teacher, I’m constantly thinking about the significance teaching has in African American culture. Schooling is embedded in the Black American story from the Tuskegee Institute (the first academic institution of higher learning for African Americans), through desegregation, to the loss of Affirmative Action this June 2023. I understand “collaborative architecture” to mean the action of working with many people to create carefully designed structures and systems. Hernandez’ statement conjures the image of an “each one teach one” dynamic, where the architecture is made through the consensus of many people. When I hear someone say, “Let’s collaborate!”, This is the type of impressive collaboration I imagine. Here’s how to fit the pieces together ESSAY by Schetauna Powell COLLABORATE? SO YOU WANT TO FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER
  • 7. SAIC 7 The best collaboration I’ve experienced occurred within a three-week sculpture class, hosted by Sara Black, which focused on the anthropocene epoch. Mounted within a garden-like sculpture known as “Untidy Objects” during Summer 2023, the class followed the Greater Purpose Collaboration model, encouraging collaboration among participants that focused on supporting an environment of play. Each day, our assignments were to attune to nature by listening, and engage in conversation about ontology and experimental science. Our final project was to consider how to give back to the “Untidy Object.” Maybe it was because the class met outside every day or the relational nature of a sculpture class based on figuring out how our actions constitute a whole, but that class established a sincere connection among its participants. I am still working to understand more about collaboration, and what is possible. Ultimately, like everything in art, this kind of work is really dependent upon relationships, both personal, and interpersonal. There is no one dream for the future, but a million dreams all focused on correcting the present for the benefit of themselves. And still I wonder: Can we collaborate? Like Andres said: collaboration in art practice is a pedagogy, and we are all still learning. Schetauna Powell (MFA 2024) is a staff writer at F Newsmagazine. She is a Houston native practicing de- sign and design thinking to create tools for education. Of course, this conversation on the law, structure, and policy connected to collaborative art does not matter if collaboration breaks down at the interpersonal level. So what keeps collaboration from working? Joseph Mora, an SAIC alum who works as the Assistant Director of Exhibitions and Staff Advisor to SITE Galleries said, “There is usually a single person who is the most invested.” Mora gave the example of his BFA thesis project in 2018, which required coordination across many groups to provide support for migrants and families. He said he ultimately had to focus on his own health because he was pouring from an empty cup. SAIC hopes to facilitate collaboration through its interdisciplinary practices, and its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. The artists I spoke to had a variety of experiences around this facilitation. Ethan Allan (BFA 2024) said, ”The school is really relaxed in the ways that you want more structure, but strict in ways you want more freedom.” Personally, I’ve experienced range in how different classes approach collaboration. When speaking about opportunities to collaborate with the Graduate Student Senate, I remember being told that the Credit / No Credit grading system resists student competition — in fact, it’s part of the reason the system is in place. “If we don’t receive a grade, and I try really hard on a project, yet my classmate did little to nothing, and we both receive the same grade, then what’s the point?” said Tyler Wynne (MFA Sculpture 2024). Embracing a culture of collaboration shifts mindset from, “What’s the point?” to, “Why not?” Conversely, the Credit / No Credit system leads many professors to often leave students to their own devices regarding project management skills, simply stating, “Turn it in, and you will pass.” Working together in and of itself is a learned skill that not everyone has learned, or does well after learning. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE
  • 8. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 8 SAIC OCTOBER DESIGN BY ALLEN YE (BFA 2023). He wants to speed run this but lacks the ability. PHOTOS BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India. Five students on shared identity, commonalities, and differences. INTERVIEW by Ankit Khadgi PHOTOS by Nitya Mehrotra One of the noteworthy paradigm shifts in recent times is the emergence of significant impact South Asian communities are having on reshaping American culture and society. Whether itʼs Mindy Kaling revolutionizing entertainment, DJ Rekha making the nation dance on Bhangra, or Prem Pariyarʼs social change endeavor in the Bay Area, South Asians are making their presence felt. Which begs the questions: Does a South Asian identity really exist? Do people from the sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Maldives) have more commonalities than differences? Is this perceived identity a political creation? WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SOUTH ASIAN
  • 9. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE SAIC 9 Ankit Khadgi (MAVCS 2024) is the Managing Editor of F Newsmagazine. He thinks he is Nepal’s biggest sex icon. “To be South Asian is to be loud and proud. We are family oriented, no matter how far we are from our homeland. We love to visit them. We love celebrating our festivals. But I still think we can do more to embrace our culture.” — Ravinshu Sagar (MDDO, 2025) “To be South Asian is to constantly learn. There’s so much diversity within our communities. So we are always learning about and from each other. One of the things that makes us different from other cultures is also our family dynamics. From my experience, families mostly stick together. Families are always there, for better or worse. They always show up.” — Tanya Ramakrishnan (BFA, 2026) “It’s like being from a region that is super colorful and vibrant. It’s a place full of culture. It’s a region that has so much history to it. However, I don’t think there’s a collective South Asian identity. As a community we are very segregated. But I understand why people associate themselves with this identity. When you are living in a place that doesn’t have enough people of the same culture, you kind of look for people who are somehow similar. And since there’s a lot of commness with the groups from South Asia, it reminds people of their home. And perhaps that’s why everywhere we go, we look out for South Asians.” — Shriangi Gupta (BFA, 2026) “Every South Asian culture is different. Even in the same country, you will find people practicing different cultures. But collectively, our cultural upbringing and lifestyle is so different from Western societies. For us, respecting each other is very important. There will never be a day where we disrespect elders.” — Vidhi Doshi (BFA, 2026) “For me, being South Asian is to be respectful towards everyone, whether they are younger or older than me. I think it also has to do with our ideas of morality. Most of us are very giving. We look out for each other. I think we love being in groups; we are very communal. And that’s why the first thing most of us do, is to look for other South Asians because there’s a lot of language similarities, cultural similarities, and just this usual understanding that we all are going through this assimilation phase. Our struggles are similar as we all are marginalized in most of the spaces here.” — Muskaan Dhingra (BFA, 2024) What exactly does it mean to be South Asian? At the first picnic of Namaste SAIC, the school’s South Asian student group, we asked these questions to a bunch of South Asian students, and here’s what they had to say:
  • 10. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 10 NEWS OCTOBER of chanting a slogan: “Woman, Life, Freedom.” It is indeed the most progressive and radical slogan in the trajectory of contemporary movements in Iran, and after decades of failures and triumphs along the road of feminist battles against patriarchy, reaching this point makes the historical moment astonishingly brilliant. Far from the Windy City, Iranian citizens report the congestion created by military forces, funded by authorities of the Islamic Republic in order to maintain a status quo in Iran. According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency, security officers have executed and murdered almost 500 civilians, and arrested numerous innocent activists and journalists during last year’s protests. The tyrannical forces are still scared of the possibility of a revolution even though the nation has temporarily ceased to rally within the country’s borders. In addition, the reports A bloody year has passed in Iran. Still, the broken hearts of Iranians worldwide seek the white flags of justice, and the breathtaking moment of a fair trial to condemn the murderers of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl. Amini was killed in the custody of Guidance Patrol, a vice squad in the law enforcement command of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which arrests Iranian girls who resist wearing hijab covering their hair and body. As I write this essay, the Iranian community living in Chicago is gathering around Buckingham Fountain to protest against the tyrannical government and leader of the Islamic Republic. Despite their opposing ideologies, contradictory alternatives, and different dreams for the future of Iran, they have seemingly achieved a civil alliance. The community in Chicago demonstrates by means On the first anniversary of the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian student at SAIC and his friends reflect on what they went through. and images depicting the catastrophe of murders and proclamations articulating the necessity of change are continuously censored. However, women in Iran continue to resist and manifest their dissatisfaction by refusing to wear hijab in daily life. Alongside their brothers, partners, fathers, and husbands, Iranian women dream of the ultimate freedom and live within the dream as autonomous, resilient, and irrepressible citizens whose bodies are the battlefields. Accordingly, philosophers refuse to represent the movement as a banal activity belonging to an underdeveloped country. Slavoj Žižek, professor of philosophy at the European Graduate School writes, “We in the West have no right to treat Iran as a country that is desperately trying to catch up with us. Rather, it is we who must learn from Iranians if we are going to have any chance of confronting right-wing violence and oppression in the United States, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and many other countries.” In order to understand and highlight the importance of this movement, one should hear firsthand from those who are actively rallying and protesting. In this vein I have interviewed two Iranian protesters — who prefer to stay anonymous for means of their security. The first is S, a 24-year-old girl who is a first year graduate student at SAIC, and the second is M, a 27-year-old man who is an art student living in Tehran. S shared with me what she has suffered and the future she dreams of for Iran. M believes that protests for women’s rights are entangled with struggles to achieve the freedom of men, and gender non- conforming people as well. A YEAR OF REVOLUTION IN IRAN Mahsma Amini (pictured above) was arrested by the Guidance Patrol of Iran for not wearing a hijab. ILLUSTRATION BY ADITI SINGH (BFA 2026), a graphic designer and digital illustrator. Aditi is originally from India, raised in Dubai, and recently moved to Chicago. Credit: Fair use doctrine The author of this essay, a graduate student at SAIC, has decided to stay anonymous for security reasons.
  • 11. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE NEWS 11 Describe the day you found out about the death of Mahsa Amini. S: I was at home, sitting on a comfortable chair and taking care of my assignments for a university course. I got the news on Instagram. Niloufar Hamedi, the reporter still detained in the regime’s prison, had taken and shared some touching photos of Mahsa on the hospital bed and her grieving parents. One thing led to another, and I finally found myself hugging my mom, and we both burst out crying. M: My friends and I were hanging out. Dining and laughing without particular sorrow, we were suddenly shocked by the news of her death. My girlfriend just informed us of the mind-blowing murder. However, the authorities did not declare their responsibility. We discussed the necessity of rallying. Still, we did not see the possibility of widespread protests on that very day. We thought the nation’s reaction to this criminality would always be silent. What makes her death tragic in your eyes? S: Being murdered to have a minimum of freedom… It is unfair that people get killed because of their outfits, which is a prominent human right. M: Mahsa’s death made everyone discover their lost rights. The forces killed hundreds of protesters to keep everyone silent. There were children among the murdered people. Most of them were shot by military guns… I still cannot believe the brutality of the soldiers. Describe the first day you decided to join the protesters. S: It was the first of October, I guess. Some days before that, Hamed Esmaielion, an Iranian social activist, called for demonstrations. He invited the Iranians living outside of the country to protest. He was the man whose wife and daughter were killed by the Iranian army’s missiles hitting a Ukrainian airplane some years ago. We were also mobilized by his proclamations within the border of Iran. My friend and I went to the central square of Tehran and joined the groups of protesters. I remember men who blocked the street with big stones and joined us. somebody else smashed a stone on the ground to crush it and gave us the small ones to throw at the forces if necessary. We were shouting, “Down with the dictator.” It was a fortune to express our intense anger. Since then, I have always kept one of the small stones I grabbed. It is a metaphor for the story, in which we were heroes and heroines. M: When the government started to kill the protesters, I was profoundly depressed because many of the murdered boys and girls were the same age as me. Their corpse was my body, and their soul turned into my mind, uplifting me to move and shout. I notably remember the first day that I rallied in the streets. After hours of rallying and shouting slogans, I passed a group of exhausted forces. I gazed at them and found their faces considerably similar to ordinary people. It was an awkward moment. I was shot in the back with paintballs, which forces used paintballs to mark the protesters and then arrested them later. At the moment, I thought I would die because I did not know it was not a real bullet. After all, I was thinking of the political aspects that have turned those civilians into cruel soldiers. There is a wide gap between us and them. Still, we are compatriots! What future do you envision for Iran? S: I believe no word perfectly explains what we want but democracy. We fight ‘til the day the dictatorship collapses, and we will also battle against the alternatives that might bring about new forms of tyranny. M: There is a slogan that represents my ideals as a revolutionary citizen: “Down with the cruel dictator, either he is a religious leader or a king.” I mean, although some people in my generation believe in the emancipatory potential of the return of monarchy in Iran, contemporary history reveals that monarchy is genuinely corrupted. We should not go back to the time before the 1979 revolution.
  • 12. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY HAILEY KIM (MFAVCD 2024). She wants to go picnic but is working in the office on a sunny weekend. Unsplash photos by Sydney Sims, clockwise, Arren Mills and Alexander Krivitskiy. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM 12 LIT OCTOBER
  • 13. to really love on her after years of waging war. I ate plenty of nourishing food, moved in gentle ways, and got an abundance of rest. In a society that teaches femme people to control, hate, and punish their bodies, that kind of tender love and care is antithetical to everything we are told about being and becoming women. Female socialization includes a constant barrage of conflicting messages which we all absorb like extra- super tampons. We are shamed for having periods, but our value is interwoven into motherhood. Our social capital is determined by our physical attractiveness, but we are judged harshly for capitalizing on our sexuality. We are congratulated for staying small but chastised for being too small. Most importantly, women’s bodies are for controlling. Heaven forbid women smell, burp, fart, or have hair below our eyebrows. We are discouraged from bleeding freely and openly, as nature intended. Essentially, we are told ideal womanhood is achieved by becoming blow-up sex dolls with ovens ripe for procreation. Legally, politicians argue we have fewer rights to our bodily autonomy than a clump of cells. The content of our uteruses is considered more important than our lives or livelihood. Is it a surprise that lots of women end up in antagonistic relationships with their bodies? Nearly the length of two typical human gestations ago (June 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court overturned one of the most publicly contested and important cases in our country’s history, Roe v. Wade, ending the legal right to abortion that has been upheld for decades. Since then, access to lifesaving and vital reproductive healthcare has been rolled back in over half of U.S. states to varying degrees. The quality of maternity care in those states has plummeted, with many doctors fleeing to blue states or losing the ability to legally provide their patients with necessary life- saving medicine. Over and over again, research shows that criminalizing abortion doesn’t prevent or stop it from happening, but it does increase the likelihood of negative outcomes for people with uteruses. Motherhood (and parenthood in general) is a really big choice. Manufacturing, nourishing, and pushing out a new little human is accompanied by a lot of potential consequences. As miraculous as it is, choosing motherhood means willingly giving up your bodily autonomy to a little alien who will suck all the life out of you. (Or so I’ve heard.) I’ve never done it before, but childbirth sounds like an emotional rollercoaster of beauty, pain, exhilaration, and gore. You can literally rip a gaping hole between your legs like I did to my mother, which she kindly reminds me of every so often. (I’ve always been one to make a Final text changed to: This essay was written about my experiences as a cisgender female, AFAB person, so most of the language directly refers to those identities. However, this essay is for anyone who menstruates, has a uterus, or absorbed cultural ideals of femininity. I hope my experiences resonate. I got my first period in seventh grade. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and for whatever reason (sometimes the universe doth giveth), my family was skipping the festivities and staying home that year. During my morning pee, I noticed my underwear was brown. I didn’t know why I’d pooped my pants for the first time post-potty-training, but I shrugged it off and continued on with everyone’s favorite colonizer holiday. Every time I went to the bathroom that day, the brown stains returned. I changed three times before I solicited my Mom’s help. That’s when she unceremoniously informed me I had been inducted into womanhood: She handed me a pad and the rest is herstory. Neither of us explained to my Dad why I was crying into my mashed potatoes at dinner that evening. My period was a personal burden to be kept hidden. Until freshman year, when I got my period at school and didn’t have any “ladies’ accessories.” I approached the nicest girl in my English class and whisper-asked her, “Do you have a tampon?” Before she could respond, an eavesdropping boy shouted at the top of his lungs, “EWW! THAT’S DISGUSTING.” In that moment, and a million other ones like it, my relationship with my body became abrasive. My body and her natural cycles had been deemed obscene, offensive, and wrong. My relationship status with my monthly cycle continued to be “It’s Complicated” until about a decade-ish later, when I stopped getting it. After years of desperately trying to shrink my body with little food and lots of exercise, my uterus finally decided it didn’t have the skills to keep up in this fast-paced environment. Just kidding! Actually, I was depriving her of nutrients until she finally determined I must be in perpetual famine, and creating a new life wasn’t a priority. Losing my period was the catalyst I needed to seek help: I never thought much about motherhood until I was confronted with the possibility of losing it. After a lifetime of being told that girls don’t poop, don’t have thighs that kiss in the middle, and don’t talk openly about their bodily functions, my body-ody-ody and I were far from besties. (Thee Stallion, Megan 2022). Amenorrhea, which is doctor-speak for “no periods”, flipped my “frenemy” status with my body upside down. To get back into natural rhythms, I had Jamisen Paustain (MAATC 2024) colors more than most adults, but she rarely stays inside the lines. TLDR: A woman talks about periods and poop and bodily functions, oh, my! ESSAY by Jamisen Paustian dramatic entrance.) Incidentally, it’s pretty incredible that millions of women choose to make that sacrifice anyway. Motherhood can be a burden, but it can also be a gift. What an enchanted fairytale it is that bodies can create a new life from basically nothing. I’m not the first person to write about reproductive rights, and I certainly won’t be the last, so I’ll spare you the usual arguments. What I’m curious about is how the abortion debate penetrates our relationships with our bodies, coupled with all the other twisted cultural messages women receive. As I sit here writing this essay, I have my period. These days, when the blood returns between my legs, I greet her like an old friend. My menstrual cycle serves as a joyous celebration of all the incredible magic my body can do, like run 13.1 miles, teach back-to-back yoga classes, fill sketchbooks with art, and (maybe) create a new life. She reminds me of how hard I worked to earn a loving relationship with myself. I think I want to be a mom someday, but I have a lot of other things to do first. We often neglect to discuss that being pro-choice means making space for choosing motherhood, too, when the timing is right. Feminism is about making space for options and returning people’s autonomy to them. When people have agency over their bodies and their lives, we all collectively benefit. Similarly, women bravely declaring their bodily functions, defying societal expectations, protesting the government’s attempts to infringe upon their bodily autonomy, and choosing whether or not they want to be mothers are all radical ways we can love on our bodies, despite the messages we receive to the contrary. Finally — If I could get in a 1985 Delorean and speed back to that high school English classroom in 2007, I would say, “Fuck off, Brad! I am a fertile goddess, and your body can’t do half the things that my body can.” More than anything, though, I wish I could go back and love her then like I love her now. ARE YOU THERE BODY? IT’S ME, JAMIE LIT 13 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE What exactly are we telling women about their bodies and their inherent value when we take their choices about their bodies away from them?
  • 14. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 14 ARTS OCTOBER D eeply conscious about the generational effects of the 1947 India-Pakistan partition, Sayera Anwar — a second year graduate student in the Photography department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — expresses a utopian desire to dissolve borders through film, photography, and painting. The partition has sparked forced migrations, including that of her grandparents. She finds herself frequently visiting the India-Pakistan border and dreaming of a parallel reality in this zone of contention, which reeks of the vicious cycles of retaliation, fear, and nationalism that exist among the two nations. She embraces the indifference of natural to political borders as a philosophy of existing and co-existing. In the past three years, Anwar has been nominated and selected for artist residencies like the prestigious “Dūje Pāse toñ’’ (From the Other Side), commissioned by the South Asian Canadian Histories Association, and, in 2021, Vasl’s annual artist residency — Taaza Tareen 13 in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work has been shown at the Full Circle Gallery in Karachi (2021), The Reach Gallery, Abbotsford, Canada (2021), and the SITE Gallery, Chicago (2023). F Newsmagazine talked to Anwar about how her work is politically charged and a reflection of the environment she grew up in. Khytul Qazi: Can you tell us about yourself and the kind of work you do? Sayera Anwar: I work with fabric, sculpture painting, photography and video art, and my work is often socially engaged. People around me become a part of my work, not only as an aesthetic prop, but also as the driving force of its content. K: What led you to making socially engaged works? S: Growing up, I was always looking for “home.” My grandparents migrated from India to what is now Pakistan. As a young girl, I witnessed intercity migration, too, from a small town to the capital city, Islamabad. When I got into art in my early twenties, I discovered ways to explore those parts of my identity and culture. With it being about a family and a small community, it was in its essence, always socially engaged. K: Was there a pivotal moment that inspired your commitment to artmaking? S: I would say it was not one moment, but several moments. Making work that I am able to recognize and register at an emotional level makes me feel heard. It gives me a power that I think was lacking before. K: Moving from Pakistan to Chicago for college, how has this change in culture and environment affected your artistic or material choices? S: I find myself walking a lot here, and that’s how I develop most of my ideas. Back home it was difficult to exist in public spaces as a woman. So even when I did walk there, it would become an act of rebellion more than anything else. Here in the U.S., walking is purely a part of my artistic inquiry. What I see in my surroundings almost always determines what appears in my photographs and videos. Photography grad student Sayera Anwar on her path to artistic freedom INTERVIEW by Khytul Abyad TO BE PAKISTANI, A WOMAN, OR TO BE AN ARTIST? PHOTO BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India. Photo by: Nitya Mehrotra
  • 15. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ARTS 15 K: Can you talk more about how the environment shapes your work? S: Since coming to the U.S., I have tried to keep an open heart and mind. When I get into a process, I go with the idea and not the visualization of a product. Sometimes it’s anxiety inducing, but I think, at the end, it’s about building a path towards one’s artistic freedom. K: How has your work shown at SAIC been received? Has that affected your practice in any way? S: With the diversity of thought at SAIC, I have realized that there are so many ways people are going to be looking at my work. Moreover, people always have individual perspectives. Instead of worrying about how people look at my work, I have started paying attention to how I understand my own work. The more perspectives I gather, the more I learn. I am also trying to give all my attention to the work and what it offers, and not how it is being received. K: Are there any specific projects you’ve done that make you feel close to your country or community? S: I think every project I do helps me feel closer to home, as that’s what I’m seeking. K: Since your work has political inclination, how do you find balance between the artist and the ideologies you have? Or between the artistic expression and the political message? S: Even when I’ve tried to have a pure artistic expression, the world doesn’t let me forget that I’m a Pakistani woman. Now is a balance even possible for people like me? I have one year left until my degree and the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty about my position in this country overpowers all anxieties that come with my artistic inquiry. There is no balance. It’s a constant juggling, a back and forth. K: When people hear the word “Pakistan” next to your work, what do you expect/hope for them to know? S: Whenever I look at my work and get appreciated, I’m always thinking of all the talented Pakistani people who do not have opportunity to show their works, about how they have so much to say but do not get heard. I have this bottle that a local artist made for me. He was the person who painted the truck for Kate Middleton and Prince William’s visit to Pakistan. There are so many artists like him around me who are never seen. And Pakistan is filled with them. Khytul Abyad (MFAW 2024) is the SAIC/News Editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a part-time visual artist, full- time aspiring poet, and a secret culinary enthusiast. Sayera Anwar (pictured above and below) during one of her performances, titled, "Skin" (2019). Photo courtesy: Tayyaba Anwar
  • 16. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 16 ARTS FINDING SPACE FOR BLACK MEMORY OCTOBER FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM DESIGN BY SHINA KANG (BFA 2027). She is so excited for sweater weather even though she dislikes wearing sweaters. PHOTOS BY NITYA MEHROTRA (MAFVNMA 2025), the Multimedia editor of F Newsmagazine. She is a documentary filmmaker and animator from Delhi, India. Casey Wheeler (BFA 2025) is a sophomore in the Fibers program. He works with multimedia practices across textiles, photography, drawing, and videography. COBRA showcased ‘The Black Domestic’ REVIEW by Casey Wheeler beckoning for those who have undertaken their own migrations to connect in the flow of the surface of her work. From assemblage to fiber to photography, the exhibition orients itself across a spread of mediums. In the words of the curators, we “wouldn’t define ‘The Black Domestic’ individually but treat it as a gesture towards shared experiences and collective imagination that takes shape in Black memory and life.” This space provides a place for archival practices to initiate with art and create meaningful discussions. The experience causes one to linger and engage fully — sit in it. Read the literature. This is a living space that can challenge, educate, and inspire. by Kimberly Drew and “Barracoon” by Zora Neale Hurston. Reeder’s work is multifaceted and multisensory, inviting a conversation to occur within the space and with the media. Through photography, Christopher K. Lee’s (MFA in Photography, 2024) project “Armed Doesn’t Mean Dangerous” (2023) offers another lens into the meaning of the Black domestic. He takes viewers into the world and homes of Black gun owners in Texas. This work seeks to reflect his experience with guns in his community and home, and it is a literal reframing of preconceptions viewers may hold about gun owners. The framing and lighting feature the subject and, while the gun is not hidden, often even held by the subject, it is not in light — not the main focus of the photo. Brianna Perry’s (MFA in Fibers and Painting, 2024) works “Ross Kids,” “Ruled by Mercury or Tammie and Deborah,” “Mississippi House,” and “Cubie and Jessie” (2023) encompass the viewer in rawly formed canvases stretched upon a birchlike surface — hazy images emerge from surfaces like water, using the fluidity of this medium to envelop the clouded nature of memories. Working with fibers, her work calls attention to “imperfection and mistake,” as she recalls stories of Blackness contextualized in Mississippi and Chicago. Her work situates itself like family photos, placed in voids of off-white color. Her domestic scenes call the viewer into a recollection of the past, Those entering “The Black Domestic” exhibition are immediately immersed in the sense of home. As a Black artist, a sense of belonging is imbued in the space and the memories feel alive. The show, which focuses on themes of “family, memory, and home” and is curated by Jordan Barrant and Saida Blair (MA in Visual & Critical Studies, 2024), will be open from Aug. 30 closes Sept. 29 in the SITE Sharp Gallery. Visitors are invited into conversation and community within the context of works of art created by a variety of artists associated with the graduate student group Coalition of Black Restorative Artists. COBRA is a resource for Black graduate students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The gallery space welcomes viewers in with the striking visual of a lone green plush couch asking you to sit — or not — in the space. The shelf draws you in with a Bible and photos of personal significance in old frames. This center space is meant to simulate a living room and encourage a communal gathering. Everything is of a different time but harmonious. There is a natural extension of the floor space that is used. Chris D. Reeder’s (MA in VCS, 2023) “rest and reflection expand the revolution (series)” (2022) is realized through comfort and curiosity. Jacquard- woven pillows lure viewers in. Under the imagined “sounds of Brooklyn,” this work explicitly calls for interaction — with books meant to be gently picked up and flipped through. Readers are intrigued by titles like “Black Futures” In “The Black Domestic,” viewers are engaged with a variety of retellings of home and community in Blackness.
  • 17. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT 17 What does it mean to be a ‘girl’? ESSAY by Fah Prayottavekit TIKTOK FOR HER ILLUSTRATION BY BEI LIN (BFA 2023). He is trying his hardest not to be replaced by AI. Fah Prayottavekit (BFA 2027) is a writer who loves ice cream! cessed food means bad food. These methods to becom- ing “perfect” often leave women with biological issues like irregular menstrual cycles, impaired immune sys- tems, and even chronic fatigue. Girl Dinner is just one of the many examples of how these toxic behaviors have intertwined with these womens’ lives. More than just a fun trend that’s “relat- able,” the contents speak to a larger idea that underlies a destructive and poisonous notion within our society. When considering the nutritional qualities of the meals, Girl Dinner often lacks what is minimally re- quired to sustain a healthy lifestyle. For example, a plate of single gherkins and a boiled egg do not suffice as a healthy lifestyle. In an article on The Week, Dr. Jessica Saunders notes, “If you are eating in a more Y ou’ve probably seen it. The countless footage of various dinner plates (and some jokingly empty plates) of slices of pickles, plain pasta noodles sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and char- cuterie-board-esque dishes. And of course, the unmistakably cringey sound of women on TikTok har- moniously singing: “This is my meal. I call this girl din- ner … Girl Dinner … GIRL DINNER …” This trend begs the question: Is there any form of prejudice that may be fueling this notion of titling a be- havior or thought as “girl,” versus “boy”? “Girl Dinner” videos show women craving pecu- liar food combinations. Simple, random-seeming, plates of ready-to-eat foods like [chips, pickles, or plain pasta]. But ironically, it’s the lack of eating that concerns many. Rather than being just a quirky or relatable trend, it has manifested itself into a demonstration of disordered eat- ing, which is entirely too com- mon within the social media community of women. Ac- cording to statistics cited by the Center for Eating Disorder Treatment women have one and three quarters to three times as high a life- time prevalence of anorexia, bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder as compared to men. This isn’t new. Dat- ing back to the 12th Century, women have practiced self-starva- tion as part of religious practices. The practice of fasting demonstrates ways eating has histori- cally been viewed as a sin, and finding pleasure in food made synonymous with guilt. Fad diets gained prevalence during the Victorian era (tapeworm diet, anyone?), and have persisted into modernity. Women facing the “prescriptive beauty norm” phenomenon — a pressure to look good and be docile, haven’t gone away. But why is this happening at all? And what does this have to do with “Girl Dinner?” Societal standards position women to grow up chasing something unattainable, and creating habits with harmful, and often irreversible reverberations. We women, grow up thinking that being the skinniest girl in the room equates to being beautiful or that pro- restrictive way to participate in the trend rather than listening to your body, and what your body needs, then it wouldn't be helpful. It would be really detrimental, and puts you at risk for more restrictive eating.” Girl Math falls within the same GirlTok trends. The thinking of Girl Math revolves around justifying purchasing — and taking responsibility for spending money. Podcasts, and talk shows also cover this topic. A channel called FVHZM, run by Fletch, Vaughan, and Hayley on ZM 6-9, makes content specifically around Girl Math. One of the most intriguing episodes has an economist discussing a situation in which a dress is purchased for $330. The economist breaks down the cost per wear to $110 since the dress was intended for three weddings. Girl Math also covers money psy- chology — specifically the way purchases made with cash can feel “free” since the spending will not directly decrease the figures in the bank account, additionally, spending cash may feel less sinful in comparison to credit because of the psycho- logical effects making transactions have. There are all sorts of scenarios in which Girl Math can be ap- plied, but the core notion remains: How does one spend money without feel- ing guilty? Guilt and restriction seem to be an underlying theme of both Girl Math and Girl Dinner. Well, that, and making everything look adorable. Social media platforms rely on the relatability and immersive- ness of trends in order to capture the attention of users. That’s why GirlTok is so interesting. Generalizing the experience of women further insinuates the perspective that all women think and act in the same way. Yet, one must admit just how true some of the points made on GirlTok can be. There are certain aspects of the trend that make one think: “Yes! Me too!” But rather than classifying it as a “girl” thing, the framing can be shifted, and instead, we could focus on the communal global experiences of women. And in that sense, this trend feels far more pleasing when one investigates the various experiences that unify all women.
  • 18. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 18 ENTERTAINMENT OCTOBER She’s in Her Tour ‘Era’ The “Eras” tour became a snapshot of modern day American girlhood. Initially, Swift announced 56 dates across the U.S. which later became 146 dates across five continents. The “Eras” tour was record-smashing, grossing $1 billion in March of 2024 and there were an estimated 72,459 people at each show. Swift made headlines for paying her truck drivers $56 million in total bonuses, with some members of her crew getting $100,000 individual bonuses. She also made headlines when the Swifites set the record for most hotel rooms ever booked in Chicago. Swift’s show in Seattle caused the seismic activity of a 2.3 magnitude earthquake during “Shake It Off,” and Santa Clara officially renamed themselves Swiftie Clara for two days during Swift’s “Eras” tour dates in the city. Swifties flocked to social media to show off their elaborate outfits that they spent weeks — and in some cases months — making. Her fans also showed off their collections of friendship bracelets that they made to swap with other concert-goers at their “Eras” tour date in honor of the lyric, “Make the friendship bracelets’’ from one of the songs off of “Midnights.” On top of the bracelets and outfits, Swifties created a number of chants to yell during certain songs in the “Eras” setlist. During the “Eras” tour, Swift played two songs each night that weren’t part of the regular setlist. Fans made color-coded charts, dresses, blankets, and more to track these songs, marking off which ones she played each night. The “Eras” tour was (and still is) its own moment in time. Whether you love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is all anyone seems to be able to talk about. In the past year, Taylor Swift released a studio album with an extended cut, went on a 146-date (so far), record- breaking tour, re-recorded one (soon-to-be two) of her previous albums, and, most recently, is set to release a tour documentary in theaters. Coverage of Swift has nonstop on social media since last October; all this just might cement 2023 as The Year of Taylor Swift. Throughout the year, Swifties (the nickname for Swift’s fan base) have been by her side, adding to the media frenzy around her. Swifties may have even changed the culture between fans and musical artists forever. It Started at ‘Midnight’ Last October, Swift released “Midnights,” her 10th studio album, including four music videos. In the weeks leading up to Oct. 21, Swifties ran rampant on every social media platform to spread the news of the upcoming album. This craze, called “Midnights’ Mayhem,” was largely fueled by the singer herself posting teasers to her own social media about the tracks of the upcoming album. Swift has a long history of putting Easter eggs in her songs, music videos, and social media posts. Turning the clock to midnight, the album’s lead single “Anti-Hero” spent eight weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the best-selling song of 2022. “Midnights” started the Taylor Swift craze, but it was merely the first stop on the road for Swifites. KARMA IS A CAT, TAYLOR IS A PHENOMENON How 2023 became the era of Taylor Swift and her beloved Swifties. REPORT by Kit Montgomery ILLUSTRATION BY ADITI SINGH (BFA 2026), a graphic designer and digital illustrator. Aditi is originally from India, raised in Dubai, and recently moved to Chicago.
  • 19. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE ENTERTAINMENT 19 And They Said ‘Speak Now’ On July 7, in the midst of the “Eras” Tour, Swift released her re-recorded album “Speak Now” (first released in 2010) as a part of her project of re-recording her first six albums. (She’s doing this because she was unable to purchase the masters to her records, and is now re-recording these first six albums to fully own them herself.) “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” is her third re- recording, which didn’t surprise Swifties: they guessed as much based on Easter eggs Swift left on social media and elsewhere. The album came with six ‘“From the Vault”, previously unreleased tracks written during the time of the original album’s release.. These “Vault” tracks included two musical features: Fall Out Boy on “Electric Touch” and Hayley Williams on “Castles Crumbling.” Take the Moment and Taste it Following the end of the first leg of the “Eras” Tour, there’s still nothing but content for the Swifties. During her last night at SoFi Stadium in California, Swift announced the re-recording of her fifth album, “1989” (also heavily theorized by Swifties). The album, including new “Vault” tracks, will be released on Oct. 27, 2023. Swift is also releasing a concert documentary of the “Eras” Tour, on Oct. 13. The concert film will be released directly from Swift’s team to AMC Theaters, and the film has already set an AMC record with $65 million in first day ticket sales. The “Eras” Tour concert film is on track to become the highest grossing concert film of all time. She Can Still Make the Whole Place Shimmer Outside of everything she released this year, Swift was the biggest topic across social media. She tops the chart as the number one most searched person of 2023. There’s even a reporter at Gannett, the U.S.’s largest newspaper chain, whose entire job is to report on Taylor Swift and to “identify why the pop star’s influence only expands, and what her fan base stands for in pop culture.” At the most recent MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), Swift won nine awards — almost every single award she was nominated for. The VMAs are based on fan votes, which means the Swifties were responsible for the sweep. The VMAs even had a cameraman devoted solely to filming Swift during the show. This constant surveillance also extends to the singer’s real life, which can be a double-edged sword, as all fan bases can have issues with the “bad,” or even “crazy” fans. In the end of August, Swifties swarmed a New Jersey bar where Swift was spotted. The Swifites have changed the modern concert. At non-Taylor Swift concerts, people are making and swapping artist related bracelets, making elaborate outfits specifically for the one concert, and creating many tour-specific chants. The Swifites seem to have as much influence over fandoms as the singer has in real life. No fan base is a monolith, there will always be the obsessive, sometimes overly intense fan that takes it too far, but for every one of those fans there is another who shows their admiration for the singer in less harmful ways. Swifties and Taylor Swift have a complicated relationship, but at the end of it all, the fuel for the Swifties fire seems to be their love for the singer, and it (mostly) shows in their actions. On the day of the release of “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” musician and ex of Swift, John Mayer posted a message to Instagram saying, “Please be kind” during his show in Boulder, Colorado — likely in reference to Swift’s song “Dear John,” which was about their relationship. The album re-recordings have a history of bringing up Swift’s previous relationships, both good and bad. For example, “All Too Well (Ten Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version),” off the “Red” re- recording led to a long period of Swifties harassing Jake Gyllenhaal. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” being released during the “Eras” Tour led to the album having a few special moments on the tour itself, including Swift live-debuting the music video for “I Can See You” in the middle of the set, as well as the live debut of multiple new “Vault” tracks during the tour. “Speak Now” has not only managed to stay relevant (despite being 13 years old) but also managed to have the biggest first week of 2023 of any pop album. “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” held its weight as a re- recording and set the bar high for those to follow. Kit Montgomery (BFA 2025) is earning their degree in side quests. Currently, they’re putting businessman hats on worms.
  • 20. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 20 ENTERTAINMENT FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER Halloween is a fang- tastic time of year, but when you’ve grown out of trick- or-treating, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how exactly you want to celebrate the creepiest night of the year. For those who aren’t rushing out to the wild monster mashes on Halloween night, try watching the most romantic horror films available with someone special (undead or otherwise). 'Fido' (2007) Sometimes a zombie is a better husband and father than the man you married. The makers of this 2007 Canadian film understood that. In a 1950s reality where space radiation has turned a large percentage of the population into zombies, the friendly-but-questionable company ZomCon has invented a collar that turns zombies from flesh-eating horrors into undead Roombas. And the Robinsons are the latest family in the suburb to get their very own zombie. Carrie-Anne Moss (Yes, I’m talking about Trinity from “The Matrix”) plays wife Helen Robinson. Watching her fall in love and even slow dance with a rotting corpse named Fido (Billy Connolly) while her husband (Dylan Baker) ignores her to fixate on funerals is just a treat. She hams it up in the best way possible, and Fido manages to be a damn good romantic leading man despite only ever talking in grunts and growls. Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime, YouTube, or AppleTV. 'Thirst' (2009) By far the most intense, sensual, and disturbing film on this list, “Thirst” is a wild ride from start to finish. If you’re in the mood to read a movie, this Korean vampire flick is worth checking out. Director Park Chan-Woo is known for perverted and brutal-yet- beautiful romances, and the leads in this film are no different. “Thirst” follows Sang-hyun, played with great depth by Song Kang-ho from “Parasite” fame, a Catholic priest who has undergone medical experiments that awaken in him a taste for blood and a desire for ILLUSTRATION BY BEI LIN (BFA 2023). He is trying his hardest not to be replaced by AI. Here are five frightfully romantic flicks to sink your teeth into this Halloween. REVIEWS by Sidne K. Gard MONSTROUS ROMANTIC LEADS Sidne K. Gard (BFAW 2025) is a queer writer and artist from New Orleans. They hope to one day understand how to make their own monsters. sin. But the real star of this film is Kim Ok-bin as the deceitful and complicated Tae-ju. The audience can never quite get a handle on whether she is demure and abused or a sadistic killer with a smile on her face. This film is not for the faint of heart. Blood, sex, abuse, and religious guilt abound. Every once in a while, it veers into a strange, absurd scene, but for the most part, it keeps a slow drawn-out pace, concerned with its central troubled relationship. Only watch “Thirst” if you’re willing to be a little emotionally freaked out by the time the credits roll. Where to watch: Peacock; or rent from Amazon Prime or YouTube. 'Warm Bodies' (2013) Ten years after its debut, “Warm Bodies” is for two types of people: folks who never grew out of their supernatural teen romance phase, and people who fell in love with Nicholas Hoult after seeing “Renfield” (2023) last spring. Either way, this film holds up — and that’s not just my inner 11-year-old speaking. “Warm Bodies” is a heart-warming (if a bit cheesy) zombie re-telling of “Romeo and Juliet.” Told from the perspective of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie with minimal memories of who he was when he was alive, the audience gets to see how his zombie life is turned upside down after saving a young woman (Teresa Palmer) from his fellow undead. As these fated lovers get closer, the question becomes clear: Can love restart a zombie’s heart? Where to watch: Netflix; or rent from Amazon Prime. 'Patchwork' (2015) A Frankenstein female revenge fantasy with a shocking twist? Sign me up! “Patchwork” feels like a campy comic book come to life. Three young women (Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, and Maria Blasucci) wake up to find themselves stitched together into one body. Together they have to figure out how they get stuck this way, how to cope with each other — and the list of men they need to kill. Every step of their journey is filled with bones cracking and popping, creating an eerie and discomforting soundscape. The costumes and practical effects teeter into silliness, but the camera shots at times elevate it. “But where’s the romance?” you may ask. Fear not, because this Frankenstein finds love along the way of her murder spree. Does it count as polyamory if three people are sharing one body? Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime or YouTube 'Fear Street' Trilogy (2021) If you’re looking for a real movie marathon night, let me point you in the direction of the “Fear Street” trilogy — a series of Netflix originals. This set of three movies unspools the narrative of one town across time and the witch who cursed it, moving from 1994 back to 1978 and finally to 1666. Each film adds in a new complicated layer of lore and history while never forgetting to include some bloody good kills. At times, it feels like it harkens to older slasher flicks; at others, it deconstructs a cycle of generational violence and trauma. Each of the films has a different aesthetic matching its time period, but at the heart of it all is the witch Sarah Fier (Kiana Madeira and Elizabeth Scopel) and a surprisingly transgressive queer love story. Where to watch: Netflix LOVING THE MONSTER
  • 21. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE COMICS 21 by Cam Collins by Kit Montgomery
  • 22. FNEWSMAGAZINE.COM OCTOBER 22 COMICS OCTOBER Halloween Nightmare by Magdalene Ma It’s Time to BeReal by Kristen Lee Missing Cat by Kit Montgomery Yokai by Julianne Teres F Newsmagazine has an open call for all comics. Send your work to comics@fnewsmagazine.com
  • 23. 2023 F NEWSMAGAZINE COMICS 23 Maui Sharks by Eric J. Garcia by Mae Lyne IT’S INSIDE YOU! by Teddie Bernard
  • 24. SCAN OR VISIT MCACHICAGO.ORG ENTRE HORIZONTES: ART AND ACTIVISM BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PUERTO RICO THROUGH MAY 5, 2024 Experience the artistic connections and social justice movements that link Puerto Rico with Chicago via an intergenerational group of artists alongside rich archival material that traces the relationships between art, politics, place, and identity. REBECCA MORRIS: 2001–2022 THROUGH APR 07, 2024 Rebecca Morris’s large-scale, abstract paintings demonstrate her constant evolution and experimentation. This twenty-one-year survey provides a glimpse into Morris’s inventive approach to composition, color, and gesture. FAMILY DAYS OCT 14, NOV 11, DEC 9 On the second Saturday of each month beginning on October 14, Chicago artists design and lead activities, workshops, performances, and more across the museum, starting at 11 am. Visit mcachicago.org/family to register for free admission. Installation view, entre horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico, MCA Chicago. August 19, 2023–May 5, 2024. Photo: Shelby Ragsdale, © MCA Chicago. FREE ADMISSION WITH SAIC ID