Save Women Not Ta-Ta’s: A Perspective on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Save Women Not “Ta-Ta’s”: A Perspective on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Elizabeth Kilgallin

Photo Credit: Marie Claire Magazine

In October, Breast Cancer awareness month, pink becomes widespread as people from potential First Ladies to NFL players sport the color. In the 20 years since the pink ribbon became the official symbol of breast cancer awareness, commercial sponsorships and merchandise have become a focus during October. During the pink-crazed October, those who wish to support awareness can buy pretty much anything pink. From snuggies to cocktails, breast cancer pink is boasted all over the country. At Sweet Briar College, a small women’s College in southern Virginia, young women shared their observations on the pink-filled October.
The Save the Ta-Ta’s” Foundation is a national foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness that is very visible every October. This month, there have been Save the Ta Ta’s sponsored internet ads, but some of these ads do not show the heads of the women talking, only their breasts. Olivia Smith, a Sweet Briar Junior, said: “These advertising campaigns are misleading and I find it deeply disturbing that our culture has become so focused on a saving the breasts mentality that we forget that breast cancer effects the lives of real women, not just their breasts.” Catherine Freeman, a Sweet Briar Junior, agrees with Smith, she said: “Breast Cancer awareness month would be more effective if the focus was save the women or save the mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, etc.”
Sarah Lindemann, a Sweet Briar Senior, said “While I think it’s a step forward that every October, this country is awash in pink to highlight the impact of breast cancer, it’s also misguided. Breast cancer impacts so many women, but through advertising campaigns and viral marketing campaigns, the focus has become only about their breasts.” Lambda Green, a Sweet Briar Junior, believes that the importance of raising money trumps the misguided Save the Ta-Ta’s mentality. “No one can deny that money raised for research through Breast Cancer awareness month has been influential in the fight against breast cancer, even though there are more than a few issues with the advertising,” she said.
Amanda Wager, a Sweet Briar Junior, said, “When I walk into stores during October, I see pink everywhere. Although I want to support the cause, I want to be sure that the money from say, a pink Beanie Baby, is going to the right foundations.” Murphy Owen, a Sweet Briar Junior, agrees with Wager: “Sometimes I choose not to buy anything, for fear that it is a charity scam.”
To check out what to buy or what not buy during the next pink-filled October, check out “Think Before You Pink:”

Think Before You Pink

First Year Swimmers Make a Splash

First Year Swimmers Make a Splash
By Elizabeth Kilgallin

With nine new swimmers, Sweet Briar’s pool is now over-flowing with new talent. The upcoming 2012-2013 swim season will see the largest freshmen class enter the pool since Jason Gallaher became Head Swim Coach four years ago. After Charlotte Greenwood, Brittany Fox, and Emily Jones graduated in May of 2012, the team was left with only eleven returning swimmers, the lowest amount that Gallaher has experienced as head coach. According to Gallaher, “this presented a huge challenge to the team and made the recruitment process more vigorous.” The large group of freshmen that joined the team this season has made the loss of these three standout swimmers more bearable.
During the first week of practice, Gallaher said that the first years “Are all…very eager to be a part of this positive program. They fit in well with our returning swimmers and they will add a great deal of strength and depth to the team. I’m looking forward to working with this group over the next four years.” With a team now made up of twenty strong swimmers, the veterans of the team, the coaches, and the first years all share high hopes and expectations for this season. One goal for this season is to beat Bridgewater, Sweet Briar’s closest rival in their conference. Last season, Bridgewater dominated Sweet Briar in the duel meet but Sweet Briar retaliated by beating them in the ODAC Conference Championships. Sweet Briar alum and recent Sweet Swimming graduate Charlotte Greenwood said, “losing the dual meet to Bridgewater was tough. I hope the new recruits will help defeat them this upcoming season.” Returning swimmer Vida McCahey said “I cannot wait to get back in shape to help the team defeat Bridgewater like last season. Hopefully this time we will also win the duel meet.”
First years hope to help the alum and veteran swimmers achieve this goal. One such freshman is Lydia Fleck. Fleck has been swimming since she was only eight years old and has been swimming on a Club Team since she was ten years old. She is an accomplished swimmer and led her high school swim team as captain. As captain, Fleck successfully brought her team to the states championships. When asked about this upcoming season, Fleck stated, “The girls on the team have all been welcoming to us [first years], making it feel like a whole other family. It’s going to be a really good year.”
Junior swimmer Bridget McGinley’s career is very similar to Fleck’s. McGinley has been swimming competitively since she was six and swimming for her club team since she was nine. McGinley was also a co-captain of her high school swim team. She led their team to National Catholics, the highest level of competition for Catholic schools on the East Coast. When asked about her new teammates, McGinley said “Even though the pool is more crowded than usual, it’s comforting to know that it is full of new potential for Sweet Swimming.”
Catherine Gumpman is a Sweet Briar College swimming alum, the Assistant Director of Admissions at the College, and the assistant swim coach. Gumpman began her service as assistant coach last year. She is loved by the swimmers for her “humor and encouragement throughout the many tough practices and meets of the swim season,” according to McCahey. Gumpman said that she is “thrilled to have such a large group of swimmers representing the class of 2016. I’ve been very impressed with them thus far, and I’m excited to start working with them in the pool. They are going to add a lot of strength and depth to an already strong program.” When asked about the reason for her positive impression of these swimmers so early in the season, she said, “The beginning of the swim season is always difficult. Getting back in shape after the summer can be very tough. These first years are positive and all-smiles even during difficult workouts.”
To see Sweet Swimming in action, check the schedule of meets online:

Sweet Swimming Schedule

In Search of Feminism

In Search of Feminism
By Elizabeth Kilgallin

Amanda Wager, Olivia Smith, and Bridget McGinley are each in their third year at Sweet Briar College, a women’s college of 800 students nestled in the in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each of these young women is politically aware and socially active. Each professes to be a feminist; none agree on what that means.
Feminism, as a movement addressing women’s rights, has a rich history which is often discussed in terms of its “waves.” Societal interest women’s rights began in the time of the enlightenment. 1792 saw a landmark event with the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Demands for full legal equality with men arose at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, which featured historic women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Among the rights demanded for women were the rights of equal compensation and full educational opportunity. After the Seneca Falls Convention there was increased activity in what became the Woman Suffrage movement; some thought this long battle ended in the United Kingdom in 1918 when women gained the right to vote and in the United States in 1920 when that right was finally won. The battle, however, continued and is still being waged today.
After that first “wave” of feminism, a second wave arose in the 1960s and continued into the 1990’s, a period that witnessed the anti-war and civil rights movements. This wave was more radical. Martha Rampton, of Pacific University, has written that this wave was increasingly theoretical, based on a fusion of neo-Marxism and psycho-analytical theory, and began to associate the subjugation of women with broader critiques of patriarchy, capitalism, normative heterosexuality, and the woman’s role as wife and mother.” A third wave of feminism arose in the late 20th century. This wave fought against what was considered limited objectives of what they considered middle-class white feminists; these third wave feminists wanted to include equal rights for all people regardless of race, creed, economic or educational status, physical appearance or ability, or sexual preference among the goals of feminism. To confuse matters, today we also hear of “post-feminism,” a term used to describe a range of viewpoints. While not “anti-feminist”, post-feminists believe that women have achieved second wave goals while being critical of third wave feminist goals. The evolution of feminism thus continues. Today we have what some refer to as three types or categories of feminists: equity feminists, gender feminists, and third-wave feminists.
The first group, “equity feminists,” believes that there are differences between men and women, and fight for reform to remedy what they consider unequal treatment of women in society. They support issues like “equal pay for equal work.” These equity feminists are somewhat similar to the “first-wave” feminists who fought for woman’s suffrage and supported efforts to get women into the workforce. These feminists are generally more conservative in their application of feminism to society.
The second group, “gender feminists,” wants to eliminate all distinctions between men and women in all aspects of society. Gender feminists blame the oppression exerted by the modern patriarchal society for whatever differences exist between men and women. They believe that this patriarchal society is built on a structure that requires women to be less valuable than men. By ending patriarchy, they believe society can have total egalitarianism between the sexes. These feminists tend to align themselves with the second-wave feminists of the 1960s.
The third group represents the so-called “third-wave” feminists of today. These feminists are not as radical as the feminists of the 1960s women’s movement, but they are not as conservative as the equity feminists. They fight on behalf of liberal causes such as abortion on demand. As Amy Richards of notes, these feminists believe that a feminist is someone who simply “believes in the full equality of women and men”. This group believes the goal of feminism is equality and, to Richards, that means both that women do what men have done (be fire fighters and corporate executives) and that men do what women have done (be stay-at-home fathers and secretaries).
To confuse matters even more, some feminists do not accept the above categories. They object to these terms and consider them expressions of anti-feminist rhetoric. Despite numerous efforts, it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify a single and fully satisfactory definition of feminism. This is largely due to the fact that people who consider themselves feminists disagree greatly in their philosophical and theological beliefs and the application of their feminist principles in actual life. As the Oxford Companion to Philosophy notes, “The strands of feminist thinking in relation to philosophy have been and continue to be diverse and do not necessarily present a unified point of view.” So where does this leave the Sweet Briar women? What is a feminist? Who is a feminist?
Amanda Wager is a Biology major at Sweet Briar College. While in high school she followed politics closely and generally supported candidates from the Democratic Party. Since arriving at Sweet Briar College, Wager has been active in the SBC College Democrats and was a fervent supporter of Barrack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. In a recent interview, Wager identified herself as a feminist and explained that the liberal platform and agenda of the National Democratic Party was aligned with her principles as a committed feminist. Wager took sincere offense to reports that the Republican presidential candidate “needed binders” of information to find a qualified female candidate for a cabinet position when he was governor of Massachusetts. She also firmly believed that the Republican Party represented an “affirmative threat to women’s rights in general and to reproductive rights in particular.”
Olivia Smith is a Government major at Sweet Briar College. While in high school she followed politics and generally supported Republican Party candidates. Since arriving at Sweet Briar College, Smith has been active in the SBC College Republicans and was an ardent supporter of Mitt Romney in the recent presidential election. In a recent interview, Smith identified herself as a feminist and explained that the conservative platform and agenda of the Republican Party was aligned with her principles as a committed feminist. Asked about feminism at Sweet Briar, Smith opined that while the student body was clearly in favor of women’s rights, some students who claimed to be feminists were “doing more to harm the cause than help it.”
Bridget McGinley, a Philosophy major at Sweet Briar College, related that despite many hours of reading and discussing the issues, she had undecided feelings during the recent presidential election. McGinley also considers herself a feminist. “That is why I am here. During my visit as a high school senior I was very impressed by the strength and vitality of the feminist presence at Sweet Briar. I don’t mean students were protesting or barricading themselves in buildings to demand things. Rather, I was impressed by opportunities for women to lead, by the encouragement given to students to excel, and by the high expectations the school had for its student body.”
It is clear that Sweet Briar College is home to diverse opinions on the nature and definition of feminism. The reason behind these strong and diverse opinions may well be Sweet Briar itself. The women who attend this small college have affirmatively chosen to attend a school of eight-hundred women. According to McGinley, “Sweet Briar is not a second choice school. Students don’t think, ‘If I don’t get into William and Mary I’ll go to Sweet Briar.’ It is a totally different experience that women choose for themselves. It offers women an experience they will not get elsewhere.” McGinley’s observations correctly note the historical background of women’s colleges, which were founded with a mission of education and advancement of women. The Women’s College Coalition, an association of 47 women’s colleges, reports that research has shown that when private 4-year women’s colleges were compared with all private 4-year institutions by their Carnegie classification, the women’s colleges awarded women equal or larger proportions of bachelor’s degrees in traditionally male-dominated fields (which include mathematics, computer sciences, and physical sciences) than co-educational private 4-year colleges did.
Regarding role models, the Coalition reports that women were over 70 percent of all executive, administrative, and managerial positions at women’s colleges and were over half of all full-time and part-time faculty, much higher percentages than the norm for private 4-year colleges within each Carnegie classification. These factors appear to have contributed to the successful accomplishment of women’s colleges. They have created a climate where, according to Wager, “women are taken seriously, where they are encouraged to realize their potential, and where academic expectations and demands are high.” It appears, to the students of Sweet Briar, that the mission of women’s colleges is being achieved. More importantly, it seems that in doing so, women’s colleges like Sweet Briar are contributing to the achievement of significant goals of the feminist movement.
The Sweet Briar women interviewed for this article share a common understanding that women did not always have such opportunities. Smith said, “few students in college today fully realize how far women have come in the area of education.” Women were once excluded from education. Myths prevailed about the danger of educational pursuits by women. A professor at the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Edward H. Clarke, in 1873 claimed that a woman’s body could only handle a limited number of developmental tasks at one time, and that girls who spent too much energy developing their minds during puberty would end up with undeveloped or diseased reproductive systems. He argued that “dire consequences — physical weakness, emotional breakdown, sterility, even death — awaited young women who put their intellectual pursuits before their unique physiological needs.” Others argued that educating women would encourage their independence, thereby presenting a risk to the institutions of marriage and the family. Given this cultural barrier to the education of women, it is not surprising that while Harvard was established in 1636, it was not until 200 years later that women were first allowed to attend college. Oberlin College was the first college to admit women; it became co-educational, in that they allowed women to attend. But attending college was not a panacea.
There is a great difference between just allowing a woman to attend college and creating a place where women are respected, have role models, and can learn and grow in a supportive environment with opportunities to lead and excel., The early co-educational schools did not recognize a woman’s right to pursue any academic field. They had no female faculty or female leadership. These colleges admitted women; they were no institutions where women would be treated equally. For example, Barbara Solomon, author of In the Company of Educated Women, notes that at Oberlin women were required to darn the socks of their male classmates. The Sweet Briar students interviewed understand that they attend a women’s college – one that is committed to preparing them to confront the challenges of an often male-dominated world. They embrace the school and its mission, yet they disagree mightily on which among them is a “true” feminist. How can a woman who believes that as a feminist she must fight for the very liberal planks of the Democratic platform find common ground with a woman who believes that as a feminist she must fight for the very conservative planks of the Republican platform? One must be wrong and one must be right. Right? Perhaps not. Regardless of political perspective, feminism is commonly understood as a philosophy or practice that supports the rights and interests of women. It seems, therefore, that feminism is, or should easily be, a unifying issue; that men and women who support the political, economic, and social equality of men and women are all feminists.
Sweet Briar’s Olivia Smith explained that her father, who she describes as “only slightly right of Genghis Khan on the political spectrum,” considers himself an almost militant feminist. Smith recounted her father’s declaration that: “Of course I’m a feminist. I pity the fool who tries to tell me my daughter she can’t do something or be something because she is a woman.” Is that all it takes? Need one only be a woman or someone who cares for a woman to be a feminist? Can Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, men, and women all be feminists?
Perhaps defining a feminist is like defining a Christian. All Christians recognize one Jesus Christ and dedicate themselves to actions in furtherance of their faith. Sounds like it should be simple for all Christians to agree on the definition of a Christian. However, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, there are nearly 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. With this as a template, perhaps it is not unusual to experience such difficulty in agreeing to an all-encompassing definition of a feminist. Perhaps Sweet Briar’s Wager, Smith, and McGinley can together realize that they are all feminists.

Facebook: The Beginning of the End?

Last 24th of September, I logged in my Facebook account, as usual. A status quickly caught up my attention. One of my contacts was alerting us about a fail in Facebook security: our private messages dated from 2007 to 2009 were available on our wall, visible by everybody. I immediately checked my profile and understood that it was true. I could see private messages on my wall, as if they had been posted there by my contacts. While everybody could read the intimate conversations of their friends, people started to joke about the fact that this bug would lead to break-ups and divorces. This event brought back into my mind an old concern about the network: how does Facebook guarantee the privacy of people’s data?  Am I aware enough of what Facebook know about me, and of the use of this information? Finally, what are the risks of using Facebook?


Facebook was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Reserved to Harvard’s students, the success of this social network was immediate. Today, Facebook is opened to every person who is at least 13 years old and who has an access to the Internet and an e-mail address. More than one billion people use it (data from October 1, 2012). Its popularity is due to the fact that it is considered as a way to increase socialization. Djahane Païenda, a 20-year-old French student at Sweet Briar College, in Virginia, explains why she loves it: “I use Facebook to be in contact with my family and friends all over the world. I love the fact that wherever I am, no matter how far I am from my relatives, I can always keep contact with them and see how they are doing in their lives and see them grow.” Sixtine Abrial, a 21-year-old student in Sweet Briar College, in Virginia, is not convinced: “I think it makes us believe that it leads us to a greater socialization because we have access to our friends’ information. We can see what they write, what they post, we can have an idea of where they were, and what they did at any time of the day, thus having a supposed better idea of the kind of life they lead. However, the time we spend on Facebook is time that we don’t spend socializing for real, as in face-to-face conversations. Socializing is, by definition, the action of talking to someone face-to-face, and not through a computer screen. En bref, Facebook leads to a limited socialization.”


Facebook recently scared its French users. Last September, after an update of its server, private messages dated from 2007 to 2009 were published on people’s walls. It rapidly spread terror among the Web users and French journalists made it headlines. Facebook France did not wait too long to refute this accusation. According to the team, people got confused because of a change in the interface, and that is all. The timeline and the private messages are hosted in separate servers, so they claimed that the mix of data between both would be impossible. The CNIL, the French commission which deals with computer science and controls the protection of data, took over the affair. The commission met the managers of Facebook France and concluded that there was no bug. They agreed with Facebook’s explanation of different interfaces. Alexia Bertrand, a 22-year-old student in computing, in France, does not understand: “This is crazy. I saw private messages on my wall. My friends saw private messages on their wall. One of my friends was telling me that she cheated on her boyfriend, and now, it is supposed to be something that she posted on my wall? This is ridiculous and I don’t understand how the CNIL agreed on this. For sure, I won’t use Facebook messages anymore.”


Since the international launch of the social network in the same year, Facebook policy about privacy has changed regularly. The last modification dates from the 20th of November 2012. The data use policy, available online, says that Facebook has an access to several types of data. First, it can consult the information that you give during the inscription process: the name, the date of birth, the e-mail address and the gender. It can also access to the data that someone puts on the network, the data that a contact puts about someone on the network, and more generally, to the totality of someone’s actions, like a click for instance. Facebook also receives metadata from photos and videos, which are further information, as the date or the time. Moreover, it receives the information relative to the device used to be connected to Facebook. If a person is connected via a computer, Facebook has an access to the Internet Service Provider, to the browser, to the IP address and to the localization. Finally, Facebook uses cookies which keep a record of the websites that a person visits, and data divulged by collaborators. A person can deactivate or suppress his account. The difference is that the deactivation does not erase the data, while the suppression erases them within 90 days. Nevertheless, Facebook adds that they keep some data, even when someone suppresses his or her account, without saying precisely which ones. All these information are sold to advertisers and are used to create more targeted advertisements, even if Facebook claims that they do not use them. There are three exceptions: Facebook communicate information if the person gives the permission to do it, if Facebook warns the person, or if the name of the contact has been removed from the data. Thanks to these data, Facebook can promise to companies that their advertisements will be targeted to reach the people that they judged as the most likely to buy their product. Europe v. Facebook, a group who protects the rights of the user on Facebook, has made an experiment to see precisely how much Facebook knows about a person. Since European people are free to ask to any company to have access to the data that they have about them, one of the member of Europe v. Facebook asked for hers in 2011. She created her Facebook account in 2007, and she received an 880-page document about her information kept by the social network.


As if it was not enough, the website allows people to have access to pictures and status of other people. It works as a search engine, a person finds another by using his or her e-mail address. It does not scan only Facebook, but the results come mainly from this social network. From the results, the website builds a profile with the interests and even the family and the neighborhood. It is not always accurate, but it gives the opportunity to anybody to learn things about anybody. The more active you are on the social networks, the more precise your profile will be.


In order to make people more active on the website, Facebook regularly launches new applications. They are created to look fun and to increase the value of your experiment with the social network. Nevertheless, the use of some applications can be dangerous. For instance, Foursquare uses geolocalisation to add on someone’s profile the place from where he or she is connected. People use it when they are proud to be somewhere and that they want their contacts to know about it. Tom Marcais, expert in new technologies and Internet at Sweet Briar College, explains the risks: “Private information can be used for many different purposes. Sharing your birth date might be nice to get tons of posts on your wall wishing “Happy Birthday”… But it could also be used to help steal your identity or password information. Telling your friends you’re on vacation having a blast might seem like a good idea… until you return home and find out that organized crime has used your information to rob your house while you were gone. Ranting about your boss might be good stress relief, until a jealous co-worker forwards your post to them.”


More and more people consider that the social network is unreliable and that it would be silly to stay on it. Laura Albanesi, a 19-year-old student at Sweet Briar College, suppressed her account six months ago, without any regret: “Facebook stopped me from enjoying life and people around me. It is like a drug: once you get addicted to it, it is hard to stop using it.” When she says that she does not have a Facebook account, people are surprised: “Facebook has become such a huge part of their life… But not of mine.” Jocelyn Jones, another student at Sweet Briar College who is 26, does not consider herself as addicted to the social network: “I spend days without checking it sometimes and when I finally do, there are too many new notifications to care about.” According to a German news website, some employers and psychologists consider the people who do not have a Facebook account as suspect. Not being on the social network would be synonym of wanting to hide something or having been banned from it because of an incorrect behavior.


Despite this fact, anti-Facebook movements rise all around the world. In 2010, two Canadian people launched the “Quit Facebook Day”, planned on the 31st of May. On their website, 40,387 people committed to quit Facebook. According to news agency AFP, 33,000 people really did it. There will never be a possibility to know if they came back on the social network later, but companies have understood that the anti-Facebook movement could be the next trend in the United States. sells t-shirts decorated with the “I’m not on facebook.” sentence. The Twitter account of this website collected funny tweets of people who have closed their Facebook account. Moreover, people use their blogs to speak about their own experience without Facebook.


In addition to these actions made by citizens, some companies have decided to create their own social network, which are intended to be Facebook’s rivals. The main one is Google+, launched by Google in June 2011. In December 2012, it had a total of 235 million of active users. According to Alexandre Joussier, a French student in Multimedia and Strategy, who has an account on both of the websites: “I think Facebook is definitely the ultimate social network. Google lauched G+ too late, and even if the number of users is important, there are plenty of ‘phantom-accounts’, which are registered users who have posted only once or twice. Google+ is bringing nothing more to me than Facebook, so it’s useless.”  Marcais is less categorical: “It is very hard to get people to switch social networks. It’s not impossible. Facebook came along and was able to successfully get people to switch to their platform from MySpace. But you really need to have a good reason to get people to switch. Right now, people are pretty satisfied with Facebook. They’re not likely to move… And social networks like Google Plus are only successful if your friends are there too. I predict that Google Plus will not be successful, and that Google will not try a 3rd attempt at creating a social network on their own. Instead, especially since Facebook is now publicly traded, they will likely just buy Facebook. Then, they will take all the successful things they’ve done with Google Plus – search integration, Google Apps integration, hangouts, etc. – and incorporate them into Facebook. In the end, you’ll have a better platform without making the users switch to another service.”


Google is not the only one which tries to compete with Facebook. In 2010, four students of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in New York, started the Diaspora project on Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a platform when people promote a project and can receive funds by the web users. Diaspora is describing as a more secure-Facebook: it is a software with a delocalized server. Each person is responsible for the data which are public and the ones which are private, thanks to a system of “friendly key”. To have access to the private information of someone, this person has to give the key. All the data that require this key are encrypted. Their goal was to collect 10,000 dollars from the web users. Three months later, 6,479 people had donated a total of 200,000 dollars. The first version of Diaspora is supposed to be available at the end of December 2012.


However, Facebook is still the leader of the social network. In spite of the time that people spend on it and consider as wasted and the privacy’s issues, it is easy to become addicted to it. It is the case of Djahane Païenda: “I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I check it several times during the day, especially since I left France because it is an essential way for me to communicate with family and friends. As a matter of facts, I guess you could call me an addict.” Melanie Lower, a 22-year-old Spanish student at Sweet Briar College, does not think that she is too dependent on Facebook. Nevertheless, she admits that it is difficult to live without it: “I must recognize that before it wasn’t a problem to be without using the internet for a few days, something that is almost impossible now. I feel an urge to check out Facebook all the time. I love it!”


According to a 2010 research made by two students of the University of Georgia, Facebook allows people to fill two human societal needs: the need to belong and the need for self-presentation. If it is too hard to suppress an account, or if a person does not feel the need to do it, it is still fundamental to be able to redefine the parameters of an account. Marcais insists on the importance of being careful: “Always be careful what you post and share with others. Just because you’re only sharing it with a few people does not mean that they might not share your information with others. Before posting anything, ask yourself this question If I was to run for public office in 10 years, would I want my opponent to see this information? If the answer is no, then do not post it. Never post content in the heat of the moment, as you might regret it later on.” When it is publicly known that, six years ago, Mark Zuckerberg said that the users of Facebook were “dumb fucks” because they trusted him with their data, this advice will not fall on deaf ears.

$780,000: The Price of Your Virginity

On October 24th, 2012, Catarina Migliorini and Alexander Stepanov sold their virginity on the Internet. The former received $780,000 while her male counterpart got a bid of $3,000. This auction sale was organized by the Australian project Virgins Wanted and sparked controversy between those who consider it an empowerment of women and those who think this is the result of the extreme consumer-driven nature of our society.

Catarina Migliorini, 20 years old, will have her first sexual rapport in exchange for $780,000 with Natsu, a Japanese man, after a month of auction. More precisely, she will receive 90% of that amount and $20,000 for her participation in the Australian Virgins Wanted documentary. Directed by Justin Sisely, the film will follow people who decided to sell their virginity on the eponymous website. To justify her decision, Migliorini claimed that she needed that money to finance her education. Furthermore, she will give a part of it to a Brazilian charity.

On Sweet Briar College’s campus in Virginia, opinions on this matter diverge. Taneal Williams, an 18-year-old student who wants to stay a virgin until marriage, understands what led the young woman to this act: “Education is expensive. There are people who are going to university, and at night, they work in strip-clubs. I totally understand why she’s doing it and I don’t judged her for her decision.” Dr. Rosie Lewis, the president of The Sweet Peas, an association that promotes women’s wellness on SBC campus, is more critical of Migliorini: “It represents the continuing demise of morality. This overt action is bold, and no different than prostitution, which tends to be more covert. […] It is an act of desperation, or attention seeking. Her choice will have everlasting effects that will most likely include ridicule, continuing despair and vulnerability.” While prostitution is defined as having a sexual rapport in exchange for a remuneration, Migliorini does not see it that way: “If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute, just like if you take one amazing photograph it does not automatically make you a photographer.”

For Deborah Durham, professor of anthropology at Sweet Briar College, the issue lies elsewhere: “I’m shocked, but not really, at the producers of the film who coerced the young woman and man through money, and at the audience that delights in the glance into forbidden and bad behaviors.” Taneal Williams adds that “Sex does sell,” but prefers to see the situation as an empowerment of the woman: “There are people nowadays who are losing their virginity to someone that they don’t care about. So, it’s like she’s taking control of it.”

Brent Shea, professor in sociology at Sweet Briar College, goes one step further: “Some sociologists emphasize the sexual agency of women, seeing involvement in sex work as a choice that an adult woman can make, and would even support decriminalizing it. […] Women in traditional patriarchal societies are subservient to their fathers and husbands, making this woman’s behavior highly transgressive of gender-specific social norms in some countries.”

This may be one of the reasons why the focus is not on Alexander Stepanov, a 21-year-old Russian who also sold his virginity on the website. He got $3,000 from Nene B., a Brazilian woman. Professor Shea explains this price difference of $770,000: “We still live in a society in which people denigrate sexual inexperience in men.” Moreover, the website provided 32 half-naked pictures of Catarina Migliorini while Alexander Stepanov was represented by 4 pictures of him, fully clothed.

Professor Shea does not believe that this story will affect society: “There are so few men anyplace with $780,000 to spend and fewer yet who would want or even need to spend it in this way. …Also, romantic love still exists as an ideal in our society, making this crassly commercialized coupling appear second rate at best.

For Williams, “There are too many sexual transmissible diseases out there, too many chances of pregnancy.” However, a contract has been made: the meeting will last an hour and will not be taped, they will have to use a condom, and kisses and any kind of propositions are forbidden. Furthermore, they will have to be sober and they will pass a medical and a judiciary control. Catarina Migliorini will have to supply a medical certificate of virginity but for Alexander Stepanov, Nene B. will have to trust only his word.

The teaser of the documentary:


The European Union, Controversial Winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

On October 12th, the European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize causing great controversy. On one hand, the award has been welcomed by people who think the EU did an impressive job at avoiding war on its territory. On the other hand, critics argue the Norwegian Committee should not forget the EU is still struggling with the crisis and the search for a commune identity.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a tradition: almost each year since 1901, the Norwegian Committee awards people or organizations that fight for peace, freedom, and human rights. This year, the European Union received the Prize. As a political and economic partnership within 27 countries of Europe, the EU succeeded in avoiding war on its territory for six decades. Laura Blessing, professor of media and politics at Sweet Briar College, agrees with this decision: “European nations have a Shakespearean history of bloodletting and near-constant warfare. This makes the period of peace with the supranational authority of the EU as historically unusual. They have helped solve a thorny collective action problem. The recent recession and insufficient mechanisms for member states that take risky economic actions have sorely tried the economic ties that bind the EU. But this is almost assuredly why the prize is being given: to register a hope that the EU can endure, and even thrive, despite these recent difficulties.”

But not everybody shares this thought. Looking at the recent events, Carola Haese, a German student at Sweet Briar College, believes that “Other regions would have deserved it more, like the Maghreb”, the region which includes Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. As a reminder, the Tunisian revolution led to the resignation of the ex-President Ben Ali in 2011 followed by democratic elections.

Everything was not perfect for the EU this year. It has been stricken by the economic crisis, and this could restrain its desire to promote fraternity between its countries. The Erasmus program, which makes it easier for students to study abroad, may be cut because of these financial issues.

For Melanie Lower, studying abroad from Spain, at Sweet Briar College, the Prize will not change anything: “People won’t invest more money in the EU because they have the Nobel Prize.” And more, critics see irony in this decision because Norway refused to join the EU twice, after referendums.

This is not the first time the award has led to controversy. Three years ago, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, won the Nobel Peace Prize, ten months after his inauguration. The Committee wanted to recognize his position on nuclear weapons and his speeches advocating peace between Israel and Palestine.

Laura Blessing understands the comparison made with this year’s awarding: “I think both are similar in that they express a hope for future action. But the EU has been a major force for peace for the past 60-something years, and Barack Obama most obviously has not been. I think his winning the prize was politically awkward for a number of people, with Mr. Obama at the top of that list.”

The 10 million Swedish Kronor prize (about 1.5 million dollars) will help the EU’s challenges: to get out of the crisis and to establish itself as an economic superpower, like The United States and China.

Meanwhile, this award has been a trend topic on Twitter since the announcement. The tweetos @OllieRelfe, an English entrepreneur in social networking who is followed by 1,160 people, sees its own interest in this decision: “Seeing as I’m European, perhaps I should now list the Nobel prize on my CV!”

The Norwegian Committee explains its choice here.



The Sweet Tones 2.0

“Sway”, “I won’t give up”, “Shenandoah”, “Anthem”, “Harry”, “ForGood” and “L.O.V.E.”: on the 17th of September, The Sweet Tones, one of the music-oriented tap-clubs of Sweet Briar College, finally revealed the list of its Fall 2012 babies, named after songs. This is a tradition, and this event celebrates the beginning of a year devoted to new challenges for the singing group.

The Sweet Tones is one of the tap-clubs of Sweet Briar College, in Virginia. Their members revisit songs from all generations and interpret them a-capella during public representations. Each year, and sometimes twice a year, new members are recruited to keep the singing group diverse and vocally rich. “I don’t think we had a single person this year who couldn’t have been worked with us,” said Catherine “Crazy” Ramos, the president of The Sweet Tones since late August. And yet, they made their choice.

On the 17th of September, around 10 pm, all the college could hear The Sweet Tones voices through the dorms of the lucky girls who had been “tapped”, which means chosen. The next morning, the names of the newly tapped members were displayed on a huge sheet which was covering Prothro’s windows. Ally “Anthem” Booth, Katherine “Shenendoah” Brown, Emma “Harry” Kiely, Abby “I won’t give up” Knaycar, Djahane “Sway” Paienda, Haley “ForGood” Reeves and Miranda “L.O.V.E.” Tyler are the survivors from the two-week Fall 2012 selection. According to Brittany “All My Loving” Griffith, they will make up for the loss of the graduated ex-members and fill the group with a “new energy”. She remembers how joining The Sweet Tones changed her conception of college life: “It’s easy to meet a lot of people you wouldn’t have necessarily hung out with and that goes for all tap club on the campus. But specifically that, because you have this one connection to music and I feel that music is something that you can really connect with people over different cultures.”

“Sway” Paienda wanted to join them desperately: “I’m passionate about music. I’ve been singing for a long time and I wanted to sing with other people current music and to have a different approach. I’ve never sung a-capella music with several people. ”

This year, 48 students signed up for the auditions, 42 came and sang in front of the members and 14 impressed them enough to be a part of the call-back session. The group was looking for “somebody who fits well with the group, who loves music and then, on top of that, somebody who has got a musical talent,” said “Crazy” Ramos. How can someone make a difference? For “All My Loving” Griffith, preparation is key: “Just picking a song on a day isn’t the best thing to do. But if you have a song that you really love and that you can sing any day in the car, in the shower, wherever you are, just blast it out, go for it! Do that in an audition because a lot of it is personality and owning it.” But the candidates may not have the opportunity to put this advice in practice for a long time: the president announced that there won’t be any auditions next Spring, unlike last year when girls were tapped twice.

As of now, The Sweet Tones are going to focus on their new projects. First of all, the 18 voices want to diversify their songbook by singing more top-40 songs and emphasizing the beat-boxing in their a-capella performances. But the two main surprises of this year are the creation of their website and the launch of a service of singing telegrams. “We are going to start offering that for 5 to 7 dollars, maybe 10 dollars, depending on what you want us to do… And just have that offer to students on campus and to the faculty on campus,” explains “Crazy” Ramos. As their objective is to increase their visibility, Sweet Briar College better be ready to hear more and more from this new generation of music junkies.


This is a photo of Impressive. The main horse who has genetically passed the disease along.


One morning, Caitlin Ryan, owner and manager of Toad Hall Farm, walked out to her barn to to feed the horses. She found Handsome, her old show horse, was having muscle spasms in his hind quarters. She thought that it was odd and that she would keep an eye on it throughout the day. As she did the barn chores she noticed that he has laid down. She went into is stall to make sure that everything was alright. She found that the spasms in his hind quarter were getting for frequent, then he started seizing.  She immediately called the vet because it was very frightening to see a horse go into having a full seizure. They tested him for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis, also known as HYPP.

HYPP is a genetic disorder that has been traced back to a Quarter Horse line called Impressive. This line of horses is known for doing very well in the In Hand and Halter classes. This is a big reason for why people continue to breed them. The breeding industry can be a big business especially if your line of horses is known for doing well in competition. The fact that people are not riding them adds to why it is not been bred out. There is not as big of a risk handling horses with HYPP as there would be if the line was known for a discipline that goes under saddle.

A horse with HYPP has problems with the sodium and potassium levels in their bodies. They can suffer from muscle twitches, excessive yawning and paralysis of the hind quarters as well as the heart, and lungs. The attacks can vary in severity. Some symptoms are unnoticeable but some can lead to sudden death. Not every horse who is HYPP positive shows signs. Some horses never show a sign a day in their life but others drop dead because of the disease.

Diagnosing HYPP by simply observing a horse can be very tricky. Especially when the symptoms are so similar to symptoms of colic. But the disease is very easy to test for, and is very inexpensive. It is only thirty dollars and all you have to do is pull between 20-30 mane hairs with the roots to collect DNA from. Even if a horse carries the recessive gene it can still be affected so it is important to be aware if your horse has it.  A vet from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Dr. Sharon Spier said that any horse related to Impressive should be tested as well as any horse showing any of the symptoms.

Dr. Sharon Spier was apart of a study to investigate how common HYPP throughout the horse population. She found that about four percent of Quarter Horses are affected. In another study sampling 1,000 horses of other breeds not just Quarter Horses it was most frequent among Quarter Horses with Impressive bloodlines.

According to the Equine Veterinary Journal there was a experiment conducted on nine horses who were homozygous for HYPP. Each horse had episodes where there were abnormal respiratory stertor which caused them to make a honking or rattling sound.  Five of the nine had issues swallowing and 3 and out of the nine showed significant wait loss. One of the horses in the experiment was a stallion who they found to be infertile. Six out of the nine either died or had to be euthanized before the experiment was over. And all of those six horses were less than five some as young as twenty months. The other three did survive until the end of the study.

They also tested the difference between the homozygous and heterozygous carriers of this disease. They found that in the homozygous the symptoms were much more severe. At the end of the study they determined that HYPP is inherited as a co-dominant genetic disorder. This means that 25% of foals coming from a Sire and Dam that are both heterozygous would produce a homozygous offspring.

They are making some headway in the ability to manage HYPP attacks. There are many good dieting instructions that help avoid attacks from happening.  One thing is to stay away from foods with high potassium, this helps their levels stay low and gives them less of a reason to get out of hand. Also avoiding food and or water depravation is key.  Staying away from general anesthesia as much as possible is helpful. Exercise and frequent feeding keeps the body moving and processing. “I believe that it is important to know if your horse has HYPP because if you are riding them and they have a seizure you could be injured as well,” said Alison Hornbaker.

According to Dr. Spier it is not likely for a horse with HYPP to have an attack while being ridden. She does say that only very experienced horsemen who are aware of the symptoms should ride affect horses.

Alison Hornbaker, class of 2015 said, “a friend of mine had a horse who was HYPP positive and would show symptoms if and when he was being worked really hard in the heat. He would break out into hives and then he would have mild seizures. You could only tell by looking in his eyes and because he would stop and stare off.” Each horse with HYPP is different and their triggers can vary.

There seems to be a big question as to if breeding horses who have HYPP is ethical. As well as if it is ethical to breed horses who might have it. Is it worth spending the thirty dollars to have the horse tested or not. Some people are asking if it should be mandatory to test for HYPP before you breed.  On the other hand if a breeder were to find out that one of their brood mares or stallions is HYPP positive they could be out a lot more than thirty dollars.

When asked if she thought it was ethical to breed horses who were known to have HYPP Amie Chenault, Stable Manager at Sweet Briar College said via e-mail, “as far as breeding horses who have to show–I can see both sides of that question– because some horses have it and never show a sign a day in their life and then some other have it and have to be euthanized. Also some horses have it and owners know and the symptoms can be handled by the horses diet. So I guess I am 50/50 on the question.”

The Impressive line is known for doing very well in the show ring when entered in Halter and in hand conformation classes. The risk of somebody getting hurt because they were riding them is very small because they do not have to be ridden to show.

Although Louise Goodling, Field Team Coach and Instructor at Sweet Briar College, realizes that she is not an expert and does not want to force an opinion on anybody she said via e-mail,  “Personally I do not believe that breeders should breed animals that carry the HYPP gene or have other known defects or faults. If I was to breed her (Grace) to a Quarter Horse I would make sure he had been tested and did not carry the gene and if you look at paint/app/QH stallions many of them have been tested and advertise that they do not carry the gene.”

The disease was identified in 1985 and there are no regulations when it comes to breeding horses who are carriers.The test was made open to the public in 1992, but not only has the test not been used very often but the frequency of the disease has increased.  Even after vets and vet schools have promoted testing for the disease it is too big of a risk for the breeders. They do not want to lose their nice mares and stallions to a disease that does not cause them too many problems after they sell the foals. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) banned foals that are H/H of being registered on January 1, 2007. This still is not covering all Impressive descendants. The AQHA would like to say similar rulings in Arabian Horse Association, Pinto Horse Association, International Buckskin Horse Association, and the Palomino Horse Breeders. These are all Associations that have horses with HYPP registered.

Many believe that HYPP does not just affect the Quarter Horse industry but the entire Equine Industry throughout the United States. Handsome is not a purebred Quarter horse and Caitlin was not aware that his bloodlines went back to Impressive. Caitlin said in an interview, “I have always known about HYPP but I have had Handsome since he was young but we never did too much research on his bloodlines because he was just a backyard bred horse. I am glad that I know now and at least I can help him with diet.”

The horse industry needs to be educated about HYPP especially if the breeding of affected horses is not stopped. The safety of the horses as well as the owners is at risk until the disease becomes a more common name. The vets are definitely working on a solution and a cure or something to help with the symptoms. Until then the big Associations where most of the horses would be registered are requiring all animals to be tested and if they are positive they will not register them. This is happening in more and more of the Associations which also make the horses less valuable. If a horse can not be registered there is no real way to track where they came from. Headway is being made and hopefully there will be a solution soon.


-Courtney Kockler


link to a video of an HYPP attack

Another video



Apartment Composting

I chose this infographic because it is relatable to those of us living in a Green Village apartment.  My dad is an amazing gardener and we are always saving kitchen scraps to ad to his compost.  I have never thought of being able to compost in an apartment, but this infographic shows it is easy.  The infographic is effective at showing the reader how to make a compost container, by giving details of what you need and step by step instruction to follow.  It also has a diagram of what to put it the compost and what not to put in.    I like the choice of only using three colors the keep it simple and not overwhelm the reader.  It is not overly wordy.  The use of pictures  with short descriptions makes it easy to follow.  The long rectangle shape of the infographic is helpful, because it goes in chronological order of how you would make the compost and then what you need to know next, such as what to put in it.  Tips are given on how to use the compost after it is finished, it would be fun to create compost and use it in potted plants outside an apartment.


Info Graphic Analysis: Pinterest for Business

Pinterest for Business

This info graphic makes the business side of Pinterest easy to understand. As the third most popular social network in the world, businesses cannot underestimate the potential influence of Pinterest. This info graphic makes it clear that Pinterest is growing in users each year and that it generates more than 27% more revenue per click than Facebook. It aso allows businesses to consider advertising on the most popular websites that are sources for Pinterest. Many businesses, such as Madewell, have taken advantage of these facts. Madewell sells clothes and accessories, yet they have incorporated DIY/crafts, recipes, and quotes into their website and blog precisely for the reasons this info graphic states. This info graphic clearly, colorfully, and successfully captures the attention of readers.