UGH, COLLEGE.

James Devaney

Over the past years of unwilling contact with other humans, I’ve learned (the hard way) of what not to talk about in a conversation, the “conversational taboo” if you will. To the universal list, we know its politics and religion, but did we ever think that Beyonce would enter that list? Unless you’re in a conversation with me, she is not.

In class learning to journalistically write about arts and culture, we were assigned to review Beyonce’s album (which I do on a regular basis anyway as my primary hobby).

In regards to Beyonce’s album, one kid claimed not being able to comfortably watch her music videos because they featured so many themes about “sex.” He then went on to criticize Beyonce for preaching feminist values, which he thought was contradicted by her revealing “too much skin.” So I said, “Who the fuck do you think you are, shithead?” Of course I didn’t say that, and I never would. But I certainly thought it.

He then claimed that women who “believe in feminism” (as if feminism was Santa Claus) should not show skin or be sexy. I then asked, “Why not?” to which he did not respond.

His completely naive and invalid argument, however, was made solely on the basis of personal judgement and stereotype. It is embarrassing that a supposedly educated student is allowed to make such asinine statements.

It turns out, that I would be the only unabashed Beyonce fan in the class and a vocal one at that, but I should not be the only who believes that women should have equal pay and wear La Perla lingerie at the same time. The exchange I had with this other student did not matter that it was about Beyonce, but rather how women are allowed to behave. Let’s just disregard the fact that he was speaking about Beyonce, but he could have had the same opinion or generalization about any woman.

People like this kid still exist.

He then asked, “Is Sasha Fierce her real name?”

Please stop.

HOW (NOT) TO BE PHOTOGENIC | Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium | Your Friend, Jess

If in 1996, brand marketing had existed on social networks, I would have my name ready for monetization. At 3 years old, I knew what I wanted to be (first woman president who lives in outer space), where I wanted to live (Disney World), and most importantly, my signature pose that would be in every photo ever taken. With a camera always in tow, my dad at any moment would say, “Picture! Picture!” and I would look at the camera, prop my right foot on its toes, lean my head, and say “Cheese.” Unfortunately 18 years later, I have lost the ability to find a signature pose, and let’s not even get started with brand marketing.

Why do we travel? For the Instagram. This might as well be the motto for Gen Y. While on my trip to Northern Europe was as picturesque as a Pinterest page, taking my picture was the most important part. Striking a pose, however, is where it’s time to get creative. At least Lena Dunham had advice from Hamish Bowles for her February VOGUE cover. 

So while reviewing my photos from Bruges, Belgium, I couldn’t help but question what my face was thinking. For the split second that the camera snaps a shot, my face either digs deep into subconscious emotions, or sometimes nervously pretends that people are not watching me take a selfie.

As a person who is least qualified to give anyone advice at being photogenic, I can only tell you what NOT to do in front of the camera. Anyway, Instagram’s got enough filters to hide that pimple you forgot to put concealer on. 

Here is what NOT to do in front of a camera:

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Where I Went: City Center of Brugge

What I Ate: Waffles & Hot Chocolate at Venice Corn

What I Wore: Mid-December with 50F means an open peacoat with Doc’s