"Someone asked me what home was and all I could think of were the stars on the tip of your tongue, the flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, the ocean echoing inside of your ribcage."
One Direction performs their “Where We Are” tour at the Rose Bowl Stadium - 11.9.14.
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Up in the rice terraces of the Cordillera mountain range of the Philippines live the last few tattooed women of Kalinga. Traditional tattooing is seen as archaic and painful by the younger generations of Kalingas. As an Indigenous group that has successfully fought against colonizing forces, it is losing the practice of traditional tattooing because of the changing perspective of beauty and interpretations of the practice by outside scholars.
Studies on the tradition interpreted the practice to show that men were given tattoos because of brave acts during tribal wars while the women were given tattoos just to decorate their bodies. Men who attempt to get traditional tattoos without acts of bravery are shunned by the community and are now unable to continue the practice without facing criminal charges from the government. Women are unconstrained by the same reasons but are struggling to continue the practice because of the pervasive western interpretations of aesthetics that changed the perceptions of “beauty” in Kalinga. To the women of Kalinga, the batok or the tattoo goes beyond beauty and prestige but it is symbolic of the traditional values of women’s strength and fortitude.
The traditional tattoo is an indigenous body art, an expression of the psychological dimensions of life, health, love and it defines local perceptions of existence. Sadly there is now a decline of the traditional art among indigenous women brought about by the changing perspective of the meaning of the tattoo and its stigmatized practice. It is now considered a vanishing art along with the gatekeepers of the knowledge associated with it.
The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga by Jake Verzosa. Jake Verzosa is a freelance photographer based in Manila.
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WELCOME TO SEA WORLD YOU LITTLE FUCKERS
Columbia student will carry her mattress until her rapist exits school
September 2, 2014
While most students at Columbia University will spend the first day of classes carrying backpacks and books, Emma Sulkowicz will start her semester on Tuesday with a far heavier burden. The senior plans on carrying an extra-long, twin-size mattress across the quad and through each New York City building – to every class, every day – until the man she says raped her moves off campus.
“I was raped in my own bed,” Sulkowicz told me the other day, as she was gearing up to head back to school in this, the year American colleges are finally, supposedly, ready to do something about sexual assault. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police.”
Sulkowicz is one of three women who made complaints to Columbia against the same fellow senior, who was found “not responsible” in all three cases. She alsofiled a police report, but Sulkowicz was treated abysmally – by the cops, and by a Columbia disciplinary panel so uneducated about the scourge of campus violence that one panelist asked how it was possible to be anally raped without lubrication.
So Sulkowicz joined a federal complaint in April over Columbia’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases, and she will will hoist that mattress on her shoulders as part savvy activism, part performance art. “The administration can end the piece, by expelling him,” she says, “or he can, by leaving campus.”
As painful as I know the constant reminder of attending school with her rapist must be, I’m glad she won’t be the only one forced to remember. I hope the rapist drops out immediately…or better yet, I hope he faces the justice he deserves.