This is the Spectrum Issue. It is a tool in the opposition of our society’s beloved labels, which place us into rigid categories of sex, sexuality, gender, race, age, and class. You’re either a boy or a girl, straight or gay. White is white, black is black. You’re from the wrong side of the tracks. You are too old for that job, but too young to know about “real life.” You must choose a label, or society will choose one for you. But identity doesn’t work that way. Identity exists within a spectrum. There are no definite lines dividing interests, likes, dislikes, curiosities, ancestry, or emotion. Instead, there are infinite combinations of these factors. A prism filters light into different colors, and through this simple piece of glass, if you look closely, you can see thousands of colors that were not visible before.
With this magazine, we hope to illuminate the endless variety of identities and expose the inequalities that result from suppressing our true selves. We hope to arm our readers with valuable information to free themselves from harmful binaries and labels, and encourage creativity and self expression. Until recently, we didn’t have this prism. We accepted things like catcalls and slut-shaming and rape culture as unchangeable parts of our society. All it took was one documentary about a brave girl in a man’s world, fighting against self-hate and outdated expectations of how women should behave. Our eyes were opened, and we began to see our lives in a different light.
This is what we saw.
*At least one pair of breasts used to sell us something every day, while a photo of our own breasts makes us slutty and breast-feeding in public makes a young mother disgusting.
*Men taught that they aren’t “man enough” if they show any emotion, or choose to be a stay-at-home dad, or can’t get an erection at any given moment.
*Catcalls becoming synonymous with compliments.
*Cops getting away with murder.
*People blaming reverse racism rather than dealing with the reality of racism.
*An Instagram picture of a nipple getting reported and censored, unless it’s labeled as a man’s nipple.
*Our closest friends saying things like “women have a false sense of oppression,” and “the pay gap isn’t real,” and “rape isn’t rape unless the girl is tied down.”
*Plastic surgery encouraged and abortion shamed.
*Entitlement working both ways. Girls who go to bars with an empty wallet and plans to get their drinks paid for all night are no better than the men who think that girls they buy drinks for all night owe them something.
*Schools restricting girls’ clothing instead of teaching boys the importance of sexual consent and respect.
*Rape blamed on the victim’s clothing instead of the rapist.
*Friends telling us that because of our ethnicity and nationality, we have not been “oppressed enough” for our experiences to matter.
*Girls fearing rape while walking alone at night, walking with other girl friends, attending frat parties, going into public restrooms alone, drinking at a bar alone, accepting a drink from someone, going to college.
*Young people committing suicide because they are bullied relentlessly for being overweight, or disowned by their families for being gay, or shamed for being sexually assaulted.
*Jealousy and shit-talking instead of encouragement in the face of insecurity.
*Kathleen Hanna performing “Feels Blind” and Lesley Gore singing “You Don’t Own Me.”
*A man getting arrested for crossing the street because a cop didn’t like his skin color.
*People telling me I live in “the ghetto” when they see any ethnicity other than white in my neighborhood.
If not us, then who?
If not now, when?
It’s a tiring but imperative fight, and we invite you to join us.
If you want your story told, or have any thoughts to share with us please reach out:
or tag us #spectrumissue xoxo
Emily Kenyon and Carrie Riehl