Molly Wasser ‘09 reflects on her five year Wellesley reunion this past June.


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Short Order Poems is very pleased to welcome Ashley Porras, who will join us in writing commissioned poems at the SOP table during the H & 8th Night Market on July 25.

Ashley Porras or “AP” graduated from Wellesley this May with a degree in History and was Pre-Med. While there, she studied…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Wellesley woman in possession of too much wine and an evening to herself must be in want of a Jane Austen adaptation.

Ah, Austen. Inspiring swoon­-worthy BBC miniseries and horribly misguided art pieces. As divisive of Wellesley alumni as the Sleepwalker statue­­ — you either love her or you hate her. Or you hate love her. Or vice versa.

Personally, the only thing I like better than actual Jane Austen is a bad Austen adaptation, and with Harper Collins’ new Austen Project, there’s more than enough to go around. So many authors have tried valiantly to drag her Regency­era heroines into the 21st century only to realize that modern audiences have much less patience for simpering and empire waistlines. It’s difficult to have a terrible misunderstanding when your heartbroken lass is following Mr. Ferrars on Instagram.

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Check out this awesome piece in by Wellesley alumna and comedienne Ali Barthwell on how white gay men appropriate black womanhood. Go Ali!


(Photo: Janet Mock, Erika Turner, and Wellesley Students in April 2013 for Mock’s panel “Love in QPOC Relationships” with Ryan Holmes and Sebastian Flowers (of bklyn boihood) for Ethos/blackOUT)

In her master bedroom on the first floor of our two story home, my mother sits on her queen sized bed, cast in yellow light, shouting in rage and disbelief to my older sister, who is away at Harvard for her third year of study. In my room on the second floor, I am sitting in the dark, shaking on the edge of my bed with my Nokia flip phone clutched tightly to my chest as I wait for my father to pick up. After several rings, he answers, his deep voice light with the usual delight of hearing his second daughter’s voice. I breathe slowly and say without preamble, “If I told you I was gay, would you still love me?”

“What?” he asks, as if he is unsure he’s heard me correctly.

I take another breath and try again, this time more slowly. “If I was gay, would you still -,” the last words are lost, swept away by a torrent of sobs and choked breaths. It is the winter of 2008, half way through my senior year of high school. In a few weeks, Senator Barack Obama will become the nation’s first black president and Proposition 8 will pass, denying millions of LGBQ-identified Californians the right to marry. I have just been outed to my mother and I do not know if I will have a place to live in the morning.

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Thanks to Tim Chevalier ‘01 (@eassumption) for this month’s submission!

When I was a first-year at Wellesley, I saw the movie “Contact” in Collins Cinema and swooned at Jodie Foster’s romantic portrayal of an astronomer at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Foster played a fictional character — in contrast, Sondy lives the reality. An astrophysics major at Wellesley, Sondy has worked at Arecibo for the past year and a half — in her own words, zapping space rocks and defending the planet. She’s headed off to earn her Ph.D in lunar and planetary science at the University of Arizona, and in between has found time to earn a master’s degree from MIT (where she won two awards for her excellence as a teaching assistant), teach computer science and entrepreneurship in Israel and Ghana, manage the budget for a yacht club, and rescue kittens — all before reaching the age of 30. On top of everything else, she has assiduously documented her travels at

Throughout the ten years that I’ve known her, her fearlessness and dedication to living a life of adventure have set an example for me. Sondy exemplifies the best that a Wellesley alum can be: driven by a desire to discover and share knowledge, while also committed to helping other people develop their own abilities to do the same.

I’m not boycotting Hobby Lobby - hereinafter referred to as Hobby Labia. I’m buying their products, and you can see what I’m making with them at Right now you’ll see some felt vagina-shaped pillows, some stickers, and some sassy cross stitches.

If you come back later you’ll see vagina-shaped makeup bags, coin purses, more cross stitches, hairpins and necklaces with picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, greeting cards, clitoris-themed jewelry, and more. It’s not just me making these things, by the way, a bunch of friends are helping and if you’d like to help too just let me know. If you buy something at my shop, I will donate the profits (and with most of the items that’s 80-90% of the sale price) to Planned Parenthood and the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund. You may be wondering why I don’t just buy my materials elsewhere. First, boycotting for me would not have been an active choice. I wasn’t previously a Hobby Labia customer. Second, like I said before I (and my team) am donating my time, so 80-90% of the purchase price goes to causes that Hobby Labia stands against. That means, for a cross stitch say, I spent a couple bucks - even less - on supplies but since it takes me hours and skill a sale generates $65 for pro-choice causes. Third, it’s not about the money with these people. I’m sure he thought it was in the bag and wouldn’t have made this threat otherwise, but one of the founders said he would close all the stores if they lost the case. I would rather actively subvert their anti-woman, anti-human message, and I hope you will help me defend our rights by buying ho made.

XO, Ferocia LaDyke

My introduction to the strange world of Mr. Waters came at the top of a high school paper. My teacher had compared our writing, horrifying my mother, which was more than enough to spark a long-term fascination with the King of Filth. (See below)

High school in Nebraska provided countless opportunities to roll my eyes and clarify that I liked “the REAL Hairspray" and cultivate a wardrobe as "teenage delinquent" as I could get while still abiding by the dress code (I was alternative, not irrational).

Waters’ books (five so far, plus three photo collections) feature the same quippy lines that make his movies eternally quotable:
"Oh Mary! Oh Holy Trinity! Oh God! It isn’t easy being Divine!" (Mondo Trasho)
"I guess there’s just two kinds of people, Miss Sandstone: MY kind of people, and assholes. It’s rather obvious which category you fit into." (Pink Flamingos)
"Spare me your anatomy." (Female Trouble)

It takes an ex-Catholic to be so deliciously sacrilegious.

But Role Models shows a different side of the man who lives to throw the MPAA grading curve. It’s actually downright sweet.

He fanboys over one of my grandmother’s favorite movies, The Bad Seed:

[Patty McCormack, former child star of the film] thinks the many campy drag queen versions of The Bad Seed that have popped up on the West Coast are funny. I don’t. I think the creators should be in movie prison. The Bad Seed isn’t camp; it’s terrific.
He provides a chapter of recommendations from his 8,000 tome personal collection, and cites Little Richard as his music idol because “Lucille” was the first record he ever shoplifted. 

Waters doesn’t gloss over the convolutions of declaring someone a role model. He openly admits that his admiration of Johnny Mathis stems from Mathis’ incredible, untouchable mainstream appeal. They’re two sides of a coin: Mathis’ Christmas album sold 6 million, Waters’ features “Here Comes Fatty Claus” by Rudolph & The Gang. (Also a song from Alvin & The Chipmunks, but really every holiday album should feature helium-loaded woodland creatures in some capacity.)

He’s also aware that being “bffls with John Waters” opens some doors and closes others—as in the case of Leslie Van Houten, currently serving life in prison for her participation in the Manson murders. What parole jury would be convinced of her rehabilitation when her most frequent visitor is the Pope of Trash? Patricia Hearst has been in his last five movies—does that help? He never goes so far as to break off their friendship for her own good, but the idea that his scandal revelry could damage someone else’s reputation clearly weighs on him.

My favorite section covers some of the more ambiguous heroes, including Lady Zorro, a lesbian stripper from Baltimore’s red light district. 

Zorro was so butch, so scary, so Johnny Cash. No actual stripping for her at that point; she just came out nude and snarled at her fans, “What the fuck are you looking at?” To this day Zorro is my inspiration.
She sounds awesome, right?

Waters learns in her obituary that Zorro had a grown daughter, Eileen, and flies out to see how the Daughter of Zorro turned out. Surprisingly stable, as it happens. But the initial rush of learning that Lady Zorro was a fan of Waters’ work quickly ebbs as he hears more about the woman behind the mask. Lady Zorro’s tumultuous off-stage life meant that Eileen would drive her mother home from bars by age eleven, and would roll joints as a party trick in elementary school. At the same time, Lady Zorro would repeat, “You’re nothing without a college education,” and made sure school was a priority. When her mother was admitted to a mental institution, Eileen maintained perfect attendance at Catholic school and a straight-A average. She was president of her class, and proudly tells Waters that she never asked for help once. He reconciles his love for Lady Zorro’s public persona with her private turmoil, “I realize in her defense that lesbian mothers have the same right to be bad parents as straight ones do.” Fair enough.

How much do you really want to know about the inner workings of your guiding lights? Once you know their darkest secrets—are you required to keep their silence? Do the rules change if they’re trying for parole, or beyond judgement? Should we never speak ill of the dead, in case it tarnishes their legacy? Do their acolytes deserve to know?

Are we still allowed to worship complicated people? Is there any other kind? 

Waters manages to give unflinchingly honest but still adoring portraits of his icons, a rare feat. While I won’t be adopting all of them as my own, it was fun to think of who my role models would be, should I be rich and famous with a book deal. John Waters would definitely get a chapter. Even if his iconic mustache is more pencil than hair.

Five stars, would recommend.

My relationship with computers has been a tumultuous one. Given how they’ve treated me in the past, and how I’ve treated them, I would not have expected to end up writing code for a tech startup, nor would I have expected the job to bridge the gap between my most opposite-seeming interests. I recently completed the NYC Web Development Fellowship, a 5 month long intensive program to learn how to code, run by The Flatiron School. Before the program, if I had told someone I was going to be a Web Developer they would have thought I was kidding.

As a kid I didn’t pay much attention to computers. I always thought I would be an artist. I grew up in an artists cooperative between a Sherwin Williams Paint Factory and a Peets Coffee roasting plant, in a small industrial city in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents and neighbors were all artists and I loved to make things like sock creatures, collages, and cardboard shoes. I saw computers as something completely opposite to the art world in which I lived.

Then middle school happened. I was not cool in middle school; I was probably the only person who never had an AIM. I was also the only one who never finished the typing program in computer class. Typing was my first big falling out with computers and I really wanted to just leave them behind and not look back. But, unfortunately, this was not an option. Computers were always going to be there.

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The meaning of ‘Ulysses’ was always bound up with buying it, owning it, and showing it off, actions that assert the primacy of pleasure—the moral right to experience it—over sanctimony.
Dan Chiasson on Bloomsday and James Joyce’s most celebrated work: (via newyorker)

(via newyorker)

Congrats to Wellesley Alumna Bina Shah, Class of 1993, for winning the Golden Quill Award at the Western Pennsylvania Press Club awards on May 22nd for “Best Continuing Blog Series.” Shah won the award for her column Pakistan Unveiled which is featured in Sampsonia Wayan online magazine in Pittsburgh devoted to freedom of expression for writers all over the world.

Her column, Pakistan Unveiled, presents stories that showcase the Pakistani struggle for freedom of expression, an end to censorship, and a more open and balanced society. She has written about subjects such as the YouTube ban, censorship on the press in Pakistan, the attacks on Shias and Ahmedis and how Pakistani newspapers and textbooks present this state of affairs, the Islamophobia industry, and much more. You can find the archived columns at:

"…even amongst ourselves, feminists don’t talk enough about economics. Too often, discussions about so-called culture problems like abortion access and domestic violence lack the economic context necessary to appreciate their true causes and repercussions. When topics such as the pay gap or workplace discrimination come up, coverage is often superficial and focused on the experiences of a tiny elite. Meanwhile, the economic pressures on women are mounting: as inequality soars, women make up a growing proportion of the long-term unemployed, low-income women lead a growing majority of single-mother households, middle-income women struggle with few social supports, and even the progress being made by high-income women into the executive suites remains glacially slow.”

Working Single Mothers