Wellesley Underground

An Alternative Alumnae Magazine for Graduates of Wellesley College
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wellesley college SHampaign 2014!

Thanks to the anon who submitted Laila as our April 2014 Young Alumna of the Month (#YAOTM). Submit your choice for May 2014 YAOTM here.

Laila Alawa is a phenomenal leader, interdisciplinary thinker, and tremendous writer. She has written on issues of feminism and gender inequality, racism and discrimination, and religious pluralism aiming to include marginalized minorities of race, religion, and culture in the national discourse on politics, social welfare, and justice. Through her blog, Coming of Faith, Laila has also demonstrated her innovative approach to understanding and conveying identity, particularly of Muslim women, to the masses. In addition, her work with Unity Productions Foundation and Muslim Public Affairs Council reveal her unwavering dedication to advance Muslim Americans in fields of media, government, and public/social policy. An awesome human being all around!

Domino’s ordering experience has really improved since my Wellesley days


Can’t not reblog Wellesley + Hillary.

(via wellesleymag)

Great poster series on the micro and macro aggressions experienced by Latin@s at Wellesley College. Way to go MEZCLA! We’re proud of you!



Know a awesome Wellesley alumna or sibling who is already making a difference in the world? Forget the Alumnae Achievement Awards, submit your choice for Wellesley Underground’s Young Alumna of the Month (YAOTM). Past YAOTM’s have included a tech wiz, a butcher, a poet, and a tea expert, just to name a few! Send us your choice today!

Focused on my teaching and writing, I was largely unaware of Wellesley’s embrace of anti-Semitism. But a litany of student complaints, providing dismaying evidence of persistent insensitivity – if not blatant discrimination – toward Jews at the college, alerted me. It seemed that anti-Semitism infested virtually every sector of Wellesley life….

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks the battleground for Jews at Wellesley shifted. The president forcefully reminded the Wellesley community to show respect for Muslim students, lest they be held guilty by association with Muslim terrorists. But she said nothing to reassure Jewish students, who encountered malicious allegations, on and off campus, of Israeli responsibility for the terrorist outrages, accompanied by mendacious claims that several thousand Jews, forewarned of the attacks, had not reported for work at the World Trade Center that day.

Many of us alums will remember some of the events Auerbach mentions including on campus controversies surrounding now deceased Professor Tony Martin, the visits by speakers like Angela Davis, Amiri Baraka, and Noni Darwish. Read on and share your thoughts with us here or at wellesleyunderground@gmail.com.


A growing collective of young black feminists is helping to give voice to communities that have long gone unheard and underrepresented. Social media platforms such as Twitter have given this new generation of activists a place to build community, to debate gender and sexual politics, and to use as a springboard for a career. Here’s a list of young black feminists who are making a difference.

Your favorite podcast is honored to have made this list!

This list was written by Diamond Sharp ‘11

(via shepherdsnotsheep)

A few months ago, I saw this photograph furiously circulating around social media. It is of a well-dressed, White woman sitting on top of a chair that is propped up by the thighs of a mannequin. This mannequin lays topless on its back, its arms in long black gloves, with its long legs upright in long, black, platform heeled boots. A small platform with a large black cushion rests on the ass and large squished breasts of the mannequin. This object was created by Norwegian, New York City-based artist, Bjarne Melgaard, and this photograph of Garage Editor-In-Chief Dasha Zhukova, accompanied an editorial published on Buro 24/7. The controversy that surrounds art is what fuels its necessity, because the act of making art is an act of making meaning, and that meaning fuels our existence. That act of artistic production and meaning-making can liberate us, or it can be blatantly destructive and oppressive. In this article, I will argue that this photograph is the latter, and I will elaborate on the importance of evaluating gendered and racial hierarchies reinforced by this image. Later, I will take on the Toni Matelli sculpture, Sleepwalker, at Wellesley.

The Chair both functions as an object and through its mimicry, serves to objectify. When sitting on this chair, the participant is poised to penetrate the bound mannequin below, which is in a sexualized, subservient position. Melgaard states that he is informed by sadomasochism and heavy metal music, and he presents a submissive Black woman as his subject.

In her fabulous essay, Fascinating Fascism (1974), Susan Sontag analyzes how fetishized sadomasochist aesthetics reinforce fascist power dynamics, and why S&M appropriates fascist imagery: “Sadomasochism has always been the furthest reach of the sexual experience: when sex becomes most purely sexual, that is, severed from personhood, from relationships, from love. It should not be surprising that it has become attached to Nazi symbolism in recent years. Never before was the relation of master and slaves so consciously aestheticized… Now there is a master scenario available to everyone. The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.”

In Chair, Melgaard, a white, queer male, manifests violent sexual fantasies on an inanimate sculpture of a Black woman. Her existence as an object of pleasure is marked by the bright make-up on her face, her fit and well-proportioned body, and her voluptuous breasts.

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I’m not a love at first sight person. But I know the moment I realized I wanted to be a sociology professor, and I can pinpoint the moment when it hit me – almost 10 years later, with my PhD nearly in hand – that maybe I could do something else. Maybe I could work at a tech company.

I started with an analogy to love, because, as many people do, I experienced my calling to academia as one might experience love: only one option felt right, exactly right, for me. The summer after my sophomore year at Wellesley, I went to Berlin for a summer seminar and research program. I remember the moment, back at home reading Sartre and Arendt in my parents’ backyard, that I realized a life of reading, writing, and exchanging ideas might be possible for me. I could be a professor. With the support of several Wellesley professors, I pursued that path to the sociology graduate program at Yale.

I was a happy and productive graduate student. Yale awards the same, relatively generous funding to all PhD students. In the absence of financial competition among students and the financial pressures of larger cities, a spirit of collegiality and a pleasant atmosphere prevailed in New Haven. I liked my cohort. I liked my friends. My advisors read my work and actively supported my intellectual and professional development. During the first four years of my graduate program, I published three papers and co-edited a book with two of my advisors.

I decided to enter the job market early. “Early” in the academic sphere means that I had spent 4 years in graduate school when I decided to apply for jobs. This is where the love I felt for the academy began to sour. Academia and I, we could have stuck with it: making compromises, downgrading expectations. We might have made it through the rough patch just fine, and be better now than ever. But I don’t know how I might have turned out as a professor, because I broke off from that path.

I took a job at a tech company.

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WU writer and contributor Diamond Sharp ‘11 writes about her journey and struggle with bi-polar disorder. We applaud her for her bravery, for sharing her story, and being an inspiration to all of us that deal with mental illness.


Thanks to Kate Ciurej ‘08 (@katecbrown) for submitting Serena as March 2014 YAOTM!

Serena Wales ‘09 continues to inspire me in the ways she combines her technical skills and entrepreneurial drive to build new tools to help governments engage their citizens. After graduating with a degree in Media Arts and Sciences in ‘09, Serena spent a couple of years as a programmer at a New York City agency called Purpose, constantly working to improve her coding skills. In 2011, Serena won a Code for America fellowship, and spent the following year building software tools to boost civic engagement. Serena then founded her company, Textizen, where she is now CTO. Textizen helps governments solicit citizen feedback through the simple, ubiquitous means of text messaging. Textizen continues to grow and thrive under Serena’s leadership, and has been used in over 10 cities across the country.


Overwhelmed by how many awesome Wellesley alums you know? Well then nominate them all for Young Alum of the Month on wellesleyunderground!