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Since it first reached American readers in 1971, The Bell Jar has become synonymous with feminine sadness. The novel was revolutionary, following a young Esther Greenwood, a misunderstood and depressed girl walking the tightrope between adolescence and adulthood. As she confronts the oppressive norms of femininity, the expectations of womanhood are so taxing as to quite literally drive her crazy.
Weike: Hayao Miyazaki’s newest entry to his glorious filmography bears every hint of a final swan song. It’s a film with a culmination of everything that fascinates Miyazaki: a young boy’s adventure, a parallel reality, and even planes and his obsession with flying. Simultaneously, it’s also a film with ten years in the making, even carrying a title (in Japanese) that begs the most fundamental question of our existence: how do you live? Fiona, how does it feel like to watch The Boy and The Heron in comparison with the other Miyazaki animations?
Going to college in Philly, we're so often bombarded—on social media and IRL—with seemingly endless options for how to spend our free time. So I’m delighted to announce that Street has done the hard part for you: we’ve rounded up what we think are the can’t–miss events for the month in one convenient place. If I’ve done my job right, there’ll be something in here for every one of our readers, no matter what you like to do with your weekends.
Ethereal Bisexual Daughter: "I came out via the Penn Marriage Pact."
It’s late at night, the sky deep purple against the New York City skyline as Hudson University President Nathan Alpert walks home. He’s agitated; criticism has been coming from every direction. The campus is in the midst of mounting tensions between pro–Israel and pro–Palestine advocates. Donors have pulled out funding and student groups are protesting. He’s heading home though, complaining to his wife on the phone over the contents of the day and promised a relaxing night for his troubles. But he pauses mid–sentence, noticing students spray–painting political imagery onto a building. He yells out to them as they disperse and turns to leave. But in that movement, his eyes widen. Out of nowhere, a knife plunges into the president’s body. He falls.
I first dipped my toes into the world of beauty and skincare at the age of nine. As soon as my mom left to run errands, I snuck into her room and planted myself at her magical vanity. With the contents of her makeup bag laid out in front of me, Zoella’s iconic makeup tutorials playing on an iPad mini, and a luxurious black bullet of lipstick in hand, I meticulously applied the scarlet shade to my lips. Armed solely with practice in using Maybelline’s BabyLips, it’s no surprise that the final result was far from ideal—I looked more like Miranda Sings than Red–era Taylor Swift.
That painful and mirthful moment when you look at someone you believe you know intimately, and their face seems inexplicably unfamiliar. You feel like you’ve never really looked at them long enough to notice your eyes' perception, to account for all their subtle nuances. You see them as though they are a stranger, even if they are the dearest thing in the world to you. You feel like only now do you actually understand what they look like. This is what Nan Goldin captures in each of her photographs, she exposes the subtle nuances, the raw human experience. She forces you to stare at things long enough to really see what they look like.
In 1967, Darryl “Cornbread” McCray had a crush. Many modern teenagers would meander endlessly through a tedious talking stage that takes months to see through, but Cornbread had some gargantuan balls. Using a can of spray paint, he began tagging “CORNBREAD LOVES CYNTHIA” around the streets of Philadelphia as a vehicle for his intense feelings. McCray didn’t know it then, his public display of puppy love would be the predecessor for the modern graffiti movement of the likes of Basquiat and Banksy.
How do you untangle your existence from someone you’ve built your life with? It’s especially difficult when, every time you pick up your phone, you look for their notification, hope they posted an Instagram story meant for you, or somehow snuck their way into your profile views. We’re always hoping to see our ex’s name on our screens, but do our expectations end there? Was our relationship dull enough that a story view makes our hearts drop? Or is this just the accepted contemporary alternative to grand gestures and delivered flowers? The hyperconnectivity between us and past relationships through the mediums of the digital age collapses the mystery, drama, and closure that exists in the turbulence of a romantic ending. Break–ups are boring—because it’s simply become too easy to check up on your ex.
Châtelet–Les Halles (1e)
What if Romeo had Snapchat? The soft crooning outside Juliet’s window would cease. Instead of relaying his deepest feelings, “With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls/For stony limits cannot hold love out,” he sends a “u up?” text at 2 a.m.
When it comes to dating decrees, all women know that there’s only one rule that matters: “The bigger the better”—bigger resumes, that is. If you thought dating apps could not get more brutally superficial then you haven’t heard of The League—a dating app catered to students and graduates of elite universities and high–powered professionals. What do all of these students, finance bros, and CEOs have in common? Their big, big … resumes. And the app’s tagline, you ask? “Have you been told that your standards are too high? Keep them that way.”
The hallowed halls of Penn field endless traditions. First years celebrate their first steps on campus with convocation and a boozy New Student Orientation. The next four years get filled to the brim with throwing toast onto the field at football games, Hey Day, U–Night, Spring Fling—you get the picture. And at the end of it all, students commemorate the completion of their college years with a week of festivities that culminates in a grand graduation ceremony.
Have you ever watched a TV show and become so immersed in the characters' stories that you cried for them? Maybe even had a crush on one of them? Humans tend to idealize and identify with many things. As kids we love and care for toys, as teenagers, we become obsessed with fictional characters. The emotions we experience with these lifeless objects and characters can mirror the feelings we have for real individuals. But what if a robotic companion could mean even more to humans? What if we could have sex with robots, or even fall in love with them?
What do a Wattpad story about One Direction, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet all have in common with each other?
The year is 2024. It’s snowing outside, and my carefully curated anthology of media about doomed romance tagged ‘#webweaving’ has just hit 2,000 notes on Tumblr. I’m on my second rewatch of Fleabag, and Andrew Scott is telling Phoebe Waller–Bridge to kneel. I know how this story ends. PWB kneels, and I watch on anyway.
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, it’s time to ask: How do you say “I love you”? Well, other than in those words exactly. A box of chocolate–covered strawberries? A handcrafted card? An all–expenses–paid surprise vacation? (Maybe not that last one if you’re a college student.) If you’re lost, there’s even a very popular theory of five “love languages.” For a time, the mixtape was the pinnacle of thoughtfulness and accessibility in gift–giving. Burning a CD or packing a cassette with songs that perfectly described one’s feelings for their loved one was not only inexpensive but also seen as an art form. Nostalgia for this artifact of the past persists; mixtapes feature even in relatively recent films as a symbol of love. With the rise of music streaming services, it seems the art of the mixtape is dead. But Spotify Blends might be the 2020s’ adaptation of a beloved tradition.
If you’re a Penn student, you’ve probably spent the last few days waiting with bated breath as the congressional hearings about antisemitism on college campuses and Liz Magill’s resignation make top national news. You stalk the The Daily Pennsylvanian Instagram account, and your inbox is flooded with email after email discussing Scott Bok, Magill, Julie Platt, and the state of our campus. This is to be expected after such an unprecedented turn of events. But we didn’t expect our president to be the subject of a Saturday Night Live cold open.
The only thing Shakespeare liked more than naming characters “Antonio” was playing with gender—Portia names herself Balthazar in The Merchant of Venice, Viola names herself Cesario in Twelfth Night, and Rosalind names herself after Zeus’s mythical male consort, Ganymede, in As You Like It. The Globe’s recent production of As You Like It ratchets the show’s gender play and gay undertones up to a hundred with gender–blind casting, a feature that is not only the production’s gimmick, but blended in seamlessly with the themes of the play that I almost forgot not all productions of the show are cast in such a way. Though it has sadly ended its run, one of the most fun things I have done in my time in London was go to The Globe’s As You Like It, and it made me hope for not only more productions that centralize fun, but also more theatergoing experiences that centralize community.