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Photo Collage by Roman Voytko Barrosse

There’s a problem in our country and it’s not going away on its own. We need to take decisive and consistent action in every county, parish, town, and city. No matter what part of the political spectrum you fall on, we can all agree on one thing: every single one of us deserves the right to have a say in how our country is run. Our country should be run by all of us, not just those with enough money to control everything.

The following is a list of party-neutral demands that we, as Americans who believe in democracy, must see instituted by any means at our disposal. Every part of this platform is designed specifically to allow the people to govern themselves, as was intended by the founders of this nation: government of the people, by the people. …


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Photo Collage by Roman Voytko Barrosse.

Several years ago, my mother’s cat caught a field mouse in our yard. As was his custom, he leaped onto the window sill of the family room to let me know he wanted to come in. I immediately noticed the limp body of the mouse dangling from his maw and began calling for him to put that thing down before he’d be allowed inside. Apparently he understood and dropped the flaccid creature on the pavement before looking back up at me for approval. As I went to open the door, the field mouse suddenly sprang to life and shot across the patio into a pile of dead leaves. The cat gave chase but to no avail. The family and I got a good laugh out of the whole thing. Of course, it makes sense that the mouse would play dead. In fact, research indicates that this reaction is a reflex that allows an animal a chance to survive when escape isn’t an option and fighting would lead to further attacks. …


Read This First.

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Photo Collage by Roman Voytko Barrosse (2018)

I’ve been a voter for ten years. My first-ever ballot was cast for President Barack Obama back in 2008. Admittedly, I’ve not been the most careful or consistent voter. I’ve missed out on a lot local elections in these last ten years — and that’s not a good thing. I’ve gotten better, though, and I’ve never operated under the false premise that voting doesn’t matter or that not voting is somehow righteous and puts me above the system. I have met far too many people who refuse, for these and myriad other reasons, refuse to vote.

I will absolutely grant that there are legitimate obstacles to getting to the polls. Election Day should be a Federal Holiday, but isn’t. Election Day shouldn’t still be held on a Tuesday, but is. Felons should not lose the right to vote, but do. Many people are forced to make an abhorrent choice between voting and putting food on the table. Other eligible are actively being disenfranchised by corrupt politicians who rely on low voter turnout to win. This article is not addressed to those who cannot vote. It’s addressed to those of you who make the conscious choice to forgo your civic duty or who insist on throwing away your vote on a third-party candidate. …


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Photo Collage by Roman Voytko Barrosse (2018).

Nota Bene: I understand that there are economic and logistical implications to living green. Not everyone can do this. Because of this, I want to go out of my way to specifically note simple, affordable ways to apply these concepts.

When it comes to technology, we tend to look forward rather than back. Oftentimes, this leads to creative bursts of genius, leaving behind old habits or traditions for newer, better ideas. This same philosophy, however, can sometimes blind us to perfectly viable solutions because of the stigma against everything old-fashioned. After all, how can it be progress if it comes from the past? Never mind that many of the technologies we take for granted today (cups, knives, stairs, or bread) are millennia old and still work perfectly well. …


The New Feudalism

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Photo-collage by Roman Voytko Barrosse.

My little sister just recently got her first job. She’s planning on working part-time as she begins her college studies. This morning, she texted me saying “I’m tired.” Immediately, I began to type out a response of “welcome to adulthood,” but I couldn’t manage to hit send. I was staring at the screen and just thinking to myself… Wait, what?

Why was that my gut reaction to someone being tired — and basically expressing that they didn’t really want to go to work? Most days, I don’t really want to go to work, either.

I suppose it’s a learned response. The internet is chock full of memes where people joke about the “realities” of being an adult. Even before the internet era, there have been countless films, comics, television series, songs, and more dedicated to this premise. …


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Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox

To be frank, the title of this article is a little click-bait-y. Love, Simon was a fantastic, heart-warming film that I watched for the first time earlier this evening. If you came here expecting me to be a homophobe or some kind of self-hating gay, you’re going to be disappointed.

The truth is, I don’t watch gay films because it hurts too much. That might not surprise you. A lot of these films deal with the difficult topics of homophobic parents or an unforgiving world. That’s not what hurts to watch, though. At least, it’s not the reason I can’t handle these films. What I can’t deal with are the happy endings. I can’t handle seeing a happy gay couple. …


An Open Letter to Straight People

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Image Copyright Roman Voytko Barrose, 2018.

So, here’s the thing: I like going to gay bars. As a gay man, this is one of the few places where I feel that I can truly be myself and let it all hang out. That being said, I’ve noticed a phenomenon that seems to have only become more prominent since I made my debut on the gay scene about five years ago. I like to call it a “safari”. What’s a safari, you may ask? …


A Discussion of Gilead, Serena Joy, and White Feminism

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Image courtesy of Hulu.

Author’s Note: This article contains major spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale up to and including the season two finale.

Serena Joy in Hulu’s hit re-telling of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 speculative fiction novel The Handmaid’s Tale is a hard cookie to crack. She veers wildly between sympathetic and monstrous. Serena is clearly a victim of Gilead — as are all the women in the story — yet she was instrumental in its creation.

As we saw in season one episode “A Woman’s Place”, Serena is a capable, intelligent, and passionate woman. She seems to find the new order of things acceptable — after all, she helped write the laws that banned women from reading. These and other restrictions on women seem to have been influenced by her cultural activism and the eponymous book she wrote. …


How a pair of animated robots reveal our gender biases

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Photo: William Tung via flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Pixar’s 2008 animated sci-fi film WALL-E about a little robot tasked with cleaning up an over-polluted, dystopian earth has several overt messages and themes. Most obviously, it warns against rampant consumerism, ecological devastation, and the complacency of society. Yet, ten years after its release, it carries a different, more obscure message: the way in which we construct gender.

There is still a great amount of debate as to whether or not gender is different from sex. Those who say they are different claim that while sex is dictated by the composition of sexual organs, gender is a social construct built on those differences in sex . In other words, we are born male or female, but we learn to be men and women. …

About

Roman Voytko Barrosse

Marriage and Family Therapy Intern. Millenial third-culture kid with a penchant for Pop Culture. Queer and proud!

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