Work, School, Bateman Team, Mother

BY: STACIE BORGES

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“Oh gosh, where do I even begin?” says Cheyenne Goguen, when asked how she balances her busy life. Cheyenne is a senior at Cal State Long Beach and will be earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. Amidst the busy lifestyle Cheyenne leads with work, school and being a single mother to her 2-year-old daughter, Goguen took on yet another load of being a member of the Bateman team. She represented CSULB in the national Bateman Case Study Competition.

“I wanted to gain hands on experience with running a campaign entirely from start to finish on my own. I had an internship previous to Bateman and I loved it, but they only let me do so much as an intern so I thought Bateman was a good segway into ‘real life’ public relations work.”

The Bateman Case Study Competition is PRSSA’s premier national case study competition for public relations students around the nation. The competition gives students a chance to apply classroom education and internship experiences in order to implement a full public relations campaign.

Every year, a select group of public relations students represent CSULB in the national competition. This year the Bateman Competition partnered with Home Matters to raise awareness about the serious consequences of poor quality housing and to engage communities in steps to help Home Matters take action. The CSULB team created the campaign, “Rethink Home,” which received an honorable mention.

We all know how demanding and rigorous college courses can be, especially when dealing with work, let alone participating in a national competition, but Goguen also has another huge responsibility on her hands; raising her 2-year-old daughter, Paisley.

“It was hard going back to school after I had Paisley, but I knew I had to get through it in order to give my daughter the life she deserves. Balancing raising a child along with school and work is tough and sometimes I would have to give up time with Paisley in order to finish research for Bateman, but I knew it would look good on my resume and help my career in the long run.”

Between all of her responsibilities, Goguen finds time when she can to stay on track with school.

“Basically any break I have in between classes, I’m doing any homework and studying as much as I can. I try to get ahead of assignments just because I never know what can come up with Paisley. I’m a single mom so I don’t have the luxury of having someone help me if she’s sick or can’t sleep. I never have a day off, which is hard.”

Not many students have to face the struggles of parenthood while still in college, but Goguen says she finds the silver lining in her hectic life when she spends time with her daughter.

“I tried on my cap and gown the other night so Paisley could see it and she said, ‘Mommy, you beautiful!’ and I started to cry because I realized that little things like that remind me of why I am sacrificing all of my time with her right now. My main priority is to give her a good life. Having a child is the purest love I have ever known; everything I do in my life is for her.”

U.S. Open Season on Morality

BY: JON ANDRINO

In 2006, Orange County’s Huntington Beach officially became Surf City in the U.S.A. For two years, Huntington had been in a protracted legal battle with Santa Cruz, another California surf town, for official recognition as the nation’s surf capital. Two years ago, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing made headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. On the evening of the final day, the crowd erupted into riot: breaking store windows, tearing down street signs, slamming into storefronts and tipping porta-potties. This forced change to regulations by authorities; eliminating concerts, less vendors on the beach and increasing security, to safeguard the event after the riots in 2013.

Everyone’s behavior was web-based; attention seeking. Drunken teens dress down to the barely anything, painting themselves with obscene slurs all across their bodies. “Free Hugs”, “Kiss Me”,

“Spank Me”, and some even as obscene as “Enter Here”. Unfortunately, most of the spray painted advocates were young teenage girls—typically with a group of friends painted just like one another.

According to Huntington Beach residents the taboo of the U.S. Open’s body painting parades originated a few years back, when booths, particularly Skull Candy, spray painted their logos onto patrons.

“It then turned into people painting hand prints across their bodies, It just dominoed from the stencil,” said Jessie Akroush, Manager at the famous Jack’s Surfboard shop on Main St., an HB resident and coincidentally a Long Beach State 49er.

In 2013, according to authorities, after arresting a thief from Jack’s Surf shop, as authorities walked out with the culprit, a group of patrons gathered around in havoc. Akroush remembers having to barricade the shop for safety.

With the music, skatepark, celebrity draw ins (in the water and shoreside) and constant surf heats, it’s more of a festival than it is a contest, one intended to highlight the message that has been marketed to countless kids by the surf industry over the last few decades: rebellion and youth are cool, so come on down to Huntington and get rowdy.

“It used to be about surfing; people came out for [surfer’s] autographs,” said Akroush. “Then it turned into a party—literally everyone [is] drunk.”

The teenage-public-make-out-and-ass-slapping frenzy of the US Open hasn't changed much since the 2013 riot. The fans raved about the vendors and drinking, however, since the riot, no vendors are allowed.

But none of the competitors received so much as an afterthought. When asked by Jeremy

Searle, when interviewing patrons of the 2014 Open, for a recap on Inertia, an online publication—none of the interviewees knew a surfer’s name.

In his online recap, which went viral, young teenage girls—painted as described previously—were eager to jump in front of a camera. The entire group, underage, and all dressed down

alike, not only showboat their “femininity”, but allow and encourage the groping.

Rebecca Louwbra, a bartender at No’ Ka Oi, a local bar off Main St., describes the trend as disgusting.

“I’ve seen marijuana plants painted on 12-year-olds,” said Louwbra.

“They have full on make-up; I mean, full fledge, make-up. You can’t even tell that they’re 12.”

Can you feel bad for their parents? Maybe, if we knew where they were.

The resided feeling that most residents radiated: the Open is not a day care to just dump your kids off at. The beach is not a babysitter.

Although there are bars up and down Main St., an attraction for many of the attendees is drinking on the beach.

A large percentage of the people in attendance are younger, so they can’t enter the local bars anyway. Aside from the Open, the local bars, restaurants and shops are a major contributor to the appeal HB’s leisurely beach city already has.

The split between demographics builds animosity between residents and visitors. Many of the regulars at No’ Ka Oi, in particular, are older—contrastingly, the Open brings in waves of the underage, trouble seeking demographic that brings distraught to the city.

According to Louwbra, her establishment cannot serve bottled beer at the outside patio, because during the 2013 riot, people threw beer bottles at the policemen.

Both Akroush and Louwbra share the common belief that the U.S. Open draws in good and bad activity for the community, but that outsiders don’t respect the city and are the ones to trash it.

After responding abruptly about the US Open: “I hate it,” an employee at a shop on the pier asked to remain anonymous…because bad mouthing the Open could be bad for business…

Goes to show the draw-in of people, capabilities and how financially supplementing the event can and truly is for the city.

However, last year slowed down—wearily regulated and secured weightily. Police bodies

multiplied and security was maximized. More on-horse policeman came out than previously for better crowd control. The regulations preventing vendors and live music were a large component for the smaller turn out as well.

Last year in 2014, HBPD created a Mountain Unit consisting of a sergeant and three officers on horses. Whether or not it specifically was created because of the Open’s riot is unsure, but it was a factor.

“We made $16,000 in 2013 [even with the riot]. In 2014 we closed out with $10,000,” said Louwbra.

Granted, even with all the trouble behind the Open….

“One thing's for sure—you have to show up early with so many people coming into town. We had one of our busboys park off 17th for work that day,” said Louwbra.

To help visualize the amount of people—that’s 17 blocks from Main St..

James Larson, a veteran lifeguard at Huntington Beach, worked the U.S. Open the day of the riot in 2013. From the watch tower, Larson coordinated patrons from danger only to see that the danger wasn’t in the water.

“The beach is condensed with too many people during the Open,” said Larson. “It’s filled with outsiders who don’t care about the city or respect the sport.”

The significant difference, according to Larson, from the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Opens, was the amount of security. Ambassadors, as Public Information Officer Marllatt of the Huntington Beach Police Department, called the yellow-shirted security guards that checked bags and helped tame crowd control. HBPD called upon a third-party-security-agency for beachside reinforcement.

The guards all wear a brightly highlighted yellow t-shirt, with “security” screen printed on the back, for easy recognition. A good call by HBPD; scaling down the event and adding more security.

“Scaling down the event—no skating, vendors, music—brought it back to a surf contest. There’s no incentive to come down after,” said Marllatt regarding a rebellious youth. “When you have to scale down large events, you can’t always control alcohol on the beach.”

But that’s why there are more beachside ambassadors.

Still, it’s not illegal for girls to paint themselves or to write words across their bodies. Yet, when that drunk old man or loitering transient takes up the offer and smacks the young girl right where the instructions on her back say to, we have mom coming back upset, explained the Public Information Officer.

However, that’s the issue. It’s either parents are naive to what the U.S. Open entails shoreside, or their kids slip away without ever mentioning where they’re at.

“I’m sure they don’t jump out the cars in a g-string…just like they have vodka in gatorade bottles…they’re covered up,” said officer Marllatt.

“They’re [the parents]  lucky to pick up a sober kid at the end of the day; usually they’ll get a call from us—telling them that their kid is drunk.”

After things quieted down in 2013, the event organizers issued a statement via Facebook:

“We’re extremely disappointed and saddened by the disturbance that occurred up on Main St. after the close of the US Open of Surfing. We work tirelessly with City staff, police, fire and other agencies to ensure a safe environment for all. We appreciate the quick response of HBPD and are awaiting further information.”

If you want to see surfing at its most beautiful, go someplace remote like Indonesia. If you want to see surfing at its most dangerous, head to Hawaii or a desolate island off the coast—probably somewhere outside of the United States. But if you want to see surfing at its most mass-consumed, head to the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.

Trans* Life

BY: ROCIO BRENA

As a child, Yuliana used to play with the neighborhood kids. She remembers distinctly this little boy that all the girls liked: he had the bike and the cool stuff, so he was the coolest kid. When they played house, he would always want to be the dad and he would always want Yuliana to be the mom. But as they grew older, he started distancing himself from her. Why was he not coming out to play as he used to? Something clicked in her mind. Yuliana knew her friend liked cisgender girls. “Oh, ok,” she thought. “This is what it means to be a boy. This feels weird.” Yuliana was born with a male body. She dressed up in shorts and boy shirts, and her family treated her like a boy, but being feminine was natural to her. Like many others, Yuliana didn’t come across the term “transgender” until later on in her life, and she identified as such in her sophomore year in high school. She was lucky to have a smooth transition and always have the support of her grandmother. However, this is not the case for all trans* individuals.

For a long time, trans* men and women like Yuliana have been marginalized. Fortunately, 2014 marked a difference in the trans* community’s visibility and recognition. And although some achievements have been made, there are still a lot of challenges to overcome in the coming years.

The road so far

Trans* characters have shown up in our screens more often than ever this year. Television shows like Orange is the New Black or Transparent have depicted transgender characters, without falling into the classic clichés.

“I’m excited and happy that they are beginning to show us as who we are,” said Yuliana.

Transgender teenagers have gained a valuable role model in Jazz Jennings. The 14-year-old has been in the spotlight since her family appeared on 20/20 and The Rosie Show speaking about their transgender child when she was six. The fact that trans* youth have someone to look up to is key, but it hasn’t always been like this.

“Trans youth have a variety of struggles to work through and first is self-acceptance,” said Joel Gemino, Youth Services Manager at the LGBT Center of Long Beach, who works as a counselor in several trans* youth groups. “For many, it’s very difficult to fully accept and love who they are. Much of this stems from discrimination and oppression they experience in their communities.”

Perhaps even more important was the passing of several laws that grant transgender individuals long-awaited rights. The California School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266) “gave trans students the right to access facilities and activities that match their gender identity,” explained Gemino.

In other states and countries, however, the law continues to prohibit transgender people to use the bathrooms they feel comfortable in. In March 2015, the ban provoked a viral social media campaign called #wejustneedtopee and the demand for what were popularly known as “Bathroom Laws”.

Other major legal progress includes the U.S. Department of Education announcing that Title IX applies to gender identity, and the Affordable Care Act, which gives transgender individuals access to medication to complete their transitioning.

The striving ahead

The trans* community has hit important milestones in 2014, though there is still a lot to do. And rest assured, the community is determined to make the most out of this momentum.

One of the major struggles trans* individuals face is popular misconceptions. There is a huge gap in knowledge dividing outsiders and the trans* community itself. Gender and sexual orientation are frequently confused, almost as often as trans* people are mistaken for drag queen performers.

“People think transgender individuals are just men in dresses,” said Yuliana. “They think we’re confused or that we’re gay men who got out of control.”

Both Yuliana and Gemino agree that the community needs more protection from discrimination in housing, employment, and education on a national level. Even though many states already have laws that prevent discrimination on a gender basis, there is no way to guarantee they are being enforced. Other states are less lucky, and haven’t even contemplated legislating in favor of transgender people.

Therapy and medical access are also main concerns.

“I think the main reason why all states don’t have hormone treatments covered is for moral or personal beliefs,” Yuliana explained. “And it’s really frustrating, because they are imposing those beliefs onto thousands of trans people whose lives depend on this. Some people really want this, to the point where they commit suicide for not looking a certain way.”

So what can I do?

When Yuliana decided to come out to her mother, she wrote a letter. She felt that if she said it out loud, her voice would crack, she would start crying, and she wouldn’t be able to get her point across. They both sat in the dining room of their home while her mother read it. When she put the paper down, there was a tense silence.

“That’s scary,” her mother said.

Yuliana’s heart broke a little.

“Huh?”

“That’s scary. You want to call yourself transgender? Do you know what transgender people go through? I don’t want that for you.” But eventually, she concluded: “You’re my child and I will love you no matter what.”

As for the rest of us, take this suggestion from Joel Gemino: “Educate yourselves! Make sure your workplaces have protections for trans individuals. Educate others. Do not be passive in your support, but active and visible. And mostly, the crux of a good ally is to listen!”

The Coitus Confusion: Thrusting through America’s Inconsistencies in Sex Ed

BY: BROOKE BECHER

The light switches flipped down. Polite hellos welcomed fifth-grade daughters and their mothers as they filed in pairs into the cold cafeteria. A faint, Clorox sting emanated from the eggshell-white asylum’s tile floor, perhaps a gesture to impress the school’s guests. Their male counterparts herded into the library alongside their fathers like cattle. A dad’s hand reached out for his son’s shoulder as a sign of support, his firm grip flushing blushed cheeks.

In just one thin stream of projected light displaying the forecast that is puberty, everything changed.

As if a goodie bag full of tampons and deodorant could curve the vex of mom’s avoidant glances. As if awkward giggles watching a condom violate a banana was going to restore any recess-minded innocence.

We all remember the school board’s attempt at teaching us a thing or two about “the birds and the bees.”

Or do we?

“At best, maybe you get to learn about the condom on the banana or the cucumber kind of thing,” Dr. Shira Tarrant, an author and associate professor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Cal State Long Beach, said.

The third-wave feminist has spoken out and written four books on gender, sex and politics. Her latest installment, “New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics and the Law,” will be releasing this summer.

“Mostly my students said that they learned about STIs and the whole ‘This Could Happen to You’ lecture [in elementary school],” the political scientist continued. “Knowing about condoms is important. Knowing about STI’s is important—but that’s like the bare minimum.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 22 states and the District of Columbia require public school to even approach the subject of sex education as of April 2015. Two of the states mentioned leave instruction on HIV out of the curriculum and up to students to unearth, most likely on a curiosity-induced Google search.

But simply defining what “sex education” is seems to be the gateway to America’s coitus confusion.

The California Department of Education’s interpretation allows for the “knowledge and skills necessary to protect his or her health from unintended pregnancy or STDs” and the encouragement of students “to develop healthy attitudes” on topics like body image, dating and sexual orientation.

In Texas, sex education courses aren’t required.

For these southern adolescents, sex-related education is served in the form of an Abstinence Education Program provided by the Department of State Health Services.

A worksheet distributed in the Canyon Independent School District of Canyon, Texas encourages students to “stay like a new toothbrush, wrapped up and unused,” setting non-virgins on the same shelf with undesirable chewed pieces of gum, according to the Huffington Post.

“What we’re generically calling sex is penis-in-vagina intercourse; that’s a really limited conversation,” Tarrant said. “We’re only talking about heterosexual intercourse. I don’t know how we can call that sex education. We’re not talking about a full variety of sexual activities—it’s a rip off. ”

And of the 33 states that mandate HIV education, 13 of them only implement the know-how of sexually transmitted disease, exempting basic sex education from legal guidelines.

“Sex education has to truly go beyond just some punctual conversation about condoms and about STIs; we really need to be talking about sexual pleasure, sexual consent, sexual assault,” Tarrant said. “[We need to revamp the curriculum] so that we’re … talking to everybody in the room about what consent looks and sounds like so that the responsibility doesn’t fall on women.”

Even for states that provide sex education, only 13 of them require that the information given in sex education courses be medically and factually accurate, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Fast forward to last Thursday, where you’re smashed in the back of a pickup truck for a third-date, backseat tryst. Hands are everywhere. Clothes are everywhere.

As fingers glide between spread thighs and chests kiss with each lunge of the hips, your brain begins to purge red flags.

Do they have a condom? Do I have a condom? Have they been tested? I wonder how many people they’ve slept with. Is this safe? Should we wait? Is this what I want?

“The more we know ourselves and our own lives,” Tarrant said. “The more clearly we can understand what we want to consent to and what we do not want to consent to.”

When the lesson plan involves “clitoris-y tests” and analyzing pornography with your pants on amongst your peers, creating an honest, safe environment is key, Tarrant explained. Regardless of the age and in-tune with comfort levels, she believes that kids should start learning about sex once they start asking.

“If we’re not having those conversations [while] feeling supported, then we’re sending people out with these expectations that people magically know how to have great sex,” Tarrant said. “There are so many advantages [to being sexually aware:] Sexual health. Knowing oneself. Safer sex. Not to mention having a full, wonderful, robust and pleasurable sex life.”

  1. Cris Battaglia

Junior, kinesiology major

“Parents-wise—my parents never really told me anything about that. We had to take a class in fifth grade and watch a video. Then we had to take a mandatory health class in ninth grade. Other than that, it was just like basic health, not like anything aside from that. I honestly didn’t know what sex was until sixth grade when I watched that video, which is weird, I know.

I went to a Catholic school, so they put us in separate rooms. They got like goodie bags with tampons and a piece of candy, and we got nothing.”

  1. Sarah Davis

Senior, creative writing

“I learned in school but even before school I was kind of introduced to it through abuse, so I kind of knew about that. So by the time I was in 7th grade and they taught us about sex, I kind of already knew. It was very surprising to me. I didn’t know what was happening. It’s very sudden when you’re abused especially at a young age, as a child because you don’t know anything about that.”

  1. Jennie o’Rourke

Senior, creative writing

“I used to hear my parents knock every Sunday morning.

I think it was in fifth or sixth grade health class. There’s a difference though. There’s the existence of sex and the application of it. They taught us minorly about reproduction, but they kept the [boys and girls] separate. They didn’t have the slide picture of the schlong until the sixth grade. We learned about periods and like secondary sexual growth, like growing of breasts, widening of hips and growing pubic hair. In sixth grade, they talked about what intercourse is and what it actually means. My teacher had us all in the room together and said, “Alright guys, let’s say it all together, ‘penis, penis, penis, penis, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina’ Get all your laughs out now, because it’s a real thing and it’s really not that funny of a word.””

  1. Justine VanMaanen

Senior, rhetoric composition

“Well I caught my dad watching porn and I was really young, I was probably like six, or seven. That was my first introduction to it so it was kind of overwhelming. I have older siblings, so I learned from them as well before having a health class. They’re just like four to five years older.

He was in the living room and it was night time. We were all supposed to be in bed. I came out and I kind of hid behind the chair and watched a little bit of it and then I was just like, grossed out and went back in my room. I just kind of snuck out. This was too much. Then I found a video underneath the couch, with a cover. ”

  1. Zaira Gomez

Freshman, marine biology

“It’s probably from TV, because my parents often watched telenovelas. I never watched those kind of scenes. I would kind of know what was happening. I remember specifically, like in the Titanic, I never saw him actually drawing her naked or whatever until I was in school. They were always like, “you need to close your eyes!” It was always things like that. I never saw it, but I always had an idea of what was happening because my parents wouldn’t let me see it.”

  1. Elisabeth Gory

Sophomore, communications studies

“I learned about sex mainly from movies and TV shows but also kind of just talking with friends when you’re talking about life stuff. I still don’t talk about sex with [my siblings].”

  1. Dustin Figueroa

5th year, mechanical engineering

“I had ‘the Talk.’ I had it with my mom, which was interesting. I have no idea how young I was, old enough to remember unfortunately. She sat me down in the living room and I just remember the diagram. It wasn’t like insert here, it was like female and ovaries and then … everything else. I was freaking out.”

  1. Lance Biddulph

Senior, philosophy

“Not at all. I never really paid a lot of attention to it. After coming to college and mentioning what you said, being separated from women, why was that the case?  I never really cared. I was never much of a “cooties-boy” but I think it wasn’t until high school. In high school, I took a college-level health course and that’s when I was kind of like, “Oh ... well that’s cool.” I don’t know [how it took so long to learn about sex education]. I grew up in a family full of women. Maybe it’s because women just don’t stress it. Maybe if I grew up with way more men or a father, then maybe it would be different. If people would say that they had a crush on someone, it was just funny. I never really thought they meant anything more by it. So, I actually got a legitimate education in it, because I actually took a class that taught it! I guess I was kind of lucky I went so many years without experimenting

Sex and Beyond

BY: RONNA WHITE

“When I grow up, I want to be a hooker,” is not the typical goal that you would expect from a young child, let alone a conservative mormon girl. Yet, Laurie Bennett-Cook repeatedly said just that. She remembers always wanting to be a hooker when she was growing up. The thought of getting to get all dolled up each day seemed extraordinarily glamorous to her and the fact that people would pay her tons of money just to spend time with her was appealing.

Sex and one’s sexuality were never discussed in her home due to her family’s strict religious values, yet she always felt highly sexual even from a young age. Her indecent thoughts went against everything her religion stood for, which caused her to have a daily internal battle between her natural human desires and her faith.

Bennett-Cook was not sexually promiscuous until the age of 16 when she lost her virginity to the man she would marry soon after. From the ages of 17 to 33, she raised four children as a stay-at-home mom before she started craving a more exciting and liberating life.

Her marriage with her first husband was falling apart and she knew that his strict religious values would make it almost impossible to divorce him, so she had to take serious action.

She met a guy from work, who is now her current husband, whom she slept with. Sleeping with him was one of the most eye-opening experiences she has ever encountered.

“Having sex with him woke something up in me because it was the first time that I had sex with someone just for my pleasure and fun,” said Bennett-Cook. “It was not because we were making love or making a family or that we were married.”

Although she felt liberated about the experience, she knew that it would crush her soon to be ex-husband. He tried shaming her by telling everyone what she had done, but the experience was well worth the small repercussions that followed.

Although her previous marriage ended, her relationship with her current husband slowly started to move forward. They moved in together and later got married. He lived an alternative lifestyle and made it very clear from the beginning that he did not want to be sexually monogamous. She was not very serious about the idea after living the lifestyle that she lived for so many years, but soon she realized how monogamous they could be emotionally yet still have experiences of their own.

Her sexual adventures began while at a motorcycle rally when she jokingly went up to a Mustang Ranch booth, which is a well-known brothel, and asked if they were hiring. To her surprise they told her they were looking for someone just like her: a more mature and distinguished woman. She sat on the idea for about a year and did extensive research on the subject.

The following year she returned to the same rally and she was whisked away by the same lady for an interview. The whole situation was a shock to her.

“I remembering thinking ‘I can’t believe I just got interviewed to be a hooker,’” Bennett-Cook says.

The opportunity to explore her own sexuality and the world of sex workers was right in front of her and she knew she had to take it or she would regret it. So she took two weeks off of work and went to the ranch. She learned so much about herself and other people.

“It was the most honest and rewarding work I had ever done,” she says.

Her husband was very supportive and open with her since they both agreed on a freedom-based sexual lifestyle. Her being a sex worker did not bother him at all because he knew that what she was doing was benefiting so many people.

“When I would hear her stories, I would just be so proud of what she was doing,” he said. “She was making other people feel good about themselves. As I work in a field that helps people, I understood and could relate. Even though it was somewhat different.”

Her favorite memory from working at the ranch was when an 80-something-year-old man had her completely undress with the exception of a pair of red stilettos. He chose the music and he proceeded to teach her his favorite dance steps.

“We spent the better part of the afternoon laughing,” she said. “There was me stumbling and tripping over my own feet - genuinely trying to get it right, and he being kind and charming and smiling patiently.”

By the end of the afternoon she thanked him and began to lead him out when he paused and tears welled up in his eyes. He hugged her and said, “Thank you. I have waited over 60 years to re-live that memory.” This experience made her cry and genuinely touched her soul. “This is why so many of us do the work we do,” she says.

She started working at the ranch week on, week off but it soon began to feel like work. She was neglecting her husband and his sexual needs, yet he was still supportive. She soon realized that she had moved on from this experience and was ready for something new.

She went back to school for sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. While attending school she worked at the LGBT center in Chico as an outreach mediator and HIV tester and counselor. She also worked as a sex educator in public high schools as well as colleges.

People enjoyed talking to her and getting her expert advice and counseling so much that she opened a small office and started her own practice. She ran groups in her office for dominants and submissives as well as polyamorous people since there were not any other outlets for them.

She moved to the Long Beach area in July of 2014 and has continued to practice being a sex enabler and surrogate, which means she uses her body as a model and tool to help others overcome either their sexual pasts or to explore their fantasies and desires.

Paula Richer, a good friend of Bennett-Cook’s, said, “because she is bisexual she has the ability to use herself as a model and prop for these suffering individuals to help them heal themselves sexually. In my opinion her work is extremely important and we need hundreds and thousands more like her that are willing to help people.”

She plans to eventually open up her own personal office in Long Beach but for now she is very happy being a sex therapist, sex educator, and surrogate for those that need her skills and gentle nature.

Being able to explore and purposely expose herself to a variety of sexual situations that our society finds controversial has helped shape her into who she is today. She has shown that when you are so hungry for information and first hand experiences on a certain subject or lifestyle, you will completely immerse yourself in every situation to gain a greater understanding. Exploring her sexuality has not only transformed her life but she found her true calling as a sexologist where she is helping those that truly need it.

Communality through Music

BY: MADDIE SOWA

“You? You go to raves?” My manager questioned as I told her I need a weekend off in June to go to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Semi-offended by her question, I simply asked what she meant. “Well, you know, you just don’t look or act like someone who goes to festivals or raves,” she said.

This got me thinking. What makes someone look like they go to raves? It seems to me that today people of all genders, races, and ages can be seen at these festivals. The diversity of people at these events is even known to be more vibrant than the music and atmosphere itself. Perhaps this is what intrigues people so much about the festival craze sweeping the globe.

With hundreds of events to choose from no one can deny the increase in popularity among today’s festivals. Festivals like Coachella, EDC, Outside Lands, Stagecoach, and Ultra are just a few of the most populated events to ever take place in the United States.

This year alone, the infamous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio California sold out for both weekends in a record 40 minutes, and is projected to surpass last year’s gross income of $78 million.

These festivals are gaining rapid attention outside of the United States as well. For instance, the Donauinselfest Festival in Austria became the largest festival in the world in 2013 with a whopping 3 million attendees. For three days this festival attracts people from all corners of the globe with its moving theme of cultural acceptance and love.

Though what originally attracts the extreme array of people may differ, at the heart of it they all share a common interest: to let loose in a judgement-free zone with good music and cool people. Once a place known for it’s sketchy drug scene, raves have become less about drugs and more about the experience. Many people around the world partake in these music festivals to de-stress from their hectic ordinary life.

No longer are raves filled with ecstasy-crazed teenagers, but just ordinary people looking for a quick escape from their day to day routine. Business and professional people alike are even giving the festival scene a chance.

The significant increase in attendance at festivals could be due to the recent spike in the popularity of electronic dance music, the number of young adults in attendance, or even different variables like mental health and stress.

With economic and political problems being so prevalent in our country, stress is consequently at an all time high as well. American Psychological Association reported that 44 percent of Americans have reported that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. If not treated stress can eventually start to cause severe problems to your physical body as well as deteriorate your mental health. Though common ways to relieve stress include activities like exercise and taking time off to relax many simply lack the means or time to do those activities.

With travel expenses costing upwards of a thousand dollars and the cost of living increasing, people can no longer afford to travel and get away like they used to. Even if one can afford the cost of a vacation, the chances of them being able to miss multiple days of work are likely slim. This is partially why raves are becoming more and more popular with this group of professional people. For a reasonable cost and minimal time commitment overly stressed individuals can relax and forget about their worries.

This reason is also why festivals and raves have become such a hit with college students. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 80 percent of college students said that they frequently experience daily stress. Cal State Long Beach student Danielle Robinson says, “So much is expected from students now a days. We have to make school a priority in order to graduate, yet at the same time we have to make time for work, family, friends, and just life in general.”

Since most festivals occur annually, they have become something for students to look forward to.

“It helps me get through my midterms knowing that I’ll be at Stagecoach in a few weeks,” Robinson explains. “Though I go to Insomniac events like Escape from Wonderland and Beyond, Stagecoach is definitely my favorite. The people are all still super friendly like at raves, but the music and overall atmosphere is unlike any other festival.”

Other students, like finance major Marco Passaquindici, not only attend these festivals but have turned them into profit. Applying what he learned in school, Passaquindici and partners have started a new era of camelbak backpacks called Vibedration.

“At these festivals water is on such high demand, these backpacks eliminate the cost of water bottles and cut the time spent at the water fill stations,” says Passaquindici.

A huge hit in the festival scene, Vibedration has even caught the eye of Insomniac, the largest EDM event company in the world. So much money is made off of these festivals, students are starting to realize that the benefits can be much greater than just stress release.

With hundreds of genres of music to choose from, it’s no wonder why so many festivals have emerged over the recent years. With options ranging from country to even folk music, there is a festival for everyone. Along with different types of music, themed raves are also becoming popular. For instance, Rave of Thrones which is themed after the popular Game of Thrones just finished its first world tour.

All this variety in the world of festivals has definitely helped their popularity over the recent years. People all over the world have submerged themselves in this new festival culture and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Whether you like EDM or not, festivals have proven to be a great place to have fun and let loose from all the stresses of daily life.

Rate My Worth

BY: RAVEN PFISTER

Rate My Professor. The bane of my (and presumably every other professor’s) existence. The place where students can unabashedly bash us with no fear of recourse because they have the protection of anonymity. To me, students’ ratings are like flipping someone off in your car, except much worse for the recipient of the gesture because the middle finger never goes down on RMP. The ratings cannot be deleted or modified by professors; they can be reported to RMP administrators and removed if they violate posting guidelines, but those determinations are only made by RMP. Professors can respond to ratings, but that just seems childish, especially since our responses aren’t anonymous (unless we create fake student accounts, which some disgruntled profs have been known to do, but I digress). Seriously though, is it really that bad for professors? Do they even care? Shouldn’t they stop whining and suck it up? Well, it depends on who you ask… According to a recent study analyzing data from 14 million student reviews on RMP, female identified professors were more likely to be rated on their appearance and/or personality, whereas male identified professors were more likely to be rated on their skills and/or intelligence. On the negative end of the spectrum, female professors were commonly described as bossy, annoying, ugly, frumpy, disorganized, playing favorites, strict, demanding, or rude, while typical positive terms were: helpful, nice, role model, nurturing, and stylish. And how is being stylish relevant to one’s professorial skills again? Anyway, for male professors, common positive terms included: smart, brilliant, intellect, knowledgeable, awesome, a star, the best professor, and genius (for the latter label men outranked women in every discipline). As for negative descriptors for men…not so much. Men only outranked women for one negative term—demanding—and they only did so in five of the 25 disciplines on RMP (women beat men in the other 20 disciplines). For all other negative terms in all disciplines, women…for the win? Perhaps a slight silver lining: both women and men were about equally likely to be labeled as lazy, tough or easy, distracted or inspiring. So there’s that.

Other studies have also shown apparent student biases against female professors. Last month, the New York Times reported that when instructors graded and returned assignments to students in the same amount of time, students rated female professors as less prompt than their male counterparts. As if negative reviews about academically relevant issues aren’t enough, women are also more frequently rated on their attractiveness or lack thereof. Just last January, Vice Dean Adam Scales at Rutgers School of Law admonished students for their “wildly inappropriate and adolescent” comments about a female professor’s appearance that, according to him, would almost never be directed at a male. Scales continued: “…after a lifetime of hearing these stories [from women], I know [sexism] when I see it. Anyone who doubts this would find it instructive to stop by and ask any one of our female professors about this and similar dynamics.” Well Dean Scales, I took your challenge (on a small scale…no pun intended) and this is what I found.

Female professors from multiple disciplines at various schools frequently said they don’t read, or they try not to read their RMP reviews primarily because of fear (or knowledge from having read them before) that they will be negative. Negative ratings are seemingly even more worrisome for women whose jobs are not secure (i.e., non tenure track), because if negative RMP reviews are echoed in official evaluations, their job performance may be questioned. Some female colleagues mentioned anxiety, particularly about appearance related ratings. Others discussed the triviality of the “hot pepper,” but also expressed glee (albeit sarcastic) at having one or more. It’s a sad state of affairs when women have to worry about pleasing the “male gaze” in addition to all of the other responsibilities that come with being a professor. The men I talked with didn’t have many appearance concerns or much anxiety about RMP at all, which makes sense considering the relative infrequency of their negative ratings as compared with women.

From my personal experience, when I was younger, more fashionable, and arguably more attractive, my ratings were more positive than they are now, yet often unrelated to the quality of my work. Gone are the days of the hot pepper for me, and I would say good riddance except the evaluations I get now, especially the negative ones, are also typically unrelated to my teaching abilities. Generally, students who rate me negatively seem not to like me or my personality and they usually assume I don’t like them. Typically those assumptions correlate closely with grade complaints. Students label me a “hard grader” or say how well they do in all of their other classes, so it must be my fault that they didn’t get an A. They also regularly pin their poor performance on their perceptions of my feminist values, claiming, “it’s not my fault I don’t use gender neutral language,” or one of my personal favorites, “she’s an extreme feminist, so she’s biased.” Hmm…maybe I should stop burning my bras on the first day of class…nah.

In all seriousness though, RMP ratings reflect broad (mostly unconscious) biases in the US. Generally, people think more highly of men than they do women and men tend to be praised for the same qualities that women are criticized for. This phenomenon is not limited to RMP. Last month, The NY Times reported that in the office “a man who doesn’t help is busy; a woman is selfish.” And in a recent study of employee performance reviews at 248 tech companies, women, unsurprisingly, were much more likely to receive critical feedback than men, being described as abrasive, aggressive, and emotional.

Some may argue that men are just more qualified or better at what they do. But I would ask those folks, “who created the qualifications or definitions of better or worse?” The truth is, we’ve come a long way in the US in terms of equalizing the playing field in very overt and visible ways (e.g., voting and property rights, Title IX, etc.), but at the end of the day, the things that we currently label “standard” or “normal” or “good” (and their opposites) were at some point assigned those labels by human beings. Of course the creators of language, and by extension, knowledge, assigned the more positive labels to themselves…duh! But last time I checked, it’s 2015. Not all women are nurturing, maternal, emotional, and traditionally attractive and not all men are assertive, aggressive, authoritative, and forceful, nor should they be expected to be. If women or men don’t live up to these socially constructed “standards” we should not judge them as better or worse for it. If a woman is assertive, it doesn’t mean she’s bossy or a bitch. If a man is emotional, it doesn’t mean he’s a wimp or any less of a man. If women or men don’t meet traditional and somewhat antiquated expectations, perhaps we should consider changing our expectations instead of trying to force people into boxes that they’ve long since escaped.

So to get back to the original question of whether professors should just suck it up and get over it: on the individual level, perhaps, especially for women. It is probably better for their health, esteem, and overall well being to ignore RMP altogether because the negative reviews will continue as long as the site exists. But whether we should just get over it as a society is a whole different question, and to that, my answer is an unequivocal: NO. The gendered ratings on RMP are indicative of a much bigger structural problem in our culture. Whether individual people loathe women and femininity is up for debate, but the loathing our culture harbors for women and femininity, especially through our language practices, is crystal clear. We live in a society where in nearly all culturally valued arenas, women are considered less worthy than men. When only 20% of congress and fewer than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, we can no longer treat double standards as individual issues. Women can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they don’t have any boots. The logical first step is to change our language practices, which will lead to changes in how people think. Words unsaid can eventually become unthought, and we as a society will never even come close to being equal unless we change our language to match the dynamism and multitudes of identities that exist in our world.

To be an Epithet of Achievement

BY: ANDRE K. CRENSHAW JR.

If you are currently or were a student at California State University of Long Beach, you know how rigorous the college lifestyle can be. Especially when you have to find the balance between academics, work, personal life and extracurricular activities. CSULB Alumnus Kevin Jackson, Esq. can attest to this lifestyle. “I was at CSULB to go to school, so school came first," Jackson said. "I would sacrifice work, extracurricular activities and personal and social events if I had to, for school.”

Jackson graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice and was actively involved on the CSULB campus during his undergraduate career. His extracurricular involvement in CSULB Law Society, Student African American Brotherhood and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. acted as an outlet from his coursework.

Jackson’s involvements with the Epsilon Kappa of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. lead him to coordinating an annual toy drive for children in the greater Los An­geles Area.

“Extracurricular activities look good on a resume. The more orgs you are involved in, the greater your network is. Down the line, you are connected with so many people achieving so much.”

College can also challenge students to overcome obstacles from time to time. During Jackson’s first year he received poor grades, but he buckled down, prioritized school and was rewarded for his efforts by graduating with honors.

“I sacrificed everything for school because it was my priority. I had a part time job, but I sacrificed hours if I needed to study. This, in turn, affected the things I could afford and the things I wanted to do.”

Before attending law school, Jackson successfully completed legal internships with NBCUniversal, the Oakland Raiders, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. He also served as an extern to the Honorable Patricia M. Schnegg, the Supervising Judge of the Los Angeles Criminal Courts.

In 2014, Jackson graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where he received Academic Honors during all three years of attendance and earned CALI Awards for Excellence in Legal Research & Writing I, Legal Research & Writing II, and Civil Procedure.

When asked, “What does achievement mean to you?”

Jackson said, “Achievement to me is a personal assessment of your actions. It is setting personal goals and standards for you, and completing those goals while abiding by those standards. Someone telling you that you have achieved feels good, but only you can judge whether you have done so because you are the creator of the goals and standards that you set for yourself.”

For students pursuing those degrees, Jackson has advice for you.

“Be selfish, make mistakes and fail, but not your classes! Get back up and try again. Network, get work experience, and most importantly, whatever you choose to do, do it with your best effort!”

HIVE Baseball

BY: JAZMIN ARREOLA

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Seniors graduating this May bleed from their cuticles, biting their nails to the last inch, anticipating what they’ve been rushing for… the UNEMPLOYED LIFE. Dun dun dun! Chad Schug eats Cracker Jacks instead. Chad Schug is a senior history major at Cal State University of Long Beach and an entrepreneur of a baseball glove draw string bag called Hive Baseball. Having played and coached baseball for most of his life, Schug valued his glove like the last golden ticket left. He describes it as a part of you.

“As a player, I’ve always been obsessed with my glove," Schug said, “I didn’t let anyone touch it or put their hand in it. You take care of it like your baby as soon as you buy it. You shape it into whatever shape and when someone puts their hand in my glove, I could feel the difference because my hand is the only one that has been in there.”

For Schug, protecting his glove was something he knew he wanted to make easier not only for himself, but also for his players. He said he’d seen several of the children he coached wrap a ball in their glove to keep the shape and to keep it clean. This is why Schug developed Hive Baseball.

The Hive Baseball bag is a drawstring bag with an ABS plastic shell in which the glove easily slides on to keep the shape of the glove. The bag material is neoprene, the same material that wet suits are made out of. The neoprene grants the bag durability and prevents water from reaching the premises of the glove.

The science of the bag is very simple yet innovative. Not only do baseball players not have to worry about their glove losing its shape, but makes preserving the material 10 times easier. Chad Schug sees baseball as a team and individual sport.

“I like the team aspect, but there is also an individual side too. Every hit that’s thrown to them, the player has to show their individual talents to get the ball where it needs to be for your team.”

Equipment setbacks no longer exist for Chad Schug. His players’ true potential as a team player can now be measured by their abilities and not by their damaged glove.

Hive Baseball aims to develop new backpacks next year that not only protects a player’s glove, but bats and other equipment too.

For more information about Hive Baseball visit www.hivebaseball.com.