Return to “normal” life after COVID
By: Jordan Schmitt, Editor in Chief
With a combined sense of hesitancy and relief, Ohio University students followed the rest of the nation’s attempt to return to life in person this semester. With an urge to vaccinate the population, COVID cases have started to decrease.
It was unsure as to whether our semester would follow through as planned, considering the past two years have not gone as planned, no thanks to the pandemic. Regardless, we powered on and cautiously welcomed old and new faces. VARIANT was thrilled with the amount of interest we received upon recruiting new members. After being confined to our homes and bedrooms, we were relieved to get back to creating in-person. New members and a new executive team, that had not yet collaborated in-person, brought a renewed energy that inspired our work this semester.
In our fall issue, VARIANT wanted to explore a topic new to our readers; something that could be represented in fashion, visually and editorially. We chose the concept of Patterns.
In fashion, patterns are a simple staple. The repetition of lines and shapes come together to create bold prints. We experimented with mismatching patterns in different looks for the issue. Kayla Edwards, our talented Head of Styling who is the face behind the cohesive looks this season, explains how to stylishly clash patterns on page 1. We drew inspiration from avid fashion icon Iris Apfel who is known for her over-the-top eclecticism, page 27.
In many instances, the rules of a pattern are meant to be broken. VARIANT seeks to question the patterns that make up our lives and what can happen when you step away from a norm. When patterns of oppression and discrimination are enforced over time, they are strengthened to marginalize certain groups. Patterns of racially-based injustice perpetuate society’s history, while decades of homophobia and transphobia have ingrained biases toward identities outside of the gender binary. Decades of conservatism and sexism have led to a war on reproductive rights, discussed on page 37, in which patterns of legislation restricting abortion have posed serious threats on its accessibility.
We are collectively growing more conscious of the detrimental effects of those patterns, but fully breaking them takes a large amount of time and work. Historically, recognizing injustices leads to speaking out through protest or activism. Writer Halle Dray conducts an interview with an accredited professor of social history and women and gender studies on page 9, who spoke on patterns of activism and its success in speaking out against injustice.
Another way to break patterns of discrimination is through media portrayal. On page 21, Copy Chief Anna Birk analyzes local news coverage and its impact on upholding stereotypes. Through examining coverage in Athens, we see how failing to report on all identities can leave important groups out of the narrative.
There are ways we can enjoy the beauty that patterns create – through music, and fashion and even nature. Life is simply an experience of recurring patterns, whether as reliable as plaid or as unsteady as chevron. As you read the issue, we hope you reflect on how we all perpetuate unhealthy patterns. We hope you love it, and on behalf of the VARIANT team, thank you for supporting student media and creatives.
Editor in Chief