The Aesthetics of Social Impact: Penn Beauty

Most people see the world of cosmetics and efforts to achieve social change as spheres that do not touch. However, Penn students, Via Lim and Chloe Minjoo Kim, prove that the two can thrive when combined. Founders of the newly created club called Penn Beauty, the two freshman have launched their organization with full force, focusing on cosmetics, nail art, hair styling, hygiene, and more.

So far, Lim and Kim have held their first information session and general body meeting, garnering over 20 members, a large amount of interest, and a passionate group of board applicants. After discussion and planning, they’ve organized several proposals for the year that are on par with their mission statement of using beauty as a means to social impact.

To explore the nuances of the Pen Beauty’s mission, I spoke with President, Via Lim, and Vice President, Chloe Minjoo Kim on their project.

Vice President, Chloe Minjoo Kim, and President, Via Lim (credit: Via Lim)


Free Speech in the Age of Social Media

The age of social media is upon us. Everything from news to humor; from advertising to expression and art, is saturated with information and is a forum for an increasingly wide variety of debates and discussions. With the current chaotic sociopolitical climate in the world, people have found that the largest and most accessible way to inform and reach out to people is social media. And what better way to exercise your right to free speech than to use social media?


Taking a Knee with Colin Kaepernick

It has been over a year since Colin Kaepernick first decided to sit down for the national anthem before a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans to protest the ongoing incidents of police brutality against African-Americans. He finally broke headlines after going unnoticed for weeks, when a reporter asked him about the incident after the 49ers’ third preseason game.

When asked about why he chose to remain sitting for the anthem, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Since then, the quarterback has simultaneously drawn support from celebrities and fellow athletes for his actions and become an electric rod for scrutiny in the media for his refusal to stand in reverence of the flag. His critics say he should have kept political issues out of sports, as it sullies the spirit of the game. For many, watching sports is an escape from the complications of everyday life, and his protest is an intrusion into their weekly sanctuary. Others who disapprove argue that he is disrespecting our nation and the soldiers fighting abroad, and his message has admittedly been inconsistent at times. During a training session with the 49ers, Kaepernick showed up with socks portraying pigs in police uniforms, generalizing and insulting officers risking their lives to protect the community. His ill-advised outfit distracted people further away from his primary issue, backfiring and drawing criticism for his offensive depictions of law enforcement officials. In November, Kaepernick dug himself even further into a hole when he declared that he declined to vote in the 2016 Presidential election. For someone who had been so outspoken against civil rights violations in recent months, why would he refuse to exercise his power and responsibility as a citizen to vote? The criticism came long, and it came hard.


In Big Little Lies: Perfection, Policing, and the Patriarchy

The nerve wracking and immensely satisfying finale of HBO’s enthralling mini-series, Big Little Lies, explores the role of perfection in the patriarchy’s policing of women.


A Love/Hate Relationship

The picture above is by Dread Scott, an activist and artist whose chosen mediums include everything from performance to graphic design. This specific piece of artwork is called– not surprisingly – “HATE.” What struck me first was the uncanny resemblance it has to the familiar pop-culture icon we all know and love– the LOVE statue on Locust Walk.


Mix-Up at the Oscars

In these turbulent political times, many have reconsidered the place of high profile awards ceremonies in American culture and society. Few critics, however, seem to note that the Academy Awards has historically operated on a troubling dual message.


Spoken Word Poetry: A Movement of Words

“Calling all poets and visionaries,” read the post on Instagram. It was a Saturday, and my friend and I had taken a trip to New York to explore for the weekend.  She had been scrolling through her feed when she found the post on one of those creative, feminist, empowerment accounts (you know the type). They were having their first spoken word event and they wanted anyone who had a penchant for poetry or opinions to come along.

So, of course, what else do you do on a Saturday night in New York? We navigated our way to a cafe tucked into the side streets of Brooklyn, hidden behind a long green hallway and a door covered in mistletoe. Inside, the air was warm and buzzing. The room was filled with familiar chatter, everyone waiting to listen, perform, and make a temporary space in their lives for spoken word poetry.


Moonlight and the Black Queer Experience


What do you get when you combine queerness, Blackness, teenage love, urban struggle, and tropical weather? You get Moonlight, a film written and directed by Barry Jenkins and inspired by Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.


The Crossroads of Design & Social Impact

“At this point in my career I want to work exclusively on tackling the root causes and complex systems that require an integrated approach to problem solving,” says Robert Fabricant in an interview with Allan Chochinov, Chair of the MFA Design Graduate Program at the School of Visual Arts. Co-founder of the Design Impact Group (DIG) at Dalberg Global Advisors with a persona that is eerily similar to Steve Jobs, Fabricant and fellow co-founder Ravi Chattpar have spearheaded DIG’s efforts at Human Centered Design—an approach to product design that integrates customer feedback throughout the process.


5 Reasons to Ditch Dieting This New Year

New Year, new diet.

The Diet Industry, worth a whopping $200 billion (enough money to eradicate world hunger for 6.6 years) thrives on New Year’s weight loss resolutions. January 1st has become a national detox day. Weigh less, get organized, spend less, fall in love, get a promotion, learn guitar, find more “me” time. Traditionally, each New Year we make resolutions to be our best selves and to make this year better than the last. This year two-thirds of Americans made New Year’s resolutions and weight loss topped the charts.

Before dropping $300 on a 3-Day juice cleanse, here are 5 reasons to reconsider dieting in 2016: