The Oberlin Review

Misogyny Played Pivotal Role in Election

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

November 11, 2016

I did not expect this election to make me cry. I expected my cynicism to protect me in a jaded, painless bubble that denied the horrifying reality of a non-Clinton outcome. This election has made clear a variety of truths about the previously unspoken, but nevertheless present, assumptions and prejudices that exist in the U.S.: the racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and any and all phobias of those who are not white, straight or middle-class. I want to focus on misogyny, and particularly how it applies to white women — not because it is the most vital aspect of this election, but because this is my group, my demographic. My county in Pennsylvania went red. I live with and have grown up with white women who b...

Over-Militarization Causes Gun Violence

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

September 16, 2016

Gun control measures have historically been enforced by racist laws that have been used to explicitly discriminate against marginalized people, as Josh Ashkinaze pointed out in his Sept. 9 Review article “Progressives Should Oppose Gun Control.” He calls it “deeply ironic” that “progressives” support a movement with such a past, but his proposed solutions of wariness, the creation of federal gun registry and use of “smart gun” technology are inadequate and obscure the reality of homicidal gun use in the U.S. Being wary of the methods by which laws are implemented is logical and necessary due to the reality of police brutality, but caution should not hinder efforts to create real and substantive anti-...

Blame Monsanto, not GMO Technology

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

May 6, 2016

By now, it’s commonplace to hear diehard Oberlin food justice activists, and even mainstream Americans, talk about the agricultural company Monsanto with anger and hatred. Its name has become synonymous with “genetically modified organisms,” and the term GMO has come to signify “harmful” in the minds of many because the produce is believed to be nutritionally inferior or even dangerous to organic varieties. Unfortunately, Monsanto’s corporate malevolence has tainted a form of technology that is not inherently harmful — like anything else, it’s how you use it that matters. Genetically modified foods have the potential to be grown sustainably and to vastly improve people’s lives, but not if they ar...

Blind Faith in Medical Establishment Harms Patients

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

April 29, 2016

I will remember my second year at Oberlin as a saga of losing faith in all the institutions and forms of authority I once trusted. I may have arrived at this particular realization late, but the harm that occurs in the U.S. medical system, and by the doctors that make up this system, seems exceptionally harsh and reprehensible. Whenever you see a headline about a new medical study telling you how to live or how to not get cancer or diabetes or heart disease, there is an implied understanding that because these findings are coming from doctors, they are indisputable. I have always been able to trust doctors implicitly since they are the ones that have saved few of my family members’ lives But I might have been an ...

Sanders’ Stance on Guns Hypocritical

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

April 23, 2016

If there is one word I have been using with growing bitterness this semester, it is “systemic” — systemic harm, systemic injustice, systemic oppression. I feel disgust almost every time I hear the word because systemic injustice is so entrenched in our society. Another zealous user of the word “systemic” is Bernie Sanders. The Democratic presidential nominee is guilty of criticizing systems. He has explained at conventions and debates about how “the system is rigged” for those who are not billionaires. This rhetoric is something I can get behind, but I can’t support his policy positions that do not heed this rhetoric. Sanders’ stance on gun control is where the discrepancy between his defaming of a...

Consumers Should Consider Going Vegetarian

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

April 15, 2016

When you think about the current state of the world, sometimes you can only conclude that humans are particularly good at being particularly awful. One aspect of our society that leads to this way of thinking is our domestic livestock system and the animals that are forced to live and die within it for the purposes of human consumption. Obviously, objecting to animals being eaten on moral and ethical grounds is not a new argument and critiques of the U.S. food system and its multiple injustices are becoming more and more mainstream with the increasing popularity of organic, local, cruelty-free or free-range food. Of course, this is Oberlin — I’ve never been in a place with such a high concentration of vegetar...

Office of Disability Services Should Improve Access to Emotional Support Animals

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

February 26, 2016

Editor’s note: This article discusses ableism. Hazel the hamster lives in Johnson House. Her furry presence is loved by many. She leads a life of comfort and ease and she creates a vitally important atmosphere of happiness and stability for her owner, College first-year Eliana Zuckerman. Hazel is an emotional support animal, allowed on campus by a Housing Accommodation obtained and approved by a committee who reviewed Zuckerman’s particular request only after receiving confirmation from the Office of Disabilities Services of Zuckerman’s registered documented disability, which was itself verified by a letter and signature from a licensed therapist. Hazel’s arrival required quite a lot of paperwork. The l...

Privilege Means Choosing Silence

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

September 25, 2015

To speak has always been a political act. The urge to protect one’s right to speak, the most basic method of communication — in a way the most intimate, most direct route from your mind to another’s — is inherently understandable and incontestable. The unwavering belief in this right is part of what has been driving the ever-growing number of think-pieces criticizing colleges and students for the “policing” of free speech and the prevalence of “politically correct” speech that is beginning to dominate certain campuses. This examination of the politics of speech is needed, but not when the goal is exclusively to find the weaknesses in our liberal arts schooling. The politics of speech, of who gets to ...

Students Should Acknowledge Ethical Downsides of Coffee

Chloe Vassot, Columnist

March 6, 2015

On college campuses across the country, and especially at Oberlin, you can be sure of coming across that ever-present couple: the student and the coffee cup. Whether you prefer DeCafé or Slow Train, add a heap of sugar or take it black, coffee is often a polarizing topic — but not, I’ll argue, for the right reasons. There are generally two opposing opinions on this ubiquitous beverage: One either loves it with an almost unsettling fervency, arguing passionately that it is a daily necessity, or rejects it as an unnecessary stimulant, taking the supposed moral high ground of caffeine abstinence. (As someone who admits a dependence on espresso beans for general daily functioning, I stand firmly in the former...

In Wake of Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech for Some

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

February 6, 2015

For obvious and grim reasons, January was a difficult month for France. Thinking about the massacre at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Jan. 7, and the complex and heated reactions that followed, has made my mind run in confused circles. The recent attacks revealed many contentious problems France has faced as a country. But perhaps no issue is as delicate as what many perceive as the hypocrisy in France’s laws regarding freedom of speech and expression. France is not America. There is no First Amendment that guarantees a near-absolute right to verbal liberty. French laws draw complicated lines around what types of speech are permissible, and hate speech directed against individuals or groups based ...

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