Dear Ephelia: Record advice column

Ephelia Ephelia

Is it reasonable for me to be grossed out by a cisgender heterosexual man having a VSCO account?

In the words of Judith Butler, “gender is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts.” In this time, having a VSCO account just happens to be a stylized act of femininity — so yeah, your reaction makes sense. Your disgust underscores the rigidity of the gender binary and the way our categories of gender produce normative expectations for others’ behaviors. 

While I accept the performativity of gender and see why disgust is a problematic reaction to a man’s VSCO account, I share your sentiment. VSCO is on my list of things that aren’t for men, next to lowercase letters (self-explanatory), seatbelts (I thought you were supposed to be good drivers), flip-flops (those aren’t for you), and white blood cells (can’t protect yourself, huh?). 

Dear Ephelia, my friend thinks that dance-floor makeouts (colloquially referred to as DFMOs) are not cheating. I think she’s insane, and she thinks I’m being prudish — can you weigh in on this one?

Wow, really tough question! If you are in a committed relationship and you make out with someone else, I think it’s safe to say that’s probably cheating. The dance floor might be a mythical, erotic place, but that’s no excuse. No matter how ~lost in the music~ you might be, you are still responsible for your actions. Sending my thoughts and prayers to your friend’s significant other. Xoxo, Ephelia.

Can I still listen to Kanye? 

Okay, hear me out. Art cannot be financially untethered from the artist, but is there such a thing as ethical consumption? Our sociology-major-in-residence says, “Not under capitalism there isn’t!” Every time we purchase a bar of chocolate, visit a museum, watch a movie with *insert one of several problematic actors, producers, or directors here,* or listen to *insert another problematic musician here,* we are implicitly supporting some kind of exploitation. In light of the recent controversy in which Mr. West finds himself, it might not be the brightest idea to blast Kanye for all to hear when given aux. But listening to Kanye feels like the ethical equivalent of paying to see Warhol’s art or listening to Michael Jackson, which is something people do all the time without much thought.

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