Amateur game developers move on from popular gaming engine

Last month’s controversy surrounding the Unity game engine is still having an effect on developers.

Last month, the popular game development engine Unity Technologies and its developers came under scrutiny over their updated revenue share plan. This included setting a price on each download of a developed game, its most controversial change. This quickly sparked a backlash from its users and the online gaming community. 

This announcement, the “Runtime fee,” was a shake-up in the industry. Unity would have started charging creators a share of their profits regardless of their assigned plan. With each download, a creator would be charged 0.20$ at least.

After weeks of deliberation, Unity pulled back on several changes, returning to a status quo similar to the previous iteration with apologies to its users. However, members of the Concordia Game Development Club (CGD) are looking for a change of pace. 

“It kind of made me feel like I had the choice made for me,” said Arevig Nahabedian, a second-year student in computation arts and a member of the CGD. “Unity is the industry standard if you’re getting into game development. Now, I don’t know.”

Nahabedian has been a club member for over a year, but their passion lies more in the arts than programming, as they are often drawing. During CGD-hosted community events, like the game jams, they said their role is often dedicated to managing projects with little coding involved. 

Nahabedian credited Unity’s popularity to its accessibility, being utilized by large companies and amateurs alike. “I just know that there’s a disconnect between most people and larger companies,” Nahabedian explained. “Like, the profits for a potential game are not even in my headspace.”

After Unity’s latest controversy, Nahabedian believed a rift was made between the company and avid game developers, such as Concordia’s club members. Despite Unity nullifying the announced changes, Nahabedian and many of their peers switched to experimenting with other game engines. Among them were free open-source options like Gadot Engine, not bound to any profit incentive.

“This was sort of foreseeable,” Charles Partous, Vice-President of the CGD and second-year student in software engineering, said. “We knew that game engine providers could change the nature of their services. That’s part of the motivation behind me wanting to move away from [Unity].”

The Unity game engine has been a popular method of development since its release in 2005. Along with its contemporary Unreal Engine, it has been operating on a similar business model for the last decade. Both programs are free for the average creative, while bigger developers would have to opt in to their paid programs, which come with unique features. 

Although Partous understood Unity was trying to further market off their product, he believed it to be a misstep. 

“I never put too much faith into unity as a company,” Partous admitted. “It seems that they have lost a lot of goodwill within the community now. A lot of people who previously might have been spending time learning Unity may decide to shift to learning other toolsets and that’s major.”

This shift in the gaming industry is not just shared by developers inside of the game development club. George Mavroeides, a software engineer at Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE) and former club president, believed the controversy’s effect will have further implications in the future. 

“It starts with Unity, but then you have the game studios behind them who are going to be affected,” Mavroeides said. “You have third party software depending on Unity. So if a lot of people leave unity, then they’re going to get affected by the numbers.”

Mavroeides works on the CAE’s graphics team, where he uses similar technology to Unity’s game engine to create flight simulators. He believed the sudden announcement last month was brought on by a loss in revenue. Specifically due to a lack of profit from ads on unity-developed mobile apps, among other factors. 

As someone who was introduced to game development through Unity, Mavroeides remained weary over the future of the industry. He believed amateurs in game development might lose their motivation to pursue the craft if they don’t find alternatives.


I love a sport that doesn’t love me back

Formula One is starting its season with a driver who inappropriately touched a woman in its line-up

Content warning: Sexual harassment

I need to get it off my chest: my favourite sport is going in a direction that I cannot ignore anymore.

As Formula One’s (F1) 2021 season began this past weekend, I am now, more than ever, realizing how it is basically the white, straight man’s sport of honour.

As a woman, being an F1 fan is hard.

Back in 2013, my 16-year-old self was ecstatic when I saw a woman would be in charge of an F1 team for the first time; Claire Williams.

Williams’ Formula One team, however, has not been performing as it once was for the past few years.

Now, many would be quick to associate this downfall with Claire Williams’ promotion; however, the team was doomed to fail since the 1998 Concorde Agreement; a contract which dictates how F1’s television revenues and prize money are distributed, changing the money distribution drastically.

Williams was not even given a fair chance as she was the victim of the glass cliff.

This phenomenon occurs when women in leadership roles, such as company executives or even political candidates, are more likely than men to achieve these positions when the organization is facing crisis or the chance of failure is high.

Williams addressed her struggles linked to sexism and even mentioned how it got worse once she became a mother.

“I have actually had someone say to me that a lot of people in the Formula One paddock think that the team started doing badly when I fell pregnant and had a baby,” she said. “How dare they? There are nine other team principals in F1 and I am sure the majority of them have children. Would you ever level that criticism at them?”

As I grew up trying to find my place as a woman in the sport, I had to endure seeing my only representation in the sport being critiqued all these years for supposedly leading the team to failure.

As a young girl, the only image I had of women in the sport was of its “Grid Girls,” and how conventionally beautiful and useless, for a lack of better word, they were.

Despite their absence today, the image of the paddock remains a playground of sexual advantage that catters to a heterosexual male audience.

As Hazel Southwell, a motorsport journalist, wrote: “Women who work in motor sport warn each other about the predators because they don’t face consequences. I know more women who’ve left the sport after harassment, by far, than men who’ve got even a stern email about doing it.”

This toxic climate was always something I knew of from hearsay, but never actually something I wanted to believe, until Dec. 9, 2020.

Only eight days after Nikita Mazepin was announced as a Haas 2021 driver, he posted a video on his Instagram story where he can be seen groping a woman’s breast.

Mazepin’s list of controversies already included punching another driver in the Formula 3 paddock in 2016, demanding nude pictures from a woman in exchange for paddock tickets, endorsing racist comments, and record-breaking violent driving on the track.

The incident was met with outrage amongst fans, as the hashtag #WeSayNoToMazepin was circulating on social media, and a petition was created demanding the driver face proper correctional measures.

What is frustrating as a woman who enjoys the sport, who has given money to the sport and who would eventually like to work in it, is that the only thing I got was a statement from the Haas Team condemning his actions, but keeping him on board for the ride and saying that “No further comments shall be made.”

The son of a billionaire who will most likely help the sole American team to get out of its financial struggles, Mazepin’s controversy was quite frankly not the groping, but the broadcast of it.

He made an embarrassment of the sport and the Haas team, upset the sponsors and, most intriguingly, opened up the curtain behind the sexism still present in the paddock.

Although I believe that punishing Mazepin for his actions should not be too much to ask for in 2021, I do believe the F1 group and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) should address Mazepin’s case as what it truly is: not an isolated incident.

I am writing this article as McLaren driver and Twitch streamer Lando Norris’ sexist comments during a recent stream have just come out.

Norris can be heard objectifying women as he refers to them as “yours,” “mine,” “that one” and “the nationality one.”

In times dominated by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, where every driver wants to be as fast as him on track and every fan admires him for his performance, maybe the men of F1 should start taking notes on his off-track activism as well.

After years of watching the sport demonize my gender, at the start of the 2021 season, I am left feeling as though I am going back into a toxic relationship. Because the part of me that loves the sport believes it can change for the better.

But will the sport I love ever love me back?


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


Colour Commentary: What’s going on with Mason Rudolph and Myles Garrett

During week 11’s Thursday Night Football game, an ugly incident happened in the dying moments of the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns.

Mason Rudolph was hit by Myles Garrett after he threw a pass. Rudolph was pissed and went after Garrett, tugging on his face mask. Garrett responded by removing Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him in the head with it. If you haven’t seen the video by now, take a look at it. It’s pretty frightening.

Garrett was subsequently suspended indefinitely by the NFL. He appealed the suspension but it was quickly upheld.

In an investigation of the incident, Garrett insisted that Rudolph called him a racial slur which sparked the entire thing in the first place. This claim came about a week after the initial helmet-swinging brawl.

The NFL responded by saying that they found “no such evidence” that supported Garrett’s claim.

I’m going to say this before I give my opinion on the whole situation: I am very well aware that I, a white male, am about to give an opinion on something race-related.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s think critically about this for a second before calling Rudolph a racist.

The NFL mic’s up every quarterback in the league during games to acquire audio for NFL Films purposes. So if Rudolph did in fact utter a racial slur at Garrett, they would be able to track down that audio right away. Garrett said “I know what I heard,” so if he is telling the truth, this is a major problem not only for Rudolph, but the NFL as well; it would seem like they were trying to cover it up

The second part that raises my suspicion of this story is the fact that Garrett came out with this accusation about a week after the incident. What was the thought process here? In my experience as a Jew, if I was faced with any type of anti-semetic comment, I wouldn’t wait a week before telling the world what happened. The second a microphone was placed in front of my face, it would be the first thing that left my mouth.

No one can say for sure what was said between Rudolph and Garrett. Maybe Rudolph did say something. Maybe Garrett is lying. Or maybe Garrett misheard Rudolph.

I won’t come out and call Garrett a liar, but let’s pump the breaks on calling Rudolph a racist for something we aren’t 100 per cent sure he said.


I loved Don Cherry until I knew better

When I was a kid, I looked forward to Saturday nights more than anything else. Not because it was a night off of school followed by a morning where I could sleep in, but because it was Hockey Night in Canada.

When I think of the Saturday nights of my childhood, I think of the couch at my cottage, our TV that only had channel three CBC, my dad having a beer, my brother getting excited about Martin Brodeur’s new goalie pads…and Don Cherry.

Little me enjoyed the funky suits and the loud-mouthed old man who reminded me of my grandpa. Plus, Ron MacLean is kind of a silver fox? I digress. Little me really saw nothing wrong with Don Cherry. I once spent two of the five dollars my mom gave me for my school’s used book fair on a VHS copy of Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em: Volume 2, and “gifted” it back to my family.

But, as time passed, my frontal lobe started to develop. You know, the part of your brain that eventually allows you to foresee the consequences of your actions. Once that happened, it was easy for me to see that the man was problematic. I found myself regularly asking the question, “did he really just say that?” Over time, I came to see that he was completely incapable of calculating the weight of his words, and made absolutely no sense more often than not. Coach’s Corner made a swift change from something I looked forward to every week, to an opportunity to change the channel and catch up on something more interesting during intermission.

I initially wanted to write this article as a sort of “Exhibit A through Z” of instances in which Cherry has said something that made my skin crawl, but honestly, do a Google search and you’ll find a hundred other articles that do just that. So, instead, I’ll just highlight my personal favourite. It isn’t my favourite because it’s funny – in fact, it isn’t funny at all – but it comes to mind because I vividly remember tweeting my frustration at the time, and random men on Twitter replying to me exactly as you’d expect them to.

In 2018, during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, a photo circulated of Canadian women’s hockey player Meghan Agosta, who also worked as a police officer for the Vancouver Police Department. She was posing in uniform in front of her police cruiser; hockey gloves and stick in hand, skates and helmet resting on the hood. During the next airing of Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry pulled up the photo of her on millions of Canadians’ screens and remarked that she looked like a Sports Illustrated model. Nothing about the fact that she was the team’s assistant captain, nothing about the fact that she is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (not to mention her numerous other athletic accomplishments), just the fact that the photo suited his imagination’s needs.

Let’s not forget for a second that we don’t hear about Olympic men’s hockey team players working day jobs – at all – because they’re paid more than adequately for their athletic contributions to the earth and don’t need the extra income.

So, that’s when I knew I was absolutely done with Don. That was almost two years ago. He is brash, inconsiderate, and arguably senile. Sure, he represents Canada, but he hasn’t represented any Canadian values that I care to partake in, in a very long time (he appeared on Fox NewsTucker Carlson Tonight a mere day after his firing, just in case there were any doubts about just how far-right he is). Plus, my dear Ron MacLean was a ticking time bomb with Cherry by his side. I’m actually sad that we never got to see him snap: “Don! Cut the shit, we only have seven minutes! We get it, he’s a good old boy from Southern Ontario!”

Time was up, and Sportsnet did the right thing. There are a plethora of better-spoken former hockey legends out there. Let’s all hang in there, and make Hockey Night in Canada great again, shall we?



Graphic by @joeybruceart


Perspectives on “Brownface,” from a brown-faced person

It is almost starting to feel that in the  #MeToo era, you can’t react quickly enough to any story linked to sexism, harassment, racism, etc – and that’s a good thing. It’s high time that survivors and victims of sexual assault have this safe space where they instantly have trust and public opinion on their side. Even if, in reality, getting an actual recourse of actions against the perpetrators is a little too much to ask. Remember Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey-Ford?

But what has been lost in this knee-jerk reaction, is the time to reflect – before, during, after.  It’s like once the public condemnation has come down, there is little room for anything else. And this is where it becomes dangerous.

The latest, of course, has been the Justin Trudeau brownface debacle. And following the trend that has been set forth, let me firstly make an exaggerated, arm waving, red faced denunciation of his actions. We are talking about the year 2001 here, Mr. Prime Minister – I know it wasn’t the age of woke but it wasn’t even the age of utter disconnect with global discourses. Coming from a political background, one would assume (though why should we?) that you would have been more sensitized to the issues of race, stereotyping and the deep emotions of hurt and abuse that are associated with these actions.

The any-other-colour-except-your-own face has a terrible history. It has been implicit in creating ridicule simply for the sake of laughter and amusement. It is demeaning to those of us whose identities are reduced to our colour only. The revelation of these images has given rise to a great debate about who Trudeau really is. There are accusations of racism, and of course statements of how unfit he is to be the leader of this country. And all of this is justified. We need to be held accountable for our actions.

But here, I want to move beyond Trudeau and this specific incident. I want to take a moment to remember that we are the sum-total of our actions and thoughts. Not one action. Not one thought. The sum-total of all our actions, since the time we are mature enough to make our own decisions to the day we die.

I realize that in such a reactionary world this has become an unpopular opinion, but it is precisely why we need to pay attention to this. One action doesn’t define us, because if that was the case, then I am quite certain that none of us would be free of charge. What’s more, what constitutes right from wrong, socially acceptable behavior, attitude and norms are constantly evolving, as we become more aware of the diversity of identities that exists around us.

We also need to consider at this point whether one action from the past is all it takes to discount the evolution that we might have made as a person since then. Is there no room to recognize that people grow and learn from their mistakes?

Again, I feel I must emphasize here that this doesn’t discount Trudeau whose privileges should have made him more aware of various social considerations.

Moreover, with a highly-charged political environment, these stories have the effect of distracting one from the more serious question. Was brownface stupid? Yes, a hundred times yes. But, is it as worth our attention as much as immigration policy, climate change, the refugee crisis? No. A thousand times no.

Am I positioning one issue above others? No! What I am simply saying is that the tendency of getting swept away in the social media world is far too great, while the current political situation demands that we do just the opposite – that we stay anchored and vigilant. That one individual’s stupidity and lack of sensitization to other people’s identity doesn’t let us become insensitive in return to the impact our lack of attention can have on millions of others.

As a brown person, who because of her student status has no voice in the outcome of the Canadian election, I feel it is critical that we maintain focus on the issues that go beyond this. And yes, one can correctly argue that such incidents pile up to bigger crimes of violence against minorities, which is why we need to move forward now and look out for and work against those greater structures of violence.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Sounds from the shadows: Sasan’s story

Iranian Master’s student finds serenity in electronic and experimental music, regardless of what his home has to say

“They think Iran is just a desert with no culture, no music. They think it’s just politics, but it’s not,” said DSM.

As DSM – a 25-year old Master’s student in Building Engineering – explored Concordia’s SGW campus this past winter, shortly after arriving in Montreal from his home country of Iran, he stumbled across a copy of The Concordian on a stand in the school. After flipping through to the paper’s music section, he decided to reach out to its editor in an attempt to share his story.

“I thought, let’s try, send an email and see what happens,” said DSM. “I was also afraid because I thought you might not answer, or that you wouldn’t care to speak to me.”

Now we’re here.

See, education in Iran is often regarded as the ideal route, with other activities seen as extracurricular, and only that. “When I was in Iran I told myself that I was nothing,” said DSM. “I didn’t have good marks, and they think people who make music are just losers.”

For creators of electronic music, that principle reigns true, with an even deeper sentiment of taboo. “Many people believe that [western music] brings you to hell, and others think it encourages you to do bad things,” he said. “So we have legal music and illegal music.”

DSM, an avid techno-listener and experimental producer, began creating music in his house in Iran. He was inspired by a video clip he saw of superstar DJ/producer Tiesto commanding a crowd at a major festival, demonstrating music’s deep ability to bring all kinds of people together.

“It was so amazing for me to see that,” said DSM.

He first began dabbling in music by creating mash-ups, or “mixes,” for him and his friends on their long bus ride home from school. Though he later shifted towards producing his own songs, using the software Ableton Live. It’s now been four years since DSM has been seriously working on his craft, and the hard work is paying off.

DSM has been featured in Visions of Darkness, a compilation album of contemporary music by Iranian musicians, and is set to release multiple tracks through Montreal-based record label and creative agency, Husa Sounds. He also released an EP last December, titled Abstracted.

While his passion has continued to blossom, DSM chooses to keep his musical identity a subtle part of his life.  His parents are aware of it and are supportive of his musical endeavours so long as he stays in school and completes his Master’s.

“I usually play music at parties and gatherings, but also sometimes in my father’s car with my family,” he said. “We would listen to popular music in Iran, or old music that my father or mother love. I tried playing some mellow, deep house for them, not the hard stuff, and they liked it too. Sometimes I’d try to sneak in my own songs and if they didn’t say ‘next song’ I would tell them it was mine.”

For DSM, music is more than just a hobby or even a passion – it’s a form of therapy.

“I just wanted to release my feelings – it’s my way to calm down,” he said. “If I have too many things on my mind, music is the way to release my stress, to forget any bad things in my life. It’s like my Advil. If the music is so good you can get high on that, you don’t need weed or alcohol.”

Back in Iran, DSM was not able to peacefully enjoy electronic music as a result of the government’s strict rules and regulations surrounding public musical performances.

Musical performers are required to obtain a government license in order to perform publicly, whether it be at an art gallery or musical event. This leaves room for subjective decisions, which thereby controls the music scene in the country. However, a police officer’s bad day could very well turn into deeper troubles for a performing artist, despite whether or not they hold a license.

As a result of this musical censorship, many Iranians travel to remote locations throughout the nation, often deserts, where they can enjoy electronic music at any volume, dancing and partying through the night up to the morning. This added risk actually has its benefits, according to DSM. “If you want to have fun there you have to stress about the police. Even alcohol is illegal,” said DSM. “But if it’s harder, sometimes it really feels better.”

With one and a half years remaining for his Master’s, DSM hopes to maintain his 4.0 CGPA – though he continues to raise the bar when it comes to his music as well.

“I really hope that big DJs will play my songs at clubs or shows,” said DSM. “I hope that people are dancing and feeling my music. I really want people to feel it, that’s my goal.


Weighing in on a controversial book deal

Conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos gets major publishing deal

Outspoken media figure Milo Yiannopoulos has once again found himself at the center of a controversy, as he signed a lucrative publishing deal.

Yiannopoulos is a right-wing journalist for Breitbart News. According to several sources, including the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian, he signed a new book deal with Threshold, a conservative subsidiary of the Simon & Schuster publishing house, worth a reported $250,000 USD.

Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter a few months prior for allegedly harassing Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones, tweeting that she was “barely literate,” and should tolerate the racist online abuse she was enduring at the time.

He has said many things that are considered offensive; has openly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and has voiced his utter distaste for feminism. While I personally don’t agree with everything Yiannopoulos says, I do admire his gall and his confidence to stand up for what he believes in.

I myself tend to lean right and, in this day and age, being a conservative is often viewed in a negative light.

Especially in a time of political correctness, it’s difficult to have an open and honest discussion without being silenced for stating our own thoughts.

I applaud the publishing house Simon & Schuster for standing up for free speech, standing by Milo Yiannopoulos and giving a conservative a platform to voice his opinions.

As for the Twitter ban, it seems the conservatives are the only targets. For example, Laci Green, a notable feminist, tweeted “We are now under total Republican rule. Textbook fascism. Fuck you, white America. Fuck you, you racist, misogynist pieces of shit,” after Donald Trump won the presidency. Sounds pretty hateful to me, so why isn’t Lacy Green banned from social media?

Let’s turn our attention MTV now. The channel recently produced a video called “2017 Resolutions for White Guys” that targeted white men and explained how they can “improve” in the new year. The video was later deleted by MTV, but it was one of the most offensive videos I have ever seen. Yet, this is seen as okay because of political correctness—because if you’re white, it’s fair game. Can you imagine what would happen if I, a white male, made a video called “2017 Resolutions for Black Guys”?

Free speech is a symbol of Western values—values that millions have died protecting. It disappoints me that we forget how the world was nearly destroyed when we fought against fascism and the silencing of free speech in Germany, Italy and Japan more than 70 years ago.

Political correctness is killing us. It kills our society and it prevents the free flow of ideas. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now. English crime writer Phyllis Dorothy James put it best: “I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.”

Yiannopoulos is a character, that much is true. And as a person who enjoys political discourse, and discourse in general, I will be buying his book when it comes out in March. Free speech can never be silenced. As political commentator Ben Shapiro said, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Graphic by Florence Yee


‘Elastic Heart’ is a stretch for some conservative viewers

Sia’s newest avant-garde offering stirs controversy

The briefest, most understated summary would include the following: a 12-year-old dance prodigy, a 28-year-old actor-cum-delinquent-cum-performance artist, skintight flesh-toned suits, a birdcage, and about five minutes of interpretive, contemporary dance. Or are they spontaneous convulsions? This, and all other aspects of the video, are hard to clearly and confidently define.

After the release of the music video for “Chandelier” earlier in 2014, Sia solidified herself as an ambiguous, faceless performer with a taste for envelope-pushing music videos. Featuring Maddie Zeigler (the “face” of the operation) and Shia LaBoeuf, the video boasts not only a remarkable physical display, but a stirring emotional one as well.

Comments arose with a fervor as the video was shared over social media and aired on mainstream networks. Scores of restless and confused viewers claimed that the video implied “pedophilia,” citing the age difference and the obscure or “creepy” movements between the two performers.

In response, Sia came forward and made a public apology for the video, although she had previously stated on Twitter that the video represented the inner struggle between her “2 warring ‘Sia’ self states.”

Since the apology, the video has undergone a number of lengthy and analytical responses by “experts,” both certified and self-appointed. With interpretations exploring concepts like “inner struggle” and “father-daughter conflict,” there is still a resounding sense of confusion and suspicion surrounding the singer’s opus.

However, pausing for a moment to un-clutch our pearls and untwist our knickers, we have to consider why everyone is so unsettled. In fact, there is ample evidence that Sia is bringing artistry and integrity back into the music video medium, but viewers are very likely turned off by things they can’t wrap their head around. Shia LaBoeuf and a reality show wonderchild embroiled in an emotional onscreen “body battle” are no exception.

Are they a little closer than what’s deemed “acceptable” by social norms? Probably. Is LaBoeuf still trying to compensate for his public missteps? Possibly. Is the video implicitly sexual or perverse? Maybe in some people’s eyes. Do some extremists insist on reading it as Illuminati propaganda? Yes, in the perfect example of how to waste both time and energy.

But the negative reactions to the video have less to do with its content and/or contributors, so much as the fact that it tests people. Music videos, especially as of late, are three to five minutes worth of illustrative, complimentary images that don’t usually require much attention. Women, cars, blatant displays of luxury and hedonism consume the airwaves. Whether you watch intently or passively, the message remains the same: materialism is paramount.

Sia’s video is the opposite; stark, confrontational, and riveting, it challenges viewers to dig deep and accept a sort of visual or artistic “chaos.” Like most forms of modern and/or performance art, the video requires a lot of introspection and questioning. Unlike most other music videos, it doesn’t offer a fantastical or outlandish escape from “reality.”

It is raw, and like life coach Diane Passage wrote in a piece for The Huffington Post: “the cage, the fight, the moments of peace, the emotions, the inability to control, the desire for control, the highs, the lows, and more are feelings, ideas and states that most of us can relate to in our everyday lives.”



A big red lipstick stain on television’s reputation

A naked face, pale and unassuming, is a vulnerable face. As a media figure, the face that is turned out to the world should be one that commands attention and respect, one that exudes self-assuredness.

Red lipstick has been subject to frequent controversy over its “mixed messages.” Photo by jamelah, Flickr

By swivelling open a tube of deep red lipstick, everyday women believe that they’ve opened themselves up to passion, channeled an innate sexuality, and will radiate both confidence and personal conviction.

When you think about it, red lipstick is an aesthetic choice that holds numerous perceived “benefits” to those who choose to wear it.

However, according to the BBC, it is a colour that is too scandalous to be used in their regular daytime programming, one that comically refers to it as the “serial murderer of youthful innocence.”

In an attempt to filter and acknowledge the influence of the media on young children, the network issued new wardrobe guidelines that prohibits female hosts on youth-oriented programs from wearing red lipstick. BBC wants only positive, not oversexualized, role models representing them.

“We know that a lot of young girls will look at how our presenters are dressed, and no they shouldn’t look too sexy,” said BBC executive editor Melissa Hardinge, as reported by the Daily Mail.

No one wants toddlers traipsing around with red lipstick smeared all over their innocent little faces. But I am consistently impressed and confused at the public uproar about this colour. What’s the big deal? Red is just a colour, a happy colour that makes people feel good.

It’s 2014, is makeup really supposed to hold any deep significance anymore? Do the negative associations about red lips have any ground in today’s society?

On its own, the colour red is undeniably evocative. Studies have shown that exposure to it stimulates the senses, boosts physical energy, and can even increase heart rate and
adrenaline. Some East Asian cultures even consider it to be good luck, or the colour of purity. Its associations are resoundingly positive and uplifting.

But it’s the close relationship to sex that is still off-putting to some. At one point in time, the use of lipstick was condemned. The Catholic Church compared it to satanic worship, and associated it with marginalized groups like prostitutes and the lower class.

It would explain why, in my own experience wearing it, I have had negative reactions. One elderly woman in particular hissed at her friend while walking by that “only hussies wear that colour.” The remark demonstrated that, absurdly enough, some people still cannot divide the colour from its implications.

The term “oversexualized” should be used to define actions more so than appearances. How can a colour alone accurately represent a woman’s personality or agenda? And how come we get worked up about its influence on the public when there hasn’t been any evidence of a negative influence?

Rich lipstick today can connote strength, power and luxury. However, it could just be worn with the intent of experimenting and looking good. Women don’t necessarily wear lipstick to cause a stir — it’s these unjustified assumptions about appearances that cause trouble.

Given its history and reception, it would be easy to assume that rouge is reserved for “hussies” or “harlots.”

But hold your head high, and coyly blow a kiss to those passing judgement, because ladies wear red lipstick too.



‘I am fundamentally an academic’: Judith Woodsworth

Judith Woodsworth, pictured here during her time as Concordia president, has returned to teaching at the university. Photo from archives

MONTREAL (CUP) — After walking away in late 2010 from the top position at Concordia University with just over $700,000 in severance pay, it turns out that former president Judith Woodsworth has been quietly teaching at the university since the start of the winter semester.

This time, she’s not returning to the executive offices on the upper floors of the administration GM building, but to an office on the sixth floor of the McConnell building where the études françaises department is located. Twice a week, Woodsworth heads to the new MB building, where she teaches two small 400-level courses on translation.
“I am fundamentally an academic,” Woodsworth said in a phone interview with Canadian University Press when asked why she would return to Concordia after her dismissal. “I felt that the academic life was something that was really very much a part of me, and I wanted to come back and continue where I left off when I left Concordia 14 years ago.”
Returning to Concordia in 2008 as president was like a “homecoming,” said Woodsworth, though she lasted only two and a half years as president. “It wasn’t all smooth when I came back, but I feel still that this is a place where I belong. Some people might find it strange, but they’re focusing on the wrong things, maybe,” she suggested.
Education Minister Line Beauchamp told a reporter on Feb. 1 that she had asked Concordia for more information, saying she’d like to know the circumstances for her return.
“Yesterday, when I saw the news, I asked for certain explanations,” Beauchamp said. “Phone calls were made.”
Concordia spokesperson Cléa Desjardins confirmed that on Jan. 31, “senior officials at Concordia were in touch with the office of Minister Beauchamp and answered their questions on the subject of Judith Woodsworth’s return to the university.” The minister’s office could not be reached for comment.
In the last year, while on unpaid leave, Woodsworth updated her book on the history of translation and travelled to Africa as a consultant to university bodies in Ghana and Kenya. She notified Concordia she was ready to return to teaching over the summer.
Woodsworth’s dismissal raised the ire of students, staff, alumni and the public when she was let go under mysterious circumstances a few days before Christmas in 2010.
Her severance package raised eyebrows about university funding, since Woodsworth had requested, with other university leaders, that the provincial government raise tuition fees. Tuition fee increases in Quebec will begin in fall 2012.“I realize that it doesn’t sit well when people think of their individual costs when tuition goes up,” said Woodsworth, who nevertheless added that it is “normal” to receive compensation when contracts are terminated, and that her predecessor, Claude Lajeunesse, left with a larger severance package in hand.
The dismissal of two presidents within a few years stirred up outrage, with media nationwide taking note. Last summer, three external investigators released the Shapiro report, the full cost of which came to about $78,000. The investigation condemned Concordia’s governance, saying the university needed to overcome a “culture of contempt.”
But is it okay for Woodsworth to be teaching students after being fired as president?
“The university obviously thinks it’s perfectly appropriate. Like all academic administrators, Dr. Woodsworth received an academic appointment when she was hired on as president,” said Desjardins, “so she just took up that opportunity after that relationship was terminated.”
The reaction on campus to the return of a former administrator has been minimal.
“The two jobs are not connected,” said Maria Peluso, president of the Part-time Faculty Association, who pointed out that academics frequently return to teaching positions after their time as administrators. “There’s nothing unusual about that.”
Lex Gill, president of the Concordia Student Union, agreed: “The reality is, being a university professor is different than being an administrator,” she said. “I just don’t understand why she would want to come back.”
Erik Chevrier, a representative of the Graduate Students’ Association on the Board of Governors, said Woodsworth’s departure raised questions about the school’s transparency.
“We tried to address this by putting in transparent measures in a series of proposals […] and all of them, last meeting, every single one of them, was shot down,” he said.
The suggested measures included filming board meetings and increasing seating space for the audience.
“That’s more of a concern for me — since her departure, since they let her go, they’re really not looking [at making governance more open],” said Chevrier.
A casual survey of students milling around the Webster Library downtown showed some students were unaware of who Woodsworth is. The ones who had heard about it were not concerned.
“If we don’t really know the whole story [about the dismissal], it’s not bad that she came back,” said history student Mara Stancana.
“It doesn’t affect my daily life at school. The goings-on of the administration doesn’t change anything for me,” said Mohamed Azab, an English student.
Woodsworth said she misses meeting a variety of people in her previous position, but that she won’t be seeking any administrative positions any time soon.
While Woodsworth has dropped hints in the past that she was forced out of her position, she indicated that she would not discuss the details of her dismissal because of a non-disclosure agreement.
Exit mobile version