Lakhsmi Chatterjee, Arts & Culture Editor
Like everyone else, I watched a lot of television over quarantine. But I got obsessed with a particular miniseries called “Mrs. America.” This show had nine episodes on Hulu and I devoured it all in one sitting. Starring Cate Blanchett as conservative activist Phyllis Schafly, the show revolved around the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s. Phyllis Schlafly was one of the main opponents to the ERA, citing it as working against housewives and scaring them into thinking it would lead to a mandatory draft for women in the show. A secondary plotline in the show portrayed Gloria Steinem, played by Rose Byrne, and her work with the feminist movement to get the ERA passed. What I liked most about “Mrs. America” is that it didn’t paint either side as a “good” or “bad” side, but instead showed the pros and cons of both conservative and liberal arguments for the ERA. It showed how exclusionary the feminist movement of the 1960s was, especially toward Black and queer women, and how the feminist movement played out in suburban America, where many housewives felt like it undermined their choice to stay at home and take care of their kids. “Mrs. America” opened up my eyes to issues I used to see as one-sided and I will appreciate that despite all its historical inaccuracies. It sent me down a wormhole of researching 1960s politics that I’m still in today.
Krishna Patel, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor
Quarantine gave me the opportunity to pursue a lot of hobbies I already enjoyed such as yoga, upcycling old clothes and reading. However, some new things I picked up were biking and cooking. Between being cooped up at home and the warming weather, I used my bike as an opportunity to combat cabin fever and get some fresh air and exercise. I got in a routine of biking four miles on a trail behind my house between online classes every day. I biked to a nearby bridge, took a few moments to enjoy the view, rest and meditate before biking back home while listening to music or a podcast. I returned to class, refreshed and ready to focus once again. Having never learned to cook prior to going to college due to never being home and having time to buy groceries and learn, I took my extra time at home as a chance to learn to cook and not have to rely on campus food or ordering takeout. I increasingly made more complicated recipes and had my family critique my cooking. My quarantine hobbies gave me a sense of excitement and stability during a very tumultuous time.
Makoto Toyoda, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor
Over quarantine, I searched for a mindless task to preoccupy myself with in hopes of quelling the looming anxiety of lockdown. Luckily I came across my Klutz “Friendship Bracelet” book while doing a deep dig of my closet, a step-by-step guide my mom had bought for me over 10 years ago to fulfill my summer camp dreams. Although I had mastered the basics, such as the double-chain knot or the diagonal stripe, in my childhood, I spent much of being indoors trying to learn the more complex stitches. It was nice to give myself something to do while keeping the task low-pressure and non-academic. Despite strict social distancing rules, thinking of the friend I was making a bracelet for gave me a sense of normalcy, connection and calmness countering the madness of the pandemic.
Jamie H. Nguyen, Arts & Culture Intern
Due to the fact that my clothes started rotting since I stopped wearing them during social distancing, I started making the remaining fabric into patches. They’re mostly band patches from stencils online, and I either printed them out or traced them onto paper. Now I have about 10+ patches in acrylic paint that can’t be machine-washed. The next step will be putting them on various jean items to make those machine-unwashable, thus making my life even harder than it already is!
Lorena Maggiore, Arts & Culture
One hobby I picked up during the pandemic is painting pots and brushing up on my Italian. Italian is my second language, but because I am away from home, it is difficult for me to incorporate the language into my everyday life. After downloading Disney+ at the start of quarantine, I was excited to see the vast language options offered for different movies and shows. During my free time, I would watch movies like “Tuck Everlasting” and “The Avengers” in Italian with Italian subtitles. After coming to campus, I began joining my roommates on their plant-shopping sprees. Our house became beautifully decorated with plants on each corner. We decided to have a night of painting flower pots and that was when I picked up my roommates’ plant fever. Whenever I felt overwhelmed I would grab a paintbrush and flower pot and start painting. Since then, I have combined my quarantine hobbies — watching movies in Italian while painting flower pots. It has been a great way for me to clear my mind and improve my Italian listening skills. I noticed that the less I think about the language the easier it is for me to understand it. I have enjoyed painting my flower pots in bright pastel colors. Before starting each movie or TV show, I sit and look up some flower pot inspiration, researching new designs and color schemes. I love having a new hobby that helps me unwind and better myself.
Caroline Doherty, Arts & Culture
One hobby I picked up while in quarantine was baking. My thing to bake in particular is chocolate chip muffins, which are basically glorified chocolate chip cookies. I made them at least 10 times for my family and dropped some off for my friends as a pick-me-up.