In Defense of "Lolita:" Madison Beer Was Right

Vladimir Nabokov intended to invoke outrage and confusion in his readers by romanticizing pedophilia.

Madison Beer beside Sue Lyon as Lolita in 1962

While social media has the power to make the world a more interconnected place, it also tends to foster misunderstanding born from too little explanation.

A recent example of this unfortunate effect is the case of Madison Beer, a TikTok star and singer. In an Instagram Live Q&A session, Beer told viewers that her favorite book was Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. She went on to emphasize that she "definitely" romanticizes the 1955 novel. Though the video is no longer available from Beer's account, it's been shared widely across social media.

Trigger Warning for child abuse, sexual abuse and assault.

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Culture Feature

Shein's Swastika Necklace Scandal: Fast Fashion or Just Fascism?

A cultural misunderstanding may be responsible for Shein's swastika necklace scandal...but it's still an awful company

Popular fast-fashion retailer Shein came under fire this week for selling a swastika necklace on their website.

A Chinese company, Shein has become well-known for their inexpensive clothing and accessories, often featured in so-called "haul" videos on YouTube. Shein has since removed the necklace from their site and issued an apology. But screenshots of the faux-gold necklace—listed for between $2.50 and $4.00 as "Metal Swastika Pendant Necklace"— quickly spread on social media, with users expressing their disgust at the apparent insensitivity to what that symbol represents.

Earlier this month Shein was called out for cultural insensitivity after listing Muslim prayer rugs—some featuring an image of the sacred Kaaba in Mecca—as "Fringe Trim Carpets" for decorative use and for selling traditional Southeast Asian dresses modeled by white women and renamed to remove cultural signifiers.

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Now that you've flooded Instagram with photos of black squares, it's time to hunker down for some real activism.

If you're a white person, you're sitting on top of about four centuries of institutionalized racism. In the wake of George Floyd's murder by police and countless Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, it's time to show up—with your body, with your voice, and with your brain.

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