Abbot Inkwell, Reading List

Suggested Reading

From Intergenerational Trauma and Trust by Sakina Cotton

2020 Partnership with Native Americans. “History and Culture: Boarding Schools.” Northern Plains Reservation Aid, edited by 2020 Partnership with Native Americans, 2020 Partnership with Native Americans, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

“American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many.” NPR, written by Charla Bear, NPR, 12 May 2008. NPR, 2020npr,,developed%20in%20an%20Indian%20prison. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

Hatch, D. J., and D. R. Watson. “Hearing the Blues: An Essay in the Sociology of Music.” Acta Sociologica, JSTOR ed., os, vol. 17, no. 2, 1974, pp. 162-78.

Rugal, Mike. “Uncensored History of the Blues.” Blogger, Blogger API, 24 Jan. 2009, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.


Mark Gevisser. The Pink Line: Journey Across the World’s Queer Frontiers. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2020.

Kate R. Petty. True Story. Penguin Publishing Group, 2020.

Peggy Orenstein. Boys and Sex. Harper, 2020.

Charlene Carruthers. Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Social Movements. Beacon Press, 2018.

Abbot Inkwell

Letter from the Editors

Dearest Readers,

Welcome to the Abbot Inkwell! We are absolutely thrilled to be the first news outlet dedicated to the Brace Center for Gender Studies and the work of gender equity and justice around campus and beyond our Andover bubble. COVID-19 may have disrupted some of our plans, but this is our effort to keep you updated with and connected to the Brace Center virtually for now, and hopefully, at home on our beloved Abbot campus in the near future.

In this first issue, we’re still finding our footing and figuring out how best to communicate and to get you involved. We would love to have your voice contribute to our commentary section or our upcoming art section. For commentary articles, we’re looking for opinions and personal narratives related to gender. This could be regarding events, media, pop culture, anything! Our art section will be a space for student artists to communicate themes related to gender justice through their work. There’s room for visual art, poetry, short stories, photographs, and more! We want you to hear your voice.

This year, our overarching goal, which we share with the Brace Center, is to uplift the experiences of trans and genderqueer people. Though stances against homophobia have been growing in popularity, society has yet to combat transphobia and the gender binary perpetuated by harmful gender roles. We stand with all gender identities. To deepen our understanding of and thinking about these issues, over winter break, the Student Advisory Board will be reading and discussing The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser. We encourage you to read along with us or to take a look at any of the other pieces in our suggested reading list. 

We also would like to bring your attention to the legacy of Abbot Academy on the Andover campus beyond the name of the Abbot Cluster. Abbot’s contributions to Andover’s current traditions and co-curricular offerings include our literary magazine – the Courant, the newly announced sport option – Abbot Walks, the bagpipes at graduation, Abbot Grants, our dance program, the Fidelio Society and so much more. Our name, the Abbot Inkwell, is our way of honoring the voice of the women of Abbot whose contributions to our school, we so often forget.  

At the Abbot Inkwell, we commit to being not only an accurate source of news but a creative outlet and a tool for activism for students. We share a commitment to intersectional gender justice with the Brace Center. We strive to feature diverse perspectives and complicate the single-story, but only if it is in keeping with our commitment to fight for gender equity and justice. That being said, we want to encourage you to engage critically with the writing and have discussions with your peers and adults in a safe way. We take responsibility for everything that is publicized through us, though what is shared may not reflect our editors’ personal opinions or experiences. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. 

Thank you for all of your support. The work has just begun!

With love,

The Editors

Abbot Inkwell, brace fellows, Events

Brace Student Fellow: Koki Kapoor ’21 on ‘Queer Identity in Pre- and Post-Colonial India’

By Koki Kapoor ’21

This summer, because of the Brace Center for Gender Studies, I had the opportunity to research and analyze queer identity in Pre and Post-colonial India and look at how the British Colonial Regime worked to colonize sexuality and enforce heteronormative ideals through legal instruments such as Section 377 of the British-introduced Indian Penal Code as well as a reconstructed education curriculum. Throughout the research process that took place during the end of Spring term and the start of summer, I was intent on creating a bibliography that centered South-Asian voices.

Alongside reading gender theory by Western academics such as Michael Foucault and Judith Butler, I read theory by South-Asian Post-Colonial scholars such as Gayatri Spivak. However, finding and accessing the works of South-Asian academics was not the easiest task. But with the help of OWHL, specifically Ms. Goss, as well as Dr. Vidal and Ms. Driscoll, I was able to scourge through the depths of JSTOR, Internet Archive, Amazon, Hathi Trust, etc. to find books and articles that emphasized the South Asian voices that have been trampled over by the world of Western academia and colonization and highlight them in my bibliography. Though this process was difficult, I never once had to worry about being unable to access any resource and I’m so grateful to everyone at the Brace Center for making me feel seen as a South Asian woman of color in academia.

Abbot Inkwell, Events, Events

Reflections on virtual hours

Gender and STEM: A Collaboration with Gender Minorities in STEM

The discussion about gender in STEM really highlighted the importance of intersectionality. We ended up discussing how colonialism has destroyed and stolen valuable medicinal and technological knowledge from the Global South. Many incredible discoveries were made by women of these communities and were overlooked. We also discussed how race and gender intersect to cause the mistreatment of BIPOC women in the healthcare system, and how women are discouraged from entering STEM fields because of the patriarchy. – Aleisha Roberts ’22

“Some takeaways I had from the virtual hours’ discussion are the dangers of explaining how there are fewer women in STEM due to something innate and biological rather than it being a result of cultural and social structures, the importance of recognizing the exploitation of marginalized groups when learning about certain medical discoveries, and how it is important for STEM teachers and spaces to be intentional with uplifting students of gender and racial minorities. Virtual hours are just an amazing way to connect with people as well—The Tik Tok conversation in particular was very casual and it was hilarious sharing Tik Toks and bonding over certain niche subgroups of it!” -Josephine Banson ’22

Peggy Orenstein’s ASM- Femininities Affinity Space

Peggy Orenstein’s ASM focused on some of the harmful approaches to heterosexual relationships taken by cisgender men and how rigid masculinity can be at the root of many problems. Following the ASM, the participants in the femininities zoom space discussed the experiences of female-identifying people on the receiving end of toxic masculinity and the expectations created by the patriarchy that are thrust onto women. The group observed how there is often an imbalance of agency in heterosexual intercourse as the media and culture normalize male dominance in sex while suppressing women’s desires and eroticism. The group emphasized the importance of consent as a baseline for ethical sex and mutual enjoyment. Furthermore, we explored consent in other aspects such as giving a hug or even asking for emotional consent when ranting to a friend. – Evalyn Lee ’23

“When talking about toxic masculinity, we should also reflect on how toxic masculinity affects women, how we can bring folx who do not identify within the gender binaries into the conversation, and how society places pressures on women as well.” -Emily Turnbull ’24

Feminist theatre 

The topic of my Brace Virtual Hours was Feminist Theatre, and with the help of Mx. Thayer, we covered everything from A Doll’s House to modern experimental theatre, whatever each person had read. Our hours were very laid back— since only a few people came and went, we didn’t maintain a firm structure, but fortunately we instead got to know each other individually very well. I’d like to shoutout Huda, Karsten, Lesley, and Leo, who all brought such great energy to the group and whose faces I really appreciated seeing in the midst of a very busy week. – Emiliano C ’22

Abbot Inkwell, Events, Events

Juniors Explore Masculinity by Discussing 2015 Documentary The Mask You Live In

By Aleisha Roberts ’22

On October 20th, the Brace Center for Gender Studies hosted discussions with the class of ’24 centered around The Mask You Live In. The 2015 documentary highlighted the harmful effect of society’s narrow definition of masculinity on people who identify as male as well as on their relationships with each other and people who do not identify as male. Juniors were expected to watch the film with their dorm pods before attending the program and student leaders from the classes of ’23 ’22, and ’21 facilitated discussions. Agnes Agosto ’24 expressed that she had never discussed masculinity as a potentially harmful construct before the programming. 

“After watching the film, my first feeling was this deep sympathy for boys. I wasn’t aware of the majority of the issues mentioned in the film. When I was in middle school, my grade watched a documentary on female relationships and friendships. However, I never had seen something that focused on the struggles of boys rather than girls in our society and it was really eye-opening,” said Agosto.

The facilitators, most of whom watched the film in their own freshman years, rewatched the film to prepare for the discussion. Facilitator Sophie Glaser ’22 explained that the statistics shown regarding the prevalence of mental health issues and destructive behaviors caused by harmful masculinities shocked her each time she watched the film. She further expressed that her later encounters with the film were different as she was better able to connect the behavior on the screen to her male-identifying peers at Andover.  

“Every time I’ve watched it, all the statistics that they show are still pretty shocking and I think in freshman year I was just starting to learn about toxic masculinity and what institutional sexism and rape culture and locker room culture were… I definitely think that now being a bit older and having experienced a highschool in America a bit more, I think I was able to understand a bit more of it. I’ve definitely, unfortunately, seen a lot of the behavior that it would talk about in The Mask You Live In in my peers and I was able to connect it more to my own life rather than just looking at abstract terms,” Glaser said.

Many facilitators expressed that they were impressed by the nuance the juniors brought to the discussion. Most were able to discuss the patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, and gender identity through an intersectional lens. Some groups were even able to advance to criticisms of the film for an absence of queer narratives and an excessively heteronormative perspective. Glaser shared a hope that freshmen would continue the discussion beyond the programming.

Glaser said, “I definitely saw the freshmen that I was talking to in my leadership group and in my dorm engaging in conversations that they weren’t before. I hope that they will be able to take the lessons they learned from the film into their own lives and take the ideas into their own lives, but only time will tell. Hopefully, the rest of the grade engaged with the film as well, keeping an open mind.”

Unfortunately, some juniors were left disappointed with their group’s engagement. Agosto said that her class was not yet connected well enough to discuss these themes comfortably and that the discussion space was dominated by a handful of girls. In debriefing sessions, freshmen also pointed out that the majority of the facilitators were female-identifying, showing a need for persons identifying as male to engage with these discussions. 

Agosto said, “While I think the idea of the discussion space was a good one, I didn’t think it exactly worked… In order for us to share our thoughts with others, we need to have a certain amount of trust that we are safe sharing these opinions with them… I also just especially felt that those who most needed the things said in the film were the ones who seemed not to care. In the discussion space, the main people who spoke were girls, and the majority of the boys remained silent.”