Category Archives: Opinions

Christmas Wish Lists & Man Crates;

For anyone who really knows me, I’m not a huge fan of making Christmas lists. I used to when I was little, when I wrote letters to Santa and told him how much I loved him, begging him to bring me great gifts and also the occasional secret that no one else knew about, but I felt confident in sharing with a total stranger who I only ever spoke to once a year. When I realised that I was effectively writing to my parents, I promptly gave up and refuse to do so, as punishment for their deception for the first portion of my life. However, with exactly one week to go before the most wonderful time of the year, I decided that I would create my own festive wish list for anyone who is looking to buy a gift for the indecisive, wine and/or gin-o-holic in their lives. Also, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for your very own man human, then you have definitely come to the right place. Welcome!

One of the most awkward things about buying gifts for me is that I never tell people about things that I want until they’ve all bought things for me and I happen to be browsing the net for something that I really want. I’ve done the same this year and have found some things that I’d really love. A lot of people have difficulty finding things for me because I am not very girly, but also extremely, extremely girly and love receiving girly gifts. You see the frustration I can potentially illicit…

My Christmas Wish List:

p6547_column_grid_12One of my favourite movies is Back to the Future and I’ve been looking for a really amazing print that isn’t the usual movie poster, which everyone and their auntie seems to have! Firebox have this amazing print (and many more) for £24.99 sans frame. The thing I love about this is that it’s a pretty important piece of the film, but also really unique in the sense that who really wants a poster of a fake movie newspaper in their home, instead of an awesome still of the thunderstorm or maybe the Delorean? Me, that’s who!

dylan

Something both my boyfriend and I have both wanted this Christmas is without a shadow of a doubt Dylan’s Basement Tapes on Vinyl. We are obsessed with Dylan and have various of his albums on Vinyl, but one of the goals we desire is owning all of them on vinyl so that we can truly show off how awesome and superior we are. So, I believe if I opened this on Christmas morning, I could show my boyfriend that I really am quite a deal better than him! Yay!

Thierry-Mugler-Alien-box

My signature scent is Alien by Thierry Mugler (so if you have an innate desire to stalk me, now you know how I smell. Merry Christmas!) and even though I have an overwhelming abundance of the stuff thanks to my boyfriend buying me a giant bottle as a surprise on the same day I bought myself a giant bottle as a surprise, I will be horrifically disappointed if I don’t receive this on Christmas Day! I like to smell delicious all year round, so an abundance of the stuff that makes me smell good is a great idea, no?

That’s the end of my Christmas wish list… I really am the best woman ever because my Christmas wish list is so tiny. Which also makes me very difficult to buy for, because if I really did only get three things for Christmas off everyone who supposedly loves me, I’d be bitterly disappointed and would get far too drunk and throw the turkey on the floor. So, mother, if your’e reading this, go shopping, yeah?

Christmas Gifts for Him:

I finished buying my Christmas gifts for my boyfriend in October, which just goes to show how excited I am for this time of year! But, I really wish I’d come across Man Crates before now! I love the idea of a manly crate to be given to a man over Christmas and I really wished I’d seen this for both my boyfriend and my dad way before now as I know they would love them. Unfortunately they don’t ship to the UK, but for my American readers, feast your eyes on their website!

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For my boyfriend, I would definitely need to buy him this NFL inspired Man Crate, currently $89.99 which boasts four personalised pint glasses of your desired NFL team (There isn’t the Arizona Cardinal option, so I am going to choose  the Jacksonville Jaguars because he saw them in London last month and they were the team he supported. But, if you’re reading this Man Crates, send a Arizona Cardinal option our way in time for June 2nd (Birthday)! They also come with amazing wooden coasters, each with a separate number and a bottle opener, which isn’t only ingenious, but super convenient too! No NFL/beer inspired gift would be complete without some game time snacks, so they come with an array of snacks: Jalapeño popper popcorn, flavoured sunflower seeds, corn nuts, peanuts in the shell. For everything that comes with it and the fact that it comes in a care with a laser etched crow bar (HOW AMAZINGLY AWESOME?!).

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For my dad, I would definitely choose this. He is notoriously terrible to buy for and if it hadn’t have been for my equally geeky/dorky boyfriend choosing his present this year, I would have gotten him some aftershave and something dad-like and generic, which doesn’t fit my dad’s personality at all. This would be a great choice for him given his love for all things spicy. I have made chilli for him that has been so spicy that I couldn’t eat it, but he has eaten it all and not even broken a sweat, so one of my life missions is to blow his face off with heat (I love my dad, just to be clear) and I think this would be an excellent way of achieving that sadistic life time goal. Thanks, Man Crates! This is $69.99 and comes with the above, which are all spicy and cheesy snacks.

As I already aluded to, the only thing I don’t like about Man Crates is that their items must ship to a US address, which is a bit awkward for me as my address is definitely a UK address, but for US readers or anyone who has an address in the US and would happily ship to me, then it’s great. I also think Man Crates will definitely be one of those sites that eventually expand over seas and we’ll see it advertised on “Gifts for Him” TV shows, but I hope you will all remember where you read about it first!

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Sexual Confidence

Recently, I agreed to answer some questions for a journalist who was looking to find some women between the ages of 25 and 30, who would be willing to answer some questions about their sexual confidence for a supplement in one of the UK’s largest newspaper publications, a free magazine targeted at women. The article came out earlier in the week, and suffice it to say, I was bitterly disappointed at being severely misquoted and having my well thought out, articulate and structured answers butchered and spliced to fit the journalist’s true intentions when writing the article. What I gathered from it is that neither the journalist, nor anyone at the magazine, truly cared about the sexual confidence of young women, but, instead, wanted to marginalise these women into certain categories and from my perspective, none of us were shown in a positive light. In hindsight, I realise that the questions were both vague and worryingly infantile for a grown woman to be asking another and instead of putting my faith in this person, hoping to, eventually, find an article that didn’t discuss sexual discourse from an angle consisting of solely demographics, percentages and charts, but instead, highlighting that sexual confidence is something that we should all be aware of and participating in. Needless to say, I was wrong about the journalist and wrong about the publication; instead of championing women who are confident in their sex lives, the article seemingly chastised us for daring to speak so brazenly about our sexual pasts. Shame on us, eh? So, in today’s blog post I am going to write about what I would have chosen, had I, as a decent writer and person, been given the opportunity to do so:

 

Typically, the concept of being sexually confident is something that is, by and large, considered a taboo topic, even in today’s society. To discuss being sexually confident, perhaps conjures images of that rare breed of woman who has the body to pull off matching lingerie, teamed with suspenders and high heels; Victoria’s Secret models and porn stars, maybe, but not your average English woman, whose underwear drawer consists mostly of comfortable, practical pants, with the odd pair of Spanx in there for when we truly need it; the idea of wearing high heels and underwear and lounging seductively anywhere bringing us out in hot sweats, panic attacks looming above us like death. For a long time, I was part of this demographic; I was ashamed of the way I looked and frightened that I wouldn’t only not look like other women, but that I wouldn’t perform correctly, or that I’d do something that the other women didn’t do, and it hasn’t been until very, very recently that I realised that none of it matters: The concept of sexual confidence is a myth, yet another demographic and percentile mark that we are forced into, in the aid of yet another boring article about sex, that doesn’t help normal people with sex worries at all.

 

I think part of the reason that articles like this can exist and highlight sexual insecurities is because we all have them; even porn stars, even women so perfect it looks like there is someone photo shopping them in real life: Everyone has insecurities and this is why articles like this thrive, especially amongst British people who suffered the indignity of sex education classes as children. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought those awkward sex education classes were entirely counter-productive and not at all insightful or helpful when coming to terms with the concept of sex overall. In hindsight, and I’m sure you’ll agree, it seemed less about providing people with sexual education and more an instructional manual of contraceptives and how to put them on; more intent on stopping diseases and unplanned, teenaged pregnancies, from spreading within their school (how embarrassing would that OfSted report be?). But, it didn’t truly educate people as young as fourteen and it didn’t stop them from having sex; it was demonstrably unhelpful in discussing sex in real terms: The emotional implications, the concept of self-respect and not doing anything you are uncomfortable with, or even consent. As a result, I found that a lot of my class mates were incredibly well versed  in the Karma Sutra and that none of them truly had any idea what they were participating in: They were just pumping away until the male ejaculated… from what I was informed. Admittedly, a lot of my sex education came from the internet; I would hear terms and Google them, or look up an array of different sexual practices just for the sake of soaking up knowledge, but sex education at school taught me nothing. I didn’t even know that females could orgasm from sex; all we learned is that we need to wear protection so that when our male partner ejaculates; we won’t get pregnant, which is very, very sad.

Even as adult women, which the article I’m discussing proves (I think), is that not a lot of people truly understand sex: To have an article that uses percentages and graphs to outline their target demographic or discuss topics that might not be considered normal within general sexual discourse is entirely infantile to a worrying extent, as I’ve already discussed. It just proves that we’re a society that thrives on these ridiculous articles to feel, I guess, the opposite of validation, to a certain extent, like sex is some kind of secret that none of us are truly a part of and that we’re still not quite there when having sex; we’re ultimately marginalising ourselves and stopping ourselves from experiencing good sex, because we’re too busy concentrating on being like the percentages in the piss-poor articles we’re reading, rather than our partners or our own enjoyment. I think the first question I was asked, do you think you’re good in bed, only highlights the infantile nature of the article and the general childish attitudes that people perceive others to have about sex; there is no such thing as being good in bed – you either enjoy yourself or you don’t and that bares absolutely no relevance on the manner of performance that either you or your partner exude; you simply either have or haven’t enjoyed that particular moment. In the article, sexual confidence implied a sense of superiority over other people, which simply isn’t the point of being confident at all: Sex isn’t a public display for us all to participate in, if you enjoy the things that you partake in sexually and have an enjoyable sex life, then you are confident, there is no in-between.

The questions the journalist asked also involved perceptions of society and that if I, as someone sexually confident, felt restricted by the perceptions society had about female sexuality and, if this would change in the near future. Overall, I think it was an excellent question, but I don’t see it featured anywhere in the article; the idea of encroaching on society’s ideals of how women should behave sexually, still, seemingly too taboo to post, which is so unfortunate and upsetting. I thought I was writing something that would assist the general struggle a lot of women are feeling, that is evidenced on Twitter and within movements such as Everyday Sexism or even my best friend Em over at Any Girl Friday; that women are sexual beings and that it’s okay that we enjoy masturbating or have a right to say ‘no’ when approached by a man regarding sex, but that wasn’t featured in the article at all. Instead, the fact that I had a partner who was into male chastity was featured as though I was some kind of aggressive dominatrix type woman, which wasn’t what I wrote at all. In fact, quite surprisingly to some, I wrote quite nice things about that person and looked at the psychology behind why he might have been into male chastity, which stemmed from his inherent, uncontrollable, somewhat oedipal maternal issues. But I guess the journalist took ‘I don’t do things by halves’ (written in the first paragraph) and the ‘My ex was into male chastity’ (fifth paragraph) and spliced them together to make me sound like I was a heartless, cruel dominatrix, because that’s what sexual confidence is all about, isn’t it?

 

If you’re a woman and you have worries about sex, or if you’re a man and panic about this too, then heed my advice: Speak to your partner. Sexual confidence isn’t about being able to perform alongside some archaic ideals of what good sex is supposed to be. If your woman isn’t screaming the walls down, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing a stellar job. If your man isn’t ejaculating into your mouth within five minutes of sucking his dick, that doesn’t mean you aren’t awesome at sucking cock. But that’s not for me, or anyone at all to tell you, especially not some piss-poor article written in a magazine.

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Fem-Tellectual & Me:

Recently, Rachel over at Happy Little Syllables, launched a site for “pretty clever ladies” and asked me and a huge number of other women to write for her too. We write about our chosen topics, I guess, which include feminism, fashion, literature, science, technology… Basically anything that women are interested in, but in a way that is accessible to women from all walks of life.

fem

The basic ethos of the site is, that we’re all normal and just because someone blogs about fashion instead of the patriarchy, or that someone likes reading chick-lit instead of discussing misandry doesn’t mean that they don’t identify as feminists. As someone who has felt disillusioned by feminism, until she found her own manner in which to be an intelligent, feminine feminist without adhering to any stereotypes associated, I feel that Fem-tellectual offers women a safe haven to be themselves, discuss topics of interest to them and create a space where all women from all walks of life can go to and feel at home.

I wrote my first post on there today, which you can find by clicking here and make sure you visit the other blogs, written by other fantastically intelligent women!

Happy clicking!

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Can’t Vote, Won’t Vote:

I am more than happy to admit that I am not the most politically minded individual. Politics both bores and infuriates me in equal measures, as it’s something that I am excluded from, before I’ve even began to consider a party I might be interested in aligning myself with. As a result, I am one of those rare breeds in society who is mocked and ridiculed by any type of voter as being the type of person who shouldn’t have an opinion on any political party, or the manner in which our country is run. But, surely someone who is as utterly despondent as I am regarding the UK government, both as it stands and because of the parties fighting for the coveted role of leader of the political playground (Oops, I mean Prime Minister), surely I am exactly the type of person both necessary to politics and who deserves the right to complain?

The reason I feel that voters don’t think I should have an opinion regarding politics or any form of political discourse is because, as a result of being so positively dejected by every political offering we have and from receiving positively vitriolic diatribe when admitting this in the past, I am often reluctant to admit that I have never once voted. I don’t even think that I am registered to vote. I do understand that this might make any attempt at political discussion entirely redundant, but fear not, ye of voting mind set – I am writing this blog purely to highlight why I don’t vote, not to encourage others to do the same, or not to try and tell you that your political stances are all wrong (although, let’s face it, if you vote Ukip, they probably are).

Of course, as a woman, I feel a particular, poignant and overwhelming shame at myself for aligning myself with the concept of not voting. As a woman who calls herself a feminist and who supports women’s rights and who practically obsessed with Emily Pankhurst at school, writing essay after essay championing women and their suffrage (I received A*’s all-round for every single one, so ignited was my burning passion for the right to vote!), I sometimes recoil in horror at the fact I’ve never voted and my feminist heart genuinely bleeds over the fact that I am not what my fore-sisters were starving themselves and accidentally flinging themselves in front of horses for. But, I don’t think that’s my fault and I like to think that if I had a chat with Ms Pankhurst, she’d support my decision not to vote – whilst I definitely have the right to, I guess that also means I reserve the right not to, especially if I feel that it is detrimental to my country… right?

I am not the only person who is feeling politically cast adrift and there are many people in my life who either don’t vote, or stick with the same voting pattern as a result of tradition or an inability to choose. A term often used, which sums up my political stance (or lack thereof) is: He’s the best of a bad bunch. And to me, that is the epitome of UK politics; the guttural, agonising cries of democracy as it wilts away into the past, leaving in its wake the questionable politics of someone who bends and twists democracy to fit their own personal needs – the best of a bad bunch. Yet, to me, in the upcoming elections of 2015, there doesn’t seem to be the best out of a bad bunch, because to me, everyone is terrible.

Every time I switch the news on, I am inundated with the same things happening. If David Cameron has done something particularly idiotic one day, then we will see a smug looking Ed Milliband explaining why Labour would be a better choice through personal and pointless attacks at how seemingly hopeless the current UK government are, then we’ll see Nigel Farage wobbling his head and doing exactly the same thing, throwing in some rhetoric regarding how he wants to make Britain, Britain again, whatever that means. Then, occasionally we’ll see Nick Clegg attempt to join in the Cameron bashing, until he realises that his credibility is a moot point and that as a result, his political party of choice will never see the warm innards of 10 Downing Street again. And this is entirely interchangeable, depending on which leader of which party has done something that the others can attack – it’s playground name calling and childish taunting at it’s very best and it astounds me every time I see these people on the news, making juvenile comments about their opponents, that this is the state of UK politics; it’s nothing more than a terrible reality show like The X Factor, except the winner gets to ruin our country for a further five years. It’s worrisome.

I think the only thing that unites all political voters (or non-voters in my case), is perhaps the fact that our country is in dire straits and the only, overwhelmingly obvious reason we feel that our country is as broken as it seems to be, is the fact that we have David Cameron and his merry band of wankers at the helm of it all (the concept of a coalition government, conveniently forgotten, it seems). If the hashtag #CameronMustGo is anything to go by, I am not the only person who agrees that the country is flailing on the world’s stage as a result of his shockingly bad method of management. If you didn’t already know, the hashtag is Twitter’s longest standing hashtag, with millions of comments and links to photos and articles outlining Cameron’s failings as Prime Minister, as well as a particularly resounding death toll for the tolerance of the Conservative Party as a whole. These are concepts I am entirely in agreement with and feel that, as a result of being the type of person who was charged bedroom tax when she didn’t have a job and having to choose between eating or putting on heating for two weeks (which I could then only use at night, because it was too expensive to run constantly) in the winter months (of course, only having the living room, bedroom and bathroom heaters on, because I couldn’t afford to heat the whole house) and having to sign on every two weeks, even though I didn’t receive any proper benefits as a result of my freelancing, only to be told that my efforts weren’t good enough; I didn’t use the booklet to fill out my job search because I always filled it within a couple of days, instead opting to use a giant PukkaPad, I was sanctioned. I didn’t use the government appointed jobsite that linked to Monster because I found it too contrived and not very user friendly and I was sanctioned. Meaning that for one month, I had the forty pounds I needed to eat with taken from me. I was lucky, because I could just jump ship and go from my freezing house to my parents’ house where I would live for free, eat for free and be as warm as I wanted for free until I could afford to go back home… but for thousands and thousands of people, they didn’t have that luxury and in some cases, suicide/death was, for them, the only luxury they felt they could afford… Yet, there are some people who tell me that Cameron is the best of a bad bunch. And it upsets me to think that they might be right. But, if Cameron is the best out of a bad bunch… How bad are the others? Who else could we really see running the country in a manner that doesn’t result in either all out civil war or seeing yet more people starving themselves to death as they stand in a queue for a food bank?

To me, at this point, there seems to be only two further parties with a potential at glimpsing the ultimate goal of wrapping their hands around the doorknob at 10 Downing Street and feeling the sweet sense of ecstasy as their hands grip the knob, twist and push it open, acknowledging the ultimate climax of getting to call 10 Downing Street theirs. (All very homo-erotic, but I went for it, don’t judge me) and that’s The Labour Party and apparent ‘never going to happen, but there are a lot of people so utterly despondent with the rest of us that they are all clinging to a party that consists of nothing but racist, homophobic, misogynists with contempt for anything that isn’t a white man with his own business and a tiny penis to match’ alleged underdog, Ukip.

If I chose to vote and didn’t want to choose The Conservative party for obvious hashtag related reasons, then these are my options. Labour with their politics allegedly steeped in history that support the common worker and fight for worker’s rights via unions and other such things in order to promote a healthier, more financially stable Britain through accessible politics. Except that the people supposedly encouraging these politics are no worse than Cameron and his merry band of wankers. Leader, Ed Milliband, perhaps the weakest man ever to grace the political stage, surrounded by upper-class snobs who turn their nose up at the very people who helped define The Labour party through its formative years; the common worker. If Emily Thornberry and her ill-advised photographic tweeting is anything to go by, aligning myself with the Labour Party would result in nothing but something that is very much the same as what is happening to the country right now. Except the person doing all the damage would be wearing a red tie instead of a blue one.

As a woman, aligning myself with Ukip is not even an option. To consider it, to even write about considering it, knowing that I would rather bash my own skull in with an empty wine bottle and hurl myself in the Tyne river during a snow storm than actually consider voting for Ukip, is painful and makes me want to hurl. I hate Ukip. They terrify me and the fact that people I know and care for support some of their racist, misogynistic and downright inhumane policies is shameful and terrifying. To be a woman voting Ukip is essentially putting a bullet to your own head and pulling the trigger (which may actually be possible if you vote for the fuck monkey that is Nigel Farage); you are not respected, you’re barely even considered human and as someone who has had extensive experience with certain Ukip voters, you are only considered a baby machine, who has no real place in an environment that doesn’t involve making sandwiches or cleaning a toilet bowl. Please take a look at this link if you’re a woman who is considering, or has a male human in their lives who intend to, vote for Ukip.

So you see, faithful readers, who’ve gotten through almost 2000 words of blogging… this is why I don’t vote and why I won’t vote. If any of these political parties (because the other parties don’t really have a look in as far as I can see from my research) achieve success in the next election, then I and any woman who identifies themselves as someone worthy of respect, will be fucked in some way or the other (and it seems with Ukip’s policies on sexual harassment in the workplace, this might be literal) and our country will plummet further into the dank and disgusting space reserved for the likes of North Korea or Australia, back when we sent all of our criminals there. Voting for the best of a bad bunch? No, you’re voting for the destruction of the United Kingdom***.

***Unless you’re a homophobic, misogynistic, racist snob…then congratulations fuck nugget, you got yourself a five year long muslim bashing, female smacking rape party! YAY!

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We’re Not Safeguarding Children, We’re Censoring Society:

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen my recent tweets regarding the restrictions that have been placed on the porn industry. As someone who is both sexual and an appreciator of people exploring and forming their own sexual enjoyments/pursuits within a safe and consensual manner, it might be obvious that I am extremely annoyed at the recent reform within our pornographic film making community.

Here are a few items that have been listed as specially restricted material:

Spanking
Caning
Aggressive whipping
Penetration by any object “associated with violence”
Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual)
Urolangia (known as “water sports”)
Female ejaculation
Strangulation
Face Sitting
Fisting

The last three have been regarded as ‘life endangering’, which is why they feature on the list. (Source)

The new laws placed on the porn industry seem positively draconian and the reasons behind the bans are blurry to say the least; what is suggested as an attempt to safeguard children from being able to access pornography seems more like an overt attempt at controlling and censoring elements of sex that do not fit in with the seemingly patriarchal view of what is deemed acceptable methods of discourse: Everything that is not considered within the normative practices of sexual activity have been banned, meaning that if you’re into BDSM or a member of the LGBT community, or indeed, a woman into female dominated sexual activity, you are being undoubtedly censored from accessing and enjoying content prevalent to your sexual interests.

It certainly seems that the restrictions are more than a little one sided and that the majority of bans seem to focus on any form of female enjoyment, or any role in which a female is dominant, which would be hilarious, if it wasn’t so terribly sad. It’s a concept that is so bizarre, that it confuses and shames me that we have to be discussing the concept of female sexuality as something that has no place in pornography – it’s perfectly akin to the Victorian times when women were locked up for being sexually aware and had their clitoris’ removed in order to return to the dutiful housewife and mother roles society were accustomed to. Effectively, these bans are attempting to reinforce the overtly patriarchal views that women are not sexual entities that require pleasure or the freedom to explore our sexuality: We are objects to be either controlled for the sexual gratification of the man, or an orifice in which to deposit seed for reproductive purposes.

If you’re male and reading this thinking, bollocks, utter feminist bollocks, what the fuck is this halfwit talking about? Then riddle me this: Female ejaculation has been banned, but male ejaculation is still both legal and widely available to view. Why? What is so terribly wrong about female ejaculation? Is it that it’s rare and slightly difficult to do without the aid of toys/extreme patience? Therefore, the ban is in place to make men feel less shit if they try to make a woman squirt and fail? Is it the fact that within porn, the main focus and enjoyment from a male perspective is watching the pretty little lady get covered in another man’s spunk? Because, to me, if I was a man watching porn, surely I’d be getting off at the fact that I can see juices gushing from a woman’s vagina at the moment of climax and not an oversized appendage shooting out spunk? Or am I being naïve? Of course I am, this has no relevance to the reason behind the ban: it’s not about who is coming, so long as it’s not the female as the entire concept of female sexuality is still in 2014 being discussed as though it’s an unnecessary element of sexual discourse; that by empowering the women in porn will result in real women’s expectations being higher and that their dominance in the bedroom becomes a threat to male sexuality, which is the real issue here, right?

The aforementioned is beside the point, if you ask me, regardless of who has control or who the protagonist in the porn film is, or who’s spunk shot would we rather see, the restrictions, attempts at censorship and bans are far more disappointing and worrying for a plethora of other reasons that affect us all, regardless of our sexual interests or gender.

If the alleged reason behind why the bans are in place at all is, in fact, to do with the safeguarding of children, surely an all-out ban and censorship on the porn industry altogether would be a far more successful tactic, rather than just banning the elements that allow people to pursue interests that do not coincide with the normative views on sexual activities? Because, if this really is about child protection, I don’t see how simply banning the bits they don’t want kids to see is a successful tactic. Surely educating parents into monitoring their children’s internet activity and not allowing them access to sites that allow anyone to buy porn movies is the issue here? If a child is viewing strangulation porn, or a little girl sees a porn star sitting on her co-star’s face and then re-enacts it, killing a child in the playground, surely the fact that their parents haven’t been looking after them properly is the issue? Not, in fact, the porn industry that is responsible for creating consensual content targeted at adult audiences who know that not everyone is into strangulation or having their testicles stamped on.

Furthermore, these bans may be an attempt to safeguard our children, but what about safeguarding adults, both men and women, regardless of sexual interests or orientation? Because, banning these alleged ‘life endangering’ pornographic films that are movies, at the end of the day; a re-enactment within a safe, consensual and legal environment, surely only creates a gap in the market that will be filled by people who aren’t at all bothered with the safety, consent or legalities involving sexual pursuits. If there is room within the black market, for example, for a film including penetration with something that can be perceived as a weapon, then surely that opens up a whole new can of worms for us to be extremely concerned about… and we should be concerned.

The bans that were put in place will only prove to be foolhardy and incredibly counterproductive and that the decision to place these bans only reiterate the fact that there are preconceived notions of what is considered ‘normal’ sex and that anything beyond the male/female sexual encounter resulting in male-only ejaculation (thus pleasure) is what society is promoting as correct. It’s a perpetuation of all of the worrying elements of society that include the increasing patriarchal view that women are inferior and if a man says ‘yes’, it doesn’t matter if she says ‘no’ and it reiterates that female sexuality is wrong and something to be avoided at all costs. I think these bans are incredibly dangerous not only to our UK porn industry (we didn’t cover the topic that yet another element of our economy is now being imported, essentially), but to anyone who CHOOSES to pursue a non-vanilla lifestyle and women who believe their sexuality is just as important as their male counterparts. I believe it will result in further violence against women via illegal movies made featuring the banned content and I believe it will prove to be a futile endeavour: We’re not safeguarding children, we’re censoring society.

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The Paedophile Next Door

Last night, Channel Four aired The Paedophile Next Door, an hour long documentary that highlighted the concepts of paedophilia as a sexual preference. In the show, we saw victims, health professionals and one paedophile discussing their experiences and opinions on the matter. For me, it was incredibly harrowing and very difficult to watch, but I managed, with tears in my eyes and a hand over my mouth in horror, to get through the documentary. Some of my views were immediately aired on twitter – as is always the way – the bitter sting of the show still digging into my sides and I ended up having a debate with one of my very best friends, Sian, about it. Now, with the immediate visceral reaction having subsided, I feel that I can, perhaps, review the show in a more… hopefully, neutral manner. Although, I’m quite happy to admit that I am not sure if I’ll manage. We’ll see.

The show addressed paedophilia as a legitimate sexual preference as well as a mental health issue that could be classed as an affliction and we, as the audience, were pleaded with to listen to reasoning and admit that not all paedophiles should be vilified as that encourages them to attack, instead we should be nurturing and encourage those paedophiles to admit their sexual preference and mental health problems and receive the help they deserve – this is something  that is already done in Germany and the show’s main topic, Eddie, admitted that he would also like to seek help for his affliction. Personally, I think the show did a poor job of arguing their point, which I reitertated on Twitter. Whether or not people deserve help is neither here nor there, if paedophiles want help, then great, but surely history regarding sexual preferences dictates that you can’t change who you are?

What does that say about the LGBT community who have fought for years and years to attain social equality? We STILL don’t offer social equality to this community and in an enormous amount of countries – including our own – there are still a great amount of people excluded, murdered, beaten up and vilified for their sexual preferences… but this isn’t classed as a mental illness? Why? Because it isn’t – loving someone of the same sex does not make you mentally ill, identifying as a female when you were born a man does not make you mentally ill; we’ve fought for the equality of all of these people and that love has no gender, that in 2014 we should not be adhering to the heteronormative, biblical solution to love, marriage and procreation. It can’t be beaten out of you, it can’t be changed through therapy, you can’t be sent off to a straight camp and come back loving pussy when you’ve spent a life time sucking cock – we have covered this; it’s inherent, it’s in your blood: you are who you are, that can’t be changed. So why are paedophiles any different? Offering them therapy isn’t going to stop them from being paedophiles and wasting money on offering them comfort in the fact that it’s okay to be sexually attracted them to children is dangerous. If a homosexual can’t be turned straight, or a straight person can’t be turned gay, how do you turn a paedophile into a non-paedophile? You can’t.

Attempting to normalise paedophilia is tantamount to saying that it’s okay to be attracted to children and I honestly think that is beyond wrong. Firstly, children don’t have the mental grasp on life to be able to give consent and think that it’s okay for a grown man or woman to sexually abuse them. Being attracted to children as young as five, or children who can’t even draw or walk or crawl is not okay and I am rather disgusted that there is an attitude that we want to help these people; they are not okay and no amount of therapy will make it okay for someone to fancy kids as young as new borns, which was mentioned on the programme.

I get that there are paedophiles out there who have not sexually assaulted children and that’s fantastic, good on them, I don’t mind their existence, that’s not what I’m saying, but as with every sexual preference, there has to be an outlet somewhere, so what do they do? Think about having sex with children? Okay, that’s fine, but which children? The ones who live next door? The ones who he sees going to school every day? What about child pornography? That’s readily available, surely? Yes, of course, but we’ve already covered that children can’t give consent, that to be involved in sexually graphic photographs or content is not consensual; an adult has, at some point, exercised their ultimate control over a child and forced them to do that, so surely by watching the porn, paedophiles are only perpetuating the abuse of the poor child in that movie or photograph?

Of course, things like this are broad generalisations, but the fact that there is a counter argument out there suggests that it isn’t okay normalising a sexual preference by brandishing it as a mental illness. We can’t accept that, as a society, it’s okay to call paedophilia a mental illness, but we cant call homosexuality a mental illness (quite rightly, mind). Sexual preferences are not mental illnesses and it’s not something that any amount of therapy will correct. It may stop someone from offending, but it might not… Then who do we blame? We blame ourselves… and is that okay?

I would really love to hear people’s opinions on this, because as you can see, my arguments are emotional and for the most part visceral – I simply do not agree with normalising paedophilia or supporting them in any way, but as with my debate with Sian, I would love to hear other points of view, so please send comments or emails or anything and I am more than happy to discuss it with any of you.

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A Series of Lamentations: Food

My boyfriend (Brain) is constantly admonishing me for my relationship with food; he accuses me of being picky, which tends to catapult me into an irate state of melodrama that involves me screaming “I AM NOT PICKY, I AM THE OPPOSITE OF PICKY, I AM FAT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, ISN’T IT OBVIOUS THAT I LOVE FOOD IN ALL ITS GLORY?!” before listing items of food that I enjoy eating, that many people wouldn’t enjoy eating, either because their tolerance for dead animals and the food created from their insides is significantly less than mine (read: non-existent) or because they are vegetarians/vegans and their love of vegetables is so extensive that they would eat things that I never would without wanting to smother everything in thick layers of cheese and probably also some chicken.

However, and this is something that I have never told Brain, through genuine fear of him turning into the haughty, self-righteous know it all that he loves to be when he realises that he has bested me and that I am, as predicted, an unending example of persistent contradictions that render all of my arguments to the contrary positively inept (like, seriously, bro, how perceptive do you really need to be? Give a girl a break!) and that I did for a long time have genuine issues with food and most of my culinary discoveries only happened in the last, perhaps, one to three years of my life.

I still maintain that I am not picky, but that I grew up in an environment where culinary exploration wasn’t really a high priority; that set meals and an avoidance of foods that my mother didn’t want to cook was imperative and as a result, my palette was relatively infantile until I went to university and discovered an abundance of cheap restaurants that allowed me to explore food in more detail. So, if you are the type of person to read between the lines, I guess you’ve come to the conclusion that, not only do I blame my alleged pickiness on my mother, I also blame her for being fat too.

Isn’t that always the way: Slightly fat human in her mid to late twenties blaming her mother for her current state of tear inducing chubbiness that no amount of Spanx can conceal? Let’s not acknowledge the fact that I don’t live with my mother and that I haven’t done full time for the past three years and that, since the age of perhaps sixteen or seventeen, she had no actual control over what I ate for lunch or dinner unless I ate at home and no she doesn’t know that today for lunch I had a handful of Skittles and salted popcorn with extra salt, because she would judge me harshly. Quite rightly too.

You see, my mother is the true picky eater in this game of life we all play and therefore, my lack of knowledge where certain foods were concerned is because of her dislike for something. Chicken, for example, is something we very rarely ate; we would sometimes get a chicken curry for tea, but not very often because she hates touching it and thinks we are all going to get salmonella and die, which is why I have never been too fond of cooking chicken, because I’m frightened of getting salmonella and dying, fitting in all too well with my upbringing. This is also why I very rarely order chicken in a restaurant, because I will sift through the chicken, sticking bits in the face of the person opposite me asking if the chicken looks too pink to them. And that if I taste a piece of chicken that tastes too chicken-like, I will refuse to eat any further and want to order something else. And this is from someone who loves chicken.

I remember once we were ordering a very rare Chinese takeaway when I was a teenager, my sister and I opted to share a chicken curry together and my mother, who was writing down what to order so that she didn’t forget, looked at us with a face full of genuine concern and said: “chicken… Are you sure you don’t want beef?” prompting, naturally, my sister and I to burst into fits full of giggles and retort with something pithy and harsh, but all very well-mannered that no,  we actually want chicken and if we’d wanted beef, we would have said. But, her attempts at coaxing us towards the evidently far better takeaway option of beef did work, because I remember eating it thinking “this tastes too much like chicken. I don’t think this is cooked. Actually, I don’t think this is chicken at all…WHAT AM I EATING?!” and I have never ordered a chicken curry from anywhere since.

My mother has always had a genuine difficulty with handling meat (much to the lament of my poor dad! HA, sorry, but a good innuendo/inappropriate joke about one’s parents’ sex life should NEVER be missed…Let that be a life lesson to you!), and whilst we can’t class her as a vegetarian due to her love of beef roast lunches and the occasional lamb dish, we can’t class her as a meat eater, because she’d never eat spaghetti Bolognese or fish and chips if it was cooked by anyone other than the one man she trusts to cook her fish. Up until Christmas last year, she hated pork and was quite pissed off with my dad for buying a huge joint of pork and cooking it in her oven, until she popped her head around the kitchen door where my dad, myself and my sister were huddled, practically suckling the pig fat dripping from it’s delectable carcass and she actually tried some. Now she likes hot pork sandwiches. (Another great excuse for an innuendo, but I’ll let it slide.)

So, as you can see, any pickiness that I have exhibited is not pickiness at all, but a deep rooted loyalty to my mam that no one – not even you, Brain – can judge. And whilst I have always heartily enjoyed meat, rarest of rare steaks and chicken in abundance (only if it doesn’t taste too much like chicken), it wasn’t until the past few years I’ve discovered food that I like:

Haggis – as a result of my ex’s dad who played bagpipes and took me along to a Burn’s night where I had Haggis Neeps and Tatties for the first time (also the first time I realised I love turnip, but only if it is cubed) and it was divine.

Black Pudding – through walking in Tesco with my dad who asked me if I liked black pudding and before I could answer, my mam shouted, ”NO, SHE DOES NOT LIKE BLACK PUDDING!” prompting me to feverishly stuff it in my mouth next time I saw it on a menu in a restaurant, which was positively divine. I think I went home that evening, pointed at my mam and screamed “I DO LIKE BLACK PUDDING, WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE, YOU HARLOT!*” and locked myself in my bedroom because I am mature and not at all melodramatic.

Mussels – I didn’t realise I actually liked mussels for a very long time, mostly because I thought choosing this dish in a restaurant meant that I was eating the muscles of fish, which seemed an unnecessary delicacy that I didn’t want to try. I mean, I had tried sushi and some of it was lovely, I’d tried salmon and loved it cooked, but would never try it raw and the idea of eating a fish with it’s head and eyes and bones still attached freaked me out, so why would I eat a fish muscle served in a white wine sauce? Waste of wine if you ask me! Then I realised they were actual shell fish and served in a white wine sauce, because mussles go amazing with a white wine sauce, also a coconut and chilli sauce if you like spicy things and taste more meaty than I would have given them credit for (because I also don’t like things that are too fishy, another trait I owe to my dearest mama).

Admittedly, I have wasted a lot of my life thinking I hated foods when I don’t. I discovered that I love both olives and soft goats cheese this year as well as gnocchi and charcoal cheese. There are also things that I knew I didn’t like, but I tried any way, because Brain peer-pressured me, like camembert, stilton and other cheeses that smell and taste like mouldy, dead people feet. I will try to amend my lack of education in the culinary arts, but only for things I want to try like ostrich and venison and shark, but won’t ever eat pigeon or tomatoes because they are sinister looking and I hate them. So fuck you, Brain**.

*Slight dramatization. Probably didn’t happen like that at all. I’m a liar.

**I say this jokingly. For the most part. Love you, really, kidda!

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Eminem, Rape Fantasies and Iggy. Oh My.

If you have ever defined yourself as an Eminem fan, you’ll know that he is an inherent misogynist. This doesn’t make you one too, but you can’t deny that his entire career has been spent spewing vitriolic diatribe against women who he deems as people who have wronged him, or simply aren’t worthy of his time. A deeply ingrained, perpetual cycle of inherent misogyny, combined with a blatant God complex will do that to a guy, you know?

Admittedly, I have several Eminem albums on my iPod and I will listen to them on occasion, but I have never once denied that Eminem’s lyrics are steeped with intense unresolved issues with the opposite sex. I’m sorry, ladies, but he hates us and somewhere, at some point in time, we will have all done something to cause Eminem some distress that resulted in a scathing and potentially dangerous rap lyric spewed out with the anger and blind hatred only Eminem has been able to perfect in his career. In his career he has attacked:

Mariah Carey
Kim Kardashian
Britney Spears
Christina Aguilera
Mother of his child, Kim
His own mother
Amy Winehouse
Sarah Palin
Lana Del Rey
Iggy Azelea

To name but a few…

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the source of his misogyny is inherited from his issues that he has with his mother; his music is steeped with intense rage at how he felt his mother treated him as a child and whilst I can’t argue that he’s lying, he did lose a battle in court when she accused him of defamation, so I guess it’s up to you to make up your own mind of whether the issues were real, or he made them up to give a little padding to rap lyrics that would be a bit bland without them.

I hate you, mom/my childhood was fine/but I still fucking hate you, bitch!*

You also don’t need to have a doctorate in psychology to determine that your adult interactions and relationships with the opposite sex, as well as your general perceptions thereof, will weigh heavily on your childhood. Needless to say, Eminem did not have the best relationship with his mother, so he continued his woman hating ways by pursuing relationships with women who would receive the back lash of his vicious tongue if they didn’t live up to his expectations. His relationship with his first wife Kim was tempestuous to say the least and she has been the subject of many of his songs, consisting solely of violent and damaging imagery to the point where his ex tried to commit suicide when she heard one particularly harrowing song.

Fast forward to 2014, where he has attacked female rapper Iggy Azalea in a worrying discourse that can only be described as an intense rape fantasy featuring the female rapper as his unwilling victim:

“Bitch, shut the fuck up and get in my car / And suck my fucking dick while I take a shit / And I think with my dick so come blow my mind / And it tastes like humble pie / So swallow my pride, you’re lucky just to follow my ride / If I let you run alongside the Humvee / Unless you’re Nicki, grab you by the wrist, let’s ski / So what’s it gon’ be? Put that shit away Iggy / You don’t wanna blow that rape whistle on me / Scream! I love it / ‘Fore I get lost with the gettin’ off.”

I mean, let’s not get into the fact that the lyrics ‘suck my fucking dick while I take a shit’ are perhaps the worst rap lyrics ever conceived, his blatant obsession with his own appendage, especially within the discourse of shaming and defiling a woman would be a Freudian wet dream. I think Christina Aguilera said it best when she said that he ‘must talk so big, to make up for smaller things’ in her video Can’t Hold Us Down.

The fact of the matter is, Eminem simply isn’t relevant anymore and in his desperate attempt to cling onto fame and youth, his renowned vitriol within his songs is becoming dangerous and increasingly worrisome. As someone who has been heralded as a rap God, his sphere of influence is a large one and promoting rape within songs is dangerous, regardless of what your stance on Eminem is. Iggy said it best herself when she likened the rapper to a washed up old man, but there is no denying that his lyrics are extremely relevant when comparing to our ever increasing culture of rape within society.

The fact that he has gotten away with spewing such misogynistic overtones within his music for so long is one thing, but to allow this to continue is entirely up to us – as music fans and as people who don’t think it’s okay to threaten rape or promote rape fantasies on such a huge public forum. Eminem, he’s had his hay day and whilst his music is potentially damaging to a woman’s self esteem, I’m not going to judge anyone who listens to him, but I think as a community, we should be doing more to admonish old rappers who think it’s okay to reach middle age and still hate on women without seeking some kind of advice from a medical professional. I mean, Eminem probably doesn’t care that he is promoting rape and giving out poor messages to the youth of today, but like, Dre should at least have a word with him and tell him to stop being such a fucking desperate for attention, washed up prick, you know?

*One of the reasons I decided not to be come the next big rap artist.

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Twenty Something Midlife Crises:

If you’re reading this, then you may be a twenty something individual going through a little bit of a crisis. I understand. Crises are usually reserved for the middle aged and are thus appropriately glamorised because they had their shit together in their twenties and have therefore earned enough money in their lives to buy a new hairpiece, fill their faces with botox, buy a red sports car and develop a drug addiction, derived from having many dinners and sexual dalliances with high end prostitutes. Twenty somethings are not privileged enough, nor have they earned enough money prior to fly around in a sports car, paying people to have sex with them. (I should also point out that mid-life crises are not gender specific; women have them too, only they are far less glamorous and probably result in drinking wine in the afternoon and declaring themselves ‘cougars’ hitting up clubs with their other miserable friends in order to revitalise their youth in a manner which botox and sex with prostitutes wouldn’t be able to fulfil). Therefore, there is no readily prepared information on how to stop having a crisis in your twenties, get your shit together and stop lamenting over the fact that you’re in thousands of pounds worth of debt because of a degree you were encouraged to get to improve your quality of life/employment chances has resulted in unemployment and eating dried garlic bruschetta for lunch because you’re too cast adrift in your life to consider proper food consumption. I get it, so I’m here to help.

You see, I too have been, adrift and in crisis. One could argue that my current state of affairs is akin to feeling adrift and in crisis, but I would say that you are wrong, because the first stage of a crisis is denial that you are in a crisis. Much like a red sports car is such a good idea, because the ladies love a red sports car and no the media has not bastardised the red sports car to the extent that driving in one is synonymous with being an old creep looking to touch people young enough to be their daughters. You see, denial, it knows no boundaries. I am not denying that I am in a crisis, because I’m not – there is a checklist, which I have handily drafted for you all to highlight that you may be having a twenty something crisis, but I, most certainly, am not:

  1. You have a degree in some kind of artistic pursuit that filled you full of purpose during your formative years, but has since left you feeling empty in body, mind and pocket.
  2. You choose to pursue the talents bestowed on you by said degree by pursuing this as a hobby, which will accidentally, one day, flourish into a career.
  3. You have more wine glasses than you do any other type of glass in your flat.
  4. You take stands quite a lot and are often incensed by things such as the news, adverts and the inability to use your television due to your partner’s inability to explain how to use said device properly.
  5. You have too many dishes to clean on a daily basis.
  6. You have stood in front of a mirror and lamented over your girth, foaming at your reflection, but happy in your resolve that this must be your natural body shape and not a sign that you should stop eating ice cream.
  7. You don’t often wear a bra during the day, so that when people deliver packages to your door, you look like you’ve been breastfeeding two baby elephants simultaneously for the past half an hour.
  8. Or, if you’re male, don’t wear a shirt and the results are pretty much the same.
  9. Your mother often rings you to ask you if you’ve had any joy on becoming a proper adult, instead of the overgrown toddler you have essentially become, given your addiction to bottle shapes, afternoon naps and tears at not getting your own way.
  10. You write lists.

If you have checked positive for any of these, then I am very sorry, but you are probably going through a twenty something life crisis. Given, of course, that you are in your twenties. If you are younger than in your twenties, then don’t worry, your parents pay for shit and this is just childhood, enjoy it, get a tattoo. If you’re older than in your twenties and/or are married with children, then you should probably get your shit together, get off the internet and do something more worthwhile in your life. There is no room for you here.

The main problem, I think, with people who are going through twenty something life crises is that it’s not glamorised enough. Instead of being rich and having sex with people, we are poor and watching Netflix on loop every day watching actors have simulated sex with other actors. It’s all very drab. Plus, if you decide to inform someone that you feel you may be going through a little bit of a crisis, that you feel that your talents and life are dwindling away, that you’re at a point in your life where you see others with their shit together and it gives you feelings of intense anxiety to know that you are at the bottom of the gene pool in both terms of sexuality and employment. These people who you talk to are inherently selfish and will therefore laugh heartily until tiny tears are coming out of their eyelids, they will shake their heads, smile at you and tell you that you should pursue a life of comedy, or that you should write a fictional novel because the stories you come up with are crazy. If you don’t speak to someone selfish, then they will tell you how great you are and buoy your confidence up to a level where you feel stupid for ever feeling that you were in crisis, until they leave and you realise all they did was make you feel temporarily better and are probably worse than the people who didn’t support you and thought you were insane.

The truth is, twenty somethings worldwide are the first generation in life who are on the precipice of life but unable to jump over into that ship of self-sufficient adulthood and money in the bank that doesn’t need to be saved for bills or you’ll be kicked out of your house for not paying rent, because it’s just too far and you’re scared of the presumably shark infested waters that undoubtedly lie beneath. Our parents had their shit together, when they left school at sixteen, careers were pretty much handed to them, having been crafted throughout their school careers. My dad knew he was going to be an engineer and became an apprentice, my mam a hairdresser and did the same. I left school and I knew that I was going to spend a significant amount of time lying around looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling on the internet and reading books, before going shopping two days before college and buying clothes that made me look like a weed smoking hippy from the 1970s that wouldn’t make me any friends. We’re part of a generation that are in debt before we even decide what we’re doing in life, meaning we can’t pursue the things that we should do in our adult lives: mortgages, weddings, financial stability, babies, buying a car that we don’t have to lease, decorating and weekend DIY. Instead, we remain in an almost infantile state, attempting adulthood but failing miserably, working temporary, shit jobs whilst holding out for our degrees to finally pay off, developing addictions to things that remind us of childhood: which explains why EVERY male human you know has either an addiction to some kind of Japanese anime, playing army on his playstation or his xbox with his friends and that girls are weird and icky and why EVERY female you know has at some point in their lives bought a hat with animal ears on it and changed their Facebook status to Disney princess in training because they spent an entire evening drinking wine and singing along to Disney songs in their pyjamas, wishing that men were like Disney princes (not the parts where they kiss you without consent whilst you’re asleep, or kidnap you and refuse to let you see your family so he can force you to love him, though).

To me, it seems like the only thing we can really do at this point in our lives is develop the ability to time travel, go back in time and punch our childhoods right in the face. Tell them to not pursue academic excellence and instead settle for the mundane, because everyone you know who didn’t go to university is now in a proper career, has bought their first home and is married to someone they overlooked during childhood. Let them know that if they do pursue the arts they will end up fat, miserable and unemployed, the only joy in life being the fact that you have found your forever human, so at least that’s out the way and that if you’re asked to join companies under zero hour contracts or for barely minimum wage you should laugh in their faces and explain that they are what is wrong with the economy and spit on their shoes before storming out of their building, indignant and…well, unemployed.

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Rape or Little White Lies?

Apparently, I am a part of a demographic that is more likely to cry about and lie about being raped. No, seriously, a man on Twitter told me, so it must be true. This man is on a noble quest to rid the world of the blatantly sexist women that exist everywhere, fighting for the rights of convicted rapists and the horrific slights that men have persistently faced for centuries in both their work and personal lives at the hands of vicious and vitriolic women whose sole purpose in life is to perpetuate the inherently misandrist culture that poor men have to be a part of. As someone who lost her virginity as a result of rape and was terrified into silence (because who is going to believe me, a girl from The Valley, when the son of a police chief is far more believable), I was pretty shocked to be pigeonholed, if I’m honest. But, of course I was. After all, I’m a woman and he’s a middle class white man with his very own business; he is powerful and I am not. He doesn’t have to shower me with facts to make his point clear; pulling little white lies out of his arse and attempting to blow smoke up the arses of silly little women daring to make their opinions on rapists clear instead of sitting in the corner, waiting to be spoken to by her master, is perfectly acceptable. I sometimes have to be reminded that I’m a just a little woman. So, I have to admit, that it was no surprise to me that when I woke up this morning and heard the news of Janice Dickinson’s revelations that she was among the many women who had been sexually assaulted and raped by Bill Cosby, that she was accused of lying. Because, of course she was.

Rape is one of the most horrific things that a woman can suffer and whilst in the last year 22,000 rapes were reported by women, we found out yesterday that roughly 25% of rape and sexual assault reports were simply dropped by the police, victim not contacted; forgotten about, as though it was a nonchalant comment made half-heartedly, the assumption being that it wasn’t important enough to pursue and that’s the problem… when a woman reports a rape or sexual assault, it’s ultimately put into the hands of other people, both women and men, who, even though they aren’t the victim or the attacker, are allowed to have their own personal stake in whether or not victims become one of the 25% who are simply ignored, and therein lies the problem; when a woman is raped, it becomes public property and victims have absolutely no control over who contacts them to offer support or otherwise.

The truth is, there’s simply not enough education out there for men on what rape is. Men are allowed to choose to believe that rape is non-existent or something that a woman cries if she regrets her dalliances the night before, which simply isn’t true. Whilst women are taught preventative measures to stop themselves from being in a vulnerable position, men are left to their own devices and allowed to form their own opinions on rape and what can be classified as rape, opinions they are allowed to form themselves with no lessons from professionals or otherwise. Then, we have people like laugh a minute, comedy hero, Dapper Laughs, who promotes and normalises rape culture, whether it be intentional or not, passing comments that are absorbed by lad culture and heralded as comedy, rather than potentially damaging rhetoric that can endanger women everywhere. Of course, I am generalising, and I know that the majority of men are not inherent rapists, but I believe the general masculine consensus on rape is she could be lying.

Unless you look like a victim, then you won’t be treated like a victim. Unless you play up to the fact that you have been violated and allow a horrific time in your life to encapsulate your future, then you won’t be treated like a victim. You have to want to be treated like a victim, staring forlornly into a camera, speaking in great detail about your anguish five minutes after it has happened. Or sitting in the dark with a voice changer morphing your words lamenting publicly about your human rights being violated, then you won’t be treated like a victim, which is exactly why Janice Dickinson has been slammed for being a liar today. She is glamorous, advocates plastic surgery, has talked brazenly and unashamedly about her sex life; someone who has had sex with Mick Jagger and talked about it can’t be a victim of rape, she had to do it willingly, therefore she’s lying.

It’s so easy to accuse a woman of lying about rape and it’s so easy for us to sit in our glass houses, throwing stones with little or no knowledge about rape at all. Do you know what a woman has to go through if she is brave enough to approach police about being raped? The sheer horror is, unless you report a rape immediately after, with his semen still trickling down your legs, then the likelihood of you being believed is dramatically decreased. The truth is, as victims, we need to willingly wear our horrific attacks like scarlet letters; broadcasting to everyone that we have been violated. We can’t wear make-up, or dress in any way that can be perceived as provocative; we need to become shells of our former selves and allow our rape to define us for the rest of our lives. Why? To protect men, of course.

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