Tag Archives: Feminine

A Different Shade of Grey:

Today sees the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in our cinemas and with it, comes the controversy and the heady, dizzy frenzy surrounding the novel and subsequent movie will hopefully begin to subside… There will be an undoubted rush of women bellowing for all to hear that on-screen Christian Grey is as much of a romantic hero as his character in the novel, of which most will know my opinion! I recently wrote an article over on Femtellectual that explains why he isn’t anything of the sort and why women shouldn’t let Christian Grey anywhere near their sex lives, but even I have to admit, with all of my judgements and peeling a part of the novel to reveal the less than savoury centre, that EL James and her violently domineering romantic hero has changed the manner in which we view sex and relationships exponentially.

Back in 2011, when the novel was released, I am sure I’m not the only person who reluctantly experienced, first-hand, what it was like to come face to face with a woman who had read the novel. Out of the woodwork crawled many dishevelled women who were positively tickled pink by the contents of the novel and the ‘activities’ carried out by Grey in his ‘Red Room of Pain’, many with comments articulating their desire for their own Christian Grey. It’s no secret that sexual confidence soared within so many women that I know in my real life, including family and friends, and, as much as I have nothing good to say about the novel, or the domestic abuse within the storyline, I can get on board with the sexual confidence that ensued following James’ terrible, terrible writing.

I’m not afraid to admit that I was ashamed that so many of my family and friends read the novel and got excited over the concept of Christian Grey and I was especially embarrassed when my mother and sister seemingly jumped on the bandwagon. Because they’re my family, I saved them the diatribe reserved for other folk and I let them get on, but I realised later on, especially when my mother began reading them, that her enjoyment had nothing to do with her supporting the abuse or believing that it didn’t exist, or even finding it romantic. For my mother in particular, she was positively aghast, but not necessarily in a bad way, that things like this went on, not only within the confines of the novel, but in real life too. Apparently, when she was reading the novel, she meandered into my sister’s bedroom, book in one hand, reading glasses in the other and with a presumably adorably furrowed brow said, “can I ask you to Google something for me? I don’t know what anal beads are…” turns out my sister didn’t either, so they both discovered anal beads in all of their glory and my sweet mama vowed never to ask her youngest daughter any sex related questions ever again, instead choosing to either Google them herself, or ask me. I’ve always been renowned for my cavalier attitude towards sex and all that it entails, so I think my mother felt emboldened and happy to discuss things she’d never discussed before. When we went shopping, she would slide into Ann Summers and giggle at all of the ‘sexy’ clothes and even wandered so far as the vibrators and turned pink in the cheeks as I switched them all on and told her about the merits of certain movements and how it pleasures the female, much to her amusement/horror/surprise! Yet, whipping, flogging and sex toys inserted into anus’ didn’t seem like her cup of tea but, “those jiggly ball things” that Christian uses on Ana seemed to intrigue her a great deal. When she found out I own a pair and she laughed so hard that tea came out of her nose, “Really?!” she screamed, “what are they like?!”

***

One of my best friends got in contact with me this week to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey and asked if I was going to be going to see it or if I would like to have a girly night in my flat and we’d watch it together with wine, provided she could get either her partner or her mother to babysit (not us, a baby!). I informed her that I wasn’t all that supportive of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and sent her the link to the article I mentioned earlier and her response was surprisingly different to most women. Promising anonymity, she allowed me to quote her:

I understand where you’re coming from with this, right, but ever since we’ve been young, you’ve been SO sexually confident. You’ve talked about sex toys like they’re your best friends and you’ve been so cavalier with your attitudes; what you like and what you don’t. I’ve never had that. I never understood where you got your confidence from, to be honest. But, after I read Fifty Shades I began thinking differently. As much as you were a lot of the inspiration behind my desire to be more sexually confident, a lot of the content in the book helped me begin to explore that with [her partner].

Admittedly, I was pretty shocked when I read her response, especially given my attitude towards the novel. I know and I do respect that people will have differing opinions and mostly, I just let people believe what they want to believe, but I have to say that it did surprise me that someone could feel so emboldened by Fifty Shades of Grey and that was one of the reasons behind one of my dearest friends exploring her sex life in a definitely more kinky detail.

My friends are, obviously, not the only people who have been affected by the novel, whether good or bad and it’s clear to see that EL James has inspired a surge within many factors of the sex industry. The sex toy industry for example, has positively boomed since Fifty Shades was released in 2011 and EL James has managed to bag herself a specific Fifty Shades inspired sex toy range that fans of the book/movie can purchase for their own sex play, which is available at LoveHoney and has proven extremely popular since it was first available online. There was obviously an existing BDSM inspired market, but with the popularity of the book and undoubtedly the novel, this has increased dramatically, and as much as I am firmly against the empire that EL James has created for herself, on the back of a book that undoubtedly promotes domestic abuse, but I can’t say that I’m unhappy that there are more and more women out there who have decided to positively and safely (presumably) explore a kinkier element to their sex lives.

It does extend beyond the bedroom, though, and I think due to attitudes towards online dating mellowing, I think a lot more freedom has been allowed for people to discuss their sexual preferences openly as part of the (for want of a better word) courting process, if you will. When I was single, I spoke to a lot of different men and used the likes of online dating to, at the very least, get my confidence (read: MOJO) back with regards to communicating with the opposite sex. Whilst I didn’t do it for very long, it did seem that every man I spoke to basically inferred elements of sex that they were into pretty much immediately. One man informed me, without any preamble, that he would like to see me hog died and insert sex toys into very specific orifices because that’s the kind of thing he was into… (three dots included) and whilst I didn’t respond to this person, it did seem to me that sex was the only thing that was on the table to this person and other people I spoke to as an immediate introduction to myself and presumably other women. In the past, where this might have been taboo to mention, or you might not have discovered until later on in the relationship, exploring kink and being open about one’s sexual proclivities has become a cultural norm and I do think the soaring popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has something do with it; sensibilities have changed and, again, as much as I’m against the novel, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Talking about sex is, I feel, wildly important within relationships because everyone should be open and honest about their preferences and their boundaries; whilst having discussions within two sentences that reveal one’s sexual appetites is potentially a little full on, it’s still a good sign of confidences and shedding the ‘taboo’ moniker of sexual intercourse – everyone does it, but not everyone talks about it and Fifty Shades has helped that. Dating sites such as Plenty of Fish have even begun including specific sections of their website dedicated to people who like the novel and the ability to be able to specifically search for a dating site that caters to your needs has never been easier. Following the popularity of the novel, areas of the market have opened up and BDSM has become a popular, relatively normative sexual practice, with sites such as 50shadesofgreydating.com that allows you to sign up to the ‘luxury BDSM dating site’ for free and allows you to explore your inner dominant or submissive side by finding your Ana or Christian…Red room included! It’s refreshing to see that a kinky lifestyle is not only available, but widely promoted online and that people are exploring potentially dormant desires to be dominant or submissive in the bedroom by reaching out to like-minded individuals. It would be intruiging to find out whether these sites operate under the full safety of written contracts and promotion of safe words and loving/supportive after care for all involved, but even so, if two consenting adults actively go into a situation knowing full facts about BDSM, then I guess it’s up to the individuals to ascertain their boundaries, rather than the company, but it would still be interesting to find out.

It just goes to show that whether you love it or loathe it, Fifty Shades of Grey has had an impact on our sex lives and the manner we conduct our relationships in significant ways, and, whilst I am still fundamentally against the concepts of the novel and the promotion of domestic abuse within the poorly written pages, I am hoping that the movie depicts the relationship in a more consensual, loving manner that better represents the BDSM community, allowing for people who are potentially experiencing Fifty Shades of Grey to explore their potentially dormant proclivities in a more positive and safe manner.

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Funny Feminist – Tits Over Talent by Sarah Farrugia

unnamedThe past year I took up acting, as a career choice (along with YouTube and selling makeup and shamelessly plugging my own businesses). I’m about to act in my first speaking role in a short film, which I can’t wait for. Actually, scratch that, I can wait. Wait until I’ve hit the gym a few more times and got my ass looking perky and round. My first scene is a nude, or, well, I will be wearing underwear but they don’t leave much to the imagination.I have no issue appearing nude or semi-nude in a role where it feeds into the character, this one being quite like myself, a bit of an exhibitionist and a show off, but in looking for more work all I can seem to find are roles that require me to be only a set of tits.

I am paraphrasing a little here but most roles I find that are suited to my age and location have lovely little side notes such as:

  • May requite nudity
  • May require you to be groped/touched/kissed

Now, these roles are mostly volunteer roles, it’s not easy to find paid work this early on unless it’s something commercial. And like I said, I have no issue showing off my fabulous breasts or my small but lovely butt if it’s called for but these films are generally asking me not to play a character but a blow up doll. To add to the fun of it, you never know who you’ll end up working with until you get the role, so God knows who’s greasy or possibly eerily small hands will be twiddling your tits for free.

This kind of requirement is minimal for men. Out of all the roles I have looked through over the past few months I’d say more than two thirds require you to be groped or nude if you’re female, compared to less than a third for male.

I’m wondering – should I give myself a new standard for choosing roles? If the female part can be replaced with a blow up doll (with substandard fun bags) it’s probably not worth going for.

At least I know that if I am ever sick or too tired or depressed about the state of roles for young women, I can send said blow up doll in my place with a nametag.


Sarah Farrugia is an aspiring actress, avid book reader, cat lover and general amazing human I am lucky to call one of my best friends. I am excited to work with her on Funny Feminist and follow her throughout life and her career – you’ll definitely be seeing more of her here, but if you would like to follow her and be a part of her journey, you can do so here:

Follow Sarah on Twitter

Sarah’s Youtube Channel

Sarah’s Younique Make Up Facebook Community

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Funny Feminist – Taylor Swift

Image:Billboard

 If someone had said, “you will be OBSESSED with this woman in 2015”when Taylor Swift first came on the scene, I’d probably spit my drink out laughing and wondered what you’d been smoking prior to saying something so entirely ridiculous. Taylor Swift, at the time, was the epitome of everything I disliked in music: An overly manufactured pretty girl with, as far as I could tell from never having listened to her music, absolutely no talent and would eventually be used up and spat out, thus left to disintegrate into a breakdown before she reached twenty five. I didn’t think she was anything other than gossip magazine fodder, but, quite happily, I’ve been proved wrong.

Like many other women in the media in 2014, Taylor Swift admitted that she identified with the feminist movement and really, we shouldn’t have been entirely surprised, given her lifestyle and lyric content in a lot of her more recent songs. I’ve always felt quite sorry for Swift: ever since her dating repertoire became something that the public deemed their property, and pictures of her with different men emerged online and became viral, I’ve always felt like a little cheerleader thinking that she was given a bit of a hard rap. Naturally, a lot of the images shared online were less than complimentary towards her and she was generally slammed with derogatory slurs that branded her a whore or a slut, because she deigned to have more than one lover in her life time.

Some of the imagery included pictures of her and a man, with attacks blaming Taylor for the breakdown of relationships, assuming that she was annoying or she didn’t behave properly within a relationship and that’s why men didn’t want her. Other images compared her to the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna in another pathetic game that wondered why they weren’t considered role models to children when Swift was, given her bed post clearly had more notches than a Syrian warzone, surely she is the OPPOSITE of what we want our children listening to? Is no one thinking of those poor, helpless children when they buy her albums? The men on the internet are, at least!

Taylor Swift’s treatment by the internet was tantamount to the Madonna and the Whore complex, or similar to stating that when a man sleeps with multiple women he is heralded a hero by other men, but when a woman doing it, she should be sent to a convent for being so wayward and unrepenting of an alleged whoreishness that was she was only branded with in the first place by, seemingly, men. It was another element of controlling young women: “Don’t sleep with men! They won’t respect you!” and thus the idea of the virginal woman is more a virtuous aim for young women, than someone who, you know… Does that she wants to do because she can.

Look who’s laughing now…

Taylor is now worth an estimated $200 million dollars and has made a career in singing about exes who have scorned her. Like the old adage goes, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and whilst men can sit around and blame Taylor and try to tell us that something must be wrong with her and she mustn’t behave well enough in a relationship to maintain the love of some skeezy celebrity, any woman worth her salt knows that she hasn’t done anything wrong and that her actions and response to all the haters is ‘Shake It Off’ – if that isn’t feminism, then slap my arse and call me a bitch.

In 2014, it seems that her career exploded again and that she is doing better than ever since her relase of 1989 and the singles that we’ve heard from that, in particular Blank Space is the epitome of being a young twenty something feminist. Lyrics include I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers/they’ll tell I’m insane and Darling I’m a Nightmare/Dressed like a daydream – She openly admits that she might be annoying in a relationship and that she ‘gets drunk’ on jealousy and that being insecure in a relationship and calling your boyfriend out for texting other women or generally being a pain in the arse is okay – standing up for yourself regardless of how ‘insane’ your ex-boyfriends might say you are is the key here; she’s letting young women everywhere know that it is entirely okay to be yourself in a relationship and what self-respecting woman can’t stand up and applaud her for that?

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We are Feminists, Hear us Roar:

This year, we have seen an increasing surge in women identifying themselves as feminists and, perhaps worryingly, it seems that there are those out there who think that this is a bad thing. There are some who believe the current resurgence of feminism and celebrities identifying themselves as feminists will result in the movement become too ‘trendy’, rendering the movement obsolete, which would be an overwhelmingly demonstrable slap in the face to ‘real’ feminists everywhere. There have been celebrities, models and normal people taking to social media to express their worry at feminism being this season’s ‘hot accessory’ and deeming it a phase that people are going through, but is this really a bad thing? All I can see happening within the movement now is a hierarchy developing, which to me, seems to be more dangerous to feminism than the increasing volume of misogynists, or the ‘women against feminism’ movement – it feels to me that a feminist hierarchy would only perpetuate certain stereotypes placed on women and feminists throughout history, thus creating a dangerous environment for women to be a part of – feminism is becoming increasingly like a bad teen movie set in a high school, rather than an empowering and important movement to identify oneself with.

After I posted my response to Chloe Hamilton’s article on Zoella, I spoke to Brain who told me that articles like that are why people don’t take feminism seriously. I’m paraphrasing here, because it was ages ago and I thought he was trying to attack my article, but it’s something that resonated with me quite deeply (thus why I’m regurgitating it now): He said something along the lines of ‘one woman says something bad about another woman, because she’s not being the right type of feminist, and then there are you are, posting something else, which could be misconstrued by another feminist, creating a cycle of what the right kind of feminism should be’ (he said this way less articulately than I have, but that’s what I’m here for, to make him sound good!). I can’t help but agree, though, and it’s unfortunate that a really important lesson in feminism has come from someone who often (in jest) calls me a ‘dick hating feminist’ to get on my nerves. He is someone who has no real interest in feminism, other than me I guess, and he has said something that I find the most appropriate statement regarding feminism that I’ve heard in the past year. Something which I feel resonates quite deeply with the notion of there being a feminist hierarchy.

Earlier in the year, I wrote that I had become a little disenfranchised by the notion of feminism and questioned whether there was room for a feminist like me within the movement and it’s something that I’ve questioned time and time again. The sheer fact that I referred to there being a room for a ‘feminist like me’ is exactly the point I’m trying to make; there is a feminist hierarchy and it seems to me like I’m pretty low down in the ranks. Personally, I feel that unless you’re a feminist standing on the front lines, preparing for war, there isn’t really a huge deal of room for you in the dizzying heights of the feminist hierarchy; that’s the type of feminist you’re supposed to aspire to be, you become that after many years of patriarchy smashing. You have to earn your stripes before you can become a proper feminist. Simply identifying as a feminist isn’t enough; you can’t be a feminist for your own private reasons, or because you’re a woman who believes in equality any more – you have to be constantly fighting. You can’t be a feminist just because you’re a woman, you have to have a reason: I don’t want to be cat-called in the street, I don’t want to fear rape if I wear a short skirt or get drunk, I don’t want to go to work and be treated differently because I didn’t have the sheer luck of being born with a cock and balls. These feminists, the women who simply are feminists are the lowest ranking members in the supposed feminism hierarchy; you can’t make jokes about being a pussy and then complain when you’re stuck in the middle with misogynists, so to speak.

SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE

Admittedly, I feel a little bit like the girl near the end of Mean Girls, who just wants everyone to get along, paint rainbows on their faces, eat cookies and snuggle whilst reading extracts from The Feminine Mystique or How to be a Woman to one another, but I think, the way some women are reacting to feminism right now, it’s not too bad an idea. When I write about feminism, or write about anything to do with the movement, it’s not men whose reaction I fear – its fellow women’s. And that’s not right. I feel that, the way things are going, the movement will become vitriolic to new members; to the youth of tomorrow. Feminism isn’t some high school game we should be partaking in to find the new Regina George of feminism; it was a movement that began in order to find gender equality in all walks of life, to achieve the vote, to be able to go to work and receive equal pay. To be the type of woman who can write about feminism or gender inequality or being mistreated due to gender on a blog without fearing the censorship of the patriarchy; as feminists, we need to support one another regardless of how ‘real’ their brand of feminism really is. Because, to me, the hierarchy that is evident, particularly within social media circles, is exactly the reason why feminism isn’t taken seriously and why people can call it a ‘trend’. The vitriol present within the movement will be the source of its demise and we have to be careful.

In order to counteract movements such as ‘Women Against Feminism’ and the recent ‘Meninist’ movement, we need to acknowledge and welcome supporters AND critics of feminism, regardless of gender. Yes, by all means, strap on your Doc Marten’s and smash the patriarchy until it’s bloody and battered, after all, that is your choice, but it’s also my choice not to. And that’s something that people need to start reiterating: Feminism is a choice and does not have a strict set of rules you need to adhere to, to be a ‘proper’ feminist. You’re a woman, you control your body, you have a voice and an opinion that deserves to be heard. That is what we need to be supporting here, that feminism is a choice and that your opinions are worthy of our time; the sooner people realise that, the sooner we can forget about silly trends and childish hierarchies.

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A Rant. Brought To You by a Pissed Off Geordie Feminist.

In the past twenty four hours I have been harassed by two different men via social media; both of whom essentially asked me the same things. So, as you can imagine this isn’t going to be a blog post wrapped in warmth, discussing the ever increasing Christmas list I have stashed in my brain, think again… it’s not going to be nice and for the most part it probably won’t be dripping in intelligence either. Because I’m angry, really fucking angry and if you’re the type of person who will read this, hands poised over their keyboard waiting to tell me I am a feminist bitch, then just leave. If you’re a man reading this and then want to tell me that I should be grateful of the compliment, or that I should see it as a good thing that men I have never met before, who have seen nothing other than my face, message me PURELY to comment on physical attributes they have never seen, then settle down and please, PLEASE leave a comment at the bottom. But, promise me that you’ll read this as though you’re my boyfriend, Brain, the male human who I sleep next to every night; try to imagine how he will feel reading this. Imagine how YOU would feel if you had a girlfriend: Would you really want to know that in the last twenty four hours, two separate people who don’t know your girlfriend at all, have talked about YOU in a derogatory manner? Would you really be okay with two strangers emailing your girlfriend asking them things like:

Are you single yet?
When will your boyfriend not be around so I can cum on your gorgeous tits?
You’re not single yet? God it’s been ages, do you not fancy something on the side? 😉

Personally, I am absolutely disgusted. Not only for the blatant lack of respect that they have for me and my relationship with Brain, but also for the fact that they have clearly never read my blog, have never read anything that I’ve posted, they just see a mediocre face online and think…yeah I want to put my dick in the hole where she speaks from. Quite blatantly with the opinions that I am not someone who should have valid opinions, or anything decent to say, but that I have an okay looking face, I am obviously someone up for ‘sexting’ a stranger. If you’re reading this and are defending these people thinking ah, it’s just the internet, get over it! Then fuck you. Why on earth would I want to receive a message like that off anyone? Even if Brain asked me if he could cum on my tits I’d probably be a little taken aback, but to have someone who hasn’t even seen my tits ask me that… you surely can’t sit there and not call that objectification; you can’t sit there and think ‘what is she complaining about? No those people are NOT talking about her as though she’s a sexual object, purely in existence for whatever cheap thrill they’re expecting her to be DRIPPING WET over wanting to give them… they’re paying her a COMPLIMENT. Fucking feminists need to just CALM DOWN!”

It still astounds me when I read things online that feminism is damaging to women, that the whole movement is counter-productive, that boys will be boys and we should just accept it. That their words are actually going to encourage women who identify themselves with feminism to change their minds, drop to their knees and beg to suck the dicks of anyone who happens to be standing nearby at the time. As a woman, to receive a message like that isn’t at all complimentary. I shouldn’t ‘be grateful’ that a stranger wants to cum on a pair of tits that he’s never seen; that even though I’ve only ever posted pictures of my face on social media, that my body is still the subject of discussion. To me, that’s just one big neon sign bleating: Sexist, misogynistic cunt – avoid at all costs!

However, even if I did post pictures of my body or my tits online, what right does anyone have to claim that as their wank bank material? What right does anyone have to think ‘yep, there’s her tits, she wants the D, move in for the kill bro, send her a picture of your dick. Bitches love dick!’ the sense of entitlement that men like this have… that they consider me to be property. I am not property. And that should go for any woman in existence, not just feminists: Women are not property or objects for you to talk to or discuss as though their sole purpose in life is to suck your dick whenever you feel like it. The fact that I’m in a relationship shouldn’t really be a reason not to objectify me, either. If I were single, I’d still think you were a fucking creep for eliciting a sexting session via Twitter and no, the likelihood of you seeing my tits in a grainy photo would not increase was I not head over heels in love with another person.  BECAUSE I’M NOT PROPERTY. I’m not an object who exists solely for the satisfaction of another human. I, and any other woman you can possibly think of, are not vessels for you to deposit your seed in. Whether she be a writer, a feminist, a cheerleader or a nun, we all have our purpose in life and that is to fulfil our own fucking dreams, suck the dicks of those we choose and do it fucking well and do whatever we want to without the judgement of some man who thinks that we should behave in a manner he finds more acceptable, or failing that, we should be ready and willing to succumb to whatever sick pleasures you fancy getting up to one Friday night when the boyfriend isn’t around.

So, if you’ve finished reading this thinking get over it, it’s a COMPLIMENT, then you really are about as intelligent as a punch in the dick; if you think that objectifying women is okay, that imagining what the tits of a chubby girl from Newcastle looks like and getting hard over wanting to cum all over them, then you’re just as sad and pathetic as the two spunk stains I was talking to on Twitter this morning.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to the men who said those things about me, a condensed 140 character version of this blog post was sent (or multiple 140 character posts… what? I was angry) and their responses, again, were entirely similar:

Whatever, I didn’t want to fuck you anyway, bitch.
Never mind…You’re probably fat, anyway.

Yes you did. You said that you did and it is written RIGHT THERE, FOUR MESSAGES AGO. Idiot. There are not enough face palms in the world plentiful enough to convey the sheer stupidity in your counter argument.

And

OUCH right in the fucking truth bone, captain fucking obvious.

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My Vagina is a Mood Ring.

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You know those people who categorise people into two sections: Those who follow their heads and those who follow their hearts? I don’t believe in it. My head is far too fucked up from all of my anxieties and general bizarre self-esteem issues to be a reputable decision maker and all my heart does is flutter about thanks to my bearded male human / Ryan Gosling / Shoes, so if I were to rely on them for anything, I’d get nothing done. The rest of my body is hopeless as they are all crippled with lack of confidence and tend to only thing about meal times with any resemblance of vigour. No, the only rational part of my body is my vagina. She’s the part of the body that says things like ‘look here, see? We’re gonna do this thing and we’re gonna be great at it, see? I’m taking the wheel head, shut up heart! I’m the boss now, see?’ because I think she might be a 50s American gangster and a bit of a control freak.

She makes all of my serious decisions for me. Like, do I want to have sex today? Should I eat mackerel for lunch? Is it wrong to want to drink prosecco at midday on a Wednesday? My vagina has said yes to all but one of these answers, which means she is a genius and I should refer to her more for serious life decisions as well as smaller, less important daily decisions. I simply can’t trust my head to make these decisions. If I asked my head if I wanted to have sex today she would stand me, naked in front of the mirror, noting my rolls and scars, the fact that my legs don’t have a thigh gap and almost vomit at the sight of how pasty white I am and decide that no, no I don’t want to. I should take a duvet and fashion a mu-mu out of it and hide myself forever. If I ask my heart if I want to have sex, she will probably say yes, in all fairness, so she’s an unreliable example. But she would probably take the side of my head and think ‘what if the beard thinks you look disgusting with all your rolls and paleness?’ and I’d be back sewing a mu-mu with faux-fur lining for the winter.

Do any of you feel that your vagina is the one who makes all of your decisions? The one who guides you towards positive and healthy life choices? Mine doesn’t tend to do the healthy life choice thing very much as she is pretty focused on sex and wine, but at the same time, sex is exercise and wine is grapes, thus fruit, so really she’s a fucking genius. I think we need to take more time out of our lives to thank our vaginas from keeping us entirely from going insane thanks to our supposed leaders in thinking; brains and aortic pumps. So, I’d like to take a moment to raise my glass and say cheers to my vagina for being an awesome, bitchy control freak. Thanks lassy xx

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How Ryan Gosling Rescued My Sex Life:

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I’m seventeen and since my first time, I have had zero more times; I haven’t kissed another human and haven’t really had any crushes since then either. The ones I did have seem more like an attempt at paraphrasing another person in my peer group; agreeing that he was worthy of a crush after she enthusiastically revealed her unbidden, unrelenting passion for some dweeb who played guitar. I was at college and had made new friends, I had discovered writing about my passions and devoured William Blake and Jeffrey Chaucer like it all truly meant something to me. To this day, I cannot remember anything other than in The Bard’s Tale when the cuckold got his revenge by sticking a hot poker up someone’s arse, but at the time both that and Songs of Innocence and Experience resonated deep within me. I was very pretentious, but still also entirely unrealistic about everything life had to offer me… including literature, it seems.

I had received a laptop that Christmas and because I could use Google in the privacy of my own bedroom, I’d become quite the researcher. I’d come to terms with what had happened to me and since then, watched The Notebook religiously because I felt that Ryan Gosling wouldn’t let anything like that happen to me. I’d also discovered that rape happened to a lot of women and that everyone had their own ways of dealing with it and overcoming the feeling of worthlessness; I had simply chosen to bury it deep within my mind grapes and move on with life in my own way. I had discovered blogs and discovered a woman who wrote so casually about sex that it hardly seemed like the horror show I’d experienced, but something more, something pleasurable and freeing. I discovered dominatrices and the men they belittled, but who seemed to love it… I had my own sexual awakening through absorbing all of the knowledge that I was reading from the internet and putting it all into some kind of bizarre perspective; sex was okay and I should not spend my life refraining from it because I was afraid of what might happen. It was also during this time I discovered masturbating and pleasuring myself with my hands, which is something I’d never really thought of doing, but, upon having my first orgasm, realised it was something I’d been doing since I was very small in a game I used to play that caused my parents to shout at me and tell me to stop… Now I know why. I finally decided that sex wasn’t bad and that I should remove all bad thoughts from my mind and proceed with life like a true seventeen year old.

I had one crush at college. I had decided he looked like Chad Michael Murray and as someone who had never seen One Tree Hill but had seen A Cinderella Story, I decided that he was my romantic mecca and that eventually we would marry and I’d watch him play rugby on weekends. Nothing ever happened with this person, he spoke to me once and that was to thank me for opening a door and because I had truly entered my awkward phase and was still entirely uncertain what to do in situations that involved male humans, I simply turned and faced the wall behind me. That was the last time he spoke to me. I spoke to him once after at a college party. I was hammered and decided I was going to make my move. He was wearing a bowler hat and looked like a dick, but I couldn’t let one bad fashion choice ruin what could potentially be The Greatest Love of All. He was smoking a cigar and he tried to stub it out, but burned my hand instead and it was in that moment I decided that I wasn’t ready for a relationship where burning seemed an appropriate thing to do to a woman, accidentally or not.

It was back to the drawing board and, of course, Ryan Gosling helped me during this difficult time and my obsession grew. Realising that I couldn’t very well develop a non-existent relationship with a human very much out of my league and whom I would never have a chance with even if I did by some miracle end up a famous actress playing opposite him in a film that required the sensual removal of some nude stockings (what?!), who wouldn’t find me as attractive as I would him. Presumably because I’d be crying and drooling over his general magnificence/beard.  I used social media a lot to emphasise how ready I was for love by posting lyrics from angsty, indie bands and filling out online quizzes, taking particular care at how funny and girlfriend-material I was, even though I’d never been a girlfriend so I didn’t know. I didn’t manage to attract the attention of anyone at all, even though I happily Myspace friended everyone in the North East.

I did, however, hang out with a good friend of mine every Wednesday instead of going to English Language class (phonetics? No thank you!). He went to a nearby college and would pick me up so we could hang out at his house; we’d watch really old movies and occasionally share a joint, chatting a lot and then I’d leave, so I could get home in time to pretend I’d actually been at college learning all day and not sitting watching shit on tv and indulging in illegal activities with a very short human my mother didn’t much like. It was during one of these Wednesdays that I turned to my friend and said, quite simply:

“Would you like to have sex with me?”

Given that he knew what had happened to me and had known me rebuff every single one of his attempts at flirting since we met at the age of fifteen, he was undoubtedly shocked. But, at seventeen, I was quite adorable, my hips and breasts hadn’t quite exploded to the size they are now and wouldn’t for two years (puberty rather than obesity), but I had mousy brown hair and massive blue/green eyes and my glasses made me look geeky, but not so much that I became hideous. Naturally he said yes and I informed him that it was for research purposes only. We shook hands and made our way to his bedroom.

Sex was okay. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t horrible. I didn’t really enjoy having sex with this person, but would for a few weeks before dropping off the face of the earth in pursuit of someone else to explore my sexuality with. Foreplay was non-existent and I never came. Also once the condom got stuck inside of me and I had some kind of emotional breakdown that my skin would grow around the condom and eventually I would have to have it removed because the growth inside me got too big; I’d have to give birth to it and the doctor would frown and chastise me for being so careless with a condom. Anyway, it put me off condoms and this person quite grotesquely and that was that.

My sexual exploration also never really took off the ground as much as I would have liked it to and truth be told, I didn’t actually achieve orgasm with another human until I was twenty three, which seems really unfair, but also perhaps because my vagina eventually thought OH MY GOD, I am so sick of her prodding and poking, let’s just give her an orgasm and maybe she’ll stop! Which I can imagine her doing because she’s a bit of a bitch. I was using sex toys during this stint, which seemed to be the only way I could achieve orgasm for a very, very long time, which is probably why I hold them in such high esteem now.

In a way, Ryan Gosling did save my sex life and I think it’s probably because his beard is just too damn sexy to resist. The Notebook also acts as a kind of cathartic piece of cinema because it reminds me of being a young girl so desperate to fall in love and experience waking up with someone who looked at me as though I were the only girl in existence to evoke any form of passion in their heart, but then also that, after many, many, tearful afternoons of watching Gosling FINALLY get the woman that he wanted, that it was something that would eventually happen and as a result, I would have to stop fearing sex and embrace it.

I’m not trying to justify or defend what The Scumbag did, but in a way, it did shape who I am today and my sex life and how open I am about discussing it and how truly important I think it is, stems from that one horrible experience; it made me who I am today and even though it was a terrible experience, I have moved on from it and become the Doris we all know and love (and loathe) today!

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I Don’t Want to Rip Your Cock Off and Feed It to You. I Promise.

As a woman, I find it hard not to get involved in discussions about feminism. I wrote earlier in the year that I felt a little disillusioned by feminism, as I was quite confused about how it applied to me. Other than being a woman and believing my body was my own and that I was the only person who could make a decision about who could have access to my vagina, I felt like I really didn’t embody any true characteristics of feminism. I was never taught about feminism at school other than about suffragettes and women starving themselves in the name of equality. I don’t think I could ever starve myself, I love food. If I could be in a relationship with food, I would totally be in a relationship with food. If I could choose my boyfriend to be not made of human parts and made entirely of feta cheese, I would totally do it and I would eat him. I could never starve myself in the name of anything at all, not even being a woman. Feminism and the majority of topics I read surrounding feminism didn’t really seem like something I could be a part of, even if I really wanted to be.

However, I decided not to give up on something I believed in, even if I didn’t believe in it in the traditional way, so I persisted. I bought books, I Googled FEMINIST and I started following genius women on Twitter who write and talk about feminism frankly, openly and for the most part hilariously. And, to my surprise, there are SO many of them and none of them are man-haters. In fact, the ones I’ve met and who have become my very best friends love men and for the majority, have a man shaped human of their own who they love dearly. In these past few months, I have been educated on feminism far more than I ever was by books or articles online or even my own education. I don’t think about feminism as being part of something that is trying to actively change something, I think about feminism as a part of my personality, another characteristic, similar to my sense of humour or the fact that I cry at everything, I am also a feminist. I don’t that’s something to be ashamed of, or something to be judged on by other people. But, I think the reason people do judge, is because they simply don’t understand it.

Remember, people: Feminism is just a word. It’s a word just like fuck, or cunt. It causes outrage when said in the wrong context, or in relation to the latter said any time. They’re all just words, but none can really cause you any harm. If I shout GO FUCK YOURSELF! I am actually not threatening that someone should actually take time out of their day to go and masturbate. If I call my best friend a ‘daft cunt’, I don’t actually mean that he embodies the exact characteristics of a silly vagina (what is a silly vagina, you ask? I’m not sure, but I will endeavour to write a short story about a vagina with dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and I will call it: Daft Cunt: One Vagina’s Dreams of Making it Big! Because it has double meanings. I know, right, I’m a genius, I should be famous.). And it’s the same when I call myself a feminist. I am not actually an angry, Birkenstock wearing razor dodger; I’m just Doris, I like wine and dancing and sitting on my arse, I don’t want to rip your cock off and feed it to you. I promise.

I think that’s just it, though; people don’t understand feminism. We aren’t really taught about it and it’s not something we teach in schools even today. When horrible things happen to women like domestic abuse or rape, they either aren’t reported, or covered on the news – I hate to say it, ladies, but it does just make us look like we’re pulling half bits of information out of our arses and plying them together; if the news aren’t going to report these things, of course it makes us look like we’re exaggerating or lying, even.

A few years ago, I remember sitting down to watch the six o clock news and I watched a segment on this man who was walking down a lonely path somewhere and he ended up being gang raped by a bunch of other men. The news report was talking about how his life was ruined, how he was now suffering depression and that his attackers hadn’t been caught. Some of the men I know took to social media to talk about it and their reactions were vitriolic. “Fucking DISGUSTING that, people like that should be fucking shot! My arsehole is clenched at the very fucking thought!” it was a huge topic that pissed men off and men discussed it, because it was something that applied to them, something they could understand; they empathised and imagined how they would feel if they were raped. Then, a few weeks ago, I was listening to the local news and I heard that an eighteen year old girl was raped in a crowded club here in Newcastle; an abundance of people inside, customers, staff bouncers… and it was barely covered. I wouldn’t have heard about it unless I was listening to the local news, which normally I never do. It wasn’t featured on the main news and I haven’t heard about it at all since. There were no cries for people to be shot from men on the internet; there were no exclamations of disgust at all… It was forgotten about.

This is what I’m talking about when it comes to feminism. I don’t really care about things like equal pay or anything like that. I care about people respecting other people’s bodies. That girl’s life was ruined too, she felt degraded, she is probably on medication for depression too – why was she not featured on the nationwide news, but the man who was raped was? What makes what happened to him more important than what happened to that young girl? Both were violated in the most abhorrent manner and were treated abominably, and I’m not trying to suggest that one is more important than the other, but both should have been given equal news coverage. Why wasn’t it? Because so many women have been raped by men or will be raped by men, it’s now old hat, doesn’t make good news so we don’t need to hear about it? It should ALL be featured on the news; we shouldn’t be teaching our daughters and nieces or any women how to not get raped, but we should be teaching everyone by any means necessary that everyone should respect one another. We are more than happy to pay for adverts and charities like Stoptober and review education on sexual health or alcohol etc, but why does no one mention in schools that people will get raped and teach both boys and girls to respect each other’s bodies from a very, very young age?

When I was little, both my parents, particularly my mother, were extremely worried about paedophiles and were terrified that my sister and I were going to get kidnapped. I remember a conversation with her where she said ‘if anyone asks you to get in their car so they can offer you sweets or show you some puppies, you run in the opposite direction, do you hear me?!’ and I remember thinking OH MY GOD, mam, you are SUCH a bitch, why do you want to RUIN MY LIFE?! THEY ARE TWO OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! (not really, I was like four, what is wrong with you?) and she told me that if anyone tried to touch me there I wasn’t to let them under any circumstances, which is probably why I was so confused about sex for so long, but never mind… I was taught from a young age that no one should touch me without my permission and that puppies and sweets were going to kill me. I wasn’t taught not to wear skirts and not to be confident in my body or anything like that – I was taught that I was the only person who had any say over my body. And as much as I am so grateful of my parents for teaching me this, that’s simply not enough, it’s not enough to teach people to respect themselves and that they’re the deciders, because what happens if someone chooses to disrespect you?

I was sexually assaulted when I was fifteen. An older boy locked me in a room, pinned me down and forced himself onto me and that is how I lost my virginity. I didn’t tell anyone for so many years and I choose to put it at the back of my mind because I was ashamed back then and I am still ashamed. Except now, I’m more ashamed that I didn’t kick him in his fucking teeth and say something. At the time, though, a fifteen year old girl being told that if I told anyone, no one would believe me because his dad is so high up in the police… It’s sickening and it has affected me in so many ways and made me scared of sex for years and years because I thought that because that something terrible that happened to me, meant that there was something wrong with me. This happens to so many women much more often than any of us know, because there are so many people manipulated into keeping quiet… And don’t get me wrong, I am more than abundantly aware that rape, sexual assault of any kind and domestic violence happens to men too, by members of both opposite and the same sex, but it just irks me that when people stand up for victims of sexual abuse on social media platforms, or even in real life, they’re given abuse and marked as a man hater, by men and sadly, women, because they don’t understand…Or they don’t care.

So, when I claim to be a proud feminist, this is why; because I feel like people who are against feminism are advocating rape and saying that it was my fault that I was assaulted and that when I’ve been groped in public or told to ‘cheer up and smile’ when I was suffering from depression so bad that I wanted to kill myself, or when I’ve been called a ‘fat bitch’ for turning down someone’s sexual advances, that I deserve that kind of abuse. Of course I don’t and no one else does either, no one should have to put up with that. No one should ever be assaulted or touched inappropriately whether they be a woman or a man; things like this are feminist issues, but it all ties in with a greater cause too: humanity’s issues – feminism is just another branch of something we are all a part of, and that’s something that people forget; we’re all people and we all need to be in it together in order for something to change.

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