Sex and Relationships: 1

Considering I am madly in love and in a healthy, stable relationship, I have decided to start a new column as a replacement for the beloved Dating and Dickpics. So welcome to the new column! Quite simply, this is going to be about sex and relationships. I’m more than happy to take questions or suggestions as to what I should write. You can either leave a question in the comments below the previous post or contact me on Facebook or Twitter if it is easier and I shall write about whatever you have suggested.

The idea for this column actually came from a friend who asked me a question a long time ago. I was going to go on Youtube to address it but writing is my forte so I chose to blog instead. The question? Well, that’s today’s subject.

Can you be a feminist and partake in BDSM?

In one word? Yes.

I understand the argument against it. BDSM is about someone being submissive and someone being dominant, so how can that be fair? Well, if it sexually pleases you, does it matter? So long as everyone involved is consenting and you put safe words in place, discuss what your hard limits are etc., it’s all good. And sometimes that means that, if you’re having hetereosexual sex, a woman will be dominated. But so long as she’s consenting and she wants to be a sub, where’s the harm in that? Sure, it might perpetuate the unhealthy myth that women have sex done to them and it’s something that happens to them but if it’s what they want, they should go for it. Many in the BDSM community argue that it is actually the sub who has all of the power because they can say what they will not do, what’s too much for them and such so in a sense, they dictate what happens, how much of it happens and when it stops. And if you’re with someone who doesn’t respect the rules, you should leave them because if they don’t value your consent and your wishes, they’re being harmful and violating the terms that you consented to. Sex is a two-way thing where everyone should be respected and consent can be removed at any point. So long as the sex is safe and within the limits of what you want to do, I don’t see how it could ever conflict with being a feminist. Personally speaking, both myself and my boyfriend identify as feminists and we don’t see any conflict between our social and political beliefs and our sex lives. We do what we want but in a respectful way with lots of communication. Communication is key to having good BDSM!

Is there anything you would like me to write about? Comment below or go to my Facebook or Twitter!

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 11

At this point, I wonder if there will ever be a time where I stop writing D&D. I love writing it, but I would love to find…well, love.

I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to fuckboys. The guy I was making heart-eyes over in D&D 10? He was a complete fuckboy. I think he realised after the first date that sex was off the cards completely. He thought he could change my mind about it. For some reason, men seem to think that no matter how strong a woman’s convictions are, they are God’s gift to women and will change her mind somehow. No man is ever that amazing. Even if it was Idris Elba, it wouldn’t happen.

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Sorry Idris. I love you but no sexy time.

So I was back in the dating game once again and I found a man who made everything sound so promising. He wasn’t exactly my type but I’m a believer in giving most people a chance if I find we are compatible enough to get along. He actually met me when I was on a night out with my friends. I’d only told him in passing that I’d had a busy day planned but we’d be in a nightclub that evening if he wanted to join us and to my surprise, he turned up. He was courteous and polite. We spent almost an hour outside the nightclub just talking and getting to know each other. After, we exchanged numbers and texted every day until our first official date. That date went swimmingly well. As did our second date. By the end of our second date, I thought that this guy had potential.

But things are very rarely a fairytale, especially in my life.

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I was kind of rooting for him.

His true colours were revealed on my birthday, ironically. So for my birthday, I was betrayed and lied to. I have to say, I wouldn’t have coped with the aftermath without my amazing friends (you know who you are). I got over it in time, but I think that what hurt more was another betrayal that blindsided me; he quickly became an afterthought and collateral damage in the end.

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Party pooper.

Despite this, I am grateful for both the fuckboy and the I’ll Ruin Your Birthday guy too. They both taught me some lessons, which are:

  • No man is ever worth breaking a promise you made to yourself.
  • Talk is cheap.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • If a guy suddenly goes silent for more than a day, he’s not into you.
  • It’s easy to say you’re a feminist and believe in equality but your actions will always betray you.
  • Never stay with a man who thinks that talking to other men is a crime.
  • If someone lets you down at the last minute, you’re not their priority, so get rid of them.
  • You never really know someone’s true intentions until it’s too late.

Despite all this drama, I’m still feeling positive. I know I have the love and support of my friends and I couldn’t have picked myself back up without them. I love you guys.

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#SquadGoals

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’ve decided that I really need to test men out when I date them and not take everything on face value because as I mentioned above, talk is cheap and it’s easy for men to tell you what you want to hear just to get in your pants or take advantage of you in other ways. Looking back, there were many things wrong with Party Pooper guy but I looked past them because he was just so kind and polite and I thought I could compromise. The fact is, I really can’t. I’m bad at compromising when it comes to love and although I used to think that was a flaw, I don’t think it is now. I know what I want and I won’t settle for less because…well, why should I? Why should anyone settle for less?

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Don’t compromise.

I’m excited to announce that I do have a date this coming weekend. I’m looking forward to it because the guy is miles apart from the guys I’ve dated recently. He’s intelligent and very interesting. Hopefully it all goes well and I don’t make a complete embarrassment of myself. But at the moment, I’m not reading much into it. A date is just that — getting together to find out more about each other. And if this doesn’t work out? Onto the next date.

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Bring it on!

 

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 10

I’ve been really busy lately, writing for The Tab on a fellowship that I won so I haven’t had a chance to write here. I was also on a fixed term contract at a company but that ended so I have my life back!  Now I’m back and you just know I had to write D&D Episode 10! I’ve got some absolute gems for you.

There’s obviously been the usual sexual harassment online. I wonder if that will ever stop. I doubt it. For some reason, some men seem to think that if you’re on a dating site or app, it’s fine to sexually harass and intimidate you. In fact, I even received sexual harassment on Twitter, of all places. Some bloke thought he had the God-given right to ask me invasive questions about my sex life. I’m just astounded that there are so many fuckboys. They’re literally everywhere! I don’t even know if I should give them the time of day on D&D. I do tend to hand out some sassy replies though. For example, one guy said he was searching for a woman who loved to be eaten out for ‘the main event’. So I said that I was searching for a man who didn’t spout sexually invasive shit in their messages. He wasn’t happy but he’d pissed me off by writing such foul garbage in the first place. If you piss me off, expect to be dealt a worse hand.

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Fuckboys EVERYWHERE

There was this guy I was texting. We met on Tinder and it seemed to be going well. Tinder is a notoriously rubbish app to use and it has loads of bugs in it so we weren’t always getting notifications when we replied to one another so we decided to swap numbers and take it from there. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. Anyone who knows me knows that I have anxiety and therefore taking phone calls with strangers is really stressful for me. I panic and get anxious so I avoid them at all costs. Of course, if it’s one of my best friends on the other end of the line, I feel comfortable as I have known and loved them for years (shoutout to all of you, you’re the real MVPs). This guy, whom I have never met in my life, thinks that it’s fine to call me up even though I’ve explained that I don’t like answering the phone and that I have anxiety. Anyone who knows what anxiety is, even if they don’t know all about it, knows that people with anxiety tend to have panic attacks. So he was prepared to give me a panic attack because he wanted to call me. Of course, all the alarm bells are ringing at this point. Anyway, he was adamant that he was going to get the bottom of what I was ‘hiding’ because clearly, having anxiety isn’t a good enough reason not to pick up the phone according to him. I said I wasn’t hiding anything and I didn’t think we should meet up because he was clearly paranoid and if he couldn’t accept something as simple as me having anxiety and not being able to speak to essentially a stranger on the phone, this was never going to work out. He cooled off for a bit and then apologised, hoping to win favour with me again. No fucking chance. I told him I was no longer interested, to which he responded that it was fine because…

Because he thought I was ‘born a man’, in his words, and I wasn’t a ‘proper woman’ (because this huge transphobe thinks transwomen are not ‘real women’…after that comment, he really had no fucking chance because I won’t date a transphobe).

So according to him, I wasn’t picking up the phone because I was a born a man. What the hell? That’s absurd. Safe to say I was just so fucking done at that point.

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REALLY?

I love my trans-sisters for sure and I will always stand up for the trans community, but I find it pretty weird that he couldn’t accept my anxiety as the reason that I couldn’t talk on the phone and thought that the clearly logical explanation was that I was a transwoman. Firstly, there is nothing wrong with being trans. Secondly…surely it’s just common decency to give the person the benefit of the doubt and believe what they’re saying is true? Finally, I’m glad I saw his true, transphobic colours because I don’t date assholes who think it’s acceptable to insult people based on their gender. (If anyone was actually wondering, which I highly doubt because my readers are inclusive and awesome, I’m not trans.)

Well, this fine-ass woman (me) actually bagged herself a date with a right fittie. We’d been talking for weeks and we finally went out last weekend. It was so much fun! He’s amazing. I really like him and he really likes me. He’s so handsome, funny and just so much fun to be around. Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day and when we said goodbye, I was genuinely sad to be going home. I bumped into a friend on the train home and she noted that I looked like I was high as a kite so I told her all about the date and how incredible he is. He’s so charming. Ugh, I sound like such a fangirl! It’s only been one date but it feels right. I feel like I can be myself around him and I’m really comfortable around him. He’s a great guy. I can’t wait to see him again (that’s happening tomorrow, actually). So maybe this is the beginning of the end of Dating & Dickpics!

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This is genuinely how I felt when I first saw him!

Wish me luck!

  • I’m super excited for tomorrow.
  • Nothing is as good as a gif picture.
  • The weather is lovely and I’d like it to stay like this until the end of summer.
  • I have to start planning my birthday party now that August is just days away and I have no idea where to go or what to do. I do know who I’m inviting though, so that’s one thing at least.
  • If anyone knows of any social media or writing jobs going, do let me know!

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 9

I can’t believe I haven’t written an installment of the prestigious Dating and Dickpics since February. I’m shocked at myself.

Since the chapter of my tragic love life, a lot has happened. There have been interesting developments in my career and I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere.

In my previous installment of D&D, I mentioned that I had a date with someone who propositioned me on Twitter. It was all very innocent as we’d had some banter about having disabilities and football. It all came about because of a show called The Undateables, which airs on Channel 4. As an avid social media user, I couldn’t resist tweeting whilst watching and supposedly, neither could he. Anyway, we seemed to get along so we followed each other on Twitter and pencilled in a date.

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I thought I’d get it…

Our first date was a laugh. We met up in Camden (my usual haunt) and had quite a few cocktails. By all accounts, we got on well. He wasn’t exactly what I was expecting (for one, I expected a deeper voice) but he seemed nice and intelligent. After our first date, we started texting non-stop and arranged another date, but this time nearby his university. I was intrigued because I’d actually applied to UCL for my undergraduate degree but decided to turn it down in favour of Exeter. That date also went swimmingly well. I was beginning to like him quite a bit. We spoke everyday and things were, by all accounts, going well.

Then things got weird, fast. He suddenly maintained a radio silence for a few days. I confronted him about it and told him that rather than playing games, it was just better if he was honest. My suspicions were confirmed: he was avidly trying to blank me. Why? Apparently I’m ‘too much’ and ‘too excitable’. He thought it was fine to be passionate about things, but not to the extent that I was. He didn’t get why the small things in life made me happy. Now, as someone with severe depression, if I didn’t hang on to these little things, I’d probably spend the majority of each day crying my eyes out.

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#depression #mentalhealth

I just couldn’t believe the audacity. You’re blaming me for being…myself? Getting excited about irrelevant stuff like Grey’s Anatomy, pugs and tattoos is just a part of who I am. I was thoroughly offended. When I’ve dated someone and it’s not worked out, it has never been because of my personality. 9/10 times, it’s been because I don’t want kids, or they’re just looking for a side chick. I’ve never had someone complain about what fundamentally makes up my personality.

Another thing I couldn’t quite fathom is why a grown ass man of 30 was trying to avoid me like a teenage boy than be honest and just tell me that he wasn’t interested. And to think the man was doing a Masters…he clearly needs a degree in courtesy more than anything.

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Since that, I haven’t dated much. I haven’t really had the time. I’ve either been working or trying to find work. I’m now working shifts, which makes dating a bit of a minefield. It does, however, mean that I’m more likely to see my best friends as they all work shifts too.

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I did start talking to a guy on a dating app. It seemed like it might go somewhere as we live in the same town, so meeting up wouldn’t be a problem. He seemed decent enough and I was willing to go out on a date with him.

I had just returned from London and received a formal job offer when I got a text from him saying that we should celebrate that very evening. I told him I couldn’t because I was exhausted from a long day and just wanted to stay at home with my mum and celebrate. He was bummed, but let it go. Then he began messaging me about meeting up the next day, which was a Saturday.

Here’s the thing. That Saturday was Eurovision. I haven’t missed a single Eurovision in my life and I wasn’t about to. I’m ever so slightly mad about Eurovision.

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Eurovision > every other day of the year.

So I told him I had pre-made plans and that I wasn’t going to rearrange my plans for a date. We could always do the following Friday as I wasn’t working and I’d be free all afternoon and evening. He wasn’t having it, though. He got all sulky and moody about the fact that I had plans and wasn’t prepared to drop them for someone who is essentially a stranger. He couldn’t get over it. He kept messaging me, saying how disappointed he was, how let down he felt. I was actually livid at this point. You are a stranger. I do not know you. What makes you think that my world revolves around you so much that I’m going to suddenly drop any plans I had just for you? Never mind the fact that he wanted to ‘stay out late’ with me, when I’d made it clear that I don’t like staying out past midnight (unless I’m with my best friends of course — I’m in safe company with them). It all sounded far too creepy for my liking, so I cut him loose. He hasn’t once tried to message me to apologise for his selfish behaviour and to be honest, I’m relieved he hasn’t because I’m sure that if he did apologise, he would somehow try and manipulate the situation for his own gain.

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Of course, I’ve had my dating app/website woes, but I will probably collate those into a Dating and Dickpics 9.5 as there are a lot. It’ll be a picture-heavy post.

  • Why do guys chase you and then go off the grid? This has happened with a suitor who I thought was genuinely interested. Perhaps not.
  • I like the concept of Bumble. It means that you can choose whether or not to talk to the guy you’ve matched with. However, when you do initiate conversation, why don’t they ever reply?
  • I’m fed up of every other man asking me what my ethnicity is. If you want to know, that just means you’re interested in fetishising me, not getting to know me.
  • ‘What that mouth do?’ ‘Lectures you on intersectional feminism.’
  • Everyone hot at my new workplace is either gay or taken.
  • Slowly but surely thinking life as a crazy cat lady would actually be a good future prospect and an increasingly likely one.
  • When is Tom Hiddleston going to just give in and marry me?
  • Coffee is bae.

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Sadly, another season of Grey’s Anatomy has finished. However, this gives us the chance to speculate for months on end, which is precisely what I’m going to do.

Recap

Initially, I was completely against Nathan. Owen didn’t like him and that was reason enough for me to hate him, mostly because Owen has proven himself to be a lovely guy (except for when he told Cristina that she ‘killed their baby’ and cheated on her). And when we discovered that he had been in a relationship with Owen’s sister, Megan, that was the final nail in the coffin. Owen isn’t without his portion of the blame for what happened to Megan, but it’s always easier to blame someone else. Anyway, Nathan was a no-no.

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But when Nathan and Meredith were talking in the car park and things were getting heated, I knew then that they should probably end up together. There’s undeniable chemistry between them. They get each other. They’ve both loved and lost. It makes sense. In Family Affair, the season finale, they share memories of their loved ones and it just seems like they could have a great relationship. I am however wary given Nathan’s track record of cheating.

Then there’s Maggie. I honestly want the best for her. She hasn’t had it easy, what with discovering that she’s the love child of Ellis Grey and Richard Webber. Then DeLuca couldn’t handle her P-O-W-E-R. She deserves happiness because she is the most optimistic character the show has ever seen. But she’s misguided. It’s quite obvious that Nathan harbours no romantic feelings for his boss. She’s seeing what she wants to see; it’s quite obvious to us as viewers that there’s no connection there (other than the box of bacon).

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We can’t talk about Meredith without talking about Alex. I absolutely adored their moment on the grass together, awaiting Amelia’s wedding. It was a Cristina/Meredith flashback. I honestly believe that Alex and Meredith are each other’s people. It was a heartwarming moment.

I honestly feel like Jo should’ve been honest with Alex. She managed to tell DeLuca but couldn’t tell the love of her life? Of course Alex will go crazy when he finds out, but that’s who he is. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Now, he thinks the worst of her. This could’ve all been prevented if she had just told him the truth about why she couldn’t get married the first time that he proposed. Alex has been hurt by every woman he has ever loved and now he just sees Jo as a deceitful cheater.

Amelia is one of my favourite characters. She’s so messed up, which makes her so much more real than the other characters. I’m just so happy that she went ahead and married Owen. I want them to be happy together. They want the same things, which is what was missing from Owen and Cristina’s relationship, so I hope they go the distance. I did shed a tear when Amelia broke down saying that Derek was supposed to walk her down the aisle. I just hope her supposed ‘curse’ doesn’t come true. She mentioned earlier in the season that all the men she has ever loved have died and I hope that doesn’t come true for Owen (or any future sons she may have with him).

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Arizona made my heart melt this week. Her olive branch to Callie was incredible and again, I cried. I didn’t expect Callie to leave. I thought she would wake up, smell the coffee and stay in Seattle and eventually rekindle her love with Arizona. I do like the way that Callie left and I like how there is still scope for Sara Ramirez to return after she has taken a break. The best case scenario for me would be that Callie returns because she realises she doesn’t love Penny and is in fact in love with Arizona and always will be.

I am overjoyed for April and Jackson. They have a baby! I really hope this is the beginning of them getting back together. Japril gives me life. April was incredibly strong to go through a C-section sans anesthesia and Ben was actually a life-saver. I actually want the baby to be called Warren April Jackson. ‘Warren’ because Ben saved both the baby and April’s lives, ‘April’ because she went through hell and back for her baby.

Predictions

Nothing is ever easy in Grey’s Anatomy, so I suspect that Amelia and Owen will come across some problems in their relationship. I’m not sure what. I don’t want it to be that Amelia becomes addicted to something again because that’s too predictable. I personally would love to see Megan Hunt make a stunning return, which would seriously affect Owen and Nathan too. Amelia would have to be the one to support her husband, showing strength like no other. Nathan would have to confront his demons. I don’t think he’d go back to Megan. If he did, it would be a temporary thing like Derek and Addison where they both realise that they aren’t the same people and aren’t compatible anymore.

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Meredith will probably tell Amelia that she hooked up with Nathan. I’m not sure if Amelia will in turn tell Owen, but if she does, I expect a stern warning from the man who, although there are signs of reconciliation, still blames Nathan for Megan’s supposed death. Amelia will be able to take the moral high-ground against Meredith for once. Maggie is going to end up being the person who is hurt at the end of all of this. Unfortunately, there are no real romantic prospects in her life and she’s making something out of nothing when it comes to Nathan.

April and Jackson will grow closer together as they co-parent their newborn baby. They may reconciliate and decide to bury the hatchet and move on as a couple. They might even get remarried.

Ben and Miranda have patched over the issues they had so I would love to see a season in which Ben passes his boards with flying colours and makes Chief Bailey proud in the process. I would love for Miranda to have more screen time because Chief Bailey rocks!

Alex won’t believe Jo if and when she decides to tell him the truth because he’s just been hurt too many times. When he loves someone, he gives them everything and right now, he feels like she’s thrown it back in his face. It will take time, but they will work things out. I expect that Alex will say he will protect Jo, she’ll file for a divorce and her soon to be ex-husband will make an appearance.

Other thoughts:

  • If Megan were to return, Alyson Hannigan would do a stellar job of portraying her.
  • Michael Ealy would be brilliant as Jo’s ex-husband, but so would Kevin Alejandro. We don’t know his age or ethnicity, but either of those actors would do a stellar job.

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 8

Welcome, one and all, to another episode of my tragic love life.

As some of you will know from a brief note in my last column, I went on a date with a really great guy. He’s intelligent, funny and pretty charming. He’s also pretty easy on the eyes, which is always a bonus (and if I’m being honest, a basic requirement). Things are going pretty well between us. We went on another date last week and we basically just chilled out and talked the whole time. We went back to his place after a while and talked for ages until I had to reluctantly make my way home if I had any chance at getting back at my house at a decent, civilised hour. He’s smooth as hell, I’ll tell you that now. He says some of the sweetest stuff. He’s got quite a lot of deadlines so things have cooled off a bit temporarily. I hope it’s just temporary. We seem to have a good time together and we flirt a lot too, so I hope it’s just my anxiety rearing its ugly head and he really does like me.

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My anxiety always makes me doubt my pulling abilities

Other than that, I haven’t really entertained any dates from anyone else because the calibre of men is shocking. There’s no one decent. Case in point: the only reason I went on a date with the guy I’m sort of seeing (or pre-dating) is because he came up with a rather quirky way of asking me out and he’s not a douche. He’s a genuinely nice guy who isn’t after everything. But with most guys, they have an ulterior motive. Call it gut instinct because I’ve been a woman my whole life and have had to deal with a barrage of misogyny and sexism, but I just get certain vibes off certain guys. And when it comes to discerning whether or not someone is a creep, I’m rarely ever wrong.

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My gut instinct is as good as Annalise Keating’s

This wouldn’t be Dating and Dickpics without my usual screenshots and naming and shaming of misogynistic males, so here are the spoils of my plunder, so to speak.

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I don’t even know why anyone would think that this is an acceptable opening line to send anyone. Who has ever said, ‘he asked if I wanted a big black sugar daddy and I knew it was love’?!

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As you all know, feminism is a fundamental part of my life. I believe in feminism so much that I’ve even got the word permanently inked into my skin. I shout it from the rooftops and specify that before messaging me, guys should only bother if they identify as a feminist. So why does this asshole think he has a right to bait anyone out. He’s clearly so ignorant that he couldn’t even be bothered to look up the definition of ‘feminist’, which is someone who believes in the equality of all genders. This stuff is actually more infuriating than people who use cheesy lines or blatantly misogynistic slurs. This guy actually wanted to ‘moan’ about feminism to me. Safe to say I blocked his pathetic ass.

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If you needed any more evidence that sexism is alive and kicking online, there you have it. I’m not being funny, but you have to actually meet up with whoever’s pussy you’re going to ‘murder’ and guess what? Being a misogynistic fuckwit means that’s never going to happen! If any murder needs to be done, it’s to you. A nice decapitation of the neck would do.

fuckedupfuckeduptwiceThe above to screenshots make me sick. This guy was seriously so fucked up and triggering. Alongside putting down that I am a feminist, I also ask guys who want kids not to bother contacting me. I always make it explicitly clear because now I’m in my 20s, I feel that anything I get into should be going somewhere and if a guy wants them, we’re not compatible at all. This guy took it to another level. He messaged me saying ‘we would make cute children if we were together’ but I didn’t take the bait. And he couldn’t take that for a hint and kept messaging me one word here or there. I finally snapped and the above is what he sent me. This is unbelievably triggering for me because he was not respecting my boundaries and was actually thinking that it was fine to think about a hypothetical situation would would be a complete violation of my body. After explaining to him how sick and twisted he was, his response was ‘lol relax’. How can I relax when you’ve basically kept insisting that getting me knocked up would be a perfect situation for you? How can anyone who is so child-phobic ‘relax’ after that? I have reported him to the website and I hope they permanently ban him.

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‘Sorry to be that guy’…well actually, you’re not. Because if you were, you wouldn’t have said it in the first place. What you’ve done is just the equivalent of online catcalling so #byefelipe.

Being a woman on the internet and trying to date and find love is fucking exhausting.

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When will the misogyny stop?!

In other news:

  • I got my hair re-coloured and restyled. It’s very Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy before season 12.
  • I’m applying for jobs like they’re going out of fashion.
  • I’m losing all hope in the male population at this rate. Their only potential beacon of light is this guy I’ve been on two dates with.
  • I don’t think ending up alone would be such a bad thing, given the sorry state of guys on dating websites.
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So done

Sexism and Cultural Appropriation: The Real Horrors Of Halloween (CultNoise)

24th October 2015

One of the most globally celebrated holidays is coming up: Halloween. Along with the pumpkins, trick or treating, and general merriment comes a much darker, scarier side, and I’m not talking about ghouls!

The biggest issue with Halloween is the costumes. They’re extremely problematic in so many ways. For some reason, people think cultural appropriation is fine to commit because hey, it’s Halloween! Question yourself with the following: is this part of my culture or heritage? Has this ethnic group been oppressed? If it’s not your culture and that culture has been oppressed, do not do it. The most common faux pas (which is an understatement) is people dressing up in knock off Native American costumes. Native Americans have been systematically oppressed, and are still raped and murdered disproportionately to their population size. They have been oppressed for centuries for celebrating and protecting their own culture, and when you  wear an imitation of their culture as a costume it is highly disrespectful. They are still being persecuted for their culture but, because you’re not a Native American yourself, you will never understand what it is like to be persecuted for your way of life.

No culture is a costume. No culture is a fashion accessory. You cannot cherry-pick parts of a culture for a costume, and yet when someone of that culture goes out in traditional dress, you are the first to look at them in disgust. Halloween is for make-believe and scary stuff, and if you’re appropriating another culture through your costume, you’re making a real nightmare come true.

Another grievance I have with Halloween is costumes for females. Everywhere you go, there is a stark difference between the male version of costumes and the female version of costumes. The difference? The amount of fabric and the fact that it’s always a ‘sexy’ costume for women, but not for men. If, for example, you want to go as a police officer or a soldier but you’re a woman, you’re lucky if it covers your boobs and your bum. I can assure you, the words ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ will be printed on the packaging of the costume to assure you that you must be sexualised whilst dressing up for a holiday. Can the same be said for the male equivalent costumes? No. Every single female-targeted Halloween costume is sexualised, whereas none of the male costumes are (unless you’re going to don a mankini).

Believe it or not, women and girls want to dress up in a costume and just enjoy themselves. We don’t want to be sexualised for no reason. I am all for women dressing sexy and going for those costumes, but these ‘sexy’ costumes shouldn’t be the only option available if you are a woman. It’s becoming increasingly hard to find non-sexualised female costumes for Halloween. Why are women treated as an object for male consumption for Halloween? Why can’t we go out and enjoy Halloween without being sexualised in an unwanted way?

The real horror of Halloween is not the superstitions and gore that come along with it. The real horror is the costumes that are marketed to people. They are full of cultural appropriation and sexism.

Nicki vs Taylor: Don’t Want None of Your White Feminism, Hun (CultNoise)

30th July 2015

You couldn’t go on the internet last week without hearing about it. Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift went head-to-head on Twitter and the social media world was at war, either being on #TeamNicki or #TeamTaylor. Here’s a quick recap on what went down:

  • Minaj wrote a series of tweets (that didn’t name anyone specifically) but pointed out that she was being overlooked for award nominations because she is a “different” type of artist and, if she was mainstream, she would probably be nominated for doing the same thing that “other” artists do. Minaj did not name Swift in the tweets, although some Swifties say that it was obvious Minaj was referring to Swift because of her tweet which said “if your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year”.
  • Swift replied to Minaj, saying that Minaj had targeted her and was uncharacteristically pitting women against each other.
  • Minaj corrected Swift and invited her to join the discussion about race and the music industry. Swift missed Minaj’s underlying point about racism in the music industry and interpreted the argument as a personal attack against her.
  • Minaj got the final word in by comparing Swift taking on Spotify and being praised to Minaj, Beyonce and other black artists who were criticized for being associated with Tidal.
  • Minaj favourited loads of tweets that supported her argument and pointed out why she thought Swift’s actions were wrong.
  • Kim Kardashian “accidentally” tweets a picture of her with that infamous Kanye outburst as the caption. She later took it down, claiming not to know anything about the Twitter feud.
  • Katy Perry, Queen of Cultural Appropriation, gets involved with a backhanded yet valid tweet aimed at Swift about capitalizing on rivalry between women.
  • Swift goes quiet and later apologises in a tweet directly to Minaj. But Swift still didn’t seem to recognise or truly understand that as a black woman, Minaj has a harder time in the music industry than Swift will ever have, which was the underlying point of Minaj’s rant.

As a woman of colour, I am #TeamNicki on this. However, I do like Taylor Swift’s music and, in all fairness, Minaj probably did indirectly point to Swift’s video, ‘Bad Blood’, being nominated because the video does indeed feature a plethora of slim women. However, Minaj was making a general point and it is one that a lot of women of colour seem to face – we are often overlooked. Had Swift actually been an ally of Minaj’s, she would have stepped in and spoken in favour of Minaj, acknowledging her own privilege as a white woman and then commenting positively in accordance with Minaj’s tweets. If she was an ally, she would have agreed that yes, Minaj and other black women and women of colour face more hardship than white women in the music industry.

Following the Twitter spat, many began to accuse Swift of being a white feminist and not an intersectional feminist. Many expressed that they didn’t believe that Swift particularly cares about the struggles of being a woman of colour because she is a white, privileged woman and cannot truly empathise with the specific struggles black women face in the music industry.

Before any “but Beyoncé got nominated” comments are mentioned: this is also missing the point. Yes, Beyoncé got nominated and, my god, she deserves it and then some! But Minaj’s point was that on the whole, black women face a great deal of struggle in the music industry because of their blackness, which is something that they should certainly never have to hide or apologise for.

Minaj was trying to call out the institutional racism that still runs within the foundations of MTV and other music companies. And she was trying to call on white women to try to understand the plight of women of colour in music. If we compare white and black women  in music, it’s clear that there are still traits of racism in the industry. Katy Perry appropriated black culture and was considered cool and different for doing so. But as soon as someone like Minaj does something inspired by her own culture, she is branded as “hood” and viewed negatively.

Swift, by responding to Minaj in an egotistical way, completely missed the point. In that situation, what Minaj really needed a tweet from her friend supporting her and other black women in the industry, and not a tweet from Swift that twisted Minaj words, changed the intent and meaning of the message she was trying to get across, and attempted to make Minaj out to be the bad guy.

I’m not saying Nicki Minaj is without her faults and no one’s feminism is ever 100% perfect. I even wrote a piece critiquing ‘Anaconda’ and I stand by that. But at least Minaj’s feminism is more inclusive than Swift’s.

It can sometimes come across as if Swift almost bends feminism to suit her. Even if she doesn’t mean to be this way, her views can be problematic and then some.

The most ironic thing about this Twitter storm is that Swift tried to call out Minaj for pitting women against other women just because Minaj was calling out a very evident truth – that white women are appreciated and acclaimed more than black women in the music industry. I can’t help but think, how can Swift accuse someone of that when ‘Bad Blood’ is seemingly all about women rivalry and she’s making ridiculous amounts of money from it? ‘Bad Blood’ is all about women against women. And although I abhor Katy Perry, she made the exact same point in her (all be it poorly worded) tweet and she does have an extremely valid point that Swift essentially capitalized on the concept of pitting women against each other.

Moreover, why can’t Minaj call women out if they’re being problematic in terms of their feminist views? It doesn’t mean she’s pitting women against women. It just means that she is trying to educate and share with other women to encourage them to learn and attempt to understand more about the struggles of women from other cultures and backgrounds.

Swift used her version of feminism to belittle Minaj’s initial argument, which was valid and something that any woman of colour has experienced at least once. Swift waded into an argument that she didn’t fully understand and tried to make it about herself. She then apologised which Minaj graciously accepted and since then, the situation has been diffused. However, I think a mere apology and no other effort to understand the issue isn’t going to be enough. I truly hope Swift learns from her mistakes, reads up about intersectionality and the plight of black women and other women of colour, stops listening to white feminism and truly makes an effort to empathise with the struggles that black women face everyday.

Her apology should be just the beginning of Swift learning about real, intersectional and all-inclusive feminism. Perhaps the next time she tweets, she’ll check her privilege.

(Originally Published on CultNoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction)

FIFA 16’s Feminist Move (CultNoise)

9th June 2015

In the past couple of weeks, FIFA unveiled its plan to include female football teams in the widely anticipated FIFA 16 video game. As a female gamer and football fan, I believe that the inclusion of female players could not come quickly enough.

The decision has upset many male players of the game (read: fuckboys) who are in uproar about the inclusion of women in the game. Why? Why is it so outrageous to suggest that yes, women play football and they’re bloody good at it? The backlash from the aforementioned fuckboys just shows how engrained sexism and misogyny is in sports and the gaming world. Believe it or not, women play football. Women watch football. Women play video games. Ergo, women should be included in FIFA 16 and every other FIFA game that follows.

FIFA 16 will be a pioneering video game which will truly change how we play and what we think about these digital games. It’s a clever marketing ploy by EA Sports, who must also see the financially beneficial side of including women’s teams. The profits aside, it will resonate in the hearts of many female football fans. For years, I have yearned to play as someone digital who was relatable – a woman of colour, in my case. So diverse are women’s football teams that I could actually play as someone who resembled me.

That’s never been the case. Any women who are included in video games are usually hyper-sexualised to appeal the stereotypical cishet male gamer and very rarely are there any female characters of colour. If women are included in a video game, it is usually to further a male character’s development or story. Sorry if FIFA 16 ends up hurting a few men and they cry about it, but it is the 21st century and women still aren’t being fairly and equally represented. It’s about time we had fully clothed, multiracial and strong women in video games.

There are some who will argue that including female teams shouldn’t be considered because video games are all about escapism. What do these gamers want? Escapism from being a privileged cishet male by playing as… a cishet male in a video game? Makes a lot of sense, guys. I can’t say I’ve come across any video game in which a cishet male wasn’t the main character. The argument for escapism makes no sense because not only do cishet men dominate the real world, they dominate the animated world also.

They’re also forgetting the fact that they have the option to play as women in FIFA 16 but it is not compulsory. Female gamers are forever being forced to play as men without any other option. The saddest part is that this set of gamers is more open to having demons, fairies and cyborgs in their video games than the female gender. Mythical beings have a lot more representation in video games than women as a whole.

Why is it that cishet male gamers are so scared and threatened by diversity, inclusivity and representation of the other sex? They have always dominated sports even though they are not the only sports players. Is it so shocking to realise that women play sports and want equal representation? Acknowledging the fact that women play sports and video games could help equal rights and give more exposure to female footballers, who earn a mere fraction of what their male counterparts do.

Furthermore, these strong, athletic women being included in video games such as FIFA 16 could give many young, impressionable girls positive role models. It will teach girls that despite their gender, they can be professional sports players. These female footballers, with the help of a game like FIFA 16, could become easily accessible role models, like their male counterparts are for young boys.

Even when I was a child, I always dreamt of becoming the next Paul Scholes, but I was told that I couldn’t because of my gender. He’s always been one of my favourite players, both on the pitch and in video games. I do not want to see another generation of girls being told they can’t do something because of their sex. I want them to play FIFA and see someone who looks like them, someone they can become. I don’t want them to ever think that being a footballer or a football manager is impossible solely because of their sex.

I believe EA Sports, along with FIFA, are making a bold and correct decision to include female footballers and teams in the much-anticipated FIFA 16. Including female footballers doesn’t actually harm men or male footballers; it just benefits women and female footballers by showing equality, which is still a long way off in the beautiful game that is football. Any objection to the inclusion of female footballers is sexism in its purest form – you are only objecting to their inclusion because of their sex.

Hurt meninists have been proclaiming how feminism is damaging the institution that is the FIFA video games but how is wanting fair representation wrong? If you are offended by this genius move by EA Sports, you’re sexist, misogynistic and need to seriously re-evaluate your life and your beliefs. The only agenda we have, as women, is wanting representation in a sector that has always been dominated by men.

(Originally Published on CultNoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction)

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 5

It’s that time again — time to laugh at the ridiculousness that is my love life. A couple of things first, though.

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary was on television the other night and of course, I watched it. That film resonates with me so much, except I don’t think I’ll quite get the happy ending that she does. Also, I wear better knickers than her.
  • I’ve started seeing someone. More about that in a bit.
  • It didn’t work out with the guy I mentioned in D&D #4.
  • Dating websites just keep delivering absolute treasure.
  • I would definitely bling Drake’s hotline.
I wouldn't stop blinging his hotline

I wouldn’t stop blinging his hotline

Right, so the whole ‘I’m kind of seeing someone thing’. I don’t really know what label we should have but it’s early days and we’re not seeing anyone else. To be honest, knowing what I’m like, I probably couldn’t even find any other person to date me. He’s a nice guy, quite sweet and very polite. On our first date, I really thought it had potential because he was so gentlemanly.  It still does have potential and I guess he does make me happy. But do you ever find someone you like but wish certain things were different? I’m scared. For those of you who watch Grey’s Anatomy, I’m basically like Dr Cristina Yang. I’m not very forthcoming and whilst I like romance, some of it makes me cringe and at times it can just be too much if it’s constant. Cristina freaks out a lot when guys make sweeping gestures because she’s just not used to it and I’m much the same. I think I just need to get used to it. It’s early days so I’m sure with time, I’ll loosen up a little.

She would be my person

She would be my person

Last time, I introduced you all to a cute guy who I was friends with and was going out on a couple of dates with. We had a bit of a thing, I guess, and things were going well. However, he was a bit of a douche in the end, but I had a good time nonetheless. He started playing up so I broke the whole thing off. Besides, I think we both got what we wanted in the end. The funny thing is, as soon as I broke it off with him, he started becoming extremely interested in me, to the point where he was trying to get involved in conversations I was in, constantly looking for any excuse to get my attention etc. It was entertaining, then it became frustrating because guys always want what they can’t have and I wasn’t prepared to go down that route again where there was no promise of anything more serious. I’ve happily moved on but according to various sources, the same can’t be said for him.

As you all know, I go on dating sites. I name and shame. Anyway, before meeting the guy I’m currently dating, I was in conversation with another guy. I didn’t find him physically attractive but I thought we had some things in common so exchanging numbers couldn’t do much harm. However, he went full-blown clingy. He would say the creepiest shit and then try and retract it. He actually thought that he was fourth on my list of ‘ideal men’ (after Tom Hiddleston, Maluma and Drake) although I pretty much told him he had no chance. He was already talking about what we should do on our third and fourth dates despite the fact that he we hadn’t even been on our first date. It was all too much and besides, his personality wasn’t making up for his lack of looks. I politely declined going on a date with him despite him begging to make his ‘wish’ come true and go on a date, even as friends. Correct me if I’m wrong, but friends don’t go on dates, right? All that aside, he wasn’t the kind of friend I needed. Getting ahead of yourself is never attractive to anyone of any sex. You don’t start planning a whole life together when you haven’t even been on one date!

Unimpressed by clingy men

Unimpressed by clingy men

Now, for some gems from dating websites. I’ve screenshotted some absolutely wonderful conversations for you to marvel at.

What a twat

What a twat

Obviously, I’ve written that I’m a feminist on my profile. It’s an important aspect of my life and I can’t even bother considering someone who isn’t a feminist or holds feminist ideals. This guy clearly has no idea what ‘feminism’ actually means. Feminism does focus on men’s issues but guess what? A movement doesn’t have to justify itself to men in order to have meaning to people. The reason why ‘feminism’ is called ‘feminism’ is because women have been oppressed because men have been given all the privilege. However, feminism nowadays does address issues that men face. After all, it’s meninists who make fun out of male rape victims, whereas feminists help male rape victims. And what’s wrong with a movement that promotes women when all of society has promoted men throughout history. I couldn’t even be bothered to argue with this ignorant bastard because it would’ve drained my energy. If you’re that ignorant, I’m not going to help you.

Are you kidding?

Are you kidding?

‘Exotic’ is not a compliment. It is a fetishisation of someone’s race. It’s a microaggression. It means that you’re only interested because I look foreign and ‘different’ to the ‘norm’, therefore you feel like you need to conquer me in order to try something ‘different’. I am not a sexual fantasy, I am a person.

Why do men think this is acceptable online?

Why do men think this is acceptable online?

‘kinkdaddy81’, as he fashions himself, is a prime example of sexual harassment online. Whilst he’s not the worst I’ve encountered, I find it positively bewildering that men think they can go on a dating website and ask people for sex. You wouldn’t do that face to face, so why are you doing it behind a screen? It doesn’t make it acceptable. It is harassment. Also, he wants to ‘introduce’ me to the scene? Why are you assuming that as a young woman, I don’t already know about that scene? There is a wider problem of men thinking it’s perfectly fine to sexually proposition people online. It is harassment, especially when you’re bombarded by scores of men saying similar things. It can make you feel unsafe even in your own home.

So charming, much wow

So charming, much wow

This guy had a real issue. He had an attitude problem and then some. I didn’t reply a few times, mainly because I don’t spend all my time on the website and I don’t check it every day. He kept bombarding me with messages and finally thought the best way to get a woman to reply was by swearing in the first line of his next message. Surely if someone hasn’t replied, it’s best to think ‘wow, maybe they have a life which means they’re not replying to fuckboys like me the whole time!’ or ‘maybe they’re busy’? Or even ‘maybe they’re not interested but I won’t push them’. How can he think things are standing anywhere after the stalkerish amount of messages he sent and the swearing? It’s funny how some men think that the world revolves around them and that as women, we are absolutely 100% required to every fuckboy that exists. Wow. Masculinity’s so fragile.