Gender, sex and politics.

I want to live in a world where it doesn’t matter.

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Free to use via Canva

A friend of mine used to play rugby, which often led her to doctors’ offices with twisted ankles or dislocated fingers. Every time, she told me, they would give her unsolicited advice or prescriptions for her acne. “I’m not bothered by having spots,” she told me. “They always tell me I could easily take some medicine and look more attractive. But why should I have to look more attractive?”

My friend is kind and funny and intelligent. She has a good job and she is a caring and amazing family member and friend. I knew she was right: why should she have to be pretty? She is amazing already, in so many ways. And yet at the time, the idea was revolutionary. That a woman might be unconcerned at not being pretty was inconceivable in my mind — after all, that was the main criteria we were judged on in the ‘sexual marketplace’. …


The worry-free guide to starting from absolute scratch.

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Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

How do you gain experience when you have no experience? It is a question that has befuddled college graduates and career transitioners for years, and which is only getting worse in our gig economy. Companies no longer invest in employees from the get-go, they no longer have an interest in improving the people they hire, but instead, seek someone pre-trained and perfect for that one piece of work they need. This is making it even harder to get started when you have no experience.

This new landscape has the frustrating consequence of reinforcing social inequalities because when no one will pay you until you can prove your ability, that means that your first experiences have to be done for free. Kids from richer families can afford to do an unpaid summer internship and land their first byline, or volunteer at a local paper — those that are less well off will meanwhile be working full time to pay for their next semester. …


It may be the only solution to the unequal division of household chores.

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My levels of cleanliness leave a lot to be desired — in some of my smaller flats, I have lived for days with piles of dirty laundry on top of piles of dirty dishes. I sometimes stumble across moldy Tupperware in bags not used for months. I remain convinced that the only reason to do the washing-up is when there is nothing clean left, and the thing you need is lost at the very bottom of the sink.

Still, each time I found myself living with boyfriends, I ended up being the one that cleaned — not because they were expressly unwilling to do it, but because I broke first. …


An essential skill for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and anyone who wants to move their career to the next level.

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Image by farioff from Pixabay

Have you ever felt like you weren’t brave enough to launch a new business? Or to go see your boss to ask for that raise? Or to move across the country or the world for your dream job? “That’s not for me,” you might have told yourself. “I’m just not brave enough!”

Courage isn’t an innate quality but a learned skill

We tend to see courage as an innate personality trait — a quality that you have or don’t have, something a sorting hat could read in your brain and know whether or not you get put into Gryffindor. …


What I learnt from a month of trying different techniques.

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Photo by the author

I don’t know about you, but all these contradictory voices telling me how to feel better, beat my anxiety, double my productivity and cure my ailing love life are creating a whole new source of stress for me.

Am I supposed to be expressing my feelings or meditating until they evaporate? Should I be making compromises or setting boundaries? Should I be doing yoga for three hours a day or fitting a HIIT workout into my lunchtime? It seems to change every day, and a new miracle solution crops up every time someone is willing to pay.

I suffered from depression for several years, and I’ve tried all sorts of methods of self-care, all of which I found were not for me. Yoga makes me restless, meditating makes me panic at the prospect of being alone with my own thoughts, and every time such solutions fail for me, I feel a little bit worse. In the end, I settled for a solution I had always vowed to avoid: I took medication. SSRIs did rid me of my depression, but also made me feel as though my emotions had been leveled out, my joy was less ecstatic, and my pain was trapped inside me and unable to escape. …


Biden’s election doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.

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Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay

The past few decades have seen huge steps forwards in the political rights and social status of women, LGBTQ+individuals, and people of color. Things are still terrible today, and new challenges have arisen to take the place of the old, but in general, there has been progress for communities that aren’t white male straight and cis-gendered. A sure sign of this progress is the backlash that has accompanied it —the fact that white men are scared of losing their unfair privileges, it’s a sure sign that there is something to be scared of.

One thing is often forgotten by those that have liberal tendencies ideologically, but aren’t activists: the fact that this progress has never happened on its own. I often hear things like, “things are getting better,” or “look how far we’ve come” or “women will earn as much as men soon, just be patient,” but this sentiment completely negates the reality of the progress of the past decades: that every single step, however minute, has only happened because people fought tooth and nail for it. …


There is a growing tendency to disguise feminism in ‘girly’ niceness. We shouldn’t have to.

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Image by PawinG from Pixabay

I first noticed it on Instagram: the unofficial aesthetic of feminism in 2020 is not unlike the ‘girls’ aisle of a toy store. It’s pink, pastel-colored and sometimes glittery, with retro cursive fonts and pretty flowers all around.

I’ve been spending more time on social media recently and discovered loads of amazing feminist artists whose beautiful illustrations come with an explosive message.

There is Florence Given, best-selling author of Women Don’t Owe You Pretty — with her characteristic wonky cartoon characters, on pink backgrounds with punch-packing slogans written in a curly retro font.

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There’s Pink Bits, on a mission to “illustrate the bits and shapes we’re told to hide.” She draws nudes of all sizes and focuses on the small details we’re not supposed to talk about: white discharge on panties, stomach rolls during yoga, in a rounded cartoon style that is simple and gorgeous. …


And why it shouldn’t be.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“Tell me what you want”: Five simple words that should be a simple thing to say and an arousing thing to hear, and yet whenever a partner asks me that question I freeze. Or at least I used to — I gradually become more aware and confident of my own sexuality and better at dirty talk, but when I was younger being asked that question would make me blush and stutter. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what I wanted, and the few ideas I had I didn’t know how to put into words.

It’s a great question to ensure enthusiastic consent

There is a myth about sex, that you fall prey to when you are new to the world of intimacy, the myth that there is one right way to do things, a way of doing things sexily and saying things in an arousing way that will turn your man on. I thought that there were things I was supposed to want and things I shouldn’t voice out loud. It didn’t occur to me to be selfish and think about what I actually wanted — even when asked about my desire I was thinking about his. I thought it was a rhetorical question, or a request for dirty talk to turn him on, rather than a chance for me to say what I actually wanted. …


How the dominant class uses pseudo-science to reinforce oppressive stereotypes.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Blaming gender roles on nature or evolution may be as old as gender roles themselves. …


It’s really not ok.

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

He grabs my hair in one fist and pulls my head back, firmly, sensually, and kisses my neck, down my cleavage, to my belly button which he circles gently with his tongue. It’s hot and steamy and I’m really turned on so I whisper in his ear, “Do you have a condom?”

“No I don’t,” he says. I make a noise of frustration. I forgot to bring any. This is a guy I’ve hooked up with a few times, usually he comes back to mine but this time we’re at his place and apparently, he didn’t think it through either.

“It’s ok, we don’t need to use one,” he tells me. …

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