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An answer to a question I hear a lot.

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“If it is about gender equality, than why is it called feminism? Why isn’t it equalism?”

This is a question I hear a lot amongst detractors of the feminist movement. In their view, the fem in feminism can only mean that it is a pro-women movement, that isn’t seeking equality but rather supremacy over men. I find this fear of a reversal of hierarchy, the concern that men will be the ones left behind, quite revealing. …

Feminists need to talk about it

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The Chinese government had made a good effort to disguise its genocidal programme of forced sterilization of Uighur women as feminism.

The Chinese embassy in the US recently tweeted a link to a report on declining birthrates in Xinjiang, a predominantly Uighur area, with the caption “[I]n the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent.”

In China: genocide rebranded as gender equality

It takes a worrying amount of gall to casually tweet about the declining demographics of a population your government is suspected of committing genocide towards, and present the figures as being linked to improved gender equality. As though all those concentration camps for Uighurs were in reality summer camps for learning gender studies. Twitter apparently thought so too, and removed the post for having “violated the Twitter rules” but only after it had been up for several hours. …

Do women have the right to not like men?

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As a feminist, Pauline Hermange spent years hearing that she hated men. “It’s an insult you get as a feminist … Whatever you say, as soon as you criticize men, you’re accused of being a misandrist,” she told New York Times. One day, she snapped. Yeah. Maybe I do hate men, she thought. “ That’s when I realized: Actually, that’s exactly it.” So she wrote a book, Moi, Les Hommes, Je Les Déteste, in English: I hate men.

“The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way” — Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The 96-page essay starts with this quote from Sylvia Plath, and goes on to explore whether women have good reason to hate men. In Hermange’s view, the reasons are plentiful, and hating men can serve a liberating purpose for women. …

And what to do about it.

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My friend Faye is very open about sex. When we go out for coffee, she talks loudly about her latest adventures, not caring about disparaging looks from neighbouring tables. She enjoys experimenting with toys, role play and locations. Yet there is one major hurdle she cannot overcome: she cannot touch herself. “I don’t know why, I just can’t bring myself to put a finger up there. I can put my finger up a guy’s bumhole no problem, but when it comes to my own vag, I just can’t do it.” For Faye, this is a real problem, because when she gets horny she would love to get herself off but isn’t able to. …

On the importance of point of view.

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-Spoiler warning — This article contains spoilers for season one of You

From the very first scene of Netflix’s show, You, the viewer is thrown into an unsettling ambiguity. Joe thinks he is in a love story. In reality, he is stalking the object of his desire.

The bell chimes softly as she pushes open the door of the bookshop, he lifts his eyes and sees her walking amongst the stacks of dusty books, bathed in the glow of shaded lamps. She is pretty, with a bashful smile, she is quick to apologise when she almost bumps into someone. She comes over and asks Joe, the bookseller, for the latest Paula Fox book. …

The skills you learn from working for yourself.

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I’ve always expected that the honeymoon period of freelancing would end, and yet three years in, my rose-tinted goggles are still firmly on. I see a world filled with unlimited possibilities: working in my underwear, on the floor, in the bed, in the kitchen, refilling my big mug of tea over and over. Taking an afternoon off to go out for a walk or a drink with friends and work all night instead. …

Generate real change in your life.

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Millions of us are used to starting every year with a miserable ritual. We set ourselves vague goals for huge changes without giving ourselves the means to obtain them. Then we feel guilty when we don’t succeed. We feel like a failure for not losing weight or reading a book a day or meditating each morning. Rather than being an way of creating the empowering changes that we feel like we need in our lives, New Years Resolutions are made for us to fail, and make us feel terrible when we do.

That’s why for 2021, I won’t be making any resolutions. 2020 was too awful for me to want to put myself through another failure. Instead, I am setting out 12 habits that I will add in to my life, month by month. Since it takes 30 days to create a habit, this seems like a perfect plan to create real change. By the time I introduce the next habit, the former one will be an integrated part of my lifestyle. I will try and connect each habit to the last, so as to build on preexisting habits. …

Restrictions are necessary, but the side effects on our mental health must not be overlooked.

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The pandemic spread like wildfire because of the connectedness of modern existence. Never in human history has there been so much intermingling of individuals from across the globe, so much movement in so little time. Ironically, this connectedness is also the first thing the pandemic destroyed. As borders closed back up and transport is cancelled, many people are stranded far away from the people they love, or on lockdown and unable to see their closest friends who only live a block away. This has been creating isolation all year, but loneliness is always accentuated during the holidays.

More than a religious holiday or a commercial one, for Christians, Christmas is a family holiday. For better or for worse. Christmas is arguing over politics and an overworked chef having a meltdown, it is radically different personalities in the same family clashing and setting off sparks, it is meaningful gifts, spilled drinks, laughter and time dedicated just to each other. It is love, at its purest and most complicated. …

In heterosexual relations, they evolved to bring men and women together through a shared experience.

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One of the most widespread — and false — assumptions about orgasms is that what cis-women feel is fundamentally different from cis-men — women’s orgasms are seen as more lip-biting, toe-curling, mind-blowingly intense than guys’. But whether on a physical, neurological or psychological level, the opposite is true: men and women actually have very similar experiences of the big-O. The differences are far more important between individuals than between the genders.

So why does the myth persist that women’s orgasms are better than men’s? Part of this could be Porn — because women start to moan and cry out as soon as they see a penis within a 50-metre radius. Despite the fact that the sex acts that place women’s pleasure at the centre (oral sex, or stimulation of the clitoris with or without penetration) are severely underrepresented in mainstream porn. …

“Want to join a toxic messaging group, where we’ll insult and body shame you to keep you motivated?”

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The picture triggers me instantly. A mirror selfie, from the side, of a girl so thin you could see the shape of every rib, poking out violently from her skin as though they were making a desperate bid for escape. The post stands out almost as sharply in my Instagram feed, which is mainly body-positive bloggers, feminist artworks, and forlorn photos of my friends losing their minds during lockdown.

It’s from one of Instagram’s pro-ana, or pro-anorexia accounts, providing “inspiration” to girls with eating disorders, “motivational” content to get them to carry on starving themselves. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder herself, I cannot take my eyes away from the account. Those old feelings of obsession, the desire to take up as little space as possible come back to me, and I long to make my body melt. “It’s so unhealthy. It’s wrong. It doesn’t look good,” I think to myself. But that wasn’t my first thought. My first thought was “Wow, she’s so thin. She’s so disciplined. …

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