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Beauty means something different to everyone. An episode of Sherlock I distinctly remember had the protagonist declare while giving the Best Man’s speech at a wedding; “Beauty is a construct based entirely on childhood impressions, influences and role models.”

At the time, I was roughly 16 years old, obsessed with changing absolutely everything about my appearance. During my school days, everyone wanted to look the same.

The same tanned skin, bright blonde hair which is pretty much only natural if you are of Scandinavian descent, contoured cheekbones and slender figure with a waistline that most likely requires a corset to maintain.

Being different was not only seen as unattractive, it was even feared.

It was only when I entered college and saw beauty expanding its traits that my eyes were opened to different types of aesthetically pleasing looks. As well as this, I began to understand that confidence is beauty.

Happiness is beauty, intelligence is beauty, generosity is beauty. And that beauty is often the least interesting thing about a person.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

However, the ideal of beauty which had been prominent during my secondary school years remained the same until the Kardashians exploded onto the reality TV scene, and over the course of the last decade have altered the idea of beauty as we know it.

With their bum and breast implants, nose jobs, cheek implants, lip fillers, whitened teeth among other procedures I don’t have the vocabulary to describe, somehow the idea of what was beautiful drastically changed.

Body modification became far more normalised, as well as the fact that social media gave audiences the power of knowledge.

While celebrities were undoubtedly changing their faces and bodies for decades, especially ones on our cinema and TV screens, social media and the internet now gave us the tools to recognise when ‘work’ had been done.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Consultant Clinic (@consultant_clinic) on

One fascinating case which has attracted massive public attention in the last few weeks is that of Elliot Joseph Rentz, otherwise known as Alexis Stone.

The make-up and drag artist garnered public furore after revealing a massively drastic surgical transformation to his large social media following, uploading reveal videos to his YouTube channel which were bombarded with negative comments spewing hateful language and even death threats.

Rentz began the process on August 1 of last year, explaining to his following in a video;

“I don’t want to look the way I look today. I don’t connect with what I see. I never have. So I’m changing it all. I’ve been called crazy. I’ve been called botched. I’ve been called an addict. I’ve been called ugly. I’m told every single day that I’ve ruined my face,” he claimed, emphasising that every last cent he owned would be given to his surgical dream of metamorphosis.

“You name it, I’m having it done,” he explained.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Alexis Stone (@thealexisstone) on

Alexis uploads a video titled “The Reveal”, which has since racked up over 450,000 views. In the diary-like visual film, the drag artist shows off his brand new face, which included fat grafts to his nose, forehead, and chin, as well as chin and cheek implants and an eye lift.

“This had nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with sanity,” he quotes, directly from Pete Burns’ biography.

One month later, Rentz uploads a compilation of comments, each more vicious and negative than the next. Some of them are hard to read.

Stone later claimed his so-called friends and family members often joined in on the vitriolic, with some people even telling him to take his own life, and that his ex-boyfriend committed suicide because of Stone.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Alexis Stone (@thealexisstone) on

Roll on January 1 2019, and Stone reveals in a lengthy YouTube documentary that the whole six-month journey was a complete hoax – his new ‘botched’ face was a complex mask.

Working with Academy Award-winning makeup artist David Marti, a stunt mask was even developed from prosthetic facial materials to be worn outside of the house. Months of effort and secrecy had led to this, and the result was fascinating.

He referred to the stunt as a social experiment, while others called it a cry for mental health help, an attention seeking performance or even a show of disrespect for those who have undergone extreme surgery themselves for whatever reason.

So why did he do it, and what did his social experiment show about society’s idea of beautiful versus ‘botched’ surgery?

Ireland’s perception of the cosmetic surgery industry is vastly different from the reality.

Dozens of clinics have popped up all over the country – Westport in County Mayo is even the predominant creator and exporter of the world’s botox – and yet there is an element of hushed secrecy to the entire organisation.

It is rare to find an Irish person who opens up about having plastic surgery, we are a country of people who lament so-called ‘narcissism’, yet self-confidence issues remain potent within our society.

In a society that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is an act of rebellion.

Jameela Jamil has frequently found herself in the public eye for her scathing indictment of the Kardashian family, arguing that their world is one which 'recycles self-hatred'.

Yet the reality TV clan have essentially transformed the perception of beauty over the last decade, morphing women into self-obsession with curves, plumped up lips, tanned skin and bodycon clothing.

“You’re selling us self-consciousness,” she claims, portraying her deep disappointment of the ‘double-agents to the patriarchy’. Her main issue with the Kardashians is their weight-loss product endorsements, which are basically a fancier packaging for laxatives in protein shake form.

The family have abundant riches which can afford the best photoshop, photographers, airbrushing, personal trainers, stylists, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons the world can offer.

Even a glance over websites aimed at young women such as Boohoo, Missguided and PrettyLittleThing shows the huge changes in the beauty industry.

Their models have hyper-miniscule waists and voluptuous curves, glossy brunette locks, tanned skin and full lips, highly reminiscent of the Kardashian family’s idea of what beauty means.

The #10YearChallenge has proven at least one thing; those who have money have a greater control over their appearance than those who don’t.

Body modification has become normalised in society, whether it’s permanent or semi-permanent. Contouring, filters on our social media apps, airbrushing, make-up tutorials on YouTube and cosmetic surgery all reflect the culture we live in, which constantly tells us what we look like isn’t enough.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Muriam Waseem (@muriamwasi) on

And yet, if a person who changes their appearance is genuinely happier and finds improvement in their mental health and self-esteem as a result of body modification, who are we to judge their lifestyle choices?

Choice is the vital word here. Our society and law consistently shows that it believes it possesses the right to control other people’s bodies. Specifically female bodies.

If another person has the funds and is of sound mind, shouldn’t they be allowed to alter their body if it sparks joy in them, to reference the iconic Marie Kondo?

What struck me most was the understanding which the public has for those undergoing body modification for the sake of their physical health.

Whether it’s a nose job for aiding breathing, a breast reduction surgery to alleviate back pain or even just braces, the level of support appears to be significantly higher when physical health is taken into account, rather than perceived vanity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by River Medical (@rivermedical) on

Yet if a person’s mental health is suffering as a result of their appearance, is this not still a health reason? On an ‘extreme’ level, is transitioning from a male or female gender to the opposite biological sex classified as body modification?

In this case, a person’s mental health would presumably suffer as a result of their appearance, should they not identify with who they see in the mirror.

Cases of body dysmorphia are higher than ever in Ireland, obsession with one’s flaws can cause great emotional pain. Yet we fixate on the reasoning for a person’s body modification, we presume we have the right to judge them for their choices.

SHEmazing spoke to a young woman named Gráinne, who underwent breast reduction surgery at the age of 19, and never looked back. She was plagued with back pain throughout her secondary school years, but the daily toll which her chest took on her confidence and mental health was the final straw;

“For my own personal experience I would say, I think my chest came in in like first year when I was 13, and got bigger after that. I’d say it probably crossed my mind, a chest reduction every once in a while. You’d be trying on clothes and things just wouldn’t fit, whether it was bikini or swimsuits or whatever, I couldn’t buy clothes that fit. You’d be thinking, ‘just chop them off and be done with it’.”

“Throughout secondary school if you had that idea, you’d just dismiss it, because we don’t do that. I didn’t take it seriously, it was a passing thought. It was first year of college that my cousin, who had a bigger chest than I did, got a breast reduction surgery done. I thought, ‘If she could do it, why can’t I?’ It dispelled the taboo a bit, I guess.”

Gráinne noticed the unspoken way which Irish people often have of burying a topic until somebody else is brave enough to unlock it.

“I hadn’t really thought about it, but that took away the wall up around it. The summer before I started second year in college, it was just getting to me. It affected everything in the way of confidence, everything I wore, playing sports just wasn’t a thing, I just felt vulnerable. My mum always compared it to wild games of tennis at Wimbledon, everything’s going the wrong direction. You’re very self-conscious about it. I was starting to get dints in my shoulders, I would have been 19 at the time so I couldn’t believe I could get them so young”

Gráinne discovered that she qualified for the surgery through the state on medical grounds, and her life greatly changed after that pivotal moment;

“I got my chest done September of 2015, so I would have been 19 when I started. I went to my GP about it, and he referred us. It was on medical grounds, I couldn’t straighten my back or stand for five minutes without a pain in my back because it just couldn’t hold my breasts. You feel like a hunchback all the time because you’re always bending over. I remember when I was going to the consultant, I was more nervous because I thought ‘If he tells me I can’t get this surgery, what am I going to do?’"

"I went in and found out I could have it on health grounds, and I was the right BMI for them to justify it. We had to wait for the insurance to approve it. The only funny thing was that they told me there would be scars. I never cared about this, I knew I could deal with them if it meant that I could have a smaller chest. To this day, I don’t care about the scars. They’re there, they’re fine, they’re healed.”

The process of the surgery itself is a journey, from the initial thought pattern, to the planning, to the operation itself and then recovery. Nobody takes on cosmetic surgery lightly, nobody does it on a whim or doesn’t think it through. They don’t think about ‘ruining’ their looks, or what other people think.

They have been on their journey for a long time, they are of sound mind, and they have ultimately made a choice and will handle whatever consequences arrive afterwards;

“Having the surgery itself, people would ask me if I was nervous. I kept telling people, ‘Why would I be nervous, I just have to lie there? It’s the doctor’s job.’ I wasn’t nervous, I was excited about it because it meant that so many other things were going to be open to me. When I finally got the surgery done, I was just ready for it. After the surgery, you had to have a week of bedrest to recover, and take care of yourself. It was fine, I had protein and scrambled eggs because the nurses said that it would help the healing of scars. I never put any kind of stress on it, I was always just excited about the chance to have it done. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without having it done, if I was still in the mental headspace of constantly being conscious of my chest like that.”

What changed in Gráinne’s life after her operation, and how does she feel today about it?

“It was just such a thing that you hid before. Everyone in my family had adapted to wearing big jumpers and scarves to hide it, we were a big chested family. I have no problem talking about my surgery, I have no problem talking about my chest size. I was never vulnerable about it, I kind of own it. Every year around the anniversary of my surgery, I think of it like a little victory. It’s an attitude, it’s another year on of not having to deal with my chest. People who knew me and knew how important it was for me were supportive."

"I wonder if there was someone who wanted implants for their chest, would it have been the same reaction? My flat chested friends always joked ‘I’ll use whatever you don’t want!’, I wonder if someone had gotten implants, would it have been the same reaction? Would people have been as supportive? Even if it was for their own mental health because they can’t stand being so flat-chested, I don’t think it would be as accepted.”

I asked Gráinne how her life changed after the surgery, in more than just a physical way;

“It definitely improved my mental health and the way I see myself. It’s made me more accepting of other parts of my body, of me as a whole. My physical health has also improved, I’m more active. I used to do so many after-school activities in primary school, but once my chest developed I stopped those. Sports bras didn’t improve it either. No one in my life ever commented on me having a big chest in a negative way to me, I don’t think. It was just something I wanted.”

Ariel Winter chose to have a breast reduction surgery following years of public and online ridicule, complications involving acting roles as well as intense back pain. Speaking about the difficulties to Glamour in 2015, she said;

“We live in a day and age where everything you do is ridiculed. The Internet bullies are awful. I could post a photo where I feel good, and 500 people will comment about how fat I am and that I am disgusting. On red carpets, I just said to myself, "You have to do your best to look confident and stand up tall, and make yourself look as good as you can in these photos," because everyone is going to see them. I definitely seemed confident; I'm an actress, that's what we do. But on the inside, I wasn't feeling so happy.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ARIEL WINTER (@arielwinter) on

For Gráinne, Ariel Winter’s story deeply resonated with her;

 “I saw her on Ellen, and just understood everything she said. You’re so self conscious of it. It would have affected my confidence going on Erasmus, I always hid behind scarves and jumpers. I’m far more confident now, and whether that was just growing up or having my chest done, I feel the chest was a major contributing factor. I’m still a curvaceous figure, but it’s manageable and I’m not weighed down by it. It wasn’t about anyone else, it was about me and no one else. If that’s what someone else wants, then they should go for it.”

When asked her opinion on Alexis Stone’s stunt, Gráinne was struck by the thought of going ‘too far’, and why that seemed to offend so many people. The idea that if you transform yourself to look less like the culturally accepted beauty standards, you are committing a grave sin in some way;

“For the whole Alexis Stone side of things, I think the problem with that was, did he go too far in people’s eyes? He didn’t fit with what society wanted him to look like. Kylie Jenner’s lips, she was self-conscious about them, and had been over-drawing, she got them done, but now we forget that she ever got them done. We accept that this is her face. But with Alexis, everyone thinks he went too far. People getting things like that done are often afraid of other people seeing their insecurities. There’s a model of what society wants people to look like, and you’re either reaching that model or you’re going too far."

Image: youtube.com

"Rachel Green in Friends, it’s so overlooked that she got a nose job, because it was to fix what they saw as a flaw. If Alexis Stone pretended to get work done for what he saw as a flaw, but society didn’t, then it’s a problem. Other people didn’t know about my chest, but I felt that it was a burden for myself and how I viewed myself. It was literally weighing me down. Kylie Jenner’s lips were a flaw to herself, and she ‘fixed’ them and she’s happy. It’s about ‘fixing’ what people’s perception of beauty is.”

What a large group of people perceive to be aesthetically pleasing offers a mirror to that society itself. Sociological factors have a major impact on why we see certain shapes, sizes, faces, skin types, hair and eye colours etc as the desirable way to look. Despite the fact that millions of young women ache to look the same as the Kardashians, it’s what is unique to each person that is the inherently beautiful part of them.

What's 'beautiful' today may be off-brand tomorrow. Why try to keep up?

As well as their appearance, their worth is so much more than what they look like or what they way. What they feel, what they offer to the world, their identities, their language, their flaws, their intelligence, their kindness; these factors are often greatly impacted by appearance, but beauty is more to do with the mind than what the eye envisions.

“Society has an issue with it if it’s pointing out flaws that they see in themselves as well. If you see something that you really admire in someone else, you feel self-conscious about it yourself in some way.”

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Many of us were absolutely RAISED on Disney when we were kids. We grew up with the incredible cinema releases of The Lion King, Aladdin, Cinderella, Mulan and The Little Mermaid, and it changed our lives forever.

The Disney princess role has changed as the generations got older (and more feminist), bringing more progressive films with 3D female characters such as Brave, Frozen, Moana, The Princess and the Frog and Tangled.

Kiera Knightly recently spoke out against the films, saying that her three-year-old daughter is banned from watching them in her home.

keira knightley smiling GIF

When asked why, she said to "rescue yourself!" from the prince is a far better message to send to young women; "Cinderella waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t." Right on, gal, right on. Fight the power.

However, when we were watching the classic princess films as children, I highly doubt we realised at the time just how YOUNG they all are, which arguably makes the movies seem a tad creepy.

It's basically teens getting sexualised and sent off to live with a man who has privilege over them forever.

For decades, young girls have been seeing these characters as role models; they're compassionate, fierce, caring, brave and highly intelligent.

Many of the gals are preparing for marriage, but they're in their mid-teens. Seems a little weird, considering the men they're marrying are often at least ten years older.

For example. Pocahontas' age in the film was never confirmed, but in real life she actually met John Smith when she was just a 10 year old girl. Ew.

First up: Princess Jasmine. Aladdin's bae was only 15-years-old in the film, as a recent The Mary Sue article pointed out. So when she's dressed in red and is seducing Jafar (a creepy old man), she's officially underage…

princess jasmine disney GIF

A key portion of the film revolves around the fact that she's obliged to marry a prince before her sixteenth birthday, which is three days away.

The Mary Sue also noted that Jasmine is a highly sexualised character, with Jafar commanding the genie to force her to love him. Alright…we're officially disturbed.

Plus, that waist-line is a fantasy; she'd fit maybe half an organ in there if she's lucky.

HuffPost has previously pointed out that none of the 'official' Disney princesses are older than 19, even though most of them are wed or engaged by the end of each of their respective movies.

Ariel is a sixteen-year-old who claims to be an adult, while Eric is the ripe old age of 18. So in today's day-and-age, it would be illegal for them to marry.

Granted, these films are purely fantasy, but it's pretty strange how they design the princesses as sexualised teenagers who always end up with an older man.

If this next one doesn't shock you, we don't know what will. Snow White is just 14 YEARS OLD when she meets her prince, and escapes from a cruel queen who tries to cut out her heart out of vanity.

The prince also kisses her while she's KO'd; problematic as f*ck.

snow white kiss GIF

Kristen Bell has also pointed out issues with Snow White as a film, which was the first colour Disney animation and was released back in 1938.

“Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!” Hello, consent?

Fairy tales don’t have a stable form, and every era rewrites centuries old fairy tales to fit it's specific agenda or zeitgeist. Many Disney princesses were based on the 1812 Brothers Grimm tales.

drunk kristen wiig GIF

They changed their book of stories to adapt to 19th-century German bourgeois family values, so why can't we update them in 2019?

Cinderella was transformed into a live-action remake recently, but ZERO alterations were made. 

Our Chinese hero warrior Mulan, famous for it's WHOPPER tunes like I'll Make a Man Out of You: she's also sixteen. Yet she has to nurture a fragile toxic male ego, and marries him in the end.

Ok, then, it took a woman to fix a man's dodgy job and her reward is a lifetime of obedience. Sleeping Beauty's Aurora was also 16-years-old, and we've got another classic case of non-consent.

sleeping beauty kiss GIF

While Disney has 100 percent made improvements for it's female characters, like Frozen's Queen Elsa and Princess Anna especially, and Brave's Merida (also 16); it's important to be aware of the classic films and their morals.

The live-action Aladdin doesn't arrive for another few months (May 24 to be exact), we have no idea if Jasmine will be a more marriage-appropriate age. The actress cast to play her is 25-years-old, at least.

Naomi Scott isn't a teenager, so let's hope her character isn't either.  Scott told Entertainment Weekly that her character’s goal is “really to protect her people, to do right by them," in December, so we have high hopes.

The eye-wateringly hot Marwan Kenzari has been cast as Jafar in the live-action flick, and he looks FAR younger than the animated character. He's a certified thirst trap.

We're relieved they're moving away from the creepy-old-man game, thank God. The movie looks intriguing, if just for a blue Will Smith as the genie. (Check out those memes about him, they're amazing)

Bring on the badass empowered female princesses, like Meghan Markle and the Thai princess Ubolratana who recently attempted to run for Prime Minister. Get it, gurls.

Feature image: knowyourmeme.com

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New guidelines of been released by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to reflect the public audience's changing views on sexual content and violence.

Research shows that a surprising 95% of teenagers have been calling for stronger classification on media, with the youth especially worried about watching fictional scenarios which could realistically occur in their own lives.

The BBFC are implementing alterations which sees movies depicting rape and sexual violence as rated 15 rather than 12A.

Keira Knightley's famous period drama The Duchess, which was classified in the 12 category at the time of release, would now be considered as 15 under the new guidelines as a result of the rape scene.

In the study involving more than 10,000 people, 97% of parents as well as young people are asking for stricter guidelines for online content and tougher classification.

David Austin, BBFC chief executive, said: “Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That’s why it’s so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and offline."

Austin continued; “The research shows that parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what’s right for them."

“We are updating our standards around depictions of sexual violence and very strong sex references to reflect changes in public attitudes," he continued.

Since 2014, British views of sex have consistently transformed and progressed with the times. Audiences now want higher classifications for sexual content.

BBFC claim that “the language of pornography” and strong sexual references are also expected to gain an 18 certificate.

The BBFC maintain that audiences are more tolerant of violent content than other potentially troubling material, according to their research, which is worrying.

Austin added: “We’re here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings. So it’s encouraging to know that we’ve been classifying content in line with what people want and expect when it comes to difficult themes around credible real-life scenarios."

“We also know that people are more comfortable with issues such as action violence," he concluded. The guidelines will be officially released on February 28.

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If you've been on your social media accounts recently, you most likely can't avoid the new fad; the Ten Year Challenge.

Celebrities from Mariah Carey, Trevor Noah, Amy Schumer to Caitlyn Jenner participated in the glow up experiment, with most famous faces simply proving how freakishly ageless they are.

Some participants brought humour into the fray, paralleling their image with one of another look-alike celebrity, or in Jenner's case, changing gender over the last 10 years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Now THAT is a #10YearChallenge Be authentic to yourself 

A post shared by Caitlyn Jenner (@caitlynjenner) on

The concept of then-and-now images isn't exactly new, but it's gained massive traction over the last week. What harm could it be?

Kate O'Neill of Wired magazine introduced a new notion which essentially blew our minds, and even forced Facebook to deny her semi-sarcastic suggestion.

Her idea? That the 10 Year Challenge could be useful to any entity that’s looking to develop facial recognition algorithms about ageing.

O'Neill flipped a metaphorical table by suggesting the tech giant had initiated a trend solely to contract facial recognition data from the social network's users.

In her article, Facebook's 10 Year Challenge Is Just A Harmless Meme- Right?, she claims;

"I knew the facial recognition scenario was broadly plausible and indicative of a trend that people should be aware of. It’s worth considering the depth and breadth of the personal data we share without reservations."

Allegedly, the conspiracy translates to Facebook needing to experiment with data, and the meme proving the perfect way to achieve it.

"Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g., how people are likely to look as they get older)," she added. 

"Ideally, you'd want a broad and rigorous dataset with lots of people's pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart—say, 10 years." WHAT.

O'Neill is saying that the powerful technology company could use the algorithm for advertising, insurance assessment, healthcare and finding missing children. Both positive but simultaneously dangerous consequences.

Of course, this is all total speculation, unsubstantiated evidence. Yet Facebook was forced to dispel the rumours:

Do we place too much trust in sites like Facebook? Even if the challenge isn't a case of social engineering, the website has come under fire following numerous controversial claims against them.

Examples of social games designed to extract data aren't far from reality, let's cast our minds back to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The mass data extraction of over 70 million American Facebook users was performed, and rocked the country so much that Mark Zuckerberg himself had to turn up to Congress.

Another aspect of the website which garners negative attention is their suspicious community guidelines which seem to apply more rigidly to certain types of people.

Let's face it, Facebook is already heavily involved in politics, such as the critical 2016 US Presidential election and Russian interference.

According to Kate O'Neill, major tech corporations acquiring data could be used for population control and law-and-order;

"After Amazon introduced real-time facial recognition services in late 2016, they began selling those services to law enforcement and government agencies, such as the police departments in Orlando and Washington County, Oregon."

"But the technology raises major privacy concerns; the police could use the technology not only to track people who are suspected of having committed crimes, but also people who are not committing crimes, such as protesters and others whom the police deem a nuisance," she continued.

Facebook's implication in various privacy concerns has created a tumultuous relationship between the tech giant and its users.

O'Neill is definitely right about one thing- data is one of the most powerful currencies, so don't spend it dangerously.

“Regardless of the origin or intent behind this meme, we must all become savvier about the data we create and share, the access we grant to it, and the implications for its use."

Feature image credit: Mamamia

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Sleep is our number one bae.

There's nothing better than waking up with knowing you don't actually have to get up (hello, bank holiday weekend!), and so we roll around in our toasty beds and clock in some more zzzs.

Well, now new research has suggested the amount of sleep we should get based on our age.

alarm, bell, clock

We've known for a long time that eight hours is the minimum needed, but how many of us actually get that amount every night?

The National Sleep Foundation created a chart, made up by 18 scientists, and confirmed that "younger adults," should indeed be getting 7-9 hours.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day

 

  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours

 

  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours

 

  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours

 

  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours

 

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours

 

  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)

 

  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range is 7-9 hours

 

  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

The NSF stressed that we have to "make sleep a priority," and even though that may be a tad difficult, it's definitely set in our minds now.

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Cher is the Queen of Everything and the Coolest Person of All  Time.

Yes, those titles all deserve capital letters – c'mon, we know it's true. 

Cher has become an icon to a whole new generation of movie-fans, thanks to pop culture references on social media. 

Her recent role as Meryl Streep's mum in summer feel-good flick Mamma Mia 2 has only cemented her status as one of Hollywood's legends. 

And then she went and became even more amazing.

How, you ask?

Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter she had to face ageist comments when she turned 40. Yes, 40

Cher spoke about how she had been feeling apprehensive about hitting the milestone in May 1986.

She was working on The Witches of Eastwick at the time and the director, George Miller called her with some unpleasant news. 

“[He] said, ‘I just wanted to call and tell you that I don’t want you in my movie and Jack Nicholson and I think you’re too old and you’re not sexy.’ Good morning, 40!”

While Cher says now that  “tears started streaming down my face” at his awful comments, the man kept banging on. 

“He didn't want to hang up,” she said.

“He just wanted to tell me everything: ‘I hate the way you walk, I hate the way you talk, I don’t like the colour of your hair, I don’t like the colour of your eyes.”

Eh, Cher – he's clearly a a*sehole. 

Obvs, our gal Cher wasn't gonna put up with it. 

“So finally, I was like, ‘OK, look motherf***er,’” she said.

“Yeah, I said the whole thing. I said, ‘You didn't find me under a rock. I was nominated for an Academy Award for Silkwood. And I got the Cannes Film Festival award for best actress for Mask, so goodbye!’”

As she took home the gong for Best Actress at the Academy Award for Moonstruck the following year and more than three decades later she’s making movies and selling out concerts…we think that maybe, just maybe she's having the last laugh.

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Confidence is one of the best tricks to rocking any look. Even the queen of the selfie Kim Kardashian revealed it's one of her favourite beauty secrets.

But when does our body confidence peak? 

A recent poll, conducted by Healthspan Nurture Replenish, asked women 50 and older at what age they felt most confident in their appearance.

 

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The answer? Around 33. So hey – 33-year-olds Katy Perry, Khloe Kardashian, and Scarlett Johansson are KILLING it!

The reason that 33 is the magic number, many of the women said, was because they felt they were at a good weight and their stomachs were fairly toned.

The women polled also said that being wrinkle-free with fewer grey hairs helped as well!

62 percent of respondents said that weight gain was the most likely cause of their confidence dropping, with their hair and teeth's appearance also factoring in.

A bad hair day can definitely start you off on the wrong foot, the survey found.

More than six out of every 10 women polled admitted that a bad hair day can really dent their confidence.

Dr Megan Arroll, psychologist and co-author of The Menopause Maze, spoke to Closer about the findings of the survey.

'When we feel more self-assured, we’re more likely to engage in self-care activities which can directly affect our appearance (i.e. taking good care of our teeth, skin and hair), which then acts as a loop as we feel our best and most confident,' she noted.

'Hence, boosting confidence from within is a powerful tool for long-term health – on the inside and out.'

Hopefully the women polled gain some confidence in themselves, and learn to love their bodies without focusing so much on weight. 

If you're feeling like down about your appearance, we can point you in the direction of the body confidence movement, where embracing yourself exactly as you are, toned stomach or not, it the order of the day, every day. 

So, whether we feel like we need a time machine to go back to 33 or you're afraid of peaking soon, let's all take care of ourselves!

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New research from scientists at McGill University in Quebec, Canada shows that a large number of childless women tend to have been born to older mothers.

The data analysed came from 43,000 women. 

Strangely enough, the Human Reproduction-published study found fathers' ages had no significant effect on whether or not their daughters had children.

One important point to note, though, is the fact that scientists cannot prove if this correlation is due to whether these women struggled to conceive or if they consciously chose not to start a family.

"We had no knowledge of whether childlessness was intentional," the researchers noted, though they said that this link between childlessness and being born to an older mother was 'consistent'. 

However, the authors of the study still noted that 'evaluating the influence of maternal age at birth on offspring fertility is a public health priority'.

Peter Nagy, from the Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, told the Guardian that age is something women planning to conceive should keep in mind, saying: "A mother’s reproductive age is important not only for herself but it will determine to a certain extent the chances of her daughter or daughters being infertile.

"When we are treating patients close to the age of 40, we are helping them get babies but, at the same time, these children will have a higher risk of becoming infertility patients."

The idea that a woman's fertility is related to her mother's health is not new.

Past studies have suggested that a woman's fertility can be predicted by the age at which her mother went through menopause. 

A 2012 study published in Human Reproduction found that levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC), both positive predictors for ovarian reserves, dropped faster in women whose mums experienced menopause earlier. 

This means that women whose mothers had menopause at an earlier age may struggle to conceive.

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When IKEA came to Dublin in 2009, we thought all of our interior dreams came true.

Many of us, even as teenagers, loitered around the IKEA maze and dreamed of what our houses would look like some day.

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Fast forward a few years, and whether you're living on your own, renting or just doing up your room, IKEA is usually the number one stop to buy everything that is #HomeGoals.

However, a new study by Earnest, says that you may be "too old" to shop there now.

The web-based lender looked at the spending habits of 43,000 people and found that there is a point when people peak IKEA.

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So, what is the cut-off-point..? It's 34-years-of-age.

Earnest believes that the reason for this is because when you hit that age, you care less and rely less on inexpensive brands, and move onto the high-end furniture shops.

We totally get it, but we can't see an end to our IKEA days just yet.

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Some people live life at their own pace and actively disregard society's attempt to pigeonhole them into certain roles at certain ages.

And others adhere strictly to a timeline, checking off certain milestones at certain ages.

If you're firmly in the latter camp, you may be interested to hear that a recent study has claimed to have established the perfect age to tie the knot in order to ensure a successful marriage.

Using data collected in the National Survey of Family Growth, American sociological researcher, Nicholas Wolfinge, established that the best age to take those vows is between 28 and 32.

Further to this, the findings concluded that couples who got married in their late thirties had a lower chance of splitting than those who wed in their late twenties.

Focussing on divorce statistics, the researcher learned that couples who wed as teenagers had a 38 per cent chance of divorcing in the first fve years of marriage in comparison to those who married in their twenties who stood a 28 per cent chance and those who married over the age of 35 who had a 17 per cent chance.

But apparently if you wed your significant other between the ages of 25 and 34, your chances of divorcing are much slimmer than at other times in your life.

Good to know… we think.

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Aged 11, 12, or 13 – most young women tend to get their first period around the same time. 

Sure, some are earlier and some are later, but overall, many of us kick-off proceedings within the same few years.

So suffice to say, (especially a decade-plus after the fact) we've never given that number all that much thought.

Until now, that is.

That's because, a recent study has identified a link between the age of your first period… and how long you're going to live. 

In short, the later your period started – the more life you have left in you.

Yup, beginning after the age of 12 (as well as experiencing menopause after age 50) suggests you are in good overall health.

Indeed, this small fact could help you live happily and healthily into your 90s.

According to the 21-year study of 16,000 women from the University Of California in San Diego, women who start and end their periods later in life have a better chance of hitting age 90. 

"Our team found that women who started menstruation at a later age were less likely to have certain health issues, like coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause later in life were more likely to be in excellent health overall, which may be a possible explanation for our findings," said Dr Aladdin Shadyab from the Department of Family Medicine And Public Health at the university's School Of Medicine.

So while may have felt desperately uncool at the time – it seems that getting period later could well be a pretty good thing after all!

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Ever wonder at what age you'll be considered too old to do the things you love?  Well the results of a newly published British survey are here to tell you just that.

Last month Retiresavvy surveyed 2,000 British people to discover their attitudes towards aging and the results they obtained are pretty grim by all accounts.

“Wearing skinny jeans is not acceptable after you turn 47,” reports the retirement planning website, and once you hit 40 “going on a lads’ or girls’ holiday is out if the question”.

The survey revealed that having a favourite boyband and using text talk isn’t acceptable past 36, while getting tattoos and piercings are activities which should be reserved for those under 38 (we wonder what Dame Judi Dench and her new tat would think of that).

To put the results into context: 37-year-old Kate Hudson might be young enough to bare her bum on Insta but is too old to like boybands, 41-year-old Angelina Jolie can wow on any red carpet but is too old to go on holiday with her friends and 47-year-old Jennifer Anistion can still rock a bikini but needs to reconsider her jean collection.

In some non-ageist news, social media is supposedly acceptable at any age so at least you can Tweet away your anger about not being allowed wear skinny jeans into your fifties.

And thankfully women are more likely than men to reject the stereotypes of old age so hopefully those who are rocking their skinnies, tattoos and One Direction tees will happily continue to do so despite the survey’s findings. 

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