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As children, queries were often made by well-meaning adults into the existence of a best friend.

When conversation over our newest toy began to stall, the grown-up in question would get stuck into the 'best friend' line of questioning, and hope we'd give them enough info to work with.

"And what's your best friend's name?" "And what do you play together?" "And would she say you're her best friend as well?"

Put in its simplest terms, a best friend helped us to define ourselves when we weren't quite sure what we were all about.

As kids, having a best friend was often paramount. Losing a best friend to a new school was traumatic. But realising your friendship was based on little more than synchronised class timetables was always especially devastating.

As teenagers many of us fell into the trap of assuming that those whose year groups and lifestyles coincided with ours automatically made them worthy contenders for the role of BFF.

And then we left school, started college, took the first step into our chosen careers, and ultimately realised that timing and circumstance have very little to do with the maintenance of a friendship.

While #SquadGoals back in the day might have meant you shared a locker and saw the inside of each other's homes on a regular basis, the term took on a much greater, more profound meaning as you branched out, and began embarking on your own path… by yourself.

Friendships were no longer based on a mutual dislike for a teacher or a mutual admiration for a singer, friendships ran so much deeper.

Friendships became healthy doses of tough love,  tearful 4am phone calls, heartfelt meeting of minds, and the acknowledgement that this person has seen you at your worst, and will still hold your hair back.

And realising that the people you once called friends were merely people to pass the time with until your real mates showed up can be jarring, but it's by no means unique.

Days, weeks or even months might pass before you and your friend would get a chance to properly catch up these days, and yet you know their support is unwavering, their belief resolute and their encouragement persistent.

While Taylor and the crew may have sullied the term, and social media may consider it as 'basic' a concept as Uggs and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, there's a lot to be said for truly believing the people you have surrounded yourself with as an adult –  and the friendships you have cultivated with them – are worthy of aspiration.

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May!  Crown the person who has been by your side through thick and thin, and never asks for anything more than a vino top-up in return, and do it right here!

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Among the many, many theories we’ve been encouraged to internalise as young women, it appears that the one about not having sex on a first date has really proven its longevity.

In much the same way The Boy Who Cried Wolf aimed to discourage dishonesty among children, the story of The Gal Who Gave It Up On the First Date was created as a cautionary tale directed solely at single women.

The story goes that a woman who has sex on a first date has no chance of seeing that bloke again, will spend countless nights waiting by the phone wondering what went wrong before eventually stumbling across his marriage announcement in a national newspaper.

(His bethrothed will, of course, wait until their wedding night before the big event.)

Handed down from generation to generation, the tale mournfully insists that the girl who gives it up won't get the guy.

But, here's the thing, maybe she doesn't want to.

Maybe she only wants sex. Maybe he only wants sex. Or maybe it has absolutely no bearing on the future of the relationship when both parties have (rightfully) moved beyond the scare tactics of those who have gone before us.

Suffice to say, our male counterparts were rarely subjected to the same diatribe; with the vast majority told, instead, to go out and sow their wild oats before settling down.

And who were they to sow them with, exactly? Well, that would be the single women who should know better than to have sex on a first date, most likely.

And the cycle continues.

While there’s little doubt that the narrative has been diluted in recent decades – hardly surprising considering we live in an age when you can swipe and shag without ever making it to the first ‘date’ –  it would be folly to suggest that it has disappeared completely.

This week alone, numerous headlines have raised the question as to whether sex on a first date would make or break a possible union, while recent research has been devoted to examining whether engaging in the no-pants-dance ‘too early’ has the potential to ruin a burgeoning romance.

And while the vast majority of us insist that those cautionary tales have little effect on our decision to get down and dirty on Date One, there is a lingering fear –  among some of us – that those very tales hold more than a grain of truth.

Why else would women still discuss the ‘third-date rule’ in 2017?  Why else would some of us wonder if our long-term partner ever reflected on our decision to do it on Date One? And why else does research into the topic still garner press attention?

Simply put, it's because some deep-seated notions just aren’t that easy to shake off.

And yet in a time when rape culture is ever-prevalent and in some dark corners of societies even celebrated, it beggars belief that judgement regarding the act of consensual sex is still making headlines.

Whether it’s the first or forty-first date, if it’s consensual, why is it even up for discussion?

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This week, Bella Hadid stepped out at the Dior ball wearing a completely sheer dress that showed her nipples.

Predictably, the world fell into apparent disarray at the sight of them (God forbid) with headlines blasting "Bella Hadid flashes nipples," "Bella Hadid nipple show," and (most bizarrely), "Bella Hadid's nipples still aren't over that Selena Gomez thing."

She attended the Couture Week event with fellow nipple-freeing pal Kendall Jenner, yet even with the most popular of social media stars and models flouting the unwritten rule of never letting the nip slip, it's still seen as a faux pas. 

Why, as a society, aren't we over female nipples? After all, we see them plastered on the glamour pull-outs in teenage boy's bedrooms, on beaches, on benches seating breast feeding mums and on couture runways, so why are they still such an inflammatory novelty? 

As a feminist, the fact that women's nipples are so often censored is more of an irksome inequality rather than a big, Repeal the 8th-style issue, but it's still an example of how women are made to feel ashamed of their sexuality rather than being encouraged to own it. 

The fact that the female nipple offends is bizarre, after all it is just a small pigmented circle on the chest that marks the spot of lactation, if you really break it down to its true utilitarian purpose.

It's the suggestiveness that society assigns to nipples that's the problem. 

And men have them too, obviously, a point that Instagram page Genderless Nipples proved by uploading close ups of both male and female nipples to see which would be censored (spoiler alert, no one can tell the difference).

People may argue that it is not the nipple itself that is the issue, but the overall breast it is attached to. 

One has to call bull**** on that too, as after all, underboob and women flaunting their breasts in nipple pasties is rarely shamed or censored. 

Even the outline of a nipple, or the suggestion of bralessness under a T-shirt is hyper sexualised and shamed, as we saw when world class athlete Serena Williams was shamed for her "distracting" nipples on the tennis court during Wimbledon 2016.

Because after she won her 7th Wimbledon title she was planning on gyrating, NSFW style, on the asphalt.

 

A photo posted by Daisy Keens (@pieandfash) on

Instagram also seems to take issue with female nipples, swatting them down each time they appear like they're a personal pet peeve of the social media site. 

Women are regularly excluded from the site for showing a sliver of areola, and the FreetheNipple hashtag is rife with censorship. 

Celebrities like Chrissy Tiegan, Miley Cyrus and Scout Willis have all been silenced for posting a suggestion of a nip.

Even within the fashion industry, where nudity is seen as tasteful and artistic, only small breasts peep coyly through swathes of fabric (like Bella's) while anything over a B-cup is considered pornographic. 

Back in the 1930s, men's nipples were seen as taboo too, but a few protests and some brief news coverage later, 1936 rolled around and men were free to present their pectorals in public without any grievances.

81 years later, women still have not managed to detangle their nipples (ouch) from the elaborately crocheted mess that is sexualisation in society. 

While there is no argument to be made for universal, mandatory bralessness, a departure from the slut-shaming and scandalization of female breasts would be nice for a change. 

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Another day; another set of snaps of a certain teenage reality TV personality and social media star.

This time, she’s on a beach in Mexico looking perfectly happy with her boyfriend of a couple years, rapper Tyga.

Kylie Jenner: whether we like it or not – and plenty of people don’t – the world knows her name.

 

A photo posted by H.J.B.N (@hadidjennerbaldwinnews) on

Don’t forget, she’s still just 19: an age when most of were grappling with our first real forays into makeup, romance, college courses, and part-time jobs.

But far from battling spots and teenage insecurity, Kylie is every-imaginable-angle picture-perfect. Considering her stream of flawless photos and videos garner millions of reactions on Snapchat and Instagram, it is little wonder that she has to be.

And yet there is a particularly loathsome, venomous response whenever Ms Jenner crops up on celebrity-heavy websites.

 

A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

“Frankenstein's monster, a fear-inducing but empty shell built by mad scientists for money,” sneered one observer this week upon reading the detail of Kylie and Tyga’s romantic beach getaway.

“Long live the new self absorbed plastic, sex object Queen,” wrote another – referring to the self-imposed social media demise of Kylie’s elder half-sister, Kim Kardashian.

A third comment read as such: “She's so nasty, pretty sure I got herpes just looking at these.”

 

A photo posted by Kylie Jenner (@kyliepictures) on

Ouch.

The comments went on: “I just threw up in my mouth a little. Please make it stop.” And on: “So sick of seeing this deformed teenager half naked.” AND ON: “Per usual, she's disgusting…”

Tyga – a 27-year-old with a four-year-old son from a previous relationship with Blac Chyna – hardly came out unscathed himself.

Many noted his ‘scrawny’ appearance and bemoaned his fondness for the tattoos which generously cover his skin.

 

A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

Still, there is no doubt that Ms Jenner – a member of the pop culture Kardashian-Jenner mega-dynasty – receives the brunt of the hatred.

Let's remember that this is a young woman who from the age of ten was put in front of millions via Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

A young woman who says she felt compelled to alter her lips when a boy in school commented on how ‘thin’ her natural ones were.

A young woman who has, in fact, admitted to being brutally bullied for years.

“Since the show started, there’s been so much bullying towards me,” Kylie told INTERVIEW magazine a year ago. “Every single day I see something negative about me.

“It’s just completely torn me apart.”

During a similar 2016 interview with Wonderland, Ms Jenner furthermore admitted: “Growing up, I’ve heard the worst things anyone could ever say about me and bullying was such a big part of my life, with the whole entire world judging me.”

And yet that bullying continues still.

People, it seems, don’t like that Kylie Jenner has had surgery; it appears that (although this is not confirmed) she has enhanced her breasts and her bum.

“Too young; too vain; too grotesque,” cries the online mob, with no acknowledgement that Ms Jenner – before all those changes in appearance – was happily referred to as KUWTK's ‘ugly sister’.   

Look, there’s no attempt to pontificate from any high horse here: we all know how the keyboard can lead otherwise fairly reasonable folk to say and do things they never would in ‘real-life’.

But the criticism en masse of Kylie Jenner is vile. 

It has evolved into a shamefully sustained, full-blown, and personal attack – and one that few of Kylie's fellow celebrities endure. 

So let’s instead give this incredible teen a hearty pat on the back: in the spotlight for half of her childhood, she has emerged out on the other side. Not on drugs or half-sloshed and ranting at the maid by noon – but building her multi-million dollar brand.

And that’s cause enough to celebrate. 

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Living in a country whose government has yet to extend women the right to bodily autonomy means it’s highly likely you have a view on the 8th amendment.

Whether for or against its repeal, you have an opinion on abortion.

And so too does Lena Dunham.

Indeed, the pilot episode of her award-winning series, Girls, focuses on a character’s decision to terminate a pregnancy while a later episode addresses the repercussions born of a woman’s right to choose.

And yet despite being commended for a searingly accurate portrayal, Lena seems to think that her stance on the matter is – on some level – less authentic because she herself has never had an abortion.

Speaking during a recent Women of the Hour podcast, Lena admitted that stigma surrounding abortion had – despite her best efforts – infiltrated her thought-process.

“One day when I was visiting Planned Parenthood in Texas a few years ago, a young girl walked up to me and asked me if I’d like to be part of her project in which women share stories of abortions.”

“I sort of jumped,” Lena admitted. ‘I haven’t had an abortion’, I told her. I wanted to make it really clear that as much as I was going out and fighting for other women’s options, I myself had never had an abortion.”

“And I realised then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around the issue,“ she continued. “Even I, the woman who cares as much as anybody about a woman’s right to choose, felt it was important that people know I was unblemished in this department.”

Look, there are very few of us who haven’t, at some point, found ourselves unwittingly influenced by an external narrative, but recognising this is simply part and parcel of forming an adult opinion.

Worryingly however, Lena isn’t content to merely acknowledge this element of opinion formation and move on, but instead suggests that a person's perspective is less valid if they don't have first-hand experience of the matter.

“I feel so proud of them for their bravery, for their self-knowledge, and it was a really important moment for me then to realise that I had internalised some of what society was throwing at us and I had to put it in the garbage.”

“Now I can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had,” she admitted.

Let’s consider that for a moment – Lena wishes she had had an abortion. And not because she is now a mother who is unequipped emotionally and/ or financially to care for a child, but so she might be able to wave her pro-choice flag that little bit higher.

Would it really make her stance on bodily autonomy more, shall we say, authentic if she had personally endured the same emotional turmoil that invariably accompanies a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy? 

Is Lena really suggesting that her opinion on women's rights has less sway because she hasn’t found herself grappling with a certain decision?

By that token, is an individual, who protests against racial discrimination, in less of a position to do so until they themselves have been a victim of it?

Similarly, can the average Joe not object to homophobic rhetoric unless they themselves have been in a same-sex relationship?

And did the voices of the women, who marched through Dublin demanding an appeal of the 8th amendment on behalf of themselves, their sisters, their daughters and their friends, ring any less true simply because not all present had undergone a termination?

Isn’t Lena missing the point here? She appears to be under the misguided impression that women who have had abortions only seek and appreciate the support of those who have made the same choice, and ultimately dismiss the support of those who haven't.

Supporting a woman’s right to choose does not require we live parallel lives.

Demanding bodily autonomy for women does not necessitate a past ‘abortion story’.

And ‘wishing’ you had had an abortion purely so your opinion on the matter appears more authentic belittles the experience of the very women you’re claiming to support.

Don’t wish you had an abortion; wish that the women who did could have done it without judgement.

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If fashionable Crocs weren't bad enough, there's now a new invention – The Slanket, "the original blanket with sleeves."

We're all for comfort when it comes to fashion, but when you're practically wearing your childhood blankie out of the house, we think it might be a step too far.

A Cosmopolitan writer said that it's a "fierce fashion statement waiting to happen," but it's not. It's just not. It's a blanket FFS!

We get that when the days are cold freezing, and you just want to stay in bed, this slanket might seem like the greatest idea on earth… but a fashion statement?!

In the video Cosmo posted, Charles Manning, the stylist and writer, is seen styling the girls in their blankets, turning it from a fluffy piece of fabric to a skirt or a dress. And while his skills in jazzing something up are excellent, wearing a blanket outside of the house just doesn't sit right with us.

No matter how you try to dress it up, it's still going to look like you just pulled it off your bed and wrapped it around yourself last minute – especially the polka dot one.

It's a… nice idea, but not for us. Sorry slanket, we just ain't buying it.

 

Images: Cosmopolitan

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“What’s the Facebook that fades?”

Familiar as I am with trying to follow my mother’s somewhat erratic train of thought, this one, in particular, threw me.

“The… sorry… the Facebook that fades?” I repeated slowly.

“Don’t look at me like I’ve ten heads. Just tell me,” she demanded.

Staring straight ahead, I tried to visualise a social media page that fades, and then the penny dropped.

“Snapchat?” I ventured.

“That’s the one!” she beamed. “The kids are mad for it. Are you on it?”

The woman – who thinks I should work for Google because I know how to turn off our router – stared at me beseechingly.

She waited for me to tell her all about this magic fading Facebook so she could commit the information to memory for ten minutes before forgetting we ever had the conversation.

And I couldn’t let her down.

“Yeah Mam, I’m on it. All the time. Love it. Can’t get enough. Bye now. Have to go snappin’ and chattin’. Laters.”

I’m not on Snapchat.

And this is because I’m 29, and must resign myself to the notion that Snapchat is for kids… or people with much more patience than me.

I have officially mastered all the social media sites I’ll ever need to, and I’m just gonna have to live without this one.

Don’t get me wrong; I tried, alright.

Oh, I downloaded it, and I made some pals, and I got random photos of people with dogs' ears on their heads, and then I deleted it.

Because… what the hell?

“But it’s so much craic,” I’m told.

Well, either I’m no longer any craic or they’ve changed what craic is, but seeing a photo of my friend with a rainbow over their head is about as funny as… well… it’s not that funny.

And even if I did love it, and couldn’t get enough of their slick rainbow stylings, I’d have ten seconds to enjoy it before it disappears forever.

What the hell is the point?

And believe me, I was more than happy to rattle out this spiel whenever the subject arose, but as the months go on I’m getting fewer and fewer nods of recognition.

In fact, my disdain – OK fine, my confusion – regarding the app is now met with the same face I reserve for my father when he insists he can’t work our family’s cordless phone – incredulity mixed with smugness followed by a large helping of fear.

“I might turn out like her one day,” they’re thinking. “Christ, she’s probably still on Bebo.”

I’m not on Bebo, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.

 

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How many times have you said yes for fear of causing offence, creating tension or engendering ill will?

As women, we’re offered daily reminders that we frequently take on too much or put ourselves out for others due to an innate desire to please all of the people all of the time.

Self-help features and handy listicles on the phenomenon regularly saturate our news feeds – Setting Boundaries And Saying No21 Ways To ‘Give Good No', How To Stop Saying Yes When You Want To Say No – and call to mind the countless times we’ve found ourselves reluctantly complying in daily life.

While these quirky write-ups generally focus on the holy grail that is the ‘perfect’ work / life balance, they do, inadvertently, act as a reminder that when it comes matters of consent, a simple ‘no’ is sometimes not an option.

And yet despite this, it does not mean that the matter of consent is any less black and white.

We may live in a Fifty Shades Of Grey society, but suggesting that the matter falls under any one of those shades is the reason why so many sexual assault cases fail to make it to trial.

If we struggle to say no to a party invite, tie ourselves in knots over declining an after-work coffee or utter a resigned ‘yes’ to an unexpected and totally inconvenient task, how can we be expected to properly articulate ourselves when in fear for our lives?

The matter of consent has dominated headlines in recent months and beneath calls for judicial review and longer sentences in rape cases, there lurks a narrative which suggests that when she doesn’t say no, she ultimately means yes.

From Brock Turner’s laughable three-month stint behind bars to the number of rape cases which collapse before and after making it to trial, there is no doubting the fact that society, as a whole, needs a lesson in consent.

Highlighting the stark difference which exists between consent and submission in last night’s episode of The Fall, Gillian Anderson’s character, Stella, attempted to placate the husband of a woman who struggled to understand his wife’s reaction to being abducted.

Stupefied that she hadn’t screamed or raised the alarm, and instead linked arms with her assailant, he frantically sought answers.

“Men always think in terms of fight or flight. In fact, the most common instinct in the face of this kind of threat is to freeze,” Stella told him.

“If she didn’t fight, if she didn’t scream, if she was silent and numb, it’s because she was petrified. If she went with him quietly, it’s because she was afraid for her life.”

“In that state of fear, she might well have been compliant. She might well have submitted. But that does not mean she consented.”

If we struggle to say no when pressed for an after-work drink, how likely is it we can say no when we’re not certain we’ll make it out of the exchange alive?

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As women, we’re advised to be on full alert at all times.

Don’t walk home alone, don’t take shortcuts, don’t accept drinks from strangers.

Like meerkats, we’re meant to be able to spot danger from 50 feet and do our utmost to avoid it.

Instead of providing men with handy pamphlets reminding them not to stalk, attack, rape or murder, women are regularly offered pamphlets on how to stay safe against the men who see us as a handy platform to exert power or express anger.

And for those of you who have given these leaflets even a cursory glance, you'll know we’re told how to raise the alarm and defend ourselves.

We are, in other words, told to do exactly what Gigi Hadid did earlier this week when she was lifted off her feet by a stranger and put in a position of supreme vulnerability.

And despite the 21-year-old reacting in a way which has undoubtedly been drummed into her from an early age, debate has been raised as to whether her response was justified.

Had the incident taken place to a nameless young woman on Dublin’s Middle Abbey St or Cork’s O’Connell St, would radio stations be debating the woman’s actions? No, they wouldn’t.

But because Gigi is in the public eye, makes a lucrative living out of her appearance and leads a life of considerable privilege, she was expected to giggle, bat her lashes and ask to be returned to her feet.

The subtext of today’s debate is as clear as day – Gigi has enough going for her, so what’s the big deal?

Couldn’t she have simply had a laugh with this random man and gotten on with her day? And sure, weren’t her security right there?

Oh, they were there alright, but they were about as much use as Beyoncé in an elevator.

While surrounded by people who were meant to protect her, the model was manhandled, momentarily disabled and ultimately forced to grapple with a strange man in order to ensure she didn’t come to any further harm.

And people are asking if she reacted accordingly? You can be damn sure she did.

And while we'd like to hope Gigi’s actions would have been applauded had they been carried out by a nameless, faceless woman, one can’t help but wonder whether her status as a female celebrity – as opposed to a male celebrity –  played a part in the media’s judgement of her reaction.

Had Jamie Dornan, Ryan Reynolds or Adam Levine been manhandled by a stranger and responded in kind, nobody would be asking if they had behaved accordingly.

Despite the media’s condemnation of rape culture and victim blaming, there is a distinct undertone in today’s narrative that suggests –  when it comes to the crunch – women are still expected to behave in a certain manner.

Nameless woman making her way home, faceless woman on an evening jog, international model leaving a fashion show, if a strange man grabs you you're entitled to lash out – end of debate.

 

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Pitting women in the public eye against each other is a fool’s game.

Not only does it contribute to the well-worn argument that the entertainment industry is an inherently sexist place where a woman’s age, image and relationship history play as big part in her career as her roles, it ultimately creates a culture of mistrust among women.

Back in 2004 however, we hadn’t properly gotten our heads around this concept, and were more than happy to nail our colours to the fence when it came to demise of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s fairytale romance.

She was the beautiful girl next door with the goofy sense of humour and he was the high school football player with the Letterman jacket.

And together they were perfect… until action was called on the set of Mr &Mrs Smith.

In stepped Miss. Jolie with her edgy roles and her vials of blood, and ultimately ‘lured’ Hollywood’s golden boy away from Hollywood’s golden girl.

As sales in TeamJolie and TeamAniston T-shirts increased 12 years ago, it was clear that Angelina and Jennifer played principle roles in the saga while Brad was given carte blanche to hover in the wings.

Buying into the girl Vs. girl culture, the media and public left good ol' Brad to his own devices, and instead debated what Angelina had that Jennifer didn’t.

And yet despite the rumours, reports and rising T-shirt sales, Jennifer didn’t play up to the ‘scorned woman’ role which the media so desperately wanted her to fulfil.

In the eye of a media storm, Jen endured one of the most painful things a person can experience, but as the wider world watched and predicted public breakdowns, she simply weathered the storm.

Jennifer maintained a dignified silence for more than a decade, she progressed in her movie career, and she had relationships of her own.

And one year ago, she married Justin Theroux.

In other words, Jen got on with it.

So, as news broke yesterday that the relationship which had cast a long shadow over Jennifer’s public and private life had come to an end, many of us couldn’t help but feel a sense of triumph on her part.

And with reports swirling that Brad had been having an affair with his co-star Marion Cottillard, the public found themselves suddenly furrowing a brow and casting Jen's ex in a different light.

Being TeamJen today doesn’t mean we’re not TeamJolie. It’s not one or the other, and it never should have been.

It’s simply a nod to the fact that Brad may have just been found out.

Angelina was never better than Jen. Jen was never better than Angelina.

It’s just that Brad thought he was better than both of them.

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Most of us have been there at one time or another.

You’re chilling in a café or minding your own business on the Luas, and out of the corner of your eye you spot a lone phone.

Eyes darting from side to side, you look for a possible owner before realising you’re the only person who has spotted it meaning you – and you alone – are now solely responsible for reuniting it with its owner.

In a perfect world, you could deposit it behind the counter or leave it with the tram driver, but – and let’s be honest here – you kind of want the glory attached to returning the device to its rightful owner yourself.

So, you edge closer to it and pray no one accuses you of stealing it as you reach down to check if it’s unlocked.

Feeling like a cross between a spy and a delinquent, you fiddle it with for a moment before realising it is indeed locked – safety first, guys – and then you wonder why you ever got involved in the first place.

You can't ring their last dialled, you can't call their mam, and you can't get involved in their group chat about that melter of a girl in work, so what was the point?

No one asked you to get involved, but you just had to go and stick your nose in, and now you’re staring at a screensaver of a kissing couple, and feeling like a total weirdo.

What if they walk in right now? What if they cause a scene? How will I explain it? Will they believe me? I wouldn’t believe me.

But then a sense of determination kicks in, and you become energised by the prospect of being this person’s saviour, and soon find yourself leaving the establishment or disembarking the tram while grasping someone else’s lifeline between your sweaty fingers.

You silently urge it to ring so you can explain yourself and wait for the effusive gratitude which will flood down the line, but it doesn’t ring.

Messages come through, alarms go off, reminders beep, and still the owner has yet to make contact.

Becoming irrationally irritated by their lack of interest, you realise your desire to be the ‘good guy’ wasn’t worth the effort, and you kind of wish you’d left it where it was.

“That’ll teach them for being so careless,” you’ll think while happily ignoring the countless times you’ve parted ways with your own phone through no real fault of your own.

And then it rings!

Cue unsteady breathing as the person at the other end of the line tries to ascertain whether your voice belongs to someone who makes a habit of stealing phones or an individual who simply wanted their moment in the sun.

“I found your phone!” you’ll yelp. “It’s safe! I have it here! It’s safe! Can you hear me? I'm minding it!”

And then the ‘thank you’s, and the ‘you’re a star’s and the ‘you’ve made my day’s start rolling in and you make no effort to stop them because – let’s face it – you ARE a star and you HAVE made their day.

And so what if you post your good deed all over Facebook or dine out on the karma philosophy for weeks – you've earned it.

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Pinned above the bed of a young woman in the United States is a small drawing of two bicycles.

They act as a daily reminder that despite all she has endured since January 2015, there still exist heroes in her story.

Hers is a story which has, since it came to global attention at the beginning of the summer, acted as a platform for heated debate on rape culture and white male privilege.

Hers is a story of such notoriety it could have – and should have – signalled a considerable turnaround in the judicial system’s approach to rape cases.

Instead, hers became a story which compounded the well-worn argument that when it comes to victims of rape, they serve the life sentence while the perpetrator, if even convicted, is given ample opportunity to twist the facts until a rape is deduced to nothing more than drunken fumblings and crossed wires.

 

We have been taught to believe that good will always prevail, but as Brock Turner walked free from Santa Clara County jail last Friday, one can’t help but think that that saying holds as much water as ‘they all lived happily ever after’.

Brock Turner’s father described his son’s sexual penetration of an intoxicated person with a foreign object and his intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman behind a dumpster on an American college campus last year as ‘20 minutes of action’.

And whether we want believe it or not, the American judicial system – and more specifically Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky – was of the same opinion.

Twenty minutes of action which brought the two male cyclists who happened upon it to tears, but hey, maybe they don’t know how this whole rape culture thing works.

 

While prosecution in the case pushed for a six-year sentence against the Stanford University student, Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months.

And he walked free after just three.

After stripping a young woman of her dignity, after defiling her in countless and unimaginable ways, and after buying her ‘a ticket to a planet where she lives by herself’, Brock Turner is now sleeping in his own bed.

A bed which doesn’t need a drawing of two bicycles above it because in his story, he’s the hero.

I mean, how else would you describe a young man who bravely endured a summer behind bars just because some girl couldn’t handle 20 minutes of action behind a dumpster?

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