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After activist Gina Martin campaigned for 'upskirting' to become illegal in England this year, Ireland looks set to follow suit.

According to the Journal, revenge porn is to be outlawed under new amendments to legislation which are expected to be approved by Cabinet.

Upskirting takes place when a person takes a photograph under the clothes of another without consent being granted. The changes in the legislation will also provide for a separate offence to punish those involved in this image-based crime.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When upskirting in the UK was officially criminalised this February, Gina Martin posted;

"18 months ago a man stuck his hand between my legs and took photos of my crotch without my consent. 18 months ago I decided I wasn't going to brush sexual assault off anymore. 18 months ago I discovered it wasn't sexual offence and decided I was going to try and change the law for all of us." 

Now, it's Ireland's turn. The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill, which provides for a six-month prison sentence when a person is convicted, was put forward back in 2017 and is based on a Law Reform Commission report.

The report recommends the outlawing of two kinds of incidents: one which forbids the posting online of explicit images without consent, the other which will prevent secretly filming or photographing people in a sexualised manner without consent, i.e. ‘upskirting’ and ‘down-blousing’.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will seek government approval today to draft amendments to the Bill.

'Revenge porn' laws in Ireland mark us out as regressive and archaic, and Labour leader Brendan Howlin agrees. 

Howlin has previously said one of the aspects of the digital age is the increase in occasions where private images taken while in an intimate relationship are posted online following a break-up.

“They use images gathered during that relationship to harm their former partner by posting intimate, lewd images that were meant for an intimate couple online. It is totally unacceptable,” he said. New Zealand, Australia and now the UK have laws ahead of ours.

The legislative move comes just a few months after gardaí were informed by more than two women that their explicit photographs have been posted online without their consent. 

The forum on Reddit which displayed nude and clothed images of Irish women, called 'Irish Sluts', shared without their consent was later shut down

Harassment offences will now include any form of communication, including digital and online comments about another person.

Social media and technology laws are in dire need of modernising, and existing regulation must be brought up to date regarding activities on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram messenger and Whatsapp.

Image credit: theconversation.com

The existing offence of sending threatening or indecent messages will now expand to include all obscene messages using any form of digital communication.

The specific offence of stalking (in the 1997 Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act) will also be referred to under the new laws.

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel will start drafting the government amendments to the Bill in order for it to advance to Committee Stage in the Dáil soon.

We, for one, are absolutely delighted. It's been a long time coming.

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Gardaí are currently investigating an incident at the 3Arena during a Shawn Mendes concert involving a teenage girl.

Allegedly, the young woman was 'sexually assaulted' in the bathroom at the Canadian pop singer's sold-out gig in Dublin.

The teenager took to social media to write about her experience, and confirmed that she had explained the situation to the Gardaí.

She wrote: "On Saturday 13th of April I attended a Shawn Mendes concert in a well known Dublin venue near the docks."

"During a visit to the toilets I was sexually assaulted by an unknown person. The venue is aware of this and so are the guards." she continued.

"This is a warning to anybody attending any event from now on not to go to the toilet on your own," she said, shedding light on the lack of safety even at public events.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) on

"If this message and my experience can save one person from going through what I went through then my experience will not be totally negative."

A garda spokesman said: "Gardaí are investigating an alleged sexual assault of a female, that occurred at a venue on North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 on the April 13, 2019. Investigations are ongoing."

A spokesperson for the 3Arena has been contacted about the troubling allegation.

Feature image: Flickr/entertainment Dot IE

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Two more women have come forward to accuse R&B singer R Kelly of sexual misconduct, dating back to when they were 15 and 16 years old.

The latest allegations are the newest in a string of claims against the singer going back three decades, spanning child pornography to sexual, emotional and physical abuse and holding women captive in a sex cult.

The duo spoke out against the notorious artist at a press conference with infamous women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred yesterday.

Both women allege that the sexual misconduct happened in 1995 after they attended an R Kelly and LL Cool J concert in Baltimore, Maryland.

One of the ladies said she was just 16 years old and living in the city when her and a 15-year-old friend, the other alleged victim, attended the concert.

They went to an after-party at a nightclub, and Kelly pointed to the two girls and asked his staff to put them onstage. They were also offered drugs and alcohol at the party, they claim.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The woman said Kelly asked the two girls to meet him in his hotel suite, and that he entered the room wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, with his penis “out and over the top of his pants”.

Apparently, Kelly asked both girls to dance and he ended up lying on the bed with them, telling them they could be in his next music video.

Next, the singer began touching the young woman's breast and genitals, and asked the pair to engage in a threesome. Her friend said no and went to the bathroom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The woman said Kelly requested oral sex from her, which she did, and then he had sexual intercourse with her.

She had been under the influence of alcohol and marijuana that had been given to her at the after-party, and alleges she “did not have the capacity to consent”.

In Maryland, the age of consent is 16. The two women never saw R Kelly again.

Despite the huge range of allegations against the singer, his lawyer Steve Greenberg denied all accusations against Kelly, saying he has never knowingly had sexual relations with underage women.

Feature image: @dramaclubpod/Instagram

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Otis Milburn has an announcement, and you DEFINITELY want to hear it.

The critically-acclaimed and fan favourite Netflix series Sex Education has won the heart of every single viewer, for it's hilarious script, lovable (complex) characters and important themes.

The iconic show touches on everything from sex, consent, homosexuality, prejudice, mental health, gender identity, abortion rights and racism. Somehow, they also made it funny, with beautiful acting. HOW?

That's right lads, Sex Education is coming BACK for a second season, after leaving us on a major cliffhanger at the end of season one.

The students at Moordale High School garnered a massive social media following (those quotable memes?), and it's estimated that over 40 million households watched the title within one month.

The fan demand for season two was predictably high, and Netflix has confirmed that the series has been renewed for another eight episodes of the heartfelt, funny and honest show. We STAN.

awkward gillian anderson GIF by NETFLIX

Season two is slated to start production this spring in England, with Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Aimee-Lou Wood, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Tanya Reynolds, Patricia Allison and Alistair Petrie all reprising their unreal roles.

Fans are pretty darn excited, as we guessed. Twitter has had a slight meltdown as the thought of more open conversations about sex, which is SO needed in today's society.

Creator of the show Laurie Nunn will return alongside executive producer Jamie Campbell. The first season achieved popular acclaim for it's poignant treatment of relationships and identity, we're OBSESSED with Otis' sex therapist mum.

Gillian Anderson is a certified boss.

We love the intersectional appeal of the show. I mean, a jock reading Virginia Woolf, and liking it? That's some revolutionary sh*t right there.

Multidimensional characters in a teen show can be hard to come by, but this cast has delivered it with heart.

Series creator Laurie Nunn said,

“The reception to series one has been so exciting. Seeing how people across the world have connected to characters that began as ideas in my head is incredible. I’m hugely grateful to every person that has taken the time to watch the series, and I can’t wait to continue this amazing journey.”

Thank you, Laurie, for giving us Emma Mackey's character: the badass Maeve Wiley. We need her so badly in our lives.

fuck you high school GIF by NETFLIX

We can't wait to see what's in store for season two.

SPOILER ALERT:

At the end of season one, Otis was smooching his new gal Ola, much to Maeve's heartbreak. Will Maeve return to school? And what about Adam and Eric's burgeoning romance? We can't deal.

Bring on 2019, God exists and she has delivered us this gift.

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What does it mean to be an ‘empowered woman’ in 2019?

The phrase ‘empowered woman’ is intrinsically loaded with underlying meaning and misunderstood perceptions. When many of us hear the phrase, most people envision a sexually-promiscuous woman who refuses to have children and most likely drinks scotch.

Arguably, its meaning has dramatically changed in the last year, ever since actress Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet went viral.

2018 has not been the easiest of times for Irish women.

Watching the news everyday has been a tortuous experience, with violence against women splashed across every publication, the media raining debilitating double standards upon anyone remotely famous and the paparazzi splashing unflattering female body images across the internet.

Two massively painful rape trials have illuminated the imperative need for changes in the Irish law regarding sexual violence and assault, and the horrific way in which women are treated and cross-examined in the courtroom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Leah Beecham (@leahbeecham) on

The Repeal movement was draining for everyone involved, the right to bodily autonomy is still undeniably under threat.

It’s worth noting that standards are changing all around us, lines are being drawn, boundaries are being set. Finally, I might add.

Women are always hyper-aware of the need for self-protection, especially when it comes to sex and dating.

We’ve all held our keys in between our knuckles as we walk down a dimly-lit road at night, we’ve all experienced unwanted attention on nights out, and we’ve all worried about what we wear, and the negative consequences our clothes could potentially bring.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Guardian (@guardian) on

Standards of relationships are changing in conjunction, as women entering the dating world have new questions which they are asking of potential lovers.

This also stands for workplace relationships, women are fighting back against pay inequality and sexism which are prevalent even in first-world countries such as Ireland and the UK.

Watching Little Mix and Ariana Grande fight back against Piers Morgan's recent sexist comments has been such a breath of fresh air.

The #MeToo and TimesUp movements have been eye-opening experiences for men, women and intersex people worldwide, with every facet of society examining its own behaviour with a new lens.

Unlike most men, women are expected to be looking for love around every corner.

During our teens and 20s, being single is depicted as a hugely empowering, freeing experience, yet a shadow dawns on the eve of our 30th birthdays: the misogynistic view that our biological clocks are ticking, and where on earth is our husband?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rock.Like.Girls (@rock.like.girls) on

I have learnt many things from relationships, mainly that learning who you are can often only become a reality when you face tough aspects of life alone.

This is not true for everyone, of course, but many women in this day and age have to shrug off countless societal pressures and notions which are veiled in misogyny and shame.

Female empowerment in this article can only be relevant to my personal experiences, women are extremely complex beings and each feels empowered in totally different ways.

For women with disabilities, of different ages, gender binaries, classes and ethnicities, feeling good about ourselves comes in all shapes and forms.

Sex is power, #MeToo has taught me that. I cannot speak for other women, especially those in the LGBT+ community, but as a heterosexual woman, I have also learned many other hard lessons about the need to empower myself and have control over my body and mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Women are not therapists, we cannot be expected to handle the emotional baggage of other people.

We have enough of our own. Watching Ariana get blamed for Mac Miller's death is a primary example of the degradation placed on people for leaving toxic relationships.

 Ariana Grande has entered ultimate female empowerment mode, sporting a friendship ring instead of her recent engagement rock, and regularly posting images of classic film stars and female icon moments on her Instagram account.

Her new music video will be a tribute to classic movies with female leads such as 13 Going On 30, Mean Girls, Bring It On and Legally Blonde.

Thank u, next; Ari’s latest phenomenally successful single, pays homage to her past loves before declaring that her relationship with herself is now a priority.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ArianaGrande-5H-CamilaCabello (@ag_5h_cc) on

Reports claim that her ex-fiancé, Pete Davidson, did not support her sufficiently following the death of Mac Miller, her former love.

Ariana explained how toxic her relationship with Miller was; she endured the pain of watching someone they love struggle through addiction but realised that it was expected of her to ‘fix’ his pain, to mother him through his issues.

Her realisation that she could not carry out this burden was imperative.

When Davidson joked about swapping Grande’s birth control pills on Saturday Night Live, the reaction was mixed.

Many wondered why controversy erupted over the comment, yet many reflected on the notion of literally trapping a woman into staying with you through pregnancy, a huge emotional and physical ordeal for women.

Realise that we are not defined by our relationship status, and to have a relationship with yourself can be an incredibly growth experience.

Letting go of the pressure to always have an ‘other half’ can be freeing in itself. Don’t underestimate the value of your friendships, especially female ones.

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SEX is empowering:

Learning what you like (this applies to anyone with a sexual partner- in a relationship or not) is CRUCIAL.

Women have always been expected to satisfy men in terms of sex, the language was never granted to us regarding how to communicate our desires, and how to find pleasure.

Consent in this country has always been a murky topic, hidden under the surface.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

I never heard the word mentioned until I went to college, and by the time I learnt the word’s true meaning, I had already had unconsensual experiences without truly understanding them at all.

Educating ourselves about consent, and only having relationships with those who truly respect us and our bodies can be incredibly empowering.

Learn how to say no, be selfish.

Women cannot be expected to please everyone, all the time. Often we have to work incredibly hard, in our employment or relationships, to get the achievements we deserve.

Learning to put yourself first can be a massive way of respecting our own mental health and practicing self-love and acceptance.

Ask yourself, what do YOU want, instead of what does everyone else want of you.

bossy beyonce GIF

Learning new skills

Self -defence classes, a new language, a skill such as website building, graphic design, even calligraphy. Why not?

If you have valuable assets such as the ability to drive, and even do nitpicky jobs such as online banking or tax can be empowering in terms of releasing yourself from co-dependence.

why do you need to do this sandra bullock GIF by Ocean's 8

Don’t let opportunities pass you by.

Go with your instincts. Do what you’ve always wanted to do, but always found an excuse never to do it. You miss 100% of the chances you let pass by, and you never know how much you can gain from letting your fears dissipate and challenging yourself.

Mental health

The importance of having a health mind can never be underestimated. Take personal time whenever you know that you need it, don't succumb to pressure. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Body confidence

Society makes it so damn hard to allow you to feel secure in your own skin. In a world with such fascination with image and beauty, loving yourself is a completely rebellious act.

Beyonce Satisfying GIF

Everyone is unique, so don’t try to fit a beauty mould which will undoubtedly change in the next five to ten years.

In the 90s it was bone glamour with malnourished models such as Kate Moss on the runway looking like all they needed most was a McDonalds, and now the Kardashians have transformed cosmetic beauty into plastic surgery-induced curves, glossy brunette hair and big lips and bums.

Who knows what the next big trend will be, but why force yourself to look like someone else? You are worth so much more than what you weigh or what you see in the mirror.

Taking control of your love life

The laws of dating have transformed recently, with apps such as Bumble finally realising that women don’t always want to wait around for the right person to ask them on a date.

unbothered michelle obama GIF by Obama

Try asking someone out, the worst that can happen is that they say no.

Food and health

I lived in San Francisco for four months and had the most atrocious diet, and when I came home I vowed to learn at least ten easy home-cook meals that are quick to make, and have health benefits. Having independence in terms of your body and health can be crucial to an empowering mindset, especially for women with chronic health problems.

Career

serena williams tennis GIF

Finding career success can be a huge morale boost, especially for women. Success shouldn’t be based on how much you earn, but how much you love your job and how you contribute to bringing a positive energy to the world around you.

Fight to be heard at the table, realise how intelligent you are and how you should be valued in your workplace. Don’t let anyone invalidate you.

You have the key to your own happiness, no one else.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

To be totally independent, ‘empowered’ single gal has countless benefits. Find your own definition of ‘empowerment’, some women are empowered by their style, their job, their relationship, their sex life, and others are empowered simply by being happy in their own skin.

Whether you're feeling great and powerful totally covered up or completely naked, do whatever makes you happy.

we did it mic drop GIF by U.S. Soccer Federation

As Ru Paul the Great regularly claims, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

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Nationwide rallies will take place tomorrow to protest victim blaming in the Irish courts following a controversial trial verdict in Cork.

Irish women have been sharing viral images of their underwear in response to the rape trial, in which a Cork barrister used a 17-year-old girl's underwear to argue that she had given the man accused of rape consent.

The 27-year-old man was found not guilty of raping the young woman in a Cork laneway; a result which has caused outrage all over the country.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The barrister representing the man, Elizabeth O’Connell SC, asked jurors to take into account the underwear which the teenager had been wearing at th time of the alleged rape.

She claimed the woman's "thong with a lace front" suggested that the woman "… was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone."

The Socialist Feminist organisation ROSA have responded by organised multiple rallies all over Ireland following the result.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by I Believe Her (@ibelieveherireland) on

Through their Facebook account, the group called the reference to the underwear a "disgrace" and are campaigning for an end to "victim blaming in the courts."

"These lines of character accusation and victim blaming are unfortunately a common tactic used in cases before the courts relating to sexual violence," ROSA stated.

"The judiciary has proven itself time and time again to be utterly damaging to survivors of sexual violence to seek justice."

The hashtag #thisisnotconsent has appeared all over every social media site, alongside photos of women's underwear in all forms.

There is a huge amount of anger online regarding the trial, which is especially poignant following an emotional year for women. The Belfast rape trial in March also caused a backlash nationwide when all four rugby players involved in the incident were acquitted of rape.

The '#IBelieveHer' hashtag is also spreading throughout Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in solidarity with the Corkwoman.

Protests in Dublin and Cork will begin at 1pm tomorrow, the rally on O'Connell street will meet at the Spire. On Wednesday November 14, a Limerick rally will begin at the earlier time of 12.30pm, and the Waterford protest will take place at 3:30pm on Friday November 16.

Check out the Ruth Coppinger TD and ROSA – Socialist Feminist Movement Facebook event page for more information.

Feature image: girlcrew.com

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By Kate Brayden 

First and foremost: let’s get something out of the way. Noah Centineo is the internet’s new boyfriend and if you disagree with that then i’m sorry but we just can’t see eye to eye.

Now to the matter at hand… MAJOR SPOILERS INCOMING! You have been warned. If you’re looking for a film you can sit on the couch with your fluffiest pyjamas and possible hangover, that is precisely what this movie can offer you. What this film cannot offer you, however, is a decent moral compass, or a lesson in consent.

It goes without saying that the talent of the cast is noteworthy (hello, Peter Kavinsky from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see you and we appreciate your existence). Shannon Purser plays the lead role in this Netflix romantic teen comedy, and shows off her singing voice during the film with a charm that adds to her actor’s repertoire. Purser is mostly known for her stint as Barb in the sci-fi Netflix hit Stranger Things, which earned her a surprise Primetime Emmy award nomination in 2017.

Noah Centineo continues to fuel our hormones to dangerous levels in his second Netflix rom-com in a matter of weeks, and yet this effort lacks the simplistic sense of fun in comparison, mainly due to the Catfish narrative that weaves its way through Sierra Burgess. It’s hard not to want to like this film, and there’s no doubt it makes for entertaining viewing primarily because of its talented cast of three-dimensional characters, and yet the unrealistic ending taints the protagonists’ likeability.

@ShannonPurser Instagram

The movie itself is at least trying to give the audience the themes and messages that resemble the John Hughes cinematic vibes of the 1980’s, except they tend to fall flat when the person we are meant to root for conspires to deceive someone into dating them. Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess is cast as the “ugly duckling” (let’s pretend she’s not absolutely beautiful for a hot second, Hollywood’s idea of non-conventional beauty is literally laughable) and the mean girl, played excellently by Kristine Froseth, plays a trick that gets the ball rolling.

By giving Noah Centineo, A.K.A. Jamey the Magnificent and Emotionally Intelligent Jock, Sierra’s phone number, it connects the two characters, who begin texting. Naturally, Sierra falls for Jamey, because who wouldn’t, despite the fact that he thinks she is a beautiful cheerleader named Veronica. She is then left with the choice of whether or not to reveal her true identity.

RJ Cyler deserves a shout out as Dan, the best friend of Sierra and a scene stealing icon. He has the wit of the perfect sidekick, but honestly the boy should have his own movie, or at least a Netflix comedy special.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by kristine_froseth (@kristine_froseth) on

The movie does well by giving the ‘Mean Girl’ Veronica layers to her background. Living in a turbulent home with a beauty pageant obsessed mother who has issues with her own self esteem, Veronica’s life is more miserable than her outer appearance lets on at school.

Sierra persuades Veronica to help her continue to text Jamey under the radar, and in return gives Veronica tutoring lessons to appear more intelligent for her (ridiculously toxic) college boyfriend.

Their burgeoning friendship would be a huge positive if not for the fact that Veronica and Sierra are literally catfishing a teenage boy who has no idea that he is calling, texting and sending shirtless photos to a girl he has never met before, and thinks she is someone else entirely.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sierra Burgess Is A Loser (@sierraburgessisaloserig) on

It’s hard to deny that if Noah Centino and one of his mates had conspired to change their identities to get a girl, would the audience still feel comfortable watching it? Maybe I’m just hyper protective of the internet’s newest boyfriend, or else 2018’s TimesUp movement, has made watching the betrayal of his trust into a hugely negative experience.

Another problematic aspect to the film is the numerous jokes made about Sierra and lesbianism, as well as the scene involving pretending to be deaf in front of Jamey’s ACTUALLY DEAF younger brother. Yes, you read that right. In 2018, when acting roles are still shockingly slim for members of the ASL community, the (anti)heroine genuinely impersonates deafness in front of the love interests’ deaf brother, and yet the movie still has an ending where Jamey somehow is unbothered by this.

The phrase ‘plot hole’ doesn’t even begin to describe that. America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With The Stars winner Nyle diMarco slammed the movie for this very reason:

 

@NyleDiMarco Twitter

It’s worth remembering that the internet is a dangerous place, and social media is not always a tool for positive change.

Sierra Burgess for example hacking into Veronica’s instagram and playing havoc with her emotions is another viral betrayal of trust that sends messages the movie doesn’t appear to have intended to send out. While they attempt to convey that body positivity and self-confidence are the subliminal messages, the dominant theme appears to be to protect yourself from your phone.

This is why the ending really dampened the film for the viewer. After being catfished by someone who literally hid undercover beneath your car, who hacked someone’s Instagram as revenge, who lied about who they were and who Skyped you as someone else, and pretended to be deaf, I highly doubt your instinct would be to kiss that person and take that person TO HOMECOMING.

Now this could just be jealousy speaking, but Jamey deserves better than that. He is a jock who somehow made playing football sound deep, has an emotional range and doesn’t judge people based on their looks. He must be protected at all costs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Alas, even Noah Centineo’s endearing longing gaze and Shannon Purser’s adorable Sunflower song cannot save the ending of this movie from itself. Having insecurities is not an excuse to deceive a person who believes he has romantic interest in your false alter-ego.

Instead of forcing the two leads together into a romantic ending that makes no sense, the movie failed to make female friendships its main focus.

Veronica and Sierra overcame social boundaries of the high school zoo to form their bond, and the finale should have elevated that.

Though the movie tries its best to put forward positive themes of body confidence and self-esteem, the message of taking caution online overtakes them all. Oh and Sierra, maybe go to a class on ethics, you’re kind of lacking in that department…

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If this study is anything to go by, we seriously need to have a long, hard look at the issue of consent in Ireland.

Shockingly, an NUI Galway study found that the majority of third-level students do not think 28 standard drinks makes a person too intoxicated to give sexual consent. 

The researchers gave 753 online participates two different scenarios which involved drink and being able to give consent to do the deed. 

So here's how the survey worked:

The online respondents were given the same story of two students of Neil and Carol.

They go home together after a night out on the town to celebrate exam results.

However, those who completed the survey were split into two groups: one was given a "moderate" drinking level and the other was a "heavy" drinking consumption.

For clarity's sake as our opinion will majorly vary on what "moderate" and "heavy" consumption of alcohol is –  we will called in the experts.

Drinkaware.ie states that 28 standard units adds up to around 12 pints of beer at four percent alcohol or 700ml of spirits at 40 percent.

Carol and Neil's story starts off with them bumping into each other at a night club where they're both celebrating exam results from their college course.

"By midnight Neil had had the equivalent of about 5 (10) pints of beer, when he bumped into Carol, also 21, who is in one of his classes at college. She had also been out celebrating with her friends since the early afternoon.

“She had been drinking vodka (the equivalent of 4 pints (8 pints) of beer altogether). They started talking at the bar. Neil bought Carol a drink."

It continues with Neil knowing that Carol lives in the same student accommodation, so offers to share a taxi with Carol at the end of the night.

In the club, things begin to heat-up between the pair.

"Neil started kissing Carol and touching her. She moved his hands lower on her body."

The story finished with: “They took a break and had one more drink (three rounds of drinks) before the nightclub ended. In the taxi on the way home at 3 am Carol closed her eyes and dozed off for a few minutes. When they got to Carol’s apartment, Neil woke Carol up and they went into his flat. He made her tea and put on some music. They were having a good time laughing and joking together.

“He took out a bottle of whiskey and they each had one shot (a few generous shots). Both at this stage were a bit unsteady (and slurring their words), they talked for another while and shared a bottle of Coke (Neil spilled the tea all over the table and Carol nearly fell off her chair getting up to go to the bathroom). Then they went to his couch and started kissing again.

“Soon they had each removed their clothes. Through his actions, Neil made it clear he wanted to have sex with Carol. She asked him to put on a condom first. He did so and they had sex,” it concluded.

The results have somewhat floored us.

Twenty percent of respondents in the moderate drinking group "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that Carol was too drunk to give her consent to sex, while 14 percent thought Neil was too drunk to give his.

In comparison, to the heavy drinking participates, 33 percent thought Carol was too drunk and 30 percent thought Neil was too.

Furthermore, in their evaluation of the results, the report said: “Even when 28 standard drinks were consumed, 67 percent of students did not agree that Carol was too drunk to give consent, and 70 percent of students did not see Neil as unable to give consent.”

The study also highlighted that student's opinions, more often than not, didn't differentiate between "moderate" and "heavy" in alcohol intake, despite the stories varying. 

"These findings suggest that it is urgent to achieve enhanced awareness among young adults in college of the impact of drinking on the capacity to give consent," said the report.

Dr Pádraig MacNeela at NUI Galway said in relation to the results:

“The survey findings show that the social environment in which consent takes place among college students is often unsupportive – most women experience harassment, a large majority of all students are dissatisfied with their sexual health education at school, and social norms for drinking minimise the true impact of alcohol on the capacity to give consent.”

The study was conducted as part of a SMART consent research report which is run in NUI Galway

If you want more information surrounding the work they do and consent, please click here.

The report was published on Tuesday by Minister of State for Education and Skills, Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Sexual consent has been a hot topic in Ireland over the last year and this study has given us a lot to mull over.

It's crucial that you arm yourself with the right information surrounding what is consensual and what isn't.

Remember: Safe, protected and consensual sex is always the sexiest. 

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Ryan Murphy is reportedly in the process of developing a television series about the #MeToo movement. 

According to the New Yorker, the series will be called Consent and will follow a format similar to that of Black Mirror, whereby each episode would tell a different story with new characters. 

The #MeToo movement was created in response to a string of high profile sexual abuse allegations, as way of encouraging people to open the conversation and provide support for victims who have suffered in silence for too long. 

It's been reported that the anthology will feature episodes on disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey's sexual misconduct allegations.

Another episode is set to detail an ambiguous "he-said-she-said" scenario. 

The project has not been backed by FX or Netflix as of yet, though this is probably due to the fact that Murphy just left FX and his Netflix deal doesn’t officially begin until July. 

Either way, we hope to see Consent on our screen in the near future. 

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By Amy Donohoe 

Recently it has been made known that some males have a lack of empathy, warmth, and respect for women.

We have seen the appearance of toxic laddish sexual culture and spread by social media through WhatsApp groups – and social media has made it easier than ever for people to exchange degrading messages about others, and even share explicit content without people's consent. 

The recent Belfast trial has provoked questions about whether the behaviour of young men is being influenced by the free access to online pornography. The trial also highlights the importance of improved sex education in Ireland.

Louise O’Neill, author of the bestselling novel Asking for It said, 'When I saw messages sent by the men, I nearly felt sick. It was horrifying and degrading.' 

Sexual consent has recently been defined in the Irish law as: 'A person consents to a sexual act if he or she freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act.'

Currently, there is no law in Ireland that specifically rules on the act of switching private content online or non-consensual sharing of explicit content.

Last year, an investigation was under took by University College Dublin which investigated an alleged Facebook group in which male students were reportedly sharing explicit images of women with whom they had sexual relations and rating them.

The student newspaper reported around 200 students were members of the private Facebook group. The investigation found no evidence that the group existed. They were unable to find any individual who had any first-hand access to these specific postings.

Consent workshops are now common in colleges and universities. Dr McNeela said they should be also held in sports clubs and schools too.

Trish Murphy, a psychotherapist and student counsellor at Trinity College involved in consent workshops, said, 'If you are in doubt, I think you have to ask.' 

In a survey of 1,691 people, one in 12 young women are certain they have had sexual contact with someone in the past year as they were unable to give consent or stop what was happening due to drugs, drink, being incapacitated or asleep according to NUI Galway.

When you consent to something, you are agreeing. This applies to both genders. A person is deemed not to have given consent in many situations, including if they are asleep or if they are incapable due to alcohol.

There are many ways to communicate consent indirectly. You can ask if the other person is okay, ask if they are enjoying themselves, ask are they sure this is what they want, etc.

What Irish law states on consent Extracted from the Irish statute:

(1) A person consents to a sexual act if he or she freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act.

(2) A person does not consent to a sexual act if- (a) he or she permits the act to take place or submits to it because of the application of force to him or her or to some other person, or because of the threat of the application of force to him or her or to some other person, or because of a well-founded fear that force may be applied to him or her or to some other person, (b) he or she is asleep or unconscious, (c) he or she is incapable of consenting because of the effect of alcohol or some other drug, (d) he or she is suffering from a physical disability which prevents him or her from communicating whether he or she agrees to the act, (e) he or she is mistaken as to the nature and purpose of the act, (f) he or she is mistaken as to the identity of any other person involved in the act, (g) he or she is being unlawfully detained at the time at which the act takes place, (h) the only expression or indication of consent or agreement to the act comes from somebody other than the person himself or herself.

(3) This section does not limit the circumstances in which it may be established that a person did not consent to a sexual act. (4) Consent to a sexual act may be withdrawn at any time before the act begins, or in the case of a continuing act, while the act is taking place.

(5) Any failure or omission on the part of a person to resist an act does not of itself constitute consent to that act.

There is a Law Reform Commission currently reviewing laws on cyber-crime affecting personal safety, privacy and reputation.

There are barriers to the non-consensual sharing of explicit images being prosecuted under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 because of the definition of the term ‘harassment’.

For behaviour to be considered as harassment it needs to be continuous and direct with the victim.

Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 Other legal principles to be considered when it comes to non-consensually sharing explicit images are privacy and data protection.

Under data protection law, individuals haven’t the right not to have their personal data (including their image) published without consent.

Anyone who publishes private content online could be violating data protection laws and could have a civil lawsuit brought against them.

It’s a school’s duty to take care of its students and it extends to ensuring students aren’t exposed to bullying. Given the nature of non-consensual sharing of explicit images, a school would be expected to take active steps in ensuring that its students are informed of the dangers and consequences of it.

The courts still must consider the extent of the duty of care in respect of cyber-bullying or non-consensual  sharing of explicit images.

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To be a woman in Ireland is to constantly feel like your body is a battleground. From the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the larger discussion around consent, it's clear we have a long way to go in terms of equal rights.

And let's be honest – it's exhausting combatting misogyny day in and day out. However, we have to keep fighting the good fight, and this playlist is here to keep you going.

These songs are for you to listen to while smashing the patriarchy – whether it's at protests, as the only woman working in your office, or while teaching your younger siblings that things can change.

It's comforting to hear the voices of these women who are still rocking, or who have come before us to pave the way for bad bitches like ourselves. 

Without further ado, here are the songs that will make you feel like you can kick ass, or simply help you remember you are not alone:

Dream Wife – 'Somebody'

This trio, originally formed in Brighton, is the coolest thing on six legs. Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar and vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass and vocals) met in art school and have been making sweet, sweet music together ever since. 

Their 'bad bitches to the front' policy at their shows harkens back to the days of riot grrrl, when Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and others would invite girls to come closest to the stage. And I'm not going to lie – at their latest gig in Dublin, I felt like I could dance freer than ever before knowing that there wasn't potentially a creepy dude trying to grind up behind me.

The song 'Somebody' in particular is near and dear to the hearts of the members of Dream Wife, and the words in it will resonate with many women. The lyrics 'You were a cute girl standing backstage/It was bound to happen' echo sentiments we've heard far too often in the news. One line stands out because of its simple truth. It should be painted on banners, written on toilet walls, and passed in every covert classroom note: 'I am not my body/I am somebody'.

Chastity Belt – 'Cool Slut'

Sexists often toss around the word 'slut' to degrade women, while praising men who sleep with multiple partners. In fact, when a man is referred to as a slut, people often tack on 'man' in front of it because we so strongly relate the term to women.

Well, Chastity Belt, an all-female indie rock band from Walla Walla, Washington, is taking back the term, à la the LGBT community's reclamation of 'queer'. The music video for the song shows band members Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott, and Gretchen Grimm doing everyday things that sluts do – drink wine with their friends, hang out in the park, play instruments. Doing the actual slutty part takes up only a fraction of our days.

So here's to sluts everywhere – let's sing along together: 'To all the girls in the world/Trying to take off their shirts/Ladies it's okay to be/It's okay to be slutty'.

The Tuts – 'Dump Your Boyfriend'

A self-described 'three-tone girl band', these women are the best thing you've never heard of. Nadia Javed, Beverley Ishmael, and Harriet Doveton are vegans, feminists, and yes, we would like to be their best friends.Their bubblegum pop-punk sound is sure to get you singing into your hairbrush or moving on the dance floor.

To be honest, it was hard just picking one girl power song by them because their music is so imbued with feminism. Both 'Tut Tut Tut' and 'What's On The Radio?' voice their frustrations as female artists often passed over in favour of their mediocre male counterparts. 'Dump Your Boyfriend' is an absolute choon though, because we all know that one friend who needs to ditch the guy holding her back.

Anna Wise – 'BitchSlut'

This R&B artist is well known for her collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, and we can't help but love her after hearing her song 'BitchSlut'.

The lyrics capture how as women we can never get it right in the eyes of certain people – we are either too friendly or too cold. What we wear, the simple fact that we're sitting alone – a**holes will use any excuse to say we were asking for it. And if we say no? Well, we're automatically labelled a frigid bitch, obviously. Wise's dulcet tones perfect convey this catch-22 every woman finds herself in at some point in her life.

Mommy Long Legs – 'Cat Callers'

Like I said before, it can be exhausting battling sexism day in and day out. The members of Mommy Long Legs have their own wonderful antidote for this: humour.

Lilly Morlock (vocal and guitar), Cory Budden (drums), Melissa Kagerer (vocals and guitar), and Leah Miller (vocals and bass) wear wigs while they play what they have hilariously dubbed 'barf-core/fart-core/vomit garage'. 

In an interview with The Le Sigh, the band said of their music: "We are naturally silly people. That’s why our music is funny. We also think that humour is a good way of addressing and coping with topics that are, a lot of times, hard to talk about… There is a feeling of reclamation, or power, in being able to turn a difficult situation into something humorous."

Indeed, 'Cat Callers' is about something serious – being yelled at on the street by creeps – but the band manages to poke fun at the topic while also not belittling the experience of the women being catcalled.

Princess Nokia – 'Tomboy'

Princess Nokia, a.k.a. Destiny Frasqueri, takes back her sexuality and flips the typical script of the male gaze in this powerful rap.

Frasqueri, who is of Afro-Puerto Rican and Taíno descent, spoke about the song with Djali of Mass Appeal, saying:

"Both of us being women (of colour), we understand the extent to which our image has been moulded by patriarchy—and colonialism, for that matter—forcing us to conform to archaic notions of 'beauty', and 'sex appeal' to please the male gaze. This song dismantles that entirely."

Bleached – 'Can You Deal?'

'Can You Deal?' asks the listener to not 'label or package me please'. It's a fitting message considering that Jennifer Clavin, who's on vocals, guitar, and synth in Bleached, compiled a zine with fellow female musicians (also called Can You Deal?) about how they'd like to be known for their talent and who they are, not simply for their gender.

Jennifer is joined by her sister Jessica Clavin on lead guitar and bass, with Micayla Grace also on bass and Nick Pillot on drums. In the zine, Jennifer recalls how she felt uncomfortable with society's expectations of what girls are supposed to be like, so she dressed up like a boy and went to punk shows. Even though she now enjoys expressing her feminine side, she still feels frustrated with how musicians who also happen to be women as well are treated by society.

As she says in Can You Deal?: "Labelling me as a woman puts me in a box and forces me to conform to gender roles. This ignores everything else I am."

Girli – 'Hot Mess'

Hmm, how to describe Girli? Brash, bold, and incredibly fun.

The 20-year-old London native perfectly captures the condescension women are often subjected to by cis straight guys in 'Hot Mess'. Whether it's about our knowledge or our looks, either way, it's annoying and belittling to be talked down to.

Girli always manages to get the upper hand, though, and changes the narrative by the end of the song so it is she instead who puts the puffed-up dude back in his place.

Bikini Kill – 'Rebel Girl'

We've got to include this classic! While the riot grrrl movement was by no means without its problems (intersectionality was not exactly its focus), Bikini Kill remains a watershed band in terms of female empowerment.

Kathleen Hanna (vocals), Tobi Vail (drums), Kathi Wilcox (bass), and Billy Karren (guitar) came together in the town of Olympia, Washington to start a revolution (or Revolution Girl Style Now! as their 1991 demo was called). They wanted to make feminism accessible in a time when people were saying the movement was dead, and they ended up giving hope to teenage girls everywhere who were fed up with the harassment they experienced in school, on the street, and at shows. 

'Rebel Girl' loudly and proudly celebrates women who are unabashedly themselves. It's the ultimate lady love song, and a welcome battle cry in a society that so often pits women against each other. Why give in to tired narratives of jealousy when instead you can sing 'Rebel girl you are the queen of my world'?

Alien She – 'Death Sentence'

Katie O'Neill (vocals and guitar), Aoife McDonagh (bass and vocals), and Darragh McCabe (drums) are a trio of Irish artists who are brilliant on their own, but also shine in their genre-defying band Alien She. Their music proves both intelligent and expressive.

One notable example is 'Death Sentence', which is painfully honest in describing the issue of abortion in Ireland. 'People face this every day/Tell me what's it gonna take?' they sing in an angry plea.

As well, this track can be bought with a print or tote on their Bandcamp page to support the Goodbye 8 Campaign. 

 

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by
 

Richard Bruton has ordered a major review of sex education classes in Irish schools.

The Minister for Education believes that every pupil should have access to information about sexual health, relationships and sexuality.

He said, 'This must be delivered in a factual manner in every school. This review will help to inform decisions regarding the content of the curriculum and how it is delivered.”

Relationships and sex education has been a staple part of the curriculum since 1999, however, some of the content in our school’s sex education lessons is over twenty years old.

The review will look at adding important topics that have an impact on today’s students, including social media and consent.

Minister Bruton has asked the National Council on Curriculum and Assessment to look at the following:

  1. Consent: What is it and it's importance
  2. Contraception, as well as developments in the area
  3. Healthy, positive sexual expression and relationships
  4. Safe use of the internet
  5. Social media and its effects on relationships
  6. LGBTQ+ matters

Both primary and secondary school programmes will be altered in the review, but the new curriculum will be age-appropriate.

Lessons in primary schools will focus on relationships, reproduction and the body.

Secondary students will be informed about consent, which is one of the main issues the NCCA are looking at, developments in contraception and LQBTQ+ issues.

Minister Bruton stressed the importance of the review. He hopes the new curriculum will meet the needs of young people today, 'who face a range of different issues to those faced by young people in the late 1990s.'

They will also ensure that teachers are fully equipped to deliver the lessons, 'It is essential for the curriculum to be delivered by teachers who are fully supported and who feel comfortable teaching the curriculum and talking to their students about sexuality and relationships.'

The National Council on Curriculum and Assessment review will focus on issues including consent and internet safety, as well as self-esteem.

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