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feminist

By Anna Murray

Has anyone else found themselves justifying why they watch Love Island? Or even worse, justifying how they can watch a show that pits women (and men) against each other for entertainment?

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. However, over the last few weeks I cannot count the number of times I’ve been greeted with shock-horror after revealing that I do indeed, watch Love Island. This has been by friends and  family and basically anyone who doesn’t watch it 'on principal'- many believe the show is more of a 'Shag Island' than Love Island.

I couldn't get my head around why being a feminist meant the decision to watch Love Island had to be constantly justified. I then turned to my good friend Scarlett Curtis (okay we've never actually spoken) and listened to her episode of her podcast, Feminists Don't Wear Pink. This particular episode featured Dani Dyer, last year's winner, and they two girls spoke about all things feminist within the Love Island context, such as girls supporting girls. It struck me that watching a show like Love Island could be a very feminist act indeed…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Scarlett Curtis (@scarcurtis) on

The fact that the villa is full of strong, feisty- albeit conventionally beautiful- gals, is one reason Love Island appeals to feminist viewership. It also plays host to several caring and chill lads who respect the girls they live with and have emotional and meaningful friendships with each other. However, there are a few more reasons why Love Island is feminist AF if you look a little deeper…

Firstly, the word CHOICE is key. Every person in the villa from Maura with her vibrant personality to Yewande with her reserved demeanour, has autonomy. The people you watch are making choices about their lives in every episode, whether they are men or women.

Many of us cringe at the thought of consenting to being observed by an audience of 3.3 million every night. We are horrified that the producers may select scenes of their choice, condensing 24 hours into one, to paint any Islander in any light they wish (anyone notice how WE don't like Amy but EVERYONE in the villa adores her?) BUT in the same way we strive to accept women who are empowered by showing skin or covering up, we should also respect the choice these women have made to appear on Love Island.

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Critique is also key. Doesn’t the ending of each episode herald the buzzing of conversation, after a Love Island gathering or in a WhatsApp group entirely dedicated to the show? We judge the hell out of the behaviour of every contestant. We debated whether Maura was wrong to go in for the gob with Tommy several times when he was clearly resisting. We were split down the middle when Lucie stated she wasn't a girls girl. We discussed Joe’s inability to accept that Lucie preferred Tommy as a friend to the girls in the villa. Was he controlling? A bit. Did the people have their say about him? Yes.

Image result for love island 2019 yewande

We can also broadly criticise the lack of diversity and body positivity in Love Island. Sparking debate is the only way to improve diversity on a broad level, and feminists who speak up may even encourage the powers that be to up the game on diversity in Love Island, over time. 

Feminism is ALL about allowing women (and people in general) to be themselves. It's about calling out hurtful behaviour that stops others from being themselves. Love Island has unknowingly sparked some VERY feminist conversations, even within the most unlikely groups of people, and that is the beauty of it: It is what it is.

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Choreographer and dancer Emma Portner has called out Justin Bieber for the way she was treated after choreographing his Purpose World Tour in 2016.

"I regret working under your name," the 24-year-old, who is married to Ellen Page, said via her Instagram Stories. She put the I Don't Care singer on blast after his defence of Scooter Braun. 

"I gave your universe my naive body, creativity, time and effort. Twice. For content you made millions off of. While I made zilch," she captioned her post, according to PopCrave

She also claimed that the 25-year-old singer barely even paid her "minimum wage" for the hours of work she put in.

"I couldn't afford to eat. I was sweeping studio floors to be able to practice my own craft," she wrote. "The way you degrade women is an abomination."

The public post comes just two days after Taylor Swift called out the singer's manager, Scooter Braun, and the Biebs subsequently defended him on social media.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Emma Portner (@emmaportner) on

On Sunday, the 29-year-old ME! singer broke her silence on the "incessant" and "manipulative bullying" she said she endured from the music manager, who has clients ranging from Kanye West to Ariana Grande.

She also revealed that he would soon own her entire music catalogue, which made her feel "sad" and "grossed out." The explosive post went viral and many celebrities defended her, from Halsey to Miley Cyrus.

Ed Sheeran has claimed on Instagram that he's "been in touch with Taylor privately like I always do." However, a stampede of celebrities also defended Braun, including Bieber, Sia and Demi Lovato (who recently signed with him).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Bieber wrote to his Instagram to defend his manager against Taylor, writing;

"Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you. As the years have passed we haven't crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on Scooter isn't fair."

He added, "What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? Seems to me like it was to get sympathy. You also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully Scooter."

The Drew House founder definitely made his opinions clear about the Taylor and Scooter situation, but he hasn't commented on Emma Portner's claims as of yet.

Feature image: Instagram/@emmaportner/@justinbieber

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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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Jess Glynne's Brit Awards performance has been hailed as "inspirational" after she removed her makeup during the song, backed by a legion of women.

She performed her hit single Thursday surrounded by fellow ladies removing their cosmetics in front of the audience, and we got CHILLZ (They're multiplyin').

Glynne looked stunning in a white strapless dress for the rendition, and emoved her false eyelashes and wipes off her eyeshadow during the lyrics; "I won’t wear makeup on Thursday, 'cause who I am is enough”.

The star was joined by a group of fellow women who also donned white for the occasion, and simultaneously removed their makeup using hand towels in front of vanity mirrors.

Halfway through the tune, the British singer was joined by two-time Grammy winner H.E.R, and the standout moment became all the more powerful.

A video of countless women removing makeup played behind them, showing the need to fight back against society's strict and unrealistic beauty standards for women.

Twitter has gone absolutely wild with praise for the pair, with one person even tweeting; “That was one of the most empowering performances I’ve ever seen." YAS.

The moment came just after The 1975 frontman and absolute feminist legend Matt Healy accepted band’s award for “Best British Group” and spoke out about misogyny in the entertainment industry.

The relevance; we heart.

Healy quoted an article written about singer Ryan Adams by friend and music journalist Laura Snapes, who writes for The Guardian and Pitchfork.

“Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of ‘difficult’ artists, while women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don’t understand art.”

Bravo Jess, and Bravo Matt. We love you both, keep slamming the ridiculous standards of the music business.

Feature image: @fashionliveevents/Instagram

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Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are hitting international screens in their roles as Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The 24-year-old Irish actress has just opened up about the hugely emotional experience of finally coming face-to-face with co-star Margot Robbie in costume.

Ronan was candid while visiting The Graham Norton Show, explaining that the duo were kept apart for weeks while they settled into their roles in the flick, Mary, Queen of Scots.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mary Queen of Scots (@maryqueenmovie) on

The actress explained: "Mary and Elizabeth never actually met so we took a bit of artistic license and lied about what really happened."

"We only met once in the film and because of that Margot and I stayed apart so we didn't know what each other looked like. When we finally met for the scene we cried. It was very emotional," she continued.

The Lady Bird actress also spoke about her time working with animals on the set of the period piece, which proved challenging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Timothée Chalamet  (@tchalametcn) on

"The horse I had to ride had starred with Wonder Woman and was very good looking and he knew it," she said. "He just wouldn't do anything, he wouldn't move."

"Then I realised that every time someone shouted 'rolling' he would do a little cough. He was actually nervous!" she added.

Ronan plays the titular Mary, who was Queen of France at just 16 and widowed at 18, and defied pressure to remarry and returns to her native Scotland to try and take the throne.

But Scotland and England fall under the rule of her cousin Elizabeth I, who was played by Margot Robbie.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Margot Robbie(@robbiemcrgot) on

Speaking of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth on ITV's This Morning, Ronan said;

"Elizabeth, is this shell of her former self – she’s completely not human, Mary is bloody and dirty, it’s two women meeting who have been pushed to the very limit."

"We asked for it (the separation), it was a cool experiment to stay apart, we didn't know what the other person looked like… we were revealed to each other the shock of seeing the visual of what they looked like," she continued.

"How we felt as actors after three weeks of being kept apart was how Mary and Elizabeth would have felt, it gave us so much adrenaline and emotion."

Photo image credit: evoke.ie

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Ariana Grande OWNED 2018, there is absolutely zero question about that.

It's looking like 2019 will be yet another year of the Ari, after she released her pink-infused Tokyo themed music video for 7 Rings. 

"Whoever said money can't solve your problems, must not have had enough money to solve 'em. They say, "Which one?" I say, "Nah, I want all of 'em" = The life we both want and deserve.

It's a badass anthem of female empowerment, and touches on her past heartbreak and current happiness as a single, but powerful woman. YAS GURL.

The track is an ode to her best friends, and the rhythm and lyrics are inspired by The Sound of Music's classic tune My Favourite Things.

"Wearing a ring, but ain't gon' be no 'Mrs', bought matching diamonds for six of my bitches. I'd rather spoil all my friends with my riches, think retail therapy's my new addiction," she croons. GET IT HENNY.

"Been through some bad shit, I should be a sad b*tch. Who woulda thought it'd turn me to a savage?" she sings, on top of a kitchen island, looking INCREDIBLE.

She's seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses, it would seem. From sexy ensembles abundant to unreal feminist themes while dancing ironically in a kitchen setting, the video is set to be a hit.

Let's examine the best Easter egg aspects to the video, for scientific purposes only. Naturally, her fans have gone WILD over the GRRL power video, with glitter and pink everywhere to be seen.

She embraces her wealth, suggesting that in fact, money can buy her happiness and retail therapy can help her to recover from break-ups. Why not, gal. Why not.

Ariana was definitely inspired by the hip-hop industry, her glamorous pink fur coat is sure to inspire fashion trends, and her new-found confidence at her hard-earned cash is reminiscent of male rappers.

Memes are also sure to be hoppin' online, we're seeing some absolute gems already:

1. A Rap Goddess is born

Ari raps now? The Sweetener songstress makes her love for the finer things in life well known in the video.

From "lashes and diamonds" to "ATM machines" and "breakfast at Tiffany's," Ari lives the high life on her own terms and her own earnings.

True Arianators will notice that the intro for 7 Rings is suspiciously similar to the one included in the music video for Thank U, Next. Our gal-pal Ari was dropping hints WEEKS ago.

2. It's a Squad Session

Her best friends joined in on the video action and are all featured as "six of my b*tches." 

Ariana gifted these six lucky women to Tiffany & Co. rings on a day out in New York City, hence their starring roles.

She revealed on Twitter that the inspiration happened on a "pretty rough day in NYC", after which her besties brought her to Tiffany for "way too much champagne". That's our regular Saturday, sure.

 Ariana shared at the time. "On the way back to the studio, Njomza was like, 'Bitch, this gotta be a song lol.' So we wrote it that afternoon."

3. Mac Miller's best friend has a cameo

Singer-songwriter Njomza was a close friend of the late rapper, and Ari's ex-boyfriend. The pair frequently collaborated, and Njomza made sure to perform at Miller's tribute concert last October.

Ari gifted him with one of the six rings, presumably as a nod to their paralleling loss.

4. A gal's best friend is her dog

Ariana's doggo Toulouse is renowned in the celebrity pooch world, and even ended up making an appearance in one scene of the video because he "literally wouldn't leave" while filming.

Attention seeker much?

5. The signature ponytail gets a role

Grande's go-to hairdo had to get a shout out, it's been her guiding light since she released her latest album, which rocketed up the charts.

After dying her hair red for years on Nickelodeon's Victorious, she was compelled to use hair extensions to cover up the damage.

She's now embracing her longer-than-life tresses, with the lyric; "You like my hair? / Gee thanks, just bought it…" 

7 Rings marks the second single from Grande's upcoming album, thank u, next, after Imagine was released.

The album marks her new ability to drop music whenever she wants, a hip-hop trait which has been predominantly used by male rappers, and made famous by Beyoncé.

The album is sure to be as big a hit as Sweetener, the more amazing girl-power music from Princess Ari, the better. 

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Tributes are pouring in for tennis star Andy Murray after a tearful press conference addressing his possible retirement.

The former world number one has claimed that retirement is imminent following injuries which have plagued him for years, especially that of his hip.

Speaking about the upcoming Australian Open, Murray broke down in tears as he said it could be his last tournament.

The three-time Grand Slam winner has broken himself in order to keep up with arguably tennis' greatest generation, with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer hot on his heels all the time.

Murray was emotional as he spoke about this summer's Wimbledon tournament, saying; “I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four or five months.”

The Scotsman has won the beloved British tournament twice, and wants to finish his career in the place where he won his first ever Grand Slam.

He couldn't hold back the tears at the conference, after years of intensive physiotherapy and surgeries to try and maintain his status as one of the world's top players.

"I said to my team I think I can get through this until Wimbledon – that's when I'd like to stop playing,” he said.

Tributes have been coming in fast for the player and iconic feminist, among them is one from the infamous 39-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King;

Fellow player and BFF Nick Kyrgios posted a touching tribute to his 'brother' and 'old friend' Andy, and our hearts legitimately shattered;

Murray has become a low-key feminist icon after consistently defending female tennis players battling the notorious sexist in the sport, such as Serena Williams.

He has argued for women's rights in the sport in numerous press conferences, and has battled sexist questions from journalists throughout his career. SLAY ANDY.

During Wimbledon in 2017, Murray called on schedulers to give women more opportunities to play on the main show courts.

Let's not forget his unreal take-down of a reporter who claimed a male player was "the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009," even though Venus and Serena Williams as well as three other female players had achieved this.

YAS ANDY. SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK

He's also renowned for his blunt Scottish wit;

We love you Andy, never change.

Congratulations for all that you've achieved in the tennis world, you'll be remembered as one of the greats.

 andy murray trophy GIF by College GameDay

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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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

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.

rihanna rogue man GIF

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. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mari Andrew (@bymariandrew) on

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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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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Dublin Feminist Film Festival is back, and better than ever.

The DFFF takes place from 20 until 22 of November at the Light House Cinema, and will prioritise shining a spotlight on women in film and promoting and celebrating female filmmakers.

The huge gem on Dublin’s cultural calendar hopes to inspire and empower others to get involved in filmmaking, and after the turbulent year in cinema with the rise of #MeToo, the DFFF has more meaning than ever.

The festival is run entirely voluntarily, and all proceeds go to charity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This year, the theme is REFRAME/REFOCUS.

Instead of foregrounding particular topics, this year features films which are directed by women but also shot by female cinematographers.

The emphasis is to get women as involved as possible in ALL aspects of film, not just in front of the camera.

The dual-aspect of showcasing and celebrating fantastic female film-making parallels with the hope to demonstrate women as compelling and complex characters and subjects.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The weight placed on cinematography this year is down to a very important fact: Rachel Morrison was the first woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography in 90 years of the Oscars.

Her work on Mudbound was breath-taking, and she worked hard for her nomination.

Historically speaking, cinematography has always been the hardest aspect of film for women to break into. One nomination simply isn’t enough.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rachel Morrison, ASC. (@rmorrison) on

Production roles have nearly always been male-dominated domains, but recently some of the most exciting and visceral films in global cinema have been created by women.

For the fifth DFFF, thinking of film from the point of view of a woman behind the camera asks questions about how women see the world.

TimesUp and #MeToo have asked hard questions which need answers, and women are stepping up all over the world to share our stories and experiences.

This includes screenwriting, cinematography, directing, producing and acting.

If someone won’t share your story and represent your experience, go out there and do it yourself. You can do it best.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’ve seen it this year with black female actresses taking control of their own projects to finally get the roles they have consistently been deprived of: Octavia Spencer, Taraji P Henson to Lupita Nyong’o are currently producing and seeking out their own projects.

From documentaries to dramas, short forms to features or foreign films to intersectional feminism, there are facets of every side of cinema on show.

Their current aim is to expand the notion of who ‘makes’ a film and what ‘films by women’ actually means, while raising questions about the idea of the gaze.

Do films shot by women encompass a whole other gaze? There’s only one way to find out… see you gals there.

As part of the festival there will be a talk by an esteemed academic on female cinematography, and a roundtable discussion with two Dublin-based female cinematographers as well as screenings of female-made films only.

Ready yourselves for some serious empowerment, ladies (and gents).

The deets:

The DFFF: 21st & 22nd November 2018 – Light House Cinema Smithfield Dublin 7

Launch & Special Events 20th November – The Generator Hostel Smithfield Dublin 7

Feature image: Instagram/@rmorrison

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Gender bias in the medical industry is becoming increasingly more prominent as a direct result of women sharing their stories and opening up about their experiences with pain and illness.

Just last year, a study carried out by the Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health found that women are less likely to be given CPR. Men were more likely to survive cardiac arrest in a public place by a massive 23%.

This year alone, the CervicalCheck scandal has rightfully caused outrage in Ireland, when it was reported that hundreds of smears were in fact out-of-date, which resulted in the wrongful diagnosis of numerous women who could have survived if they had been given the accurate results in time. Only mere weeks ago, cervical cancer sufferer and campaigner Emma Mhic Mathúna died aged 37, a mother of five.

In tragic and life-altering instances such as these, women deserve compassion and respect in their healthcare journeys, it has since been reported that doctors were told to "use their own judgement" regarding whether or not to tell patients about their misdiagnosis.

The right to information surrounding your own body should be the lowest bar set, it cannot simply be a privilege for the few. Bodily autonomy has never been an equal playing field for men and women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vicky Phelan sued the US laboratory who wrongfully interpreted the results and was awarded €2.5 million in compensation by the High Court, after finding out in September 2017 that her 2011 smear test was a false negative.

In 2016, researchers at University College London found that women with dementia receive worse medical treatment than their male counterparts with the same condition. I could go on.

Statistics and cases such as these may seem like aberrations in the system, yet so many women claim to experience sexism in their GP clinics, local hospitals and consultants offices every day.

Gender, race and poverty are undeniable biases in healthcare- none of these should ever be ignored.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sexism has been a major factor in medicine since time began, from Aristotle’s declaration that the female form is naturally inferior, to the connection of the uterus with apparent female “hysteria” in the middle ages, trying to get a doctor to empathise with female pain can be draining and hugely frustrating.

This is not helped by the fact that the majority of consultants and specialists are male, and are rarely trained to spot female symptoms or female illnesses in the same detail as those of the male body.

It may seem absurd in this day and age that the Victorians confined women to asylums, whether they showed any evidence of mental illness or not, but doubt still leaks into clinics and hospitals when it comes to female pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The fact that women have to go through the most difficult time to get a diagnosis of female illnesses such as fibromyalgia and endometriosis speaks volumes into the lack of funding which goes into researching these diseases, which affect thousands of women nationwide.

Fibromyalgia is still suspended in the disbelief of numerous practitioners, despite women pertaining symptoms for years at a time without gaining any appropriate treatment.

Lady Gaga has recently spoken out as a sufferer of this condition, asking for better healthcare to treat this complex disease which causes total body pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Abby Norman (@abbymnorman) on

Women are portrayed as hysterical hypochondriacs, and men are constantly depicted as the silent stoic types, who refuse to show weakness in the form attending a prostate exam that could save their life.

The Girl Who Cried Pain represents a 2001 study by Anita Tarzian and Diane Hoffman which examined pain management and gender. It showed clearly that women were far less likely to be given pain relief or long-term medication for pain (drugs such as Gabapentin, Lyrica and Amitriptylene), and it also revealed that women are less likely to gain the adequate treatment by healthcare providers.

Ask Me About My Uterus by Abby Norman is another fascinating read which describes her torturous experience of trying to get a diagnosis for her endometriosis, a dangerous illness where uterine tissue grows on organs outside of the womb. Often the only treatment is sedatives, or a hysterectomy. Endometriosis UK has claimed that despite the illness affecting 1 in 10 women, it takes an average of nine years to get a diagnosis.

I had to beg my own consultant for a laparoscopy exam after two relentless years of chronic abdominal pain, and he stopped my GP from prescribing me my vital pain medication after claiming that there was “no reason” for my pain. AKA, he didn’t believe me.

I have since been diagnosed in the US after three years with a congenital pain condition where I was born with a vast excess of nerve endings at the base of my spine, which affects over 13% of women, and yet not a single doctor in Ireland or Britain could offer any treatment or advice.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When I went to America, the specialist who has thousands of female patients who travel across America to see him told me that he is refused funding daily for his clinical trials and research into female pain, for the reason that all the funding is instead siphoned into drugs aimed at male pleasure, despite there already being several high-quality treatments.

According to PubMed, there are currently over 2,000 trials focusing on erectile dysfunction, and a grand total of 300 on EVERY TYPE of female pain.

If you don’t believe that stigma and sexism is prevalent in healthcare, maybe question why it’s so easy for a man to walk out of a GP clinic with a prescription for Viagra, yet it takes a woman in excruciating pain nine years to get told she has endometriosis, a life-long illness.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Since 1995, it has been confirmed that women experience stimuli at a more intense level than men.

Women have a proven different experience of pain than men, surely they deserve to be taken as seriously?

Yet society has conditioned women to ignore their pain, to handle it with clenched teeth and no complaints.

If you’re going to focus entirely on male pleasure, don’t ignore female pain, because it won’t be kept silent.

By Kate Brayden

Feature image: Instagram/@kdkatcricket

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Feminism is a pretty heated topic in Ireland at the moment, between the push to repeal the 8th amendment and campaigns to close the wage gap taking over Twitter. 

Irish feminism has come a long way, and creating true equality between the sexes is closer than it has ever been before.

Here are five fierce and inspiring feminist podcasts from home and abroad: 

5. 2 Dope Queens

This intersectional feminism podcast discusses "stories about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in New York," according to the description. 

Hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, this laugh-a-minute American podcast ticks all the boxes. 

4. Feminist Heart

This informative podcast on Near 90.3 FM focuses on the development of women's issues in Ireland. 

The half-hour long episodes, of which there are four in total, explore topics like education, the gender pay gap, abortion rights, women's Liberation and contraception.

3. Women of the Hour

This podcast is written, hosted and directed by one of the most prominent feminist celebs, Lena Dunham.

The writer-turned-actress discusses a different them each week, from ageing to work to love and sex. 

Catch it on Soundcloud and Spotify. 

2. Popaganda by Bitch Media 

Popaganda is a hard hitting series of episodes which cover a multitude of women's rights issues on an international platform.

The podcast covers modern problems like transphobia, yellow and black face in the fashion industry, and misguided public PR blunders such as the Pepsi ad debacle. 

1. IT GALZ

This recently developed podcats the concoction of two self-described "fine-ass feminists" from Dublin.

Jenny Claffey and Lindsay Hamilton run the show, and maintain that the lack of realness in the influencer industry pushed them to create a podcast where real issues are discussed. 

"When the whole influencer thing really exploded we definitely noticed a gap in the market for ‘real talk’," Lindsay told The Daily Edge.

"That’s when I think we started to see our conversations as important and that they could help the women of Ireland today who are being fed so much false content."

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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