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We all know that girls run the world, because if Beyoncé said it, then by God it must be true.

Online fashion giant PrettyLittleThing have been doing their best to promote female empowerment and body positivity, and now they've majorly stepped up their inclusion game.

The brand have launched #everyBODYinPLT, a campaign to involve absolutely everyone in their clothing lines in honour of International Women's Day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The new collection dropped today, and is set to be a sell-out hit; filled with a range of body types, abilities and ethnicities. We heart.

The clothes have got serious girl boss slogans on them, such as "Girl, you got this", "Girl Gang", "GRL PWR" and "Go Girl." All the things we need to hear when we're feelin' down in the dumps, despite our female badass-ery.

Better yet, the company are celebrating womankind by donating all proceeds to WAGGGS, the world's only movement for every girl and any girl. They believe that each of them deserves to be the best they can be.

WAGGGS represent 10 million girls in 150 countries, helping them to develop their leadership skills and empowering them to use their important voice for change in their communities and countries.

We support their ideal that all girls are valued, and have a place in this world.

Lauren Rose, Lauren Mahon, Mari Malek, Yasmin Jay, Giuliana Farfalla, Danielle Candray and Madison Lawson model the garments for the brand's cause, and look absolutely stunning while they're at it.

International Women's Day falls on March 8 every year, and works to promote issues around the globe for women that need progress and change.

Cheers to building up your fellow gal-pals; fly that flag for female friendships and sisterhoods for life.

Check out the #everyBODYinPLT collection online now, and pledge your allegiance to inclusive clothing.

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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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When it comes to marriage advice, we're pretty sceptical. It nearly always comes across as patronising, annoying, or just plain sexist. Men don't get the constant stream of wedding and baby pressure that women do.

There's no shortage of dating advice online and in magazines, even in books like He's Just Not That Into You.

It's time to turn to better sources for comfort, and ones from back in time. The Suffragette's seem like a good place to start… They fought for the right to vote and now we want the right NOT to devote.

Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, it would be rude of us not to share this HILARIOUS piece of advice from a "suffragette wife" which went viral, acccording to Stylist.

The advice was first penned in 1911, and it's still hella relevant today. Entitled 'Advice on Marriage to Young Ladies', the gal holds nothing back and takes zero prisoners.

The first tip? "Do not marry at all." She's starting us off with a big one, that's for sure.

Continuing, the woman writes about the types of men to avoid. Think modern day f*ckboys. She refers to them as, “the Beauty Men, Flirts, and the Bounders, Tailor’s Dummies, and the Football Enthusiasts”.

When it comes to decent marriage prospects, choose a "strong, tame man" who is involved in practical professions, such as a "Fire-lighter, Coal-getter, Window Cleaner and Yard Swiller”. We haven't a notion what a yard swiller is, but it sounds chic.

The suffragette also tells us that the standard of men is dastardly low; most are “lazy, selfish, thoughtless, lying, drunken, clumsy, heavy-footed, rough, unmanly brutes, and need taming”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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How do you tame a man back in 1911, and today? The answer is pretty obvious: food. "Feed the brute," in her words. LOL. 

Her final tip recalls her first; you'd "be wiser not to chance" marriage, because it "isn't worth the risk." The post was shared last year as well and also went viral, so it seems that modern day women can still relate to the tip sheet.

It's over 100 years old, but still resonates with today's audience. Interesting, does that mean men haven't progressed at all, or we're still stuck in 1911? We can't tell…

Feature image: The Guardian

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Lady Gaga has spoken out against the backlash regarding Cardi B's historic Grammy win for Best Rap Album.

The Joanne artist took to Twitter to express her pride in the Bodak Yellow rapper, who is the first solo woman to ever win the accolade.

Praising the rap star and social media personality, Gaga wrote;

"It is so hard to be a woman in this industry. What it takes, how hard we work through the disrespectful challenges, just to make art. I love you Cardi. You deserve your awards."

She concluded by telling her fans to "celebrate her fight. Lift her up & honoor her", calling Cardi "brave" for entering an industry which is notoriously difficult for women.

Cardi B was also pregnant with baby Kulture Kiara while recoding Invasion of Privacy, and worked tirelessly for months to finish it. The rapper has faced criticism over her Grammy win, with some claiming she is undeserving.

The duo became instant pals after meeting at the Grammy, after Cardi approached the A Star Is Born actress and legit fan-girled. 

In 2016, Cardi tweeted about the Mother Monster's huge impact on her life: "When I was a teenager lady Gaga changed my life," she wrote. "She inspired me to be myself & be different." Gaga replied "Love you girl."

Cardi beat Travis Scott, Pusha T, Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller in her category for the Best Rap Album Grammy, with Ariana Grande tweeting her disappointment that her deceased ex-boyfriend Mac Miller didn't win posthumously.

The rapper thanked her fans on Sunday night, and then uploaded then deleted an expletive-laden clip defending her hard work on Invasion of Privacy

"You know what, it's not my style for people to put other people down to uplift somebody else. That's not my style and that's not what I'm with and I don't support that, however I've been taking a lot of sh*t today," Cardi told the camera.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She continued; "I'm seeing a lot of bullsh*t today and I saw a lot of sh*t last night and I'm sick of this sh*t. I work hard for my mother f*cking album."

She referred to last year's criticism, which was supportive of her in comparison to this year;

"Everybody was like, 'Cardi got snubbed! Cardi got snubbed!' Now this year's a f–king problem? My album went two times platinum my n*gga and every chart that there was my album was always top ten, number one album as well!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cardi's baby Kulture was born on July 10 last year, and fell pregnant while creating the winning album;

"I f–king worked my a– off, locked myself in the studio for three months my n—a and then went to sleep in my own bed sometimes for four days straight—pregnant!" she said about it.

"Some songs couldn't even get on the f–king album because my nose was so f–king stuffy from my pregnancy." Chance the Rapper was another artist who jumped to her defence, as well as J. Cole:

Chance the Rapper called her victory "overly deserved," with J. Cole writing: "I don't never wanna be propped up by tearing somebody else down. Seeing Cardi B win a Grammy make me feel like I won."

Cardi re-tweeted the messages, saying; 

"I listen to my album and I cry because I know the hell I went through doing the album is always a bittersweet memory," she typed alongside Chance's screenshot.

"THANK YOU EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTED ME AND LISTEN. I'm thankful and grateful and again thank you to all the artist that gave me a feature."

Lady Gaga has been outspoken about how difficult the music world is for women, saying at the Golden Globes: "As a woman in music it is really hard to be taken seriously."

The 32-year-old wrote her award-winning song Shallow about communication and having your voice heard;

"This song is a conversation between men and women. Asking each other questions about life and a desire for more depth of the shallowness of a modern era."

We LOVE seeing women support other women, keep it up Gaga.

Feature image: Instagram/thebrainstormersshow

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We all know sleep deprivation can lead to some major health issues, but according to researchers in Duke University, loss of sleep effects women harder than men.

The study surveyed 210 men and women aged between 18 and 65. They were asked about the quality of their sleep, and frequency as well as other health measures like psychological distress and physical well-being.

The researchers found that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked with hints of higher rates of inflammation, elevated stress levels, blood sugar regulation problems, increased hostility, and a heightened risk of depression… But, only in women.

 

 

As well as that, the more problems women had sleeping, the higher their body mass indexes were.

Yep, we're thinking WTF too.

The researchers suggest that this is because women don't have as much testosterone which can protect the body's cells from inflammation and may also protect the brain and other organs from sleep deprivation and stress.

As for the weight gain? Well, the authors of the study think that the balance of our hormones are to blame and can be thrown totally out of whack if we don't get enough sleep.

The researchers suggest that rather trying to boost your testosterone levels, developing a solid bedtime routine should do the trick, and giving yourself more time to fall asleep will help, too.

So now you have ample opportunity to tell your other half to shut up in the middle of the night. It's justified, right?

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“We’ve let our hair out, gone back to work and made our voices heard, so why are we still putting up with uncomfortable and painful sex?”

Now THAT, Durex, is a great question. One that we're SO glad advertisers are starting to ask, seeing as women make up the huge majority of consumers. It's hella dumb not to cater for our needs, if you ask us.

The renowned condom brand also have a range of lubricants, which they are marketing with a pretty great ad, if we do say so ourselves.

The ad uses examples of women fighting for our rights, using our voices to protest, to work, to rebel against societal norms, but yet many of us don't speak out against painful or uncomfortable sex.

Dryness down there is such a common aspect of our daily lives, and the ad points out that our body lubricates itself differently depending on our hormones and the time of the month.

It's perfectly normal that a lot of us would need a little help sometimes with the 'ol lube. Especially during sex, when most heterosexual men don't seem to realise that we need water for the slide to be fun, so to speak.

An advert which shows a protester, female body hair and a working mum is refreshing, so we're even more chuffed that they brought painful sex into the equation.

Millions of women face this issue in their lives, and it can be incredibly frustrating. We all deserve to enjoy sex and have as many (multiple) orgasms as physically possible, and lube is a tool in our armoury to help us achieve that.

Take a look at the video below;

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Women for Election CEO Ciairín de Buis has called on women to run in elections this coming May, and for parties to encourage female candidates.

There have been more Seáns and Johns than elected to Dáil Éireann that women overall, according to  data analysis of all elected TDs since 1918

Yesterday saw a crowded audience gather in the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street to hear a panel discussion organised by Women for Election, titled; “Will 2019 be Ireland's Year of #MoreWomen?” 

The panel was chaired by journalist Alison O'Connor, and included Lisa Chambers TD (Fianna Fáil), TD (Green Party), Senator Alice-Mary Higgins (Independent), Cllr Madeleine Johansson (People Before Profit) and Kate O'Connell TD (Fine Gael).

The event asked politicians about the chance of more women running and winning elections this year, and how parties are taking action to help improve gender balances in the political sphere.

In our last local elections in 2014, only 21 percent of electives were female councillors, compared to 16 percent in 2009.

There has undoubtedly been a swell in political activism in Ireland over the last few years, especially due to the Repeal movement, and the panel were discussing whether this energy would make it to the polls and ballots.

Women for Election CEO Ciairín de Buis commented; “2019 has at least two elections, possibly more. Last year we held a series of training events in Dublin, Cork and Galway covering communication strategies, campaigning and canvassing."

He continued; I’ve met dozens of women who are running in the locals and Europeans this year. We’ve also worked with women and their campaign team who are preparing for the next General Election, whenever that may be.”  

22 percent of TDs are women currently, a historic high, but still too low.

De Buis continued; “The appetite for more women to enter politics is there and I, and Women for Election, want to help any woman thinking about running to have the courage and confidence to put her name on the ballot, either with a party nomination or as an independent.”  

Green Party leader and TD Eamon Ryan mentions the praise-worthy work of former Green Party TD and former Minister of State Mary White’s role in the establishment of gender quotas for party candidate lists. 

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell refers to the centennial celebration of certain women securing the right to vote, noting that this has added to the conversation around women's role in politics in Ireland.

“The celebration of 100 years since some women first achieved the right to vote has focused the mind on our incomplete democracy,” says Deputy O’Connell. 

“Whilst mindful of the progress we have made in terms of female representation it is still shocking that 78% of those in Dáil Éireann are men.

"Leaders must now act by example. The time for acceptance of anything less than an equal male to female ratio is nigh on over." she concluded.

Non-for-profit Women for Election will be hosting training throughout 2019 for women, as well as hopefully organising an online course.

Feature image: www.womenforelection.ie 

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It really is the year of nostalgia; Between the Spice Girls, Westlife and Carrie Bradshaw, it's clearly comeback o'clock. 

News recently broke that one of the biggest legends of the early 2000s is making a musical return, with her sophomore album expecting to be released before the end of 2019.

That's right gals, it's only SAMANTHA MUMBA.

We've all got more than fond memories of tunes such as Gotta Tell You and Always Come Back To Your Love, and soon we'll be hearing brand new music from the versatile singer.

We sat down for a chat with the woman herself, and once our starstruck fever calmed down, we managed to ask her a few questions.

There have been whispers of musical comebacks for many years now, considering her first album Gotta Tell You was released back in 2000 when she was only sixteen-years-old. 

While the rest of us were figuring out creative ways to abandon school for a few hours and day-dreaming of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, Samantha was making CHUNES.

So why choose now to release her long-awaited album number two? Samantha is a woman of many talents, trying her hand at Masterchef in 2017, as well as appearances in Dancing On Ice and on ITV's Loose Women.

“It’s been in the works for a couple of months, so for me I did Manchester Pride last summer, and I was so blown away by the response. As I was onstage I was literally like, why don’t I have any new music to perform? This is stupid, like it’s ridiculous. I’m one of those people who gets in their own way all the time. Even if I think of doing something, I’ll think of 20 reasons not to do it. I thought, ‘No, enough it enough’. I was afraid to do it again. The timing just feels good, and now I’m seeing that everyone is coming back, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Hang on a second, I was coming back first!”

Needless to say, her fans are EXCITED.

Damn right she was. Samantha's popularity with a range of audiences and people of all ages has to be noted, but why do so many listeners seem to relate to her?

“That’s a great question, and I don’t really know the answer. It’s just one of those things, a nostalgia thing. I also think because I was so young when I started, a lot of people literally feel, and they have, like they’ve grown up with me. People have even stopped me in the street to say, ‘Oh hey, how are you?’ as if they know me. I’ve been around for a while, I think there’s that kind of connection where people have really gotten behind me, it’s like I’m a cousin of theirs. It’s that kind of thing, it’s brilliant.”

Samantha still returns home to Dublin fairly regularly, and her little daughter Sage calls it her home too. We wondered if she had stayed up to date on Ireland's current homelessness crisis?

“It’s scandalous, it’s absolutely shocking. That’s why I thought this Just Eat campaign was just such a no-brainer. I’d love if they could double what they did last year, which in itself was incredible. Even especially being home at the minute, and it’s so cold, you just think, ‘Oh my God’, it’s not right. There’s a lot of young kids that are homeless, and it’s heartbreaking. Being a mother now myself, it’s just awful. You never know what goes on in someone’s life, it can happen to anybody, you just never know what kind of bad things could come somebody’s way. It can happen to everybody, and everybody should chip in," she says.

She's partnered up with Just Eat this year for their annual National Takeaway Tuesday to raise funds for the Peter McVerry Trust, who do vital work for the homeless. To date, Just Eat customers have generated over €50,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust, enough to move five people out of homelessness and into better futures.

Samantha comments; "This takeaway campaign is perfect, because you can order food on a Tuesday, get a 10 percent discount and chip in 10 percent to 2019’s Just Eat charity of choice, the Peter McVerry Trust. So you’re doing something good."

Does she notice the homelessness which is also prevalent in Los Angeles too, while she's spending her down-time there?

“Again, who am I to talk about anything, but there are definite areas. Santa Monica area and Downtown area, what I find is that a lot of the problems there are mental health. These people should be in facilities, in LA for me I notice, it’s a lot more of that. Whereas here, it’s more people who are getting a bad run of things. It just seems to be different circumstances, I suppose," she emphasises.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Samantha Mumba (@samanthamumba) on

Her daughter Sage was born in 2015, with her husband Torray Scales. We're immediately jealous of Sage, because she's already heard some of her mum's new material;

‘Nightmare before Christmas is her thing. We listen to that soundtrack, and I love it as well, so it’s great. Sometimes she said, ‘I wanna hear mummy’s songs’, she approves of the new songs, thankfully. She’s very sweet, but other times she’s like, ‘Ok, back to Disney’, she laughs.

“She says she lives in LA and lives in Dublin, she loves being home. She gets totally spoilt rotten at home. The back and forth is her norm, she doesn’t know any different.”

We couldn't let Samantha go without trying to get the dates for her new music to be released, it had to be done. For the good of mankind. Luckily, she was ready for the question;

“I was hoping to have a date already. I have to have it within the next two weeks, because I want my first release to be latest end of March, early April. So we’re working on it. I’d love to have two singles out by the summer, and the album definitely will be later on in the year, but I’m on it.”

One core difference between now and when Samantha started is, of course, the power of social media. She's aware of it as a tool, and this time it's going to connect her even more to her fans;

“That’s what I’m enjoying the most, there’s no random people telling me what I have to do, I’m fully in control of everything. That’s kind of the most exciting part for me. The people I’ve been working with in the States are so creative, they’re really pushing me out of my comfort zone.”

In terms of teasing some collaborations in the pipeline, she's revealed a song with MNEK has been created, and we are SO HERE for it. The artist is known for working with some of pop's biggest names, among them are Dua Lipa and Zara Larsson.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MNEK (@mnek) on

“MNEK I have done work with, yes, I adore him. He’s incredible, he’s so talented. I have done one song with him, and I have my core group of people to work with. I think he’ll actually be in LA again in another couple of weeks, so we’ll do another session there as well. I’d love to bring him in with my people, because I think they’d all mesh really well. I’m excited for what that will bring. He’s such a talent and a joy to work with.”

Is there anyone she's especially got her eye on, in terms of new female talent?

“I just discovered her and I’m obsessed, it’s Donna Missal from the US. She’s incredible, I love her."

Samantha is 36-years-old, and time has only given her even more glamour, wisdom and thick-skin for the tough music industry.

Her new album is set to encompass that sense of maturity;

My new music is pop R’N’B, it’s current to where I am, I’m a grown woman who’s lived a life. I have a lot of things to say. I’m just expressing them, and hopefully other women will relate to it."

Samantha is the newest 2019 mood; let her reign begin anew.

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Claire Foy has gained international recognition for her powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and now as Janet Armstrong in First Man.

As part of her acceptance speech for the #SeeHer recognition gong at the Critics' Choice Awards, she delivered a moving statement about the complexities of female roles.

She became the third actor to receive the accolade, which was launched by the Association of National Advertisers in 2016.

She followed in Viola Davis' and Gal Gadot's footsteps, winning the award which aims to increase the number of accurate depictions of women across the media.

Foy made sure to speak about how numerous people refer to her role in the 2018 Neil Armstrong biopic First Man as "just the wife", which she strongly opposes.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play some extraordinary women, for all sorts of reasons, and none more so than Janet Armstrong,” Foy said.

"She lived her life with such bravery and resilience and determination and love," she added.

“I can’t tell you how many times during the making of the movie and in the press tour that people said to me, ‘Well that part is normally the part of just the wife’." 

“And there’s no such thing as ‘just the wife’.” This statement got rapturous applause from the star-studded audience, clearly emphatically agreeing with the British actress.

Foy illustrated that it’s an actor’s responsibility to question who they portray, how they portray them and “how we want people to see themselves on screen” to create change.

Viola Davis presented Foy with the award, and Foy explained how she’d previously watched Davis’ acceptance speech for the 2016 #SeeHer award in preparation for her own.

She was eternally inspired by the outstanding Widows actor’s words that “the greatest privilege in your life is to be who you are.” WE STAN.

The actress concluded by saying she hopes the #SeeHer award will give her “encouragement” to be “brave enough to face and see myself”, and that she hopes it will also help others to do the same.

*Passes the tissues around the office*

im not gonna cry emmy awards GIF by Emmys

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If you are unfamiliar with the term 'reproductive coercion', it's essentially when another person has more control over your reproductive health than yourself.

Hilary Freeman of The Guardian is now reporting that more women than imagined have no idea that reproductive coercion is a form of abuse.

Studies have revealed that a shocking one-in-four women who attend sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives, including 'contraceptive sabotage', such as covert condom removal.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marie Stopes Australia (@mariestopesaus) on

According to BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, available evidence about the abusive behaviour needs to be updated to 2017 and widen the spectrum of activities involved to include familial pressure, criminal activity and exploitation within sex trafficking.

As well as not being able to choose contraceptives to use or take control of their own reproductive health, reproductive control takes the form of contraceptive sabotage, such as convert condom removal or needling a hole in a condom. 

Not being able to decide whether to start or continue a pregnancy is a major factor, research shows, and the concept of reproductive control (especially over women's autonomy) by others was first described in 2010.

Women's experience of interference with their autonomy goes back centuries, arguably, but research indicates that younger women are particularly vulnerable, as well as those in the black community and racial minorities.

The practice is scarily common, with women having decisions taken away from them by partners, exploiters or family, invalidating consent.

One-in-four women attending sexual healthcare clinics are reporting persuasive methods, emotional blackmail, threatened or actual infidelity and physical violence predominantly perpetrated by male partners but also criminal gangs.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other examples of contraceptive sabotage include; partners lying about having a vasectomy or sterilisation, refusing to wear condoms, forceful removal of condoms, not using the withdrawal method properly, piercing barrier contraceptives or throwing away contraceptive pills.

Condom removal during sex is referred to as 'stealthing', and is now classified as sexual assault. Spiking drinks or food to induce abortion also was mentioned as occurrences.

The consequences are often emotionally difficult to bear; unintended or unwanted pregnancy, higher abortion risk, higher STI rates and emergency contraceptive usage.

Women in violent, abusive relationships prove especially vulnerable to reproductive coercion, but many are unaware that they are being subjected to reproductive control.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Marie Stopes Australia (@mariestopesaus) on

"The degree of control that a male partner can have will vary from mild to extreme. Milder amounts of control may not be perceived by the victim as unhealthy or abusive."

"Women in a long term relationship may become inured to significant levels of reproductive control," the study's authors write.

The study calls on healthcare professionals must play a crucial part in noticing and preventing this horrifically controlling behaviour.

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The rise of true crimes podcasts and series have grown over the last five years, being much more popular with women than men. 

In fact, stats indicate that despite fifty-six percent of podcast listeners being male, it's the ladies who contribute the most to True Crime listeners. 

A Twitter study of True Crime listeners showed that bar one podcast in the genre, women largely dominated the sector.

But it comes as no surprise as there's a whole section of Tumblr dedicated to it. 

That's why we can't WAIT for Netflix's new documentary on serial killer, Ted Bundy.

We will be treated to a four-part series investigating his life, 30 years after his execution for his crimes.

Netflix will be releasing "Conversation with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" in the US on January 24, 2019 – the dates for IE/UK have yet to be announced.

Taking to Twitter, the streaming giant promised that the new series would take us into "the mind of the infamous serial killer".  

The look into Ted's crimes and the media frenzy that followed his trial and sentencing was directed by Joe Berlinger.

The new Netflix release will include previously unheard audio interviews with Ted when he was on death row in Florida.

In the 1970s, the serial killer wrecked havoc in the US and although he finally admitted to killing 30 people, the number of victims unknown and is suspected to be higher.

We will definitely be watching this one. 

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What on earth is a 'sex recession' and why are our generation having less sex?

Kate Julian, writing for the American publication The Atlantic, has carried out research regarding the latest sexual habits of our generation, and it's fair to say her findings were pretty damn surprising.

Despite our culture of sexualisation, Grindr, Tinder dating and normalised pornography, apparently we are having less sex than our parent's generation. Eh, that is NOT COOL.

Cases of HIV are at an all-time low, birth control is far easier to acquire and the internet has a ridiculous amount of information (often inaccurate) about sex, so why are we not engaging in sexual activity as much? 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Julian claimed that in American high schools:

"Teens are launching their sex lives later. From 1991 to 2017, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behaviour Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent."

Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, has argued that our generation are on course to have fewer sexual partners in our lifetime.

Twenge also found that the average adult went from having sex 62 times a year to 54 times, using data from the General Social Survey. Well, this is alarming.

Helen Fisher, co-director of Match.com’annual Singles in America survey of more than 5,000 'unpartnered' Americans, stated:

"The data is that people are having less sex,” she said, with a hint of mischief, according to Julian. Mischief… not managed?! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Julian argues that in America, “about 60 percent of adults under age 35 now live without a spouse or a partner.”

Japan is one of the most fascinating cultures to study sexually, they are one of the world's biggest porn producers and consumers, yet are having a HUGE demographic crisis.

None of them are having sex. Legit, NONE.

In Japan in 2015, 43 percent of young people (ages 18 to 34) were virgins. 47 percent of married couples said it had been more than a month since they had sex.

I have so many questions. One of them being, why are we waiting until later in life to have sex?

According to studies, porn is a prominent factor in terms of the sexual decline. Or rather, the decline in our generation having sex with each other, having a human experience.

Apparently, porn means that men and women are having sex with themselves instead.

Maureen O’Connor recently described the porn preference popularised in Japan, hentai, and how it transmogrifies body parts. It's unrealistic, fantasy and almost hallucinatory.

The supernatural is eroticised, allowing sex to become a total escape, but yet it's not based in the real world.

Debby Herbenick ascertains that young people today are more likely to engage in sexual behaviours which are prevalent in porn, which might be scaring some people off, seeing as porn nowadays is FULL of hugely violent tendencies towards women.

This would easily put people off sex, to be fair, if someone tries a random sex act which they saw in porn, without the partner's consent or enjoyment.

Julian cites a few reasons such as:

Parental pressure

Julian describes the term "helicopter parents,” as parental anxiety regarding their children’s educational and economic prospects. Peer pressure from parents has resulted in a deterrence from romance.

Parents are telling their kids to focus on building their academic credentials instead of investing in romantic relationships

They are also giving their kids less private time, and less alone time for potential sexy-times. No sign of Regina George's "cool mom" vibes here then…

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Issues with Dating Apps

Less people are actually going on dates, social skills have drastically decreased (maybe because of… THE INTERNET numbing our brains..)

Kate Julian discovered that Tinder actually tends to be a colossal waste of time. The average person takes more than 60 swipes to get a single match, and most matches don't even result in a conversation.

Matches are not evenly distributed, Julian claims that the "highly photogenic" people (a nice way of saying the Hot People) are the only ones who get proper use from it. Sound.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Maybe just give it a minute, stupid

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Today, the company says it logs 1.6 billion swipes a day, and yet only 26 million matches

Julian also feels that Tinder can lead to troubling consequences, where casual conversations or social cues can now come across as creepy.

To be fair, women (and men) statistically are seeing a lot of assault and danger from dating apps, so she could hold her judgement there about us being cautious.

If it is seen as problematic to ask people out by approaching them randomly, or even online, finding opportunities to have sex realistically is going to be a challenge.

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Body consciousness and inhibition

Women especially are worried about their bodies, and there is a new-found nervousness of nakedness, despite it being all over the media and entertainment industry.

Inhibition is a major factor in the sexual decline, as inhibition prevents orgasm. Without orgasm, and with anxiety, people are drastically turned off sex.

Ian Kerner, the New York sex therapist says that women are rebuffing their sexual partners in terms of oral sex because they hate how their vagina looks:

“I know the stereotype is often that men are the ones who don’t want to perform it, but I find the reverse,” he said.

“A lot of women will say when I’m talking to them privately, ‘I just can’t believe that a guy wants to be down there, likes to do that. It’s the ugliest part of my body.’ ”

Self-consciousness is a mood killer, for sure.

Anxiety levels have surged in recent years, our generation has helped to de-stigmatise mental health, but this means there is an increase of people on anti-depressants; notorious libido killers.

Julian suggests that today’s young adults may struggle more with these issues.

Hook-ups Instead of Romantic Relationships

Hook-up culture is on the rise, which means that people are dating less often and are less likely to have steady relationships.

Kate Julian’s summarised Lisa Wade’s book, American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, as follows:

“Roughly one-third were…”abstainers” – they opted out of hook-up culture entirely. A little more than a third were “dabblers” – they hooked up sometimes, but ambivalently."

"Less than a quarter were 'enthusiasts,” who delighted in hooking up. The remainder were in long-term relationships.”

It goes to show, you never really know what's going on with other people's sex lives.

Painful sex

The sex which many young people are having is apparently painful, or just plain bad, because there is no valid communication.

People nowadays are also more willing to say no, to only have sex when they are in the mood, and not just to please others.

Julian writes that young adults are carrying out sex acts popularised by porn, such as anal sex and choking (asphyxiation).

She says that studies show “in the absence of high-quality sex education, teen boys look to porn for help understanding sex.” This is bad, trust me.

Many women, it turns out, are simply not enjoying sex in terms of penetration (anal and vaginal).

In 2012, Julian notes, 30 percent of women experienced pain during vaginal intercourse and a whopping 72 percent said that the anal sex they experienced was painful. Yikes.

In hookup culture, women experiencing orgasm is rare. Julian described, just 31 percent of men and an INSANE low of 11 percent of women were experiencing orgasm in hookups. God help us.

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It's hard to deny that #MeToo has possibly put a lot of people off sex, especially hookup culture.

We have to learn how to trust people again, and truly understand consent, so our personal sexuality can grow in a safe manner.

Growth of masturbation: Lovin' Yo'self.

Self-love is on the rise, according to Julian.

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This is possibly due to huge range of pornographic content found online, especially in books and erotic fiction for women.  

From 1992 to 2014, masturbation doubled for men and more than tripled for women (26 percent! YAS ladies).

As of 2014, 54 percent of men claim that they masturbate every week at least.

An issue with Kate Julian's arguments is that there is an element of blame for single people.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Her sources appeared to be quite anti-casual sex, anti-porn and anti-masturbation, despite the fact that women need masturbation especially to find out what they like.

Also the benefits of being single are huge. Statistics show that married people are not happier than singles, and that divorce rates remain high. Married people aren't even having more sex than single people.

Author and sociologist Bella dePaulo Ph.D. agreed:

"Maybe instead of spending 15 printed magazine pages explaining the decreasing frequency of sex among young adults, most of whom are single, Julian should have instead focused more of her attention on married people."

Her iconic 2004 work Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, follows this idea.

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Why are rates of sex decreasing for married people? 

Instead of judging people for how they live their sexual lives, maybe we should take the pressure off them and leave them alone, hmm? 

Especially since asexuality is now recognised as a sexual orientation, rather than a dysfunction.

We are learning so much in recent eras about sex and human nature, but I think the crucial issue is shame. Remove the shame from the equation, and we can communicate our needs and desires, and express ourselves sexually.

Do what you feel comfortable with, find what you like, and always make sure you feel safe and trust who you are with. 

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