“Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no”

Last week a 27 year old man was acquitted of raping a 17 year old girl. As part of his defence, the jury were told that the underwear she was wearing should be taken into account.

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

So, just to get this straight, the underwear you choose to wear is a signed and sealed contract of whether or not you want to have sex. Who would have thought? In my 26 years, I’ve never known that the underwear a woman wears is or is not an invitation to sex. Yet somehow, this was part of the defence for a man that was shortly after found not guilty of rape.

You can read the original article about the case reported by the Irish Examiner here.

On Tuesday, Irish MP Ruth Coppinger stood up in Parliament holding up a pair of lace knickers. She said that although “it might seem embarrassing to show a pair of thongs here in this incongruous setting of the Dáil” she went on to explain the reason she was doing it was to try to give some idea of how a rape victim “feels at the incongruous setting of her underwear being shown in the court?” She ends by asking “when is the Dáil going to take serious action on the issue of sexual violence?” Coppinger later tweeted;

Protests have taken place in Ireland demanding an end to victim-blaming as a defence in rape cases. Around 300 women gathered outside Central Criminal Court in Cork, chanting “whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no”, protesters also placed knickers on the steps to the Courthouse. In Dublin a “washing line” of women’s underwear was put up, while in Limerick people gathered with knickers attached to signs saying “This is not consent”. Online women are sharing photos of their lace knickers or thongs with the hashtag .

So all of this begs the question, in 2018 do we really have to continue having this same conversation again and again? Because, for some strange reason, consent is still a matter of confusion for so many, and apparently wearing a lace thong is unspoken consent that you absolutely, 100% want to have sex with someone. It doesn’t stop at just a short skirt or a low cut top. Now, we have to consider what we wear underneath, so if the worst happens, our rapist can’t claim we wanted it because of what we chose to wear under our clothes. Or perhaps, rather than blaming the victim for sexual assault and rape, we could blame the people that commit these heinous crimes. Perhaps, we could stop telling women that if they don’t want to be raped, or sexually assaulted they shouldn’t go out dressed a certain way, they shouldn’t walk alone at night, they shouldn’t get drunk. Perhaps it is finally time to see these crimes for what they are by placing the blame entirely on the people committing them and STOP sharing or pushing the blame onto the victim.

It’s estimated that “only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police” and approximately only “one in ten rapes or attempted rapes reported to police in England and Wales are brought to trial.” And then, in the few cases that actually go to trial, victims are often interrogated, belittled and humiliated, like using their choice of knickers as an attempt to prove that they are lying. The law must be changed to protect victims in cases like this. If victims are expected to come forward, they need to be treated with respect and given access to proper resources from the moment they report to the police. Enough is enough, it is time for change.

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Feminist checklist

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a feminist, and proud of it. But I still enjoy stereotypically un-feminist things. I know I’m not alone but I also know that there is often guilt or judgement when a feminist enjoys or takes part in stereotypically un-feminist things. So to help ease some of the guilt, here’s a list of the un-feminist things I enjoy and whether or not you are still allowed to be a feminist if you also enjoy them.

1 – Wear makeup

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

Nailing the perfect brow brings satisfaction and joy like nothing else.

2 – Shaving legs

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

This is a tricky one because shaving legs is socially expected of women to please or attract men. But that feeling of rubbing your newly shaven legs in your bed sheets is just… incredible. And sometimes it’s ok to shave your legs because you just don’t want hairy legs. Feminism means you get to choose what you do with your body. And if a man tells you to shave your legs because it’s gross, then you grow that leg hair until you can plait it, because there is nothing more stubborn than a pissed off feminist.

3 – Wearing ‘sexy’ clothes

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

Hey… If you love your bum or your boobs or your belly, show that shit off (no matter what your body looks like!)

4 – Letting a man pay for dinner

Can you still be a feminist? Yes. (I’ll pay next time)

Some people just hate anyone paying for them, ever. For me, I love free stuff. Pay away. I think there is a difference between expecting a man to pay or accepting a mans offer to pay. Honestly you can’t really believe in gender equality and expect a man to pay for you. BUT. You are allowed to be happy if someone pays for you – even if they are a man.

5 – Wearing high heels

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

Honestly, I don’t do this that often because I’m not tough enough to stand the pain. But when I do, damn it, I feel like a boss… Until the pain.

6 – Wearing a bra

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

This is a classic, visions of women burning bras in the streets. Now this was absolutely an important moment in the history of feminism, but seriously, most of us need the support. (And sometimes you want the extra lift. Don’t judge.)

7 – Not wearing a bra

Can you still be a feminist? Yes.

You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. Sometimes you want to let your boobs be free. The main issue being that if you can see an outline of a nipple, it’s far too sexual to handle and the world will come to an end. Or, you know, it’s a nipple, a completely un-sexual body part, their sole purpose being to feed adorable little babies. So stop making it weird. (Sorry, got a bit carried away there…FREE THE NIPPLE)

So there you have it, I enjoy doing all of these things and I still am very much, a feminist. And you can too. Yay!

If you have any more hilarious stereotypes that feminists are apparently not allowed to enjoy, let me know in the comments!

“I believe in equality, but I’m not a feminist”

“I believe in equality, but I’m not a feminist”

A sentence I’ve heard far too many times. For all of you that agree with this statement and have perhaps even said it, I have some shocking and terrifying news for you. If you believe in equal rights, you are, in fact, a feminist. *Pause for gasps of horror* Let that sink in for a minute. I know it may be a scary prospect but hopefully I can help to relieve some of that burden. I’ll keep it short.

Feminism, by definition is ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’. You see that? ‘Equality of the SEXES’. That includes everyone. No matter your sex, race, religion, sexuality. Equality for everyone. Hooray!

I often hear as a follow up to “I believe in equality, but I’m not a feminist”, that the reason for this is, for example, feminists are angry, feminists hate men, feminists can’t wear makeup or nice clothes or shave or generally enjoy stereotypically feminine things. And I have fantastic news for you. It’s all wrong. Well I mean, feminists are sometimes angry, because who’s ever been happy about inequality? Amiright? But in regards to hating men. Hating men goes against everything that feminism stands for, for the sexes to be equal, we first need to fight for the rights of the oppressed group, that being women, but the end game is a better and more equal world for every single person. And stereotypically feminine things are fab. Enjoy them all you like. No matter your sex or sexuality. If you want to contour, draw in some killer brows, wear a skin tight dress and 8 inch heels and gossip about people you fancy while drinking rosé. Then you go right ahead babe. And the great thing is, you can still be a feminist. You can have your cake and eat it.

So if you believe that every person on this planet should have the same opportunities, the same pay, the same respect, the right to live their life however they please without prejudice; then you, my friend, are a feminist. Congratulations and welcome.

My 5 Handbag Hacks

My 5 Handbag Hacks

Happy Sunday everyone! I’m feeling a bit more practical this week so thought I’d share some handbag hacks with you. I don’t know about you but I LOVE a good life hack. So I thought I would share my wisdom with you, with these five great hacks for you handbag, or rucksack or even pockets if that’s your style. Anyway, enjoy.

Headphone Organiser

Otherwise known as…a hair clip! *gasp* I know right?! I actually came up with this one myself as well. Some people become doctors, I come up with ways to stop my headphones getting tangled. Who’s to say which is more heroic? Anyway, it’s pretty straight forward, wrap the headphones around your fingers and then clip the hair clip around it. Boom. Untangled headphones every time.

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Perfume Atomiser

This is SUCH a handy little bottle. Saves you carrying around a big bottle of perfume, because if you’re anything like me you’re bag already weighs a tonne. Also, this particular bottle is really easy to fill up as you can see in the photo. Click the link to buy it on Amazon now. You’re welcome.

Perfume Bottles (5ml, 4pcs), JTDEAL Travel Refillable Perfume Atomizer Spray Bottle, Fragrance Empty Bottle With Window, Fits In Your Purse, Pocket or Luggage

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Compact Mirror that also Charges your mobile

I found this little gem in House of Fraser and couldn’t resist. It’s small, lightweight and multifunctional. Dream. Mine is by Doodles but I’ve also found this one on Amazon that is slightly cheaper. Bonus. Buy it now, thank me later.

Intempo EG0426SILSTK Slimline Power Source with Mirror for Smartphone, 2000 mAh, Silver

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Mini Bag for Mini Things

I always have one of these in my bag, its keeps all your little necessities in one place and it’s easy to move when you change bags. I keep hair clips and bands, pain killers and safety pins in mine, because you never know when you’ll have a wardrobe malfunction that will need pinning. So handy and takes up hardly any space. Win, win.

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Mini Makeup Essentials

This last hack is an obvious one but still a worthy part of my top five. Carry your mini makeup essentials in a small purse or bag. Most brands have minis or sample sizes of their products. Get your favs and put them in a little bag to keep for any spontaneous plans. In mine I have primer, mascara, brow gel, eyeliner and a tiny pot of my favourite foundation. Perfect for day to evening plans or spontaneous after work drinks.

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Well there you go, hopefully these hacks will keep your handbag slightly more organised and your life slightly simpler (probably won’t have much effect on your life to be honest, but at least your handbag will be tidier).

Have a good week!

Christmas spirit?

Christmas, a time for joy and kindness. Or at least that’s what I always thought. At what point do people stop enjoying Christmas and just see it as an obligation to suffer through? Whether it’s buying all the food and drink or seeing all the family members you make a point of not seeing at any other time throughout the year. The anxiety and stress that people put themselves through, all for one day.

While in Sainsbury’s the day before Christmas Eve (yes, I know, braving any supermarket that close to Christmas is risky). My mum and I arrived feeling good, positive, festive, everything you should be feeling in the lead up to Christmas, well, that’s how we feel at least. During our shopping we heard shouting, we saw pushing, we saw completely unnecessary aggression (not that any aggression is ‘necessary’), people seemed to have forgotten all of their stereotypical British manners. Then to finish our shopping the checkout woman sighs “it’ll soon be over”. And I’m left wondering, if people don’t actually enjoy Christmas, why do they force themselves to ‘celebrate’ it? Why are people doing something that makes them miserable and angry, especially at this time of year when we’re supposed to be at least moderately happy.

So, I have a suggestion, and this relates to the festive season but also, just any time of year. If you find yourself miserable with stress and dread at the thought of organising celebrations, seeing people you absolutely do not want to see, going to parties you absolutely do not want to go to. Then, just don’t. You are allowed to say no if it’s something you do not want to do. You’re allowed to relax and forget about putting everybody else’s happiness and expectations above your own. And if, next Christmas, you feel that you definitely, categorically, cannot say no to throwing that party or seeing that annoying person, just remember, it is just ONE DAY. You don’t need to run yourself ragged with stress and dread over one day.

As 2017 comes to an end, try to be happy and spend time with the people you love (and like). Because life is too short to waste it with misery and stress.

Happy New Year!