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How fitness trackers can help you EARN

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Health insurance is a major Australian industry, and when you can get cheaper car insurance for driving safely, it only makes sense that Australians could earn or save thousands a year just by walking—and your fitness trackers can help you do it.

Many insurers already offer members benefits for walking a certain amount of steps per day. AIA offers $5 weekly vouchers for iTunes, Hoyts, Woolworths and Boost Juice for completing 12,500 steps per day, while others offer discounted premiums for staying active.

Medibank’s partnership with Coles offers 10 Fly buys points for every day customers reach 10,000 steps on their fitness trackers, which equates to about five cents. Similarly, Qantas gives frequent flyers the ability to earn points by cycling through the Qantas Assure Wellness Rewards program—although to earn 100 points, participants would need to ride 100km a week.

One US health insurer even will deposit actual cash into an account for members who complete a certain amount of steps a day.

Amy McDonough, senior vice president of strategy and operations for Fitbit Health Solutions, said the scheme can have a big impact on adding value for life—and these types of schemes are resonating with people.

“It’s heading in the right direction, and we’re really excited about that.”

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Sex is not the rent you pay to be a woman.

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Image by Simone Becchetti via the Huffington Post.

“You can’t just change your mind after it’s happened,” he told me.

“You can’t decide later you didn’t want to have sex with them.”

At the time, I agreed with him. I was eighteen-years-old and naïve. He was a friend—let’s call him S—and he was of the opinion that women couldn’t change their minds about whether they wanted sex with someone. Allegedly, he’d slept with a woman, who had later said she didn’t want it to happen.

To him, she’d lied. To him, she’d changed her mind, purely for the purpose of making him to look bad. But what if she’d never wanted it all along? What if she’d acquiesced? What if she hadn’t thought her input was all that important—only to realise otherwise later?

Last year, I was dating a guy who cheated on me. Instead of breaking up—like we really should have—I desperately tried to make it work. That night, we slept together—even though I really didn’t want to (I mean, who would after finding that information out?).

At the time, I brushed it off. At the time, it didn’t seem important. And even though I didn’t want to, he was pleased—so it was okay, right?

Wrong.

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Sometimes we don’t realise what it is until later. Image via Women’s Agenda.

After we finally broke up, I realised how messed up that was. I’d told him no. I’d tried to push him off. But eventually, I gave in. I didn’t have the effort to fight him. But acquiescing isn’t consent—and I don’t think even he realises what happened.

Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon theme for women. Every female friend I’ve spoken to told me similar stories—stories where they say no, but give in anyway.

But we don’t talk about it. Because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of people like S telling others we’re making it up, that we’re just trying to make them look bad. We’re afraid of telling the person—only to have them become angry and hurt us. We’re in a culture where women are belittled and objectified.

If you haven’t consented, if you’ve actively tried to stop it happening, it’s rape—even if you eventually relented. And it is not your fault.

Ladies and gentlemen: sex is not the rent you pay to be a woman—to be a human. You don’t have to sleep with anyone. And yes, you sure as hell can change your damn mind.

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter for more!

Can we please talk about male entitlement?

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News flash: no one owes you anything. Image via Everyday Feminism.

Last Friday night reminded me of why I avoid going out: men. And no, not all men—just a certain type of men. The one who prowls clubs looking for a partner to do the dirty with. The one who thinks he’s entitled to your attention. The one who’s shocked to find out he’s not.

But that’s what it’s like when you go out in a small town.

It was karaoke night—and there were only around 20 patrons in the entire club. It was the first time I’d gone out in months—with my mum and best friend, no less. But of course, when there’s a woman, there will be a man thinking he’s entitled to her attention.

A random guy came up and put his hand on my back.

“Come on, come up and dance. Support my buddy,” he said.

Firstly, no. Take your hands off me. You have no right to touch me—even if it is just my back. The location isn’t important: the lack of consent is.

“No thanks!” I replied. Because dancing in front of some random dude who thinks that’s a sign i’ll go home with him is probably the last thing I want to do.

“No?” he was shocked I’d refused—and with no excuse either!

“No,” I responded, smiling and waving my wine glass.

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Yes, I am happy with my wine. No, I don’t need your attention. Image via Inside Amy Schumer.

With that, he left, shaking his head. What a shock that must have been! A simple “no”, rather than an excuse. I didn’t tell him I wasn’t drunk enough to go dance, I didn’t tell him I had a boyfriend, I didn’t tell him I wasn’t at all interested: I just told him no—and that’s how it should be.

Ladies and gentlemen: you don’t owe anyone anything. It’s not bitchy to refuse. It’s not rude to refuse. It’s your right. Just because a member of the opposite sex happens to smile at you doesn’t mean you have to do anything. You don’t owe him anything. Women do not exist to pump up Male egos.

I’ll repeat that: women do not exist to pump up male egos.

And really, if your ego can be shattered by a person saying no, you probably weren’t all that good to begin with.

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter for more!

I don’t want children. But my stretch marks are still beautiful.

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Image via Instagram, @LoveYourLines.

Stretch marks. Those tiny and sometimes not so tiny pink lightning bolts that adorn most of our bodies. They signify life. They signify change. And often, they signify you’ve created. We have all seen those posts praising women for their post-baby bodies, proudly showcasing their stretch marks and soft bellies—and that’s absolutely fantastic. I am utterly ecstatic for them—they’ve done something absolutely phenomenal, and have the courage to tell society to eff its standards of womanhood: that idea of a skinny, yet big-breasted, yet curvy woman with perfect skin, long hair and a sweet, meek smile. We see posts about women openly declaring love for their bodies, stretch marks and all, saying phrases like “my body created life” and loving it more because of that.

While this is so fantastic and awesome, I can’t help but think it creates a dichotomy between two kinds of women—a divide—between those who have and want children, and those who don’t or can’t.

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Image via Facebook.

Is this just another way we women have been conditioned to pit ourselves against each other?

I haven’t given birth—nor do I want to. And like most women, I have stretch marks too—around my thighs, around my hips, and around my breasts. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of life, growing and changing. And as I age, I come to love my body more and more—even if it isn’t supermodel skinny, even if my belly is soft, even if my thighs touch, and a whole lot of other things that happen. But why can’t my stretch marks and soft belly be celebrated as “beautiful”, even if I haven’t given birth to achieve them? They’re a fact of life. And I think emphasis needs to be taken off celebrating bodies based on what they have or haven’t done.

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There’s already a significant stigma against women who don’t want children. That oh, you’ll change your mind or your life isn’t complete until you’ve had kids or you don’t know happiness until you’ve heard your child’s laugh or worse: you’re still young. You’ll realise how great having kids is.

Thanks. I didn’t realise my life, my worth and my value revolved around popping out miniature versions of me and my partner (gosh, that would be trouble). I’m perfectly happy not going through that experience, thank you very much.

As a social community, we adore and stand behind women who’ve had children and choose to wear bikinis in public. We stand behind these mothers, and we call them brave (which they are). But should we really be teaching and continuing this idea that we can only love ourselves entirely if we’ve borne children? Is this really the message we want to send to young girls? “Your life isn’t complete until you’ve had a baby”.

We should all be proud of our bodies, and proud of our tiger stripes. And if we continue to praise women for their soft bellies, stretch marks and so on, only if they’ve had children, we continue to perpetuate this way we differentiate and place value upon different choices. We continue to perpetuate the idea that children complete your life—which is obviously a terrible notion for women who don’t want children, and women (including trans women) who can’t. Just because my body hasn’t been through a miraculous experience like giving birth does not mean I am any less deserving of celebration. I shouldn’t have to go through that to be comfortable with my lack of a thigh gap, with my stretch marks, with my comfy belly. I am a happy, healthy human being: isn’t that enough?

We need to celebrate our bodies, not for what they have or haven’t done, but for the simple fact that we are human—and all humans deserve to be able to celebrate their bodies: and be supported and cheered for doing so. There’s so much negativity in the media about women: please, ladies: can we just love our bodies for how they are?

Zoe is a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. You check out more of her work on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you let go of hate?

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Image via YouTube.

I’ll admit, I have a lot of hate and anger inside of me. I can’t help it. When I see people I love being wronged, or when I’m wronged, I can’t help but feel it’s incredibly unfair. But it consumes you, changes you. You become obsessed with it, you feel the anger in every fibre of your body. And most importantly: it’s not healthy.

How are you supposed to live a satisfying life if all you’re thinking about is anger and hate? You need to process your emotions, validate them, and eventually file them away to move on. But here’s the million dollar question: how?

Forgive them—or at least forget

Maybe what they did to you was really shitty. Maybe it was unforgivable. But hating them isn’t going to change anything: all it will achieve is making you feel worse. Don’t let them win. Forgive them, because they don’t know better—or if you can’t, forget, and move on. Because really, when you forgive them, you’re really forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to let the hate go.

We’re human: we make mistakes

Remember that. Maybe things were said and done in the heat of the moment. Maybe they regret it, and maybe they don’t. But it’s important to realise we all make mistakes. Why should we hold a small mistake against someone? If you were in the same position, you’d want them to be gracious towards you.

Don’t live in the past

I know it’s hard. I know you’re probably obsessing over it. I know any slight mention makes your blood boil, and your chest heat with an overwhelming sense of injustice and rage. No matter what you do, you can’t fix the past. And even if you do get some form of revenge, it won’t make you any happier, and it won’t change what happened.

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Image via Flickr.

 

Open yourself to the future

Use that rage to fuel your passions. If anything, kill them with success. The best revenge, after all, is success. Open your heart. Try new things. Take one step at a time to make your dreams come true.

Allow yourself to feel

If someone has done something terrible to you, you have a right to feel angry—so don’t feel like a bad person for it. But, like with any emotional experience, you need to address it the right way. Don’t bottle it up—talk to loved ones, a therapist, or even write. You need to process your emotions, validate them, and let it go.

Learn from your experiences

Think of it as a learning curb—think about the kind of person you want to be. Think about how you want to be treated—and treat others that way. Every adversity has a lesson to teach us—and we must be stronger than it.

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Image via Pixabay.

Send them love

Generally, if people do bad things, there’s a reason: they’re damaged or they too have been wronged somehow. That isn’t fair, and it doesn’t justify their actions, but it does explain them. Maybe getting revenge and making them feel bad will make you feel momentarily superior. But in the long run, it will only make things worse. Life goes on, and hate only breeds more hate. Don’t let it eat you up from the inside.

Replace it with something you love

Negative voice in your head? Obsessing over words said to you? Keep repeating the incident over and over? Replace it with something else. Something you enjoy, something you love, something that makes you happy. Let your happy memories set you free.

Meditate

Think about what I’ve written. Acknowledge your feelings. When anger strikes, remember you deserve more than a hate-filled heart.  The world has enough hate in it—it doesn’t need any more. Let yourself move on—it will free you.

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Image via Flickr (Syahmir).

Care for yourself

You are number one. Do things you love. Get a massage, have a bath, get a manicure, do a hair mask, drink a glass of wine, read a book, watch your favourite shows and eat your favourite, nutritious food. Always put yourself first, and surround yourself with positive people who will help and love you.

Do the clichés

Scream into a pillow. Go to the gym and work up a sweat. Write an angry letter, and tear it up or burn it. Get all your emotions out in a positive way that isn’t hurtful. We don’t need more hurt in the world.

Forgive yourself

We aren’t always innocent, and maybe things could have been handled better. But you always—no matter what—need to forgive and love yourself. You are strong. You are a good human. Be the change you want to see in the world, and who knows: maybe if you respond with love instead of hate, you’ll change someone’s world.

Orange is the New Black addressed something really important–and we need to talk about it.

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Tiffany Doggett. Image via Buzzfeed.

Why are we so afraid to call it rape?

Rape culture is very real and very dangerous—but Orange is the New Black isn’t afraid to tackle it. In the latest season of the hit Netflix series, we see conceptions of rape addressed—and reformed—through the characterisation of inmate Tiffany Doggett.

Doggett was raped last season by a commanding officer at Litchfield Penitentiary—a man who was supposed to be responsible for her safety. Instead, officer Charlie Coates took advantage of her and raped her: but it wasn’t how we usually see rape represented on screens. Doggett wasn’t screaming. She wasn’t frantically trying to beat him off. But we could see from her face that she desperately didn’t want to be there.  It doesn’t matter if she didn’t fight tooth and nail to stop him—or even if she didn’t tell him: it is still rape.

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Image via Cosmopolitan.

This season, Doggett confronts Coates, making sure he’s not raping anyone else. But here’s the kicker: he didn’t even know he’d raped her. “But I love you,” he insists. “It’s different.”

“But it didn’t feel any different,” Doggett responds.

It didn’t feel any different because it isn’t—rape is the unwanted penetration of oral, vaginal or anal cavities. So, why are we so afraid to call it that? We live in a society where we’re so focussed on blaming the victim: what did they do to provoke it? What were they wearing? Were they drinking? Had they slept together before? Were they in love? Where they in a relationship? Why didn’t they yell for help? People voice these questions as if any of these factors negate a heinous crime. Newsflash: it doesn’t.

One in six women and 1 in 33 men will be raped within their lifetimes. One in two transgender persons will be sexually assaulted, as well as 44% of lesbian women, 26% of gay men, and 61% of bisexual women and 37% of bisexual men. This is a major problem—yet instead of tackling these issues, we’re too focussed on blaming the victim.

As a woman, I’m afraid to walk home alone at night—even though my bus stop is only 500m away. As a woman, I am afraid when a group of men walk towards me. As a woman, I make sure I’m not too drunk to keep my wits about me. I make sure my dress isn’t too short. I make sure I don’t lead anyone on—and even then, I’m not safe.

Doggett was raped in a prison environment meant to protect her.

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Most rapes are not reported, and even if they are, they’re not likely to result in a conviction. This must change. Image via Waging Non-Violence.

Our actions do not give another person permission to so much as touch us. Even if I walked down the street naked, I’m still not “asking for it”—because my body is mine, and every human being deserves that right. But some people still don’t seem to get the concept of “no”.

Maybe you loved them. Maybe you knew they were horny, so you just let them do it. Maybe you did try to stop it, but gave in because it was easier than fighting. Maybe there were tears in your eyes, as you stare at the wall, wishing you were anywhere else. Maybe you cried when it was over and they were asleep or gone. Maybe they did love you. But then, maybe they didn’t. Maybe it was a cruel and vicious crime—and actions or intentions don’t change that.

As women, we’re so programmed to feel like we have to please our partners—even if we don’t want to. But love is not an excuse for rape: nothing is. And this line of thinking, this notion of “oh, you can’t call it rape after it happened” is absolute bullshit, and a massive cultural problem. Maybe you were too scared to speak up—maybe you’re too afraid to confront in your own mind what it was, and only realise what it was later. It is “not making it up” to get someone in trouble—because only one in six rapes are reported, and only 17% of rapes are actually convicted.

Rape affects every facet of your life. It restricts your sexuality.  It restricts your chance at future relationships. You lay awake, crying and reliving those moments. You flinch at every rape joke, or mention of sexual assault.  This is not okay.

But we live in a society that would rather blame the victim than prosecute the victim. But it is not the victim’s fault—it’s the rapist’s fault.

Rape is an unforgivable crime—and we need to stop sugar coating it.

The best Pokémon pick-up lines of the internet.

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You teach me, and i’ll teach you. Image via YouTube.

Pokémon Go has taken over just about everything; so why not pick-up lines, too? Here’s the best the internet and social media can supply.

Roses are red, violets are blue. If you were a Pokémon, I’d choose you.

Awwwww.

Hey girl, let me get a Pikachu Jigglypuffs.

Ooh, dayumn.

Do you want to battle? Because my balls are at the ready.

I am ready, baby.

I’d like to ride you like a Horsea.

You have such a way with words.

My Gyrados is big enough for you to ride it all day and all night.

Now we’re talking.

Do you want to play with my Poke Balls?

Are they clean?

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That sure is one big Pokeball. Image via Prima Games.

Want to watch my Ekans evolve?

Do I ever?!

I wish you were the ground and I were a Diglett so I could be inside of you.

How poetic.

STD’s are like Pokemon: gotta catch ‘em all. Help me out?

Gotta catch ‘em alllllllll!

Do you want to go back to my gym and have a naked battle?

Only if your level is big enough.

Ay baby, are you a Vulpix? Because you’re a sexy fox.

Take me now.

Looking at your ass makes my bulba soar.

I often have that effect.

Hi, my name’s cock. I mean Brock.

Hi, my name is no. I mean no. No.

Can I Squirtle on your Jigglypuffs?

I have no response.