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.
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.
I don’t feel comfortable. Maybe it’s my anxiety, but I’m not so sure. My palms are sweaty. My breathing escalates. I feel their eyes on me. You don’t belong here, they snicker.
I pause. Well . . . Why don’t I belong here?
I’m talking about my recent visits to various comic book and gaming stores. Now, I love gaming. I’ve loved it ever since Sonic the Hedgehog came out on Sega, followed by the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games on PlayStation1, various PlayStation 2 games, and now my PlayStation 4. I’ve gleefully wasted countless hours of my life mashing buttons and yelling with glee at the screen. I’ve finished my favourite games multiple times, and if I’m ever not responding to Facebook messages, it’s probably because I’m gaming—can’t talk, killing zombies. But for some reason, whenever I visit a nerdy store—filled with things I love dearly and would gladly spend my money on—the eyes of other patrons tell me I don’t belong.
Is it because I’m a woman?
Is it because I don’t “look like a gamer”?
Is it because I wear pretty floral dresses and bright red lipstick?
Is it because I wing my eyeliner sharp enough to cut the haters, have my nails done and carry cute handbags?
Whenever I go into these stores, I feel like I have to justify myself. I have to prove I like these things. I have to prove I’m not a poser. Because obviously, my appearance is directly linked to what things I can and can’t enjoy, and how good I am at said things.
It is not posing when a female enjoys games, anime, comic books or other like things. Believe it or not, we’re not trying to act cool to impress boys (or girls). Here’s a crazy idea: maybe we enjoy it—just like you.
Instead of judging and hating each other, we should be promoting acceptance, love, and mutual enjoyment of cool and quirky things. After all, aren’t we the same geeks that were (most likely) picked on in school? Teased for liking things that weren’t the norm? Stereotyped as nerds and weirdos?
I am a nerd. I am a geek. I’m a weirdo. And I’m a girly girl. But you know what? I’m proud of that. I love these things, and I can’t wait to experience more. And if you’re ever tempted to judge someone else, maybe you should take a good hard look at yourself. Stop looking at me with those eyes. I do belong here—F off. I can’t hear you over the sound of me winning, anyway.
There seems to be a stigma attached to women who wear high heels to uni—or anywhere casual, really. People say: why would you do that? That’s really silly. Don’t your feet hurt? Your feet look like they hurt.
News flash: if I wear heels, it’s because I want to—not to please you. Do my feet hurt? Probably. But at least I feel confident and pretty. Besides, it’s not like I always wear heels. I rarely do. Please, stop judging and be on your merry way. There are actually a lot of benefits I think people don’t realise—particularly in the colder months.
They look fabulous.
Now, I don’t think of myself as a vain person—but looking down at my feet or catching a glimpse of my shoes in the reflection of a window or glass door makes me feel confident and sophisticated. To me, wearing heels can signify professionalism. When I’m in the city or interning at a magazine in the city, all I can think about is how fantastic and confident they seem. While I have worn huge and gorgeous heels in the city (and yes, they do kill), I can’t help but feel it’s worth it. Besides, you can always pack flats: the best of both worlds.
They give you height.
I’ll admit, I’m a short ass—just below five foot three. Actually being able to see the top shelf, or over the sea of people is awesome. Plus, when you wear heels, you’re less likely to step in puddles and have to walk around with soaked converse or ballet flats. Winning.
They make you work more.
It’s no secret that it does take more effort to wear heels—but, something I noticed today, is that it has the effect of making you feel warmer. Which makes sense—you’re exerting more energy in moving. The result: warmth. Fantastic for the upcoming winter months.
Because I want to.
But seriously, I don’t need your validation. I am not conforming to some kind of stereotype of women needing to wear damaging and painful heels. I’m doing it because I want to, and because it makes me happy. And if it makes me happy to occasionally don some heeled boots or a pair of pumps, then that is exactly what I’ll do.
Love yourself—all of yourself—no matter what your style.
This is something that is really starting to annoy me. Men: please pay attention—don’t be rude. Don’t manspread on public transport.
What is manspreading, you may ask? Well, it’s when a male spreads his legs on public transport and decides his genitals require an extra seat. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the transport in question was empty—it’s when it’s packed and your inconsideration forces someone to stand that it really grinds my gears.
I get it. You guys need to spread your legs a little. Duh. You have genitals. I assume closing them tight would be painful. Even so, there’s a BIG difference in comfort and being a complete jerk.
Today for instance, I was waiting for my 8am bus. As usual, it was pretty damn packed. Multiple people were standing. And what do I see? A dude with his legs spread across two seats. Unless your diddly is in a cast, there is no excuse for this. It’s on par to those people who think their bags require a seat when others are standing. If the bus or train is empty, sure: spread away. But otherwise, let me put it bluntly for you: YOUR JUNK IS NOT THAT BIG THAT YOU REQUIRE TWO SEATS TO SPREAD YOUR LEGS!
I’ve heard a fair few defences to this. That it’s not comfortable. That it’s not manly for guys to sit with their legs closed. That “we’re not meant to sit that way”. You don’t think women want to chill out and take up two seats? Of course we do. But we don’t, because we’re not inconsiderate assholes. Furthermore, it’s super duper awkward trying to sit next to someone man spreading. I like my personal space. Stay in your own damn lane!
Seriously guys, just close your damn legs. Not all the way, because we wouldn’t want you to squash your little boys. But enough that someone can sit next to you. Who knows? She might be a pretty girl and become your future wife. The world is your oyster—but only if you partially close your legs.
I’m vegan, and like many other vegans, I am asked incredibly stupid questions all the time. Last week, while at a friend’s wedding, a person came up to me and asked, “what do you even eat?” while I was holding a massive plate of food. So, to clear it up for you, here’s a list of questions, along with answers.
You’re vegan? Why?
I love animals. I don’t want them to die. I don’t want them to suffer. I don’t think they should be mistreated or killed for a human to have a snack. I also care about the environment.
The meat and dairy industry is not sustainable. According to the United Nations, one billion people do not have enough food. This is expected to rise to three billion within the next 50 years—and animal consumption is a leading cause of this. How? It takes around 9034L of water to produce 0.5kg of meat, compared to 923L for the same amount of tofu. To produce 3.8L of milk, 2585L of water is needed. Furthermore, it takes 4kg of grain to produce 0.5kg of meat. This is because these animals are raised purely to be slaughtered—if the demand did not exist, neither would the strain on resources. These resources could then be used elsewhere and actually solve world hunger.
By converting to a vegan diet, you can save around 829,000L of water per year. Simply decreasing the amount of meat and dairy you consume is incredibly beneficial to the environment and your body. Please, be mindful.
What, do you think you’re better than me or something?
No. Vegans don’t think we’re better than any human or animal. Hence why we don’t eat either.
But if the animal is already dead, you may as well eat it, right?
Where do you get your protein?
You do realise there’s protein in more than just meat, dairy and eggs, right? Like, in vegetables? Same thing with iron. Shitloads of veggies is more than enough to be incredibly healthy. There’s also tofu (but not all vegans like tofu!) and other meat and dairy alternatives.
I bet you’re iron deficient.
My iron levels are fine, thank you very much.
Pigs are cute! Why would you want to murder them? They are living things. They think. They feel pain. They have emotions. They have the will to love. Why should they lose their life so you can have a snack?
Apparently, humans taste like bacon too. Are you going to eat them?
What do you even eat then?
Air. I eat air. And sunlight. Because it’s not like 75% of the average omnivore eats fruits, veggies and grains in their diets anyway.
FYI, the answer is shitloads of vegetables, fruits, pastas, breads, wraps, lasagnes, soups, curries, desserts, chocolates, ice creams cookies . . . Sound familiar? We miss out on nothing. There’s delicious, cruelty-free and healthy alternatives to everything. OREOS ARE ALSO VEGAN!
You’re just one person, you can’t change the world.
Are you serious? How do you think any kind of change happens? We recognise that something is wrong. We change it. We explain it to other people, and they agree. As more and more people come to realise the environmental and health impacts, if they’re reasonable people, they will change—or at least be mindful and decrease the amount of meat and dairy they consume.
We’re supposed to eat meat.
No. We’re not. And it’s destroying the environment. And a whole heap of other health problems.
But plants are living things too, why do you eat them?
Do you tie your own shoe laces in the morning?
Vegans are always trying to shove their beliefs down my throat!
Yeah, because your beliefs are destroying the environment.
My food poops on your food.
You’d eat it too, then, moron. And no, no they don’t.
Do you guys ever shut up about veganism?
How do you know if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
Damn straight, i’ll friggin’ tell you. I’ll tell you until the cows come home. Oh, wait. You ate them. Also, that’s a stupid joke.
Vegans are weak!
Arnold Schwarzenegger is (sometimes) vegan. He also advocates for meatless diets. This guy is also vegan:
Did you have to Google how to spell that last name?
Check out other celebrities who have ditched meat and dairy:
I can’t help but feel incredibly conflicted when writing about Fifty Shades of Grey.
There’s obviously a lot of hate for the novel and the film; hate which I don’t think is entirely justified.
Take Lisa Wilkinson’s scathing review, for example. She calls the film “domestic violence dressed up as erotica” that is “more appalling than appealing”.
Don’t get me wrong; I adore Lisa Wilkinson. As a successful female journalist, she’s a massive role model to me. But I have to disagree, and point out that she hasn’t read the books, either. Therefore, I don’t think it’s entirely fair for her to pass judgement about the series, or people who enjoy it.
I really don’t think the series deserves its bad reputation. Is it violent? Well, yes. But we must remember this key point: she consents. She asks for it, against her better judgement, in some scenes. But it’s her choice to agree to those things.
One scene in particular comes to mind: the controversial punishment scene. I by no means condone this kind of behaviour, I personally think Anastasia is ridiculously stupid for asking Christian to do the worst possible punishment. But again, the key factor: she asks him to. Inevitably, she is hurt (come on Ana, what did you think was going to happen?), and when she tells Christian to leave her alone; he complies. If she’d had said “stop” or any of the code words, “yellow” or “red”, he would have stopped earlier. But she didn’t.
Christian’s enjoyment of said punishment indicates serious (and rather frightening) mental issues, and if you’d read the books, you’d know about them. But Christian does not do one thing that Anastasia doesn’t ask or give permission for. Aside from this controversial scene, she enjoys his control—immensely.
Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you have no right in judging someone for enjoying Fifty Shades of Grey.
It is by no means a perfect text. The books are terribly written with far too many references to one’s inner goddess. And let’s not forget the unmistakable Twilight comparisons. A mysterious and sadistic billionaire who warns a shy virgin to stay away for her own good—sound familiar? I just had to roll my eyes when watching the film – that is, when I wasn’t making dirty and hilarious comments.
But it’s not the writing that has everybody hooked. It’s the taboo and kinky nature of the best-selling series that gives a whole new meaning to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and grey silk ties.
Lisa Wilkinson says Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t erotic. One hundred million book owners, as well as the many more who have seen the film, would disagree with you.
Fifty Shades of Grey is not a normal love story, that much is true. For starters, it begins with a contract. But as time progresses, real feelings are developed, particularly in the second and third books.
I am not entirely defending Christian Grey. Like I said, I think he has some serious issues, not to mention his incredibly controlling nature (I would probably punch him if I were Anastasia). He often uses “because it pleases me” to convince Ana to do some pretty kinky stuff. But from what we see (and read), it certainly pleases her too. Let’s be honest, it would probably please most of us too. I mean, any man that can make a woman orgasm by playing with her nipples deserves a medal.
This is why I am fifty shades of frustrated when it comes to people putting their uneducated two cents in. Some of whom haven’t even seen the film, let alone read the books, before they pass judgement. Feminist sites in particular ask: “how can you be a feminist and think Fifty Shades of Grey is okay?” Easy, you don’t judge someone else for their sexual preferences and recognise that Anastasia consents.
It’s an endless circle, really: women hating on other women for their likes and dislikes, judging each other for their likes and dislikes.
It’s 2015. People are into kinky stuff. Can we move on already, please?
*Note: this article was originally published here in February. I’m not just super late to the conversation (haha).*
It’s been ten years, and I really need to get something off my chest.
I did not, I repeat, did not call Claire “stinky”.
In year two, my class had decided to do dancing instead of normal sport. Everyone was sweating, and sweat obviously smells. My naive eight-year-old self had commented on this: “something stinks”. Maybe Claire was coming up with a conspiracy theory, or maybe she’d simply misheard me. Either way, I know I was wronged. Of course, no one believes an eight-year-old, so I experienced my first lunch-time detention. I was miserable and had spent the whole time freezing in the icy shade of the school buildings, thinking how I’d been wronged.
I want to go back to my primary school. I don’t even know if Mrs White works there anymore—there’s a possibility she may not even be alive. But I have a point to prove; I did not lie. This has been bugging me for ten years—I think I’m really overdue for an apology.