[Written by Anastasija Svarevska]
[Image Credit: Pixabay//Nic0leta]
[Written by Anastasija Svarevska]
[Image Credit: Pixabay//Nic0leta]
[Written by Beth Leishman]
[Image Credit: China Stringer Network/Reuters]
[Written by Adriana Iuliano]
[Images by Adriana Iuliano]
[Written by Natash Cunningham]
[Image by Aike Jansen]
[Written by Ilia Ryzhenko]
[Image Credit: Pixabay//StockSnap]
[Written by Maria Elena Roselli]
[Image by Tosca de Wilt]
[Written by Jack Jeffrey]
[Image Credit: flickr//Martin Abegglen]
If you take a look at the World Health Organization’s road safety statistics for Gaza and the West Bank, you will see two blank boxes. The first is ‘% of road traffic accidents related to alcohol consumption’; for obvious reasons, the absence of data here is not surprising. The second empty box is ‘% of passengers who wore a seat belt’, which is strange for numerous reasons. Firstly, wearing a seat belt is obliged by the law in both Gaza and the West Bank, with an apparent police enforcement rate of 7 out of 10. Consequently, one would think that they would at least have a rough estimation of how many passengers were breaking the law. Secondly, unlike the discovery of a drunk-driving epidemic, a high number of strapless passengers would not come as a major shock to the rest of the world, nor would it undermine the piety of a predominantly Muslim society.
[Written by Martina Bani]
[Illustration by Silvia Sani]
Today I broke up with my boyfriend. “Long-distance relationships never work”—a sentence I’ve heard so many times that it sickens me now. Most of all because it’s true. Dealing with feelings framed by long-distance is intense; euphoric one moment, and hopelessly dispirited a second after. No half measures. You could say that such an intensity of feeling best encapsulates the “rise and fall” paradigms of relationships, as the possibility of time together is limited. If the squeezebox of time shrinks, so do the bellowing feelings within it, and the sound comes out at a higher pitch. In this way, exploring the rapid dynamics of long-distance relationships can offer us insights on how relationships, in general, work.
[Written by Anonymous]
[Image by Karin Tokunaga]
Trigger Warning: this article includes discussion of eating disorders.
Being skinny was part of me; at least that was what I’d been taught to believe. I remember how my friends told me how lucky I was to be skinny, how I got into modelling and my family was so proud of me, how my body shape was the first thing anyone seemed to notice about me. And then it turned into an obsession.
It’s a tale that has played out countless times.
[Written By Annegret Maja Fiedler]
[Image By Annegret Maja Fiedler//20th Century Fox Animation Studios]
Trigger Warning: Discussions of mental illness, blood (minor), body hatred and self-harm (ritualistic).
Since the age of eight, I have struggled with acne and dermatillomania, which also known as skin-picking or excoriation disorder. Dermatillomania is characterised by uncontrollable picking at skin on any area of the body, which can lead to emotional and physical damage. It can be triggered by boredom, negative feelings, and skin conditions such as acne or eczema. My toxic relationship with dermatillomania began with squeezing zits on my forehead before bed. I found it oddly comforting and addictive; perhaps for the same reason YouTube channels such as Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) have gained millions of subscribers.
[Written by Melissa Dunn]
[Image by Kate Zápražná]
Recently, it seems like we’re constantly being told that the single biggest thing we can do to save the planet in the next 12 years is to turn vegan – or at least cut cows out of our diet. But do you really need to go as far as giving up all animal-based products, or is it OK to just reduce your meat intake by going “flexitarian”? The answer to that question depends on your motives. Do you think that killing and consuming animals is unethical, or do you just want to do your bit towards saving our planet? Those in the former camp would argue that nothing short of veganism is good enough, but for those in the latter camp, the answer may not be so clear-cut. My perspective here is strictly environmental – I’m trying to find out whether flexitarianism actually changes anything for the better.
[Written by Ellen Grant]
[Image Credit: Grace Rivera @__gracerivera]
Jacob Banks is, in his own words, a storyteller. At just 27, he exudes a self-assured wisdom that belies his years. He was the first unsigned artist to perform in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and has already toured with Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, and Alicia Keys – but now he is a headline name in his own right.
[Written by Martha Scott]
[Image by Karin Tokunaga]
We constantly hear about how bad ‘fast fashion’ is, both from an environmental and an ethical point of view. The rapid cycle of production and consumption of clothes is destroying our planet; it’s also well known that the people making our cheap clothes rarely receive a fair wage.
[Written by Vaiva Gikaité]
[Image by Aike Jansen]
“Biohacking” might sound like science fiction, but lots of people are already doing it to some degree. It’s arguably even becoming necessary to in order to keep up with the pace of modern life.
[Written by Joycee Choong]
[Image by Kate Zápražná]
From freelancing to zero-hour contracts, extended internships to the gig economy, ‘non-traditional’ jobs are increasingly common. This series of articles will focus on how people experience these different roles; how it’s affecting their views on life and work; whether they feel it’s positive, negative, fun, scary, or maybe a combination of those things? To start things off, we have a contribution from Joycee, who writes about what she has learned since she started freelancing.
[Written by Vaiva Gikaite]
[Image by Kate Zápražná]
Content Warning: This article includes discussion of mental illness
The language that we have to talk about mental illness is limiting. Currently we speak of disorders and illnesses as discrete sets of symptoms, you have X or are suffering from Y. But anyone who’s been struggling with their mental health for a while and has Googled their symptoms even once can see that the lines between diagnoses are blurry.
[Written by Hannah Lane]
[Illustration by Grace Elder]
Grain and Grind
First stop is a relaxed coffee shop located in Battlefield in Glasgow’s Southside. From Mount Florida station – which doesn’t take long to travel to from Central – Grain and Grind is just a short walk. The all-day café have a focus on grains – including several waffle dishes on their brunch menu and fresh bread for sale – and coffee. They also stock homemade doughnuts on Saturdays and Sundays, which are amazing! The interiors are relaxed and modern and the food is lovely, so this is somewhere really nice to go for a few hours if you want to get away from the West End!
[Written by Morgan Laing]
[Image by Morgan Laing]
Like many women who have obsessed over the seminal romantic dramedy Sex and the City, I have found myself – alone, on a Saturday night in front of the TV – pondering the similarities between the four fabulous protagonists and myself. Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, me… our lives aren’t all that different. Just like them, I have a tight-knit group of friends. I also live in a city, and I attend blowout brunches that I can’t financially justify but still indulge in anyway because, hello, have you tried the pancakes in this place?
[Written by Betty Henderson]
[Illustration by Betty Henderson]
Glasgow is a city that celebrates culture. A place that is buzzing with art, history, and the most incredible music scene. It’s a place that is loud, proud and oh so friendly – and although it may be home to some of the best art galleries and museums in Scotland, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a city that thrives on art and eccentricity, and nowhere encapsulates this vibe more than the eclectic Trongate area. Here is my guide to the ideal way to spend an afternoon in the East End of the city, from vintage shopping to totally instagrammable cafes. There is something for the art lover in all of us.
[Written By Arianne Crainie – Editor-in-Chief]
Hello everyone! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to take a browse at the articles published over the past few days. If not then click back to the feed where you’ll find some pieces on the theme of ‘Tomorrow.’ This mini-theme was chosen to coincide with our Freshers zine-making workshop last Friday (what a great turnout – tysm to everyone who came!!). It also prompted us to reflect on what we wanted for the magazine.
Last week we ran some of our first workshops of the year including a wonderfully well-attended zine making workshop! To coincide with our Fresher Week mini-theme of ‘Tomorrow’ we collected pages together to create a zine on the theme and the result is absolutely fantastic!
This is just a taster of the kinds of workshops and events we’ll be running for the next year. Always with a goal to be inclusive, encourage collaboration and engage in creative pursuits, regardless of experience or ability!
[Written by Maisie Joanna and Ellen Grant – Events Managers]
Glasgow is never short of goingons, and this month is no exception. Whether you’re a fresh-faced first year ready to get to know the city, or you’ve been pacing these streets your whole life, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Tomorrow doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom…
[Written by Morgan Laing – Deputy Editor]
[Illustration by Julia Rosner]
Last week, during a spontaneous road trip with my best friends (HI, AM I IN AN AMERICAN COMING-OF-AGE FILM??), I experienced what can only be described as a “moment”. A “moment” is one of those occasions where the sky seems unbelievable and the music is right and you all of a sudden sense – in your heart and in your bones – that everything is going to turn out exactly as you dreamed it would, when you were a child building the perfect world in your mind.
[Written by Perry Stewart – Online Editor]
I’m almost certain that a whole stack of people around the internet will have written about this already, but I’m entering my fourth and final year of university and I am filled with a dreadful sense of unease. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to returning and getting back into the groove of lectures. No, it’s the fact that I have to make proper adult choices soon and I’m in no way ready for that. I bought a giant plush shark from IKEA today with my own money, that is how much of an adult I am. So, when I was given the brief to talk about the concept of ‘tomorrow’, I decided I’d talk about how much I’m dreading it.
[Written by Annegret Maja Fiedler – Social Media Editor]
I spend a lot of time stressing about my future, and realising that in about 250 tomorrows I may have graduated. I have to seem employable by then, and I need to know what career path I must pursue.
[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]
So, we did it. In a few weeks we will officially have degrees, and can plaster that first, 2:1, 2:2 onto our bright and shiny CVs that we will (or already are) ramming down the email-shaped throat of anything, anywhere that is vaguely related to the kind of job we imagine ourselves doing. For me, it’s somewhere in the realm of film and arts, but I’ll also happily take a job in marketing/ journalism/a bar. Anything that will allow me to pay my rent, basically. And I know from talking to friends that it isn’t just me being massively melodramatic (although that has been known to happen on very, extremely rare occasions…). But everyone seems to have, what I call, The Fear.
[Written By: Emma Lees]
In the April of 2017, Caitlyn Jenner gave an interview with Diane Sawyer in which she discussed her transition from a male to a female. People all over the world seemed fixated upon the fact Bruce had once been a wealthy, successful, inspirational man, an Olympic athlete. Suddenly, it seemed the act of a gender reassignment surgery had stripped her of the right to be held in such high regard. The interview was memorable and one statement in particular still sticks with me: ‘I’m not stuck in anybody’s body, I hate that phrase. I’m just me.’ This is everything – everything that is wrong with our notions of gender identification.
[Written By: Shamso Abdirahman]
For this year’s International Women’s Day, Mattel announced their Inspiring Women collection with a series of 17 dolls commemorating iconic women throughout history. One of the figures being the influential Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
[Written By: Hannah West]
The irony of me writing this article is that I have been putting it off, and off, and off – procrastinating entirely and finding something else to do the minute I sit down at my desk. But that’s not all – I’ve also had the exact same internal fight every single time this has happened. I end up beating myself up about the fact that I can’t seem to find it in myself to be productive, even when I know how much time I have to do something and what my other commitments are.
[Written By: Kritika Narula]
[Photographer: Erifili Gounari]
The narrative on mental health has strengthened over the years. Yet, a very small proportion of the people seek help. The reasons vary. The identification of mental health issues is hard because of their conspicuous absence from the mainstream medical narrative. Even if one identifies the issue, it is difficult to muster enough courage to acknowledge it in entirety and reach out for help. What complicates matters is that these experiences are extremely personal and explaining what one is going through is a daunting task in itself. To add to this, there’s unfathomable stigma about accepting such illnesses and disorders because they are seen as a character flaw.
[Written By: Hannah Lane]
‘Don’t talk much, do you?’ These were words uttered to me a matter of days ago, as I sat in the back of a car with my older sister and two others. We were undertaking an hour-long journey and, unsurprisingly, my sister had been talking non-stop the entire time whilst I had hardly spoken only one word beyond the necessary polite greetings and initial small talk. I then smiled at the person addressing me and mumbled something about a tendency to zone out during car journeys, and that I was more of a listener anyway.
[Written By: Emma Harrison]
[Illustration: Julia Rosner]
There is a pretty strong consensus, when it comes to fiction, that there are “good” and “bad” books. In a less complicated world, this would simply mean that there are books that are well-written and enjoyable to read, and books that aren’t. Instead, the issue is far more convoluted – a good book must also be considered proper literature, of academic interest, of sound reputation, and as far from commercialised writing as possible. Whether it is actually enjoyable to read or not often seems to be less important than how far it can distance itself from its contemporaries.
[Writer and photographer: Silvia Sani]
Currently, Instagram is one of the most-used applications. Its purpose is rooted in letting people share moments in their life through pictures: a photo with friends on a night out, a beautiful sunset, the university viewed from the library (I have done that), an image of summer holidays in a sunny country, and so on. When scrolling down on Instagram, all one sees is memories of other people’s lives.
[Written By: Shamso Abdirahman]
My last Instagram post was a selfie. I thought I looked cute in the picture and, more importantly, I remember feeling carefree and happy at the time. It had made the cut from the dozen others I’d taken, and – after seeking the counsel of various WhatsApp group chats (it absolutely was not a spontaneous post) – I posted the selfie. So came the post-upload wave of validation from friends and followers, and it’s fair and honest to say that my two hours of social media traffic was validating but soon enough – over. The many love heart emojis and messages with the words ‘glow-up season’ were all appreciated, but it never dawned on me that I had glowed up.
[Interviewed by Hannah West]
South London rapper Deacon is an up-and-coming performer on the British hip-hop scene who has already generated incredible hype with his first single, ‘No Evil’ – a hugely political piece inspired by the shape that today’s world takes, and by recent events that he has witnessed around him. Deacon certainly keeps his writing up to speed with the world, and his candid voice will undoubtedly influence many.
As humans, we like to have opinions. We value and trust our own opinions. But things change, and we often find ourselves realising that the opinions we once held no longer stand. Sometimes, our view on something – on a film, or a song, or a book – starts to alter, or dwindle, or degenerate. We grow out of things. We start to think differently. We realise that the thing in question may never have been particularly good to begin with (hi, low-rise jeans). Three writers talk about how their appreciation for particular pieces of media has changed – or, in some cases, declined – over time.
[Written By: Hannah Lane]
[Illustration: Julia Rosner]
In a world slowly being torn apart by environmental destruction, and with people consistently adopting a ‘disposable’ attitude towards everyday life, a personal effort to live more sustainably can often feel futile. We’re constantly aware of the impact our every move has on the environment, yet it can be difficult to distance ourselves from our plastic-infused bubbles and properly examine what exactly our everyday actions, habits and lifestyles do to the world we live in. Nevertheless, it seems that more and more of us are becoming aware of the benefits of sustainable living and making a conscious effort, big or small, to live more mindfully and be more environmentally aware. Recently, I’ve come to realise that we can make an effort to live more sustainably in so many areas – from our food and drink habits and everyday commutes, to our fashion and beauty addictions.
[By: Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]
[By: Elena Roselli]
RISING FROM ASHES
In front of the building site of the building that recently burned in Glasgow city centre, the man coordinating the site is the only splash of colours in an otherwise grey landscape, representing to me the potential of creation that a single human being represents in front of a symbol of destruction.
[Written By: Emma Reilly]
[Photographer: Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]
While the mantra “all you need is love” has become something of a cliché, the vitality of our relationships with others cannot be denied. How we connect with others influences how we connect with ourselves, and thus how we experience life. We rely on our relationships for support and reassurance, and we naturally crave substantial connections to others. This is likely why we feel the sting so prominently when our relationships end, especially if one was not the instigator of the breakup. However, while the media often focuses on romantic breakups, the end of a friendship can be equally as painful and affecting and is arguably a more frequent, even universal, experience. So why are the impacts of lost platonic loves so overlooked and underplayed?
[Written By: Anna Lumaca]
[Illustration: Sophie Bryer]
The Glasgow Guardian recently published an interesting article on United Glasgow: a unique football team that promotes inclusion and anti-discrimination policies. Their message stresses the importance of representing a broad variety of cultural groups in sport. But why should we aspire to diversity? And how much does it impact our University activities? I spoke about these issues with three Glasgow University students, all of whom have very different experiences but similar concerns.
[Written By: Charlotte Dean]
Another Valentine’s Day has swirled past us; couples have fluttered the streets with roses and chocolates. It is a day that is the equivalent of hell for a commitment-phobe. Spring, however, is here (with a little more frosting than we expected). After emerging from our coves, wrapped in duvets and multiple blankets, we can finally stop using hot water bottles for extra heat in our beds. I sometimes find the transitioning between seasons to be akin to shedding skin – the temperature increases (or should, at least), and we get more light with each passing day, making me feel like I really should get out of the house and become that active version of myself that the summer sees far more of.
[Written By: Hannah West]
[Photographer: Erifili Gounari]
When it comes to live music, the size of the venue is undoubtedly important in contributing to the general vibe of a particular gig or live music event, and of course expectations will differ between those going to see the likes of Taylor Swift and those going to see smaller indie performers like Lewis Capaldi or Gabrielle Aplin. Luckily, living in Glasgow, we have no shortage of options for all kinds of live music experiences, ranging from the SSE Hydro (holding up to 13,000 people) to cosy King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut with its capacity of just 300. Personally, I am a frequenter of small gigs at small venues. Aside from the obvious upside that they are more affordable, they feel easy-going and casual – like I could go to one every night of the week and still not be tired out. However, when I saw Coldplay last summer at Hampden Park I was utterly taken aback by the show that I was witnessing before my eyes, and by the sheer magnitude and spectacle that these huge shows provide. This shook up what I thought I already knew about live music, and made me think about the positives of both types of concert.
[Written By: Flora Spencer Grant]
[Illustration: Julia Rosner]
I love film. I study film. I one day hope to work in film, but I hate awards season. The nominees and winners never seem to reflect the films that I love – and yet somehow I still find myself watching every year. It’s generally the same story across all creative industries. Seeing Beyoncé nearly cry when Lemonade was snubbed for best album (she is the artist of my life and Adele’s life) pretty much solidified my hatred of the Grammys, and yet I still pay attention to the whole thing. Even though I’m aware of the fact that awards are not the be all and end all (I’m pretty sure Beyoncé isn’t losing any sleep) I can’t help but feel that they are still significant.
[Written by: Natalia Melenteva]
I will have to confess something straight away: I am one of these annoying people who starts sentences with “when I lived in…”
It is not that I always choose to do so. It is just that, as a Third Culture Kid, it is often difficult to avoid saying these things. There is no straight answer to the inevitable question of “where are you from?” Or, “where did you go to school?” For us, questions like these mean either telling the white lie of naming one country to avoid explaining your entire life story, or to go into lengthy explanations about how, why, when…
[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]
[Picture taken by: Erin Robinson]
Throughout British history, it was believed that some women were witches – and for this ‘crime’, they were killed.
Now we know that this claim was made up by various political and religious powers who felt threatened by women (Thomas Lolis asserts this, among many other historians). Even though I know for certain that women aren’t witches, I do believe they are magic, in a way.
Social media can help hone aspects of our real-life selves and enable us to express ourselves more honestly
[Written By: Katy Scott]
Finding My Identity in a Post-Brexit Society
[Article and Illustration By: Gabriela Saldanha Blackwood]
[Written By: Leora Mansoor]
[Illustration: Julia Rosner]
A ‘Where’s Waldo’ of Good Conversation
I remember once telling a guy I really liked that I didn’t listen to music. It may have even been worse than that though, because I’m pretty sure I actually told him I didn’t like music at all. Obviously it had been a lie, one of the kinds that fall out of your mouth when you’re flustered in someone’s presence. There was also this somewhat innate fear of admitting that I really didn’t know what I liked, or couldn’t remember. It was also pretty hard to admit at the time that I had three double sided Billy Joel CDs on my iPod accompanied by, what I only realised upon returning home this Christmas, an ‘ABBA Gold’ tribute CD. I was sixteen; of course I didn’t want to say the wrong things. I was young and still afraid that my identity could be the wrong one.
[Written By: Hannah West]
[Photograph: Adriana Iuliano]
In this strange new world of internet fan bases and online communities, it seems that now more than ever there is a set aesthetic that is expected of fans of absolutely anything. From bands to sports to art, there is a “look” that is expected of people who identify or associate themselves with [X]. This can, of course, be a good thing: dressing according to interests is a way for people to code and identify themselves as a certified fan of a particular thing. It creates a certain group identity that can be very unifying; something that helps to find people around you with similar interests. However, this can also be incredibly problematic in some situations – it can lead to the assumption that someone can only like something if they choose to present themselves in this one specific way.
[Written by: Hannah West]
Hannah West writes about the how the rainbow flag came to be an international symbol of LGBTQ+ pride.
‘’Gay pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one’’ – stop-homophobia.com
[Written By: Elspeth Macintosh]
[Illustration: Skye Galloway]
Many TV shows portray the lives of adolescents. Teen dramas are churned out seemingly on a production line by television networks, but it’s only the best ones that are remembered. This is often because of the relatability of storylines and characters (or sometimes it’s just because of the addictive drama!) In my opinion, the most important feature of this genre is that there is usually a genuine focus on young people’s issues and experiences, and for this reason it has created some of the best content and characters out there. I’ve picked a few favourites to discuss. But because this is such an expansive category, it’s impossible to cover everything – so apologies if this selection isn’t for you!
[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]
My relationship with glasses isn’t ground-breaking, or even slightly irregular. I started getting headaches in class when I was about 14, so my mum took me to the opticians and, low and behold, I had a very slight amount of short-sightedness in both eyes. As I’ve gotten older my eyes have gotten progressively worse, to the point where most of my classmates won’t have seen me without glasses on. Seven years later, however, and I still don’t think of myself as a glasses wearer.
For the first few years, I would avoid my glasses unless I was in class or watching T.V. – leaving me walking around in a slightly blurred-out world. This habit kept up into university, the only change being that I donned contacts for nights out so as to see a little bit better in dark, disorienting clubs. After my first month or so here I realised not being able to see people in the street wasn’t something that was actually helping me much, and so glasses became a daily situation. For the past few years it felt like I had given in – as my prescription worsened I became, to my dismay, a full-time glasses wearer. And this felt like a defeat. My dreams of being clear faced and carefree fell away overnight.
But why did this feel like a defeat? Why did I feel like I had given in to something when I started wearing my glasses everyday – which I needed to do? The fact that I am able to see an optician and acquire glasses so easily is something I should feel lucky about – there’s ‘1.1 billion people worldwide who can’t see properly simply because they need glasses.’ (Vision Aid Overseas). That’s 1/7 of the world’s population who don’t have that privilege, and on top of that, ‘two-thirds of those affected are women’. So why, if I’m so lucky on a global scale, did I feel so unlucky on a personal one?
I think this issue is bigger than just me. It comes down to the pressure put on young women to be appealing to men, an idea that is sold to them again and again through advertisement, media, and the people around them. It’s a well-documented issue that women are often told to be pretty, whereas men are told to be strong, independent, clever. And so, glasses, which enabled me to see better in class and learn more by allowing me to read the board, as well as getting rid of my headaches - quite literally allowing me to learn more - were to me something to dread.
So, when I knew my eyes had gotten worse and I would have to go and get new glasses, (which for me consists of going into my opticians about four times before finally choosing the least terrible pair), I decided to reflect on the feelings I had towards my glasses. Without them I wouldn’t really be able to study at university. Without them I would be plagued with migraines. Without them I wouldn’t be able to enjoy films or art or plays as much as I do. These are all wonderful things. And I’m so deep now that when I look in the mirror, my face makes much more sense with glasses on than without.
What I realised is the hatred I felt towards my glasses was based on things that no longer matter to me, and all the things I gain from having them are entirely positive. It’s simple logic that something that produces all good outcomes is, the majority of the time, good in itself. My hatred of glasses should have been left behind with the other childish fads I’ve shaken off throughout my life, such as believing I should wear make-up every-day, and my dislike of wearing baggy clothes. The idea that my glasses aren’t a positive make no sense to my life now, and, besides, I look pretty cute with my glasses on.
[Written by Valeria Levi]
I have never written articles. Well, that’s not completely true – I’ve written some samples in school on a writing course but I would not consider them real articles. When you write for real, your work addresses people who are genuinely intrigued by what you may say, not teachers who have to deal with your writing regardless their sincere interest. The impact is very different – where teachers tend to criticise or encourage you in order to help you make some improvements, readers don’t care about your work-in-progress style and its derived imperfections. You must be good from the beginning because readers are looking for feeling a sort of appeal to your writing, a sensuous appeal to how you can put words together. Along with that, they are seeking for a new angle on things, something that will lead them to a different perspective from their general point of view.
[Written By: Isabel Thomas]
[Photograph: Ruarí MacManus]
Like many others, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It obviously has many pros; it fosters discussion, you can meet like-minded people, and it provides a network of support if necessary. However, after obsessively opening and closing apps for hours it also becomes very exhausting. When going through hard times, it can be hard to open up Instagram or Facebook only to see that everyone other than yourself seems to be having fun all the time and making the most of their lives. It’s difficult to remember that what you are seeing on your screen is just what people choose to upload, and that social media is such a tiny glimpse into someone’s life. At the end of the day, everybody has problems.
[Written By: Georgia Britton]
[Photographs: Adriana Iuliano]
It’s a typically cold and rainy day in Glasgow as I write this, and all I want is to be back lying in the sun in Puglia. Over three weeks during the summer, I travelled around the heel of southern Italy, and I saw some of the most beautiful scenery, beaches, and weather that I ever have in my life. Now all I want to do is go back and fall in love all over again.
[Written by: Charlotte Dean]
*Trigger warning: abuse, sexual harassment, assault*
During a time where sexual harassment and abuse is becoming more public than ever, and the inequality of men and women is being tackled, I felt it was only appropriate to discuss what students might have to deal with at university. I know I haven’t discussed sexual tales yet, but before I do that I feel that the realities of what students and people alike can face these days needs to be spoken about. Without realising, one can be mentally abused in a relationship, and this can be just as soul-destroying as being physically abused. I recently read an article by The Independent online listing the main points of what occurs when in an abusive relationship.
[Written By: Isabelle Hunt-Deol]
[Illustration By: Sofia Lopes]
“I am always late on principle, my principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.”
– Oscar Wilde
It’s highly likely that I’m submitting this article late… sorry, GUM.
I’m not sure whether it’s the struggle of parting from my cushy covers in the morning or the thrill and excitement I get from racing around my flat five minutes before I’m meant to be somewhere, but I never like to arrive places on time.
[Written By: Emma Harrison]
[Photograph: Annegret Maja Fiedler]
When sitting down to begin writing this article, fresh from the clutches of an essay, I was faced with an unhappy irony. My attempt to write about writer’s block had been stopped in its tracks by the very thing I was trying to discuss.
[Written By: Amy Shimmin]
Long gone are the days of never using your real name or image online. Our lives come with a lengthy virtual footprint, and for the generation emerging their lives from the womb can be traced. With our relationship with the Internet deeper than ever, it’s not just our faces that are visible – it’s our personalities and interests, too. Making friends online seems like a natural progression – but why is this still, in 2017, frowned upon?
[Written By: Florence Bridgman]
[Photographer: Annegret Maja Fiedler]
Are new methods of music promotion ‘sardonically manipulative or profoundly enriching’? Florence Bridgman discusses.
[Written By: Rachel Gillett]
[Photographer: Annegret Maja Fiedler]
What happened to youth subculture? In 2017, the defining characteristics of dress and music – which made subcultures easily identifiable – are largely missing. Clothing and music taste has become a lot more homogenous in recent years. This has largely eradicated the distinct groups that were present in the 70s and 80s. Films like This is England (2006) highlight the significance of subcultures, with the film exploring early and later skinhead culture in the 1980s, and the creation of identities through being a part of these particular groups. Personally, I do not think in 2017 we have the same level of subcultures – however, have they completely disappeared all together?
[Written By: Lynsay Holmes]
[Art: Aike Jansen]
Veganism. We’ve all heard of it, you’ve probably got a friend or a neighbour who identifies themselves as this “strange” creature. But in this article I aim to debunk the myths surrounding veganism; that it’s an “extremist ideology” or an expensive and elitist lifestyle for health conscious, 40-year-old yoga mums. Instead, I will reiterate its real roots and true core as a socio-political movement. Lesson one: Veganism is not about food, it’s about politics. The aim of the vegan movement is to make a permanent, ethical change that filters into all facets of our daily lives. It is everything you consume: food, clothes, beauty products, furniture; the thing we all consume most is food and thus why the image of veganism is food centred.
By Anna Shams Ili
Most of us remember audiobooks from our childhood. Depending on your age, it was either CDs or cassettes back then – but most of us let them go once we passed into adolescence. In a sense, these were rather similar to the podcasts we enjoy now. So too are radio segments such as ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review’. In recent times, however, the podcast has grown as a medium in itself. Published in episode format, it’s a type of entertainment that’s speedily increasing its popularity.
Written By: Louise Wylie
Illustration: Skye Galloway
Twitter – or, as my mum calls it, ‘that place where I can argue with Trump supporters’ – is making a drastic change. Tweets will no longer be confined to a miserly 140 characters as a new gargantuan 280 character limit is being phased in. The reactions have been mixed, to say the least. Personally, I am deeply offended that I haven’t been deemed worthy of the added words yet, though my followers might not be all that surprised. Some argue that the expansion will solve some of the frustrations of trying to squeeze a point into a teensy space. Others claim that more characters aren’t necessary, and that wordier tweets have less impact.
Written By: Charlotte Dean
We find ourselves adjusting to new routines with the constant changing of seasons. After spending four months in the Italian Dolomites I’ve had to adjust to lower ground, and life in Glasgow doesn’t share the same peaks my Italian stay had to offer. Once in Italy it was not difficult to forget about Glasgow – its dark grey cloud and lack of adventure a distant memory when working in the Dolomites. People would appear to think that when you travel away from home for long periods of time that your patterns won’t follow and that you can de-root yourself entirely from the past. Is this the case, though?
Written By: Nina Panter
Illustration: Sophie Bryer
Can you fall in love with a place? Nina Panter argues you can.
Photograph: Silvia Sani
It seems millennials can’t even have a cappuccino or a slice of avocado toast on a leisurely Sunday without someone dubbing them entitled, lazy, and wholly responsible for the state of the housing market these days. Four contributors celebrate millennial strengths by telling us why the constant criticism is unreasonable, and by explaining the ways in which millennials are trying to change the world for the better.
Written By: Jennifer Bowey
Photograph: Léa Cyrielle
Being insecure is, unfortunately, increasingly prevalent in our social media obsessed society. Young people in particular are often dissatisfied with their own appearance and, on top of that, preoccupied with what their peers’ opinions on the matter might be. Poor self-image is, then, one of the most common problems facing individuals today. In its most extreme cases, however, it could be attributable to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – an anxiety disorder that causes people to have a warped perception of their own physical appearance resulting in extreme distress. This condition, according to NHS statistics, may affect as many as 1 in 100 of us, yet is given minimal consideration.
Up until now, you’ve probably bought your beauty products – be it a hairbrush or foundation – from the Superdrug down the road or online. But as you might have already heard, technology has and is revolutionising everything from the workplace to how we interact with each other and that goes for the beauty industry too. There’s now magical mirrors, apps like dermatologists and more customization than ever before.
As a fourth year student, set to graduate in June, I am thrilled that my life will no longer be plagued by essays, exams or perhaps worst of all, The Dissertation. However, despite the jubilant sense of freedom my friends and I experienced upon completing our exams and throwing off the shackles of never-ending study, there remains an overriding sense of anxiety bubbling away under the surface.
As I prepare for four months away to the land of Italians, where the men are famously known for their romantic tendencies, golden skin, flowing dark hair – and where the relationship between the Greek and the Roman Gods becomes a little fuzzy – I can’t help but feel excited to escape Glasgow. I have never left the city for longer than one month at a time – I, like everyone from here, have the infamous ‘fomo’ condition. Nights out in Glasgow can alter according to the choice of club, but we all have our favourite bars, our wee hotspots where we just know we’re bound to bump into people. For first and second years at university this inevitably becomes the Glasgow University Union, where we all happily charge down the sticky tiled floor and bump into a handful of our ‘closest’ pals. Now, older and ‘wiser’, we appreciate the smaller things in life – maybe not the small and overpriced cocktails from the Finnieston strip, but our tastes have certainly become defined over the last few years.
While the university exam season has begun and our blood pressure rises astronomically at the sight of exam rooms, we all have one thing in common: the strive to make ourselves have that little edge that says “we’ve got this” to our tutors. This led me to wonder, why is it others succeed to get noticed more than others – not just at university but in everyday life? We each fight with the disco ball for a little stardom and spotlight during a Saturday night boogie. A statement designer top which one couldn’t simply purchase from Urban Outfitters can prove to catch the eyes of a few, and while some use clothing, others use vibrant hair dyes, statement piercings, or twist-and-shout dance moves.
Isabelle Hunt-Deol shared with us some empathy-themed pictures she took wandering in Glasgow.
“seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” ― Alfred Adler
Almost every year the same topic hits the headlines – the serious and pressing issue of air pollution in cities across the UK. Since 2010, the UK has exceeded the EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution limit every year, often or not within the first few weeks. In London, this troubling pattern continued into 2017, this time breaching the limit in just 5 days.
Despite the extent to which it has become intertwined with our twenty-first century lives, the Internet is often regarded with caution. The recent election of Donald Trump and the notable rise of the alt right across Europe has only brought criticism against online culture into sharper relief. It is undeniable that the Internet can be a breeding ground for hate. Online chat forums lead angry young men to believe that white masculinity is under threat from those who don’t agree with them – feminists, the LGBTQ+ community, etc. – and a space such as the Internet naturally provides an echo chamber in which hateful subcultures fester and churn out trolls. On an individual level people worry that excessive use of social media can have an adverse effect on mental health, that genuine empathy is being replaced by the angry-face react button. Millenials, the world’s first ever Internet generation, are seen as ‘self-obsessed’ and unable to have decent conversations IRL.
As the sun appears to have emerged for the start of the Easter holidays, everyone is shining up like a new penny. Our white 60s shades can be worn, our wax appointments are booked and it seems we are feeling a little more prone to putting ourselves out there in the search for a mate. Just like this week’s hot topic – the one-pound coin was given a revamp due to its apparently dated appearance – we are also casting off our old shells.
When we come across people at University, one of the frequently asked questions that crop up in conversation is “what are you studying? “. When I answer “History of Art” I’ve often received responses like “oh… right” or “must be an easy ride for you” – words which indicate that such a degree has little, if any, relevance.
As the days grow longer and the sun has awoken after a long winter, we all are expected to crawl out of our slump and begin our days early and with a determination to complete our assignments. Our focus is on – or should be – on our work, but a getting away from everyone and everything is necessary during this stressful time. While travelling around I got to reunite with some of my best friends, people who I used to be inseparable with before work and the world around us got in the way, before I focused my attention on succeeding and being the ‘best version’ I could be. Not only the best version I saw for myself, but also the one attractive in the world and its eyes and wishes from me.
My legs were shaking, palms sweltering, head banging and I knew what was coming. Stood there, in the middle of the shopping centre, I was having an anxiety attack. Again. Quick, run to the bathroom and nobody will even notice you…but I couldn’t; my legs didn’t want to move. Sweat dripped down my forehead and people began to stare. ‘What’s wrong with that man, mum?’, ‘Stay away from him’, ‘what a weirdo’, ‘haha loser!’
Eventually, I made it back to my flat. I locked my door and it was over. I didn’t need to think, talk or scrutinise it. Just forget it, I said.
How many people go through this every day? 15 million.
How many of those receive frequent treatment? 5 million.
It seems something isn’t quite right.
How can we get out of the New Years Slump?
To break free from the post-New Years slump, we must first realise what causes it in the first place.
The festive period can be a wonderful time, however it leaves us vulnerable to becoming deeply embedded in our comfort zones. First comes Advent- we indulge in streets illuminated by fairy lights; christmas markets made of woodhuts; winter wonderland themed window displays; concerts; christmas soundtracks (even the trashier tunes have an aesthetic tone to them) and films which work up a feeling of nostalgia within us, that traces back through many an encounter with the month of December – we already feel we’ve escaped reality.
Last year, I succeeded in sticking to my first ever New Year’s Resolution. Until 2016, I was of the opinion that New Year’s Resolutions served no greater purpose than creating an easy topic for small talk in the first week or so of the year, to prevent everyone from having to think too hard whilst still bloated and lethargic from the previous weeks of festivities. Most New Year’s Resolutions, I think, fail because they are based on what people think they should be, rather than what they want to spend their time doing.
Me and my friend Sine Harris recently set up Figurehead Theatre together and our first production ‘Mr. Earhart’ goes up at the Flying Duck this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. We had worked together before on a small scale student theatre project but felt that it would be good practice to find out some more things for ourselves while also having the freedom to make the kind of theatre we wanted.
If like I was you are slightly daunted by the prospect of setting up and running your own theatre company, you might find this handy list of tips a good place to start. I definitely haven’t covered everything but this very brief four step plan should hopefully answer some basic questions, help you set up some timescales and give some very amateur business knowledge.
Our editors take us on a journey into the albums that transport them to a special place. Read more in Issue 2: Space and Place!
Bulletproof Picasso (2014)
I have been a fan of the band Train for years yet I have never been so attached to any of their albums. You rarely see any album names that directly refer to art, therefore, ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ really caught my eye. The album is supposed to be pop rock genre, although it’s more pop than rock, which I personally have no problems with. None of the songs are ‘go crazy’, ‘dance in your room like no one is watching’ worthy which is what I normally listen to, yet even I love every song in this album to bits: this is because it makes me feel different. Songs like ‘Angel in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Bulletproof Picasso’ relax me, make me lie down with my legs up on the wall, close my eyes and listen. While listening I drift away into the world where every emotion is valid, where you can think and feel anything you want. As funny as it sounds, it inspires me to live a fulfilling, versatile life. To be honest, I could blab random things about this album that probably do not make sense to anybody but you really have to listen to understand and even develop your own thoughts and feelings about this album.
Sometimes I think my favourite part of travelling is the spaces in between; the downtime, the long, sleepy train rides watching a place completely new to you crawl by your window, or absentmindedly taking photos through the window of the bus. The parts that are less often recorded in the travel diaries and gloss pictures, the time in between the iconic sights and photo-ops, the liminal spaces of the bus station or the airport can in some ways be the most memorable, the most quietly affecting. Over the last few years, whenever I’ve had the chance to travel, I’ve come back with countless photos, that have taken me hours to sort through, and often my favourites aren’t of the landmarks or of the breath-taking landscapes, as exciting as they are, but of the little details; the kind that just caught my eye for a second, or that I forgot the first time around. Here, I have collected a few of the pictures that really take me back to the places I’ve been.
As we shuffle through the months, leaving behind the bleakness of January, February arrives as a pleasing reprieve, somewhere between the icy beauty of winter and the greening optimism of spring. And yet, with all this potential for hope, with some resolutions still withstanding, in the middle of the month we come to a crossroads, that splits heads, hearts, and directions. Yes, that ol’ 14th February junction, with St. Valentine as the guardian of the crossroads, clad every hue of pink and red you ever thought possible. Valentine’s Day causes much division, many debating origin, practices, worth, and value. In the end, it partly comes down to this: partnered, or single. While those partnered whine over prices, last minute gifts, and forgetting to make dinner reservations, we, the loveless, the nuns and the monks, the maiden aunts and bachelor uncles, are faced with two options, two pathways, not strewn with rose petals to choose from. For us single people, Valentine’s Day has two possibilities: self-love or self-pity.
During my hectic week in freshers, my flatmates and I were invited down a cobbled path into a small festival where we painted rocks, created bags out of old shirts and had the delight of tasting Beetroot Humous made from ‘surplus food’. We got chatting to the girls who told us all about the Food-sharing organisation. They are a volunteer-run branch who aim to eradicate food waste by redistributing surplus food. As we devoured the vegan apple flap jacks made by the girls, they explained how they collect waste food from small shops and businesses and redistribute to people in need of food, this can range from hungered students to homeless people.
What makes a safe place?
Just what can we define as a safe space? Is it our physical environment? or perhaps our emotional welbeing? Our mindset?
Usually, the place that makes us feel safe is the environment that is familiar to us. Having been a student for over three years now, a prime example for me is the University Library. It’s obviously not the most exciting or lively of places – however, there is something about it which encourages us to feel safe. Firstly, it offers peace and quiet, which is a “must have” when it comes to getting work done, especially during the build up to exams and deadlines when we are vulnerable to becoming consumed by stress.
The author of So Sad today definitely seems to think so- through her poetry, published initially online, she charters her experience of twitter and the web, as a place where sharing about struggles with mental health was more easily facilitated than every day.
In some ways it should be basic, when posting to Twitter or Instagram you are accessing the potential for an international group therapy session, you don’t have 1-10 people who could identify and relate to you, you have 1 – 313 million. The physical silence of online provides equal possibilities to share vulnerable-making, or at least vulnerable feeling information, which many mental health related things can be. However, silence can as easily be interpreted as a rejection as any explicit message, and if a trolling hate reply is received (of which there are many) it could silence the speaker for good.
We are living on the threshold of so many transformations: witnessing the beginning of the Anthropocene, anticipating the loss of most of our wild animals by 2020, going through a cycle of technology-induced mass unemployment not witnessed since the Industrial Revolution. Yet in this whirlwind of changes, there are still people sticking their fingers in their ears and pretending none of this is happening.
Tis’ the season of giving and we must selflessly put the desires of others before our own. Naturally, we have to acknowledge that our own pleasures will have to wait another month. But does this act of giving not come with slight pressure? I cannot help but wonder if the only real hope for anything to ignite at University is the classic or not so classic one-night stand. We are all entitled to use and abuse our bodies in whatever way we see fit but do we forget that what we have is a gift? The need for a little token of appreciation or the general itch from essay writing frustration, can make us forget that our bodies and who we give them to, can be, significant. Truthfully then, any act of giving, inevitably brings about a degree of pressure.
During this time of advent, it’s no wonder everyone appreciates a gift or two. We were all impatiently waiting for essays and exams to finish, desperate to crack open the bottle of red- preferably Buckfast and mulled- to stay out until the sun decides to wake up. During this period of time between freedom and Christmas, we are all in advent of the birthday of Jesus, who gave us our life and our chance to have choice. Coupled with the desire to spend money on our loved ones, this period is also a time of reflection for many of us and amongst the numerous questions that Christmas time brings, one can think of another: when is the right time to give ourselves? We are all sexual human beings and in order to create an all round healthy relationship, you must give as much as you take. However, when you’ve given yourself to someone only to be disappointed by certain areas that might have been lacking or having overly high expectations of the opposite sex, it can make thick ice appear between you and your new flame. It really is a question of whether you are willing to get that bit closer and release yourself from your own past storms to open yourself up to a new setting.
Dear December. Your chilly nights are suddenly upon us and the festive spirit is contagious. Christmas trees have been popping up everywhere since mid November and stacks of sparkly cards are on the shelves, enticing us to take pen to paper and write to our family and friends. Whilst for many, Christmas card writing may be an annual tradition it is also true that, particularly for our social media driven generation, the practice of sending paper messages to our friends and families is disappearing. Many charitable card companies, such as Oxfam, have noted that in the past five year sales have decreased rapidly. One provider said that that in ten years time card sales will be consigned to history as people “simply move on”.
A decrease in Christmas card sales may seem trivial, and affected by the ever rising price of stamps but it reflects a larger, more worrying trend; the dying art of letter writing. We are a generation accustomed to the immediate; from the vast array of information available to us at the click of a search engine button, to the message we can send within seconds to anyone in the world. It is now even possible for us to know when others have viewed our messages and are replying. There is no longer any intrigue to our communications at all, and I do not think it reflects natural human connection. I cannot undermine the wonders of technology and, like everyone I know, I use it everyday: the internet allows us to maintain relationships across great distances, and opens up vast arrays of opportunities to share opinions with others around the globe. However, it also brings about, perhaps subconsciously, an anxiety in our relationships. We can easily become overly analytical about the text message we have just sent in a click, that we can later read over repeatedly or think nothing of delivering a flippant one liner, even to those we love the most. Our increasingly busy lives propelled by the pace of technology and the impatience coupled with it has led to a culture in which slow, long and thoughtful messages are becoming rare. Yes, I know I might seem like an old soul but I’m nostalgic for handwritten letters.
All photography is, in some ways, a form of nostalgia: an image captured is a moment passed, not lost but forever retained in a visual form. And maybe it is this almost supernatural ability to capture a fleeting moment that has caused the international obsession with photography, spawning online sites such as Instagram and Tumblr. However, many have come to question the merit of modern day photography; can a picture taken with an iPhone really be considered a form of art? This, in addition to the ability to delete and modify these images until they are unrecognisable from the original ‘moment’ of capture, could be considered as detracting from photography’s romanticism. This romanticism being the ability to freeze time, to develop, print, and frame a fleeting instant on your wall.
Some days, I think uni isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The visions I had when I was submitting UCAS forms of echoing, beautifully dusty libraries, constant new journeys of self-discovery and romantic dates in cosy coffee shops don’t exactly feel like they’ve come to pass when I’m on level 11 rushing to finish an assignment before the library closes, pretending to have done the reading for the second week in a row, or trying to forget a disappointing winch the morning after a night in Hive. Sometimes, in the blind panic of impending deadlines, it can be easy to long for a time before all this pressure, before the intrusion of thoughts of post-uni career prospects into daily life.
Fairies at the bottom of the garden. Sticks as swords to slay dragons. Bedtime stories to help you sleep. If it hasn’t already been sold on eBay, chances are your imagination has taken a back seat. As we age, our ideas of fantasy – where our mind wanders, the scenes we’d like to see – change, or are even left behind completely. It’s hard to daydream about being a superhero when your mind is occupied with deciding how you’re going to approach your passive-aggressive flat mate. But our imagination, the fuel of our childhoods, is surely the crux of all nostalgia. We look back to those days of dens made from blankets and cardboard boxes becoming pirate ships, and we are remembering not just our childhood, but our imagination. I can remember hours of entertainment with a simple stick: a wand, a sword, a lightsaber. I walk in the park and see children doing the same; it makes me wonder when I stopped imagining, and started only seeing. Perhaps, with the stresses of reality, as students staring into the abyss of impending adulthood, it’s time to use our imaginations again?
As the Autumn leaves fall and abandon the trees, stripped bare of their colour and decoration, we wrap up in the skin of animals or cling onto the skin of someone else, to protect ourselves from the chill that the crisp Glasgow air inevitably brings each winter. Whether we have been residing in the library’s box shapes or the reading room’s hollow shell, the past few months of University have been tough on us all as we adjust to the lack of sunlight. Here we are, students caved into the studying world after a summer of adventurous travels: country hopping for some, bed hopping for others.
Kaisa Saarinen interviews Glasgow Unity Centre in order to clear up some important misconceptions – and finds out what we can all do to help.
Good news doesn’t sell. This simple truth explains why the media is, and always has been, so eager to make the worst of everything. Most major media outlets have been happy to contribute to the ongoing mass hysteria about immigration in order to boost their sales. Several studies have been conducted on the topic of media portrayal of immigration, and they consistently show that the coverage in the UK is amongst the most negative in Europe, and that the continuous flow of fear-mongering headlines and images has a very real impact on its readers. We have all seen examples of this: people described as ‘illegal’, their movement as ‘invading’ or ‘flooding’.
Source: Lonely Label Lookbooks
We all know the fashion industry is big business. A huge yet skinny white arm of that is lingerie. It is worth over $110 billion dollars globally; people love frilly knickers. While we can’t get enough of matching sets, the industry as a whole has been pretty selective in what it wants. The both tall and sculpted-skinny babe with flowing locks enticing you into her bedroom has dominated campaigns.
The female form is beautiful. I’m a straight girl and I can understand the sex appeal of boobs and bums. So, surely embracing all kinds of bodies is even sexier? The modelling industry is founded upon beauty; I’m sorry but that’s just the reality of lifestyle advertising and branding. However, what is seriously an issue when it comes to lingerie is what that ‘beauty’ has been defined by: Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Don’t get me wrong; Rosie’s lingerie brand for M&S is one of the best on the market for the price range (I’m wearing a set right now) but what do these three women have in common? They are all tall, skinny, blonde models with legs for days and the shiniest hair known to Instagram.
I don’t want to undermine these women. They are powerhouses of the lingerie industry and I salute them for their business-savvy in creating lingerie empires. Nevertheless they shouldn’t be our sole definition of what is beautiful in a thong. While they are undoubtedly stunning, so are many other women.
New Zealand brand Lonely Label is fighting these stereotyped images within the world of lingerie. Their advertising campaigns feature armpit hair, a range of shapes and sizes and gasp black women. Fashion as a whole has been notoriously awful at representing people of colour but lingerie is by far one of the worst offenders of the fashion faux pas. The concept of ‘nude’ underwear in the West has always focussed on pinky-beige tones with the occasional murky pop at a darker tone. Nubian Skin is offering what they call a ‘different kind of nude’ to cater to the often-ignored women of colour: they make a variety of shades for lingerie and hosiery and are available from House of Fraser.
Source: Nubian Skin
Many lingerie brands are also now offering an entirely sexual experience for their audience. The sultry and luxurious Coco de Mer has everything from the French knicker to straps on and leather ball gags. They do a gag in a lovely ‘wine red’. Some of their dildos are actually artwork including the delightful Fornicouture Fuji Glass dildo and whip at a slight £900. There is also a dildo in a floral ceramic but that just conjures up too many memories of my Gran’s tea set. Coco de Mer UK’s Instagram currently has over 34,000 followers, people are embracing the fapp-worthy revolution of women’s lingerie.
Source: Coco de Mer
The industry has also come on in leaps and bounds in how it includes size. While I’m against the condescending phrase ‘body type’ – hello, you can’t just Dewey System our figures – long gone are the days where we were all measured as a 34B, no matter what. No longer are we all forcing our poor boobies into the wrong cups and backs. Better training and an encouragement to get your boobs regularly checked for size has meant that the industry has had to cater to our new demands.
Recently, co-founder of luxury British lingerie company Agent Provocateur and son to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, Joe Corré said that he would burn £5 million worth of his memorabilia in the protest of the mainstream’s adoption of punk culture. Agent Provocateur was founded on this punk attitude in 1994 in the hope of bringing sexual and fun lingerie to the masses. Although I’m not entirely sure what’s ‘punk rock’ about charging £195 for a thong, the sentiment was nice. Brands like these are bringing erotic lingerie to the masses with no shame attached. Want to wear nothing but your nipple pasties? Go for it gal, you’re liberated, no matter your booby or body size.
Let’s not demonise the gazelles of Victoria Secret and their media extravaganza every year. They are beautiful women and they make great lingerie models. They are athletic, lean and voluptuous all at the same time. However, the homogenisation of this industry has been damaging and is slowly being addressed.
It’s 2016 and we are (I hope) at a watershed in sexy lingerie in both the campaigning and what is on offer to us, the lowly non-Angels. Just because you’re not a size 6, white, blonde female, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonders of modern lingerie. Get your suspenders on or your M&S cotton briefs, the lingerie industry has grown up and so have you.
By Anne Devlin
I’m not a Kardashian fan. I think they are a sad representation of what the modern mass values today: excessive wealth, materialism and the vacuous. However the way the media (along with the keyboard warriors of the world) shames this group of women is archaic and highlights our worrying surveillance of how a woman should act.
Just this week, Kim Kardashian – muse of mastermind Kanye and mother to child fashionista North – posted a naked picture to her Instagram account which has a mere 63.1million followers as of this minute. Following Instagram’s female anatomy hating guidelines, her vagina and nipples are completely blacked out. Just by having access to the Internet, I have seen Kim Kardashian’s naked body many times in my life so this time was no different; I thought she looked great and then instantly forgot about the image.
It was only later on during another social media binge that day that I started seeing the outrage that so many had for this specific image. I’m not talking about outrage from the usual women-boycotting suspects like the British tabloids but rather the many people I would consider to be your standard student liberal shaming this woman for daring to bare her flesh. I saw comments ranging from disgust to the condemnation of her ability to be a mother.
If you believe women like Kim Kardashian should stay covered up, try telling that to the women of this world who don’t have that same kind of freedom of expression. Just this week, the Saudi Arabian UN delegation blasted a report claiming that the country is in extreme violation of human rights. Women in Saudi Arabia are not even permitted to go swimming for the prohibition of showing skin. In Syria, women are forced to cover up due to the threatening presence of Daesh. Airing this week, BBC’s documentary Sex in Strange Places: Turkey features a young Syrian woman who tells her story of how Daesh’s control of Syria meant she was forced to start covering her entire body. Despite this, one day she accidentally made eye contact with a Daesh fighter and was forced to be his sex slave.
The West consistently demonises the perceived to be Islamic extremist notion of covering the female body yet regularly shames western women for showing theirs. At the root, can you really separate these systems of surveillance? Both concepts are based on an inherent need to control the sight of the female figure. We just celebrated International Women’s Day while we still regulate and shame women like Kim Kardashian.
Despite popular opinion, the Kardashians aren’t all that is wrong with the world. The waves of greed and oppression that have swept through history resulting in the destruction of liberties are what are wrong. These people who are wound up about Kim K’s booty need to remember that.
At the end of the day, nobody has to worry about Kim K. She is raking it in; she made $80 million on her app alone in one year. How about worrying about your own desperate need to validate your antiquated views of how women should behave and view their body. It could be that people are bitter that a family of women dominate media, filling their armies of designer purses to the brim in the process. So they can’t sing or dance but they do have one of the best business strategies of the 21st century.
While it is undoubtedly worrying how desperate many girls are to emulate the Kardashians’ honed and sculpted figures, essentially it comes down to the fact that a woman can choose to look a certain way. This is something we have to protect and even value.
Also, can I just be pedantic for a second. The picture Kim uploaded has all the NAUGHTY bits censored. She actually had to censor herself just so that the picture would be acceptable for Instagram. You see cleavage, stomach and some leg. Maybe I’m a pervert, or just a normal adult, but I have seen way more explicit imagery in my lifetime. Therein lies the issue; she isn’t doing anything illegal, pornographic, explicit or dangerous. She simply shared an image of her figure and many are absolutely outraged, suggesting she is inherently a bad person, mother and role model. Culture has coded the female image so excessively as sexual that we can’t shake it off.
The reality is that many of us get self-gratification from our own image. As long as this isn’t our sole basis for self-worth, I think it’s ok to find some happiness in how you look.
So, just get a grip. If Kim Kardashian’s body offends you, then I don’t know, throw your phone and laptop into a river and bleach your eyes out or go join Jeremy Clarkson in a man cave somewhere and do manly things like men do. Since you know, the female body is so offensive.
By Anne Devlin