Asking For It by Louise O’Neill is a young adult fiction book set in a small Irish town that tackles the issue of rape culture. It tracks the reactions of the community throughout the year after a teenage girl is raped at a party, covering a range of viewpoints from the victim, to social media, to the press, to the girl’s family. — I’ll start by saying I had high hopes for this book. All the reviews I’ve read online told me it was an important book, so naturally my expectations were high. I was ready to be blown away by fantastic writing, poignant moments, and important messages. And I was – to an extent. The way the novel sets up the story is excellent. It very deliberately provokes certain reactions to the main character (namely that she is asking for it), which in turns forces gut-reactions from you later…

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Periodically, the internet goes mad because somebody somewhere called someone a skinny bitch. It went particularly mad in 2014 when Meghan Trainor released All About That Bass, and think pieces galore sprung up entitled ‘All About That Bass might actually be bad for female body image’. These articles generally went like this: “All About That Bass is terrible because calling people skinny bitches is just as bad as calling them fat. It’s skinny shaming; and skinny shaming is WRONG.” If you’re not in the know, All About That Bass is one of several songs around at the moment encouraging women to embrace their curves and to love their body, even if it isn’t thin. These songs are part of a wider movement known as the Fat Acceptance Movement, which – as you might have guessed – encourages women (and men, but primarily women since women’s bodies are more readily scrutinised…

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Do you know what I hate? Spending hours upon hours discussing men. That’s why I’m a feminist – so that maybe the world can start paying to attention to people other than (white, straight) men. Unfortunately, a lot of my time as a feminist is spent answering this question: should men be feminists? The answer is simple. It’s yes, obviously – providing they don’t talk over women; providing they listen to women; providing they actually care about women. Unfortunately, not of men agree, and so many feminists dedicate days of their lives to convincing men that they should support feminism. Their arguments usually go something like this: “Men should be feminists because the patriarchy harms men too! Masculinity is toxic! Gender roles are restrictive! Male mental health is a serious problem! Feminism will fix all these problems!” All of which is, of course, true. The patriarchy does harm men. Masculinity…

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NB: This article in no way reflects the actual reality of my specific place of work – it is just a lighthearted commentary on office sexism in general and some ways you could potentially deal with it if it arose in your workplace. I’m quite lucky in that none of the people I work with  are massively misogynistic. Office sexism isn’t a major part of my working life.  But that doesn’t mean my office is devoid of sexism altogether. Most days, I notice my colleagues spouting some less-than-feminist ideas – conversations about ‘crazy’ girlfriends; musings about sex-workers; outrage at the idea of a male receptionist and a female CEO.. Little things, to be sure, but they’re enough to wear me down. Now I’m not normally one to shy away from confrontation, but I have to work with these people every day, and quite frankly it’s easier to put my headphones in…

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If you know me, you’ll know that I am an inherently angry person. It’s just in my nature. I’m the sort of person who will lose their temper because somebody put a book back in the wrong place. I’ll get pissed off when someone sits next to me on an empty train. Some days, the mere fact that people are breathing the same air as me is enough to send me into a fit of fury. I am an angry person. And I am definitely an angry feminist. I know, I know – I shouldn’t admit this. I should be reassuring you all that I’m a nice and fluffy feminist who will hold your hand and calmly explain rape culture to you for the hundredth time. I’m supposed to smile and hand men cookies when they tell me that they wouldn’t rape me – EVEN IF I’d been drinking, because…

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