Altruism, Social Media, Vegan

6 Reasons why you’ve tried & failed to go VEGAN.

I really hate to be that vegan girl (not really lmao) that writes about going vegan or whatever but it seems like veganism is really popular these days and worth writing about. Everywhere you go there is at least one vegan option and honestly over time, that one option doesn’t totally taste like shit. I’ve even noticed that less people are making grass jokes which is always nice.

Now if I had a pound for every time someone told me that they respect veganism but they could never do it (when I didn’t ask) then I would have enough money to do something expensive. I’ve had so many friends try and fail. They probably watched what the health or earthlings or something and then went vegan for like a solid week and then ate meat “by accident” and gave up. That’s no shade if you fall into that category, but if you want to try again this is for you.

 

1: YOU MADE VEGANISM A STREAK

I think what happens to a lot of people is they might start off super strong and they have a great plan of how they’re going vegan and then all of a sudden they just give into a craving and veganism is totally out of the window. I think that in some ways this is probably the fault of the vegan community making people feel like their efforts are meaningless. But I’m here to tell you that if you accidentally consume, or even on purpose in a moment of weakness, eat meat or dairy you aren’t “less vegan”. Honestly, there are so many times that I have accidentally consumed dairy and my digestive system has paid the PRICE. If every time I consumed dairy I gave up on veganism entirely I probably would not have managed to make myself lactose intolerant (that was a joke, I have no idea if that’s even scientifically possible).

All I’m saying is, don’t be so hard on yourself. Because I know when it comes to things like going to the gym or revising you lot aren’t beating yourselves up about not being consistent so why isn’t your attitude to your diet the same? If you accidentally consume meat or dairy understand that you are just an incompetent person. Kidding. Just take it easy and manage the expectations you have of yourself. Whether that means meatless Mondays or going vegan cold turkey.

 

2: GOING VEGAN IS ON TREND

We’re living in a morally surveillant era, where the lifestyle choices you make send signals to society about what kind of person you are. Most peoples initial idea of a vegan is a white left-wing activist who has blonde dreads and only uses paper straws. Personally, I don’t know anyone who fits into this but my point is that how we interpret labels like “vegan” can affect our views on the lifestyle. There a ton of vegan YouTubers who are no longer vegan and lots of YouTubers doing 30-day vegan challenges. Vegan is a word popping up literally everywhere and its presence in the media can really make it feel like a trend or a phase rather than the lifestyle that it is.

If it’s something you want to try for fun, by all means, go ahead but I think it’s important to understand that it’s not a fleeting trend that shouldn’t be taken seriously. A lot of people might fail at it just because they don’t care enough. You see the word vegan everywhere but it’s not often that you see the actual cruelty against animals that motivates this lifestyle. You’re never going to truly want to stay vegan if you just do not care about animals. This isn’t me saying that you have to care, but just know if you don’t it won’t last.

 

3: YOU WENT VEGAN AND YOU STILL HAVE ACNE

There is an extremely common misconception that going vegan will cure all of your health problems and after only eating plants you’re going to wake up extremely energetic and live till 100. This just isn’t true. The thing about veganism is that everyone thinks it’s extremely healthy. On a vegan diet it’s just harder to be unhealthy, but trust me when you get used to it and discover your fav snacks are vegan the health thing is going out of the window. The health thing went out of the window for me when I deeped some indomie was vegan and I ate it for a week straight (this is no cap).

If your skin clears up that’s great, me personally, can’t relate. But if you go vegan manage your expectations of how much your life will change. The reality is that you won’t be perfectly healthy always eating fresh fruit and veg especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like vegetables.

Then what’s the point of going vegan? Well, it’s best for the animals, best for the environment and if you do it well your health will improve.

 

4: THE ONLY VEGAN FOOD YOU (think you) KNOW IS SALAD

All I can say to this is know yourself man. If you weren’t eating salad before you went vegan then what on earth is going to motivate you to eat it now? I had my first reality check when I spent like £9 on a salad from tossed (don’t get me wrong it was good) but I realised that this isn’t going to be my story and this isn’t who I am. None of my friends let me forget how much I spent on that falafel salad and honestly I don’t blame them.

Salad is a collection of vegetables that are just water in the form of different textures. If you like salads then I’m happy for you but if you don’t like salad just know I understand. There are a billion different vegan foods you can buy and cook at home if you just look for them, you don’t even have to look that hard. If you watch one or two vegan recipe videos on youtube in a few minutes your recommended will be flooded with vegan content, in fact it will be hard for you to avoid. You can take your favourite foods and then just make them vegan. Well, what if your favourite food is steak? Have a watermelon steak. Jk, I don’t know what to really say to that other than to take the opportunity to maybe find a new favourite food?

 

5: YOU WENT COMPLETELY COLD TURKEY

As admirable as this is, I’m not sure how sustainable it is. I was vegetarian for about two years before I made the switch to vegan and I think that’s a big contributor as to why I’m able to keep it up. It wasn’t an extreme switch for me.

If you slowly transition from cutting down meat and dairy from meals, to then entire days, then entire weeks etc. you’re more likely to stick to it because as you go you’re leaving the cravings you used to have behind. The good thing about doing it this way is that if along the way you realise you don’t want to go completely vegan you can just stop there. You don’t have to choose between being carnivorous and plant-based. Obviously, it would be nice to be more plant-based than anything, but know yourself and understand that if you can make a change in some areas then you should. That might be as little as ordering the vegan option when you’re eating out or picking out vegan snacks when you want a quick bite to eat.

It’s also important to change your perspective on veganism as being extreme. When really what is extreme is eating processed meat and dairy in every single meal. Even organic or free-range options are unlikely to be trusted, are usually expensive and inaccessible.

“The consumption of processed meat was associated with small increases in the risk of cancer in the studies reviewed. In those studies, the risk generally increased with the amount of meat consumed. An analysis of data from 10 studies estimated that every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%.” this seems prrrrreeettty extreme to me and this is coming from the World Health Organisation. If you don’t want to believe it that’s fine but if you just do your research you’ll be able to see for yourself the effects it can have.

 

6: I JUST SPENT TOO MUCH MONEY GOING VEGAN

Nobody told you to go shopping at wholefoods or start only eating at vegan restaurants. Veganism is extremely affordable if you understand that products specifically marketed to the vegan community are going to be more expensive. If your weekly shop includes meat and dairy and all of a sudden you cut that out and spend it on alternatives the overall cost is still a lot less.

 

In light of all the above, just do your research and make sure it’s catered to you. If you grew up eating biryani don’t go looking up vegan lettuce wrap recipes, try to stick close to what you know. And just keep trying!! You have nothing to lose.

 

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Race

You’re so much more black.

Guys if one more person says this to me I’m gunna lose it fr.

When I started my blog I really didn’t think I would ever really talk about my race because to me it’s never really been that deep. I feel like a lot of mixed people can have an identity crisis where they can’t figure out if they’re white or black and I never really understood that, being both just wasn’t that difficult for me to understand. I don’t want to take away from the experiences of mixed people who did experience that, but for me it wasn’t a thing. It’s weird though, because it felt like other people expected me to go through that phase. Like having to tick the “Other” box when filling out forms that ask about ethnicity hasn’t put me on edge, but I have been made to feel like it should.

I’d say I’m fairly in tune with both of my cultures. My mum’s from Ghana and my dad’s from Pakistan, both of them were born and raised in their home countries so I’ve learned a lot about each culture from both of them. You’d be surprised how similar they can be. My parents are cool people, very reasonable and they never really talked about race until I was a lot older.

Anyway, this isn’t (technically) my life story.

I just don’t want to hear anyone telling me that in their opinion I’m more black. I get it, I don’t look Pakistani, but that does not mean I am any less Pakistani than someone who does look it. I also understand that I tend to engage with black issues more than brown issues, but this also does not make me any less Pakistani. Race isn’t a merit. If it was then the likes of that rachel doly zaly should be considered black. Plus ,the very fact that I do not look Pakistani means that I can’t actually relate to the struggles that Pakistani women face day to day. On top of that I’m not Muslim, so my presence in the Pakistani community is fairly non-existent. But even then, anti-blackness in the Pakistani community is rife so is there even a place for me?

I just think that generally, asking or just forcing mixed people to pick a side is absolutely stupid, what do you actually gain? Depending on the persons’ mix, identifying themselves can be very complicated. Often times I’ve just identified as a black woman for no particular reason other than out of convenience, but if I were to now identify myself as an Asian woman then it would raise a lot of eyebrows. The reality is that the black community is generally extremely welcoming to mixed individuals, now maybe this is partly due to colourism, but either way they just are. Other ethnic minority communities can’t say the same, so if a mixed person says they’re black just understand they know they aren’t fully black and they aren’t trying to be. Sometimes it’s just easier to say you’re black and not have questions asked about your mix. Whether this is problematic, I’m not really sure. I just think as long as you aren’t claiming experiences that aren’t yours or talking over others, what is the harm?

The thing is, I haven’t had an identity crisis, but in thinking about my race I have come to understand how complicated it all can be. Like the privileges that I have in being light skinned in the black community simply do not exist in the brown community because I’m “too black”. Then there’s also the fact that there isn’t really a mixed community because “mixed race” isn’t actually a race. In my life, the only other person who could truly understand this is my brother, but our experiences are likely to be totally different just because of things like gender. I think that generally mixed people can relate to certain things like being asked which culture they prefer, but it seems like most of the stuff we can relate on are experiencing similar microaggressions. Oh and by mixed, in this context I’m talking about being mixed with black and something else.

My point is if you think I’m “more black” please keep it to yourself.

 

I read this the other day and I actually cannot believe it. 1985. AS IN 34 YEARS GO: In South Africa, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between Whites (people of European descent) and non-Whites (being classified as African, Asian and Coloured). It was repealed in 1985.
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Faith, Philosophy

Religion and I

I’d honestly be lying if I said that writing this doesn’t SCARE me, I’m not entirely sure why though. The thing is if you’ve known me for a while you’ll understand how mad this all sounds coming from me. But at the end of the day, this is my truth. My faith was a big part of who I was and I never hid that, it wasn’t something I forced down anyone’s throats (well I hope not anyway lmao) and my newfound lack of faith isn’t something I’m going to hide either. This isn’t me trying to convince anyone of anything, other than to be open-minded, it’s sort of just a record of my evolution as a person.

Some background: I was Christian for a good 10 ish years, I wasn’t raised that way from birth but I didn’t start going to church till I was like 8 I think. To be honest church at that age was fun, when you’re a kid basically all your friends are from school (well mine were anyway) so having a separate social group from that felt cool.

I think I properly took my faith seriously when I was 14/15, that’s when I’d say that my identity was heavily influenced by Christ. I wasn’t the perfect Christian but I did try, I went to church, read my bible etc. Basically, the stuff that most would constitute makes a Christian a Christian. I really did believe that I believed in God. I know that’s a weird sort of thing to say, but I literally could not imagine life without God. Until now. Now, life without God is my reality.

Also, this isn’t some rash decision I’ve made, I didn’t just wake up one day and be like I AM NOW AN ATHEIST 😡  , I’ve been thinking about it for months. Even calling myself an atheist just feels aggressive, it’s like telling people you’re a vegan or a feminist. They’ll just assume that by you identifying yourself you’re trying to convince them to be like you. Like me saying that I am a feminist, isn’t actually saying that you ought to be one. Although you defo should, but you get my point.

 

I think it’s quickly worth mentioning that for anyone, theist or atheist, being open-minded doesn’t mean that everyone is supposed to end up reaching the same conclusion.

 

How did I come to the conclusion that I’m probably an atheist? (and by probably I mean definitely because I’m just scared to admit it for no rational reason)

Well I’ll start by saying that I’m not saying God absolutely most definitely without a doubt isn’t real, but at this point in my life, I’m more inclined to believe he doesn’t exist. I don’t know what it would take for me to believe in God if I’m being real. If the clouds parted and Jesus came down on a golden escalator from heaven I’d probably think I was going mad. My theory is that if God is real and he is omniscient then he would know what it would take for me to believe in him, and if he is omnipotent then he would know how to make that happen.

I don’t want this to turn into a philosophy/theology short course but there are just so many questions that I think are worth thinking about: If there’s a God then what religion is the right one? And I’m sorry but you people who say that they’re all the right ones are delusional because they all so obviously and fundamentally contradict one another. How can I know that God is real? What would prove his existence? What is the point of religion if you can just have faith? Who is God? Then there’s other stuff like the problem of evil.

I also read The God Delusion by Dawkins and although, from what I know of him as a person, I can’t say I like him but it’s actually a seriously good book. I would recommend it to literally anyone but I have to say it’s not for the fainthearted at all.

Anyway, in light of all of the above and months of contemplation that is how I arrived at atheism or some form of weak agnosticism.

 

How has my life been since I abandoned my faith?

The thing is, no matter what you believe you’ll always have doubts and I think I forgot that. When I was finally honest with myself about my beliefs anything that happened in my favour I was completely spooked by. My train could come as soon as I stepped foot on the platform and I’d be like omg God is that you hun??!!!! I know how utterly dumb this sounds but that is actually who I am. Little coincidences that happened in my life were subconsciously indicators that God existed and he was trying to get my attention. But then I thought, there’s definitely another 18-year-old girl out there somewhere who has never heard of the Christian God in which case anything good that happened to her would simply be good and anything bad would simply be bad. And I realised that I can and probably should be that girl.

Like sure, it would be nice to have an explanation for certain things like ‘why am I here?’ but for me, religion didn’t provide adequate answers. Religion provided explanations for some things, but it still didn’t have answers for things that mattered. I would rather not believe in a God and deal with moderate existential dread and wonder why I’m alive than believe in a God and a belief system that I don’t understand (almost) at all. It’s really forced me to find peace with not understanding certain things and although I could have gotten this peace as a Christian, it wasn’t the same because deep down I knew some things fundamentally didn’t make sense to me.

It’s also forced me to take a good look at myself and figure out what kind of person I want to be. As a Christian it’s pretty easy, the kind of person you want to be is a Christ-like person. The hard part is adhering to the ‘rules’. But when you don’t have that anymore you have to figure that out yourself and it’s hard especially when you’re aware of how inadequate you can be. Why should I listen to myself, knowing that I can really be a dummy? It made me trust myself and find a new sort of confidence.

One thing that I think is super specific to me is navigating guilt (or maybe not). I only realised this recently when I was talking to a good friend of mine that when I was Christian and I did something I wasn’t proud of I would always feel so guilty. And I didn’t feel guilty because I felt like God was looking over my shoulder, I understood that it was in Gods nature to be forgiving. But retrospectively I had always felt that I had let myself down, and I was insecure about that. I think I just thought that I felt guilty because I had let God down but I couldn’t feel bad that I let something I wasn’t sure existed down. I really didn’t want my faith to be based on insecurities that I had. I didn’t want to believe in God because I knew he would love me regardless of how I looked or acted. I don’t think I ever really felt validated by God, but I didn’t feel invalid either. I just wanted to believe in God because he existed and it made sense that he did. But it didn’t. And even if he did exist I wouldn’t know what kind of God that would be.

My friends are so amazing and supportive, regardless of their beliefs and I think that’s why it’s become a lot easier for me to be open about how I feel. No one has ever tried to convince me otherwise, although I’m not opposed to this, but I just appreciate that they have faith in me to know what I think is best for myself. Obviously, it’s sad that I’m not part of the Christian community anymore, but I guess I’m part of a new community.

I will say that I think it’s important to question your faith, and by question your faith I don’t mean asking yourself if God is real when something goes wrong in your life. I mean actually facing the difficult questions and addressing inconsistencies that exist in religious texts (and I don’t mean the dumb Old Testament vs. New Testament debate, I mean that there are quite bold inconsistencies within each of the testaments).

I think I’m only really scared to write this just in case I end up changing my mind but I’ve literally changed my mind so many times it wouldn’t be anything new and then at least I’d have another blog post to write. And like obviously if hell is real and I don’t change my mind then my soul is in trouble.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me understand myself better, provided comfort when I was a mess and those who never judged me for believing whatever I did. You all know who you are.
Just in case anyone still sees the Bible scriptures I have stuck on my wall I’m not taking them off because first of all, it’s an aesthetic and second of all the blu tac has literally ruined the wall and I don’t have anything to cover it up yet. Thank u.

I feel like this year is really just about like the year of just realising stuff and everyone around me, we’re all just realising things.

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Feminism, Sex & Relationships

I just get along SO much better with guys, girls are too much drama!

Unfortunately, I’ve seen this statement quite a fair bit. I think it’s problematic. But I don’t think it’s problematic because “girls who say it just want male attention”.

I think it’s problematic because no one is asking why this is being said.

Let’s assume for a second that girls are in fact, “too much drama”, and guys aren’t. Why is this the case? It appears that it’s common that when women argue, we really go through it. We are spiteful, we are mean, we resent, we bitch, we talk about how we felt, we unpack our emotions, then we decide whether we want to keep the friendship alive. When men fall out: they argue, then they make up (or they just never talk again). As if nothing happened. Some may even talk about their feelings, but I can count on one hand how many guys I know that are like this. I’m grossly generalising here. But I think you get my point.

Salvaging relationships is exhausting. But then, why wouldn’t it be? If we take out all the horrible bullying and just really take a good look at how we feel, this takes time and it is tough. Especially when you’re in the wrong. But this isn’t drama. Drama is the meanness, the resentment, the bitching. All the stuff we can do without. To be fair though, I feel like as women we’ve grown up thinking that this is totally normal. One of your friends upsets you and all of a sudden she’s a fat ugly bitch. It’s basically the script of Mean Girls. It is just embarrassing and ridiculously unproductive. Like maybe she just isn’t being supportive or she’s behaving selfishly, but fat ugly bitch? Come on.

A more productive approach might be to take a good look at yourself and just think for a moment if you are the problem. Accountability is key. I think there are several approaches to take (e.g. talking to a friend about it, talking to someone older etc.) but I’m not a life coach so I’m just going to assume that you lot know how to communicate properly.

Anyway, another point I want to make is that in navigating female relationships, the aim is not to replicate male ones. Just because guys tend to kiss and make up quicker, doesn’t mean their friendships are any stronger or any better. When you don’t unpack your shit, you’re missing out on improving your emotional intelligence. Being powerful, successful and smart is not the same as being more “manly” and acting in accordance with “toxic masculinity” or what is stereotypically manly isn’t going to get you any of those things.

Also, saying that you get along better with guys is fine I guess everyone has a preference. But isn’t it odd how no guy has ever said he’d rather be in a friendship group of all girls? Sometimes when girls say this it sounds like they aren’t even open to the idea of making female friends, and I get that we can put each other through hell but at the end of the day this is a patriarchy, so if you think only having male friends will solve your problems you are mad! I’m kidding, sort of, I just think it’s important to keep an open mind.

Having a solid group of girls allows you a safe space to complain as much as you want about other girls. And I don’t mean gossiping about superficial things. I mean talking about times where we have been put down, shamed or scorned by other women. We should be able to do this publicly and openly but this can be difficult when at the same time we are trying to take apart certain narratives. Especially when it comes to black women. It’s not fair at all but it is life, for now. Having this safe space to rant can allow us to let go of the bitterness we might be harbouring.

On a lighter note. When female relationships are good they can be so amazing. There’s nothing like bonding over whether you prefer pads with wings, talking about your first sexual experiences, talking about plans to disassemble the patriarchy, encouraging one another, holding one another accountable, sharing makeup for a night and pretending like it’s hygienic because you don’t always share makeup. I could go on, I really live for moments like this. I get that life isn’t a movie, but having that bond is genuinely life-changing.

I’ve talked a lot about why female relationships are important. I just want to touch on two more things lastly. The first thing is that this doesn’t just have to be within our own age group, look to those who are older AND younger, you can learn so much. Secondly, I know I’ve talked about female relationships like they’re just something you can pick up from the shop. I don’t mean to come across this way and I know that it is easier said than done but I just want to encourage you to put yourself out there if you feel like you could really get along with another girl. You might surprise yourself.

To all of my girls reading this, I couldn’t love you anymore if I tried and I’m thankful for all of you every day.

Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.

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Academia, Colonisation, Politics

WHAT is my degree actually doing?

For those of you who don’t know (or anyone that cares) I’m in my first year studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at UCL.

I’m writing this purely out of a reoccurring frustration I’ve been having with politics. I have my qualms with the other P and E but upon reflection, they’re personal problems.

However, when it comes to politics I know this goes beyond just my personal feelings. At first, I thought that what I learned and the way I was taught wasn’t problematic and the issue was just me not paying enough attention. But when I really started to pay attention to what I had been taught, I realised I have learned a whole lot of nothing.

And by nothing, I don’t mean I literally haven’t learned anything new. Some of my lecturers are actually really great. I just feel like I haven’t learned anything relevant. Even though I only just started studying politics I don’t really feel like I know anything more about solving political problems or the extent of what they are.

When I did my weekly readings I thought that my boredom came from a place of misunderstanding because of how dense and historical they could be. I also thought that perhaps the topics we were studying like the state and democratisation were necessary for an introductory course; so I was totally willing to devote my time to making sure I understood these things.

Then I realised that I was only learning about a small section of Western/Eurocentric thought. The thing is I could complain about the lack of diversity in academia but there are so many people that have already done this. Not that it makes it any less of a pressing issue, but I’m honestly just over talking about it. My main issue is that the extent to which my studies are even Eurocentric is questionable. How honest and transparent my subject is, is my concern. For some reason talking about colonialism in lectures or seminars is totally ignored, this is genuinely shocking to me. This must be madness because how can we talk about Europe and NOT talk about colonialism. It’s like if anyone says the word colonialism they’d burst into flames. I even saw that on one of the readings I had for this week the scholar said in the introduction that he wasn’t going to address colonialism. But why?

The answer is I’m not totally sure, but I think I have an idea. One thing I have learned in politics is how big of a deal nationalism is. British values are something that continue to be heavily promoted in this country despite the values being incredibly generic (in my opinion). This isn’t an issue though, I think that British values are great in some ways but to some British history is a massive threat to this. For example, tolerance is a British value but in the countries that the British colonised they essentially did everything they could to label native people as barbaric and toxic. They drew boundaries where there weren’t boundaries before and forced their language and religion on pretty much every single country they could get their hands on. So my question here is WHAT exactly did they tolerate? If we really deep it, the Brits (and also other European colonists) couldn’t tolerate other people living in their own countries. That is laughable. Sure, British values came after this but my point isn’t that the British are hypocrites. The point I’m trying to make is that if the British essentially just owned what they had done I really believe this could dampen a sense of national pride and I think this might be why history and politics are taught the way they are. And I think this is so wrong. National pride doesn’t depend on the erasure of a countries toxic past. To be honest it’s even debatable how necessary national pride is but that is a whole other topic.

The extent of the British Empire is actually quite remarkable, it stretched literally across the whole world people used to say “the sun never sets on the British Empire”. Well, the sun has set. But at what cost? The colonisers reaped enough economic benefits from the colonies that independence would not have been a long term threat to them. However, independence wasn’t as liberating as it is made out to be for the colonised. There is a lot to unpack here and I would be doing a huge disservice if I pretended like I knew all the ins and outs of colonies gaining their independence. But what I do know is that the effects of colonisation are still felt today which makes total sense because a lot of countries only recently gained their independence. Even in saying this, the extent to which ex-colonies are independent should be closely examined. Conditional aid/loans suggest that poorer countries (often ex-colonies) aren’t totally independent and what’s holding them hostage is economic growth and stability that they are made to believe can only come from the west. Economics is also guilty of not addressing this issue.

I think that sometimes “woke” culture or whatever you want to call it can make colonialism seem something that we just cannot seem to get over or always complain about and I do understand that. It can get really exhausting. But I think that when you really think about the scale and the proximity of colonisation it becomes something that we should examine so that we can offset the issues that have arisen from it, not something we should just forget about because it’s depressing to think about.

When I decided I wanted to study politics I thought it was going to be more problem-solving. Like, what are the issues in the world today and what political mechanisms can solve them? Perhaps that was my naivety coming out but regardless I guess I do have politics to thank for making me think in such a critical way. I just wish that it came from a place of genuine interest and not passionate outrage.

Interesting stuff to read: (slyly long but worth it)

 

The Case for Colonialism

 

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Faith, Feminism, Sex & Relationships, Sociology

So what’s the furthest you’ve gone with a guy?

Honestly, there is a lot to unpack here.

Questions like this tend to have underlying misogynistic roots. Often times what it sounds like is “let me assess what this girls sexual experiences are so I can figure out what kind of treatment I think she deserves”. As much as society has progressed it would be a lie to say that women who are as sexually liberated as some men are treated the same. You might not even be explicitly thinking this, but what if the female you’re talking to has what you consider to be a lot of sexual experience? Are you going to treat her exactly the same as the one who has less? You might think yes, but your subconscious may still be unlearning the values you’ve picked up during socialisation.

Despite there appearing to be a shift in attitudes surrounding ‘sexual purity’; in a lot of cultures and religions shaming women in particular for engaging in sexual activity is normal and even encouraged. Having views on what context you think people should be having sex in is one thing, but shaming others in an attempt to control is not okay. Especially when it comes down to some religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism mainly) where premarital sex is seen as a sin. Faith and salvation are personal and shaming someone for engaging in what you believe is a sin isn’t going to make them repent. In fact, it just makes you (someone who is also not living sin free) look dumb and nobody wants to look dumb. I really want to highlight here that shaming isn’t the same as what some believe is correcting someone in their faith. Shaming is telling your brother/sister in Christ/Islam/etc. that they aren’t good enough and that their faith means less than yours because they have “sinned differently” to you. That is also not okay.

Also, this odd obsession with virginity and purity can be really problematic. Someone being a virgin doesn’t make them any more or less vulnerable than anyone else and finding this attractive is very questionable. Even in saying this, ideas around virginity and the way it is socially, culturally and biologically constructed mean that what it is to be a virgin transcends discussions around just sex and relationships.

ANYWAY.

Even if your values don’t align with the stereotype, this doesn’t take away from the matter at hand. How you treat others should not completely depend on their perceived sexual experiences.

Don’t get me wrong though, this works the other way. It’s important to think about the purpose of invasive questions regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.

Maybe it’s not that deep, does that justify asking someone invasive questions out of the blue?

I think not.

Maybe you’re asking because you want to know what the person might be comfortable doing with you. But if this is the case, you could actually just ask them what they’re most comfortable doing with you in the given moment in an appropriate context. What they have done with someone else won’t necessarily be an indicator of what someone is willing to do with you and this applies outside of a sexual context. Also, making someone else feel like they’re being irrational for not wanting to answer is borderline mad.

Well, what if you’re just curious? That’s fine, I’m sure we’d love to know lots of things about the people we are getting to know but are you going to put your curiosity over someone else’s comfort? It might be the case that the person you’re talking to wouldn’t mind answering, but your best bet is minding your business unless you’re actually talking about your sexual experiences. What the furthest you’ve gone with another person is not a 21 questions type of question, it’s not a question you ask after ‘wyd’ and it most definitely not a question you ask to someone you barely know.

So if anyone does ask you and you don’t want to tell them, always remember that you don’t owe them an explanation.

Some might disagree with me and that’s okay. Part of me was reluctant to write this but I had to get it off my chest. Perhaps I’m just writing this for myself out of frustration so that the next time I’m asked I can just send a link.

You can’t force someone to respect you, but you can refuse to be disrespected.

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Philosophy, Social Media, Sociology

Cancelling Culture

If there’s one thing that anyone with social media this year has been exposed to it’s cancelling culture. I think the essence of “cancelling” makes sense. You notice someone/something is being problematic so you stop supporting them/it. After all, by continuing to support someone who might have said things that are not deemed to be progressive can mean that in a way you’re validating their actions. You’re indirectly saying “I don’t care about the fact that you might have said or done something offensive, I like you that much I’m willing to look past it”. At face value this seems fair enough, after all we’re not all going to be offended by the same thing.

There are several problems with cancelling. First of all, some people might not agree that supporting an individual who behaves offensively means you are validating their actions. For example, if your favourite musician is known to sexually assault women does this mean you support the sexual assault of women? This seems a bit far fetched especially since their musical capability is independent of their ethical beliefs. But what if their music is actually about degrading women? Then the line between their beliefs and talents is blurred. This gets complicated, especially because we need to ask ourselves if the nature of the persons behaviour is representative of the kind of person they are. What I mean by this is if someone makes one racist comment in their lifetime, does this make them racist? If not, then how many racist comments do you have to make to be deemed racist? Do you even have to make a racist comment to be racist?

But let’s assume that supporting a problematic person means you ARE indirectly supporting their actions, then it follows we should not support such a person because we don’t want them to have a platform to express their offensive ideals. How do we go about actually cancelling them? Well from what I’ve seen on twitter, when a group of people decide that they no longer want to support someone, they tweet about how that person is cancelled and then they proceed to totally drag this person. This can take many forms, sometimes it can be kind of light hearted where a bunch of memes are made about you (like we saw with brother nature) or you could end up receiving death threats, having your job taken from you, being kicked out of your school etc. People on social media have the power to really end your life without you dying.

Personally I think that if we truly want to cancel someone, what I mentioned above is totally counterproductive. Cancelling culture is way too loud. If you really want to stop supporting someone, stop supporting them, it’s really simple. I know some people who didn’t even know about brother nature until twitter dragged him. The saying that all publicity is good publicity is kind of valid here, you’re promoting someone by mentioning their name whether you’re praising or cancelling them. Do you really want to give someone you don’t support that kind of attention? Of course here it can be said: How will we ever know about problematic people unless someone brings it to light first? This is a fair point, but it’s not that difficult to dispute: if you read something about someone and believe it be true, unless you feel as though people around you would care, don’t say anything on a social media platform in order to prevent that person from getting too much attention.

It’s also important to address that with cancelling culture social media offers redemption, sort of. This is another issue. Who can forgive and when do we forgive? Should we forgive someone who tweeted racist things when they were 14? Should we forgive them even if we aren’t sure if they are displaying that same behaviour? One thing that’s been talked about in the YouTube beauty community is that some YouTubers have been caught making racist comments a few years ago, but they’ve made their apology videos and now when reviewing make up products they are vocal about shade range. Does this excuse their earlier behaviour? Do people have to earn their forgiveness by displaying the very opposite behaviour of what they depicted a few years ago? As a consumer that’s for you to decide. You might not think that your attention is worth a much as your money, but it can be.

That being said, it depends on who you are. If someone with a platform made racist comments towards Asian people, and you are not Asian then it’s not up to you to forgive anyone. You weren’t the victim of the comment. In order to forgive you have to have been offended. This seems obvious but countless times I have seen the unaffected demographic forgive influencers for their behaviour. You also can’t tell someone whether or not they should forgive, it’s okay to have an opinion but know when to share it

There are so many philosophical questions that can be challenging to think about, but we shouldn’t shy away from them. It may seem like this is a pointless activity but it’s one thing to form an opinion, it is another to understand WHY you believe what you do.

I’ve asked a lot of questions in this blog post, it’s not because I’m sitting on the fence about anything. There are people I do and do not support for particular reasons but the point of this post wasn’t to say who we should and shouldn’t support. It’s to encourage us to consider various lines of thought before we come to such decisions and encourage us to be sensible first and vocal second.

 

Your silence CAN mean just as much, if not more than your vocality.

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