It’s Pride month! In addition to the over-commercialisation of Pride by brands and companies, it’s also a time of reflection for the queer community on our experiences and what being queer means to each of us.
James Baldwin, discussing the mythology of the American Dream, spoke the words ‘I have no dream job, I do not dream of labour’. Decades later, these words are a popular TikTok soundbite comically backing memes and skits poking fun at work for our generation. Though comic, this satire is evidence of a larger sentiment surrounding work and labour for Gen Z, particularly the disillusionment many feel with the precarious prospects available to us…
It’s incredibly difficult to actually enjoy something nowadays. There is always a level of criticism or scrutiny that can be applied to the culture we partake in. You can roll your eyes at anything if you try hard enough, and for the most part, it feels quite harmless.
Over the last few weeks social media channels have been saturated with clips of Johnny Depp’s charming responses to Heard’s lawyer’s awkward interrogations. His response to his own question as ‘hearsay’ is often clipped together with Heard’s poker face, whilst the gallery cackles in support of Depp’s assumed victory.
The night after we watched L’événement (Happening), a 2021 French drama currently receiving a British release, two of my friends had dreams about being pregnant. This, I think, is the greatest testament to the power of Audrey Diwan’s direction and Anamaria Vartolomei’s leading performance: we began dissecting the film the second the cinema lights lifted; carried on for the whole walk home; through three rounds in the pub; and still we couldn’t get the story out of our heads…
My mother used to live on the moon.
She orbited my planet and controlled my weather.
She smiled in my sunshine, and soothed my monsoons
Until they were drizzle on my cheeks.
During the days she turned to smoke,
But like the tides she always came back.
She pleated my hair and spoke
Of faraway lands before bedtime.
She was forever leaving gifts on my doorstep,
And remembering my favourite colour.
She listened to my stories, and she spent
Her time on me, despite the distance.
My small arms reach out into the night and it seems
As though I could clutch that white speck in my palms.
My spaceman mother, a woman of dreams.
Robyn Barclay (she/her)
For many, their sexual fantasies are a source of shame, a well-kept secret or even a source of anxiety. For others, sexual fantasies are no different from the sex they are already having. The transition from one to another requires much unlearning of sexual norms, personal growth, and open communication with sexual partners. Although challenging, it allows us to expand our understanding of sexual pleasure and explore our sexuality both within and outside of relationships…
I feel that the label ‘transmisogyny’ is a bit opaque. It often describes many of the moments where transfemme people are understood and treated as ‘biologically male’ by one means or another; an intersection between misogyny and transphobia. I want to talk through a little of what’s going on in the different moments and processes that make up these interactions and situations of transphobia, to give an insight into my world of masculinities. Within the bounds of transmisogyny, there is no room for me to explore my gender nonconformity; no room for my experimentation with pronouns, presentation, or personality; no room for any subversive tendencies without or beyond the original sin of my transfemininity. There isn’t a lot of room in people’s consciousness for masculinity from transfems. It’s hard for us to embody our masculinities as non-men without the people around us eroding, invalidating, and redefining us.
Masculinity is an old friend
I don’t think it’s fair to blame
My father who wanted a son
Or society who wanted
To treat me just a little worse
In truth, masculinity fit me well
For my sister, she claimed
The feminine through force
Pressed on nails and
Eyes winged perfectly
Despite protests or
Hollow calls against
But I couldn’t find space
for me with that paradigm
Until talking with a friend
He unraveled the gendered
Pointed out he was just a man
Who liked “feminine things”
Until the tarot brought me
The sun and the moon
Push and pull of tides
Both held within our husks
To give and to take
and to give again
When masculinity calls
Like an old friend, I answer
Remember times they held me
Moments they made me worse
But recollection not regret
Reminds me why
We don’t stay in touch
Magda Nawrocka-Weekes (she/they)
Considering that we are currently witnessing one of the most serious conflicts in Europe in recent decades, you’d be forgiven for wondering why so much of the surrounding discourse appears preoccupied with pronouns, gender, and sexuality – topics that perhaps, on their surface, appear only tangentially, if at all, related…
In 2010, the then Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivered a TED talk entitled ‘Why we have too few women leaders’. This talk spawned the now-infamous 2013 book Lean In which lays out her brand of corporate feminist doctrine in greater detail. The crux of Sandberg’s argument is that women lack the assertiveness and ambition of their male colleagues, and that is why they fail to get ahead in their careers.
Most alt-R&B tracks are centred around more or less the same thing – love. Love in all its agony, love in all its euphoria. But Nin-ja wants to dig deeper than that. The singer-songwriter’s just released her new single Lockjaw where she sings candidly about her struggles with anxiety. Nin-ja’s been in the music game for about four years now, but after taking a brief hiatus, she’s back with a new single and more honest than ever.
For the majority of the 2000s and the decades before them, awards shows have been a cultural concept distinctly owned by the feminine. The prestige of the Academies, the swelling of romantic music after every award, and of course, the unparalleled glitz and glamour of the evening’s most decadent stars. Remember the running joke of the Oscars being the “female Superbowl.” Imagine groups of housewives prepping parties and organising bets on who would be wearing Chanel while their husbands stand stiffly in the kitchen over beers. Joan Rivers in gold, poking at the ribs of underaged starlets as camera click and waves of taffeta turned to fodder for tabloids…
Dear past me, don’t run away…
It’s 7pm, and I’m guessing you’re still in bed after aimlessly scrolling on social media that make you feel like your body is not toned enough and that you aren’t having as much fun as other people your age. You woke up, and it was dark. You decided you were going to stay in bed all day.
Dildos have a long and controversial history, and have existed for much longer than many of us think. Despite this, they continue to be a taboo topic of conversation. However, dildos can also bring a lot of joy, freedom, and liberation to those who use them. To write this article, I collected responses from a variety of individuals with different gender and sexual identities, and different opinions on dildos. In doing this, I wanted to explore the contested opinions and complex emotions that many have about dildos…
get out of my skin please
I want my crannies to nook for you
But you don’t even look
I want my biomap fingerprints to interlock with yours
Inexplicably the maze patterns slot in harmony
written for the other, waited two lifetimes for this chance meeting
Racing to the maze middle
I am discouraged
By your disinterest
Cheers or jeers would be preferable to this silence
I find myself the lone contender
You are unfit to adjudicate;
Trusting the leaves on the left
They lead me out
Guide me to the end of desire
The heartstrings that make up my right ventricle
You appear to have turned into a hammock
Summer months approaching
The sway pulling strings in all the wrong directions
Transcending my corp-Reality into a grotesque puppet mimicry
More and more it swings and stings and disrupts the flow from my head
unto my toe
And it isn’t red within, there’s translucence for dinner
This I know
Because a slice of me is cut for the prizewinner
The ones who made it to the middle grossly engorged
Their fingers ragged and wrecked from dragging through unforgiving foliage
bloated, bursting, not seen to be sightly
Unseen in safety, for he has forgotten me
And our fingertips never even touched
But the incessant twitch that makes me dream of itching the scratch right out of my chest
Is treated in waking like a Victorian asylum patient: tightjacket escape artists
My little lost mazerunners bravely perform their Sisyphean trope
and I traipse about too, comfort-grasping the lighter in my pocket closer to these wistful fingerprints.
Leah De Mey (she/her)
I have a friend who is currently working in Kiev. He asked me not to share his name, to protect his safety and identity. He was originally on his semester abroad, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he has been working in a local art gallery and cultural museum with his fellow classmates…
I can tell you now, even with everything men have put you through, you will still try to see the best in people. Sometimes this will be your downfall. They will gaslight you so much that you will start gaslighting yourself – I wish there was a way to warn you to always trust your intuition. If it feels off, that’s probably because it is…
We have two exciting collaborative articles for this months theme of ‘masculinities’ for you to get involved in! Our wonderful Sex and Relationships Editor Meli is writing an article on…
New figures released last month by the UK Health Security Agency, to mark the beginning of National HIV Testing Week (7th-13th February), have revealed the changing form of the HIV epidemic in the UK. For the first time in a decade, the number of new HIV diagnoses in England is higher among heterosexual people than gay and bisexual men…
You almost ruined my favourite song
I listened to the Wombats today
Only to be taken back
To the dimly lit parking lot behind your flat in Cowgate
Pushing me against the wall and whispering into my ear
You say I am the best thing that you’ve ever seen
My bare back digging into the wall but
I could have stayed there forever
My very own New Jerusalem
The chorus of the song I sing to day and night
echoes from inside
So do cheers of people playing beer pong
They awaken us from our trance
There’s nowhere to hide
1,2,3, time to dance
When we enter everyone takes out their flashlights pointing them at us
My head is in the clouds and my Converse in the gravel of the parking lot
You on the contrary
are on one knee
can hear my heart breaking
This is all that I used to want
And now all I can think of is
You just ruined my favourite song
The greek tragedy of all of this is
You thought you were buying tickets
To see a romantic comedy
But I turned out to be your Antigone
Flash-forward and I’m walking through the all too familiar streets
As a prisoner sentenced to live my life
On the land from which you’ve been exiled
The smell of smoke
From when we burned with bad intentions
Still fills my nose
On days like these
I write you endless poems you will
My headphones blasting that one song by the Wombats
If you ever see this
Please let me know
When you hear that song
Do you still sing along?
On March 6th, 2022, I attended a memorial protest at Scottish Parliament on the one-year anniversary of Sarah Everard’s murder. Several women spoke in her memory highlighting brutality of gender-based violence in the U.K and around the world, calling for the dismantling of the very systems that are meant to protect us but instead regularly create violence and fear.
The scene has been set: museum opening,
The artist: Chinese, come to London last spring,
The decor’s exquisite, all gold and Art Deco,
Trays of canapés, tall-stemmed flutes of Prosecco,
At the room’s centre, she’s not hard to spy
With her red ruby mouth and her bright topaz eye
Head thrown back and laughing, with her hand at her neck,
Hair a tight bob, hands with gold rings bedecked
In a fur coat and brocade (all vintage – all thrift)
Wrists jangle with bangles (Tracy Emin’s – a gift)
She’ll glide through a room like she’s riding a breeze,
Kiss and cry “My, I’ve not seen you since Frieze!”
She’ll hug and address you with “darling” and “dear”,
But don’t flatter yourself: she knows everyone here.
She’s up at Tate or she’s down at the Met,
At Cornelia Parker’s, smoking french cigarettes,
Or out in South London, where that new Dutch film’s showing,
Or a night out in Hackney – if Grayson Perry is going.
Hostesses and hosts supplicate at her feet,
Beg her presence at this show or that meet-and-greet,
With her social grace, though, this isn’t so shocking,
Her sparkling wit keeps enchanted mobs flocking.
She’ll check the black book where her diary’s kept,
Ignore it, smile archly, then warmly accept.
A crowd is a challenge, but she fears not the test:
For these are her people; this is what she does best.
By Levi J. Richards (he/they)
Instagram: @levijrichards and @doorajarcomics
The idea of a child has always been available for corruption. It’s not a fact we like to talk about, but it’s something we’re all aware of. Nabokov’s Lolita, Jodi Foster’s precocious Iris, Youtube compilations of under-aged girls dancing, curated faithfully by anonymous men…
Despite the leaps made in popular representations of the female orgasm, the orgasm gap is very much still present for many straight women. Why is it that the myth of female sexuality as deviant, excessive, and indulgent still impacts our sexual experiences?