issue one spring '18
you h t
Dear Readers, Thank you for picking up the very first issue of moodbored mag. Issue one is our love letter to you. Whether you feel stuck in your hometown, uninspired or lost, we have all been there and we are here to go into detail about the toughest parts of growing up. Created by the youth, for the youth, we aim to publish work revolving around important issues that often go undiscussed and ignored in mainstream media. I often think back to my time at school. I remember always looking forward to receiving the annual yearbook before summer holidays, that is what inspired moodbored, the concept of yearbooks and how they reflect, record, highlight and celebrate a year at school. Instead, we are a quarterly (collectable) submission-based magazine, releasing an issue every time the season changes, as new seasons often bring new worries. With out think pieces, articles and interviews, we hope to supply you with the truth of the youth. Remember, if you want to be a part of the magazine, please send us your writing, photography, illustrations, collages, poetry and projects to our email. love,
cover image by STAFI SAMAKI @shotbystaf
Chih Han Yang
collage artist - Brooklyn
visual artist - New York
collage artist - London
photographer - Taiwan
Born on the World Wide Web
Romeo Is A Jerk
The Unofficial A-Z of Petra Collins
The Travel Diaries
Grime - A Timeline
The Greatest Gay Love Story Ever Told?
Is being born post-internet a blessing or a curse?
Have you ever been texting a boy, thinking you’re both really into each other, just to be confronted with a dick pic and requests for nudes?
#MeToo is more than just another hashtag.
The girl who broke Instagram with her pubes
Malak shares her travel experiences as a Muslim woman.
Grime has smashed into mainstream culture and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.
why the Oscar nominated Call Me By Your Name was one of our favourite films of last year…
What We Are Wearing
It’s Cool On The Bloc
Men & Make up
Meet Yuki Haze
Who Do You Think You Are?
Let’s Talk About Mental Health
Down The Rabbit Hole
Our Relationship With Food
I Like Porn, But Does It Like Me?
Who are you wearing?
Sportswear, logo-heavy designs and skinhead-esque hairdos…. but make it fashion!
Faces beat for the gods
People like you and me are finally being encouraged to love our bodies. It’s time we pushed the fashion industry to do the same.
We talk to one of London’s digital dream girls.
What aren’t you? What does it mean to check multiple boxes and how can that define who you are?
Sex! What do you expect?
It’s time to talk about mental health...
A drug that leaves its users without the feeling of their legs and limbs has found residence amongst the youth of today.
Some of us have a bad relationship with food. Some of us have a relationship with bad food.
Should you be deleting your search history?
every issue, we publish some of your work because we think it is awesome.this issue we are focusing on collage and photography. for the next issue, we are looking for writing and poetrty.
ELLA PEARSON @ellajanepearson
SARA ZAHER @zahersara
楊芷涵 CHIH HAN YANG
by tyler lewis Is being born post-internet a blessing or a curse? This year the babies that were born after the increased prominence of cyberspace, Generation Z, will start entering clubs, universities and the workforce. Being born in the period between 2000 and 2015, the main difference between Generation Z predecessors, Generation Y, is that Z have grown up with technology injected into each part of their lives from birth. The technology company, LivePerson, found that in the UK 74.4% of Generation Z, the iGeneration, interacted more through phones and apps than in real life. Laptops, smartphones and social media have become a normative part of Generation Z’s existence, but is living inside the information superhighway doing more damage than good? Ayla Clift is part of the iGeneration. She has two tablets, a television in her room, and uses a phone most days. Ayla has a shared Instagram account which has over 1,500 followers and a basic understanding of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Ayla is 4. “Ayla, are you going to pose for mummy?” asks Ayla’s mum Alice as if she’s chatting to a pal rather than her daughter. On autopilot, Ayla puts one hand on her hip and the other in the pocket of her faux fur gilet before revealing a huge smile as Alice snaps her for Instagram. Without hesitation, Alice uploads the picture for the masses on Instagram. “Sometimes I worry that I’ve just documented Ayla’s life too much. She’s not even at school yet but hundreds of people have seen her face on the web. She’s becoming a little addicted to scrolling.” Millenials were the last group of adults to have the majority of their baby photo’s taken on film cameras. It was private, something just for family and friends. The iGeneration on the other hand are plastered across the web. With Bristol University facing a crisis of multiple suicides caused by anxiety and depression catalysed by social media expectations, isn’t time we started to be concerned with the damage technology is doing to Generation Z?
Dr. Corey Seemiller is an assistant professor at Wright State University in Ohio and specialises in the topic of Generation Z; she has done extensive research, released several books and spoken at a TED Talk. Talking about Alice and Ayla’s online relationship she raised the concern that technology is making the world “more demanding” of young people and are setting the bar extremely high. “Generation Z is a pretty stressed out generation. Stress levels of today’s teens are rising and are even higher than adults. Many in Generation Z have mental health issues, with anxiety and depression appearing to be most prominent. Rates of major depressive episodes in teens have been on the rise since 2004.” Dr. Seemiller has been honest in her suggestions that technology has the potential to damage todays toddlers, children and teens irreparably. She explains that, “social media has created a space for gathering and connection, but also a place for cyberbullying, cyberstalking, phishing, and other harmful digital behaviour.” She continues, “it isn’t just about the harm others can do to them in the digital world. The ability to validate one’s self worth through counting the number of friends, followers, connections and likes has created a harmful mechanism for debilitating self-confidence and esteem.” What sort of affect will it have when young Ayla gets to the stage where she sees the amount of likes on different pictures of her and how will this affect her as she moves into adolescence? Will the damaging effects of technology out do the constructive ones? “Don’t disregard tech as a bad thing. Generation Z has had greater access as young people than any other previous generation to information and connection, along with entertainment and online purchasing power. Young people are utilising technology as a way to have a voice whether through social media or posting their own YouTube videos making them more active in society at a much earlier age than their parents were.” Technology has shown that as much as it can be destructive it can also be a great power. Young people have developed the ability to work much
more independently through tools such as the internet and are less reliant on other people to get their voices heard. “I believe that those in Generation Z will be more forward thinking, not solely because of their entrepreneurial and inventive spirit, but because a good number of them feel called upon to address the world’s problems.” The internet has made the iGeneration more aware of the world around them. You cannot hide information from Generation Z. “You see, early Millennials, came of age during a pre-9/11, post-Internet era. The context at the time didn’t necessitate the same call to action that many in Generation Z are experiencing today. I remember when we did a national study of Generation Z college students and many described instances that reflected the belief that society is not only not progressing, but it is moving backwards. Many worry about issues related to the environment, human rights, and technology, and believe we should be taking action today to reverse course for improving our future.” You only have to look at a few big news stories in the past year that Generation Z has been heavily involved in to see this reflected. The MeToo hashtag, the international women’s marches, the Labour parties shock success in the most recent British general election, and the addition of Youthquake to the Oxford dictionary. Generation Z see the world as broken and are determined to fix it; how did Z come to this conclusion? The world wide web. There is no shortage of teenagers that have social media careers. Charlotte Elson is a British Instagram, YouTube, BlogSpot and Twitter user and discusses topics including feminism, identity and politics. She has more of a career than her parents did at 15 and is extremely well versed in many issues. “I think a common misconception is that we’re not weary of the world. I’ve had adults, my parents and teachers, tell me to stop thinking about things like politics because we’re “oo young to know what’s going on.” Ayla’s mum Alice made an important statement about the opportunities that technology had given her daughter: “Being able to make money from vlogging or blogging as well as not having to take the extra time of having to learn IT skills is going to be helpful. I’m really impressed with how much she knows how to use at such a young age. I’m on my laptop all day for work so realistically, why should I be worried about her spending some time using tech as well?” Social media enthusiast Charlotte was in complete agreement with Alice. “I’ve learnt way more about life as a whole from the internet than I have from school. If I didn’t have Instagram and Twitter, I would be so ill-informed about rape culture, feminism, racism, politics, and even periods! So much of life is skimmed over in the education system that, if I never had internet connection, I would be oblivious to so much.”
Charlotte is trying to make the world a better place. That isn’t necessarily through campaigning and going to marches, but just by giving people like herself a voice. She regularly uploads videos talking about worries, concerns, discussing political issues and even teaching people basic skills like baking. This is becoming common amongst the iGeneration who, with the help of technology, have become increasingly talented at communicating with each other and learning for themselves. “We get ignored or told that we don’t really have that much knowledge about the world. I believe that my age group is one of the most accepting and understanding generations that there has ever been; we’ve grown up in the middle of political debates, we are so informed about and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, feminism is a common topic of discussion between my age group and now there is so much more focus on mental health problems and building each other up. “I think that there is so much more we can do. For example, my Granddad was telling me a few months ag, that when he left school, there was only a few different careers he could go into. Now there is so much more!” Venturing into such a range of different media platforms herself, Charlotte has kept an eye on future job opportunities as well as ways to promote herself as a brand. “Media is becoming so much more widely used that more and more companies need employees whose jobs include working with websites, social networks and e-commerce. And then there’s bloggers and web stars and people are even making a pretty decent living off of Instagram. But on top of that, there are so many more opportunities for aspiring authors, performers, artists, photographers and business owners. There is so much more we can do and wouldn’t necessarily be considered ‘risky’.” Technology has the ability to hurt Generation Z, but when used correctly there is more to be gained than lost. The iGeneration has the world at their finger tips. Before they have A Levels they will have had access to unmatchable knowledge and opportunities via the internet. Not only are they well informed, but they’re more creative and more independent in their thinking. The youngest of Generation Z like Ayla must not get bogged down in how many likes and views they’re getting on their pictures and videos. Instead, they must be like Charlotte and use what’s around them to not only empower themselves, but empower others.
by emily macfie
Have you ever been texting a boy, thinking you’re both really into each other, just to be confronted with a dick pic and requests for nudes? He won’t leave you alone and it becomes clear to you that he only wants to use you. Unwanted, unsolicited and explicit texts and photos; these are only some of the things women and girls experience on the online world. We are told to ignore, block and report accounts and comments, but men almost always get away without facing any real life consequences for their actions. So normalised within our virtual community, online sexual harassment has become an overlooked matter, and more and more women are becoming desensitised to the disturbing and threatening harassment they receive. “no nudes? ur about as fun as a dry rape.” Romeo Is A Jerk is a submission based project, where texts, messages and DM’s women have received are written permanently into love letters. The point being to take it out of a space where nobody can really see it, or where it is ignored, and to bring it into the real world for everyone to see, share and experience. Originally starting off as a personal project, Rama Ghanem, a 19-year old student studying fine art at Goldsmiths University, based between London and Dubai, founder and creator of the project, received an overwhelming amount of submissions from women ranging from ages 13 to 65 and felt the project had to go bigger. Romeo Is A Jerk is now an on-going social project tackling online sexual harassment and exposing messages that go unseen. Inspired by her personal experiences when online dating, Rama recalls, “I came across a lot of dickheads, it was hilarious what they said but sometimes very scary, violent and offensive. I got so sick of it and decided to do this project to get back at them. There isn’t much you can do online, it is very limited and none of that has an effect on their lifestyle.” Her interests include diaspora and identity, feminism, race and colour and pop culture criticism, and therefore her art work revolves around these topics and themes. “Don’t ignore me like that. i will find you and f*** you b****.” Love letter after love letter, the sweet and naive aesthetic Romeo Is A Jerk exudes began to wear off, and it became evident that these love letters masked sinister messages. “It’s similar to the way men think that the messages they send are flirty, witty and should be taken as compliments” Rama explains. The use of love letters is a commentary on how men have reacted when confronted by Rama on their behaviour, and is a cynical and sarcastic approach to a very serious issue. “They always reply: Oh, but I meant it in a good way, or it’s because I like you” scoffs Rama. “Maybe it is their way of showing affection, something they have learned or maybe it’s just power play for them. The reasons range on a whole spectrum – but it is necessary to criticise how we share affection and emotion, and how it is gendered.” “I would fake blindness just to touch you inappropriately…” Aware of the limitations of this project, Rama understands Romeo Is A Jerk may not amount to structural change, but hopes to achieve having women feel more comfortable to speak up and less victimised. To start a conversation.
“I’m not allowed to expose the names of the men, although I would like to” laughs Rama. “I also have to blur out dick pictures. My love letters have been reported many times, and sometimes by the men who have been exposed themselves. Why would you send a picture that no one asked for if you don’t want it everywhere? Here it is. I’m frankly past giving a shit about these people’s feelings so sue me!” “Can you stop ignoring me so I can send you nudes” With well over 100 love letters, the project highlights a tiny slice of online sexual harassment women continue to receive, with reoccurring rape threats and photos being sent. When discussing Rama’s personal happiness and how this project may have effected her, she explains, “It hasn’t changed anything. When I started this project, I was very aware of it all and there was nothing I have come across since that was especially ‘insane’. I felt like I had seen it all. I am desensitised to it.” Comforting in the sense that no woman is alone, it is jarring being confronted with the large scale in which sexual harassment exists and occurs. Rama primarily uses Instagram to share her project, Rama also regularly attends art markets and creative events to interact with people and to share stories. “Most people laugh when they first read the cards, which was unexpected. In passing and at a glance, they don’t manage to grasp the shitty part of it. Once a conversation is started, and they get a sense of what the project is, the severity sinks in and that is when it gets really interesting.” Surprisingly to Rama, her most memorable interaction was with a man. With tears in his eyes, he uttered “Is this really what men do?” Refinery29.uk carried out interviews with men (who have obviously requested to remain anonymous) on a quest to understand why men send unwanted dick pics. Looking back at their actions, all the men admitted that sending explicit photos was a way to assert power, as well as to ensure a woman’s attention and some kind of reaction, whether it is good or bad. Quoting “John”, he explains, “I used to send dick pics to basically anyone who would have them… It’s definitely an expression of power in some sense. It’s the epitome of your masculinity; it’s what makes you a man – what good am I but it?” To conclude simply, men understand what harassment is and understand that they are harassing women, they believe you want to see their dick, some truly do believe they are being thoughtful and they believe they will get a photo in return. Although this research is concentrated around dick pics, and doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of online sexual harassment received, it is clear that social media platforms have become the breeding ground for such harassment, and it isn’t a feature we can just mute. Romeo Is A Jerks’ Instagram page was closed down,
after over six months of actively posting content, due to the number of people reporting her account for ‘explicit content.’ “My account is shut down for exposing men. Why aren’t the accounts of men who are actively harassing women being shut down instead?” Rama expresses her frustration on her personal account. She is currently in the process of trying to get her Instagram profile back and running, while also developing a website, romeoisajerk.com. The site will be launched in March, where you will be able to find her work. Rama continues to make art, and uses her social media platforms purely for art and collaborations. Through raising awareness on online harassment and connecting to women around the world, Rama describes how she has been able to bond with other women over *this* that they share, despite having nothing else in common. “It is always something that brings women together, even if it is so tragic.” She’s not wrong.
by katherine o’rourke #MeToo is more than just another hashtag. The hashtag allows victims to share their stories without having to wave a huge flag that says ‘Hi I was assaulted or raped’ and began in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The phrase and movement itself was actually created in 2006, by activist Tarana Burke, based on the simple notion: rape is not okay. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that; we have to shift an entire way of thinking which is based on generations of inequality. More work needs to be done. A lot more than just a hashtag on your feed. This demise is testimony to it’s power. “It’s not about giving up your agency, it’s about claiming it” In the past, it felt as if many would dismiss this issue and view it as irrelevant to their lives. But as someone with their own #MeToo story, it’s with me every time I walk down a dark alley at night. When I’m in my house on my own. It’s with me every day and like so many others, I no longer feel alone. Before I was upfront with my experiences, I was aware that I might feel alienated in my honesty. I was expecting some backlash in making my story public through an article on my blog. Instead, I was greeted by countless girls sharing their stories with me. How my post gave them the courage to share their encounters with sexual assault. There was some comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone but this revelation was shocking and horrifying to me. Chances are, some of you reading this have experienced harassment throughout your lives; be it at the bus stop, walking down the street, or even in the classroom. It is easy to overlook and forget what has happened to you. But if someone ever makes you feel uncomfortable in a situation, always speak to the people closest to you. Don’t ever handle it on your own. Remember if you feel awkward, if you feel hurt because of something someone has done to you, then you should never feel silenced. Women and girls all over the world are facing these life changing realities on their own, without a strong support network and no hope of gaining justice. This is why #MeToo is so unique. It gave women a platform to speak about something that has been pushed down in society for century’s. This movement is about a lot more than just preventing rape, it is about changing the everyday patriarchal behaviour that exists in society. Rape, assault and harassment are all identified by the law as wrong. However, there are unacceptable sexual norms that occur every day. If you experience these, shut them down! You do not have to humour sexist or degrading behaviour. Whether you are in the workplace, school or just out socialising with friends; you have the right to feel safe. Many of my close friends have admitted to saying
no to sex, then being worn down by the person and eventually say yes. Men are taught that this type of sexual behaviour is okay because ‘they haven’t broken a law’. In 2018 is it too much to ask to only have sex with people who are enthusiastic about that yes, they give you when consenting to sex. Journalist Jessica Valenti said that ‘#MeToo is not about what’s legal, it’s about what’s right’. It is true that we are all saying no to violence and harassment through this movement, but it’s not just about stopping sexual violence anymore. It’s about changing the misogynistic behaviours in society, that we are taught are okay from birth. #TimesUp is a movement that has followed in the footsteps of #MeToo. #TimesUp was originally dedicated to women in low income jobs who face harassment as part of their daily routine, and this harassment is overlooked because it is not ‘rape’. The Alianza Nacional de Campesinas wrote a letter of solidarity to all the women of Hollywood who were involved in exposing Harvey Weinstein. Time then published the letter, in return exposing the accounts of harassment and assault among 700,000 female farmworkers throughout the United States. The movement is growing every day and is dedicated to supporting women, people of colour and the LGBT community. All of whom face abuse on a daily basis, but do not necessarily have the funds or media platforms to speak out against the harassment they face. Both of these movements are about people listening to the survivors to what they had to go through, how they’ve been changed and how they’ve overcome what happened to them. But it is not just sexual abuse in real life that women are facing, harassment happens in all different walks of life. Social media itself is a channel that has become toxic in generating negative opinions towards women, who put themselves out there. Even celebrities such as model Emily Ratajkowski have faced a backlash, due to how comfortable she is with her body. She feels liberated by positing naked or semi naked photos from modelling shoots she has done, she says ‘your body is your body, its natural. Learn to love yourself for it’. The whole idea behind her Instagram is that this is her choice to post these pictures, it doesn’t invite men’s opinions or catcalling, it is simply not for them, but for herself. To every young person reading, remember your body is not defined on the opinions of someone else, only you can define yourself. You are allowed to be confident, serious or anything you want. As more and more women, worldwide are aware of the Time Up movement, many are getting involved themselves. I had the pleasure of attending one of the marches dedicated to #TimesUp outside downing street on 21st January 2018. Speakers included Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a Lawyer, Women Rights Activist & Co-organiser of Women’s March
London, and Helen Pankhurst great granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. Being part of a rally where so many likeminded women got together to put an end to inequality was inspiring and something I will never forget. We rallied for ‘Time’s Up on gender based violence, sexual harassment and abuse. Time’s Up on the systematic and politically motivated underfunding of the services survivors depend on. Time’s Up on victimising survivors and allowing abusers to avoid accountability. Time’s Up on the misogynistic abuse of women on social media. Time’s Up on the culture that tells men they are entitled to women’s bodies.’ All brought together because of a hashtag. Sexual violence against women is documented in the news more and more. For every story of rape and murder against a woman, there are a dozen other stories that never make it to print. Women in third world countries, women in rural areas without a voice, are betrayed by the power ridden men that surround them. A global estimate published states that ‘1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical, emotional and or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime’. Times Up offers support to women searching refugee from sexual harassment. There are also several charities which help women who are in a vulnerable situation, due to violence. Rape crisis in England and Wales, The Survivors Trust and CSASS are just a few. Remember if you have been harassed or assaulted there are always ways of seeking help. Your university, school or college will always be there to help. These platforms of help and encouragement are crucial in helping survivors realise it is and will never be their fault. Girls should be able to act, dress and talk how they want without the fear of attack or assault. Don’t ever feel afraid to stand up for yourself, whether this may be removing yourself from a situation, standing up for a friend or speaking out for yourself and others. For years, I went through my life apathetic, scared to raise my voice at the risk of being ‘boring’ ‘too serious’, worried it seemed ‘uncool’ to care about the world and people around me. But if one person is affected or changed by the words I put out there then it’s all worth it, I’ll take being boring. Remember your voices are more important than you think this whole movement started from just a few lone voices sharing their experiences. If you feel degraded by someone’s actions speak out, you’re stronger and more powerful than you think. Never be ashamed, never hide away, you are beautiful and more importantly you are not alone. #MeToo
by emily macfie
The girl who broke Instagram with her pubes, the girl who trolled mainstream fashion with a period shirt and the girl who continues to fight for space for women within the creative industry. Photographer, filmmaker, and artist Petra Collins, @petracollins, has become our generation’s sweetheart and talent to treasure. Her photography can be seen plastered on billboards in all the major cities, as she regularly collaborates with Gucci, Bulgari, and Adidas to curate magical commercial campaigns. Photographing celebrities such as Tyler the Creator, Kim Kardashian and Zendeya ~ Petra has also worked alongside the likes of Selena Gomez, her BFF, even directing her music video, Fetish, and Rihanna to shoot for her brand, Fenty. With two published photography books, ‘Babe’ and ‘Discharge’, and the recent release of her third, ‘Coming of Age’, we happily present to you an A-Z of all things you need to know about Petra Collins.
A is for Archive
To start, an introduction to Coming of Age. Classified as a ‘monograph’, the book is a retrospective piece of work, reflecting on the past decade of Petra’s life and the photographs she has taken. Speaking to Refinery.29, Petra revealed her commitment to publish her collection of old work, (including personal essays, photographs and intimate letters) as a way for the public to understand her background and life growing up, as well as a way for her personally to close that chapter of her life.
B is for Ballet
Dance was a huge aspect of Petra’s life. Just like her sister, Petra was a dancer. As she struggled with reading and writing, she turned to dance as a way to express herself and feel free. In high school, however, she dislocated her knee and was told that she would have to quit ballet. That’s when she turned to photography. Petra tells the Star, “As a young girl, you already have so many insecurities about your body, but to physically not be able to do something you love and that you think you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life… was so scary for me.” That's when she picked up a camera.
C is for Censorship
In an open letter she wrote titled, ‘Censorship and The Female Body’, written in response after Instagram suspended her account, Petra explains her frustration of the inaccurate depictions of the female body within the media. She talks on how she is used to seeing women being degraded and shamed for how they dress and what they look like - from song lyrics, films to pop culture, women are constantly held back and all their successes boil down to their outward appearance. This is a topic Petra speaks out on whenever she can and is a theme reflected heavily in her work. Lest we forget the masturbating, menstruating vagina top she designed for American Apparel… it’s one of many reasons why we love her. “My goal is just to create images that generate a conversation about things that aren’t spoken about”, Petra told Vogue.
D is for Discharge
Discharge was Petra Collins’ first solo exhibition and is also a published book. Exhibited in Toronto, it showcased the struggles of growing up as a girl within an image-based society that is so overly focused on sex and sex appeal, where how you look and how you choose to dress dictates how others view you. Since the age of 15, Petra has been exploring the confusion, frustrations, and challenges teenage girls experience growing up and while growing into their sexuality, as well as the pressures of puberty. This show was a compilation of her work, revolving around the body and selfreflection and was a critical part of her career.
E is the Ethereal
Whether you’re scrolling through Petra’s Instagram profile or flicking through one of her photography books - there’s no denying that all her photos are effortlessly ethereal. From her photos to her selfies, Petra’s aesthetic is very reminiscent of our favourite ‘90s teenage films, almost all Sofia Coppola films and quirky photos you’d find in your family albums.
F is for Film
Petra is part of the 'analog over digital' movement, using film cameras and polaroids. Film cameras allow her a more intimate control on exposure, focus and depth in photos, which she says is the result of using cheap coloured film from her local drugstore. By using film, Petra’s photos feel more permanent and authentic, as it erases any association with photoshop and airbrushing. It is a lot more personal.
G is for Girlhood
Petra has completely changed the game in terms of capturing the female gaze and celebrating women. An advocate on representing diversity and all women, she creates images that offer all teenagers and young women the chance to relate too. Petra throws society’s standard of femininity on its head and captures dream-like photographs of girls and woman without the need to over-sexualise or exploit her subjects. Her photographs are inspiring and responsive to the lack of representation in mainstream media.
H is for High School
While Petra’s younger sister and original muse, Anna, was still in high school, Petra picked up a disposable camera and began documenting Anna’s experiences. This was the start of Petra’s photography and was the first time Petra captured a transitional period for the everyday teenage girl. Since then, she hasn’t stopped. One of her most Tumblr famous photos comes from her series based on high school called “School Spirit.” I’m sure you’ve reblogged that photo of that boy with the caption “My sister’s boyfriend on his last day of high school.”
I is for the Internet age
Talking to Dazed, Petra summed up what she does for a living as “I create images to heal myself and hopefully others.” With the internet age has come pressure to present an idealised version of yourself online. From what you do, what you’re wearing and to how you are feeling - girls and boys feel
compelled to project a perfect image of themselves, even if it completely and entirely untrue, we fear being seen as anything less than perfect. This is where Petra comes in, as she aims to cultivate a space for girls to feel happy and to dispel the pressures of social media. She regularly posts Instagram stories of her pimples and imperfections and speaks up about her anxiety and depression. she even created a series of photos of girls crying called “24-Hour Psycho” - which discusses the immense pressure to not be emotional.
and aesthetic to create hauntingly beautiful sets that mimicked O’Keeffe’s’ landscapes, and placed girls and bugs into these set designs to interact with the space and to establish themselves as part of the scene. In a Wonderland magazine feature reporting the exhibition, the Tate modern describe Petra as the “leading voice of ‘New-Wave Feminism’” - “who could be better than Collins to represent O’Keeffe, who once said, “Men put me down as the best woman painter…I think I’m one of the best painters.””
L is for Loving
J is for Journey
Despite her dreamy images and depictions of growing up, Petra Collins hasn’t had the easiest time as a teenager. In an interview with Tavi Gevinson, Petra talks about her personal struggles growing up. “I was so confused with my body, I hated my body, I hated everyone, I hated how people looked at my body, I hate how people didn’t look at my body. It became very violent” she recalls. Petra believes it’s important for artists to look at their flaws and everything they’ve overcome, and for her personally, it was crucial for her to see and understand her faults to then move ahead and continue her journey, both in terms of photography and her own life and mental health. This is a reason why Petra is drawn to girls with stories, and not models, with her own photography projects.
K is for O’Keeffe
Petra paid homage to the painter, Georgia O’Keeffe, by re-imagining her works through film. O’Keeffe was a big influence to Petra and taught her to appreciate colour in a way she hadn’t before. Using snippets of O’Keeffe’s voice to compliment her film, Petra used her vision
Petra herself acts as a big sister to so many girls around the world. Her Instagram captions are personal, comforting and informative. she speaks regularly on activism, feminist movements, politics, depression, sexual harassment and abuse, body shaming, female representation and a lot more.
M is for Music Videos
Petra directed her first music video back in 2012, Since then, it seems Petra has been delving into the world of music videos more, with ‘All in’ by Lil Yachty and ‘Fetish’ by Selena Gomez added to her portfolio. One of our favourites being ‘Boy Problems’ by Carly Rae Jepson. Not only has Petra once again successfully created a dream-like world seemingly set in the 80s that we would all love to live in ~ she has also cast a list of our generation’s social influencers to look up to, including Rookie editor, Tavi Gevinson, plus size models, Diana Veras, Chloe Pultar, Barbie Ferreira and Minahil Mahmood, singer and plus size model, Dounia Tazi and young creative, Manon Macasaet. The lists of girls go on.
N is for Nostalgia
In a voice recording of Petra on the-talks.com, Petra answers whether or not she is nostalgic for her teenage years. “It’s funny and I always talk about my nostalgia not really being for the past, but being for a sort of life that I never had, for a teenage life that I didn’t have. Any images that I create, I’m sort of creating this world that I wish I was accepted in, or that I wish that I lived in. So I’m more nostalgic for that, which is like a weird thing.” This is something all Petra fans can relate too - wishing we grew up in a more romantic, rose-tinted version of our reality, in a mundane suburbia, and it is nice to hear from Petra that even she didn’t experience that, despite what her photos may make us think.
O is for Outfits
Pairing zebra printed socks with chunky mint green heels, everything about Petra Collins screams rebellion and her “fuck it” attitude towards life and fashion stands out. Sometimes dressed as a 90s school girl and sometimes covered head to toe in Gucci Petra’s style can only be described as whimsical, a mixture of vibrant prints and bordering between retro and grunge.
P is for Pastel
Pastel, Petra’s signature colour palette. Is there anything more we need to say?
Q is for Queen
“I would like me and a group of women to replace the five men that shoot every [fashion] campaign” Petra openly expresses online. Establishing herself within a male-dominated field, working in fashion, editorials and with celebrities, Petra is unapologetically taking up space and making space for women. At only 17, Petra curated and created The Arduous, www.theardorous.com, a website that describes itself as “a platform for female artists showcasing individual and collaborative projects between a collective of female creative professionals - all full or ardor ~ [ahr-der] noun. 1.great warmth of feeling; fervour; passion. 2. intense devotion, eagerness or enthusiasm. 3. burning heat ~ but each with a unique artistic style and voice.” How can we not love her?
R is for Rookie
Rookie mag, www.rookiemag.com, is an online and printed publication for teens started by Petra’s BFF, Tavi Gevinson, who Petra describes as “the words to my imagery.” Petra is a frequent contributor, regularly posting photo series, projects, and pages from her sketchbooks. Rookie showcases a very intimate and personal side of our queen, Petra.
S is for Sagittarius
Petra’s starsign is Sagittarius and her qualities and traits include: charismatic, fiery, energetic, likeable, optimistic, charming, independent, adventurous, sociable, bold, great sense of humour, idealistic and generous.
T is for Toronto
Petra grew up in Toronto, and although for her, ‘home is where the people I care about are’ - she still very much considers Toronto her home.
U is for Unfiltered
Not only does Petra take an unfiltered approach to her photography, but she herself is unfiltered in what she says and what she believes in. Petra tells i-D “I think the art world is horrendous. The people who can be artists are people who already have money and a studio. People of this notion that sell out or do commercial stuff is [bad], but that’s very old school and boring and I’m not into it. I think there’s a whole new generation who are creating artwork for different platforms.” She is a fresh of breath air in an industry which can come across fake, fabricated and calculated.
V is for Voyeurism
Petra can’t be likened to Nobuyashi Araki, who is known for his extreme voyeuristic approach to photography - Petra focuses more on the intimate moments all girls go through behind the closed doors of their bedroom. Vulnerability, coming into one’s sexuality and emotions ~ Petra’s voyeurism offers itself to girls who can see themselves reflected in her photography.
W is for Women
Representing real women, and not the ideals we are taught to aspire and achieve. Petra says to W magazine, “There’s this new trend on Instagram where girls post ugly selfies with zits, cellulite, whatever. It’s cool.” She is paving the way for accurate representation in the media, celebrating real women and not manipulating them.
X is for blank X Petra Collins
Is there anyone we care about that HASN’T already collaborated with Petra? Any brand we love that hasn’t collaborated with Petra? Is there anyone we know that DOESN’T want to collaborate with Petra? You simply have to type in “Petra Collins x” into Google to witness everything she has done and been a part of. At only 25 as well…
Y is for
Y haven’t you gotten her latest book yet?
Z is for Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is defined as ’the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time’. We leave you with the official Rizzoli Books description to Petra Collin’s ‘Coming of Age’: “Since bursting into the zeitgeist, the precocious Petra Collins has captured the hearts of the art and fashion worlds alike. Collins champions an inclusive mode of representation that inspires young women to celebrate how they live now and their agency in creating their image. She operates on the joys, excitement, tedium, and madness of growing up in today’s interconnected kingdom of images. Revealing personal essays, Polaroids, and contributions by the women who inspire her to unveil the unassuming grace at the centre of campaigns for Gucci and Adidas, films for the Tate, and countless editorials as photographer and subject.” We already have our copy. <3
A lot of Petra’s photos allows viewers a voyeuristic peek into the secret world of the girls she photographs. Voyeurism is defined as ‘the practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviours, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions usually considered to be of a private nature.’ While
the travel diaries
by andrea cutts
Malak shares her travel experiences as a Muslim woman. Attracting over 60,000 views on her YouTube Channel, ‘Travellesz’, presenting and documenting her travels around the world, Malak Obiadi, is vibrant, positive and just fantastic to watch. Malak visits exciting events to give you a unique insight into the world and its diversity exploring all cultures, food and people as she goes. What inspired you to create a travel channel on YouTube? Did you think it would be this popular? I was always interested in travelling and at the same time my dream was to become a presenter. When I first started at 16, I was already making videos, so using YouTube was the first time I had an audience, I never thought people would be interested, initially I was creating videos to hone my skills in presenting and reporting. The first video I posted was about the National Day of the UAE. The UAE is dominated by expats and they’re not familiar with the culture; I thought it was the perfect opportunity to film and report such an amazing culture filled day. It was picked up all over the country and I was receiving comments from the US, and Germany. Just six months in that very video attracted 10,000 (now 21k) views. I realised this could be my gateway of becoming a presenter. Following this video, I actually got a job offer in Abu Dhabi to become an assistant producer for a startup channel called the Capital Business Channel. I was involved in script writing and working very closely in an environment that was my dream. This was big deal for me. Tell me about your scariest encounters when travelling? I visited Corfu with a girl who I had a mutual friend with. I didn’t know her at all. She had met someone there and I was left alone for the majority of the trip. I was walking alone, it was sundown and raining heaps, this car was following me and a man pulled down his window and asked if I wanted a lift, I politely said ‘no’ and he wouldn’t budge. He eventually left, but I saw him the next day close to where I was staying where he approached me, ‘you ok beautiful?’ he said. I was so uncomfortable and nervous. He then asked me if I wanted to come with him again, bearing in mind I was by myself on an island, I just ran back to the hotel.
unexplainable and just great fun. Early on of course I had those anxieties as I had no one to talk to, and share these experiences with and that is the hardest part. Have you had any problems because of your religion when traveling? I’ve had many racist experiences. I was in Barcelona this year, and a woman was giving out free samples of cake, and I asked what the ingredients were, and she told me to read the packet, which was in Spanish and the women shouted at me and said ‘well don’t eat it then’. I went back to my friend who I was traveling with, and she asked for the ingredients and the woman kindly listed them all out. All I wanted to know was if there was alcohol or gelatine, which they did have. I was so mad, and upset. I went to the lady ‘why didn’t you tell me? And she started swearing in Spanish. Another time was held for ten hours at the US border control when my family and I drove down from Canada to Detroit. It’s very intimidating, daunting and degrading. I felt like an animal. For ten hours we couldn’t eat, drink, we were followed into the toilets and had to have our car doors open. We were isolated and I could see everyone who entered leaving as we stayed put, on surveillance. Our phones, laptops were left in the open car. But thankfully it was worth it in the end, America was beautiful. What’s one of the best moments you’ve had abroad? New York city hands down.Entering New York City was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced, the car that we rented had a sunroof and I stuck my head out, singing. Between the lights and the skyline, I was in heaven. Sometimes traveling can become mundane, the whole process of getting on planes, travelling around. But there’s a feeling you get, the same feeling I got when I was in New York, nothing can compare.” What’s next in store of Travellesz Channel? I’m hoping to continue to grow and improve on the episodes I share, I have so much content yet to be released, my New York one is next. Also I what to up the exposure and attract new people, and focus on social media. Check out her brilliant channel @Travellesz Channel
Travelling alone must be really hard but also empowering to be in your own company, can you tell me how that experience was? Traveling alone is definitely nerve racking as there are a lot of risks, and unfamiliarity with the language. It’s also really lonely as you can imagine doing these activities with friends and family. But after a while you get used to it and comfortable with your own company. You have to have a positive outlook and more often than not I have a better time on my own, as I can do things that I want to do and have to please no one. For example, whilst exploring Corfu I came across a horse riding stable and I just thought, ‘why not I’m going to go horse riding.’ - and it was amazing, the views were
grime, a timeline by andrea cutts
2017 felt like Grime’s time to shine. In between gaining its own category on Apple Music and Skepta being awarded Best British Male Artist at the NME awards; it has smashed into mainstream culture and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. No-one is scared of the ‘big man with a beard’ – Stormzy. The origins of grime lay underground and 17 years after the genre was born grime has begun to cultivate, and become part of our national identity. With its roots tied to pirate radio stations, developing in London in the early 2000s, the aesthetic origins of grime, are still something British culture obsess over today. What makes grime so different to any other music genre is the syncopated backbeats, aggressive sound and the relatable lyrics surrounding urban life. The Genre rapidly spread amongst pirate radio stations like Rinse FM, before surfacing onto the mainstream. In 2010 grime began to break through the US boarders, and artists like Wiley, Kano, Ghetts began to have a massive following. SO, here’s everything you need to know about the genre which is looking to define the decade culturally!
Dizzie Rascal radiates classic grime, the rapper from London, released, ‘I Luv You’ almost 14 years ago to the day when he was just 16 years old, paving a way for future grime artists to come. music critic Sasha Frere-Jones observed that despite Rascal’s large mainstream exposure it was still not having a break through, although it was “becoming familiar.”
Pay As U Go Cartel the true pioneers of the grime sound included members like Gods gift, Major Ace, Wiley, Maxwell D featuring Dom P. Their single “Champagne Dance” is loud, rowdy and made for the club, introducing Grime to the mainstream. RIP, Major Ace.
David Cameron has beef with Lethal Bizzle. Even Tories know what grime is.David Cameron, years before becoming our prime minister, complained that Tim Westwood shouldn’t be playing songs with lyrics so violent on the radio. In retaliation, the Guardian newspaper gave Lethal Bizzle a column titled, ‘David Cameron is a Doughnut.’ While David Cameron decided to fight back with, “You’re Talking Rubbish Lethal Bizzle’ which was featured in the Daily Mail.
Remember how popular ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ was? Well the equivalent to that was Lethal Bizzle’s ‘Forward Riddim’ better known as ‘POW’. It was the first Grime single to smash into the UK top 20. The rapid single made its way to the UK headlines after moshpits were formed in mainstream clubs. Owners of the clubs would beg their DJs to not play POW!
The return of the Godfather, known for his dedication to the genre Wiley releases bass heavy dance tune, ‘Wearing my Rolex,’ which breaks the UK charts.
When Kayne West performed at the Brits his new single, All Day, he unexpectedly brought out 40 track suited men from the London grime scene on stage with him. Unaware what his intentions were, it shows what was once underground, has gained some popular followers.
It’s really hard to find someone who now who doesn’t know ‘Shutdown.’ Soon as you hear the track open you are compelled to shout “TRUS’ ME DADDY”. Shutdown is an iconic track for Skepta earning him respect and possibly the most successful grime track in the US.
Skepta scoops Best British Male Artist at the 2017 NME awards and is presented the gong by the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn who dubbed him a ‘role model’.
Shut Up, by Stormzy, a free style that was recorded in a park, surrounded by his mates became a smash hit, for the grime MC who launched his career at 17. Shut Up has been played over 65 million times, on YouTube.
Naming a song after yourself, JME released JME, an autobiographical boisterous track talking about his fame and journey in Grime. Selfabsorbed? Maybe, a tune? Definitely.
The founder of Grime, Wiley was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to Music.
Stormzy wins over the British public, as he is voted ‘nicest guy in the UK’, Best Male in the British GQ awards and goes Platinum with his number one album, Gang Signs and Prayers, also selling out 3 nights at the 02 Brixton Academy.
Superstar rapper Drake, breaks social media when he posted, ‘The first Canadian signed to BBK’ on Instagram. Proof that grimes journey to world domination is in full motion. Boy Better Know is a grime collective and record label. Founded by grime’s most respected brothers, JME and Skepta, the label is home to current artists such as Wiley, Frisco and now Superstar Drake
Stormzy tops out an incredible year by winning 2 BRIT awards. One for Best British Male and the other for Best British Album for Gang Signs and Prayers; beating out the likes of Ed Sheeran and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. He topped the night with a politically motivated performance, calling out Theresa May and the Tory government for their failures in the Grenfell Tragedy of summer 2017. A statement which reminds us that while Grime is heading for the stratosphere, it will never forget where it came from.
by ivan stoyanov 2017 was the year that LGBT relationships stopped being represented as something out of the ordinary and started making their way into mainstream media. This is why the Oscar nominated Call Me By Your Name was one of our favourite films of last year… Imagine this: you are at the cinema, it’s the end of the movie, credits rolling and you’re just hoping that the lights take a bit longer so that you have time to wipe your tears and get your shit together before anyone around notices you’re a complete mess. Alas, the lights come on before you’re ready… but instead of looking around and being met by judgy looks, you realise it wasn’t just you. Well, that’s what you were in for if you went to see Call Me By Your Name in cinemas. But the feeling of weird compassion in the audience at the end of the movie (the lady next to me actually turned to me and said “Wow I just want to give him a hug, don’t you?”) is far from being the only reason to watch. Call Me By Your Name was getting a lot of Oscar buzz as soon as it came out and there was a reason for it. The film, nominated for best picture, directed by the acclaimed Luca Guadagnino (director of Bigger Splash) can, and will, make you forget all about where and when you are, and will completely immerse you in the hot Italian summer of 1983. There, you’ll meet 17 year old Elio (played by Timothée Chalamet) who’s spending his usual leisurely summer at his family’s villa with his parents. All Elio ever does is read loads of books, transcribe music and bask in the sun…what a lucky bastard huh? The months normally spent “waiting for the summer to end” as Elio explains, take a different turn when Oliver (Armie Hammer), the
23 year old PhD student at Columbia, arrives at the villa. Oliver who quickly earns himself the nickname “La Muvistar” (*ehem* the movie star, for those of us who are not fluent in Italian) thanks to his looks is not just pretty though! He’s a bit of a dick too, with his smart-ass, cocky attitude and typical “later” instead of a goodbye. However, there is a lot more to him than the superficial easy-going attitude. You get to slowly, almost painfully discover those different sides of him. In that aspect, you’re a bit like Elio who goes through a few phases before settling on what he thinks of Oliver. What starts as intrigue becomes frustration and maybe a bit of hate before getting to desire, and finally, full-on love. All things aside, the director and actors did a beautiful job at telling a love story, one that’s so pure and powerful, and so universally relatable that it makes the whole cinema cry. Luca said it: “This is a movie about a family, compassion, transmission of knowledge, of being better people because someone’s otherness changes you.” Call Me By Your Name is a genre in its own. It is like nothing that you usually see on the big screen and that’s what’s so great about it. You won’t get the typical three-act deal, there is no antagonist and nothing was shot in a studio. They “did the movie in Cremona, in northern Italy, in 2016 as a little family affair.” Luca Guadagnino said in an interview for The Guardian. He followed the relationship between the two young men as it developed, with all its ups and downs, without forcing it to fit any pre-set Hollywood mould. A coming of age movie, it explores the great themes of first love and real love in the most realistic yet touching way possible. It is slow paced but not boring. Every shot is imbued with symbolism and meaning and builds up the tension in a natural way that draws you in and completely immerses you in the movie’s universe.
Food is made sensual, fruit erotic (you’ll never look at a peach in the same way). The simplest words exchanged or briefest touch mean the world. The subtlety of the movie is mesmerising and creates a feeling of reality and tangibility, rarely achieved in cinema. You will find yourself nostalgic for a time when you probably weren’t even born. It’ll feel like like you’re actually spying on real people and a “real situation instead of a construction” as Luca noted.
This is a message that we need in today’s society that has recently seen a regression in the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. Straight people need to understand that queer love is just as valid as theirs and the movie’s universality and relatability achieve this extremely well. As well as giving LGBTQ an opportunity to see themselves in media that don’t conform to the ‘tragic gay’ trope we’re all too used to seeing.
Timothee and Armie are so genuine and convincing that it’s hard to get to grips with the fact that there aren’t an Elio and an Oliver out there somewhere, riding their bikes through the Italian countryside on their way to a cold pond for a morning swim. All the while desiring, annoying and loving each other.
Some people have spoken out against the director’s decision to cut nudity to a minimum and not have a sex scene between Elio and Oliver. They saw the decision as silencing and censuring when in reality, the movie is about emotions and love in particular. Nudity and salaciousness would’ve felt unnecessary and would’ve taken away from the subtle and powerful, suggestive nature of the film.
Another thing that sets Luca’s creation apart is his way of approaching a gay relationship on screen. Even though the love story is set in a time and place that were not accepting of gay people and relationships, you won’t get any of the LGBTQ film stereotypes. There is no homophobic monster that stands between the two guys, no one dies because they’re gay. Ultimately, there is no punishment for being a guy who loves another guy and the only pain comes from the nature of love. Instead you are met with a father and mother who love their son, no matter what, which is criminally refreshing. Although it is important to raise issues and hardships that LGBTQ people are bound to encounter, it is also equally important to have normalised representations in media. If there is one political statement that Call Me By Your Name makes without being political at all, it’s that love between two people is love, no matter what their gender happens to be.
One last thing that deserves to be mentioned is the carefully selected soundtrack that perfectly complements the amazing cinematography. You’ll be treated to a mix of classical pieces for the piano that remind you of how annoyingly talented Elio is (you get to see him play the guitar and piano for his parents and for Oliver), 80s hits that take you back in time and some contemporary masterpieces by Sufjan Stevens that will only make you cry harder. His song Mystery of Love actually got nominated for best Original Song at the academy awards this year. Overall, go watch it! Did you know that Call Me By Your Name was originally a book? You can have it read to you by the dreamy Armie Hammer via Audible. Sign up to Audible via our link audible.com/mood for a free audiobook with your 30 day free trial.
credit: Joshua Noon
what we are wearing
by emily macfie
Glasses - Cadabra Shop Sweater - My dad’s Lonsdale Shorts - Cirfit Apparel Boots - Market in Spain
Top - Vintage Jacket - Vintage Trousers - Ralph Lauren Shoes - Dr. Martins
“Whenever I feel uninspired, or can’t find an outfit - i’ll rummage through my parents wardrobe. I always find something!”
“I use a hanging rack rather than drawers so I can see all my options when I’m choosing what to wear.”
Hat - Vintage Gucci Hoodie - Nike Jacket - Vintage Ferrari Bottoms - Versace
Top - Baby Phat Jacket - Baby Pha Belt - Nike TN’s
Jewels - Playboy
“I’m constantly mixing patterns and serving lewwwwks!!! My wardrobe is full of one-of-akind, thrifted pieces.”
“I wear anything that makes me feel like I’m in an 80’s music video or in a video game.”
@georgiamoot Top - Asos Jacket - Vintage Watch - Casio Bag - Louis Vuitton
Jacket - Baby Phat Bottoms - Baby Phat Socks - Playboy Shoes - Nike TN’s
“I usually plan my outfits around one statement piece, either a shoe or a bag. I’m constantly on the go so comfort is important to me.”
“My style inspirations include Britney, Baby Spice and Lizzy McGuire. I’m stuck in the 90s, I can’t help it.”
Top - COS Jacket - Thrifted Overalls - Dickies Shoes - Vans
@ac_creative “I love my primary colours, but above all - comfort and practicality is what matters. That’s what I think is cool.”
Turtleneck - H&M Jacket - Missguided Skirt & Boots - Thrifted Bag - Supreme
“My outfits range from girly to tomboy, and sometimes a mix of both. I like mixing designer and unbranded items too.”
by ivan stoyanov
Sportswear, logo-heavy designs and skinheadesque hairdos….but make it fashion! This is what more and more millennial wannabe influencers are striving for on social media and on the streets of fashion capitals around the world. Instagram is flooded with follower-hungry models and “fashion gurus” sporting looks that could until recently only be observed in run down towns and neighbourhoods across Eastern Europe. The gopnik (a term used to describe the Russian working class) look has become cool worldwide…but why? This new trend, identified as Post-Soviet fashion, originated in the Eastern bloc. The staple three stripes, buzzcuts and tracksuits were first adopted by Russian youth from the rougher districts of Moscow. In the 80s and 90s the gopniki, developed into a youth subculture that opposed other
subcultures such as the bikers, the punks and the KPSS (those who follow Russian hip-hop). There was nothing high-fashion about it and none of today’s coolness was there. Even in the Eastern Bloc, the bunch were looked down upon as aggressive criminals. A lot has changed since the 90s though. Formerly depleted Eastern Bloc states have become more and more influential in vogues closets and this has had its impact on popular culture. Russian designer, Gosha Rubchinskyi (who regularly collaborates with big western labels such as Adidas, Burberry and Dr Martens,) has become a staple for the “it crowd”. Georgian Demna Gvasalia, on the other hand, has worked his way through Maison Martin Margiela and underground fashion label Vetements to now becoming the creative director for Balenciaga. Both of them have introduced the West to Post
Soviet aesthetics from Eastern Europe and have contributed to the increasing popularity of the gopnik look. Gosha not only hand-picks his models to resemble shaved headed Russian youth, but also refused to join traditional fashion weeks in Milan, Paris and New York, instead presenting in Kaliningrad, Russia. Demna also doesn’t shy away from adding a touch of Post-Soviet to his creations. But it couldn’t have been just the two of them making the Post-Soviet cool. “The talent coming from Eastern Europe is very unique.” says Estonian fashion photographer Anrike Piel. “We grew up looking at the Western world wanting this American dream because that’s all we saw on TV. We had also been suppressed for such a long time by the Soviet Union. Our parents couldn’t even dream that one day they could make something great and push it out there into the world. The idea of of traveling outside of Estonia and meeting strangers was so unreal during soviet times that it seemed more like a movie than an actual possibility. Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, you had to live by the rules home work home work home work and nothing else. This may very well be the reason why Eastern Europe has been disrupting global culture and leaving its mark. It is true that the Soviet Union, in its efforts to establish a communist regime across it’s territories impeded a lot of creative ambitions and prevented outside influences from inspiring people to express themselves in different ways. My parents, for example, have told me crazy stories from their childhood in communist Bulgaria where Western culture was what everyone wanted but only a few experienced. My dad spent years running around town sneakily exchanging illegal Beatles vinyls with his friends and my mum thought “American Jeans” to be the coolest and rarest thing. Nowadays, the first generation that grew up in a free, Post-Soviet Eastern Europe is old enough to have found their voice and are now able to share with the world what their creative freedom led them to. Anrike continues: “It is taking time for the ex Soviet Union to find its voice artistically and in fashion. I’ve been through it. When I first started doing photography for example, I was trying to imitate Mario Testino, and all of these big guys. I thought this was the direction I should follow, that I should try and imitate them. I got bored very quickly though. It took me some time, but I realised that my roots were where my best work took inspiration from. I have now embraced it and I feel like many other are learning how to do that.” When I asked Anrike where the outrageous and not so (conventionally) elegant Post-Soviet style comes from, she smiles and recalls: “It’s horrible looking back at pictures of me and my friends wearing the cheesiest stuff, bad stuff! But we have managed to turn it around. We don’t have the latest trends but the creative scene I know in Estonia is really bold. It focuses a lot on second-hand clothing and they mix and match. They don’t end up looking like your classic fashion icons but more like mystical creatures.”
“There was a long period of time when we would wear tracksuits and Crocs and I know how many people would cringe at that but its comfortable. I can see how that can seem trashy but that is the whole thing.” “Post Soviet style in my experience is not about looking expensive - it’s about being bold and not giving a shit!” she laughs. Naturally a question arrises of whether this current popularity of the Post-Soviet fashion and art will shake the ground even more. Gosha Rubchinsky’s choice to opt-out of Milan, Paris, and New York for Kaliningrad and his plans to present in Saint Petersburg for SS18, made me wonder, are Russian cities on the path to a fashion capital status? Anrike doesn’t think that it’s likely however: “As open as I would like to be, Russia is still behind in so many ways. A lot has to change before it can become a fashion capital. I think the widespread and institutionalised homophobia in Russia is going to be a major issue considering that a lot of the people in the fashion world are gay.” Finally, before you jump on the bandwagon and go buy a pair of Adidas slides, be aware that Post-Soviet fashion can be quite problematic. It is important to realise where it originates. The distinct look comes from lower class Russians in the 80s and 90s… people who developed that style not to be trendy but out of necessity. That’s what they had on hand and they definitely were not praised for their outfits. Moreover, as an Eastern-European who lived in the “West” most of my life I am very much aware that before our poverty became cool and edgy, it relegated us to second-class citizen status. Our culture is widely considered lesser. And indeed, as cool as it is to enjoy French film, Italian design and Spanish food, Bulgarians and Poles are only good for building and plumbing if they’re not wasting away at your local pub. Right? Some, like Aleks Eror, contributor for High Snobiety, have described Post-Soviet aesthetics in the West as “moneyed Westerners fetishising commodified poverty that they have the privilege of discarding once it’s not so cool anymore.” Such claims are not hard to believe as we have seen this play out in the past. There have been many other fads that have come from the penchant for Orientalism that underlies a lot of Western fashion. When Eminem and other celebs popularised rolling one leg of your pants up; this style choice came from workers who couldn’t afford cars and had to bike to work. Rolling your leg up on the side of the bike where the chain is, avoids ripping and staining them. Despite these unfortunate predecessors, the community remain hopeful that the same fate will not follow for the Post Soviet. I hope that the recent popularity our culture has come to enjoy, will be an exception and this is more than our 15 minutes of fame. Western demand for Eastern design, fashion and art can pave the way for more and more creatives to embrace their roots and share them with the world.
men and make up
By becky stokely
Make up has always been seen to be for women. It’s only this century that it’s stopped becoming a taboo to see a man wearing make up on a billboard or as a brand endorser for Maybeline. It wasn’t always this way though. It’s not a new trend, more of an epidemic of fierce men flaunting their style and technique. Here’s a round up of the most fabulous painted guys taking over the internet at the moment!
Manny Mua, 26, born Manuel Gutierrez is known for making amazing make up tutorials and reviews on Youtube. With a massive 4,298,252 subscribers on YouTube and a hefty 4.3 million followers on Instagram, his beauty knowledge is not going to be silenced by anyone. He grew up in a mormon culture and hid his sexuality from his parents for many years. But now, he is the first male ambassador for our friends at Maybelline and has very proud parents! It is obvious why Maybelline love him as much as we do, he has the cool, urban edge and spirited style that make him a perfect match for the brand. His famous saying and something we should all take on board? “If you don’t like me, if you don’t like this video, Don’t fucking watch it! You know the drill with that!”
MEET PATRICK STAR
Born Patrick Simondac, this absolute beauty queen is yet another massive YouTube influencer. He is known for his astonishing beauty transformation skills. He is 28 years old from Orlando Florida and a proud fierce Filipino American. With 3,444,909 subscribes on Youtube and four million followers on Instagram it’s pretty hard to ignore his huge personality, confidence and beaming pride. Starr is a well known ambassador for our favourite high end brand Mac Cosmetics; with his knack for building a thriving trendsetting community with his unrivalled individuality and impeccable artistry- Mac are lucky to have him! He is known for not only being a beauty inspiration but also for being damn right hilarious.
Theplasticboy is a slightly smaller online star than Manny and Patrick, but he is still a massive influence on the male make up community. We believe he deserves much more of a fan base than he has so far. But he is still growing profoundly. Born Gary Thompson aged 28 from London, his skin and natural beauty are mesmerizing. His motto is to ‘take care of your skin from an early age and it will be great for your whole life’ and it’s obvious that his skin care routine was made by angels. Not only does he give many skin care tips on his blog theplasticboy.com he is also actively posting and recording videos on Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle. With 137K followers on Instagram he is in the process of filling our social media airwaves.
MEET JAMES CHARLES
Jame’s full name is James Charles Dickinson and he is best known for the infamous picture/meme of his face looking somewhat ghostly due to a make up powder he was wearing that caused BAD flash back in some pictures from the press. Despite this slip up, James is a popular make up influencer, model and an ‘occasional singer’ (according to his Twitter bio). Charles has mostly recently one an award at the ‘Shorty’ awards for best breakout Youtuber with a massive 2,950,052 subscribers and 3.3 million Instagram follwers. Having only recently left high school in New York City, James and his friends are often finding humour in his job role and beauty status. Which was made evident with his high school year book quote being ‘Use code James for 10% off at check out’. His popularity has risen greatly over the last year or so, especially since being the first man to be featured on the front cover of make-up magazines across the US of A.
YOU’RE BOOTY-FUL by becky stokely
People like you and me are finally being encouraged to love our bodies. It’s time we pushed the fashion industry to do the same.
okay with who you are is a revolutionary act’ that we all need to embrace in order to become body positive, strong and powerful.
We are sexy, curvy and gorgeous and we WANT to be included, we could rock those shorts just as well as anyone else. Yet brands such as Victoria Secrets and Urban Outfitters fail to include anything above a size they consider ‘large’ - too often anything above a size 14. Why can’t my body with its stretch marks and rolls galore look sexy in that lacy bralette set that Sara Sampaio rocked on the run way during the 2013 Victoria Secrets fashion show? It bloody can if we are given the sizes we need.
It really is important to almost train yourself to become comfortable in your body and the way it was made because whilst society is telling you that you have to go on a diet to make yourself ‘beautiful’, we are all in fact beautiful in our own way; big breasted, small breasted, fat, skinny or anything in-between. But rather than having an ‘ideal’ socially acceptable standard of beauty, why can’t we all be encouraged to love what our momma gave us? So in what ways have people learnt to become confident with their gorgeous curvy bodies?
The burning question is why exactly aren’t brands being inclusive of plus sizes? The opportunity is there and even more so with women becoming more confident in their bodies and therefore happier to wear clothes we were told we shouldn’t be wearing. With 65% of women in the UK considered plus-sized according to Business Insider, it can’t be too hard for fashion brands to figure out that they could make a killing from this audience. According to fashionunited.uk, plus size retailers in the UK since 2012 have boosted their balance sheet by a massive 800 million.
Catie Mclain is a woman from Texas who has learnt to embrace her body for the way it is. “To me body confidence is feeling entitled to take up space. I have never been a small person in my body or my personality. I spent a lot of my life feeling ashamed of something I couldn’t change about myself, but now I think of myself as expansive. Being large is equated with power and I am teaching myself to love and use that. I have never been skinny but I have always been beautiful. The two can exist at the same time.”
This does somewhat suggest then that there is more to it. Is it a matter of aesthetic? The clothes are going to sell better on a model like figured young girl then someone who might have cellulite and an extra roll, right? Wrong! What’s going to sell is being inclusive of EVERYONE; fat, thin, curvy, boyish, big breasted, small breasted, whatever you want to call it, inclusivity is the way forward! So, what are the excuses? Cora Harrington, a lingerie expert confirmed that in terms of lingerie, making bigger cup sizes isn’t as simple as extending the fabric “people may not realise that each grouping basically requires a different factory and a different set of patterns”. But according to fashionunited.uk, plus size retailers in the UK since 2012 have boosted their money by a massive 800 million pounds. So whilst the fashion industry continues to bring us down, it’s important for plus size women to find something else to encourage body confidence and happiness. The one way I am learning is through social influencers on Instagram such as Megan Jayne Crabbe (@ bodyposipanda). She and many other share their stories of how they overcame the diet culture and found body positivity and self-love. This conversation should be had more often, in a world where ‘fat’ is a curse word, we should be encouraged to embrace the way our bodies are made and the way they look. The most popular and influential beauty has to be model and body positivity activist Ashley Graham, with her thick thighs and big booty blessing our screens. A speech that Ashley made for Glamour’s international day of the girl, has been shared over 500,000 times on Facebook alone, influencing young girls all over, telling them that ‘being
Another curvy woman who has influenced me is Chloe Finn. “It’s been difficult to accept my body for what it is, especially as I grew up in China and being petite and thin was the best thing to be. I also grew boobs before any of the other girls in my grade, it made me feel like something was wrong with me because I didn’t look like anyone else. I began doing a lot of MMA and kickboxing and began liking my body. Even though I wasn’t thin like the women on the billboards, I felt powerful, strong and capable.” It is easier said than done, as someone who has always taunted herself with diet culture and is only now learning that I don’t have to do that to be happy. I am more than aware that the way these influential beautiful people feel about themselves didn’t just happen overnight. It is battles with eating disorders, body dysmorphia and criticism that brings you to an enlightenment that is your temple of a body. And yes, we should all be looking after our bodies because after all, it’s the only one we’ve got, we also need to love them too. The journey to body confidence is one that has to be learnt over and over again and of course even after you reach the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ you’ll still doubt yourself every now and then. But by being encouraged by other people in the same boat as you, self-love can be encouraging, inspiring and can lead to so many new avenues. Fashion and the industry itself is crucial in this journey and while we have a long way to go in that aspect, there are new doors opening every year, allowing you to find something similar or even identical to that cute pair of leggings you saw Selena Gomez wearing. Even if your body shape isn’t the way society thinks it should be, you can, and you will, rock it.
meet by emily macfie
At only 21, Yuki Haze has established herself as one to watch within the London creative scene. Half Japanese and Half Dutch, Yuki identifies as a third culture kid and has moved in-between Japan and Cambridge. Currently based in London, she uses social media to collaborate with designers, photographers, social media influencers and brands for work. Describing herself as a visual artist and designer, Yuki has collaborated with Forever 21 to design a 16 piece collection and has had her clothes featured on Vouge.com. She began reworking vintage pieces found at flea markets at the age of 18, after completing sixth form. Using acrylic paints and paint pens, Yuki customised vintage clothes by adding her own designs over top. She even customised her Louis Vuitton bag with pink and green fabric paint… “My mums wasn’t so happy!” she laughs. Yuki’s style is original and very distinct ~ and this is very much reflected in every piece of clothing she touches. From plain and simple ‘can’t go wrong’ black leather jackets, Yuki is able to transform things into one of a kind statement pieces, with her doodle-like illustrations of women, gold chains, and snakes. “I was encouraged by a great art teacher to take my art seriously, however, I didn’t fully discover my own drawing and creative style until I started getting experience in the industry, around the age of 19”, explains Yuki.
Instagram and her own clothing brand, Ezah Ikuy (https://everpress.com/ezahikuy), Yuki is a co-founder of Sukeban magazine (http://sukeban.co.uk), an online platform dedicated to providing people of colour and women space for their art and creative endeavours. Sukeban translates to ‘boss girl’ in Japanese and unapologetically criticises the lack of representation for minorities and women in the creative industry. In a time where competition for jobs is higher than ever, and graduated students are disheartened to pursue their dream careers, we spoke to Yuki about life after sixth form, her style influences, social media and the future. Her Instagram captions are cute and relatable and her style, effortless and individual, so if you haven’t been following @yukihaze ~ we are here to introduce you to this digital dream girl.
✿ First and foremost, how would you define your style? It varies from being tongue-in-cheek to straight up tomboy. You’ll usually find me in a hoodie and tracksuit bottoms with my hair slick back, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also dress up. One of
From styling earrings on faces, creating Chanel braces, setting a denim jacket on fire, to drawing onto designer bags - it is safe to say Yuki’s bold and fearless approach to fashion, beauty and expression within the creative industry continues to attract like-minded people online. Alongside killing it on social media, with 25.9 thousand followers on
my favourite recent outfits was a two-piece Gucci blazer and skirt, white cowboy boots and a Prada bag I customised. I like pairing designer items with boyband tees, that’s my style, a mix of both. Who influences your style? My biggest influences, in terms of individuals, are the basketball player, Dennis Rodman and singer, Aaliyah. I am also really inspired by the style in the legendary street style photobook “FRUITS”. Fruits is basically a collection of photos capturing fashion and style on the streets of Tokyo. It’s colourful and fun, a mixture of designer brands and handmade items. What inspires you to create the things you do? I guess first and foremost the feeling of satisfaction I get when I finish making something. It’s not exactly ‘happiness’, but it has the same warmth and weight, it feels selfless and personal at the same time. I’m not too good at keeping this feeling though and I tend to dismiss things after I’ve finished making them, which is something that I’m trying to work on at the moment. I am very influenced by photographer, Cindy Sherman, and artists, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Matisse. I also like the concept of creating something out of nothing in general, or making something that serves as a think piece and accessory or utility as well. Did you know what you wanted to do after sixth form? I always knew I wanted to do something in fashion, way before even sixth form. When I was around 4 or 5, I had it in my head that I wanted to be either a businesswoman, an artist or a fashion designer, not fully realising that it was possible to be all three.
Was university ever a part of your plan? I was definitely pushed into the direction of studying law, and at one point I almost considered going for it when I left sixth form. Ultimately I decided to take a year out and get into the fashion industry instead, through internships and jobs, as well as building up my fashion portfolio. It was around the end of this year that I realised that uni was never meant for me so I decided not to go at all. People have a misconception that you need to go to university to be successful, what would you say to this? I’d say you should depend whether or not you want to go to university by looking at who you are as a person. Do you require guidance and the involvement of peers? Do you need a solid schedule to encourage you to pursue something? Are you unsure of what it is you want to define yourself by creatively? If so, perhaps uni is the best choice. If not - you should go your own way. A big part of why I didn’t go to uni is because I hated lectures, I can’t stand sitting still in a room surrounded by other people, it makes me nervous and it’s the least ideal work environment for me. I work best on my own with no distractions, and I learn the most by being in an active environment, not via theory. It was better to seek work and experience. How was it finding your feet within the creative field? It was difficult, but I was fortunate enough to have a
strong and supportive group of people around me. I met Erika Bowes, who is also co-founder of Sukeban, while on holiday. We initially connected through social media and linked up when we were both in Japan visiting family. It is a lot less intimidating tackling the creative field with others by your side supporting you and working alongside you. With platforms like Instagram and Tumblr, I think it is a lot easier to network and become friends with people who like the same things as you, and it made it a lot easier for me to find my feet. I’m quite a shy person in real life, but online I feel very comfortable and can easily express what I stand for and who I really am. It is important to do you, not to copy what is trending or what is ‘popular’, I think unique online profiles is what attracts like-minded creatives and brands. As a social media influencer, what opportunities have come your way? Social media, Instagram especially, has made it so much easier for brands to contact me, and for me to collaborate with other creatives. So many opportunities have come my way, from working with Converse at my own workshop customising classic white high tops to my collection with Forever 21. Forever 21 found me on Instagram and simply contacted me via email. The process took about a year and it’s still mind-boggling to me that my collection was sold internationally…pretty groovy knowing people around the world could be wearing my designs. I get all my jobs online and financially I am able to thrive thanks to social media. How is the creative scene in London? Is it competitive or supportive? I’d say it’s both. In big cities in general, those that are confident about their work and openminded to different avenues tend to be the most supportive people, and those that are insecure in themselves or their work tend to be the most competitive, or dismissive. It really depends on the person. How and why did you start Sukeban Magazine? Erika Bowes and I started it because we felt there were very little areas/platforms that catered to young, talented people of colour, so we made our own. What has been the best thing you have done so far? In terms of what I’m the proudest of, it’s how far I’ve improved with my photography. My work is really not professional or amazingly interesting, but I think it’s unique and there’s definitely some photos that I’ve taken that have made me very happy. I used to be truly crap at taking images, probably only just two years ago. I don’t think I am technically good, but I appreciate the way I take a setting or idea in my head and translate directly in my images. Have you experienced people stealing your work or copying your style? All the time. I’ve also had people accuse me of stealing their work on occasion, and I’ve been able to pick up why they assumed this, but in all honesty, the irony is I was never referencing them at all. Even if I was, I’m inspired and influenced by other people every day, and you can’t make art without being influenced by someone, whether subconsciously or not, in some way. That’s what burns in my head if
I see someone who has blatantly been influenced by me- I think, “But is that really the case?” I mean it’s actually quite plausible that someone could be doing something similar to me, just out of coincidence. And also, they could have seen my imagery on some nameless Tumblr or Instagram that didn’t credit me. I have no real basis for immediately assuming that they copied me directly unless they follow me and consistently copy me, which is different. I think you have to be balanced when approaching this. I also think that, to an extent, not being that bothered by others copying you is a real sign of confidence. Of course, if someone is constantly, blatantly ripping you off, it can be very demoralising and it inspires a lot of anger in me. I don’t think it’s fair to literally copy someone’s work stitch by stitch and get away with it- there’s a fine line between being influenced and direct plagiarism. People make mistakes, yes, but I don’t respect this if it’s repeated. What do you hope for in the future? Continued success in my own brand and respect for my creative work.
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photography by adam khadaroo
by tyler lewis
What aren't you? What does it mean to check multiple boxes and how can that define who you are? A black man, a gay man and a gypsy walk into a room. The start of an offensive joke? Surprisingly not. This is what happens every time I go through a door. Our identity tells us who or what we are. Sometimes it can be hard to embrace all parts of who we are at the same time. I have a pal that recently came out as gay and is Australian. On the day before the result of the Australian vote on gay marriage was revealed, he had a stern talk with me. “If it comes back and it’s a no, I’m never going back there.” That was the sentence that started it all. He was prepared to discard an entire country that he had been born in, raised in and that had given him language, shelter and an education, because another part of him just felt a little bit more important. I was born in South East London which has come to be one of the most important parts of my identity. I was raised by a single white woman, also a South East Londoner, that descends from an Irish traveller family. The way I have been brought up has always been in keeping with the culture and traditions
of people south of the Thames and my gypsy grandparents. My father, who I’ve seen relatively little of in my lifetime, is Jamaican. I’ve never been particularly interested in my West Indian heritage, but still a little part of me gets protective when Notting Hill Carnival rolls around, sensing that this celebration is for me. On top of that, I am of course half black and that’s something that I am never allowed to forget. Being one of only three children of colour in my class at primary school made me recognise that from a young age I was different, and I would be treated as such for the rest of my life by some. The other two classmates of colour and I were asked to lead our schools African parade. We were all Caribbean. At 13 I came out as gay. For some reason at this point in my life I started redrawing myself to align with this. I cut off the majority of my curly afro hair and bleached the remainder blonde. My best friend gave me a very tacky ear piercing (we tried to copy Lindsey Lohan in the Parent Trap), I cut the sleeves off of all my t-shirts, and woke up at 3 AM to queue for a Lady Gaga concert. This was my identity now. Not mixed raced or black and not a South East Londoner. I was gay. Now, I can safely say all my hair has grown back, I’m wearing sleeves again, and nothing gets me up before 6. I am from South East London, I am black
and I am gay. But being all of these things at once can be hard to say the least. The gay community can be notoriously racist often depicting the buff, white, middle class man as the alpha homosexual and the black community dabbles in some subtle homophobia with many majority black countries still outlawing homosexuality. I’m trying to learn how to embrace the different shades of my identity at once and if it’s even possible. Religion. For many, it’s a part of our identity that outlines a set of rules and guidelines on the best way to live our lives. Dani Singer who also battles with dual identities is trans non-binary, of Jewish faith and opts for they, them and their as pronouns. When I first met Dani we were at a queer Jewish performance event, fantastically named Homos and Hummus. They were in full get up as Theresa Dis-May, a drag queen looking to deport or appoint everyone in sight with a messy bob wig and red lipstick on their teeth. Now, a month later at their house in Camberwell, we’re sat snug on the sofa drinking tea, discussing identity politics and fussing over Dani’s scruffy Border Terrier Jarvis. “Jarv is queer as well, aren’t you Jarv?” Dani says as they scratch his neck. We stop fussing over Jarvis, take a few more sips of tea and get comfy. “I went to a Jewish primary school and then I went to a Jewish secondary school where everything was very gendered, very binary and very heterosexual because of Orthodox Judaism.” Orthodox Judaism still maintains the idea that homosexuality is “un-Jewish” and is strict in it’s reproduction of values as outlined in the Torah which states that; “You shall not lie down with a male, as with a woman: this is an abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22 “For that reason I wasn’t really able to explore my queer identity at all. It was completely supressed that whole time. It took me until eight years after leaving school before I actually realised that I that I wasn’t even straight.” When Dani left school they were unsure of what exactly they were having trouble understanding about themselves. What they did understand however was that it was Judaism that caused their inner conflicts. “When I left school I wanted nothing to do with the religion at all. I was like ‘I’m done with it’; I hated it. I suppose some part of me was aware that it had been a very suppressive environment. I didn’t know what exactly wasn’t being expressed because it was so squashed up in this ball of confusion and frustration and anxiety, I couldn’t even begin to unpick it.” Dani pauses and looks into their mug. They continue, “but I knew that at the root cause of that was the way that the religion had expressed itself through my education which is not how the religion needs to express itself. At the same time that I started slowly to unpick that ball of confusion, my
mum transferred from Orthodox Judaism to Reform Judaism and that had a big impact.” Reform Judaism doesn’t follow the same strict, conservative views of Orthodox Judaism. The reform branch is much more liberal and open, embracing a wider cross section of individuals. “I was able to go with my ex-girlfriend to the synagogue; the Rabi’s know that I’m trans. My mum making that change has allowed me to come back to Judaism as a part of my identity in a way that I feel is inclusive of both of those parts of who I am. I feel like it’s a big step and I guess I feel a lot more comfortable in who I am.” So as Dani has shown us, it is definitely possible to have intersecting identities. Yet I can’t help but feel that the main reason Dani’s situation was made better was because of their move from Orthodox to Reform Judaism. For people whose identities remain fixed, and don’t have an option of adjusting a part of themselves, there is less ability for them to allow parts of their character to collide. At the end of 2017, CNN’s religion editor, Daniel Burke, confirmed this stating that not only is religion divisive, it acts as a “conversation ender” for many LGBT people of faith. Attempting to express your sexuality can often be cut immediately short by religion. An old friend of mine, Suki Thiara, is, like myself, a man of many minorities. I went to his university and had a chat with him about his uniqueness in an empty seminar room one lunch. “My background is Indian and I’m also Sikh. I was born and bred in London to a middle class working family and I’m gay.” Most Sikhs have an Indian heritage but it is not the countries primary religion. Around 80% of the Indian population is Hindu and continual frictions, leading to a massacre of Sikh people in the 1980’s, leaves tensions between the two religions still in place. On top of this, LGBT individuals in the country can face both legal and social difficulties with conversion therapy still being practiced throughout the country. Although Suki identifies as British he still has close ties to his Indian heritage. “In India there was a massacre that was started by the government and they were after Sikhs. Even now, if I went to India on my own it would be a threat for me because they’re after young British men from a Sikh background.” Suki is not currently practising his religion but does still embrace certain aspects of it with his flowing long black hair reaching down to his waist. “There’s not a specific text in Sikhism that says homosexuality is wrong. I think being Indian and gay is what can be difficult at times. There’s a big gay scene in India but you can still go to prison for being gay. There’s pride and LGBT clubs but it’s a struggle. I’ve got friends that are Indian and Sikh that were gay but have just given up because it’s too hard. Family values and culture differences can put so much pressure on a person that they’re forced to
photography by kieran irvine
photography by egle trezzi
put sexuality to one side.” Something that has always struck me as interesting about Suki’s situation is the way other British people interact with his race. He may be of Indian descent but is of course a citizen of the United Kingdom. Not everyone can see that. “A lot of people think I’m a Muslim. There’s been times where I’ve also been called a Paki. The white British person can’t understand that I’m British. People ask where I’m from and I say London. Then they ask again, ‘but where are you from’. Then they ask ‘where are you really from’ and I’m like ‘dude, I’m from London!’ That sort of thing makes me so mad. I’m no less British than them. Sometimes it feels like I’m being forced to be an other.” Suki’s experience felt much more familiar with my own. Imagine being a descendent of a country that actively supresses your religion and sexuality and then being othered in the country that you were born. How can different parts of your identity intersect with each other when they’re in constant conflict? Feeling more lost and confused then when I began this journey I went to a professional. Dr Darren Van Bull offered to meet me in a bar one evening to help me gain a grip on identity politics. He’s a straight talking psychiatrist that spends a lot of time working in prisons. “Nationality is just a legal statement. To be emotionally invested in it is not useful. It can change if you get married, it can change if the nation you’re from breaks down; your nationality is on your passport and that’s it.” Darren wastes no time in telling me exactly what he thinks about ideas around identity over a glass of wine on a cold winters evening. “I think if you’re part of a non-expected normative group life is going to be a lot more challenging for you. If you’ve grown up in a way where your family is very supportive of you being as you want to be, expressing yourself as you want to be, then you’re very fortunate. That can make life very easy for you within your family. But it will still be a challenge for you in relation to the work place and other people because not everybody’s going to be as accepting as your liberal family.” So if you correspond with a group that isn’t the norm life can be difficult. It doesn’t matter if those immediately around you accept you, being non normative is instantly isolating. The psychiatrist is not just a professional because of his occupation. Darren is openly queer, is also black, and was adopted by white parents. “Race is a bit more difficult because I think race is a bit of a tricky one to control in the same way. You can control your expression of sexuality; you can even control your expression of gender to a degree. You can’t really control your racial expression. Race is often not something to do with you, but to do with how other people perceive you.”
This is an obvious cause of inner conflict because often that perception that others have is tilted or different to our own perceptions of ourselves. For example, I’d jumped to the conclusion that growing up black with white parents would have been confusing and difficult for Darren. When I told him this he had a lot to say in response and even gave me a little insight into why I have my own issues with race. “I could recognise that my parents weren’t black and I knew that I was adopted so I feel like I skirted round a lot of race issues in a really interesting way that wasn’t challenging. You had a harder time than I did because you had the identity of being black which was different from your white mother. However, you didn’t have the presence of your black father which probably made life more challenging. For a lot of people who are mixed and raised by a white mother only and with a very absent black father it is really challenging in relation to identity as a person of colour because you are not the same colour as the person who raises you. This makes your confusion about race bigger.” He comes to a conclusion, “Peoples early environment give them a set of assumed identities including gender, gender norms, expected sexuality and race. If you’re going to think about doing something differently from that, that can be quite anxiety provoking and quite terrifying. Then if you think more and you move that into action, I think that requires you to think an awful lot more because you’re creating your own world that isn’t so mapped out.” So I guess this makes sense. I was born into a white family and expected to be a heterosexual man. Embracing my blackness took me on a path that my family couldn’t help me in and being openly gay also meant I was taking an exam that I’d never revised for. To be an 'other' is to enter a world that you are not prepared for and have not been educated in. I did get an answer to my question. Yes, you can be more than one other at once. But something Darren said had a more profound impact on me. “The nuances of each individual persona and their family are so unique. By stating things you’re boxing yourself in and I’m never sure of people’s motives for doing that. What’s your motive for calling yourself a certain thing and what are you gaining from doing that? If you’re introduced to someone as gay, their expectation of you will be to be gay.” It’s true. By placing so much weight on my race, sexuality, and maybe even my class and nationality, I’ve put myself in a box. It’s time to stop thinking about myself as a gay man of colour and start thinking about myself as Tyler. It’s time to start describing myself as curious, intelligent, sometimes even funny. There is only one race and that’s the human race. That’s how we are born, everything else is up for negotiation. It’s time to step outside of the box.
by katherine o’rourke tell you that the hymen completely covers the opening of your vagina until it is stretched by sex. When in fact hymens will naturally be big enough for tampons to go in and period blood to flow out. Some of us are even born with what seems like no hymen at all, just like all parts of our bodies, hymens will be different for everyone. There are many other ways the hymen can be stretched open apart from sex. This can be due to different types of exercise, horse riding, using tampons or even just something as simple as riding a bike. OK...but is it normal to bleed for the first time? Nurse Amelia Woods says that ‘one of the causes of bleeding after sex is vaginal dryness or friction during sex’, most of the time it isn’t anything to stress about. Many girls worry about the boy being embarrassed if they bleed.
Sex! What do you expect? Katherine debunks hymens, pain, and ‘doing it’ for the first time. ‘Sex’ is no small thing. And everyone has a lot of questions about it.... Problem is getting answers. Something even more important when it’s your ‘first time’. So, if you’re a proud owner of a v-card but ready to let go here’s what you need to know. But not to worry I’m here to get into all the nitty gritty that you might be wondering about it. So, if you’re worrying about losing your virginity, don’t be, because I’m here to let you know the low down on what to expect for your first time. Does sex for the first time hurt for girls? Every person is different, and from my own personal experience the ‘pain’ isn’t really pain at all. Many girls will feel less pain from their first time due to their hymen, the tissue that lines the vagina already being broken before losing their virginity. Some people will incorrectly
If that is the case speak to them beforehand, if they feel this is an issue they’re not the person to be losing your virginity to. Bleeding can also be caused by discomfort. During the first time it is harder for women to self-lubricate and can lead to discomfort and bleeding. This is why foreplay is key and will make the whole experience of sex more comfortable. But what if I’m a boy who want to have sex with a girl- what can I do to make sure she’s ok? It’s okay to not know what you’re doing no one does at first when it comes to sex. It’s all about communication and experimentation. Respect your partner and the fact they may not be ready as soon as you, but also make sure you yourself are ready. There’s no need to be embarrassed or worried, speak to your partner about what feels comfortable, don’t just go in all guns blazing, take your time. The best advice I can give is to be attentive, take it slow. Women normally take around
eight minutes to become aroused, and when they are the sex will be more enjoyable for the both of you. A recent poll by Men’s Health said 56% of women want twenty minutes of closeness after sex. Even if it’s a one-night stand, make sure she feels comfortable with you. Reassure each other and losing your virginity will be a better experience all round. Alright, but what should I do about protection? In the heat of the moment, protection can seem like the last thing on your mind. But when it comes down to it your safety, is the number one priority. Not only are you stopping yourself from catching a STD (sexually transmitted disease) but stopping pregnancy. No one is expecting you to know how to put it on or to be an expert when it comes to this stuff. Just make sure you protect you and your partner. Don’t be nervous about buying condoms either, sex is completely normal and no one will judge you for going into a store and buying them. Remember better to be safe than sorry. How old should I be when I lose my virginity? 21-year-old Victoria Shadbolt lost her virginity at 13, mixed feelings of becoming ‘a woman’ when she was still a child. Victoria explained that she was invited over to the boy’s house who was considerably older than her to watch a movie. Having been comfortable with the boy she stated that this made the experience more natural, despite her young age. She was offered an alcoholic drink and about half way through the movie she explained that ‘it just happened.I’m pretty sure I had seen porn by that age, so I kind of knew what I was doing’. Victoria then explained that curiosity played a huge factor in her first time ‘I was more interested, as this wasn’t something anyone my age had done yet’ So is it cool to do it younger? After Victoria lost her virginity the guy
then took it upon himself to slate her to every single person he knew. Calling her names like a ‘slut’ and saying ‘no one will ever want her after this’. So, if you feel pressured into sex whether it be your boyfriend, girlfriend or even just a friend then don’t worry about saying no. Looking back on losing your virginity is not something you want to regret- so while it doesn’t make you cooler to lose it, just make sure you are as ready as you can be. But all my friends have had sex! Growing up, I was always worried that I was missing out on something when it came to sex. All my friends had lost there’s and I was 16 nearly 17 before I lost mine. But when I look back on losing my virginity, I am so glad I waited. It was with someone who cared about me at the time, respected me and my body. There are many times in life where you will be faced with people who just want to use you for your body and for sexand that’s cool if you’re doing the same thing. It’s your body make sure whoever gets to have it first makes you feel great emotionally and physically. So, take your time you only get one virginity and its important you’re comfortable when losing it. Sex as a whole is an amazing thing, it can bring you closer with your partner and impact your life positively. I now know at 20 that your body is sacred, and only people who care about your emotions after and before sex should be entitled to sex with you. It doesn’t matter if you love them or if you ever see them again- that’s your choice! What does matter is that your partner respects your decision to say yes and no equally. Whether you’re a girl or boy, make sure you’re ready, stay safe and remember have fun! If you have any topics you’d like us to cover, don’t hesitate to message us on our Instagram, Twitter or email us at email@example.com
Depression. Anxiety. Disorder. Words that are not only familiar and common amongst young people, but extremely taboo. It’s time to talk about mental health. Mental health: a word that many of us throw around lightly. How many of us actually use the words “mental”, “bipolar”, “schizo” and “OCD” lightly, without understanding the severity of our words? And how many of us or our peers will be affected by those words? A leading UK youth mental health organisation, Young Minds, estimates that 20% of adolescents will face mental health problems at any given time in a year. Although, 70% of children and young adults who experience mental health issues have not had any intervention in order to prevent or make these issues better.
weak and didn’t really know what anxiety was. And didn’t really seek help – except for that one time my parents did send me to a vocal coach, so I could talk loud enough for people to actually hear me because before I’d be way too quiet even one on one. But nobody ever said the word anxiety around me they were probably scared or something.” She does however cite that she had a friend in Geneva, where she lived for a year, that understood what she was going through, and she got some support there. Matthew, who is from Ireland and is a twenty year old Goldsmiths student, also struggles with anxiety and depression. “I stood out in school mainly because I was queer, and I think that because of that my queer identity became synonymous with my reality. I was bullied a lot, I wasn’t respected by most of my teachers – it was rough.”
“With anxiety, it’s always hard to connect with people because you always feel like you’re doing something wrong, and you’re scared to really get close to someone, or you’re scared you’re annoying them with your presence. I constantly feel like everyone around me hates me, even if they literally tell me that they love me.”
For Natalie things are much more severe. A twenty one year old arts student in London, she has suffered from borderline personality disorder all her life, and only spoke under the strict condition of anonymity. “It started when I was about seven when I started giving my parents problems and acting up in school. Then it started to evolve and change, and by the time I was thirteen- I was spiralling. By seventeen, I was in a total mess, and had two or three suicide attempts. I got kicked out of school, managed to salvage my grades to go to uni, then was so depressed and anxious in first year that I felt that I couldn’t escape.”
“I used to hide it from the doctors growing up, pretending I was okay.” Talking about it to her friends was difficult, given that not many people around her had such severe anxiety as she did. “When I was younger I just thought that I was
“Since then, and I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging here, it just seems like a joke at this point – but I’ve suffered from anorexia and bulimia, self harm, prescription drug abuse, the whole lot. Started smoking when I was 17, still can’t kick the
Cressi, eighteen and a student has had severe anxiety issues since she was eleven, and depression a few years ago, though she was only officially diagnosed with it only this year.
by dawn chua habit.” She admits that there are many days that she resents it but it is clear that she tries to have a sense of humour about it. “I’d be so much further in life if I wasn’t ill. There are so many days where I’ve spent days in bed, unable to get up – and because of that I’ve spoiled so many opportunities for myself. I’ve made some terrible decisions – I once bought a £150 television on eBay at 3am and forgot about it until I woke up… Thank god I could bloody afford it!” Sometimes, our friends and our families, our teachers, the adults in our life – are the hardest people to trust. When you’re so close to a friend or a family member who might not understand why you are the way you are, how difficult is it to talk to them or to relate? “It was difficult for me to talk to my parents at first – it still is,” Cressi admits. “My parents are psychologists – so we do all the talking bits often, and I was well educated in all the terminology before I knew what was wrong with me. I was put into therapy at a young age because of them. The thing is that with them being psychologists, sometimes it just got a bit too close for comfort.” Matt agrees. “I didn’t really have any friends when I was struggling – so I can’t really answer that. But I think people should show compassion – and that these words that we brandish around like ‘psycho’ or ‘mad’ stigmatises people who are really mentally unwell.” Confirmed by Natalie’s comments that “My parents hate talking about it. They’ve spent a lot of money on doctors and shrinks, and they had to spend a lot of time with a kid that gave them so many problems – I can’t say I don’t resent that now, all the heartache I’ve put
them through doesn’t feel like I’ll ever be able to fix. My dad is finally coming round after so many years – he works in the science field – my mum is still in denial.” For Natalie, she is much more private. “I have a lot of good friends, and I can be social at times, but at the same time I’ve been a loner my whole life. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just used to being myself and keeping my problems away because I don’t want to trouble people. It’s so hard to open up. People find it hard to relate… I spent my childhood going in and out of doctor’s and psychiatrist offices. What are most people going to say to that? I don’t like the attention or the sympathy. My friends really are supportive, though. And I just try to get on with it, even if it means I struggle mostly alone.” So – looking back, with everything they’ve been through – what would they tell their younger selves now? “I would tell me that life will probably do a 380 degree turn, because nothing is perfect – and that’s okay. I would say also that it’s fine to be sad and happy (to feel in general) and it’s important to focus on self care,” Cressi says. Natalie agrees. “Life is going to be a massive bitch – all the rollercoaster rides, all the heartbreak, all the pain – it’s going to cripple you. It’s going to make you feel terribly alone, it’s going to scare you, it’s going to make you want to end it all. But ultimately when you wake up the next morning, you have to encourage yourself – you made it through another day. You’ve gotten this far, so don’t give up now.” As for Matt, “Look after yourself. Care for yourself a lot more than you did….And just enjoy being you.”
A drug that leaves its users without the feeling of their legs and limbs has found residence amongst the youth of today.
I was in a K- Hole and I had Morgan Freeman in a white suit playing God...it was trippy as fuck.
A background: Throughout the illegal squat rave scene of the 90s and early 2000s, Ketamine became the alternative party drug, stemming from the Gay Clubbing scene in London. Offering a numbing, floaty experience, which served as a counter to the intensity of other trendy clubbing drugs, like Ecstacy. When raving, Ketamine is a high you can control and top up when necessary. The music would feel intense but as if you were not really there at the same time. Ketamine became an essential for a night out. Users would mix the horse tranquiliser and cocaine together, producing a cocktail mix with the two substances, which was used alongside Ecstasy. The cocktail mix was used to ensure that the cocaine would be backed up with a drug that is polar opposite creating a different kind of high, this leant itself to partying as well as Chemsex. Back then, Ecstasy was the craze, the small pill created feelings of euphoria, empathy and increased energy. However, the use of E comes with a cost, due to the chemical imbalance in the brain, leaving users depressed the next day. Hence, ravers needed something that would ease the dreadful comedown so they would snort Ketamine, to eliminate the results in the morning. Ecstasy is a stimulant, and when users take the pill, it releases feel good neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, which makes you feel happy and full of love. As a result, a comedown for regular users, meant that these chemicals that were once welcomed, fall to a level that can make their user feel depressed, anxious and paranoid, these effects can last typically three days. The last day being the worst. As more genres of music were being born, such as chill out IDM, dubstep and psytrance, the new mainstream drug with the paralysing effects of Ketamine were adopted by the masses. This was a change from hard-core drum and bass, party goers needed a drug that was more suited to this change in music. In 2006, K was made illegal by the British government. Despite this, it has hitched a ride to the top, and has some millennials hooked. Whatâ€™s more, according to the Global Drug Survey the number of young adults taking ketamine regularly has spiked to unprecedented levels. Additionally, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found that K usage in young adults sat at 1.6% of the population if the UK;
by andrea cutts
dwarfing the 0.3% in Denmark and Spain. But why is Ketamine so Popular? Ketamine itself, has quite a high safety ratio, and it is very hard to overdose on the drug. Although, it is not impossible, as a young user last year died on the substance at an illegal rave as he made the mistake of consuming the drug orally, which is fatal. K is in the Class B bracket of illegal drugs; which means a person can get up to 5 years in prison if caught for personal use plus charges with an unlimited fine. With all that in mind, Ketamine has the cheapest street value of £15 per gram. In comparison MDMA is £20 for a pill. A gram of K means you can more use. So, a drug that was used mainly in the clubbing scene in the 90’s has made its way to “pre-drinks” and university halls. It has become cheaper to do a couple lines of Ket, than to spend money on alcohol from the local Tesco. For Tom 19, a university student in London, the perfect night would be to “Meet your friends and the local pub at 7pm, have a couple pints, do a bump of K and move on to the next local. Once at the next local, you order in some more drinks, maybe start on the spirts and your second and third bump of K. Either go back to the University halls or a friend’s house, have some more drinks and you’re onto your forth bump of K. Depending whether you’re going to a club or not, at this point you will either drop a pill or continue drinking. After taking a break to eat some Chicken Nuggets or Pizzas around 5am, you then all roll up some joints to bring you down and to get ready for bed at 10am.” A study from Vice.com suggested that each generation is “living a cleaner lifestyle than the last.” For example, the vast majority of millennials apparently believe that getting drunk is “pathetic” or belongs “to another generation”. Making Millennials the last generation to abuse drugs, we are Generation numb. A Generation who would rather do lines of K than drink wine, is a Generation, who feels and sees everything. As studies show, sky rocketing cases of depression, anxiety and self-harm, Ketamine is seen as a way out. Offering an escape, a chance to feel nothing at all. The hard-hitting drug transports you to a profoundly different mental headspace, far away from your overthinking and earthly concerns. People on K laugh, hallucinate and fall about with their mates. With every outlet throwing out nothing but sad news, and Millennials feeling more alone than ever in a world that is more connected than before, Ketamine gets you high almost immediately, and lasts a relatively short time as it needs topping up.
However, it isn’t all hearts and flowers when using Ketamine. K hole is the term to describe the paralysis you can go into if you take too much of the escapism drug. You enter blackness and feel totally helpless, unaware when you will finally escape this. When at Nass Festival, last summer in Bristol, Sacha was left face down in the grass for three hours under the scorching summer sun, trapped in a K hole. “Inside I could hear everything, I couldn’t move, my eyes were closed, I wasn’t in control anymore” he says, “I know my friends had left me at this point. My mouth was tasting the soil underneath and I couldn’t even move my mouth away. I was lucky I was still able to breathe. I normally know my limits, and I was having a good time, that was until I felt myself fall deeper and further away from reality.” “Finally, after what felt like eternity in pitch black numbness, sun burnt and having missed the majority of the acts playing on the Saturday.” When asked, Sacha said he would take the drug again and that falling into a K Hole has not stopped him from using the numbing drug.
Glossary Bump/Key: a small dose of a powder drug, usually Ketamine, you use your keys to pick up the substance, bring it up to your nose and snort it with one nostril. K: Street term and short nickname for Ketamine. Drop: Street term, to take. Comedown: Like a hangover but for drug users. Drugs like MDMA can make your serotonin levels reach its peak, which as a result the next day you feel low and depressed. Everything gets to you. Below are some important websites, where you can find out more information about Ketamine. talktofrank.com drugscience.org.uk It is important to note; Ketamine is highly addictive. While cheap, an addiction can run up a large bill the largest being your life and relationship with others. Relatively flavourless, Ketamine has become a popular method of date rape due to its numbing effects. This article is here to present a side of the drug that isn’t often covered, we hope that it has given you another insight into why people take it. But as a magazine we do not support drug usage and recommend you are fully and factually informed before you make that decision.
by tyler lewis
“Some of us have a bad relationship with food. Some of us have a relationship with bad food. This is how with a little help, I learnt to love food.” Your birthday cake, your Christmas dinner, your monthly curry with the lads and your boozy Sunday brunch. We eat because we want to, we like to and because we have to. We all have a relationship with food. For the past five years my relationship with food has been a bad one. A chubby childhood resulted in a paranoid adolescence which caused me to suffer from bulimia nervosa at varying severities. Food was my enemy, something that had been put in my way to obstruct my ultimate goal of being thin. Guilt was the emotion that I experienced most frequently as I finished school and begun university; I balanced the consumption of my three meals a day with purging until I was my ideal weight. When I first met my boyfriend, Mudge, I was definitely on the unhealthy side of ideal, if not somewhat underweight. He wasn’t in the same place as I was, he was actually quite far from it. I never saw him as anything but gorgeous, but according to him he was “an unhealthy, fat lump.” The first time I saw him run was for an ice cream van and he’d enjoyed a romance with pub food and beer. At first we did all the normal things that you do when you start dating. Drinks, cinema, more drinks. Eventually though, as we became more serious, my university schedule and both of our work schedules restricted the time we could spend together. Evenings became the main time we interacted and when your both under 25, paying to go to bars and the cinema night after night is an expectation your finances can’t meet. I couldn’t hide my secret anymore and I had to tell him about my eating disorder. “The only time we get to spend together is over food”, he says as he cooks us dinner and I badger him for quotes to write this piece. “I felt awful obviously, helpless. Like sometimes I would feel kind of bad because by making you eat I could become a trigger.” At first it was difficult. More than difficult, it was extremely hard. I would cook for Mudge, Mudge would cook for me; we would sit down and I’d eat all the food and make all the desired yummy noises. Then, I would still be extremely underweight and we’d both know why. But soon enough was enough and Mudge had to intervene. “Baby steps, that’s what I said to you.” He told me that we were going to get through this, we weren’t going to try and do it overnight, but we were going to get me better. “The kitchen, that’s where we hang out. I guess everyone has a relationship with food but my relationship with food before I met you was a relationship with shit food” says Mudge. “I would
eat so much fucking Indian take away. So I decided that when I would cook for you I would be wary of what food I was making so that you wouldn’t feel guilty. When you went through that stage of being triggered by cheese I would just avoid cooking with cheese. Easy.” Sure enough, slowly but surely, I started to feel better. The reason why though is surprising. When you live together you ultimately end up adopting almost identical eating habits. The fat lump (again, not my words) that I fell for began shrinking. I looked at Mudge and he was eating well, he wasn’t on a diet, he wasn’t exercising, he was just eating differently. The puff pastry pizza and halloumi burgers were reduced and the sweet potato salads and homemade curries were in. Importantly, he was eating the same as me. I realised that if what he was consuming was doing him good, then I had to get over my fear that food was bad. Food isn’t the enemy, it’s just a part of life. We both had a day off and I asked what we were going to do with the day. Mudge responded with, “Go for brunch?” I asked what we’d do after and he told me that was it. I got it, food was fun, food was a thing. Mudge tells me that he had no body confidence when he met me. “I’m only kind of noticing that my body looks different now. It’s intriguing and the more I’ve lost weight, the more I look at my body. I’ve become healthier but I still pick my body apart even though it’s like 100% better. That’s just part of being human and we need to get over it. I didn’t set out to get healthier but now I just feel good about myself, crazy.” I was 14 the last time I didn’t have an eating disorder, I’m now 20 and excited to say I’m back in the clear, going six months without purging and returning to a normal weight. Putting on weight doesn’t scare me anymore and for the first time in my life, I’m really enjoying eating. “I love it. You don’t just say you like food, you have a genuine excitement for food. Hence your food dance.” This is true, I often dance sensually around the kitchen while food is in the oven to distract myself from my impatience. “You let me touch your stomach now and I’m happy for you to touch mine, sometimes it’s even encouraged.” Our relationship with food may have saved my life. When we eat together I feel safe, I don’t have a fear anymore. When I sit down to eat my dinner it’s not just to consume a meal, it’s time together, it’s “how was your day” and it’s “oh my fucking god this vegan cheese is so great how the hell does it melt so good.” Some people have a bad relationship with food. Others have a relationship with bad food. What I’ve learned is that however you feel, you need to have a good relationship with food. It gives you energy, it keeps you moving, it’s the fuel that runs your body and it’s really really tasty. Eat within your means but enjoy what you eat, you deserve too.
I LIKE PORN, BUT DOES IT LIKE ME? by becky stokely
Should you feel guilty for watching porn? Is it damaging you? Should you be deleting your search history? Pornography isn’t something we feel comfortable talking about very often. It may mention maybe just to friends in passing, nothing serious or you might even feel the comfortable enough to watch it with our partner. But it’s hardly something you’re going to boast about. Something a little bit gross even, like biting your nails or picking your nose. And yet... why are we encouraged to think of it as something so bad? Thanks to more open discussion, pornography is finally becoming less of a dirty secret. And about time... because what would be really helpful is to be told what the problems are, not that it’s a problem in the first place. With 29% of Porn Hub’s traffic being 18-24 year olds and 26% of those being in the UK, it’s obvious that our curiosities often get the better of us. But what exactly are we watching? With women tuning in to watch ‘lesbian’ porn most and males tuning to watch ‘milf’ (mother i’d like to f*ck) most often, our kinks definitely range. From the age of 14 we start pondering more and more on our bodies and the things it’s capable of doing, feeling and developing into. We are educated that girls bodies are different to boys; girls have boobs and periods, boys have penises and get horny, sex equals a baby so you should probably use protection or just not do it all all, because you might die (to quote our fave movie “Mean Girls”, not to be taken literally). That’s the basic extent of our sex education in the UK. Both teachers and parents swiftly avoid the topic of masturbation, pornography and sexual intercourse for pleasure. Some of us are lucky enough to have parents we can have these open conversations with, but for the most part it’s clear that young people are made to feel ashamed by the things they do behind closed doors.
actually caused by porn for those who do watch it,” say Justin. Justin also talks about the ways which although there is an ‘association between porn consumption and attitudes and values which can be taken to be problematic’ there is not solid evidence that one directly leads to the other. We don’t know that the person who has viewed pornography didn’t already see women as sex objects, or encourage a higher number of sexual partners or be encouraged to be a ‘player’. Of course there are several problematic aspect of mainstream porn the we can’t ignore such as unrealistic expectations of the way sex actually works. Not all penises are perfectly formed and big and trimmed and not all vaginas are tight, shaven and labia perfectly tucked. That, alongside more talk around consent and the gender power ratio that porn perceives is a discussion we should be having. Why is it that pornography is so heavily aimed at men though? Do women not get horny in the eyes of those who produce mainstream pornography? I questioned Justin as to why he thinks this is the case. ‘Most of the studios are owned by men, there’s a perception that most of the customer base is going to be men, which is true. There’s a narrow idea around what people might fantasies about. It ignores a lot.’ This false sense of what you should be like in bed causes extreme anxieties around sexual performance as well as insecurities about the size of whats in your pants. When I spoke to Luke, 24, I found that his comments were all too familiar: Porn often makes us feel inadequate. “When I’ve watched porn in the past, the muscular strong men made me feel like I wasn’t developing enough, even when I was in my early teens,”, Luke also experienced another side effect of the way we are made to feel ashamed by watching
“There’s a huge moral panic around pornography. Adults instantly try to shield their children from what they might come across online,” says Justin Hancock , founder of Bish UK, a sexual education source online at bishuk.com, Bish UK training (a resource for teaching sexual education) as well as other projects such as podcasts about sex and relationships on megjohnandjustin.com. Research such as that conducted on safeinternet. org.uk shows that 65% of 15-26 year olds would have seen sexual images and/or watched pornography. “The only reason they would’ve seen pornography is that they are interested in becoming sexuality active,” says Justin. So whilst adults and previous research stigmatise and suggest pornography is a taboo and something we shouldn’t be watching, it’s evident that it is where we are having to go to learn new things about sexual experiences. An article written by Katie Silver of the BBC reported that men’s sexist attitudes are ‘shaped by first exposures to pornography’ but it that really the case? With that in mind, then, do we really need to talk more about pornography? “No, really is the answer. The thing with porn is it’s overstated how many young people actually look at it for no reason… and it’s overstated how much harm is
porn. “I knew he was an actor and I knew he was much older than me but it made me feel concerned that I wasn’t big enough, you know, ‘down there’, and that i’d never be able to please a woman”. A regular comment made by females we spoke with was that the slim blonde big breasted female porn stars made them feel unattractive and like they had to aim to be that or they’d never be good enough for a man. All these things we should be discussing on an educational level in order to avoid this misconception when choosing to watch porn. That doesn’t mean we should be guarded from watching pornography and expressing our sexuality. Something new to consider is the idea of ‘ethical porn’. What makes it different to normal pornography that we might see on porn hub or something of the sort? Erika Lust, a producer of feminist, ethical pornography has drawn in a huge audience, with her first adult film reaching 2 million people in just a few days. But how is her pornography different to mainstream pornography? During an interview with Electric Sheep, an online publication, in 2016 Erika says “It’s about the sexuality and how the people on screen are interacting. Then it’s about women in important roles…being a character, taking care of their own pleasure and it’s about seeing their pleasure on screen” With 98% of pornography being directed by men, Lust’s work aims to give women a chance to produce what they would want to experience and therefore see onscreen, away from the mostly harsh male dominated mainstream porn. Her aim is to ‘show sexuality can be different things. It doesn’t have to be the pizza guy, the mafia guy, and the baby sitter’. She also spoke to Vice about the ways that she directs and casts her adults films very differently and ethically. “I try to get them to have sex like real people, then it’s my job to go around and find the adults” she tells Vice, describing the way which mainstream porn encourages the bodies to be separate rather than intimate, which is the part that is satisfying. Ethical is a fantastic idea to encourage both men and women to feel liberated by the bodies and feel good about their sexuality, the only way that they are able to produce such quality films that present men and women equally is due to production costs. You don’t get to click a link on Porn Hub and see these movies for free, but in order to get quality, I suppose you have to pay for it. So, watch all the porn you feel is healthy for you. Don’t be ashamed for your kinks whether it involves whips and chains or just conventional sex. Everyone feels things in different ways and as long as you are not letting your viewing habits take over your everyday lives and aren’t letting pornography damage your relationships, then why not? Hit that play button…
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MOODBORED GOES TO... by ben gladwin
In March, we went down to The Boat Show Comedy Club on The Thames to enjoy a night of giggles and drinks. If you follow us on Instagram, you’d have seen a hint of the fantastic night we had. Afterwards we sat down with Live Comedy producer, Ally Williams, to talk about what makes a good show and how she got into the business.
don’t because we’ve moved forward in how we talk about it. In my opinion, funny is funny but it’s how you do it. Punch up and if you can’t make yourself the joke. A middle/upper class person making fun of poor people isn’t funny. Look at Jack Whitehall, the joke there is that he is super posh and he plays up to that; that’s funny.
How did you get into Comedy? I was at uni in London in my second year and looking for work experience. I found an internship with Christian Knowles Productions and made it into my job. I worked full time for 12 years until I went freelance last year.
What would you say to a new comedian wanting to go pro? It’s hard. There are no two ways about it. Go to open mic nights, open spots, get a lot of experience under your belt. Find another thing to do as well- do stand up but also write, scripts, books, jokes for other comics. When you have plenty of things at your disposal you’re more likely to have a multifaceted career.
Before then I was always a bit of a comedy nerd. In halls I would get all my friends together to watch stand up shows and sitcoms. When I saw an internship in Comedy it felt like a good fit. I’m lucky because I’ve been able to make something I love into my job. Did uni help you in your career? Yes and no, really. I did a drama degree, which I loved, but the reality of it is that the degree itself hasn’t actually helped me. I understand performance and I was taught how to use a sound desk and mic set up, which is useful for running a comedy club! Speaking of performance, what makes a good night? That’s such a big question! It’s so so subjective. I believe that a mixed bill of different styles, people, generations, is important. I want to give people a night that they won’t get from watching the telly. A reason to come out on a Friday night, rather than staying in. What happens if the night doesn’t go well? Well, if the audience are rowdy or heckling all you can do is run through procedure. You go up to the main offenders and ‘Ross from Friends’ them by asking them to keep it down. Most of the time people don’t know they’re being super loud and all you can do is be as nice as possible. How has Comedy changed in recent times? Are people more sensitive? I wouldn’t say people are more sensitive but what they’re sensitive about has changed. 10 years ago people made jokes about transvestism and now they
Stand up is lonely. You go to different nights all the time, most of the time for no money. When you’re writing you’re often on your own and that can make you feel crap. The sad clown cliche is there for a reason. I’d say combat this by going on courses, joining an improv or sketch class. Make yourself a comedy community- it’ll be fun and you will feel better for having people around you with similar interests. You’re always going to be learning; anyone can be funny in the moment down the pub but finding your voice is something that happens over time. Who is your favourite comedian? It changes every day- and that’s why I still love comedy. I have a soft spot for Joe Lycett, I saw him coming up and I’ve seen him develop into a successful comic and that’s great! Comedy has so many different purposes and for me my favourite is the one that fulfils a need that I have at that particular time.
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moodbored’s aim is to pair relatable, engaging content with a DIY ‘zine’ feel for a mainstream youth audience. It was birthed from a frustra...
Published on Mar 28, 2018
moodbored’s aim is to pair relatable, engaging content with a DIY ‘zine’ feel for a mainstream youth audience. It was birthed from a frustra...